Monday 22 August 2011

Conquering Fear

A couple of days ago, while I was writing my summary of day 3 of the Cyclebetes National Relay, I realized that part of my post was worthy of its own entry. I have reposted a portion of the day 3 post below, to provide context...

"Next area we rode through was the lead up to Rogers pass. Now anyone who knows me or has ridden with me knows I hate riding up hills. In fact, that's not even entirely accurate; I am terrified of riding up hills. When I see a large hill coming up in the distance, I can feel my body physiology start to change - my heart rate accelerates, my palms sweat, and my stomach starts to spin. It's gotten quite ridiculous actually, but I know it's all in my head. I decided then and there that the only way I could ever overcome my fear is to face it head on. So at the next shift change (not my regular shift) I jumped out to ride. I thought I was getting out about 1/4 of the way up Rogers pass, where the grade isn't too steep, but it turned out we were actually about 1/3 up the mountain already and the worst section was about to come. 

I cranked up the volume on my iPod and just started pedaling. I forced myself to look at the pavement immediately in front of me, instead of at the massive hill ahead and I simply just kept going...and going, and going, and going. For some bizarre reason, I felt terrific; I had a ton of energy, and my legs felt fresh and strong, even with the 68km they had already pedaled that morning. My original plan was to go as long as I could, whether that be 10 minutes, 30 minutes, or an hour, but I was going to cap it at an hour at the most and save some energy for one more shift later. At about the 45 minute mark I realized I was easily going to finish the hour."

Maybe it was karma, but at the same time a song came through my headphones that is very dear to my heart because it reminds me so much of my son, and that giving up on the fight to find a cure for diabetes will never be an option for me. My reaction was profound, and I'm glad no one was in front of me to see it. Overcome with emotion, tears of joy, or relief, and of hope, streamed down my face and I felt something shift in my core. It's hard to describe, but something changed in me in that moment, and I was reminded that anything is possible if I simply put my mind and heart to it. I felt as if a massive weight had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt invincible, and free. 

The ride came full circle for me in this moment, its purpose at the forefront of my mind, the cycling taking a close second place. Everything around me seemed to stop; all of my fears, my worries, my trivial concerns, disappeared, and I suddenly became the force I need to keep working for a cure. All I could hear was the sound of my own breath, all I could feel was the beating of my own heart. Nothing else mattered. There was nothing but me in the present. I had conquered by biggest fear, while being reminded of why I was riding and what really matters to me. It was a truly magical moment for me and one I will never ever forget.

What now, you may ask? Now I continue to hope and continue to fight, until a cure is found.

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