Sunday, December 2, 2018

WHAT!? How has it been 4 weeks already?!?

Rode my bike to school last Tuesday, and all I can say is UFDH. That was NOT the magical, beautiful, glorious return to riding I had hoped for.

Instead it was a slow, hard, reality check of a ride that was honestly not as fun as I hoped :( Guess the old body still isn't ready.

That being said, 4 weeks into the recovery process (4 freaking weeks! How has time gone by so fast) and I am starting to understand my feelings a little better/cope with the situation.

There have been a lot of hard moments in the past month, but a lot of beautiful ones as well. In the long run I really want to remember everything I thought and felt during this time in my life because it's been so interesting and probably one of those pivotal moments that shapes me as a person more then winning a race ever could. I have a lot of random feelings/experiences, so this is going to be a little spazy :)
Sunrise on my one commute last week, made the pain worth it. 
First of all, it's hard to be the person who is known for smiling all the time, and then to have the thing that made you smile snatched out from under you without warning. I am happiest when I am riding my bike (any of them on any terrain). I've had to remember how to be happy without the bike. It was stressful at first to not feel happy or stoked, and to feel like I was a failure because this thing I have a reputation for, I felt like I was failing at it. I wanted to be the consummate optimist even in injury, but I couldn't find the bight, shiny silver lining, I didn't FEEL happy, and it seemed fake to pretend to just because it was expected. The messages from so many people about their injuries and recoveries helped so so much though, so I guess not faking being happy, just telling it like it is was worth it because the most beautiful part of this ordeal was all those messages. Thanks everyone :)

At the same time that everything felt incredibly hard/sad, I think I dealt with the hard stuff better this time around than when I've hit road blocks in life in the past. I felt sad, yes, and frustrated and angry... but the hopelessness and despair were easier to work through and not obsess on. I guess with age and experience it's easier to deal with stuff we don't understand. So while I'm bummed to not be living up to the happy Larissa ideal, I am proud of myself for coping a little better.

There's probably something about how cycling was my core identity and now I feel so far removed from it having to spend so much time off the bike that makes it hard to cope with injury. I'm sure anyone who has dealt with time off the bike experiences this. It was everything about me before, it was all I thought about, all I dreamed about, where a lot of my self worth came from, and now it's like a void. Maybe my advice to others would be to have a back up hobby, haha. Shifting my sorrow/all the time I used to think about how I wanted to be riding bikes to ceramics has helped, a ton. It's still strange to not ride every day, but I have something to look froward to on a daily basis since I know three days a week I'll be playing with clay, so that's cool :)

It helps that mugs make good Christmas gifts :) Gives me something to do!
One kinda hard thing for me to process is when people keep telling me I will come back stronger. It's frustrating because I will literally NOT be stronger. I lost a lot of muscle when my body was consuming itself, and now with 4 weeks of no riding I've lost conditioning. Maybe in 2 years I could regain the fitness I had at the end of this summer, but I'm back to square one right now, slower than I was when I first started riding bikes. I know they all mean well, but he feeling in my legs, the dull ache after hiking for 30 minutes, or that pain I felt on my 12 mile commute... yeah, not going to come back stronger any time soon. And that's ok with ME now that I have processed it, just in the last 4 weeks it's been stressful feeling like people expected me to be kicking ass in 2019. So, yeah, don't expect me to be stronger next year world. Hopefully I will be healthier and happy focusing on whatever makes me body stronger than I am today. That may not mean winning every 100 mile race I can get my hands on, but that's ok :)

I think one of the reasons this has been hard is that riding a bike was taken away so suddenly (as it is with a lot of injuries) at a time when I was already unsure of my future in bike racing. I was pretty sure taking time off to start a family was where we were headed, but the uncertainty and then not getting to make the choice threw me for a loop. And the scary thing is that now I'm starting to feel like this is the best thing that ever happened to me in the sense that I was forced to stop, where if it WAS my choice I may never have dialed it back enough to really try to do the family making thing.


  1. Every situation doesn't need to be put under the microscope. And,is "spazy"a real word? word for next year.

  2. I think you're "thinking" about it too much. You can be just as good in 2019 as you were in 2018. You know how to get there; you've learned that from every previous year since you started this journey.

    "Just ride," would be my advice. Don't worry about the pace, or the miles. "Just ride."

    The rest will fall into place before you know it.

    “It is those who have this imperative demand for the best in their natures and who will accept nothing short of it, that hold the banners of progress, that set the standards, the ideals, for others.” – Orsen Swett Marden

    Best of luck to you in 2019….


  3. Just think about the improvements from this point on is my advice...obviously take that with a grain of salt (you've been doing this a lot longer than me!)but don't look at 2019 as a failure because it would have been better, look forward and look at PROGRESS, not PERFORMANCE.
    The idea of being the "best you can be" includes climbing over the obstacles. If it wasn't, we'd all be doomed!

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