Friday, September 10, 2010

I did it, I can do it again...

August 1984

The summer of 1984 I turned twelve. I was a small shy girl with long hair tight up in a ponytail or braids. For my birthday I got a beautiful Dutch pink “grandma” bike. The bike’s style is called “grandma” because its design has been around for a long time. The bike had no gears. You just got up and started to peddle. when you wanted to stop, you braked by turning your legs backwards. I loved my new bike.

This bike was quickly put to good use going on a real bike trip. The first week of secondary school was an introductory week with all the new schoolmates. 180 students lined up with their bicycles to bike forty kilometers to a recreational lodge in the Dutch Dunes. I remember the chaos before the ride, where the parents dropped off everyone, the suitcases were loaded into the busses and the bikes got the last inspections before taking off. I don't think I ever had driven more then a couple of kilometers at that age and I was excited to start this new event.

It was a beautiful sunny and windy day. Long lines of kids drove behind each other out of town, through the beautiful farmlands towards the dunes. Here and there were posts where teachers were checking in on us. I think the bike trip was guided by puzzles that we had to solve along our way. I’m not totally sure about that. It was not what made the day memorable.

What I do remember vividly after all these years is how hard the bike ride was that day. The wind was strong. I remember that I ended up at the back with a couple of kids who were asthmatic, had lowly developed muscles or had no a bike without gears, like me.

I remember us biking through the dunes, passing the beautiful purple plains, motivating each other while the wind literally was pushing the tears out of our eyes. One of us gave up three quarters along the way. She stayed behind with a teacher. I can still see her bright pink face while fighting the wind, pounding her feet against the pedals.

The rest of us suffered our way through until the end. I wanted to quit at least twenty times and had to thank the others for motivating me by going till the end together.

The ride back later that same week was quite uneventful. We didn’t have the same wind and everyone rode the distance easily.

I had forgotten all about this particular event until yesterday morning.

September 8, 2010

The Internet showed me a running route in my neighborhood created by another runner. It is a twelve-mile run, from which seven miles connects like a ring. I decided I wanted to run that 7-mile-course yesterday morning. It was close to home and located in a beautiful area.

I dressed myself properly. Got my running shoes, my running clothes and my drinking gear. I said bye to my hubby and left the house in good spirits. Seven miles is longer then my short run and shorter then my long run. It was a beautiful morning and I was ready to go.

It turned out that the first mile was up, and up... and up, and up.... And after that up, and up, and up... My muscles started cramping. I got out of breath. I had to walk. I was wondering how someone could run a track like this for twelve miles. I was tired already. I thought about turning around just five minutes after I started. Luckily I brought my phone and had given myself two hours before I would call Mark to rescue me. So I continued. I got to the top, I hoped it was the top...

The next mile was going down and down and down and down. Here I got really afraid. Does this mean I will have to go up and up and up again... (I was only two miles from home and turning around was not attractive, but I was also afraid for what would come later...)

Two thirds into my run/ walk, I remembered the ride I had that first day at my new school, only twelve years old. How hard it was, how my lungs hurt, how my legs felt, and how I made it till the end. Remembering that story I knew that I would finish this run too. Because I did then. The last part of my run I distracted myself by writing this article in my head. One and a half hour after I started I stumbled back into the house, very tired and very satisfied.

I knew that this trip I didn’t gain one but two stories that together would end up in this article today.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Read, smile, think and post a message to let us know how this article inspired you...