I'm trying to forget that I ever knew it.
I didn't pre enter, leaving me lots of room to wiggle out of doing it if anything on my LONG list of "requirements" weren't met.
- No rain
- No rain in the days before leading to sloppy footing
- No wind
So I found more excuses
- found out that the park gates close at 7am and 7pm. If I don't get done in time on Sunday to get out the gate, I won't be able to leave, and I'll NOT be at school on Monday morning for my 7am surgery lab. And missing that would be BAD. As in, might-have-to-repeat-third-year bad. But then I found out that the start was 6:30 or 7a, AND someone pointed out that I could pull at lunch if I thought finish time was an issue and get a good 20 or 30 mile conditioning ride in.
- I ONLY want to ride Sunday, or not at all. Sunday is 2014 season (Dec 1) and a finish would count towards my decade team goal (10 years of completions with same horse/rider at 50 mile distance or beyond).
- Farley hasn't done anything since Tevis besides our riding around in the river bottoms. Surely her legs will break off and we will die if we attempt a 50 when it's been so LONG (sarcasm - she has more conditioning now, then when I started the season and finished cache creek - a MUCH harder ride).
So I re-agreed that yes, I should go, that I WOULD go.
But driving home I still had a knot of anxiety in my stomach about doing the 50. And I couldn't put my finger on it. There was no reason I shouldn't go, hang out, RO at lunch if I needed to, visit with friends etc.
But still I mostly felt dread and completely unmotivated to take any steps that would get me closer to riding the ride. Like downloading the application. Or packing the trailer. Or cobbling together a set of boots for Farley. Or making a food plan. Or making sure my riding clothes are clean.
And then I had an epiphany.
It's been a long time since I had FUN at a ride. Here's how my last FIVE rides of 50 or more miles have gone, in reverse chronological order
1. Horrible, agonizing pain for 80 miles
2. Horrible headache and please-just-let-this-end pain.
3. Got lost, and knee pain.
4. Worst migraine of my life the last 3rd of the ride, and post ride until the next morning.
5. Broken horse.
It's been the November 2010, THREE YEARS, since I had an endurance ride that ended well, and that I actually enjoyed.
At the end of Tevis this year, I really didn't know whether I wanted to continue to ride distance. I thought that it was that syndrome of "it hurt's so good" that a lot of us experience at the end of the ride, but it was different. I spent the last hour of Tevis really really really considering giving up horses all together. The next day I couldn't imagine riding distance ever again.
Even though a week or 2 later I was talking about doing my next 100, that underlying thread of doubt of whether I was done with endurance persisted without my acknowledging it....until I was faced with a relatively easy, EXTREMELY LOCAL ride that I had no excuses not to go to.
If I'm being completely honest, the physiological/bodily reaction to the thought I really might do a 50 this weekend feels a bit panicky, with a lot of anxiety.
It's similar to the feeling I got at the thought of riding in the rain, after I did a 50 in the pouring rain with no rain gear, wearing cotton and got way too cold. Traumatizingly cold. For the next couple years, if it started to rain when I knew I had to ride, it was really hard not to melt into a puddle on the ground crying "Noooooooo......". Because it was that awful. Of course, eventually I got over it - I got the correct gear and rode in the rain enough times staying dry and warm, that I eventually was able to not get that visceral response to rain.
I'm thinking that's where I am with distance riding right now. I've had a couple of years, and a lot of rides in a row where I was in a lot of physical pain, and my mind (without my permission!!!! Grrrr..) has made an association that 50+ miles = pain.
Now that I know the problem, I think it's even more important for me to do this ride on Sunday if possible. This is a relatively low risk ride for both me and Farley that has a great chance of going well. Just the thing I need.