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I had this plan for my Sunday. I was going to do the Red, White and Bike Annual Bike for Little Heroes today. Probably the short course (~20 miles) or if I was feeling really froggy I’d maybe do the 36 mile course. You have to understand, in the last month and a half I have quite literally ridden my bike once, which was yesterday when I did 10 miles to make certain my bike was still functional and the chain didn’t need to be greased.

Well, that plan got scrapped the minute I arrived at the event and found my normal riding group. Scott and Alex are evil geniuses and we are all screwed if they ever start cooking meth or something. They arm-twisted me into doing the full course, then shamed me into keeping going when the hills (THERE ARE HILLS NEAR HOUSTON NO REALLY) had me completely demoralized. I really need to learn to fight peer pressure like my DARE officer told me to in junior high.

I don’t think I’ll be able to move tomorrow. I’ve already hit the stage where I can’t stand up without groaning. But I rode nearly 80 miles today, without training for it.

It just makes me think about how important it is when you do something scary for the first time. I rode a century (100 miles) for the first time this year, and also ran a 5k. Before I did those things, I was always intimidated by the idea of doing that kind of mileage. But now that I’ve done them, that block is gone. I know I can do it. I ran a bit over 5k a couple of times in London, and then once I got home just because I knew I could do it and it wouldn’t totally destroy my knees. And now this, because I knew that it was possible for me to do 100 miles and not die. (This time it was just much, much harder.)

It was a bit like that, the first time I submitted a story to a magazine. I got rejected and it didn’t kill me, so I knew I could do it again.

That’s why it’s important to try new things. Whether you succeed or not, it proves that something which seemed so scary can’t possibly kill you. It takes away the fear, because either you beat it once, or it didn’t beat you. It really does make you stronger.

Originally published at Rachael Acks: Sound and Nerdery. You can comment here or there.

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