I have always been competitive. I have always enjoyed pushing myself physically. This probably started when I was 5 years old and set the pull-up record at my elementary school. The trend continued into middle school when I won the school pentathlon and high school when I won first place in a three-school lifting/running/jumping competition.
One of my challenges with Friedreich's Ataxia is losing my ability to compete as an athlete. A couple years ago some of my friends competed in a triathlon. It is hard for me knowing that no matter how hard I train I wouldn't be able to compete in such an event. I can't push myself to higher max lifts in the weight room. I can't jump in to the pickup basketball game. The list could go on.
For these reasons, I was thrilled to find out about the Ataxian Athlete Initiative. This is a grant program that supplies recumbent trikes to people with Ataxia. I figured that getting a recumbent trike would be the perfect for me; I could push myself physically without worrying about my Ataxia getting in the way of my safety. I applied for the grant, and sure enough, I received it!
I was super excited as I waited for my Catrike 700 to arrive. I even bought a used electronic bike to start training. When it finally came, I wanted to start riding immediately. Then, I started to get nervous. I hadn't ridden a trike before. I didn't know my way around the bike paths. I hadn't installed my clip pedals. What if I crash? What if I get lost? What if people gave me weird looks?
At that point, I had two choices. I could let my fears, self-doubts, and insecurities hold me back while I sat inside and waited until I was fully "ready" (which would probably never happen). Or, I could go for a ride.
I chose the latter. And guess what. I did get lost. My feet slipped off my pedals multiple times. I dropped my keys twice. And yes, people did give me weird looks. It was ya bumpy ride, literally and figuratively. But, I made it home. And my next ride went much better. And my next ride after that went even better. And, fast-forwarding to now, I am far from a pro but my rides are getting much smoother and I am having a lot of fun.
We all have dreams, goals, and aspirations. Sometimes we get so close to actually pursuing them. That is when the fears, doubts, and insecurities surface. What if I fail? What if people laugh at me? What if I don't make it? It's probably impossible anyways. I'm not good enough to do it. Sound familiar?
There is something inside of you that needs to come out. A business. A ministry. A gift. A podcast. A song. The question is, will you let it out? Someone in the world needs what's inside of you; will you let fear, doubt, and insecurity stop them from receiving it? I hope not. The road will certainly be bumpy, but, will you go for a ride anyways?
So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
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