Friday, April 12, 2013

Fortune favors the brave, right?

Earlier, I wrote about how a post by Kristin Armstrong had resonated strongly with me: "When we wait to be perfect, we wait too long," read the summary.

I didn't mention it at the time, but the reason it spoke so loudly to me was that I was debating whether to do four days of RAGBRAI — from Des Moines to the end — like I'd thought about doing when the weather was safely cold.

It was like a tornado in my brain: Was I fit enough? Organized enough? Ambitious enough? Sufficiently equipped?

Just like public safety warnings about road conditions during snowstorms, I knew, logically, that RAGBRAI's website likely erred on the side of severity. You don't want people who have only logged a few 10-mile rides thinking they can and should sign up for a weeklong, 400-plus-mile event.

And just like with snow warnings, my emotional, worrywart side took over:

"Well, yeah, I live in one of the host cities, know several people interested in doing it — a few who have even done it, actually — and have enough vacation time left over after weddings, but maybe I'll just wait for the 14th-flattest and shortest route in history, rather than the 15th-flattest and second-shortest. I'll be in better shape then!"

That day, I was IM'ing with one of those friends, who'd fearlessly committed to the full week, at the same time as I was sifting through my Google Reader (I'm holding on until the bitter end).

Enter Kristin's post. I don't make all my decisions based on signs, but this one was neon and flashing. I couldn't ignore it. A few weeks and $100 later, I was officially in.

I can't say the worrywart side has shut up; right now, I'm procrastinating on paying $14 for Scheels to fix my second flat tire in a week and berating myself for leaping into a road bike with no mechanical skills whatsoever. (Evidently I don't always wait to be perfect.)

But I can say that, just like when I committed publicly and financially to running a half marathon in my first year of running, I stopped waiting to be perfect. Barring extreme circumstances, I'm unlikely to throw my online cred and $100 — OK, just the latter — away out of cowardice.

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