First off I’d like to thank all of you very nice people for the compliments on my hair cut. I needed that. Actually, it was the compliments on my looks in general that made me smile – a lot. You are all the very best people in the world! The hair has calmed down a bit and looks better. It has been test driven through swimming, running and cycling and it really does seem to be easier to deal with which was the whole point to begin with so that came as quite a relief.
Speaking of swimming, running and cycling – on Saturday I swam 2600 meters with a lot of specialty (non free) work tossed in and I ran 5.5 miles. That felt pretty good. On Sunday I rode but only about 30 miles. I had wanted to do more but that just wasn’t in the cards so I let it go. I’m not on a plan yet other than to build base so it was fine.
The thing I’ve noticed lately is that I no longer have to screw up my courage to get on the bike. Last season I spent a lot of mental time pep talking myself into riding against a barrage of gut level fear. Some fear was specific and some was just an amorphous specter wafting in my peripheral vision and telling me to stay home where it’s safe.
The night before a ride I would go through a very long menu of reasons to bail out – I’m too tired, it’s too cold, too hot, my knees hurt, I have too much to do… whatever. For me the beauty of riding with others is the inability to not show up without fessing up – it kept me going although now that I think of it I did precious few miles last year (610 in total!!!) because my riding partners were not as available.
The other problem arose when I first put clip in pedals in the bike. I was afraid of falling over even though it never hurt that much to do it and I did it quite a few times at first. There were many times when I would bail out on a hill for fear of just grinding to a halt and falling over like the tricycle guy on Laugh In (umm.. showing my age here). When the going got slow I would clip out and walk – ugh. I hate that and would use the occasion to indulge in yet another round of undeserved self flaggellation.
That’s what lead to the real fear – fear of failure. Fear that I might get on my bike and just not be able to ‘make it’ whatever that meant. I was never really sure. I had these internalized images of me just stopping and sitting by the side of the road in tears, unable to go on. Not that anything like that ever happened – it was just an overwhelming sense of “I can’t”. I am nearly overjoyed to be on a path where I feel that “I can”, not only because “I have” but because I’m starting to appreciate and trust my own strength, determination and ability to accomplish my goals.
I had a fantastic conversation with a guy on our ladies ride yesterday who a year ago realized my biggest fear – getting hit by a car. He had ridden 115 miles on Saturday and did the first 20 out of 100+ miles of his Sunday ride as a warm up with the ladies before he took off like a jet when we turned left to head back home. That conversation along with some other recent experiences have lead me to finding ‘my word’. I’m working up to a post describing all of that.
I had no fear yesterday, though. I can tell I’m getting stronger on the bike and was able to keep up until the very end when I had to really work to catch the 2 women reamaining in the group. My legs were burning but I figured out that I really could pedal harder, go faster, and catch them and that’s a whole new deal for me. The old me would just find some rational explanation for why I was way behind and then proceed to beat myself up for it. The new me says, “Go! Go! Go!” and go I do and even I can’t l find fault with that.