The last couple of months I have been giving a lot of thought as to how I can avoid the mistakes that lead to my dropping out of the Lumberjack last year. It seems that the last week has been dedicated to the less rational aspects of this preparation. If freaking out will get me any closer to success, then this week has been a huge leap for me. Unfortunately, I think it's just the opposite. However, I'm not sure there's any harm in listing three of the fears that have turned me into a shaking, anxiety-ridden mess during the last week:
1) The fear that I'm doing badly at my job and everyone hates me. I've been going through this on and off since I started my new job, but for some reason I've had a strong feeling that "sky was falling" for the last week or so. I think this has to do with the fact that the lines of what I'm actually supposed to do are a little fuzzy. I like the freedom of working without a lot of close supervision, but I think I would perform better with some more clearly defined objectives of what I'm trying to accomplish. Plus, even though I really like the job in general, I'm still me, and I'm afraid my anti-social curmudgeoness is going to get me into trouble.
2) The fear that I'm tough enough to finish the Lumberjack, but still too slow to make the cutoff time.
3) The fear that the HMBA is going to send an angry mob with torches after me for my actions regarding number 2.
Basically, after everything mentioned above I panicked because my first chance at doing a long mountain bike ride on semi-fresh legs was about to be foiled by a thunderstorm at 2 am on Saturday. So as I lay there with my heart pounding, I decided that if the rain was gone when I woke up, I was going to ride anyway. So I did, but I felt terrible because even though the trail was 80% slick but firm, 20% was a little too soft. That, combined with everything else on my mind this week, I rode like total crap. I got in 5 hours, but it was the slowest 5 hours I've ever done that didn't include hike-a-bikes. I'm sure I still got some fitness out of it, but not the boost of confidence I was hoping for.
I'm really not sure why I'm such a nervous mess lately; I thought I gave up crazy back in February. However, the thing that got me feeling better a few months ago (besides my new job) was the realization that I had to keep going and do what was good for me (eat well, sleep well, train well) even when I my mind and body were telling me that I "needed" to sit on the couch and eat junk food. I think that will all of the extra rest days that I've been getting lately, I've been letting myself slip into some bad habits of thinking I deserve a little junk food, a little couch time, a little less structure. And maybe I do deserve a little bit, but I'm afraid I've been taking too much. The extra days off the bike are physically necessary if I want to make it through the few monster weekends I have left before the Lumberjack (12 hours over three days this coming weekend), but I need to make sure that I'm still doing something productive with my time. While I'll never be one those "Oh I just love to ride my bike" people, and I've never had a runner's high, I have to admit that weeknight intervals make me a nicer person.
So even though I've now made it to day 70 without a missed workout, I can see where I've been wavering in other areas and it's time to pull myself back from the edge. I need to back off the junk food and go to bed on time. I also need to take more action to be a good employee with a good attitude rather worrying about who might think I'm a bad one. I need to do the workouts on my training calendar as well as the weather will allow, and trust that doing so will bring me success. Finally, I need not ride on muddy trails. It's just not worth it for my peace of mind.