Monday, April 28, 2014

Week #69: Clipping In

Just a week ago I explained my carefully-laid plan to (hopefully) be prepared for a sub-7 hour finish at the Stoopid 50 in June, which mostly revolved around hitting increasingly longer long rides in Rothrock every weekend. Then, of course, I failed to meet my checkpoint at the next opportunity. I was supposed to hit 24 miles on Saturday, but after an exhausting second week at my job, I came home completely uninspired to make dinner, and we ended up going out for a big BBQ feast on Friday night instead. I knew better than to finish my whole meal, but I did, and woke up Saturday morning feeling disgustingly stuffed and completely uninspired to ride. The ride turned into 5 or 6 miles instead.

I was frustrated because it was my last chance to do long ride for at least two weeks, but I also couldn't force myself through it not feeling well. I was also frustrated at the unexpected challenges that popped up, weakened my good decision-making skills, and left me ill-prepared to do what I needed to do.

Luckily we did get a pretty good ride in on Tussey Thursday night.
We have our work cut our for us there.

Before I left for State College, I was overwhelmed by the challenges that I would be facing in the coming weeks, and was focused on "the finish line" of my race to a happy, sustainable life with the man that I love. Incidentally, I was afraid that the finish line would move again, as it has so many times already, and now it seems like it might, although by just one more day. I may end up having to work on May 10 due to the big software upgrade at my new job, but on May 11, I should definitely get to wake up at approximately 9 a.m. in my own bed in an apartment occupied by only myself, Frank, and the kitties that we don't have to move out of for at least 15 months, then hopefully make up the 24 mile ride that I missed on Saturday.

Until then, a lot of gnar stands between myself and the finish line, as I type this from a hotel room in Orlando where I have been and will continue to be at the mercy of the conference caterers  and overly expensive restaurants until Thursday evening. (I scraped the insides out of a breakfast burrito for breakfast this morning because there was no plain meat or eggs to be had amongst the bajillion muffins, bagels, pastries, and cereals.) I'm feeling fat, swollen, and generally pretty terrible physically. It doesn't help that I didn't take as good of care of myself as I should have in the days prior to leaving. I also know how hard it will be get myself back on track since I'll only get one day to reset in State College before our whirlwind moving trip to Indiana. All I can think about is getting back into circumstances where the barriers to my getting lean, fit, and emotionally resilient again are more manageable

Obstacles between myself and my goals are a lot like rocks. There are big ones and little ones, but often the challenge lies in the number, how close they are together, or the angle at which they are set. The most frustrating thing is to come up to a long chute, get my foot knocked out of the pedal on the first obstacle, and then not have enough space to remount and clip in again, so I end up walking or scooting for a long time over stuff I could have ridden if I'd been clipped in on the approach. I definitely feel like my foot was knocked out of the pedal last week, and now I'm walking over a lot more rocks that I needed to.

At same time, each set of rocks I ride successfully makes the next seem easier, so there is value in overcoming obstacles. I can definitely look back and see how to doing things that were hard and scary last year made me better at handling stuff in general. One of my favorite song lyrics that has stuck with me the last few months is, "Now anything so easy, it might not make you weak, but it sure won't make me believe." I don't expect the rest of my life to be Green Valley, and I wouldn't even want it to be, but right now I really need space to straighten my jersey, drink some water, and get clipped in again before I have to handle any more rock gardens.

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