Monday, August 17, 2015

Temporarily Single

“You’re good at having talks with yourself.” – Frank

For most of the past week, I have been temporarily single while Frank is visiting his sister in Florida. While it has afforded me some luxuries like watching all of the terrible teen movies that I want and not having to apologize for not cooking dinner, I’m also surprised at my lack of self-regulation when faced with these freedoms. It may sound odd considering I was married before, but the year and a half that I’ve lived with him has been my first experience in truly sharing myself with another person in the way where you give up a little bit freedom in exchange for true intimacy. After a mere year and a half of actually feeling obligated to answer to someone other than myself, it feels weird to not have to, even in the context of small things for a few days.

I think I may just be a little mentally worn down lately, but last week’s events lead to a level of demotivation that I haven’t experienced in a while. After a few crazy busy weeks at work, my part of the project wrapped up, and I’ve been in a bit of a holding pattern until my next big assignment, just helping my coworkers out on stuff when I can and basically being available if needed. It made for a super-long workweek, and Frank’s absence only made it worse. It felt like 2013 all over again, when my weekdays alone were repeated obstacles to be overcome. At least then I was well-practiced in self-regulation, but suddenly being alone to do whatever I wanted was a lot different after months of having someone else to keep me in line.

This lead to Friday night’s dinner consisting of pie and those veggie straw things that like to boast how many servings of vegetables are in them but are basically just chips. I have no illusions of their health benefits; I just think they’re delicious. Too delicious. I am also not one of those cyclists who see food merely in terms of calories to be burned off, and don’t bullshit myself with, “I ride bikes so I can eat crap” excuses. My point is that I knew better, but my emotional fortitude was blown from getting through the week and suddenly being “allowed” to do what I wanted was too much.

This lead to waking up the next morning with a junk food hangover and taking way too long to get out of the door for my ride on a day that was particularly hot. Even though I’d been looking forward to getting back on my gravel climbing regimen all week, it seemed that I had sabotaged my efforts for Saturday. I decided to cut my losses and ride an hour as easy as is possible in Rothrock and do my best to make up for it on Sunday.

And Sunday I was able to turn it around. I got out the door earlier to try and beat the heat, but it was still pretty toasty as I began my ride. The first big climb on the agenda was Greenlee, which was pretty disastrous when I tried it a few weeks ago. I can’t say that yesterday was that much better, but at least I had a more vivid memory of what was ahead and managed to pace myself well enough that I didn’t dissolve into any walk breaks. For most of the climb I was convinced that once it was over I would head downhill to the car and call 20 miles good for the day, but when I got to the top, I stopped, ate a banana, and had a long talk with myself about the benefits of completing the additional 25 miles that I’d planned. It helped that there was an aid station for the PA Rocks! Enduro near my stopping point and topping off my bottles with cold water convinced me to go on. It still sucked a few times along the way, but I’m glad that I persevered.

The view of these cute horses was my reward for finishing the ride.

Thankfully I only have a few more days of having to maintain my newly reengaged self-regulation mechanisms. Frank will be back on Thursday, and by that point I’ll be happy to answer the question, “So what’s for dinner?” again. As they say, “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”

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