Friday, April 18, 2008

Happy Cows and Tiger Eyes

Risin' up, back on the street,
Did my time, took my chances,
Went the distance now I'm back on my feet,
Just a girl and her will to survive...

I made it through my stomach pain, yet never got a diagnosis. Apparently my blood work indicated nothing more than minor inflammation (which could be anything) and any malady that would normally cause pain like that should have come with nausea and vomiting. Luckily, it went away on it's own, but really wish they would've found an explanation.

I did an easy hour ride today and should resume fully normal training by next week, but I will be missing the first cross country race of the season tomorrow. It's technically a "practice race" and doesn't count for points or prizes, but it's a fun course and it makes me sad to miss it. However, racing tomorrow sounds like a good way to relapse, which I absolutely don't want to do. So, just a couple of easy hours on the road for me.

During my couch confinement for the last week, I got pretty well caught up on my DVD watching, but more importantly I read an eye-opening article in Velonews. I generally don't pay much attention to the training articles, as I have a coach to tell me what to do, but the latest issue intrigued me. It had to do with Rick Crawford's CNS scoring, which I have been logging in for my coach for months, but didn't fully understand what I was doing.

CNS stands for Central Nervous System and the article was about measuring and balancing different types of stress and recovery in a more holistic way than just hard and easy days on the bike. More importantly, he used the analogy (and we're going to assume this is true and not just an annoying cheese ad campaign) that cows produce more/better milk when they are happy and cyclists produce more/better results when they are "happy".

So after two weeks of travel, work stress, and illness, the pursuit of happiness was heavily on my mind already. It turns out that Happy Zen Lindsay has the potential to be even faster than Angry Lindsay, and much more consistently, at that. Of course, I already knew that on an intuitive level or I wouldn't have been trying to focus on the mind/spirit aspect of my training for several weeks already. Unfortunately, it's a long confusing process and it's a little hard to come to a conclusion about what would make me truly "happy" now.

I actually visited our local "Zen community" last Sunday, which is convenient, since it's 1 1/2 blocks from my house. I'm still a little confused though. Basically, I think it comes down to that after some practice I should learn to neutralize my emotional state and learn to live in the moment. The practice should help me learn not to let my level of happiness hang on ever-changing circumstances that are beyond my control. We'll see.

More in tune with the article though, I started brainstorming on ways to make an immediate reduction in my stress scores, other than just lying to the computer program and myself as I apparently have been doing since I keep burning out before the numbers say I should. It also made me question if I'm really cut out for this if cycling doesn't intrinsically make me happy.

It's a weird question since I'll admit I'm not one of those girls who says, "I've just always liked riding my bike", because a lot of the time, I don't. However, I do LOVE racing bikes and training is just something you have to do in between. I hope that doesn't make me seem bitchy and overly competitive, because I really don't want to come off that way. I also don't want to come off like all my self-esteem is hanging on "who's ass I can kick" (although it never hurts the ego). Honestly, as cheesey as it is, my feelings can best be described as such:

It's the eye of the tiger,
It's the thrill of the fight,
Rising up to the challenge of a rival...

I really just like engaging with a competitor and really pushing myself. It's probably why I don't like just riding for training so much and why I like cycling so much better than I did triathlon. I probably would have felt the same way about running, but trying to go from a non-runner to Division I runner, I really never got good enough to race head-to-head with anyone much. I really wish I would have got to run at the high school or Division III level instead.

Anyway, I come to the conclusion that cycling does make me happy, more or less. I just need to find a way to keep the rest of my life from draining on me so much. Maybe that's where the meditation will come in. Until then I will leave you with another great quote not from the Rocky III soundtrack:

"....I realized that sometimes riding a bike is just plain not fun and too many people in the world are assholes (I've decided to stop being an asshole in order to decrease the numbers)."

-Tracy Nelson

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I'm glad you're healthy and feeling better. I know what you mean about stressing about riding and training. I'm the opposite. I LOVE riding and training, but I freak out on the start line.