It is going to be okay.

This is for me. A reminder for me. Because this week of training has gone terribly. I’m tired all the time. I’m slow. Slower than everyone I ride with. And all I want to do is bail on this race that will probably be the experience of a lifetime because I’m so down and miserable in my head and my legs are always tired and where in holy hell am I supposed to find 4-5 hours to ride every day for training? And the energy? I have needed a nap after every long ride.

There’s a statistic somewhere, I don’t know if it’s true, that divorce rates are high amongst ultramarathoners and ironman competitors, unless both partners do these races. The training time required is essentially a full time job. I don’t know how people are supposed to have jobs and children and pets and still get their training done. It is actually not possible, not without sacrificing something essential.

I’ve taken the next two months off medicolegal work to train for this race, which means I get an extra 25-30 hours a week to sleep/ride/eat.
My daughter was just away at a sleepaway camp for the past week, and it’s made me realize that all my friends with only one kid have it SO EASY.
My husband remains confused, but unwaveringly supportive in my ridiculous endeavours.

So.

Dear Me:
For all the days you’ve woken up exhausted, all the days you’ve dreaded getting on the trainer, all the days you’ve sloooowly put your gear on and started the pedal up, and that one shameful instance you just got off the trainer and went back to bed.
It’s okay. You are 41. You started biking 5 years ago. You had zero athletic background before that. Always got the “participation” award in elementary school gym class. Last picked for every team.
Everyone you ride with is ridiculously fast. They have racing backgrounds. They have been athletes in their prior lives. They are all younger than you. They have no kids. Or only one kid.
You cannot expect that you will have the same speed and endurance that someone who’s been riding ten years has.
Just focus on the task ahead. Take your time. Go your own pace. There are no cutoff times. There is no one but you to please or disappoint. Stick to it. It is all mental. Comparison is the thief of joy. Stop comparing yourself to all these athletes. Just enjoy the views, and enjoy the fact that you have seven days to ride your bike in new places, with new trails to explore and adventure through and meet new friends. This is going to be fun. It will push you to your limits. Because if you’re not pushing your limits, what’s the point? Oh right, because it’s fun. Just plain old fun. Pushing your limits and getting stronger just means you can have more fun, for longer.
Besides, it’s costing everyone else a lot of money to do this race, and you won your entry. Count it as an omen.
You’ll look back on it and be relieved and proud that you finished. It is okay if you come in dead last.
Maybe you’ll never do another race again. And that’s okay. It is okay if you don’t make the training target. You will be tired during the race, and that’s okay.
Because this is not your whole world. Your life is full of wonderful people and wonderful things. Do not let this consume you. Remember all the other things that fill your world. Remember all the things that are important to you. Remember to be, as all medical schools wanted you to be, “well rounded”. Balanced. It takes conscious effort, careful decision-making and weighing of values to achieve this. Take that time.
You get one shot at doing right by the people you love, and in the end, that’s all you’ve got. You can always buy another bike, enter another race, train again from scratch. But the people who matter to you? Focus. Refocus. Don’t lose the plot. Your race times won’t matter. Don’t matter.
Just enjoy the process. The suffering. The success. The satisfaction that you put yourself out there and did something hard. Six weeks. You’ve got six weeks to go until the race of a lifetime.
Keep going.

Love,
Me.

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6 thoughts on “It is going to be okay.

  1. You may feel like you are struggling but by writing this post and from the perspective of someone who knows nothing about you it looks to me that you’ve got it 👌💪🚴🏼‍♀️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Just enjoy the process. The suffering. The success. — You’ve already touched on this, but the ONLY reason to do this is because it’s fun. (and I get that squishing yourself through a wringer can be fun for certain people, I was one). I’m not advocating quitting, but if you aren’t having fun, analyze and alter. It’s a hobby, not a job. (and I don’t use the term hobby to minimalize what you’re doing, but… perspective).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. yes. I keep losing sight of the hobby part, and the fun part, and every time I lose sight of it, I get low and sad and frustrated. I can’t tell you how much analysis there has been! And alter – yes, next season, some changes are due I think. I haven’t quite decided what they ought to entail though.

      Liked by 1 person

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