Bike, Life

I’m not worthy!!!

Ah, Wayne’s World.  Another old school nerd movie that I love.  There’s a scene where Wayne and Garth meet their idol, Alice Cooper.  They immediately break  into this bowing motion chanting “we’re not worthy, we’re not worthy!”  That’s totally how I felt on my birthday.

My amazing husband decided to break our birthday budget this year and get me a power meter for my bike.  I had been researching power meters and talking about them for training, but I never truly considered getting one.  I just wanted to understand them and I love reading about all things related to triathlon.  To me, a power meter was just something “real” triathletes and cyclists would use.  Let’s face it, I am just a mom doing something I love.  I already feel like I have spent a lot of money over the last year on the bike, tri suit and various running shoes.  I also just thought it was a little out of my league.

The night of my birthday he presented me with this box while my son giggled with excitement.  I opened it and was speechless.  Of course the budget thing was one issue but I really had no idea what to say in that moment.  I told him it was too much and thanked him.  My son said “you know it’s like McDonalds!”…. What?, I replied.  “Ha ha, you’re loving it!”  We all had a good laugh and got some dinner.  I had an early ride scheduled for the next morning but knew we didn’t have time to install it, and I was ok with that.  That night I was restless.  I tossed and turned and had all kinds of crazy thoughts and dreams all centered around the power meter.  I was exhausted and a little distracted and left too late to ride the full planned time.  We were meeting friends and family at the park later that morning.  I decided I would shorten the ride and headed out.

I was plugging along thinking about the power meter.  What would the power meter read if it were on the bike right now?  Ugh, it would read “you suck”, was my first thought.  Then all the negativity started to flow in.  It’s one thing to feel like I don’t deserve it because he spent a lot of money, it’s an entirely different thing to feel like I don’t deserve it in general.  I started to think about how I’ve only been doing this sport for a short time.  I’ve have the bike only about 6 months.   I still can’t keep ideal cadence without coasting every so often.  I still haven’t ridden more than 30 miles.  I could keep going on and on with all the negative thoughts I had.  I decided, I’m not worthy.

I turned around to head back home and pictured how the conversation would go.  Honey, I really appreciate this, but I’m just not ready yet.  No, he’d question that.  Honey, I really appreciate it, but I didn’t really want it.  No, I don’t lie to him.  Honey, I really appreciate it but I just don’t know that I should have this.  I’ll simply explain that it’s something pros use and not really for a noob like me.  I’ll explain that while I really have fallen in love with triathlon, I have to be realistic.  I stared this sport way too late in the game and that kind of equipment is for serious athletes.  I’m a hobbyist at best and just can’t see spending that on a hobby.  Yeah, that’s it.  I will ask for a gym membership instead.  Before I realized it, while thinking of all the reasons I’m not worthy I was already in tears.  Let me tell you that sobbing on a bike is not a pretty picture and even worse, I am not very good at the gym teacher hanky technique.  For those that don’t know, it’s when you plug one nostril and shoot a snot rocket out the other one because you have nothing to blow your nose into.  As soon as I realized what I was doing, I gathered myself and turned down our block.

Much to my surprise, he was out front and could immediately tell something was wrong.  I had hoped he was still in bed.  I let it spill immediately, better to get it over with.  I told him how I felt.  I told him that I felt like the power meter was something for “real” triathletes, something that was not for me.  I told him that I have to be realistic in my expectations of what I am capable of.  I started too late to take myself seriously.  I don’t push myself enough to ever get to my half ironman goal, let alone ever entertain the thought that I could do a full ironman.  I told him that I was scared.  I was scared that the power meter would show me in numbers how much I suck.  It would remind me that I never go more than 20 mph on the bike and if I do, it isn’t for very long because I get scared.  It would force me to see how I don’t really push myself as hard as I could.  It would show me that I am failing at something I really want to succeed at.

He told me that he never wanted to get me something that would cause me to be upset, but also didn’t understand why I was being so hard on myself.  He asked me to go get my running journal.   He asked that I tell him how far I was able to run when I started, and then how far I have been able to run.  He asked me when I started riding the bike and training for triathlon.  He reminded me that it really hasn’t been that long.  He told me that yes, the power meter might show me numbers I don’t like, but it will also help me get better and see, just like with running, how much I can improve.  I was reluctant to feel that way, but he was right.

When I started, I couldn’t run a full minute without stopping to walk.  I was so excited when I was able to do a 5k in under an hour.  Now, I am trying to break my 30 minute 5k curse.  I really have improved.   I may not always push myself as hard as I think I should, but I have stuck with running for over a year.  I have ridden the bike and gone swimming when it was the last thing I wanted to do.  I pushed through a 400 meter swim while inside all I wanted to do was quit.  It’s hard to write this blog and expose weakness, but I told myself that if I was going to do it, I was going to be brutally honest.  I was going to show my good, bad and ugly because I want it to be real.  I have a hard time telling myself that I am capable and I am worthy, but I get up every morning when the alarm goes off and I do something.  That is more than most and I need to acknowledge that.  I also need to show my son that it’s ok to believe in yourself.  It’s ok to set goals, even if it will take hard work to get there and even if you might fail.

My newest hero, Sister Madonna Buder started running in her 50’s, and at 86 has done around 45 full length ironman triathlons.  So, what can’t I?  Why shouldn’t I feel like I am worthy of going for a big goal?  It’s fear, and I don’t like letting it get the best of me.  If I set too big a goal, and fail what will I do?  Well, I guess I will dust myself off and try again.  So, today I installed my power meter and tomorrow, I ride!  I no longer feel unworthy of the equipment that just might show me that I suck.  Instead, I will use it to make myself better and I will do the best I can to remember that while I may have started a little late in the game, I play every day.

Bike, Life, Run, Swim

Stepping back to see the big picture

I want so badly to be able to crush the swim in my next triathlon.  I want so badly for that next triathlon to be the Turkey Tri in November.  I want so badly to wake up every morning with energy to spare, have amazing days and fall into a deep sleep the moment my head hits the pillow every night…… but we don’t always get what we want.  While that might suck sometimes, we also need to figure out why we aren’t getting what we want.  Is it that we didn’t try enough?  Is it that we want it on the outside, but don’t truly want it on the inside?  Is it that the odds are stacked against us and its that much harder to achieve?  Is it a self proclaimed prophecy of failure?

I started a much more intense training plan (for me) a couple weeks ago.  I figure if I can train for an Olympic distance, I can do really well on the sprint.  That is not always the case, by the way.  Training for a marathon does not make you a better sprint distance runner.  Anyway, I thought it was a good idea for me, and the Olympic distance is not so far off that it makes it impossible.  Saturday was my biggest brick ever!  I did 2:30 on the bike, which resulted in a little over a 27 mile ride, followed by a 20 minute, 2 mile run.  Unfortunately, I did not fuel right, so I had a hard last 30 minutes on the bike, but I was good to go when the run came and felt pretty good.  I was tired, of course but it went well overall and I was really proud that I had finished it and didn’t bail out (I thought about it!).  Later that day, I was completely exhausted.  I tried to take a nap, but that didn’t work out.  I had a dinner planned with some friends so I ended up having a frappucino to get a caffeine and sugar jolt.  Horrible, yes but yummy and served a purpose (right?).  By the end of the evening, I felt like a drunk zombie.  I didn’t drink mind you, I just felt like I had and my body ached.  I knew I pushed, but not hard enough to feel completely sore all over.

Sunday morning, I had planned to not do my scheduled 50 minute bike ride because I knew I was going to be out late, and I had a swim class with the ladies at 9:30.  I tried to sleep in, but that was a bit of a disaster.  I woke up feeling completely spent.  I was tired, weak and felt like anything and everything made me want to scream.  I put all my effort that day into making sure I didn’t fly off the handle at anyone.  I bailed on the swim class.  I knew I wasn’t feeling right but I always have that little voice that tells me I am making excuses and being lazy when I take a day off.  I decided to at least continue my research on the swimming technique I have been studying and to also read some more of the Triathlete’s Training Bible, which I started reading way to late in my training for my first tri.  I figured, at least I would be doing something triathlon related.

Monday came and I went for a run, still not feeling great but it was an easy one, so I was ok.  The workday dragged on.  I generally like what I do and the days go by pretty quickly, but I was miserable.  I could not wait to get home!  I had planned to hit the pool but the drunk zombie syndrome came back.  I got home and D2 had tons of homework to do.  I sat at the table and started to try to help him stay focused.  He was exhausted too.  He was having the hardest time getting through the homework.  At one point, I just put my head down.  I had no idea how to help him at that point.  I was so tired and so sad for him because he was really trying.  We eventually got it all buttoned up with no time to spare before he had to hit the sack.  We agreed that Tuesday would be a better day for both of us and we would have a nice night’s sleep and be fresh again in the morning.

Unfortunately, Tuesday was even worse than Monday!  I slept horrible.  I didn’t even feel my alarm of off on my Garmin and ended up sleeping in.  It’s ok, I told myself.  I would go for a swim on my lunch break since I was working from home.  Sure enough the rain set in and I was not able to.  I got stuck on a call that lasted until 7pm and when I was done, D2 and I had to focus on homework again.  Unfortunately, Darin was committed to a Boy Scouts leadership meeting so he could not be there to help.  D2 and I were both miserable.  At one point, I caught myself resenting his homework because “I could be training right now”.  I was frustrated and so was he.  I told him I needed a minute and thought he did too.  He went to his room to just relax and I did the same.  In that moment, I was mad at myself for being so selfish.  All things considered, I am so very blessed that I can make time to train.  I have a supportive husband and son that don’t mind having breakfast a little late because mom’s on a ride.  They shlep out at 5am to help me get to transition set up, or spend a couple hours of their weekends picking up packets and fuel.  They never complain, they never suggest we do anything but support each other’s endeavors.

D2 had a major headache, and I knew he could not continue anymore.  He had stomach issues and just was not right.  I told him to not worry about the homework and get some sleep.  He had a rough night and I decided to keep him home the following day.  His brain and body needed a recovery day, and so did mine.  I felt ok enough in the morning to go for my build run, so I did.  It felt good and I knew having rested was the right thing to do.  I could have worked remote, but I decided to take the day off and just work on getting him feeling right.  I took him to the doctor to make sure the stomach issues were not anything more (as he had them for a few days) and we spent the day slowly working on all his homework.  While he was working at some points, I went back to reading my training bible.  Sure enough, a few paragraphs in, the writer talks about over training and how too many people beat themselves up when they miss a workout and don’t give themselves enough time to recover.  He went over the signs of overtraining and everyone was applicable to me.  I took a look at my training log and realized that I almost doubled my weekly training hours over the last two weeks since I started the new plan.  I know better than that!  Unfortunately, I hadn’t really added it up to check before I went and did it.  Lesson learned.

Another thing I read, was that you really should determine why your goal is your goal.  Do you want to achieve a PR?  Do you want to be fit?  Do you want to lose weight? etc.  I took a step back to look at everything.  I am a mom, first and forever.  My training is awesome for me, and my family because it keeps me centered, but never does it come before anything they need me for.  Yes, I am the party pooper with my friends because I want to be in bed by 9, but they do fine with that.  I will gladly miss a workout if I can help my little one achieve his goals.  I will gladly miss a workout if he just plain needs time with me.  When all is said and done, he is my reason for everything.

I also took a step back to look at my goals and why I want what I want.  A lot of it is because I am stubborn.  I finished that triathlon and I am happy for that, but I wanted to crush it…..and I didn’t.  I want to make up for what I consider a partial failure.  I want to feel as capable on the swim as I do in the other two (even though I still need a lot of work).  I want to finish it feeling whole!  It’s just a checkbox inside my head that I have this desperate need to check off.  The unfortunate thing is that I keep getting in my own way.  Swimming is what I least want to do because it is what I am worst at.  I actually like it in recreation, but avoid it at all costs sometimes simply because I am not sure I will do well that day.  I have good and bad run days, but for the most part they consist of the same thing.  One foot in front of the other.  I may not be fast, I may have aches but I still run and finish.  Swimming on the other hand is not the same every time.  Some days I feel like I am really getting it, only to feel like it is my first time in the pool and I could drown any minute, the next.

The little checkbox inside my head will probably have to wait.  I don’t think it’s realistic that I will have built those swimming skills enough by November.  It’s not far away and I haven’t really shown I want it bad enough by putting the effort in.  I’m not sure if that is good or bad.  Am I supposed to look on the bright side and say confidently that I will achieve that goal?  Am I supposed to be realistic and say that it would be too difficult?  Is that the self destructive prophecy?  They say if you think you can or if you think you can’t, you are right.   Right now, I think I am not sure.