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.