There are people who never ask you why you do what you do. They just… assume. They see social media posts at early o’clock and assume you’re crazy. They hear of the adventures you embark on and assume you’re crazy. They never ask. They only assume you are crazy.
Let me tell you this….. if this is crazy….. then I never want to NOT be crazy.
They think it’s about an obsessive compulsion you have for purely working out. For some that’s true. But I am a lifelong athlete. Even newer athletes get over that quick.
We each have our own thing. One of my colleagues owns horses. Another has a farm. My mother is passionate about creating everything from quilts to designing homes. My Aunt knits amazing pieces.
We all have something that ignites something deep within us. To our bones. Our soul.
Sunday morning I had one hell of a bike ride on tap. For the past 5 years we’ve literally sat on my bike. I was always told “You are such a strong cyclist, let’s work on your run.” My cycling grew flat. Real flat. That’s all changed with my coach now. I am executing rides like I have never seen before. Intervals above FTP, at FTP…. forcing me to really reach beyond myself.
My bike has been my ace in the hole. My rock. I can handle just about anything on two wheels, or in the winter, on my Wahoo. Give me any interval, any wattage, I will hold it. I feel my improvements, I feel new on the bike again. I am always up for the challenge. And I was up for it on Sunday morning.
Until I stopped pedaling. At the end of hour one, two of four intervals down I stopped. STOPPED. It was too much, I hurt too much. It was beyond me, not my day. I was devastated as I crawled off the bike and up the stairs. I was shattered. I laid on the floor for a half hour just blank.
Then I got into the shower and the wave of disappointment and failure came over me. I can’t believe I just got off the bike. It began to gnaw at me. I don’t quit. I never quit. Why did I quit?
After I stepped out of that shower I grabbed my journal and I wrote out every single negative thought I was having at the moment. No matter how silly. I wrote them out. Every doubt came onto the paper. It took me less than a minute but it was all there.
Then I suited up again, and headed back to the bike. I wasn’t going down like this. If I didn’t hit the wattage for these last two intervals then I would certainly die trying.
It’s not because I am obsessive compulsive about getting to a certain caloric burn. It’s not that I have to hit a number. It’s that every step towards my goal this season is a step towards that goal.
It’s that I was looking for something to be more comfortable than it was. When it wasn’t I got out. And that’s not me. I can stand in the fie and feel the burn and keep going. My reasons for stopping weren’t legit enough. I felt good. I had slept well. I was hydrated. My legs ached but they are SUPPOSED to ache.
I got back on, and I executed those last two intervals. I hit the numbers and I didn’t back down. I thought about why I quit just an hour before and while they were not legit reasons, they now became important reasons.
In the middle of a race it gets hard. Real hard. It’s that wall that goes up in front of you and you have to decide whether you are going to allow it to hold you back or if you are going to knock it the hell down.
Those moments, those -shit-gets-real moments are the ones that count the most. It’s easy to set the goal. It’s easy to find the coach, create the plan. But what do you do when it gets real? What do you do when you feel like you can’t?
You stop. Or you keep going.
Sunday….. I did both. But I came back and kept going.
It’s representative of who I am, I am not a quitter. I have a passion for pushing myself to a new limit not just in sport, but in other areas as well. It makes me happy when I can stand on the other side of the finish line, put my hands on my knees and hang my head down. I ask myself the same question my father asked me as I grew up a swimmer.
“Did you give 100%?”. I love to say yes to that. 100% doesn’t always mean a win. 100% is giving everything you could give to the effort. As long as I give 100%, regardless of placing and time…. then I am happy.
I am not happy when I do things half assed or half hearted. I don’t live that was. I am not wired that way. I began to approach Ironman that way and I got OUT before it consumed me.
Sunday’s ride was important, in fact critical. I needed to work out of it without any help. Knowing I have the support of my coach and team was honestly all I needed. On any other day I would have texted coach, but today knowing that he believes…. was enough to light the fire under me.
I do this because I love to give 100% of myself to something. I do this because it makes me feel alive. I do this because I crave the feeling of a Sunday morning shit-got-real bike ride in the freezing cold of the pain cave. It’s this secret place I get to pull myself apart and get exposed. I get to stand toe to toe with myself and see what I’ve got.
As I rolled my legs out after the ride I felt like I had given it 100%. In two parts, yes. But I gave it. To me…. that is what counts. That is why I do this.
To bring my best out of myself.