I’ve got a lot of baggage, who doesn’t? I’ve amassed emotional damage from my childhood through my thirties. What I didn’t realize is that I was still, at the onset of my forties, collecting emotions that were detrimental to my psychological well being.
Since I started reading “Finding Ultra” I began seeing into my soul. I started evaluating my emotions. I didn’t realize it when I started reading but it’s a great self help book.
In 2017 I was riding strong with some really strong cyclists. I was on top of the world. A couple of people suggested that I race. I really wanted to but I was nervous, and uninsured. In 2018 I got onto an insurance plan and so there was nothing holding me back. Despite my weight gain and lack of fitness, I decided to try racing anyway. You all read how that went but I’ll summarize it briefly by saying that I embarrassed myself. Yes, I did try, but I came up short repeatedly. I’m a has been that never really was.
In the winter of 2019 I bought a bike more suitable for racing as well as the new team race kit. I spent good money on a matching racing helmet. The helmet even has my name on it. I had every intention of racing in 2019 but something happened over the course of that winter. I fell in love with running and decided to pursue a longtime dream of running a marathon. I had abandoned my cycling goals to focus on my running goals.
Before I started running I had always admired runners. In cycling speed is not only dependent upon fitness but many other factors such as the bike, it’s wheels, aerodynamics, etc. Running is pure in that nothing, except for training, will make a person run any faster. Many sneaker companies will claim that their sneakers will help you run faster but they really won’t. In running you are the bike, the machine that you must will forward faster.
Now that I’ve run two marathons my goal is to bring it all together. The more I read and fuel myself with clean energy, the more interested I become in cleaning out my emotional closet. I didn’t realize it at the time, I didn’t realize it until I sat down with my girl that the cycling races were about chasing a moment. I didn’t experience that moment but I acknowledge it now. Why does anyone want to race? For some it’s a moment, for some it’s a form of validation, for some it’s a rush. For me it was all of those things. I wanted to feel like I was on top of the world again. Although I entered many running races, it was never a moment that I was chasing. The running races were always about finishing and having a blast along the course.
I’m only now regaining some of my bike fitness along with overall fitness. My appearance is becoming more lean and muscular. I’m gaining confidence. This past weekend I was confronted by my racing kit in the closet except this time it wasn’t laughing at me. It’s fabric is lightweight and breathable, the chamois was made to last even the longest road races. I never wore it because of the shame I experienced in cycling races. I simply stopped competing after only one season of racing. I was not good enough to wear the team kit. This past Saturday, Independence Day, I put it on and saw myself in it. I really saw myself and I liked what I saw. I saw a woman not only facing her insecurities, but wearing them proudly for all to see. I did a long, hilly ride in that kit and it felt like heaven.
I’m done with chasing a moment. I want to enjoy the journey. I love training even though the world is currently on pause and racing seems uncertain. The more uncertain it seems, the harder I train. Eventually normal life will resume and I will rise like a phoenix from the ashes armed with fire ready take the world by storm. I now realize that the race is not just the event, but the entire journey leading up to that moment. I’m now ready to fully experience every moment from every run, every ride, and soon every swim.
We all have something going on. Now may be a good time to confront it and stop the demons from haunting you. Release yourself from the hold that they have on you. Fight back and come out victorious. We only get this one life. If it all ended tomorrow would you be happy with the way that it all went? I’ll leave you with that thought…..
I hope you are all healthy and safe. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement. As always, I thank you all very much for reading.