Many people are under the mistaken impression that we fitness enthusiasts are off, bonkers, nuts, crazy or plain old insane…that we have some quality that eludes others, that we, by some fluke, don’t have off days or that we lack the desire to skip workouts – that we have some mystical chant that keeps us rolling hard…or something.
Unfortunately, for me, there’s no mantra that staves off the occasion that has me longing for shuteye rather than a nice jaunt down the road to wake me up. Some days I just don’t have it. This doesn’t however, keep me off of the road though.
First, on some occasions I just know I need to take a nap, so I do… Then I go for a ride after. Just fifteen minutes of actual shuteye is all I need. That is for extreme cases, say I didn’t get as much sleep as I’d like the night before. More often, I just suck it up and go, sans nap. In every instance I was glad I went out by the time I got back. In fact, and this is almost funny because a friend of mine from Down Under just wrote about this two days ago, I did everything right before my ride on Thursday… I hadn’t gotten enough sleep the night before and I was wiped out by the time I got home so I took a quick nap, got dressed and headed out the door for my normal evening ride. It was windy and I thought about taking it easy, simply because I wasn’t feeling “it”. As is quite normal, I couldn’t help myself and ended up at 22 mph before I hit the end of the first mile. Then I turned into the wind… 20 mph, dead in the mug. I managed to keep it between 18 and 19, but it sucked. I was at the end of mile nine before I finally turned east to catch a helping hand from the wind and instead of pedaling easy, I tried to keep up with traffic through town. That stretch of road has a 30 mile an hour speed limit. I made it for a couple of minutes but the best I could do after was hold 27-28 mph. The last five miles was an utter battle in my head to keep my tempo. I must have gone back and forth a half-dozen times between just sitting up for the last little bit or to keep pressing. The reason for the fluctuation had to do with my ride yesterday. I knew I’d be heading out with Mrs. Bgddy and that’s an easy ride so the thinking went, I can’t take it easy two days in a row. I ended up winning the battle and kept on the gas until I hit my property line but it was a lot more work than I wanted to put into that ride and for the first time, I finished the ride down.
I peeled off my clothes, showered up, all the while thinking, “God, that really sucked“. It was while I was getting dressed that it finally hit me: “I really kicked my butt today” – and my mood promptly went from dejection to exuberance.
Point is, I don’t always have “it”. I have to battle my desire to take it easy just like everyone else. I have to fight myself to stay fast and fit, sometimes just to get out the door. The only difference between me and someone who opts for the couch is that I win. I don’t give up. I won’t give up while there’s anything left in the tank. I won’t lose.
So what’s the magic trick? Practice. I don’t aim for perfection when progress will do and the only thing I’ve got in the quiver is that the more I win that battle in my melon, the easier it is to keep winning. If I am truthful with myself, I know all it takes is to choose to lose one time and that can be the start of a losing streak. I also know that staying on the top of a hill, when I’m the only one up there, is a lot easier than getting up there in the first place. In other words, I had to bust my butt to get to where I am right now. If I choose to slide, even a little bit, getting back what I’ve lost for that choice is a lot harder than choosing not to slide in the first place. So that’s it. That’s my secret.