Tuesday, September 16, 2008

sometimes, I think too much

Every now and again I have a rough day. Sometimes, my rough day is because I am up to my ears in paperwork while other times it's because the dog tipped over the trash can, the dished didn't get finished, the kids are running in circles on the rug that no longer matches the decor of my living room and I have soccer practice in 10 minutes followed by a ride over at AMS. If you've experienced similar senarios (or if you've known me for a reasonable amount of time)...you might have a shot at understanding my rant...

Today I had a rough day. Work wasn't particularly bad, dinner wasn't particularly bad, the kids were good, grandma is back at the nursing home and making a little sense for a change, the size limitations in my email box aren't keeping me from receiving email and BikesnobNYC's latest blog entry actually made sense. All in all, this would typically be a good day. But for some reason, I spent the day meditating on my strengths and weaknesses as a cyclist. Some days, I celebrate my accomplishments while others I snort at the use of the words "cyclist" and "me/I/my" in the same sentence.

Last night I vowed to ride come hell or high water - the weather caused us to turn back early and not finish our full course. So much for high water. I was angry with myself for agreeing to turn back but even more than that, I've been beating myself up over poor performance. See, there's a hill early on in the ride - it isn't a big deal but it kicks my a$$ every week. The Wilson 100's big hill at the end - no big deal. Share the road ride w/ a buzillion miles of vertical ascent...not a problem. Chambers Rd - it makes me want to vomit just thinking about it. I thought to attempt to pull the group up the hill - thinking that no one with less momentum would be standing in my way of conquering the hill. Things started off smoothly and as I grew closer to the top, I almost had a moment of elation. Upon my momentary delusion of grandeur as I neared the top of the hill, my speed began to bottom out, my breathing became heavy and I looked to my left to find that my riding partners began to pass me. I became embarrassed, nervous, frustrated and overly pissy. I don't like to be last on any list - especially not the list of noteworthy climbers.

All of this, and an email I sent to a friend that I probably shouldn't have sent, leads me to the realizing that I've probably earned the typical type "A" personality award. Here's a summary for those of you who failed psych. 101/personality theory...:

"individuals can be described as impatient, excessively time-conscious, insecure about their status, highly competitive, hostile and aggressive, and incapable of relaxation. They are often high achieving workaholics who multi-task, drive themselves with deadlines, and are unhappy about the smallest of delays. Because of these characteristics, Type A individuals are often described as stress junkies."

Type A symptoms include:
  1. An intrinsic insecurity or insufficient level of self-esteem, which is considered to be the root cause of the syndrome. This is believed to be covert and therefore less observable.
  2. Time urgency and impatience, which causes irritation and exasperation.
  3. Free floating hostility, which can be triggered by even minor incidents

I think they left out obsessive... or is that an implied characteristic? Either way, I fit the bill. I obsess, I worry, I'm HIGHLY competitive, I'm often insecure and worry about things that 95 out of a hundred people would never even think of, I'm excessively time conscious and I've been accused a time or two of putting my job before many of my other responsibilities and commitments. Of all of the things I could be worrying about (world peace, anyone?), I'm stuck on the memory of a poorly attacked hill and a lunch conversation turned bad decision.

I think of the folks I ride with, I have a quarter of the miles of 99% of them yet I'm a stronger rider than many (well, perhaps only several...). I'm passionate about riding - I feel free and less stressed when I ride. I come home happy and I wake up refreshed. But still, I'm obsessed with making measurable progress.

What can I do to move myself from medocrity to "cyclist"?
Where do I find others who understand my stress?
How do I find someone strong enough to push me and not feel resentful that I'm holding them back from their personal goals?

How do I let go of my fear?


  1. Ok, first of all, I applaud you for recognizing your weaknesses. Most people can only be up front and honest about their strengths, but it takes a special person to understand what makes her tock (instead of tick...or what ticks her off...or, well, you know what I mean).

    Maybe the remainder of my comments are better suited in an email...? I'll email them and if you want to include them in your response here, no worries. I just don't want to write a long long letter in a blog comment box.