Saturday, August 22, 2009

Post-ride Nutrition

No hay nada como una cerveza bien fría con un buen amigo después de un viaje de 75 millas!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Lemon Flavored Reflections

When the morning air becomes cooler and morning metro traffic becomes crowded with the sputtering, flashing start and stop of the big yellow school bus, rest assured that not only has school started, but that my life has become a chaotic series of events over which I feel like I have very little control. I do the job that I do because I'm passionate about improving education for children with disabilities, but there are days that the goals I'm trying to achieve become daunting and seemingly unreachable. Today was one of those days. My spirit is broken and instead of relishing the challenge I was given, I requested a meeting with the executive director, unloaded my concerns and ended up using half the box of tissues in his office and likely, all of his confidence in my ability to do my job.

As I drove home from the office 3 hours later than I had planned, I reflected upon the reasons why I became so upset. With each possibility that crossed my mind, I became keenly aware of the similarities between my passion for my job and my passion for cycling. Both activities bring me extensive joy and fatigue and engaging in both activities within the same day requires planning and strong organization. I am motivated by the growth potential I see in myself with regards to both activities, and despite the fact that I'm still working towards becoming "as good" as I want to be, I'm still successful enough at both that my self-confidence improves each time I engage in either activity.

But the problem lies in outpouring of emotion that I feel when I become stagnant and cannot produce the level of change that I equate with success. Today, I was upset that I had experienced only a 1% growth in Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) data at a school where I've worked hard to sustain a steady pace of improvement (despite the 13% growth I've experienced in two weeks at the school to which I'm newly assigned). Yesterday, I became upset that I was unable to sustain the pace needed to participate in one of my favorite training rides. In both activities, I've become stagnant and I feel ill prepared to produce the performance results I desire.

So when life hands you lemons, you make lemonade, right? Wrong. When life hands you lemons, you contemplate what you want to do with the lemons (make lemonade) and then you follow a methodical set of steps (a recipe) that ends with accomplishing your overall goal. As I thought about this saying, I realized that the importance is not the end result, but what you do to get there. Moving LRE is a lofty goal, just like winning bicycle races. If I am to accomplish either, I need to develop short-term goals and realize that performance is not only a measure of accomplishment but of the efficiency and reaction needed to fulfill a specified purpose. I need to go back to basics and make sure I'm using the right ingredients if my goal is to quench my thirst.