It’s officially ‘cross season, you guys. That means I’ll be blogging more, so now might be the best time to take an internet hiatus. You know I get all touchy-feely about stuff, and my true love has come back from vacation, so it’s time to feel all the feels. You know you like feeling feels during ‘cross season, too.
The laid back approach my coach and I have taken to training this year has had some highs and lows. It made me more responsible for my fitness and overall preparedness for ‘cross season, but allowed me to relax when life got in the way. My schedule has been less than ideal for someone who wants to spend every single weekend bleeding from her eyeballs, so it’s been a challenge to fit everything in. Some days I actually give in and give up. You start to sink down in this deep hole, and everyone can feel it, and you find yourself taking those deep breaths like the ones you take when you come up from the bottom of the pool. It’s too much.
I had already prepared myself for limited time off to race, and was feeling very discouraged about the small season ahead. I just started ‘cross specific workouts a couple weeks ago, and didn’t plan on racing until the end of the month, but the guys at the shop gave me an awesome opportunity to dip out and race on my “lunch break”. Of course I took it.
It’s hard to separate competition from training when you throw in other people. Today was a training race, but you guys know damn well that means nothing, and you still tell everyone that so they think you’re all laid back and shit. Well, I did the best I could, and my heart rate didn’t buy it for a second. I’m still waiting for that feeling to go away. 4 seasons down and I want to throw up at the start of every race.
I rode from the shop to the course, and talked to myself the whole time. “Relax, dude. It’s just 40 minutes of riding hard with some people you know”. It’s not a big deal, really, but it is. I pulled up to the course, immediately saw race mom and dad (thanks Jimmy and Autumn), and felt like I was home. I’m almost 35 years-old, and the ‘cross scene is where I feel most at home. Spandex and sweat get at me, ya know? You guys reading this are feelin’ my shit right now. Sorry Rich Dillen, you can’t stop ‘cross from coming.
I get silent on the line. Today I tried talking to people. It was weird. Ha! I was never the girl who said much before a ball game or track meet, and apparently that’s still the stat quo. I think about this a lot, actually. The sports brain is something I might never fully understand.
I never go out with the intention of getting the hole shot, but it happens a lot. Adam Myerson’s words have been burned into my brain, “You can’t go out like a scalded rabbit”, and those words describe my condition brilliantly. I got the hole shot today, and led the first lap. As I came around the first turn I thought, “FUCK. NOW WHAT DO I DO?”. I’ll figure it out one day.
Things settled down after the first lap, and a couple rippers passed me halfway through lap two. It was time for me to ride solo and see what I could do. I rode hard; probably harder than I have since racing mountain bikes in the spring. I haven’t done anything more than a big base and a few 2x10s. I definitely didn’t feel ready for 40 minutes of threshold. My leg didn’t really hurt, though. And I always found a way to keep going when I thought I couldn’t. And I almost threw up in my mouth. And it was pretty rad. And when I saw “3 laps to go” I thought I might die. And, and, and…
I felt good. The summer of big base, weights, and dry needling changed the game for me, and I hope my leg continues to heal! I crossed the line out of the saddle, with a huge smile on my face. I was overjoyed with a 4th place finish. I’m so far from where I was in 2012, and sometimes this simply leaves me speechless.
I could write all day about this race, and compare it to “that time in 2013”, or “that time I got upset and cried over a race”, but the take home is this:
You can do this shit. Whatever it is. Tell yourself yes, and stop letting everything else tell you no.