Tuesday, February 7, 2012

What are you willing to sacrifice to reach your goal?

I've been asking myself that a lot lately, but especially after reading this article.  Mainly because I think I haven't been sacrificing very much.  I've been doing fairly well on workouts--getting them done and maintaining effort throughout the whole thing...but "fairly well" will only get me "fairly close" to my goals.

So...what am I not sacrificing??

I'm not sacrificing my my willingness to quit on myself.  This one is huge, and if you've been reading my blog long, you know it's one I've been dealing with for a long time.  Giving up has many "flavors", but when you boil them all down, they all taste like self-imposed failure.  I've been working very hard to get beyond this tendency, and I have come a LONG way...but days like this past Sunday remind me just how far I still have to go.

Sunday I woke up tired.  I almost fell asleep in my husband's Sunday school class (something that NEVER happens because I think he is the best SS teacher EVER).  Several e3 Multisport tribe mates were going for a group ride (led by our great coaches) at 1.  I'll spare you the entire inner dialogue I had with myself just to get me to the meeting spot, but here are some highlights of the conversation...
  • I have no idea what to wear, it's slightly cold, but I tend to get hot...I don't have good biking clothes....(I looked at the weather and had a couple of options available of acceptable clothes.)
  • I don't know if I'll have enough time to get there after church...(I got all my stuff ready the night before; we planned on driving to church separately so I could leave immediately at 12:15, giving me "plenty" of time to get home/changed/out there.)
  • I'm out of EFS, what on Earth will I take to eat on this 3 hour ride??  (I packed a couple of Lara bars and 2 bottles of water and knew that would be fine enough.)
  • I'm not going to be able to keep up--these are serious bike riders...(Eric said there would be "all paces" although I was pretty sure I would be bringing up the rear, but someone has to be last; I told myself I will never get faster if I don't ride with faster people.)
  • What if I get lost??  (I would have my phone which has Google maps...not like I've not ever ridden alone before.)
  • I'd bet money there will be a lot of hills...Eric LOVES hills.  I picked NOLA because it's flat......
Well...when I was on the way home from church I saw Eric had posted the route on "mapmyride"....I thought I'd be doing myself a favor by making sure I knew where we were going...wrong.    What it did was FREAK ME OUT because of the massive HILL we were going to climb.

I didn't even take a good long look...I didn't have to...that point in the middle was all I needed to see.  I took a deep breath and told myself, "DON'T BE AFRAID...JUST DO IT!!"  I also gave myself permission to not go up that thing, reasoning I don't have to climb Everest to be able ride NOLA.

Before we even left the parking lot I fell over!!  You can't clip out on the left and lean to the right-it just doesn't work that way!  When we started riding I was feeling pretty decent and keeping up...for a few miles anyway.  Then I started falling behind.  It's interesting...when I glanced at the elevation profile I only saw the one obvious hill...I didn't see all the others.  It might not look like it but that's what I would call a hilly ride.  (Again...that's why I picked NOLA, hills wear me out.)  I was already WAY behind when we got to the monster.  I wanted to just wait at the bottom, but Eric was having none of that.  He said I could do it so I decided I wouldn't revert to a temper-tantrum-throwing-three-year-old and listen to his voice ("You CAN do this...just relax and pedal.") more than the one SCREAMING in my head ("ARE YOU KIDDING ME???  THERE'S NO WAY YOU CAN CLIMB THAT HILL ON THE BIKE!!")

As I started up I got scared and threw on the brakes...and fell over.  I got back up and started again.  I heard a vehicle behind me, got scared, threw on the brakes...and fell over.  I got back up and started again.  I made it up to a false flat and had the flash in my mind I was probably only about a fourth of the way up--IF THAT--and realized "THIS IS FREAKING HARD!!!"  Rather than just taking a deep breath and pushing up that hill...I tapped the brakes...and...FELL OVER.  Eric came up beside me and told me to get back on and get up the hill...I had to remind myself that I'm a grown woman and there was no sense in crying like a 4 year old even though that's exactly what I felt like doing.  He must have realized just how close to breaking down I was and told me it to look at how far I had come already.  He said to go back down; they'd meet me at the bottom. 

I think the thing I don't like about such steep climbs (other than just how HARD they are) is that I can't slow down or stop if I want to....because doing so will cause me to...fall over, of course.  I feel slightly TRAPPED in the effort of it all with no escape.  

not my tire
I composed myself, got back on my bike and started down this hill blazing fast (something I LOVE LOVE LOVE), when I heard a POP.  It sounded like a gun or ...a tire.  Maybe I'm wrong, but I think it's a miracle I didn't crash and was able to get the bike safely stopped--WITHOUT falling over!!  I was so proud of myself because I knew how to change a flat and had all my tools with me like I'm supposed to.  However, when I got the new tube aired up I saw a bulge in the side of the tire.  I realized it shouldn't look like that but I had no idea what I needed to do in order to fix it.  Eric came down about that time and stopped to help me.  LONG story short we ended up having to change the whole tire (thanks so much to an extra-prepared training buddy!!).  FINALLY we were on the way back.

Pretty much the whole way I was beside myself with anguish over giving up...and over how stinking slow I am on the bike.  I wanted to ride faster, and kept telling myself (out loud) to DIG DANA DIG...WORK...COME ON, YOU CAN DO IT.  That worked for short bursts until another tribe mate rode up alongside of me and started talking.  I have a great deal of respect for her and really wanted to hear what she had to say so I worked as hard as I could to stay up with her until we got back to the parking lot (much harder than I would have worked if I were by myself I'm sure).

When I told her about not making it up the hill, she asked me if I had just not pedaled fast enough and I said yes.  But the more I thought about what happened I realized that simply was not the truth...I fell over because I hit my own brakes.  What's really ironic is the realization that I hit my brakes because I was afraid I was going to fall over.  I caused the very thing I was so afraid of.  (That's not to say I might not have fallen over anyway, but that's beside the point.)

The next day's workout consisted of back-to-back SPINNING classes and a pyramid run immediately afterward.  I had to make myself go to SPINNING, make myself stay for the second class, make myself WORK HARD THE WHOLE TIME (really hard not just look like I was working hard).  I really wanted to skip the run altogether but instead I allowed myself to take a slightly easier run workout instead of the one that was planned.  (Eric said the one I did is actually harder, but it FEELS easier to me.)  Just like going part of the way up that hill was better than not going up any of it, doing any sprint workout after the double SPINNING classes was better than not doing anything at all...but the truth is it's still a sacrifice of my goal.

I set this half-iron goal for myself.  The only one I will be hurting by giving up is ME.  The only one who will be sorry is ME.  I don't want to allow following my training plan "fairly well" to get me "fairly close" to my limits.  I want to give MY BEST effort to have MY BEST result.  In order to do that I have to be willing to sacrifice giving up on myself.

A dear friend gave me a copy of Facing the Giants after I wrote the post titled "Is My Best Good Enough".  My favorite scene from that movie shows what it MIGHT look like to give my best.  Although I don't quite know how to blindfold my MIND...I'm still working on it.   (Don't forget to pause the music so you can hear this clip...it's completely worth 6ish minutes of your time, trust me!!)

Thanks for stopping in...come again soon!! :D


  1. Knowledge of self is crucial to success! You are very self away and are doing great at pushing yourself. I am very proud to be coaching you Dana!

  2. Cant wait to hang out w ya in NOLA. Sat Dinner? So many good eats in NOLA. Tn Valley, will b well represented.:) At my age, I just wanna have fun and stay injured free.. Ur going rock it!!

  3. You are such an inspiration Dana! I am so excited you are racing in NOLA (my hometown area)! It is super flat and I know you will have some fun while you are kicking butt in the half! So proud of you!


Don't hold back, tell it like it is....