I always write a post or two summing up the year right after Dec 31, so I’ll keep this kinda short but I feel the need to write.
It’s been an amazing season I have been very lucky and have not taken it for granted – I got to race internationally for the first time, zip up a USA jersey and race world championships, and see HUGE overall gains in my racing career. I was chatting with someone today and they were telling me a story about someone else. Someone who was obsessed with winning. This person wanted nothing more but to win for personal glory. We’ve all been there – we thrive on achievement and certain personality types (myself included) want nothing more than to be the best.
To be honest, I had almost given up on myself for any further development before this season started. I thought, “Well, I’ve been racing for 6 years. I’m doing well, but I don’t think I’ll be going any further with this.” I was actually okay with it too. On some level, I started taking everything less seriously, becoming less focused on numbers and training metrics. Most weeks I didn’t even have a training plan. I gave up on structured interval training. If I felt good, I’d ride hard and enjoy it. If not, then I’d go for an easy ride and try not to see the meaning behind it. I didn’t alter my off-season to on-season diet in any way. I just said, “I’m going to ride for fun.” I always have had that mentality, but when you are an over-achiever, it’s easy to get lost and frustrated in results, goals, what it means if you don’t achieve those goals, what it means if my heart rate is too low, what it means if I don’t feel good on my bike one day. My analytical mind can get the best of me.
I got my mind settled and relaxed. I only remember being extremely nervous twice during the year, and one of those times it really altered my performance (unfortunately that was a marathon nationals. I put way too much pressure on myself, got obsessed and failed myself). The other time was right before Stage 1 of the Claro Brasil Ride. Much to my surprise, I started improving this year. I had never made the goal of racing a world championship. It seemed unthinkable. I never thought I’d be stage racing in Brazil. I surprised myself.
My results started meaning something different to me as well. Sure, I want to win every race I enter. I’m a super competitive person and I wouldn’t be where I am in my life both academically or athletically if I wasn’t. The coolest thing was realizing that my results are more than just about me. What started out as a “selfish” (I say that in the nicest way possible) obsession became something more meaningful. It’s why I’ve come to love blogging so much. Why? It empowers other people. The power to inspire, to help others feel like they CAN do what they dreamed of or maybe even more. I never knew that what I did affected other people. Maybe it never would have if I didn’t work on my voice in the online community. I am still dumbfounded when I get emails from people telling me that I have helped them simply by writing and racing from the heart.
Side note: When I’m suffering in a race, I think that there is going to be someone who will be out there almost twice as long as I will. They will still finish, and it will be even harder for them in some ways. They probably will be walking a lot of climbs. They have PATIENCE. There were people in the Claro Brasil Ride that finished with a time of 39 hours for the week. They inspire me to have more patience. When I want to give up, I just think about them. They are winners too, and stubborn!
Ok, that’s it!