Saturday, October 23, 2010

Battling for Mediocrity

This season started out strong. Way back in January and February, when Wayne, John and I were doing big epic days in saddle, it seemed like things were on track. However, the year took on a couple of subtle changes that took things in a slightly different direction.

First and foremost, in late March we lost out furry friend Oreo. After the battle with her kidney disease that we'd been putting up together as a family, the loss was devastating, especially to me. I can honestly say that I have never been so heartbroken and felt so lost and low. Right at the same time, my work moved from being a 1.75 mile, sub 5 minute commute to a 15 mile, 30 minute commute. I know that doesn't sound like much to most folks, but it was huge to me. The third strike was Cathy changing jobs and instead of mainly working from home, she now commuted into the city. She also took a pay cut, which fortunately meant nothing more than that we were saving a little less than before, but it factored into my overall feeling of being trapped in my job. The sum of these translated to early mornings, longer days and more low cost chores not getting done during the course of the day, or at lunch time, which had to be done at night or on the weekends. Don't get me wrong, ride time still was there as always, it just meant juggling other things.

Once race season hit in March, the fitness was good but at least some of the desire was absent. Work had been a chore for some time and I'd be lying if I said that I enjoyed what I do. My problem is that I work in software and have for quite some time, so I am paid well primarily for my expertise. The issue comes with the fact that I hate software and it's business of intangibility. I'm a visual person and actually an artist by training, so I need to see and feel something to get satisfaction from knowing I've created or had a hand in creating it. Unfortunately, it comes down to the fact that although I hate what I do, it affords me the luxury of doing what I like to do.

The season has had numerous ups and downs. I've had some good results, primarily racing mountain bikes and I was fairly solid in some of the road races as well, though the results don't show it. Cross even started well and has had some real high spots as well as some really low spots. Manic you might even say. I've also seemed to have had more mechanical issues this season than I've ever had before. From a work perspective, things also got about as bad as I could imagine when I was thrust onto a remote project that was being run like a start-up, only with none of the start-up benefits. Looking back, it really was day to day as to whether or not I would just walk away. Now I'm back to working on the products that I've been involved with for the past 10 years. To some that must sound stagnant or stale, but I'm all about stability in life. Change though, not so much. Yes, I'm a dinosaur, but that's the way I am programmed.

So, here we are. Another big series race today and another hard fought battle with motivation, for mediocrity. I went hard but my legs were screaming back at me from the start. The one bright spot was that after I spent some time literally swearing at myself, I managed to regain a bit of motivation and chase up to the group ahead of me, though I couldn't do anything once I got there. Small victories.

What next? I don't know. I do know that I am dead tired all of the time. This is partially because I am getting up an hour earlier each week day. It has also been a long season and although I didn't race as much, I certainly rode just as much, more in fact. A few weeks back I washed out and took a dive onto the pavement with my left shoulder. Nothing broke but there was definitely some damage. I also smacked my knee, which has me totally paranoid. That was how my arthritic meltdown started so am I always afraid of having a relapse, especially given that we are trying to cut reliance on the medication I've been taking for the past few years. Based on how I've been feeling lately, I fear that this may not be working. I know that I'm tired of the big, impersonal series races. I still enjoy racing and I know that part of my motivation problems are due to the lack of results but I think that I need to be more selective in choosing which races suit me well and I also need to choose less of them. It's a double-edged sword though as it takes so much to stay competitive in New England. What though are the chances of being competitive if you can't even get motivated?

No comments: