I've noticed a theme about myself in this regard, and the REAL new-year's resolution I should be making is pretty obvious now.
In short: setting goals is what keeps me focused, on track, accountable, and has produced results in the past.
However, setting goals on the heels of an injury... okay, honestly, while still nursing an injury ...is foolish, and is already setting me up for frustration.
Frustration leads to attitude issues, where the bike - a source of healthy, fitness, and fun - becomes a point of stress.
I seem to remember resolving at one point not to stress too much, so I need to keep that promise.
I know, I know -- this setting a goal and backing-off cycle is annoying to read about, I'm sure of that. It's harder living through it, trust me.
I have no doubts that I can achieve what I've outlined a couple posts ago. I'm not backing out because it's too hard. I'm not really even backing out. I'm being smart before proceeding, instead.
Putting this in print basically gives me something to look back on, a brain-check of sorts. I'll do my best NOT to drive this goal thing into the ground, and I plan to return this blog to it's regularly-scheduled diet of ride reports, photos, and thoughts about gas prices, why commuting makes sense, and why I love long-distance riding. I'm going to lessen the personal challenge portion and focus on the real reasons I keep coming back to long-distance riding over and over again: it's FUN. It's VERY hard to explain, but even at 2am, with saddle sores, droopy eyes, an empty stomach and sore legs I somehow find myself smiling and giggling.
I don't want to cheapen the simplicity of those moments by tossing unrealistic training goals, mileage targets, heart-rate data, and cadence drills on top.
Boring myself and my readers to tears with all the analysis therein... there are plenty of racer blogs for that.
This blog has always been something different, and I'd like to keep it that way.
So, for the record and before I put this thing to bed once and for all, some points of clarity:
One: paying for insurance premiums every two weeks on payday and not utilizing the benefits thereof is equal to ripping myself off. I'm tossing out the ridiculous buffoonery and stubbornness that has kept me from seeking professional medical advice for the past six months. I try really hard to self-diagnose and somehow justify my continued suffering as normal, expected, and honorable. I read forums, I read blogs, and somehow convince myself that the words I'm reading are gospel. I convince myself that I can push through it. If it works, great - I saved myself a co-pay... but, it hasn't worked this time. Continuing on this path isn't the solution.
Riding a bicycle is not supposed to hurt. Soreness, tiredness, lactate burn at the top of a climb, bursting lungs.... that's different. Muscle, joint, ligament or tendon pain shouldn't be there. The injury I sustained off the bike in July and exacerbated in September is the culprit, and continuing to ignore that fact is foolish at best. I'm making an appointment with a professional, and will take their advice. If they tell me I can't ride until May, so be it.
The successful rides I finished after the bike fit I received earlier this year tell me it's probably not the bike set-up, but if it's a factor then I will make changes. If I have to take some time off, I'll use that time to focus on other things that will make my cycling upon my return better: losing weight, cross-training my upper body, eating smart, and being happy about it. Even the pros get hurt and have to miss title races - the difference is that they listen to their coaches and team doctors, and heal. They come back stronger. I need to do the same, simple as that.
Two: because of the above, I'm obviously putting my goals on hold. Once I'm healed I see no reason not to revisit them: and if it all has to be pushed back to 2013, 2014, 2020, that's fine, too. However, if I do revisit them the approach will be looser; which will keep me healthy mentally, as well as physically. Ill be training on what's worked in the past for me: perceived effort. No data, no analysis in front of a computer for an hour after each ride, no re-plays, GPS uploads, no stress. Cycling is my outlet to reduce the stress caused by work, bills, normal life stuff. Cycling will not become a point of additional stress. I refuse to take myself THAT seriously.
Sure I want to be successful, and if I do return to the Texas Time Trials again I won't take it lightly.... but I won't take it so seriously that I forget why I like riding in the first place. I've seen plenty of people at that event that are working hard, riding fast, but laughing and having a good time, too. I've also seen semi-professionals there simply CRUSH lap records while their coaches crunch numbers on clipboards - and while some of them are really nice people that will have a conversation and a beer with you, far too many of them are unapproachable jerks that don't know how to have fun anymore. I adamantly refuse to be the latter guy. Let's forget about talent, average speeds, etc. - if I want to ride fast I can, and sure there are faster riders than me - but who cares? I'm not going to be a subhuman jack-hole about it.
Three: If I never ride another "medal" event or never punch past 100 miles again, I can still sleep every night. I've had my time in the sun. Some would say that all of this riding is selfish - and, well, I stand accused. I'm not perfect. But, on record, I have never used cycling as an escape from my greatest adventure: my family. None of this means anything without my wife, kids, and the rest of my extended family at the end of every road. Enough said. If the cycling becomes "too much", I'm done.
Now that I've got my head back in the right place, enough talk.
I have a phone call to make on Monday to find a good sports medicine doctor, and I have some electronics to return.
My only remaining resolution is that this year will not be like last year; whatever that ends up meaning is fine with me.
Ride for fun.
Ride for friends.
Ride for health.
Ride to save gas money.
That's what this blog was founded on.
If I happen to ride 200 miles in a shot, it'll make for a good story.
If not, I'll not lament the "good 'ole days" any longer.
Let's get back to basics.