The Training Peaks app for the iphone changed on me a few updates ago. That was, more accurately,weeks ago. Like the friend who comes back from studying abroad, cultured and well-dressed, it threw me off. The new app is clean, snazzy, kind of complicated-looking, and all I could do was stare in disbelief and slight disappointment. I wanted the old TP app back, the one whose wardrobe consisted of three colors - blue, black, and white - not like 10 million, including pastels.
The change, and my discomfort with the change, reemphasized something else: that my attempts to ease back into things for the past
three five or so weeks have been as graceful as a belly flop from a 10 ft diving board. I've been chasing my own form, rear wheel usually locked in my trainer, acutely aware that there has been something missing for some time. Meanwhile, it is already September, CX is coming here, and I am still, still shifting into the little ring on climbs. That last one would trigger an army of sighs if I was actually capable of breathing. Like setting up an online dating profile, it's a necessary move that still sparks some unsettling sense of acquiesing to a suboptimal situation. Am I really doing this? I ask myself, while the other, more practical side of me that tends to encourage not shredding my legs on 3% grades [or never getting laid, as the case may be,] says, firmly, yes, yes you are. The physical movement of my left middle finger pushing inwards turns into a mute response.
Passive-aggressive gestures aside, the hard part is that I'm aware that it's not just the legs that have to be built back up, but that loss of confidence. The knowledge that I can reel that guy in, that I can make it up this climb, that increasingly harder intervals aren't going to kill me, that Internet dating doesn't mean I'm either physically repulsive or have a terrible personality. The physical and mental discomfort are prerequisites to getting to a better place, I've been told. That doesn't make the situation suck less, but you might end up faster for it. Or your date might actually turn out to look like his picture and not be a complete weirdo. And if not, well, you just gotta keep trying. Because there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You're just so far back you can't see it yet.
That last one doesn't inspire much confidence, I know. But like the 50 [million] friends you have that are currently engaged/happily married to [attractive, sane, and interesting] people they met online, reality rebuts the anticipated pessimism. It will always feel like grasping at straws, the glimmer of hope remaining frustratingly elusive. But that promise of potential still manages to keep me in the red, be it with shitty online dates or oxygen deprivation. Because the millionth time's the charm, right?
Or that's what I keep telling myself, anyway. This morning, I caught myself going through the same mental games, trying to con myself into believing that a ten minute interval was a five minute one, just so I would hate myself a little less. As always, it worked, but not very well. Still, I found myself graduating from cheering ["come on, you can do this!"] to a sustained conviction ["you just did this, you'll be fine"]. I realized only later that I'd managed to spin - half kicking and screaming - back to the edge of confidence, where doubt wasn't constantly simmering in my stomach. Like a seasoned speed dater, I'd arrived at that mental place where I know I'll survive, that failures aren't always a reflection on inately unchangeable parts of my personality, and that optimism can take you a long way.
Okay...maybe not through a really crappy Internet date, but, you know, at least through a few Tabatas.