I wrote two other essays before posing this one, and neither of them were quite right. I am usually a week behind on these posts, so what you read each Monday usually references something that happened last week at the earliest. But sometimes something monumental enough happens and I write mid-week to get it "out on paper." So, when I furiously opened my blog last week and pounded on my keyboard indignantly, listing a diatribe of complaints and "it's not fair" and other tantrum-caliber rantings, it accurately reflected how I felt about a recent defeat. But today, when I opened it up to finish and post it, I just didn't feel that way anymore. I hardly recognized the angry and frustrated person who had written those words. So I started a rather mundane post about Michael Phelps, which I abandoned halfway through because it wasn't going anywhere. Then I started fresh, to focus on the here and now - how things are going today, in my training.
Today, in my training, I feel like a big fat whale. For the past few weeks, I have not only taken a break from protein shakes, I have also taken a small break from the gym, which means I have taken a break from progress. Anyone who knows me knows how hard that is for me to not only admit, but to accept.
But also today in my training, I feel optimistic. My break has felt good, and I needed it. It was not by choice - work, family schedules, and other things prevented me from getting to the gym as much as I wanted to - and sometimes that is the best thing. I feel refocused and refreshed, even though I feel enormously out of shape.
Last week, I reminded myself of every motivational quote I knew:
It's a journey, not a destination.
Sometimes you have to fight the same battle more than once to win it.
What doesn't kill us makes us stronger.
It's not how hard you fall, but how quickly you get back up.
Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.
You have a choice. You can throw in the towel or use it to wipe the sweat off your face.
I needed the reminder that failure happens, even to me, and that recovery happens, too. I needed to get over myself and my idea of how things would be, and realize that ultimately, even if I do everything "right", a certain amount of what happens in this process is out of my control. That is such a hard, hard, hard lesson to learn.
After my pity party was over, I remembered another one of my favorites:
This is my body. And I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it. Study it. Tweak it. Listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I'm on. What am I on? I'm on my bike busting my *&^%$ six hours a day. What are you on? - Lance Armstrong
And I was off again. I don't need much of a break before I am ready to charge forward again, renewed and ready for the challenge. I've spent the last couple of weeks studying, tweaking, and listening to my body. Now I am ready to bust my *&^%$ again.
And that started today.