I think I'll disagree with Aerosmith here. Falling in love is not hard on the knees . . . falling in love is hard on the ass. Or so it is when you keep having to fall out of your routine and fall back in. Tonight's ride was short, not so sweet thanks to the traffic, but nice and cool toward the end. There're a pile of magazines on my night table. They're not getting read. My life rolls something like this: sleep, try to get up, work, try to work out, eat, go back to sleep, pay some bills, freak out about all of the above, and sleep some more.

The greater and far more interesting news? I had two (emotionally) painful realizations this week. The first is pretty brutal. It has to do with Self-Doubt, which is one of my greatest personal demons. In the past, when it came to racing, that demon was nowhere to be found. Well, not so much any more. This year I cannot beat that m'f'er down. He's following me everywhere I go. Between the money problems and chest pains and the relationship drama and the inconsistent amount of support, I have all but given up on nearly every one of my dreams. Last year and the year before, I was all, "what? you wanna piece of me? DO YOU WANNA PIECE OF ME?!!! HUH? DO YA, PUNK!?!!?! WELL COME GET SOME, THEN, CAUSE I'M NOT GONNA STAND HERE AND WAIT ON YOUR CANDY ASS!!!!" This year, it's "you wanna piece of me? Oh. Well, you can come by 'em pretty cheap. Everyone else has a piece, how's about you get one, too?"

Truthfully, my attitude has become terrifically shitty.

I've never entered a race full-on thinking, "you know, maybe I can't do this, and maybe it's not worth bothering." Even Philadelphia was different - I figured I'd do it on heart alone, or not at all, but I never really thought, "maybe I'm not capable." And there were plenty of times toward the last 6.2 miles of a marathon, or the last mile of an Oly, or the 13th mile of a sprint, where I thought, well, this kinda f'in sucks. I hope I can get through it. But I never started out doubting my ability, or my capability, before the race even got close - and I'm talking, to the point where I'm afraid to even start. It's not that I don't want to do it. It's that I'm afraid I'll fail. Straight up. I'm afraid I'm gonna fall slap on my face. I almost wish someone would just come up behind me and shove me. Hard.

Oddly, my other realization was almost completely the opposite. I was watching a dance recital, thinking about how hard all the girls had worked for their moment(s) in the spotlight, when spontaneous tears started rolling down my face. And, for some reason, I thought to myself: I actually won that trophy last summer. I won it, fair and square. Why is this an epiphany? Because I have had myself fully convinced for the past year that I only won because there was no one else in my age group or class. This weekend's flashback to that race reminded me of my dogged determination to pass the last two women in my class. You see, if I hadn't given that last extra bit of effort, they would have passed me, and I wouldn't have won anything. Which means I actually won by effort, and not by default.

The biggest question is this: how am I going to reconcile these two completely powerful and powerfully different brands of thought?

This weekend is my first race of the season. It was supposed to be last month, but I just couldn't pull it together - barfing and racing are strange bedfellows. Now, with better meds and a doc's plan, we're going to give it a whirl. I'd like to make promises and grandiose gestures of victory, but all I can tell you is that I'm gonna give it what I've got. Which is a helluva lot more than I had 2 years ago when this whole nonsense started, but it's not anywhere close to what it could be. It is frustrating for me to know what I'm capable of, but feel completely unable to show it to myself or to anyone else.

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