What have I got to prove?

Just when you thought the introspective, self-discovery posts were over . . .

Doo-doo . . .
Doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo . . .

One thing I mentioned yesterday, and I've mentioned before, keeps playing over and over in my head. That is, of course, the famous question my close friends and family always like to ask me: "Do you race because you think you have something to prove?"

When I (used to) answer "hell no," I really (used to) believe it. See, I used to think I raced because it keeps me healthy, makes me feel "normal" as far as helping me ward off dizzy spells and chest pains and all, and gives me a sense of accomplishment. The truth is, there are so many more reasons. Social exposure - I'm too shy to meet people other ways (yes, I'm SHY). Testing my boundaries. Forcing myself to take time for myself, time where I have nothing to do but deal with my own thoughts - because God knows I avoid those some times - and to be okay with the times that I have no real thoughts, that it's ok to have "empty space in my head." Trying not to end up frail and feeble when I'm older.

And, yes, to prove something. But not to anyone else - to myself.

Not to be repetitive, but there will always be someone better, smarter, faster, stronger, prettier than me. But I'm not worried about someone else - I want to be better, smarter, faster, stronger, prettier than me. The problem is, I'm still figuring out how good, smart, fast, strong, pretty, etc. I am. So when I have a bad day at work, at triathlon, with my health, with Sherpa, I immediately think the worst: it's because I wasn't {insert adjective here} enough. Because I don't know what I am - not really. And I always seem to think I can do more, when I don't really even know the answer to the question "more than WHAT?"

Take last night, for example. There were dishes in the sink, a 45-60 min swim to do, 40-45 min of strength, and Sherpa and I shacked up a bit ago, which shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, so we share a car to cut down on costs and emissions, so I have to bicycle home from my swims at the Y. The puppy is still learning not to pee in his crate, so the smell is DEEEELISHEEUS, I have about 8 loads of laundry hanging around, and my washer is STILL not fixed. I needed a new lock for my bicycle, since the old one is at Wubzy's, so I also had to tackle that. Oh, and there's this little thing called eating, which one must do post-workout and which I have, I'll admit, simply skipped in the past because preparing, consuming and cleaning up the meal took too much damn time. (By the way, I have to be in bed before 10pm to make a 6:30 am wakeup call for puppy pooping and work - let alone a 5am wakeup call for working out, puppy pooping and work.) To top it all off, Kona peed on the bed at 2am.

That left me with about, oh, 20 minutes to do 8 loads of laundry by hand, wash 2 sinks full of dishes plus empty and fill the dishwasher, change the sheets and plan tomorrow's workout and clothing, and get in bed and wind down enough to go to sleep.

And you know how I felt? I felt ashamed of myself.

For what, you ask? For a)not swimming better b)not riding home faster c)not doing more than 1 set of the strength exercises, d)not eating a hot meal, e)not washing the dishes, f)not bathing the puppy, g)not doing any laundry, h)not being able to wake up for an A.M. workout, i)not getting the mail . . . . AND NOW I'm starting to add things that weren't even on the list to begin with!!!!!!!!! And it all sounds so INSANE when I write it out in black and white, but at the time it seemed perfectly logical.

Ya dig?

If I were to do my first Ironman right now, I wouldn't have the time to train for it properly, but even if I DID one, and I DID make the cutoff (that is to say, I finished in under 16hrs), I would still feel like why couldn't I do it in 14? Or 12? What the hell is wrong with my slow ass??!? Not HOLY CRAP I CAN'T BELIEVE I FINISHED or I'M SO LUCKY TO HAVE DONE THAT CONSIDERING I DIDN'T HAVE THE TIME TO TRAIN PROPERLY. And THAT is one of the big reasons I'm not doing an Ironman this year, maybe not next year, and maybe not ever. Because, until I get a handle on this constant need I have for MORE (and I can't even do that until I know what I already HAVE), even an Ironman won't be enough. Sure, I could do it, and then be bummed about the time, or be excited about the time, but I'll think something ridiculous like yeah, 15:09, that's a good enough time that next year I should try for Kona.

And God forbid I don't finish. I mean, for heaven's sake, it's only a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile ride and a marathon. Back to back. On the same day.

So, in the mean time, I have to keep simplifying further and further. The only way I'll ever know what's underneath is by removing all the "stuff" on top.

1 tidbits of wizdom:

Wes said...

You might want to read this. Your post today made me think of this post, and I thought you might find it interesting :-)