How 'Bout We Make Us A Deal

To change is to improve. To be perfect is to change often. 
- Winston Churchill

When I posted that yesterday, I knew I was in need of some changing. Not that I harbor delusions of perfection, mind you. I just knew there was absolutely no way I could - or wanted to - continue down the road I was on.

The first thing I had to decide was what to change.  Honestly, that was the hardest part.  But, once I had a good grip on that, the rest became crystal clear.

It started out with an even tougher question, though. For weeks I've been asking myself why is shit so hard right now?  I've been through some rough things all year long, but I couldn't quite figure out the tipping point.  Up until some time recently, I had been able to roll with the punches. This week I finally realized that I was struggling with a combination of two things: the reality of Arnie dying hitting home, and feeling really shitty again. 

First, I decided against my 50- to 70-mile bike ride this morning.  I've needed my migraine medicine a few times a week lately because of the "attacks" (or "spells" or whatever you want to call them), so I needed to sleep instead of waking up at 5am.  I slept until 7, which is late for me, and hit the gym for a slightly less-intense-than-normal run/strength combo.  I then spent the rest of the morning making meals for the week and some budgeting to figure out how I could fit in more head and neck massages to offset some of my pain and dizziness.

These weren't the main decisions I made, though.  The main decisions I made were about what I needed to change.  And the first thing was my perspective. I needed to embrace my "new normal."  To understand that so much of this is temporary. But, in the off-chance that some of it is long-term or permanent, I also decided to make myself a deal that dad would be proud of. 

The deal is: 

I will gather as much information as I can to make an educated decision, and then I will do the best I can with the mental and physical capabilities I possess. Not yesterday's best; not tomorrow's best; not 6 years' from now's best.  The best with what I have, today.  And I will accept the idea that this may mean a shorter workout, or none at all.  A shorter race, or none at all.  And I will NOT beat myself up or feel frustrated if that's all I can do. 

Instead, when I feel the frustration coming on, I will ask myself:

If the answer is yes, then I will move on.
If the answer is no, then, in the immortal words of Britney Spears, you better work, bitch.

As I sat pondering this, my phone rang.  It was one of my cycling friends, who also happens to subscribe to my blog.  She has the most positive attitude of anyone I've ever met, even when we're riding 80 miles in the Florida heat. I hadn't talked with her since our ride last week, but I guessed that she was calling because I didn't tell anyone why I didn't ride today.

Side note: it is kind of odd for me to have people who know me in real life read my blog.  For some reason, it's way easier to open up to total strangers on the internet.  I'm also always shocked that my real-life friends follow my blog.  I'm not sure why; I just am. 

Anyway, it was almost like she'd been reading my mind.  She told me that a lot of the time when people get frustrated about how much they haven't accomplished she will ask them, "did you need to do that?"  And that's exactly what I did this morning.  I thought, I don't need to ride today.  I've been riding 50-70 miles weekly pretty regularly.  There are plenty of other things I can do and still get sleep.

 It reminded me that I don't need to race, and I don't need to race fast or long if I do; I can still do the shorter stuff (something I've been talking about with Coach for a long time now.) There are plenty of things I can do and still stay fit.

And the other reason why her call meant a lot to me is that she also battles chronic illness.  And she reminded me of something she likes to tell people.  I Have A Disease, It Doesn't Have Me.  If I decide to become frustrated because "my condition" stopped me from doing something I used to do, then my disease has me.  But if I accept that there are other things I can do and other ways I can do them, then I'm in control.

That call really, really meant a lot to me. First of all, it was very kind. Second of all, I needed to vent to someone who could understand. And finally, it put me at peace with my decisions today.

So how about you make a deal with me.

The deal is: 

If you question anything at all about the statement above, then ask yourself:

If the answer is yes, then move on. 
If the answer is no, then you better work, bitch.

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