Tuesday, April 14, 2009

How One Slowly Learns to Live with Oneself

I've been told more than once that I'd be really easy to stalk. And its not a statement that I can argue with, although it always makes me a bit uncomfortable.

I am a remarkably scheduled person. It is necessary part of life as I (1) am chronically overcommitted and (2) find much mental and emotional comfort within in the ebb and flow of routine.

Recovery weeks, therefore, always tend to be a bit discombobulating. What I am supposed to do with that ALL OF THAT SPARE time between 5am and 7am that would normally be filled with push-ups, squats and burpees? And Wednesday evenings instead of intervals? And don't even mention how to fill time otherwise spent with sprints, hills, recovery rides, mixing water bottles, laundering countless pieces of stinky lycra. My head might explode from contemplating the possibilities.

The answer should be pretty obvious-sleep, stupid. Rest legs weary from racing ten times in eight weeks. Finish that book that I put down on Thanksgiving and never picked back up. Clean the condo. Make plans to catch up with the bike-less friends who have faded into the back of my mind since last fall.

You know what I did instead? Rode my bike, just because I could. Rode to Tori's class, to work, to acupuncture, to the grocery store, to happy hour. Rode at 12 MPH down Springwater listening to outdated podcasts of Fresh Air. Terry Gross talking about holiday movies while I breathed in the spring sunshine. Rode over the Hawthorne bridge on a quiet Friday evening, partially drunk and fully singing along with Billy Idol.

This kind of unstructured, heart-rate-monitor-free riding lends itself to lots of quality time with the inner monologue. My inner monologue runs without cease, ignored only with the help of coffee and beaten into submission only by intense exercise. I think this is why I love racing so much. For a few hours, I'm free from existential meanderings, inside jokes and the staging of hundreds of life-altering conversations that I wish I could have or do over again.

But I inevitably have to engage with, well, myself. And it was really productive. Some conclusions and revelations from my 100-mile "Tour de Rest Week" of the Portland metro area:

1. One should not bitch about not getting laid if one does not have the time or energy to (1) find someone to get laid by, (2) engage in the superficial hygiene and maintenance program that usually occupanies sleeping with someone new or (3) take off one's compression tights before falling asleep at 9:30.

2. If you hit a Clackamas County nutria with a rock (just a small one, to make it move off the path...put away the PETA hotline number), it really doesn't faze it all. Either that sucker was tough or really hungover.

3. Saddle sores suck, yo. The issue of finding a new doctor is being painfully forced.

and finally, and mostly importantly:

4. The book epiphany. I've been playing around with the idea of writing a book for some time...mostly in private. Private because of that inner monologue voice that says "Like YOU could write a BOOK...your snark and pithy self-reflection are worth less than this free blogging platform."

Nonetheless, there's still this pull I have had to try and put something out into the world that is useful and witty. I just needed a more concrete concept...and I think I have it now.

Now I've just got to schedule some time to reschedule my schedule so I can get some feedback on the idea and, well, write a friggin' book.

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