Words to live by...

"A good teacher is like a candle - it consumes itself to light the way for others." ~Author Unknown

"A good wife is her husband's biggest fan -- no matter how crazy he is." ~Me

"May God give you.. For every storm a rainbow, for every tear a smile, for every care a promise and a blessing in each trial. For every problem life sends, a faithful friend to share, for every sigh a sweet song and an answer for each prayer." ~ Irish Blessing

Sunday, July 22, 2007

"I am what I am and I am what I'm not"

While racing this weekend I tried to figure out why I like it.

I'm a nervous wreck before, unable to enjoy even the best of hugs from the Mr.

I'm a tired sloppy mess that night and the entire next day.

It's not cheap.

Racing and training takes up a good amount of time, even for a jobless beginner like me. Hence the STILL unfinished kitchen and only partially torn down front bushes.

I wake up each morning and for the first ten minutes, I feel like my body has aged 40 years.

Sure, once in a while it's a very rewarding experience, but at least for me, it's generally been a little disappointing.

The inevitable weight loss is cool, if you're trying to do that sort of thing, which I'm not. I've lost about 6 pounds since the time trial series started in April. Not a lot for most people, but for me it seems huge. I feel like I eat ALL THE TIME to keep up with the calories I'm burning by riding every day. Ok, so that's not a negative. I like to eat. Actually, I love any excuse to eat more often.

I digress.

The morning before the race this weekend I racked my brain trying to figure out how I got sucked into all of this. I loved being a spectator at these events when just Chris was racing. It's fun to people watch. It's relaxing to sit in beautiful mountain locations with nothing but a dog, an i-pod, and a book that never gets read or knitting that never gets knit.

About an hour into the two hour race I figured it out. I looked down at my watch and the stop watch said 29 minutes and 42 seconds. I was suffering. My legs hurt and felt really weak. Since they felt so weak I couldn't stand up on the downhills for more than five seconds without them shaking uncontrollably. So I sat. Because I sat my back and booty were killing me. When I saw 29 minutes and 42 seconds I started to cry. Literally. I guess, in retrospect, had I been feeling better and saw 29 minutes at that point in the course I would've probably passed out from joy. But no. Freaking suffering, wanting to finish, and I wasn't even a quarter of the way through it.

Then something magical happened.

I used my brain.

Yeah, imagine that. I guess that's why we wear helmets to protect it. So we can use it once in a while instead of depending on technology.

I looked down at my watch about a minute later.



Ah yes, the watch had stopped. I must've hit the stop button with my wrist on one of the downhills at the start of the race. I checked the clock on my bike computer. I was a little more than an hour done. Sweeeeeeeeet. I looked around, made sure no one could hear my thoughts or see my useless tears, and smiled. Duh.

Back to why I've decided I like racing.

Shortly after that little incident, I was still suffering. Things were still hurting. But on one particular uphill, I realized that I hadn't THOUGHT in a while. Sure, I'd thought about where to put my front wheel. Thought about what was coming up next. Thought about where the competition was, who I'd passed, who had passed me and I needed to find and crush. I'd thought about how I was glad I didn't make it over the front of my bars when the front wheel stopped abruptly on a rock and it sent me into a suspended moment in the air, balancing between *almost crash* and *bad crash into a tree on my face*.

But I hadn't actually thought.

I didn't think about finding a job. I didn't think about what to have for dinner and how to pay for it. I didn't think about babies, patio furniture, furry floors, torn couches, or unfinished projects.

Ok, I thought about how to get a cold Sprite. But that was fleeting and it sounded good.

I think that's why I've started to really like racing. It's just me and my lack of important thoughts.

When I'm racing I'm not Mrs. Plesko or Marni or Marlene or wifey. I'm "Berry" when I'm hurting and tired. I'm "Plesko" at the end when I think I've earned the name.

Saturday wasn't an awesome race. I got 4th. 5 minutes out of 3rd place. I made up a solid 2 or 3 minutes in a crazy pedaling rage in the last two miles to the finish line out of a simple desire to see Chris and to lay flat. My legs and lungs felt like junk from mile 1.

But after 18.8 jarring, sitting, painful miles I finished.

No bling this week, but I loved it.

Congratulations to my amazingly talented husband who pulled out 3rd. I am so incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful person to spend my life with, and a wonderful coach to go riding with. I hear your voice and advice in my head more than I hear my own thoughts. For you, I make cake.


Chris said...

We all race for different reasons but just "being in the moment" is a good one. You're always a Plesko now even if you never touch a bike again though. I'm very proud of you and I love you lots.

Scott said...

Berry? Sometimes I look at my watch after it feels like 5 minutes have gone by, and it's only twenty seconds later... unfortunately, my clock is still running.. :) You did so awesome Saturday morning, cranking to the finish!

Chris said...

Her maiden name Scott ;)

Cellarrat said...

Awesome work!

way to crank it till the end. Something so lovely about that feeling of I gave it all and rode the best for that time and place!

Good stuff!

Becky said...

I'm so impressed Marni! You're incredible