Sunday, 25 March 2012

Thirteen - Can the mind really overrule the matter?


My head has always been a problem. I suppose, spending hours in the saddle with hours to think, I have always thought a bit too much; analysed a bit too much. Oh, and I am an English Language and Literature graduate; we read into everything! This is not wholly healthy.

Such thinking time no longer seems to exist. Even on car journeys, where Willow is usually well behaved, I’m still too preoccupied by her to daydream.  My only thinking time is on my bike – where everything is sorted. But, most of the time, I have to get on with things before I have even thought about them!

This isn’t a bad thing for me! I actually do quite a lot in a day, now!

An inspiring coach (and friend of mine) once told me my head held me back, in bike-racing. She was right. But, my insecurities are not uncommon. According to a renowned cycling coach, Joe Friel, whose every book Nick and I own, ‘society has taught’ women to feel inferior about their ability in sport – albeit subtly – but based on the crowds watching men’s and women’s events. Obviously, there is much more to this, but you get the idea. Likewise, my inane amounts of thinking have always offered reasons why I couldn’t do as well as the women I raced – but, to be quite honest, they were pretty awesome.

So, my head makes me easily defeated. Or it did.

On Tuesday night, I was sitting on the sofa, drinking a maximum strength Lemsip, telling myself that the run I did on Monday was probably a bit too hard which is why my legs and back and arms and neck ached a little. Nick, Willow and my mum having a flu-type virus was not willingly acknowledged. I was sitting and shivering in a room at 24 degrees Celsius.

But, I wasn’t ill. I couldn’t be ill. If you are a parent of a toddler, you know, illness does not exist. Being ill would be too hard. I was willing my head to work this now. This was a time for mind over matter – my head had to work.

I had to be well because I could not face being ill with Willow, who is at her most energetic, lately. In fact, I was desperate to be well because going to work would be also a break from the germs in my household! Besides, Willow had to go to the cr̬che too Рnot the least because I needed a break but because I bloody well pay for it. I am probably better off being a stay-at-home-mum if I calculate how many days she has actually missed and for which I have paid!

I had to be healthy.

My good coach, the same one, told me off once for being too negative. She was right. In bike-racing, my head always fell off in April/May because I was dragged down by the shed-load of coursework marking I would have. Instead of enjoying my bike, I’d feel guilty for not being at work.  She told me I had to think about things I enjoyed to get me racing my bike well.  She was right. The races I began whilst in a good mood were always successful. And, typically, I was always flying after the summer holidays when I had no loads on my shoulders. While on that sofa on Tuesday, if I thought I was ill, I would be. So, I thought of hot, dusty trails ... my positive thoughts.

Well, I did stop shivering but I’m sure that the thermostat was broken in the house – it was like a furnace very quickly afterwards.

This one my head wouldn’t win ... Grrr! And, it’s been a sunny week! 

But next week is a new one - there's my positivity! And, wow, do I feel worse when I haven't been out for a ride.

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