I know I rant and rave about the LUXURIOUS snowbird lifestyle I have in Tucson. I mean, I'm going on exotic coyote spotting safaris, collecting only the finest gravel for my water bottle, working out at the finest sports clubs on VIP passes, and picking up poop of pure-bred canines large enough to fit into one of the HUGE purses that are in fashion today. (Why do women have such large handbags? For schoolbooks? Oversize compacts?)
But unfortunately, Monday evening after my postponed and dreaded gym workout (I successfully snuck into the club again.) and all day yesterday, I had to hanker down and finish a project for my other not often talked about regular job. I saved the largest amount of work for my day off the bike and it turned into an all day and almost all night affair consisting of me in my pajamas and eating everything in sight. I find that when I have to do something that I don't want to do, I just try to mask the monotony with CANDY and other crap. Yeah, maybe that's called emotional bingeing. Not sure. I usually try to keep all crap out of the house during times like these but I managed to find some stale jelly beans which almost broke my teeth.
Anyway, so you can imagine me--a massive blob in plaid pants and bed head--with my laptop and a box of jelly beans and granola bar wrappers all around, typing away, while some reality shows about dating a millionaire or picking out wedding dresses are on TLC and Bravo on TV. I can feel myself getting larger and for some reason I still keep thinking about the ice cream cones at McDonalds only a block away, but then I think, "Oh the effort! I'll have to put on real clothes if I leave the house!" A total sloth. Then a commercial for Pajama Jeans comes on and I actually perk up to watch. It was as if they were speaking to me! They would go awesome with my Snuggie that I've been meaning to buy for days like this. But $40! Oh to be rich and have an assortment of Pajama Jeans....someday...
Anyway, it occurred to me that I was in a seriously foul mood. I was tired and had no motivation. I was dreading the intervals for tomorrow (which is now today) and wondered what happened to my beautiful sunset/Tucson motivation, but I couldn't worry about that now because I had to finish the deadline. The thought of not being able to pay my bills in a week was more convincing to keep working than listening to my shitty attitude that just wanted to stop and watch reruns of King of the Hill.
This morning, even though I had finished my deadline in the wee hours of the morning, my bad mood persisted. I got up, microwaved some coffee and did some chores and started to feel better. I thought about how today's workout isn't a make all or break all but rather just part of the process. It doesn't have to feel like a deadline or a big test--just get the work done and call it a day. I started to feel lighter (even though my fingers were swollen to the size of jimmy dean sausages from the massive junk consumption of the night before).
I understood, too, that concentrating on delivering my best work for two disciplines was difficult for me. I'd like to think I'm superwoman and can maintain a full time job and then also be the best cyclist, but then I would not be giving cycling the respect or energy it deserves--I'm convinced that to be the best, it has to be your full-time job. People winning the Tour or the Giro or World Cups probably aren't spending 30 hours a week, writing about security and privacy principles for clinical trials. But maybe they are...but I just can't handle it at this point.
I learned this lesson last year. I worked 40+ hours a week and rode 16-20 hours--most of my rides were at night. I remember times (more often than not) within those hard weeks that I was being a shitty girlfriend, really cranky--oh there was this episode with the brake pads...sigh, an average employee, really sensitive, really irritable, and just mentally overloaded. Some may think, "oh Jennifer, that's you ALL of the time!!!" I can assure you, it's not. I have AT LEAST 3-4 facebook friends who can vouch for me that it's not.
So yeah, the point is that I have to make it work. And to make it work, means working my real job as little as possible and then hankering down for those 2-3 days to just make enough to get by. It's much more fulfilling--and easier to me--to focus 100% on cycling for 6-7 days and then have 2-3 days of straight work than to dilute either discipline. I can deal with not having any money, and I'll sell hand-crafted yarn God's Eyes earrings on ebay if needed (Heck I sold plus size theme sweaters one season, why can't I sell these?) I'm an optimist and I know if I continue making things happen and working hard--which may still include a stale jelly bean binge here and there--I'll be able to prove myself and support myself on cycling alone.
Well, that's my dream at least--how cool would it be to ACTUALLY be able live your passion? I know I'm pro and that's the idea, but it doesn't work like that. They (as in those in charge of the budget) don't say "Oh I see you have potential--here's oodles of money that I'm going to take from all the national champs and world champs' budgets to give to you." No, just like anywhere, they start you out small and then expect you to prove yourself, prove you're an asset, prove that you have what it takes to persevere during a long season, injuries, and still be a valued team member. That's tough to invest without immediate gains (for both the team and the athlete)--it's like investing in a start-up company--but those who can make it through the process make it in this sport. So many people have potential, but as we all know, there's oh so much more to it than potential. It's those who can come back from a stale jelly bean overdose--or avoid the situation in the first place--who ultimately persevere...really.
So that's my goal..after getting out of bed this morning...to continue the journey of proving myself and completing the process...oh and to score me a pair of those HOT Pajama Jeans....oh and to never eat another jelly bean again.