Saturday, April 05, 2008

Signs

So often we walk through our days and there are so many signs. Good signs, bad signs. Today was a day full of signs.

It started in the gym. This morning I had a swim that I will just describe as shit on a stick. How do I know what shit on a stick is like, you ask? Because earlier this week I had the pleasure of cleaning up after Boss’ fresh pile of shit with a stick because the little bags that are usually on his leash were out. They were out because I forgot to replace them. Not exactly a convenient mistake. Two options: leave in field for others to walk in (not nice) or pick up with bare hands (not option). Option three then unfolded: nearby was a stick on the ground. Know what I did? Stabbed that pile of shit (this was much easier than I thought) then threw it deep into the woods.

(listen, I was not walking home with shit on a stick)

But after today’s swim I kind of wish I still had that stick of shit because I could have driven 40 minutes north, knocked on the door and shaken that stick at my coach and said see this – this is how I felt today. Of course she would come right back at me with YOU CAN’T WIN THEM ALL. Which I know. But that still doesn’t mean knowing that makes me feel any better about shit on a stick.

After the swim, I retreated to the shower. And I received sign that the apocalypse is coming for sure:

In the stall next to me, someone’s cell phone rang.

Wait, there’s more.

They actually picked it up.

It gets better.

And they said “I’m in the shower, I’ll call you back.”

The world is coming to an end.

The day didn’t get better. Chris and I did the usual – Saturday morning coffee. We were sitting in Einstein’s when all of a sudden I had to leave. Because the table next to us was filled with a flock of women talking really really loud.

They probably weren’t but it was one of those days where it didn’t matter if they were using a whisper – everything today was going to be LOUD. We left, he drove home and I made him close the windows – TOO LOUD. The sunroof – TOO LOUD. Turn the music down – TOO LOUD. Turn me down – too….much of a pain. A complaint-filled Liz, a sure sign that for Chris it was going to be a rough day.

By the middle of the afternoon we were ready to go for a ride. When Chris asked where I wanted to ride I said let’s see, we have three choices out here in the western suburbs (1) fermilab, (2) fermilab, (3) fermilab. Chris said good I was hoping you’d say fermilab. A sure sign that we have either been married too long or live in a really bad area for rides.

Chris was going to do an easy ride. I was going to do whatever it took to keep up with Chris’ easy ride. Which wasn’t really easy for me. But that’s ok. I’ve been in rest mode all week – a sign that I should be feeling peppy and fresh. Not the case (see earlier swim) and when I told my coach this she came back with sunshine and smiles saying that last week had to hit me some time.

It hit.

Back to the ride. I’ll trade you my 65 degrees if someone could please turn off the freakin’ wind. Was that necessary today? Oh southwesterly wind blowing at what felt like 130 mph. By some miracle I was able to keep up with Chris which might be a sign that my legs really are alive. And when I noticed my power higher than usual I thought to myself this is a sign that I have benefitted from days away in San Diego and all of those climbs.

But in the midst of my collection of good signs, there was a sign that the apocalypse is coming. Again. We were riding out when we saw two guys. With time trial bikes. And..

Aero helmets.

I did not just see someone in full kit and aero helmet at fermilab.

I did.

Part of me should have just stopped right there, laid down the bike and slowly walked away. Called it a day, walked southwest into the wind never to return home.

But Chris convinced me to come back. Ride home. A sure sign that he loves me. Once back at home I decided I was hungry. I grabbed some carrots. I don’t usually eat carrots but I bought a bag the other day and thought they sounded like a good idea. Something that sounds like a good idea food-wise is another sign…

stay away.

Maybe I ate 30 percent of the bag. Maybe 50 percent. But must we bring math into this? Ok, I ate a lot. And then I realized that carrots – though good – can go wrong. Very wrong. VERY VERY VERY wrong about 3 hours later when they churn in your stomach to the point where you are on the floor crying because you are in so much pain. And you think to yourself – in the past two months I have climbed mountains, nearly bit through my lips while hanging on to a man’s wheel for dear life, peed in the pool while holding my breath and now here I am completely shut down BY A CARROT STICK?

A sign that this day has gone on too long.

The best part is that tomorrow…I have a race. If I was a smart person I would just take all of these signs, add them up to find the sum of all the signs is that race day…will not be my day.

HOWEVER.

Seeing that I am determined to prove to myself that though I felt like shit on a stick and though I got my ass handed to me by a carrot stick (there is a theme here)...

I WILL NOT GIVE UP.

No. I will go to that time trial tomorrow and I will vomit orange shreds of carrot all over that course if that’s what it takes. I will push my pedals so hard into the 10000000 mph wind just to make the point that no matter how long that wind keeps blowing I will keep riding into it over and over and over again. And then when I hit the turnaround, I will turn around and do it all again. In reverse. Harder this time.

You know why? Because if I had chosen to listen to signs then a long time ago I would have given up or not even tried. Because there is no reason why someone like me should be doing any of this….I have no superstar background in athletics, no state records, Olympic trial qualifying times. Heck, I don’t even come from an athletic family. So along the way there have been a lot of signs that said

STOP

DETOUR

WRONG WAY

But the good thing is that I’ve always been headstrong and at times defiant. And I don't always pay attention to signs and I'm not about to start now.

As for tomorrow’s race day – I say bring it. Bring it LOUD. I'm ready. And if there is a sign out there, with all of the carrots I ate....I'll have the vision to see it from very far away.

6 comments:

BreeWee said...

Liz... I am laying on the coach feeling like junk. I think the 90 hours at camp just hit me & now my head is spinning & I am bonking just walking to the bathroom! As I sit here with a mild fever, sore, and not so good I am glad I read your blog before bed. You got me motivated to not quit & just suck up my junky feeling self tomorrow at the triathlon... because like you... it is all in my head too! Unless you count surfing for my sport, a farmer for a dad, and a water ballerina for a mom I too lack the "signs" that I am doing the right sport...
Thanks for the reminder that head strength is amazing! BEST to you on your TT!!!

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

That's it Liz! Eat the pain, embrace it, HTFU, and no regrets. Nothing will ever be as painful as what you've already done.

Carrot sticks and all.

I'll be thinking of you! Go get'em!

Beth said...

Oh man - what a day!! Cell phone in the shower -- REALLY? Can't say that it surprises me that much though. I've definitely heard people talking in bathroom stalls on their phones...

Regardless, hope the TT went awesome today!! And that you were able, by sheer will, to power through. I have no doubts that you did. Although I've never met you just from reading your blogs I can tell that your strength is your will power, your stubborness, your unwillingness to back down and just sheer, undeniable mental toughness. And that's why you have always inspired me more than just about anyone else. Go get 'em!!!

Mira Lelovic said...

Hope you smoked it at the TT trial today! Yes, wind sucks! I'd rather do hill repeats than ride flat into the wind!

TRI-ROB said...

HEY! Shit-On-A-Stick Girl! Thank you for being human and letting us other mortals see it!

Right at this very moment... I'm sucking on a shit-cicle before I head out for my run. But ya know what? I'm goin anyway... regardless of the lingering poop taste... b/c I can.

Breathe...

p.s. Looking forward to the race report.

Karl McCracken said...

Utterly b@$t@rd groovy post Liz - thank you. Keep telling it how it is, and why we keep doing it. And g'luk for tomorrow - carrots & all.