|Image from: GatorCountry.com|
I saw this great quote from Lou Holtz today and it really summed up the way that I have been feeling about my approach to training and racing triathlon.
After a wonderful weekend bike ride with friends, I thought I'd put down some thoughts on how my attitude toward cycling has changed my performance and my enjoyment of the bike already this season. I know that I have some work to do on the bike and that I can continue to improve my strength and technical skills, but what I am realizing is that a lot of what I had to improve on was just related to my confidence and comfort level.
With spring / summer finally arriving in summer, I have spent quite a bit of time out on my bike riding alone and with friends. And, I have never felt happier to be on my bike or more comfortable. I think there are a few things happening:
1) I've come to see cycling, not as a weakness, but as an area for continued growth. Where I used to worry about holding people up or being too slow to ride with stronger cyclists, I'm viewing those rides as opportunities to push myself a little bit harder. I'm reframing how I view my cycling to focus on the positives. If I drop back in a group, instead of cursing my weakness like I used to, I put pedal to the metal and give myself a chance to work harder to catch up.
2) I'm enjoying myself and grateful for the chance to get out on my bike. I'm smiling and taking in the amazing sights, gorgeous weather, and opportunity to spend time with my friends. I'm thankful for my health and for the amazing places my legs can take me.
3) I'm dropping, "I can't," from my vocabulary. Similar to the "have no fear" lessons learned while learning to skate ski, I'm just doing the things that I once thought I couldn't do or was too scared to do. Flying down a twisty hill on my bike is now a challenge I'm willing to accept. Other people do all of the things that I've been too scared or too uncertain to do, so why can't I do those things as well. If I hear a voice in my head (or out loud) say, "I can't," then I do exactly that thing immediately.
With these changes has come an immense boost in confidence, as I see myself starting to keep up with stronger riders or flying down hills where I would previously tap the brakes the whole way. And because I'm embracing the joy of being on a bike, I'm approaching even my hardest rides with a positive attitude, which is translating to fitness gains as well. What I am realizing is that I have the ability to be a strong cyclist, and I was motivated to get out there and ride, but the attitude component was missing. Now that I have made an attitude shift, I think the "how well I ride" part will fall into place!