I have to keep pulling myself back into a place of peaceful serenity, a place of confidence and surety, where little spider touches and ghoul fingers of anxiety cannot touch me.
I'm pretty good at this trick. but those sticky fingers sometimes reach out and grab at me when I stop paying attention.
thus I must be vigilant in keeping my protective shield in place.
because I don't like living in a place of anxiety.
it makes me irritable.
no fun to be around.
so, you ask, what would I be anxious about?
big long tough rides.
time pressures to complete big, long, tough, organized rides.
ah, those that have kept up on my life know where this is headed: the big scary 1000 warrior (367 fools) ride is this saturday.
I know I can do this.
because I can do anything around here.
I won't do it in the least amount of time or with the most grace or in the best form, but I will do it.
I won't be the strongest climber or the fastest on the flats or the quickest descender, but I will complete this ride.
I may struggle and swear and sweat and want to quit, but I won't give up.
however, all of those above-mentioned things still cause anxiety in my mental system.
what if I can't keep up on the flats? what if my knees start hurting? what if I absolutely can't make it up that last hill? what if I have to concede defeat?
sticky, elongated, witchy, grabby fingers of doubt and (argh I hate this) fear.
there's a therapeutic process of cognitive reappraisal that is often used to deal with anxiety: one takes a fear (getting dropped while riding in a pace line on the flats), then looks at feared outcomes versus realistic outcomes. i.e. I will die versus I'll just have to find someone else to ride with, or ride alone for a while.
I can do this with each one of my (irrational) fears, and walk them all back down to the fact that I have always survived these rides, I am a strong, capable rider, I will survive this ride . . . and yet those fingers still scratch at the back of my neck when I let down my guard.
I know I've taken a big bite by committing to this ride.
but I also know I can chew it.
now make those skinny, clammy, cold, nasty fingers just go away and leave me alone.
I am wearing my superwoman shield, and intend to keep it pulled snugly around me until I reach snowbird saturday afternoon.