Monday, August 23, 2010

Gettin' back my mojo

I'm not really sure what happened, but this last week was huge for me. Other than getting pulled over and searched, I really had a great time. I ran a lot. I talked with people in the shop. I got some time with friends and family. And I had a couple good workouts.

I decided early in the week, since one of the perks of working at the shop is that it's free, that I would race the mini tri (1k swim, 40k bike, 10k run) at Great Buckeye on Sunday. My confidence has been lacking. And I was feeling out of shape, so I figured this could just act as a test.

And lo and behold, somehow, I pulled out my first overall win!!!

I think it's just because none of my uber fast teammates were racing. We had perfect weather and I led start to finish. And my dad came out to witness. It was fun.

And most of all, it was just another affirmation that I'm going to be ok. In fact, I went out for a ride with a guy, whom I haven't known very long, on Friday and he was surprised at how much I was smiling and laughing. He just doesn't know that's how I typically am. How sad is that??

I'm getting back to me. And it feels good.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Never a dull moment

MONDAY - it's difficult to remember at this juncture, but I believe I slept in. I think I got an email from someone who kinda, almost knew Chris. And then I worked all day. And i came home, helped my dad, went to sleep uber early, but I awoke to...

TUESDAY - my car was stolen and my wallet was in the car. Oh crap! it's because my keys were in the ignition and I was walking up the stairwell at my old job...with my ex-boyfriend...who never worked there. And then I went to the bathroom and started my period. Ahh...sweet relief.

Yeah, that was the dream I had.

you can go and interpret it yourself, but basically, I'm feeling as though I'm being stripped of my identity. "This may relate to losing your job, a failed relationship, or some situation which has played a significant role in your identity and who you are as a person" and "there is an old lesson that you need to learn and apply to your current situation".

hmm....really? I'd never have guessed that!

Anyway, 4am up and getting ready for swim practice. Went fabulously! I guess. Then off to the grocery and for an hour run. I had the day off work and was sooo looking forward to just relaxing. So I did. Watched a movie from Netflix, cried, took a nap, awoke and decided to go to Barnes & Noble. And that's when the fun began...

See, my car has no A/C, so when I dropped my mom off to go to AZ for a few weeks, she told me to take her car. So I did. I left my car sitting in her driveway in IL. And time passed and i worked nearly every day, so when she got back to IL, I never had a chance to get back over there. Well, last Thurs, I had the day off, so I drove the 4 hours over there, dropped her car and drove the 4 hours back in my shitmobile, that has expired tags...

So, I was chatting with mom on the phone as Iwas driving to B&N and i saw lights. Dude pulled me over for expired tags. After much questioning and a good 15 mins writing out a ticket, he came back to my window "Ma'am, would you mind stepping out of the car for a moment?"... "Sure." I got out and walk to the back of the car where he continued to question me...and then asked "there's not anything in your car that shouldn't be, is there?" "no! go ahead and look if you want!" STUPID ME!!! This led to an additional 15 min search, dude on his hands and knees, opening up pots of lip gloss and questioning all the junk in my car until I finally let loose..."Ya wanna know the real story? Huh?! I was supposed to move, but it fell through! I went to IL to get away from every fucking thing and all this shit for a while. I just came back. I'm staying in my dad's apartment. I do triathlons. I have swim-bike-run shit all over my car. I have a suitcase in my trunk because I don't know where the fuck I'm going to be day to day!".

"Are you on any prescription medication?"


WEDNESDAY: Holy crap, I'd forgotten just how difficult Spinervals are. Wow. Sweatfest. Love it. more work. That was the first day in a very, very long time that I was able to look in the mirror and think, honestly, "hey. you're not so bad. in fact, you're kinda pretty. there is a light in your eyes. and you're not as fat as you sometimes think..." total progress. worked again. all day.

THURSDAY: Awoke to dreams of vomitting, which apparently "indicates that I need to discard an aspect of my life that is revolting". Again. duh.

And then swim practice. Again. Where I got my arse kicked! I think I'll be sore, actually. A warm-up set and straight into 5x300 on 4:00, pull, then 22x50 on super fast intervals. and zombie kicks. awesome. And then coffee, a clif bar and a 90 min run.

And an afternoon frying myself at the pool with mom. And an evening hanging over a few beer with step-mom.

boring for you. not so much for me. :)

Monday, August 16, 2010

Moving on...

Since that last post, lots has happened.
I almost instantly felt relieved for having gotten it off my chest. And I understand that people will judge. I was not seeking pity or attempting to say that I was morally correct in my relationship with that man, but I was feeling a lot of pain, and I was living in it. For whatever reason, I needed to get it out. He was quite involved in my training and my life and it was affecting both.

I also received some comments that spurred further email communication, one of which included the following...

"ive seen so many changes in you over the last year and i just remember that sweet girl i met on the beach 2 years ago. you changed. you are angry, and you should be. youve been fucked over - alot. but you know what? you will grow from this, whether it's in 2 months, or 10 months, you will be in a better place than you are now. "

And I finished Born to Run. I think it's that last chapter, in which the author speaks of the character of those involved in the greatest footrace never seen, that really touched me. And, several times throughout the read, he mentions that the runners smile. and hoot. and laugh.
So, wow. I guess that email and a few comments and some work conversations made me really assess my attitude. And I realized that even my relationship with Chris was selfish. And my sorrow over it was selfish. And my anger, though much of it directed at myself, was selfish. And I have been angry. And I want to be happy again. I'm just blocking myself from it.

I took a couple days off training and by Saturday morning, I was up and running. And smiling. And I went to work HAPPY. And I didn't get mad at silly questions or upset customers. I helped where I could and just tried to make life easier for the guys at work. And Sunday, I had a long run in which I was singing along to my iPod.

And then the fun really was cervelo demo day at the shop. Two guys from Cervelo brought about 30 bikes out for test riding in a huge trailer. It was hot and humid and sunny. And for two hours, we were sweating, swapping out pedals, adjusting seat heights, grilling, trying to make riders feel comfortable. And then the storm rolled in... And computers went flying and beautiful carbon bikes went crashing in a heap. And tents were in the air. We all got wet. And I don't think anyone got mad. And it was just a fun time, despite the fact that it wasn't ideal.

And I guess that's what life is all about, right? Having fun even when it's not ideal.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Chapter 30.0 - Chris A. and the Truth of the Matter [edited]

The day I met him is so vivid in my mind I can nearly recount each detail, from the clothes I was wearing (a green tank, cuffed boyfriend jeans, yellow beads that later became known as "the candy necklace", and wooden clogs), the employees in the shop, the weather (ominously dark, a storm looming), my purpose. It was Friday, April 16th. The day after tax day. I only know because I'd received a mass email invite for a tax day ride the day before and he'd replied "to all". I just needed some Chamois Butt'r. And time out of the office.

I didn't so much see him as I skittered in the back door as I felt him.

 I had been surprised by the noise of my clogs on the hard wood flooring. And then I turned around and he was there. And i took him all in. I heard him make a funny quip about how his "speak and spell was hooked up to his lite brite", the mistake for the "reply all". There was some joke about his riding a purple Vespa. And his old age. And idle chat about hammer gel, lube, the HOS 200 that I'd done just five days prior, the Rampage Ride vs Reser's ride on Tuesday nights. His lanky limbs and the striations of grey in his long curls that peeked beneath his paperboy cap and the veins that protruded and the wit and charm and his piercing eyes, the fact that he stood nearly a foot taller than I and the bright blue tee emblazoned with "I just want to ride bikes with you"...

I recall going back to the office with the most shit-eatin' grin on my face. By then, it had started raining. And I was pulling my hair into "Friday hair", exclaiming, as I skipped down the aisle of cubicles, that I'd just met "the next boy that was gonna fall in love with me".

I had his email. And sent an innocent little note, wishing that he'd gotten to his destination (on his little purple Vespa) dry. Little did I know that this would lead to an illicit affair.

It began innocently.

It was a matter of days before he was ditching plans to ride (in a group setting) with me. He patted my helmet afterward. And then a text just seconds after parting. A call the next day. A meeting. An intro to Clubby. Song lyrics on the mailbox. A talk (in which I found out later I was being "assessed" for flaws).

I was smitten. And he had a girlfriend. But that didn't leak out until I asked, as did many of the "minor" details. Ya know, like the fact that they lived together. And she had kids. It was all too complicated by the time I discovered that information.

He said things between them were "status quo". I had "taken his perfectly settled snowglobe, and shaken it" But now, you've drop-kicked mine.

[And what you don't know from previous chapters is what I may deem as "typical" or "normal". or the relationships in which i've been involved. or with whom and with what situations my most intimate friendships may be that could skew my whole's all relative!]

He was at my place morning (before work many times, watching me get ready), noon (lunch every day, many times losing track of time) and night (rides, during which I'd laugh so hard I couldn't pedal. Or I'd spit out my water mid-hill onto Ack, who would question my sanity).

He taught me to be a better rider. He gave me suggestions. He made me push. He helped me fall more in love with my Masi than I ever thought possible. He inspired me. And isn't that the greatest compliment of all? Inspiration? He believed in me more than I believed in me.

It makes sense now why he was brought to tears as he sat in my kitchen, sweaty from a ride, attempting to explain his attraction, but simply only being able to sputter that i was "meant for great things".

He'd told me he'd cut it off with her. He had an interview with Cannondale. Several interviews, in fact. Four phone interviews in one day. And he called me between each. He came over after and proposed the idea of moving to CT with him were he given the opportunity. he just wanted to tuck me under his arm and run off together. I thought there was no way he'd get off that easily.

Then I got the call. "Are you in the car? Do you have a minute? We're going to Connecticut!!!" I was going to the Cleves Time Trial. My legs went tingly. And my eyes blurred. And I lost my head. I knew I was a secret. And I could tell no one. But I was GUSHING with excitement. Got a new PR. Went for a run.

But something wasn't quite right. I was sharing him. And I couldn't handle receiving his heart and allowing his body to reside elsewhere at night. He swore there was nothing. He offered to allow me to walk until he got everyhing figured out. I was torn. And somehow, deep down, I felt that I could let him go then, or I could let him go later. but no matter what...

And I wanted all I could get at that moment in time.

So we continued to have extended lunches where time stood still. And long rides full of laughter. He brought me NyQuil and slathered me in VapoRub in the middle of the night when I was sick. We looked for apartments. We made plans.

And  he sat with my dad. And he discussed the move. He told my dad he'd be coming back soon to ask for my hand in marriage. He was going to give me a ring for my 30th birthday. But instead, I didn't even get a phone call.

I used to feel like the most beautiful girl in the world. That's how he made me feel.

In retrospect, I understand why he'd sat on my couch, overcome with fear, tears welling as he told me that he'd be devastated if i ever left him, that he was afraid to take me from my stability, the most I'd ever had, and pull me out East. I guess he knew he was ruining it. He was the only one who knew.

By then, i wasn't so much a secret. Word was trickling out. I'd quit my job. And I gave up my apartment. I ended my gym membership.
I went out there. To search for a place. For us. Me and he and Clubby. Just five days before the big move. He'd already started at Cannondale. And she called my phone. She'd seen thousands of calls to one number on the bill. And all the lies began to unravel.

I was curled on the floor in the hotel room, screaming and crying, incapable of rational thought. Dad got me an early flight home. But business wasn't finished.

I picked him up from work and asked that we each just compartmentalize what had just occured so that we could enjoy one last night together. What purpose would angry words and tears serve at that point?

So, we went and had a pitcher (or two) of beer. And then to a Mexican joint for burritos. And then to this little Irish pub, where we danced, and sang and laughed. And loved.

And that's the last place we were "that couple"- ya know, the one everyone kinda admires; the couple everyone wishes they were; the couple you tell to "get a room" even though they have a room. and it's probably the honeymoon suite.

And the next morning, before I got on a flight to Cincinnati he told me I was awesome that night. What he didn't realize is that I'm awesome every night. And he could've had awesome forever.

That day is blurry. I remember bursting into tears on the first flight and a woman giving me a tissue. I remember being outside at the airport in DC talking to my mom. I remember him calling. And crying. And keeping me on the phone even though there were no words to be said. 

And I had told him time and again, that I would be just fine. I've been through sooooo much! But I didn't know if he'd be ok. He had a lot to learn. And discover. and with which to cope.

I took the pain I was feeling and stuffed it down. I didn't know it at the time. I just instilled physical pain on myself instead. I rode long and hard. And ran fast miles in the heat. I thought I was fine. I took some time out and went to IL to get away from the gossip. Word travels fast in the cycling community and it seemed everyone knew my story. And I hadn't told any one of them. (So, here it is now. I'm sure she has a different tale to tell. As does he.)

Now I find myself sad. and angry.

I was riding the other day, the wind beating me into submission, screaming "I hate you! I fucking hate you!" But it's not him I hate. I hate my situation.  I hate that I don't have a place to call home anymore. I hate the instability. I hate that I'm making $10/hour in a bike shop and I have a 401k sitting in the bank. I hate that I think of him every day. And I hate that people that I don't know, know me because of this. I hate putting on a happy face when I'm not feeling happy. I hate when people ask me where I live. I hate that when I briefly tell this story that people snicker. I hate seeing pity in others' eyes. I hate that I trusted and believed. And loved. And failed. I hate that the man I love is not in my life every day.

There are things that occur that make us question everything. This is one of those things. And some days, I question why I ride or run or swim at all. I used training. I used it to my advantage, to help me cope, to get me through. And I've found it's failing me. Because training can't heal a broken heart. But it sure can make one tired. And abusing it can make the passion for it go into hiding. And denying the heart the ability to grieve can make one angry. And bitter.

So, I'm taking a break. And I'm getting honest about how I feel. This isn't for you. It's for me.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

I had a date...

..tonight, Saturday, with a young steed. A Masi, to be exact. Yeah, Pathetic. Saturday night and I was out on my bike. But it was soooo beautiful out. And I'd been at the shop. And on my feet for eight hours. So it just felt like the right thing to do.

It's been a weird week. Full of ups and downs. Some mornings, I wake up and think FML. And others, I get up, go through the motions and get by. Wow. Sounds depressing. But not really.

I mean, Wednesday, I melted. It was like 105 degrees outside and I got on my Masi, tried to find a good route to Wheelie fun, where I work, got lost (stupid me and copying down a cue sheet, for, like, the fourth time, wrong!), finally found the shop, hung out for a few, refilled bottles with water and nuun, rode back. Against the wind. Uphill. And had a meltdown. The kind of screaming, wheezing for air, screaming, bawling crying that makes you stop on the side of the road and assess your sanity.

And then I rode home in silence. I showered, attempted to lie down, and got up to go work a road race in Devou Park. Where it was still, like, 102 degrees!! Poor racers!

After a few hours there, I met my buddy, Rob, for a much needed beer. Ahhh....

How long has it been since I actually relaxed and had some fun???

Anyway, it was an early night. I was exhausted. And had to work Thursday.

Not much occured Thursday or Friday. I trained. I worked. And, oh, I was actually told that the shop is totally different place with my presence. And my coach was in. As were a couple of my teammates. And i met a few new folks.

I also had an amazing 90 min tempo run on Friday morning before work. I came across a local girls XC team on the bike trail. They passed once. Everyone looked fresh. Then twice, when the coach exclaimed that I still looked good and to help out his girls. I laughed. And then felt kinda guilty for not helping. Because, really, that's what I'd LOVE to do...make those girls believe in themsleves, that they can run further and stronger and longer than they think. Because, truly, the body is so much stronger than the mind allows belief.

[perhaps i should heed my  own advice/suggestion?]

Because I arrived home from work and I was toast. Burnt toast.

And I awoke this morning thinking "Fuck My Life!" My legs were achy. And my lids were droopy (from letting the diarrhea-induced pup out 3x in the night).

But I got some coffee. And I sat outside. And I went to work.
And, ironically, I work at a place that pays shit but makes me happy. I feel useful. And wanted. And helpful. I mean, I worked for years ripping people off with high interest rates on equipment they couldn't otherwise afford. And now, I help people ride bikes more effectively and efficiently.

And I'm trusted. Today, I disassembled, reassembled and re-cabled an aerobar on a P2. By myself! And the manager told me that if I had questions to ask, but...when I finished, he was slightly amazed, couldn't believe I'd done what I had... on my own.

So, I'm now of the belief that we should do what we love. And i think it will ultimately bring to us what we love to do. But that's another post in itself...

Sunday, August 1, 2010

My life, as of now

I am an emotional roller coaster. I pretty much always have been. I mean, my calculus teacher in high school even said so. And the boss I had at CVS through high school/college still tells stories of me going ballistic in the back room after dealing with idiot customers...or idiot coworkers. When I was a kid, I was sooo incredibly shy. And sensitive beyond belief. I would cry at the slightest bit of constructive criticism.

Luckily, the world has decided to toughen me up a bit and throw me a few assholes to fall in love with. And it's given me a few hurdles to overcome. And, ya know, I've come out on the other side of each one stronger, fuller, wiser, better. Don't get me wrong. They've all entailed tears and tantrums and yelling and screaming and blaming and name calling. And it's typically all very dramatic and excruciating. Like, bottom-of-the-barrel-psycho-wanna-die-or-kill-someone kinda pain. And as suddenly as it came on, it's gone. I've come to a point of acceptance (or I've gained some amount of control) and I move on.

But this one...this one is different. It's lingering. I awake from dreams and have to actually bring myself back to reality before reality sinks in. This one has me stuck a bit. And when I feel stuck, I run. A lot. Running is my first love. No matter how horrible a day, a run can relax me. It can take off the edge.

I can find relief in a run.

And it just so happens that I've been reading Born to Run, which is AMAZING, by the way. And as I was reading through last night, a certain point struck me. The author is speaking of the Tarahumara and their running. And how one coach stumbled upon their "it" factor. That "it" factor that makes them so strong and fast and, well, what you can't put into words; character. The notion of character that is compassion. Kindness. Love.
"[He] couldn't quite put his finger on it, but his gut kept telling him there was some kind of connection between the capacity to love and the capacity to love running. The engineering was certainly the same: both depended on loosening your grip on your own desires, putting aside what you wanted and appreciating what you got, being patient and forgiving and undemanding...we wouldn't be alive without love; we wouldn't have survived without running; maybe we shouldn't be surprised that getting better at one could make you better at the other."
I don't really know what I'm getting at here, except that maybe, subconciously, my love of running increases when there is less love from other sources. But hell, what do I know?
I also put in a couple good swim practices and a solo 90 mile ride on my day off. It was one of those rides where I started and suddenly, I was stopping at mile 45 to get some fluids. And before I knew it, I was back to where i started. And I barely recalled having just ridden for 4.5 hours.

Oh, and I've been working a lot. At the bike shop. The days go by quickly. And I'm learning a lot. But there is a complete difference between being on your feet all day at work and sitting in front of a computer in a cubicle all day at work. the former leaves you much more tired. But i get to talk with lots of interesting people (coworkers included).

And this week, I'm dog-sitting for my dad. It's already hectic. A lab/husky pup, a full grown lab and my Clubby. So life is definitely not dull right now. But some days it sure is blah.