Yesterday I was told I crossed a barrier. Or better put, achieved a milestone, in training. But at the time it just felt like another ordinary daily training day.
There was a stiff headwind on the home straight - so strong that our warm up was blown apart with 10 laps to go. The pace for some reason was high after only 10 laps in and we just continued to drill it, with the head wind taxing the mind and body with each pedal stroke into it. First Tela popped, and Jennie shortly thereafter. And my endurance butt got to continue alone for the remaining 5 laps. I only made it three. Often our warm up is the hardest continuous effort of the day. It makes the efforts seem easy.
On tap for today (after an early morning weight training session) - four flying 250m efforts. I've been working on the wind up - getting slightly better with each one, but not quite where I want to be yet. Yet today was a break through - I pushed and grunted up corner one, flying into corner two, out of the saddle and driving it all the way to the line and was rewarded with a 3/10ths improvement. I received a few comments from Jennie and Tela about how it actually looked like a sprinter wind up.
And for this scrawny, chicken legged endurance rider - that is huge.
As the countdown toward Nationals continues, my anxiety of placing eggs all in one basket rises up and bubbles out with mention of going for the Madison, the team pursuit, etc.... and Jennie comments on how I have A.D.D.. Do I want to get a bunch of 5th place finishes or actually win a title?
Oh, right. Settle down, Jen. Settle down, I tell myself. Enjoy the practice. Don't get overly excited or rough around the edges, take each effort as a means to practice. Focus, drive, give it 110%. Trust. Patience. Hard work.
Reading Steph's blog hit home today. She quoted an excerpt from a Zen master that was very well suited to what I'm talking about.
“It is necessary for us to keep the constant way. Zen is not some kind of excitement, but concentration on our usual daily routine. If you become too busy and too excited, your mind becomes rough and ragged. This is not good. If possible, try to be always calm and joyful and keep yourself from excitement.
Usually when you do something, you want to achieve something, you attach to some result. From achievement to non-achievement means to be rid of the unnecessary and bad results of effort. If you do something in the spirit of non-achievement, there is a good quality in it. So just to do something without any particular effort is enough. When you make some special effort to achieve something, some excessive quality, some extra element is involved in it. You should get rid of excessive things. If your practice is good, without being aware of it you will become proud of your practice. That pride is extra. What you do is good, but something more is added to it. So you should get rid of that something which is extra.”
I would call 3/10ths a prideful extra. Yet it's hard not to get excited when you see a marked improvement on something you've been working on for days/weeks/months and years.
Ah grasshopper, so much to learn. So much to learn!