An old tape that runs through my head is my fear of failing, fear of embarrassing myself, fear of not winning. Sounds limiting, right?
I work to consciously rewrite that track, challenge my comfort zone and not be afraid of failing. This fall I decided, after watching Adam partake in cycle cross races the past couple falls, that it was time to give it a go myself! I reached out to some girlfriends who I thought might be interested because one way for me to squash fear is to be with my tribe. Unfortunately, no takers- at least for week one. I even surprised myself when I did not then feel tempted to bow out myself!
After race one I was elated. Not because of any result but sheerly because of the way I felt. The euphoria that accompanies hard exertion and trying something new! I was hooked. I have had a girlfriend join the race and a handful of buddies (dude friends) have joined Adam!
During the last race I was quickly reminded of yet another reason I love athletics. I hopped on my bike, this time knowing some of the other gals from the previous weeks, I had folks to chat with at the start line and then off we went. While inhaling large quantities of dust there was an immediate sense of excitement in the crisp fall air. I took off harder than previous weeks with the intention to push myself harder. Then I dropped my chain... Drats- took the wind right out of my sails. A kind spectator offered to put it back on for me as I hopped off my bike (I've since had Adam teach me how to remedy this problem on my own in the future). Looks like I'm back in the game. Physically anyway... My mind however did not re-engaged in the race. My thoughts were soft and squashed by the thought of a challenge. I was feeling defeated and lacking a sense of empowerment.
Hello self talk! Bring it back, bring it back, bring it back! I changed the story in my head.
Lap two I made some movement. I pushed myself, I was breathing hard, I was tired yet energized. I went into lap three ready to give it my all. I felt like I was one with my bike. The turns came easier, the moon dust (Central Oregon powdery dirt) wasn't as intimidating, I was present to see the scenery and people around me when pop off went my chain, again. This time rather than passively getting off my bike and lucking out that somebody took the initiative to help, I aggressively ran my bike over to spectator and asked if they could please help me. He kindly did and I was able to finish the race!
Here's the deal- these races are a low key Wednesday night ride/race at the athletic club. They get a good turn out but it's for fun. I allowed myself to get lost in that old story in the head (the fear of failure), events like this are opportunities to rewrite that story. Expand our self perception. Roll with the ups and downs.
It's about learning how to put yourself in a position to learn and grow. To embrace new obstacles and lean into challenges. To notice the attached emotions, tend to them and continue- all in a moments time.
Life is a journey. Athletic activities are a perfect way to break down that process in a short amount of time to confront fears, barriers and create a new experience that generates a new internal story.