Sunday, April 22, 2007

Initiation

'There were many terrible things in my life, but few of them actually happened'. Arriana Huffington

6:37am: I roll over in the hotel bed and open my eyes, which my body has attempted to glue shut in retaliation to the sleep deprivation to which it has been subjected over the last week. It feels like my retina are burned by the numbers on the alarm clock. I want to go back to sleep until my scheduled waking time of 8:00am, but I know it is futile. The knot that has upset my stomach for the last week has awoken for the day.

7:17am: I'm refreshed from my shower anxious to go. First, I sit down for breakfast in the courtyard adjacent to the hotel swimming pool. I look around at a room full of strangers. I wonder if they are experiencing the same feelings as me. Nervousness. Anxiety. Fear. Curiosity. Excitement. Loneliness. Self-doubt. Self-loathing. My physical symptoms of nausea and headache are intense. I contemplate driving home, but I know that will only exacerbate the problem.

9:00am: I meet up with some friends. Their words of encouragement are genuine and are meant to put me at ease, but my mind refuses to cooperate. My feeling of loneliness deepens as I sense that, at this moment, nobody else is feeling exactly the way I do.

10:36am: It's time to face the problem head on. It's cold out and I'm covered in goosebumps. Adding to the discomfort, my bladder is full, again. I laugh nervously with the stranger next to me. I can see in her eyes that she knows exactly how I feel. She feels it too. My feeling of loneliness subsides. I wish her well and mean it, but I secretly hope that I don't see her again soon.

11:17am: My breath is loud and laboured and contradicts my aerobic fitness. I'm so physically spent that my eyes have trouble focusing on anything. I'm at my limit. I can hear someone approaching from behind. I become increasingly distressed by the signs that they are getting closer. Inconceivably, I find the means to hold them off, for now.

11:41am: The knot that was in my stomach has been replaced by a feeling that my lungs are bleeding and that my legs are so weak that I risk losing my ability to stay upright. It is a welcome trade. I know the knot is gone for good and that these new maladies are only temporary.

I finished my first mountain bike race today. It went about as well as I could have hoped. The hour-long race itself was a cakewalk relative to the week of mental stress that I created for myself leading up to it. Precisely what was so bothersome to me, I don't know. My first triathlon didn't cause me that level of anxiety. The next race will be stressful too, I know it, but it will be a different kind of stress (I hope!). I'm glad to have this one out of the way. I'm also glad to have been welcomed in to a new circle of friends that are positive, thoughtful, interesting, and seem like a lot of fun.

5 Comments:

Blogger Chris Hooper said...

Congrats on the race Tori!

As a type ‘A’ personality, I’m guessing that you thrive on the pre-race anxiety and associated exhilaration/sense of accomplishment after the race. Why else would anyone sign up for a race as crazy as transrockies? You’re an anxiety junkie and you know it!

April 23, 2007 at 11:04:00 AM MDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am an anxiety junkie too Tori!
The nervousness will subside with experience, but it never goes away. Everyone has those feelings, some just have stronger ones than others.
If you aren't nervous, your not prepared enough...

Great job!

Devin

April 23, 2007 at 1:57:00 PM MDT  
Blogger BikingBakke said...

Hopefully by TR you'll be cool as a cucumber at the start. You'll still have race anxiety, but it's more just a "man I know this is going to hurt" not "holy cow I have no idea what to expect" kind of anxiety.

It's easier on the mind when you know you can handle anything in front of you.

That's why you're doing all this... right?!

My lap times were similar to McKee's, close enough anyway that there's little cause for serious concern. Seems like you and Cindy are similar too, which is teriffic.

April 23, 2007 at 9:01:00 PM MDT  
Blogger tori said...

Hoop - Perhaps you're right...but there's a fine line between anxiety that exhilarates (nicely done on the spelling, by the way - did you look it up?), and anxiety that cripples.

Devin - If it doesn't make you nervous, it's not worth doing. It's interesting that you use the term junkie...because I found myself coming in to work early today to find out when I might get my next fix.

Erik - You know me well enough by now that I will never be cool as a cucumber! I was definitely happy to be in the ballpark for speed - hopefully we'll get a chance to ride the same distance together at some point to get a real test of that. Sorry I didn't recognize you on the course...hehe...at least you know I was focused!

April 24, 2007 at 5:38:00 PM MDT  
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