No Matter How Slow You Go…

All my life, I’d set a goal and feel extremely motivated at the start. A couple bumps in the road would get me off track, and then I’d quit. That mindset stopped in April 2019 and I’m refusing to let it crop up again.

Everyone’s probably heard this trite motivational phrase before: “No matter how slowly you go, you are still lapping everyone on the couch.”

When I was younger, I’d use that phrase as an excuse to procrastinate and put off taking care of my health. I still have time, I thought. I’m young … my weight isn’t an issue right now. (Oh…how I wish I could go back in time and talk to my past self). But now, I’m using that phrase as a way to validate the work I’ve done so far and to not allow myself to get sucked into needless comparisons with others. Comparison is the thief of joy, as they say.

These thoughts have been swirling around in my head ever since my last bike excursion. I took a chance and tried out the single-track mountain bike trails in Hayward. I had never gone “off road” on purpose. My bike is a Specialized Globe hybrid and it’s made for either trails or roads, but all of my riding up to this point hasn’t been technically challenging.

I did about five or six miles on these trails. I went at a comfortable slow pace to practice maneuvering my bike around debris, through mud, and around rocks. I also found a short .3 mile loop “for beginners” and it was an amazing experience. With each circuit around the track, my confidence and self-esteem grew. I felt amazing. I felt daring and cool and like a “real biker.”

See … there’s the problem. That phrase “real biker” pops up in my mind often. I use it as a qualifier. A “real skiier, real biker, real writer,” ect. That’s the Imposter Syndrome stepping in. I’ve been a real “X” ever since I first got on a bike, strapped on skiis, or put pen to paper.

These thoughts of Imposter Syndrome come up because over these past two or three weeks, I’ve been really struggling with the downtick in my riding time. I haven’t been biking as much for many good reasons.

First, School started back up again and we’re back to teaching in-person 5 days per week while also teaching our virtual learning students who made the choice (which I respect) to not return to school this Fall. I’m not angry about the decision to go back and teach in person, but I am struggling with the unexpected increased workload on my end. Also, my college classes for my MFA have started and now two nights per week, I’m spending 3 hours each night attending school. Oh and finally, my school is still having a Fall theatrical production (a “Best of Broadway” Variety Show) which we will livestream on Social Media instead of having a live audience.

My infinite free time over the summer is now gone and I’m adjusting to all of these transitions in my personal life and work life. I’m trying to set realistic expectations for myself now that my plate is becoming increasingly full. It was easy to get down on myself, but I had to look at things in perspective. I cannot bike 350 miles per month during the school year. Period. In August, I biked 204 miles and I’m happy with that.

But what does that mean about my year-long goal? As of today, my cumulative total is 1,046 miles, and with the cooler Fall weather approaching, I’d be biking outside maybe 2 days per week if that. I’m still not going to gym out of COVID concerns, but I do have a plan.

Over the weekend, I made a slight splurge purchase…

I am not being sponsored by Walmart or this company.

I purchased a mount for my bike to turn it into a stationary bike. I knew these existed but I never had an interest in them as I always went to a gym.

I live in a one-bedroom apartment. I need to conserve space. Hell, I have just enough room to do Yoga in the living room if I move the coffee table out of the way. But I do have room enough for this bike mount.

So when panic came in with those negative thoughts and that Imposter Syndrome, I fought it back — not by quitting. Not by giving up on my goals. Everyone is too busy. Everyone is too tired. If I can’t get out to the trails because of my additional responsibilities and my schooling, then I’ll bring the trail to me ala 1990s Nordic Trak style.

I’ll be writing a full review of this product in the future (again, I’m not sponsored by this product or by Walmart), but I already feel better knowing that I have a plan in place that works around my goals. Oh! And the best part is I already like my bike, it fits me well, and my new seat is nice on my butt. Bikes at the gym don’t give me that great of a workout OR their bike seats are sooo bad that I get undercarriage issues within the first 30 minutes.

I’ll keep biking on the Gandy until the snow flies, but now I’ll have no other excuses as to why I can’t crush my goals.

Like I said…I might have slowed down a bit but I haven’t stopped. And I’m lapping everyone who hasn’t ever tried.

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