Really, if you think about it, that’s kind of a dumb saying. I mean, I get it and all, particularly in a motivational sense but really, in one way or another, cross is always coming.
I was listening to a talk the other day on the Buddhist concept of the ‘5 Hindrances’. The talk is here if you’re interested, but the quick breakdown:
According to Buddha – or at least him and everyone that’s been writing his stuff down since the 6th century – there’s 5 things getting in your (my, anyone’s) way. Way forward, way to ‘enlightenment’, way to your goals – whatever – take your pick:
- Sensory desire (kāmacchanda): the particular type of wanting that seeks for happiness through the five senses of sight, sound, smell, taste and physical feeling. Sometimes also referred to as ‘lust’.
- Ill-will (vyāpāda; also spelled byāpāda): all kinds of thought related to wanting to reject; feelings of hostility, resentment, hatred and bitterness. Also sometimes referred to as ‘aversion’.
- Sloth-and-torpor (thīna–middha): heaviness of body and dullness of mind which drag one down into disabling inertia and thick depression.
- Restlessness-and-worry (uddhacca–kukkucca): the inability to calm the mind.
- Doubt (vicikicchā): lack of conviction or trust.
So I’m chugging along, listening to Vinny break it down in his talk and it occurs to me, one of my things is Doubt. I’ve got doubt. I’ve used doubt. I’ve used doubt a lot as a reason to not do work. Sometimes to not even start. To not even plan.
By using my doubt as an excuse, I could get out of committing to things, plans, and actions due to my lack faith that I could follow through or complete them.
“Yeah, I don’t think I can do that. ” So just don’t try. Problem, solved.
You could also tag this as a fear. A fear of failure.
I’ve been working on what David over at Raptitude calls ‘getting better at being human’. Overhauling things. Working on fitness both mental and physical.
In the physical sense, I found I needed a goal, and something specific. ‘Loosing weight’ and ‘getting in shape’ were too arbitrary, they weren’t cutting it.
Last year, my goal was to ride my bike across an island in one day. I managed to do it, but I knew even then that I hadn’t really trained for it. I said I was going to, but I didn’t. I showed up for the ride and winged it. I made it, barely. A learning experience for sure, and one not to be dismissed.
I’ve always dug the sport of cyclocross. I like the brutality of it. The combination of various bike and athletic skills. The fact that it is, for the most part, carried out in weather and conditions that most people in their right mind would want nothing to do with.
I’ve ‘raced’ cross twice over the years. The first time I was mostly concerned with nabbing goofy handups and for the most part finished feeling terrible. In hindsight, this was a perfect example of doubt winning. I had no faith that I could actually ride well in the event, so chose to just go for the door prizes.
The second time, I was in slightly better shape, tried to focus more on riding, and did better. It was a ‘success’ I guess, in however you’d determine entering a C Cat cross race and finishing without dying or major injury would be a success. I certainly didn’t place, nor did I have any delusions that I would. And I definitely had the feeling that I had no idea what I was doing.
A few months ago I came up with an indoor trainer program to see if I could stick with it. I managed to do so for the most part, and even made notes on my daily progress, revised goals and expectations – like a real grown-up.
So I decided to look further out. Now, cross season is the new goal. I hear tell there’s around 6 races planned in New Brunswick – well 6 VeloNB ones anyway – so I’ve decided to give the season a go. I don’t know exactly how many I’ll be able to hit yet, but we’ll see. If memory/history serves me, they’re all pretty much within one day driving distance of me.
More interestingly, I have no idea how I’ll determine what success is. Is it starting? Is it finishing more than one? Is it placement? I don’t know. I think I will figure this out as part of the process. And really, the process – the commitment – is what I’m working on here. I can’t remember when, or even if, I’ve committed to something this long/far out before. (For those not in the know – cross season usually starts around September.)
Today starts the first phase. I’ve found a 12 week cycling base-building training program from a source on the web. After that I’ve got another 12 week program in the coffers as well as an 8 week cross-specific program. I’ll decide where to go after the first 12 weeks. In addition I’m sprinkling in some mobility and strength training where there’s spots to slot it in the 12 week program. Add in some changes in diet and nutrition I’ve been working on and continue to tweak and the numbers/tracking geek in me is pretty excited. I plan to keep track of things, make notes, revise as needed. Revise as needed vs. quitting – will be the key to defeating Doubt.
I don’t really know how I’ll measure success. I’m not deluded into thinking I’ll win whatever category I enter, or even make a podium. I’m not really sure what my concrete goal is. Doubt would have me just not even try since so much was unresolved.
Maybe that’s the goal, just making sure doubt doesn’t win between now and the start line.
I think in some respects success will be showing up and making sure I finish feeling like I did my best and did the work between now and then justice.