Sunday, June 10, 2018

A little more real talk and a smidge about mental health.

Today a student asked me what I am doing this summer. After listing the places I'll be traveling to for races and other projects another student asked 'Why don't you just quit teaching and race bikes full time?'

Funny, I know. Obviously they have no idea what I was doing before I came to Laguna Hills High School to teach Algebra...

The day I failed my least I ended up here!
Anyway, that question has been on my mind, pretty much constantly this spring. I'm missing out on a lot of races because of school, Brazil Ride, Kanza, IronBiker... And although there have been times that I felt like I wished I had kept racing full time, and times where life seems like it would be WAY easier if I didn't have a full time job, I had this surreal moment of clarity when the kids asked me this question. And I told them the truth. When I was racing bikes full time, when it felt like a job, it took some of the joy out of it. And I was SUPER unhealthy. I felt immense pressure to be super thin, which resulted in disordered eating. I took all the fat shaming from male team mates too seriously, took the idea of power to weight WAY to seriously and as a result I was sick the whole summer of 2015 because I wasn't a healthy human.

Although it's hard to train, race, and work full time, for me personally it's healthier to have the balance and to know that the race results don't really matter at the end of the day, because there is so much more going on in my life.

But I'm not saying it's all good working and training. There are pretty major hurdles I have to overcome, and lots of sacrifice, like religiously going to bed at 9, but I'm a happier, healthier human when I know that even though I didn't land on that podium at Grand Junction, I DID help a kid pass a class they previously hated, or that last week I overheard a student explaining factoring to another (the epitome of joy for a math teacher, when kids can explain the material to each other, then you know they REALLY get it).
Every morning the commute is like a reset for me. New day, new possibilities!
It can be hard to actually HAVE balance though. Friday, when I failed the interval workout coach gave me I got pretty bummed, like almost crying on my ride bummed. But then I have to think back to the week, what was going on, what added stresses I have which can cause my body to not preform at it's peak on any given day, and I have to remember that JUST nailing workouts is one thing, doing them in a week when I had to pack my classroom, lost some sleep because of grouting a floor after school Weds, was stressed about if I have a job next year, and did a physically demanding job for 40 hours... is another thing entirely. And I need to be kind to my body and mind. Although I want to be careful to not use work/stress as an excuse (you know, really evaluate WHY I couldn't do it in case it is a variable I can control), it's also ok to be tired and to not have great workouts every time I get on my bike.

And one more thing.
Yolanda Neff posted on Instagram this week:
  • I have no idea what living a balanced life feels like. When I‘m sad I don‘t cry, I pour. When I‘m happy I don‘t smile, I glow. When I‘m angry I don‘t yell, I burn. The good thing about feeling in extremes is how intense life becomes. Two weeks ago I had no idea yet how this season would turn out, if I could turn the page after my early season collarbone injury, if the missed training sessions after my leg injury could be made up for, if my body would even be ready to race after four weeks on rehab mode. Question marks all over the place but all I knew was that karma is real. I just had to be patient. Today it feels like an eternity ago that we lined up for the first ever short track, and whereas my legs started to feel better and better with every race they got to do, my emotions hit the extremes. From buzzing exitement overload to explosions of happiness to bitter tasting frustration to massive relief and endless smiles. It feels like my heart just raced a marathon from heaven to hell and back. Thanks so much to every one who supported me at all times, thanks for all your kind messages and sharing these emotions. I can‘t wait for the next few weeks of sunny training and everything that‘s to come. Here‘s to a life full of emotions, because emotions are life 🖤

Just over here having a blast on my bike.
I feel relief when someone else posts something I can relate to this so so much. Maybe it's personality, or being a competitive person, or we are just crazy but Im not alone, and I know many other women feel the same. Big picture I'm enjoying the rollercoaster of life, but also trying to not let the lows get me down so much. The last month has been tough, but I think I kept my head on straight-ish this time and I'm coming out of it swinging. Not going to let 2 bad workouts drag me back into the slumps!

Happy Sunday. Now go ride your bike!

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