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Steve's Diary
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A Bad Night


Last night was bad. I’ve been having them a lot recently. One of those nights where you keep waking up and saying to yourself "What am I thinking? … Am I crazy? I’ll never be able to do this."

When it happens I try and push these thoughts away but at times they seem to override all thought processes. Certainly there will be a big mental adjustment that I will have to make. I thought I had been able to get there but then life got hectic and I lost my resolve and everything started spiraling downward.

I suppose I knew this might happen. Before big athletic events I would often go through some moments of doubt. I think, however, that this is different because there are so many events that are all so different. As soon as I get feeling good about one, I start having doubts about another. When things were three months off I felt like I had plenty of time. Yesterday was the one month mark. That means I should start finalizing my training a tapering off. Now I really have to worry about anything I’m not ready for.

Last night it was the quarters. I still haven’t run a hard one, nor found my spikes, and my schedule looks as though I won’t have time to rummage around my parents’ garage because it would take a trip to Tahoe. This kicked off a chain of negative thoughts that ended with me eating a tub (my name for a pint of ice cream). I haven’t had ice cream since Hans’ birthday challenge and other than Reed’s challenge  it’s the first time I’ve swayed off of my diet.

Sometimes there is nothing like a good night’s sleep to change one’s perspective. I fell asleep reading free diver Jacques Mayol’s Homo Delphinus and awoke feeling much more positive. Mayol was constantly doing things that hadn't been done before. He even had scientists telling him he would die if he tried. Makes my little quest seem like, as Jack LaLanne might say, "pussy stuff". What were insurmountable issues last night were easily solved this morning. A lesson is there somewhere--sleep a lot, maybe? At this late date I must pay close attention to my hourly mental state because controlling it will become the key to this success. It's getting to the point where I just can't blow things off and re-adjust my schedule.

I carry around in my brain an arsenal of quotes--at least as I remember them--that I turn to in times of need. This mornings is from cyclist Bobby Julich. I don't have it written down anywhere so I will paraphrase:

My biggest adjustment when riding with the leaders in the Tour (Tour De France--he placed third in '98) was the mental part. At first I would say to myself "What as I doing here with Pantani and Ullrich? I don't belong here." and then I would replace that thought with "I've trained harder than them. I deserve to be here. I'm suppose to be here!" And then it became easy.

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