I hate using the B-word. I use it so infrequently that if I were to say it out loud to someone, they’d question my health. It makes me feel weak. If I do it, I question my physical abilities. I’ve convinced myself that if I give my body this, I’ll regress and all the hours I’ve spent drilling my body will be for naught.
My brain tells my body to “shut up,” to “stop being a baby,” to “suck it up, creampuff.” My brain reminds me that if I’m not doing it, someone else is, and they will boil me like the fragile neck of a turkey just to flavor their stew. They will be faster, stronger, more aerodynamic, more fit, they’llbebetterthanme.
My ego is about as fragile as my carbon bike. It can endure plenty of pressure, but if something stronger than my bike wants it crushed, it’ll be crushed faster than aluminium foil.
People tell me it’s important. That it’s imperative to listen to your body, but like Rob Gordon says in High Fidelity:
I have always been of the mindset Mind over matter, or the classic bicycling saying:
“Pain is weakness leaving the body.” “No rest for the weary.” “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Right? That’s what all these slogans are telling us and if you’re not going hard, you’re going home. We live in a society of “do or die” and “death before DNF.” Resting is for the weak. We’re told all these things and wonder why we can’t sleep at night; why we grind our teeth and wake up with TMJ; why we think we’re just being lazy when really it’s our bodies telling us to give them a damn B-word BREAK.
But I’m slowly realizing that I’m human and that I need to give my body the rest it needs. Today, I’m doing that. And it’s miserable. I tried forcing myself to the trainer. I dressed in my cycling gear, filled a water bottle, turned on Sufferfest, sat on the bike, and starting moving the ol’ legs. Two minutes in, my legs were pushing through mud.
And I want to cry. I am frustrated and feel defeated. An overwhelming sense of shame has hung over my shoulders since I stepped off the bike. I don’t want to give my body a break when I know the women I’m competing against tomorrow night are training for our time trials. I don’t want to be a failure. I want to become better, stronger, and faster. Taking this rest day is harder for me mentally than some of my tough training days. I want to know this will help me more than hurt me. I’m trying to listen to my body more and I hope by listening and following what my body is telling me, that I’ll be stronger tomorrow.