Snowed under and suffocated. They are just a couple of words that spring to mind when I try to think of some descriptors of my recent working/riding life. Though not on a rotating shift roster at the moment, the stressors of working an essentially full time load at work, attempting to parent in addition to my multiple extra-curricular activities has meant that everything has been a stress.

Get up at 0400 to do some VO2 efforts in the bush (it may as well be midnight at that hour) and know that by the time you roll out you have exactly 82 minutes to get everything done, then get home, shower change and run into the car to get to work. If they’re lucky my family may even get a kiss goodbye. Finish work an hour (or two) late, get home, make dinner, husband has to go back to work (he too is swamped) so I bath and get child ready for bedtime, read a story and say goodnight. It’s 2045, and I crawl onto the windtrainer, off after nine to do some gym, shower and bed.

Is this what being a full-time working mum who moonlights as half a dozen other things has to be like?

I suppose it is, as without 0400 wake ups and late ergos I have two days at most when I can ride in a week. It’s a story I know many others would empathise with. I can’t complain about it; I just make it work. I have a great family and a job that only sometimes drives me mad; when I feel overwhelmed, grumpy or exasperated I think of my good friend Jayne who does the same but with three kids. Wow!

I am sorry I am a blob on the couch after my 0400 starts. I am sorry I don’t do the washing up. I am sorry I am not around to make you breakfast those days. I am sorry my brain is totally scattered after 10, 11, 12, 13 or 14 hours at work and I put the butter in the washing machine and the socks in the fridge. I am sorry I am grumpy and couldn’t come home earlier to help with dinner because someone called an ambulance due to their emergency constipation at ten minutes to knock off, and now I am home two hours late. My nose is stuffed up and I am probably stretching myself too thinly again, on the cusp of yet another full blown funk-face sinus infection.

I am sorry for the apologies and for the self pity: but being a dedicated part-time athlete is hard work. Sometimes, though, the stars align and instead of flogging my old body around I somehow get enough sleep, eat the right foods, haven’t encountered a profusely infectious patient in a while and have the time to go for a ride where everything is awesome.

Somehow, the flow state jut happens and I am just railing, not even thinking of where I am putting my bike, or worrying about putting in the effort, it just happens.

I can never pick it; usually the day after a race would be a definite grovel fest but today—somehow—it happened.

Music and exercise are two really important things in my life, though undoubtedly exercise takes precedence now, but occasionally when I am riding along Hans Solo in the bush, the long fireroad climbs are aided by an iPod. Warming up for races, music can get me in the mood. It’s a proven, legal, ergogenic aid. Sometimes songs I never would think would make me happy and flow-like on the bike just appear and are then evermore associated with railing bikes, the glorious hurt and all the other desirable reasons we ride bikes.

So, after all that, I leave you with my mix of glorious Flow tracks from todays endurance ride.

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