I Am My Competition

Happy Friday!  I need to gush a little bit.  Please bear with me.  This has just been an excellent week in the life of me.  For several years, I’ve been feeling a bit unsatisfied with my job, but this year has gotten off to a great start and this week was no exception.  I’ve been out on the bike 3 times, and I feel like I’m making progress and really working on conquering a new sport.  Not to mention developing a new love.  And last, but certainly not least, I really feel like I’ve hit my blogging stride this week, and I cannot tell you how much I’m enjoying it.  It’s giving me a creative outlet that I’ve desperately been lacking, and given me a way to connect with so many people out there already.  So thank you.  This is small right now, but I can feel it growing and I’m just so incredibly thankful.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about limitations.  I know all of us suffer from them at times from both extrinsic and intrinsic forces.  When it comes to physical activity and fitness, I try very hard to not be a person who limits myself or lets anything do it for me.  That is certainly not to say I’m good at everything.  Anyone who knows me will be the first to tell you that’s not the case.  In fact, I’m really not particularly athletically gifted at all.  The difference is I try not to let that stop me.  I generally will give anything a try once.  (Maybe not anything.  I know, for example, that I have no desire to jump out of a plane!)

I was talking to a friend a few weeks ago, and she was telling me that she generally resists doing things that she doesn’t think she’ll pick up right away.  Basically, if she isn’t good at it, she isn’t interested.  That struck me as almost sad.  Imagine what she has the potential of missing out on.

That particular conversation led me to believe that, generally, our greatest competition, especially as women, is ourselves.  We place those limitations on ourselves as those tiny little voices convince us that we can’t do something.  For me, that struggle has been coming in the form of this monster lately…….

I’ve been wanting to get into road biking for years, and I finally invested in this baby about a month ago.  Let me tell you-it’s not easy.  I have really been struggling with getting faster, learning the gears and when to switch them, and an overall sense of “maybe I can’t do this”.  On the flip side, biking has always given me so much joy.  I can’t explain it any other way.  Even when I was a kid, I loved the feeling of riding a bike.  So I’m not about to give this up without a fight.

With that in mind, I set out to tackle a pretty big goal (for me!) today.  I rode the bicycle to work and back.  I’ve only been out a handful of times, and only once before without John.  I know that if I’m going to really find my “bike legs” I need to become more independent and comfortable.  Today was a perfect opportunity.  I didn’t have to be at work until a little later, and because there were no kids today, I didn’t have to dress-up.  Translation:  I could sit in meetings and only my colleagues would have to deal with the general funk rising from my chair.

I was definitely anxious starting out.  I barely got through breakfast because my stomach was a bundle of nerves, but as soon as I hit the pavement it was like it all clicked.  I knew it was going to be a good ride.  In fact, I even told a squirrel on the side of the road “I got this!”

It was beautiful morning for a ride.  My legs felt great, and, although, it was a bit warmer than I would’ve liked (I was missing the 53 degree morning from a few days ago), it was still pretty nearly perfect.  Before I knew it, I had hit the city limit sign and I coasted into the school parking lot a few minutes later.  The ride was about ten miles one way, and I made it in 44 minutes.

You know what?  I’m not even interested in whether or not that’s a good pace or a good time.  I accomplished something today.  I won a mental game I’ve been playing with myself.  Like I said, it’s a great week!  So here’s my challenge-get out there this weekend and do something that challenges you.  I promise the rewards are so worth it.

What are some limitations you’ve been putting on yourself lately?  Anything you’ve been wanting to try but holding back on?

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6 thoughts on “I Am My Competition

  1. Carrie

    Congrats on your ride! (Love your bike, too! Is it a Specialized?) I took up road biking recently (this summer, actually), and there’s definitely a learning curve; having strong “running legs” helped make biking a little easier, but I was surprised by how much strength and endurance I still needed to develop. My bike skills are improving–still not 100 percent sure I’m shifting correctly a lot of the time–but I still have a ways to go, and I’m fine with that! I’ve become a stronger, more confident cyclist in the past four-ish months, and I’m excited to keep getting better. :)

    It’s a shame when we limit ourselves. One reason I decided to become a triathlete was I knew this new-to-me sport would definitely test my limits and take me outside of my comfort zone. I was scared, nervous, and anxious when I first started, but looking back at how much progress I’ve made this summer, joining the triathlon world was easily one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It’s the challenge and the journey that makes biking, triathloning, you name it worth it–keep up the good work! :)

    1. frhuman Post author

      THanks so much for your encouragement, Carrie! It is insane the amount of strength you need for biking. I’m not an out of shape person so I think I went into the whole thing feeling like it wouldn’t be that hard to pick up. It’s definitely a different animal. It’s beyond awesome that you do triathlons. I’ve always wanted to try one. In fact, I would really love to take up swimming as exercise. The problem is I live in a super small town and we don’t have the facilities. Maybe someday! Again, I’m wishing you so much luck on your race today!!!

  2. kelseyruns

    Congrats on the ride Natalie! You’re right it isn’t about the time it took you to complete the ride it was the fact you did it! I think you’re head on when you say the biggest competition for women at least is ourselves, and I think even more competition is the women compare ourselves too. I often find myself saying I can’t do something because I’m not as fast as so and so or I’m not as good. It’s awesome that your trying a new sport and sticking with it!

  3. Alex @ Brain, Body, Because

    I LOVE this post and I love your call for folks to challenge themselves.

    I was the stereotypical band geek and I always thought that I just wasn’t athletic; some people are and some people are not and I am not. Fortunately, I started running a few years ago (at night, so no one would see me) and I’m so glad that I did.

    Doing new things is so great for the mind and heart – it’s humbling and empowering and stimulating and gives you the opportunity to learn. We’re never too old to learn.

    Thank you for this post! I feel so inspired to get out there this week :)

    1. frhuman Post author

      I love this comment, Alex! Your enthusiasm is exactly why I wrote the post and, for the most part, why I started my blog. I love being a part of a community that is so inspiring to each other. Can’t wait to hear how awesome you make this week!


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