Tuesday Coffee Talk - Are you comfortable with your athletic persona?

Most adults are or at least should be comfortable with who they are but what about where you are as an athlete? How many times do you hear yourself when talking with another cyclists about how you could be better or faster, stronger bla bla bla if only you did have X, Y or Z in your life. Yesterday while I was out on a hot noon ride a rider came up to me and started chatting (since he noticed my 303cycling jersey) and their I went into this long explanation as to why I'm not as fast as I use to be, but the weirdest part, the other cyclist never asked me "Hey Kris, why are you so slow these days". No, we where just chatting about this video work they had done for 303cycling back in the cross days last year.

Why can't we just be satisfied with where we are in our fitness? That doesn't mean you don't strive for more but at that moment in time, it is what it is and accept it, no excuses needed, no "back in the day talk". I don't do this to justify my lack of hair on my head or the software engineer like outfits I wear so why do I do this with my fitness?

Am I alone here?

Starting today I'm going to stop making any excuses, where I am today is where I am.

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This is a difficult mental task for all athletes. we should always be looking to achieve more and be better but not at the expense of enjoying where we are at the time. Personally I like the process of improving. ie. Not being at the top of my game and working to improve. I have said many time, "we have to train/ race with what we have, not what we want"

There are people in my

There are people in my category (35+3) that train like pro's (12+ hrs a week), have pro quality bikes, go to training camps in exotic places, pay for expensive coaching, etc. If I did this my wife would leave me and my career would go to shit. I'm fine being what I am - a mid/back of the pack cat three that will probably never sniff the front of a race again. It's just bike racing, if I take it too seriously I'm afraid I'll look back at my life and feel I missed out on other important stuff.

Normally, I don't comment on

Normally, I don't comment on articles online, but your blog struck a nerve.

At 53 I'm finally coming to the realization that I'm not as fast as I was when I was 35, or even 45. As athletes, we are conditioned to improve and to believe that with practice and conditioning comes improvement. But there is no denying the affects of time and age. So I have been forced to shift my thought process, and I measure my performance in terms of a 50-something adult, not a 28 year old hammer-head who is half my size, with twice the energy. That is a huge change for someone who has strived to be the best, not just the best they can be. And I have to convince myself that I'm not making excuses or trying to justify my decreased performance, but that the affects of age are real and valid.

So, when I get passed now, I smile and wave and stay within myself and don't get upset (most of the time) about having to watch that bike disappear in the distance. I'm still doing better than the vast majority of people my age, and I can take great solace in that knowledge, and be thankful that I'm still able to climb that hill and go the distance.

Not too far off

Kris, I don't think you are too far off. I think the difference isn't that you are making excuses, the difference is that the excuses will always be there. As 9 to 5 cyclist, life will just force the excuses upon you. Whether it be family, fire or health, every year something will hamper your training. You have to come to terms with that and allow yourself to train hard when you can and take the lumps as they come. As long as you are enjoying the time on your bike, you are doing just fine.

On the other hand

I loved this. I'm fairly new to the sport--as is my husband. It's always amusing to me when people talk about how they used to be faster. I always think to myself, "Well, that's your problem. If you had always just been slow like the rest of us, then you'd never have this dissatisfaction!"

I personally find it easier to keep things on a realistic level since I didn't start racing until after becoming a mom. But when looking around at other moms who work more hours than me and juggle it all, with serious training plans, I often feel guilty that I SHOULD care more about it and take it more seriously.

But then someone in our house inevitably throws up, there is a class party, family comes into town, or I want to drink a beer with a friend. All normal things. So I try to remind myself that life can be fun regardless of my speed on the bike.

It's about the love...

If you love it then it doesn't matter what you're wearing or what you're riding or how fast you're going....it's about putting your feet on the pedals and keeping the chain in rotation. I'm not fast at all. That's not why I do it. Being on a bike gives me what nothing else does: contentment in moments of Zen.

I used to be faster as well,

I used to be faster as well, I've really really let myself go and I will be fast again, as it's now again a priority in my life. Not being satisfied with where you are at is part of being a good athlete, or good at anything really. With out the desire to do better why would you do better? There would be no reason. Often I hear about balance, but something has to come first, and we all make different decisions on what is most important, our jobs, school, or even racing. Not everything can come first second and third, something has to come in fourth fifth and sixth, or even last. I'll be the first to admit I have issues with balance, but then again, every time I try to achieve balance, something gets left behind. So I'm done with balance, and in with being unhappy with where I'm at. It always has worked for me, and that's what makes life interesting, everyone has different things that work for them.