Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Look Inside the Mind

Thoughts come and go from my Type A mind all the time. There aren’t many moments that I’m unplugged. It’s no surprise that I have a hard time turning my brain off and allowing myself to truly relax. Race week is my personality’s nightmare because it provides all the extra thoughts that you try your damnedest to avoid.

Going to work on Monday morning I had next to nothing packed for the trip. My friends, Nate and Trina, better known as The Tomatoes, were driving to The Woodlands and were coming by the house Monday night to pick up everything that wasn’t coming on the plane with me. Bike. Gear bags. Clothes. All of it. You know, you should be a bit more freaked out than you are about having nothing packed yet. The fact that you’re not nervous at all is a little scary in its own right. Meh, this ain’t my first rodeo, I’ll get it all done. Yeah, right. And when you get there you’ll realize half your shit is missing because you didn’t plan ahead you’ll unleash on some poor unfortunate soul.

As my bike, gear, and everything besides my carry-on departed my house on Monday night with Nate and Trina to drive down to The Woodlands, all I could think was: As long as I don’t see how everything is packed in the car I’ll be fine. But my camera needs to not be squished by someone’s heavy transition bag. OK remember to text Nate tomorrow and request that your Cannon be placed in a safe spot in the car.

When I marched into my basement on Tuesday morning at 6am to start my bike workout on the trusty ole road bike, it took all of .1847 seconds for me to realize that today’s ride WON’T be happening because my spare bike pedals are currently on Rob’s bike. And my actual pedals are attached to my TT bike that is currently sitting in Nate and Trina’s driveway about to depart for Texas. Seriously Megan? You woke up extra early to NOT ride your bike? How could be so forgetful and not grab your spare pedals? Sleep is like gold during race week. Every minute you can get!

On Tuesday night I sat down to my scrambled eggs and toast for Brinner and went through my last minute check list: Damn it Megan you forgot to send your Normatec Recovery Boots with Nate and Trina! I’m sure you can’t fly with those on the airplane, there’s no way! Rob got you this AMAZING Christmas gift JUST FOR TIMES LIKE THIS and you go and forget them. AH! YOU FORGOT TO TEXT NATE ABOUT THE SAFETY OF YOUR CAMERA. ::frantically grabs phone and makes sure Nate put my camera in a safe place.:: He responds with only the princess emoji. I respond with eye roll emoji. #myfriendsarethebest

On Wednesday morning my 5am alarm was practically sleeping in as I lay awake at 4am fearful I’d miss my alarm and start my travel day off on the wrong foot and create bad Karma for myself. Maybe if you get up and go to the bathroom you’ll be able to relax and sleep the last hour. NO! Don’t get out of bed, the more you move around the more awake you’ll be and you’ll never fall asleep. Don’t forget to throw your car charger in your purse before heading to the airport. Make sure to finish what you start at work today so that you don’t leave with extra thoughts hanging over your head all weekend. What time is it? 4:07. This is going to be a long day…

Focusing at work on a travel day before a big race weekend is practically impossible. But Wednesday forced me to get to work and use more of my brain than I was hoping for. Emails slowly started to trickle in and soon they poured in. Phone calls weren’t outrageous, just lengthy and mentally draining. I broke out my lunch at 10am because I felt I deserved a treat for accomplishing so much on such a challenging day for myself. And while I worked like a busy worker bee my phone buzzed occasionally with updates from Nate and Trina and Ryan (oh, did I mention that Speedy G decided to make the trip at LITERALLY the last second?), who had officially crossed into Texas and were approaching our final destination. While I was still practically sitting on the Wisconsin boarder. You’re missing everything. You suck.

Support systems can make or break an athlete. The truth behind this is unreal and I’m fortunate enough to have one of the best support systems. The world has went just over 13 months without my favorite water boy, but I’ve never felt more connected to him as I near a race day. I heard a car door shut and I looked out my dining room window, his wife was at my house, ready to pick me up and take me to the airport. This, it doesn’t get much better than this. This is what we call full circle. And as I hugged Joanell goodbye at the curb she told me, “Team Megan is so alive right now!” DO NOT CRY MEGAN! YOU WILL NOT CRY ON A CURB AT O’HARE!

Standing in line for security, it might have been one of the shortest waits I’ve had at ORD. But it felt like eternity. I swear if these people even THINK about taking away my Normatec Boots I’m going to come unglued and will likely be on the news tonight. 10 minutes later: fully through security and my gate is literally right in front of me. Well this is just to easy. I’m ready for a beer.

Security directly behind me
Gate directly behind this board

Sitting down to eat brings me more joy than I suspect most people get out of an airport burger. But this hit the spot. Except, I was sitting at table for 2 and there wasn’t anyone across from me. I wish Jacqui could have come. I miss my buddy. But Nate and Trina and Ryan will be there! And Rob will be there on Friday! Remember your boyfriend, Rob!? Yea, I know. But there’s a piece of the puzzle missing.. And this couple sitting next to me is CLEARLY ready to be done with their vacation. It’s like they hate each other. And that 5 year old who happens to be leaning over the back of his chair picking his nose while eavesdropping on the business meeting in front of me is just to cute.

Makes people watching that much better ;)
...even though I prefer this scenario from last year.

Boarding the plane my eyes were so heavy over tired. Finally, a chance to relax, and just.. be. Until we reached our cruising altitude and my body did that thing were I constantly twitch when on an airplane. My legs become twitching machines, reacting to every vibration from the engines. It’s almost like I have bit of electricity running through my veins. You are the worst relaxer in the world. Seriously. The lady next to you is practically drooling. I hope Ryan doesn’t fall asleep and lock me out of the house when I get there. Damn him, he better wait up for me. And with that final thought, I’m currently wide awake and typing away. Oh shit, the lady next to me just woke up, did she see what I wrote about her? Ha, it’s ok, people drool all the time. Mark is taking flight lessons right now, maybe he can fly me around to my races one day. No wait, that’s a scary thought. I don’t like being the car with him while he’s driving. I take it back, I’ll buy a commercial ticket forever.

If you ask my father about this “pre-race madness” he’ll have some stories for you. He does everything he can to stay far away from me during race week. I’ve had my moments over the years, freaking out about the most minute of details. I’ve gotten much better and would even consider myself RELAXED right now! But my mind, that’ll never stop. And there’s not much that can be done about it. After years of experience I know that all I can do is sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride. 

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