Monthly Archives: October 2010

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Just keep spinning

I had Dory singsonging this in my head for the last five kms of today’s 100km charity ride. Seriously.

Just keep spinning.
Just keep spinning.

Over and over as I suffered my way though to the end. 5kms to go and I was in the hurt box. But I suffered through and finished 100km (99.42km to be exact) in four hours.

Check out that heart rate. It’s not happy is it? My average heart rate on a ride is usually around 140bpm. 150bpm is high for me.

The conditions weren’t ideal. I woke up at 6.30 and it was bucketing down and I started to think maybe I’d be staying at home. I hadn’t registered for the ride so I didn’t have to go if I really didn’t want to. But I’d pretty much decided I was going to do the ride. It stopped raining and it seemed like it would be okay apart from a really annoying headwind. I got myself into a group which was happy to work together. Then it started raining. It rained on and off for well over an hour. The wind got stronger and eventually someone got at the front of the group who decided we were going too slow. I fell off the back and couldn’t get back on. It was brutal.

It started raining really heavily which reduced visibility significantly. I was having major problems seeing because my sunglasses fogged up. I got prescription inserts for them on Friday (I can see!! Hopefully I’ll stop riding over things) and what I learnt today was that once the inserts fog up, it takes a very long time for them to clear. In the end I had to take them off. I was holding them in my teeth as the rain came in sideways and was hitting me in the eye. It was not fun.

So, uh… yeah. 30 – 50kms really sucked and the rest stop was a long time in coming.

It did get better. We finally got to head south so we had a tailwind which made life so much more pleasant. The sun came out and it just seemed easier. And that would be because it was. Nothing like a tailwind to pick up your spirits. 50 – 90km passed by relatively quickly.

95kms in and I had a nasty surprise that I really should’ve known was coming. The ride turned once again into the head/crosswind. That’s when Dory started up in my head. Just keep spinning, just keep spinning. I knew I was so close to the end. I did take some satisfaction in overtaking the sag wagon for the 50km ride. Still, it was really weird to have an animated fish singing in my head. Worked though. I made it to the end.

I was going to get a massage at the finish but there was this really creepy guy there who kept staring at me. I really wanted a massage but I felt so creeped out that in the end, I left. I was entitled to a free lunch as well but I decided a shower was a better idea so I hopped on my bike and rode back to Mum and Dad’s.

Enjoyment is not a word I’d use for today’s ride. It was one of the hardest rides I’ve ever done. I’d even say it was harder then the first time I did the Kinglake climb. My confidence for my ability to do the 156km Scotty’s Ride in December has taken a bit of a beating though. Last weekend’s 80kms was so easy but this was the exact opposite.

Still, pretty pleased with my time though. I didn’t think I’d make it in four hours but I did. That’s something really positive to take from it.

Tree project

Week seven

A little bit of burn on this photo. Difficult day to shoot as it had been raining and was still very overcast with loads of glare. I have apparently brought the rain north with me. Hopefully it stops before tomorrow morning otherwise I’m in for a very wet ride on the Fruit Loop ride.

Parts of a whole

There are parts of me I like and parts of me I loathe. But they all come together to make up me. I am parts of a whole whether I like them or not.

Recently it feels like there has been a shift towards heavily emphasising a person’s appearance. A show like The Biggest Loser appears to have made it acceptable to openly critique people’s appearance. I remember reading a comment somewhere in an article about the show that said it was rating so well because people wanted to watch the fatties suffer. It seems to be acceptable these days to put down and – well, to sound a like a little kid – be really really mean to people who don’t fit society’s concept of an attractive physical appearance.

I am not and never will be thin. According to all the scales, charts and body indexes, I’m at least five kilos heavier than I should be. I can get to 70km and that’s where the weight loss stops. For all my efforts, I still have a flabby belly. I seem capable of losing weight everywhere but my stomach. The problem is that girls aren’t supposed to have flabby bellies. I make a point of not looking in the mirror when I get dressed, which is a task because my wardrobe doors – they’re mirrors. I hate what I see. All I see is the flaws and fat.

I know I should accept myself as I am and learn to embrace it. But I can’t. I can’t do the fat acceptance thing. Maybe at subconscious level I think that if I’m skinnier, things will magically fix themselves and I’ll be successful, popular and everything in my life will just fall into place. I’ll get everything I’ve ever wanted. I feel stupid for even writing that down but I think it’s true. There’s so much emphasis placed on how we look that when we don’t come up to scratch, it’s natural to feel like a failure and an outcast.

My worth as a person shouldn’t be dictated by my appearance but I’m know that it is. The hardest thing I do every day is pulling on my cycling gear because there’s nowhere to hide in that. Every single flaw is on display. My legs are okay but I’m forever grimacing when I see my torso. I’m incredibly self-conscious but my love of being on my bike just manages to overcome it. The other thing is that I have to focus on what I’m doing when I am riding, I can’t be tugging at my clothes trying to rearrange them which is something I do all the time when I’m in my ‘street’ clothes.

I spend so much time wishing there was a magic wand to fix up my flaws. But if I woke up one day to discover my breasts had magically reduced overnight and my flabby belly flattened out, how long do you think I’d last before directing my criticisms to another part of my body? It’s in our natures as women to always find something about ourselves that we hate. If someone was to offer me breast reduction surgery done by a reputable surgeon I would do it in a heartbeat. The only reason I haven’t had it done is because it’s ridiculously expensive and I don’t have the money.

I wish there was an easy answer to my angst but there never will be. I will always be my own worse critic when it comes to my appearance. I don’t believe I’ll ever be able to fully accept myself as I am. I think there will always be a part of me that wants to hide away because I can’t stand how people look at me. I know the first thing they see about me is my breasts and I’ll forever be self-conscious about that. I wish society wasn’t so shallow as to pigeon-hole people by how they look but that’s never ever going to change and there will always be some arsehole who feels free to comment on my appearance.

I know I should try to step away from seeing myself as parts and work on seeing myself as a whole. The part I don’t like, the parts I do like – they are still all me.

80kms on the bike – done!

Feeling kinda pleased with myself right now. I knocked over 80km on the bike yesterday. All the way from my home suburb of Alphington to Mordialloc and back. I think my time was pretty good too – three hours riding time. (Total time was about three and half hours which included two stops.)

What surprises me most is that I found it relatively easy. I’m apparently fitter than I thought I was. On the way out, I was very conscious of my pace and I tried to not crank it up too much as I wanted to make sure I had fuel in the tank for the journey home. On the way back, I managed to latch onto two guys who were ticking along at a healthy pace just over 30kph. I didn’t think I’d be able to sustain it but I did. All the way from Black Rock to St Kilda.

Best of all, the sun was shining, it wasn’t freezing cold and the wind was a slight breeze instead of a gale. Love riding on days like that.

I was worried that I’d set myself an task I wouldn’t be able to achieve with Scotty’s Ride but now I’m feeling much more confident. It’s just a case of stringing together a weekend where I do the Kinglake climb and then head to Mordi the next day. If I can do that over a weekend, I should be able to put it together for a single ride. At least with Scotty’s Ride, the climb is right in the middle. Once you get over the last bit, it’s all downhill from there.

Tree project

Week six

There’s fruit now and I’ve been told it’s a fig tree.

What happens next…

I’ve decided I need a new cycling challenge.

I didn’t realise how much focus I’d put into the Degani Kinglake Ride until now. It’s a little hard at the moment to get out on the bike because I don’t really have a reason to. And to be honest, the weather isn’t particularly helpful. I’m feeling a few aches and pains because of the temperature shifts.

But anyhoo… I decided this weekend, I need a new challenge. Something to focus on and get me moving again. Sooooooo, I’ve settled on the 156km version of Scotty’s Ride. At first I thought the climbs would be too much but it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. The first climb is the biggest and it’s no bigger than Kinglake. The challenge will be the distance. 156 kilometres is a long way. I’ll need to do some serious training if I want to finish the ride in a reasonable amount of time. Otherwise I’m looking at least seven hours on the bike. That’s a very long time.

So, yes – new challenge. Gotta get moving!

Tree project

Week five

Lots of growth this week as we’ve had lots of rain. In the last three days it’s gone back to feeling like winter.

Single girl angst

What irritates me most is that we are still defining women by relationships. It just reflects this neediness about being ‘whole’ only if you’re in a partnership, about being validated as a woman only if you have a bloke. Once again, it is women who are made to feel like they’re going to miss out, and it is men who get the easy ride because some women are panicking. – Virginia Haussegger

Why is Jennifer Aniston the poster girl for single angst? by Rachel Hills, The Age.

After my relationship of eight years crashed and burned in spectacular fashion, I told myself no half-arsed relationships! Eventually. You know, after the endless months of moping around the house, being a wreck and wondering where it all went wrong. But still, came out of it thinking no half-arsed relationships. Which turned me into a bit of a freak because aren’t we all supposed to pair up and mate for life? Isn’t there something wrong with a person who’s perennially single?

There’s an enormous amount of pressure put on people, women especially, when they’re single. The general inference is that there must be something wrong with you if you don’t couple up as soon as humanly possible. I can feel the swirl of pity around me because I’ve been single for so long. It’s not even a conscious thing. People tut, then sigh and have this look on their faces that says they’re sure all my problems would be fixed if I’d just find a nice boy and settle down. Uh… I feel pretty settled as I am right now. And I’m not sure why finding a nice boy is supposed to the solution to all my problems.

It’s like all the single people are cluttering up the place, making it look untidy. Society doesn’t like it when people do something different and being over 35 and single definitely doesn’t fit the grand plan you’re supposed to subscribe to. Sometimes I feel like it’s been decided there must be something wrong with me because I’m not in a relationship.

I’ve seen too many examples of relationships where people have ended up settling. It’s not that they’re miserable or unhappy but there’s still something missing. I think people are afraid of being alone so they stay with someone when they know they shouldn’t. Settling sells everyone short and it ends up with both parties feeling less than happy and satisfied. I suppose that’s what makes me different because I’m not afraid to be alone. Still, there is this niggle in my head that maybe I’m wrong. Most of the time I can ignore it because I know with unshakable conviction that I’d rather be single and occasionally lonely then in a relationship with someone who – if I’m brutally honest – I feel meh about. Maybe that’s stupid, unrealistic and just plain dumb because it’s lead to the situation I’m in now where I’m always the person who upsets the balance of the table settings.

90% of the time I’m okay with disrupting the even numbers because I’m okay with where I’m at. It’s the 10% of the time that’s a concern. Guess which percentage I’m in right now? I think it ties into my inability to make good choices at the moment. I feel that when it comes to the relationship question, I’m not good at making sensible decisions so I opt to make no decisions at all. Better to just ignore it all and not deal with it than get myself into another situation where I get hurt. And that’s the problem isn’t it? I’ve been hurt too many times to be comfortable with putting myself out there.

There’s also the flip-side of the argument in that I simply can’t be bothered. I’ve been on my own for so long that I’ve filled the spaces in my life with other things and that doesn’t leave any room for another person. I suppose that’s my indicator that I’m really into someone – I’ll be willing to change my behaviours and make space in my life for them.

But this is all a moot point anyway if I won’t get out there and actually meet new people.

Tree project

Week four

Nope, didn’t forget. Just had a busy day.

It’s not all about the bike

Deeply shocking, I know.

But it can’t be all about the bike because I’m a person. Being a person means having a personality and stuff…

Lately I’ve felt like I need a great big mental tidy. I became extremely depressed after my birthday (as seems to be my wont) and had quite a few days where I simply couldn’t get out of bed or do everyday things like, uh… go to work. Funny thing is was I didn’t have a problem getting out on the bike and that left me wondering what was going on in my head. Recently I realised that I’m riding to stop thinking. Cycling used to be a time for me to sort shit out but lately it’s been all about avoiding the noise in my head.

I wrote this big long rant on my livejournal which is protected from the masses about my lack of direction and my feelings having no worth because I don’t believe I have any to show for my life thus far. I was reminded by someone who can see my LJ that Success is not a goal, not a finish line… Success is the journey. Funny thing is, I used to be all about the journey and doing things my own way but now as I’m hurtling towards 40, I feel like I’ve somehow messed everything up and will exit this life with nothing to show for it and having left no traces that I was even here.

For whatever reason I’ve started worrying about things that I have no control over. I used to be really good at letting things go but these days? Nuh-uh, can’t do it. But I have no idea why I’m doing this. It’s strange. On one hand I’m much better about living in the moment (courtesy of the bike riding – nothing like being terrorised on Heidelburg Rd every day to get you well and truly into the now) but I’m sucking at letting things go. It was my special skill, something I worked so hard to learn. Now I have to learn how to do it again and that feels really hard.

My adult life seems to be a battle against inner demons. And to be honest, I wonder how many times I can wage war on them and win. It does concern me that one day I might simply decide I’ve had enough. Not quite sure what that means as (and let me heavily stress) I’m not suicidal. Been knocked down so many times so I can’t help but wonder what happens when I get knocked down and can’t get back up. And it’s really weird to be thinking these things in an objective, calm fashion. They’re meant to be long dark teatime of the soul stuff that you think when you’re in throes of depression but here am I, contemplating them anyway. But what’s the answer, I have no clue.

Great, I’m having a mid-life crisis. Hoorah.


I suppose I have trouble accepting myself. I have difficulty believing that I have value, that I’m particularly worthy or that I’m a good person. And then there’s my physical appearance which is a whole other area of mess-up’edness, which wasn’t helped by this article. Yes I know, I shouldn’t have read it but once I started I couldn’t stop. It was horrified fascination that someone could be so arrogant as to write something so downright nasty and actually get it published. And then there were the comments…

Not quite sure where I’m supposed to go from here. I’m going to try working on making better choices because lately, my decision making has sucked. The tricky thing is knowing what’s a good choice and what’s a bad one. My ability to work this out is seriously lacking. None of this is helped by the fact that I have no clue what I’m supposed to be doing. I’ve achieved a few of the markers of success (secure job, roof over my head, two university degrees, a car) but I don’t feel that they amount to very much. I’m envious of people who know exactly what they’re meant to do with their lives but I’m also jealous of people who have no clue yet don’t seem care.

I’m trying to accept myself as I am but it’s really hard when I don’t feel I measure up. And it’s not like I don’t have things I should be proud of. It’s not like I’m sitting idle on the sidelines, doing nothing. I’ve been overseas four times in four years. I’ve had adventures, met people, challenged myself and done things I didn’t think I could do. So why do I feel so dissatisfied and unfulfilled?