I get these ideas. These days, these ideas are mostly about training. Sometimes, as my mom used to say, “My eyes are bigger than my stomach,” and I dream up ridiculous training ideas that I have to back-off from.
Sweet spot. I think life is often ideal when we find the sweet spot. The middle way. The place suspended between the two ditches. The yellow line. The line where we are pushing just right, not too hard, not too easy, not too tight, not too loose. Strong back, open heart. Peak performance. Hard. Yes. Hard, but not too hard. Just hard. Nothing more.
So my idea for today’s training was one tire, two tires, three tires. Kinda like Dr. Seuss. One potato, two potato, three potato more. I wanted to see if I could pull three tires all the way up Signal Hill. I’d pulled three tires for short distances in the past but this was going to be my first go at a full pull with three tires…only I wanted to warm up a bit first. So I did the first pull up with one tire. It wasn’t too bad and I moved along nicely. For the second pull, I added a second tire and it got much harder but I could still pull bottom to top without stopping. When my mind thought ahead to three tires, I was filled with dread and doubt with my thought process going something like this, “If two feels this hard, what’s three going to feel like? Really hard, eek! Maybe I shouldn’t try it. Maybe I should stop at two.” I realized I could also unclip the third tire and fetch it on the way down if it truly proved that my eyes had been bigger than my stomach and that gave me the freedom to try it.
Third go…started out and it was a bit easier than expected…then the slope increased and my speed dropped. I needed to stop for breaks but I did manage to keep the three tires moving upward. My mind rebelled at the level of work somewhat, but I just kept choosing to take step after step. It was perfect. It was hard. It was like being at altitude. I was moving really slow and it seemed as though the top would never come. But then it did. After taking step by step for a good chunk of time, I was at the top of Signal Hill with my three tires, filled with endorphins, filled with appreciation for my gains in both physical and mental fitness, and filled with gratitude for all the drivers who slowed when passing me as well as all the folks who honked and shouted out encouragement as they went by. I’d found that sweet spot between too easy and too hard, the task that asked for just the right amount of drive (three wheel drive tee-hee pun intended), and that was exactly right at this moment for training for high altitude at sea level…I found it where the rubber meets the road.