My name is Justine, and I am an overachiever. Now, this admission is not meant to imply in any way that I am successful at everything I attempt to do. I simply mean that I attempt to do everything. It’s borderline psychotic, actually. The worst part about my psychosis is that I can quite ably rationalize it into sanity. For example, last year my spouse convinced me that we should do the MS 150 bike ride. It’s two, 75-mile days on a road bike for an outstanding cause. I thought that asking myself to do two 75-mile days was a lofty goal considering the longest ride I had done the previous summer was one 62-mile day, which I despised. But, once I committed to the MS ride, I realized that I was going to have to do the same 62-mile ride I hated the previous year because it’s actually an outstanding training ride. So, this is how my psychosis manifests itself. One ambitious idea begets another ambitious idea until my entire calendar is consumed with events I must do to train for the event that follows. I can’t stop. Classic overachiever.
Well, hubby and I trained for and completed the MS 150. We were not the fastest riders, but we definitely held our own. We were quite proud of ourselves, and not content to rest on our laurels. Merely one day after the MS 150 ride had elapsed I found myself online registering for a century ride. Yes. That means one hundred miles in one day. I started wondering if they had spiked my Gatorade with Adderall. I had barely wanted to do the MS 150, but now that I knew what I was capable of I felt empowered to push myself a bit further. I mean, we were already TRAINED for the century. It would be downright irresponsible not to go ahead and knock the hundred miles off our lifelong to-do lists when we were fit and ready to go, right?
There were two full months in between the MS 150 and the Buffalo Bicycle Classic century ride. We rationalized that all we had to do was ride enough to stay in shape. So, we did. We rode every chance we got. Two weeks before the century, I did a 67-mile ride with my sister just to make sure I was still up for the task and determined I was good to go.
Then, Mother Nature wreaked havoc. A fire broke out in the foothills outside Boulder, and the ride had to be cancelled for safety reasons. I was honestly heartbroken. I moped for days. I had worked so hard and put in so many hours on that bike and suddenly it felt as if it was all for nothing. I knew it wasn’t for “nothing.” I mean, I did break the mark of riding 1000 miles last season and that was huge. I was 42 and more fit than I was at 21. And we had done the MS 150 and raised about $1000, which was great too. But, it still wasn’t enough to help me overcome my disappointment at the cancellation of that ride. You know why? Because I didn’t get to cross that century ride of my life list. And, I knew that guaranteed that the spring and summer of 2011 would be a training repeat of 2010. Indeed. My name is Justine, and I am an overachiever.
So, let this serve as a cautionary tale to those of you who are considering putting an athletic event on your list of things to do this year. If you have any overachiever in you (I’m three-quarters overachiever and one-quarter Polish myself) or if you’re one of those people who will make a list after the fact just because you get a cheap thrill from crossing off things on a list, beware. Post-event euphoria can turn your life into a swirling vortex of non-stop training for the next big thing you want to do. Once you discover how truly capable you are, your desire to push yourself just a bit farther might surprise you.
If you’re looking for me between March and September, I’ll be in padded shorts on my bike. And, with any luck, this year I will finally cross that century ride off my to-do list. I have this sneaking feeling, though, that next year there will just be something else in its place on my list because I am three-quarters overachiever, you know.