Our whole lives we are told that doing more, doing extra, working harder, will produce the results we want. It doesn't matter the venue. If you want to excel academically, if you want to become a master of chess, if you want to become a chef, if you want to be a writer, if you want to dance for the NYC Ballet--you must work unwaveringly hard.
Nothing comes without hard work.
Here's the problem.
I think that as I have gotten older I have developed an anxious response when I'm not working really hard. I have achieved a few things in my life now--advanced degrees and accolades at work and a few good race times for a girl who genetically belongs in the middle of the pack--but none of these things came easy to me. I remember studying for my GREs, for example, when I was applying to do doctoral work in English many years ago. I study relentlessly. I killed myself studying, taking practice test after practice for months and months. Then I took the test and I did really well. This showed me not that I was a smarty pants, but that if I worked like a dog I could do very well. I studied like a crazy woman because I was so anxious that I couldn't do it--that I couldn't score high enough to grant me entry into elite schools. Studying seemed to be the only thing that quelled the anxiety. When I did do well and did receive entry to do doctoral work, the anxiety continued, because if I didn't work my ass off, it would be revealed that I was actually very average under my high-scoring GRE veneer.
So I'm anxious when I'm not working hard. Working hard quells the anxiety. It quells the fear that I will be discovered as not really good--just a person of average intelligence and athleticism who works her ass off. Do you see the problem here? You can't work insanely hard all of the time at everything you do, especially when you are a hard core triathlete, a mom of three little kids, and you work full time. You just can't. Or you will--what? I don't know. Lose your mind? Jump off a bridge? Never get out of bed because you just can't get up and do it again?
All of this would be solved, I think, if I could just convince myself that it doesn't matter one iota what the rest of the world believes about me--about my ability to parent, to teach, or to be an athlete. Truthfully, the world doesn't give a fart about me, anyway, right? It is too busy trying to manage its own host of issues to concern itself with whether I am fraudulent or not.
I need to let go of the anxiety that if I am not training all the time, really hard, I will still be a good athlete.
I need to remember that quelling the training anxiety beast will just make me feel worse when I try to slay the bad mommy beast.
I need to embrace that rest is good, and that if I do rest, I will still be okay.
I need to allow myself to lead most of my life in zone 1, and save the high zone training for special times.