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Resolutions. What’s it going to take?


Resolutions need resolve. Resolve requires one to be resolute.

Resolute |?rez??lo?t; -l?t|
admirably purposeful, determined, and unwavering : she was resolute and unswerving.

I like the sound of being admirably purposeful. I would also enjoy being regarded as determined and unwavering. What does it take to be…. unswerving I asked myself. What is the genesis of good resolve and purposeful determination ?

My last time up on the torture machine, which for me is my Tacx bike trainer, I logged a new personal best in time, speed, and watts. Nailed it. Right out of the park. That was just an hour ago and I am still on cloud nine. You simply have got to love endorphins. Yum. This was just my second ride on the torture machine this season with the first being only last night. Yep. Two nights in a row. Good start. Heading towards purposeful determined resolve. Yeah.

On my Tacx I have the opportunity to ‘ride’ various routes. There is a display of real video shot from a motorcycle and when the route goes up hill, the machine clamps down on your rear wheel like a vise. Ouch. It provides a readout of heart rate, speed, average speed, RPM or cadence, wattage, slope, time, basically everything but your rectal temperature. Over time some courses on the companion DVD have become favorites for a variety of reasons and the one I rode the last two nights, my first two nights this ‘season’, is one I have ridden fifty-two times before. A ten mile section of the Tour of Flanders.

Last night I logged my third best effort ever – a slim twelve seconds off my best time. Not bad. First time out? I was right there in third place. On the podium. The second looser. Just kidding. A couple of things about last nights effort. First, I was not out to ride such a time, but was focused. Mental focus. Yep. I was purposeful in my riding. Inside my head I was all…. “Self, this is where you need to be, this is where you find yourself, so be here now.” Seemed purposeful enough. With that purposeful approach alone I found myself at the halfway mark looking at my time thinking something was wrong. I have no right to be in THIS good shape. I did the math and was all… “Self, Dam it if you don’t keep this going on, you are going to lay down some serious hurt for a first effort of the season”. I started to sound determined to keep it up. I now found myself determined in my purposeful delivery of wattage. I started to only look at one number – not my speed, or time, but wattage. “SELF (I had to yell, because, well, I just needed to be heard over the unwavering cranking of that poor bike. I was beating on it like it was my job, and it was).. SELF – JUST KEEP IT OVER 320 WATTS” And that is all I did. I was not focused on anything but the here and now of that one simple task. I was not wondering how long I was going to keep on this, how much weight I was going to be able to drop, how I was going to look come spring, just the 320 watts. Any time I dipped bellow I slowly are resolutely picked it up with purposeful form to put it back on the mark.

This time last night I was over the moon. I was pleased as could be. I am coming off of a back injury (story for another time) and have not logged more than twenty-five miles on the bike in December. Perhaps it was rest – perhaps it was something more.

To explore the something more aspect, I came right back at it tonight. The trainer allows you to ride against any other time. Simple. Just load one or more prior performances into the program and bam. Virtual competitors. You know where this is going right? I load last nights time as tonight’s competitor, take a big drink of water, settle in and press go.

Now this exploration was about two things – was my purposeful determination a fluke? if not, could I drop those kind of watts a second time in a row? And where was I physically. I am an old man and twenty-five pounds over race weight. The mental aspect of it was different as well. This time I knew what I was out to do. I had loaded last nights time – there was little doubt about the game about to be played, but – I pushed that back – I was back to being purposeful. This was not about last night. This was about now. What could I do now – I knew I could improve on the first half of the course by being a little more disciplined. The key was to be both focused on the moment, but always keeping in mind that something was at stake. We are not robots – and I mentally allowed myself the notion that if it was not coming together then, sure I am fine with last night being a happy accident. Not coming together is not the same as not doing it. You know on the inside if you are coping out or falling off. Make the horse buck you off – never just let go. So, I hung on and fought back the self-doubt “Self, do you REALLY want to feel like throwing up again?”. “SELF, wouldnt a big gobsmacking pile of endorphins feel great when this torture is over ?, besides, you are going to look FABULOUS come spring”. Ah, the games we play.

So I persevered in my determined and unwavering purposeful pursuit of the best time that this moment was capable of providing me. And I got it. This was the first time on any ride I was able to average over 300 watts. I got a new personal best in all categories, including proof that purposeful determined and unwavering pursuit of ones resolutions are the fuel and genesis of continued resolve. I enjoy regarding myself as that person most of all, as for most of us, self-image is at times the hardest one to cultivate and ours, the hardest approval to win.

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