Perhaps I should have written my dissertation on the concept of motivation. There is so much I don't know about it, and I would like to learn more. Not enough to consider writing a SECOND dissertation, but still....
I don't even understand my OWN motivation. What makes me tick? I thought about this as I rode my bike today.
Today was one of Hubby's golf days, and I had no definite plans. I contemplated driving to Rozmo's house to do her regular Tuesday bicycle ride with a group, but I didn't want to have to leave my house at 7:00 this morning and fight the traffic. Since I didn't get UP until 7:00, that turned out to be a good non-plan.
I said to myself (and even mentioned to Hubby) that I would probably ride sometime today, but I wanted to wait until it warmed up. I figured saying it out loud would at least shame me into following through. I thought I would leave sometime around 11:00.
I was playing a video game at 11:00. Just one more game. 11:30. Just one more. 12:00. I'm a grown-up, I don't HAVE to ride if I don't want to. I have earned the right to sit in this recliner for the entire day if I want to. It is, after all, a furlough day, and I should punish someone by refusing to do anything productive for the entire day. Except for achieving a high score on my video game, and that's nothing to sneeze at either. Shut up.
Then I started thinking about my cycling goals for the year. I've mentioned a couple of times (probably more than you want to hear, if I'm to be completely honest) that I set a yearly goal of 2010 miles, but I wasn't very serious about it. Sometime around July I decided I couldn't reach my yearly goal, so my new goal would be to ride more miles each month than I did in the corresponding month last year.
Some months weren't a challenge at all.
This is from an awesome website I use to record my cycling miles. It's cleverly called My Cycling Log. Dot com. People all over the world use it to record their rides, and it's FREE! The blue bars represent 2008, the red ones 2009, and the green ones represent each month this year. Can it really be true that I rode ZERO miles in both April and May of last year? Are you KIDDING me? And what about September? What was WRONG with me?
As you can plainly see (but I'm going to point out anyway, just like an irritating blogger), I have managed to surpass my mileage from last year every month since June. June even surpassed 2008, and that's only because on BRAG this year Katydid and I actually rode on the layover day instead of spending it lounging by a pool somewhere. October is when I got my new bike, so naturally that bar towers over the other two. And look at November - what is up with that? It didn't take much to surpass last year's measly November miles.
Here's what's up with that: I realized sometime in October that, mathematically at least, my goal for 2010 was still attainable. I set a goal for 285 miles in October and November, and 286 miles in December. That would enable me to reach my overall goal for the year.
I knew 285 (or 286) miles might not be feasible after the weather turns cold and nasty, so I cranked out a bunch of extra miles in October. Instead of 285 miles, I rode 453. Point 91.
I'm sure you will be relieved to learn that all this DOES have a point. When I was debating about whether or not to ride today at all, I started thinking about my November goal. I was 25 miles short of it, which would be about two rides home from school with an extra loop, half a ride with Rozmo, or one decent ride by myself. I thought about the fact that we are going to Sweet Girl's for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and as of right this moment I'm not taking my bike. (That could change, however.) We will be back Friday, but I will be tired from driving and from being away from my own bed for two nights, so jumping on the bike Friday afternoon is not likely to happen. Besides, there's college football. Then Saturday the weather is supposed to take a turn for the worse, with cold temperatures and/or rain. And there's college football. Sunday is supposed to remain cool, and Monday I have to go back to school. That would leave only Monday and Tuesday afternoons to get my remaining 25 miles, and I didn't want to take the chance that it might not happen.
So I got on the bike. Just because of some little red, blue, and green bars on a chart. And the fact that if I didn't make my November goal, it would forever say something less than "Progress: 100%."
Because I met my November goal and exceeded my October goal by such a large margin, my overall 2010 goal is well within reach: 211.99 miles. I'll probably ride 212 just to be sure. Ha ha ha ha ha. That is very doable, as long as we have some decent weekends in December. Perhaps I will rent a bike while Hubby and I are in Jamaica the week before Christmas and log those miles. Up and down the beach, back and forth, back and forth. It's possible.
Anyone who knows me knows how competitive I am, and that's where another motivating factor comes in. On the cycling log website, we created a group called "Team Chi-Chis," and it compiles statistics for everyone in the group. "JennyF" is actually my friend VT, and don't ask why her log name is JennyF. It's not appropriate for a family blog such as this.
Naturally Rozmo is in the lead, but she has an unfair advantage in that she's the only freakin' member of the group who doesn't have a J-O-B. (Oh, to be retired.....) Her original goal was 3000 miles for the year, which I thought was a lofty one, and she reached that back in early October. Butthead.
I know it appears that Katydid has not been on the bike at all this year, but I can assure you she has. Every single tandem mile I have logged is a Katydid mile too. We just can't convince her of the coolness of this website.
Rozmo sent me an email yesterday saying, "Did you realize you are only _____ miles behind VT? Yowza!" VT is typically a much more dedicated cyclist than I am, as evidenced by the fact that she rides near her home and her place of employment, and I don't even like DRIVING in either of those two places. She can also ride circles around me because she is so strong, and she has nerves of steel that even I don't have. (Remind me to tell you two VT cycling stories.)
All these computer-aided graphics combined to convince me to get on the bike today. And it was a fantastic ride. I made it up as I went, traveling roads I am familiar with but haven't strung together as a definite cycling route before. I ended up at the golf course just as Hubby finished, and I find that little miracle of timing incredible in and of itself. I don't know why I can ride and ride and ride, but not having to ride back home, whether it's 10 miles or 3, feels like a triumph to me.
After today's ride I felt positively euphoric. Not just good - EUPHORIC. Everything was right with the world, I could take on any challenge, I was woman hear me roar. Cycling often makes me feel that way. I know it's going to make me feel that way.
Now here's the question I pondered as I rode today, and what prompted this tome of a blog post:
Why can't that knowledge motivate me to get on the bike? Why do I have to have all these NUMBER things to do it?
I don't know either.