The Importance of Staying on the Bike

Sunday mornings have been exceedingly difficult for me over the past couple of months. Until recently, I didn’t realize there was a thing called the “Sunday Blues,” but it’s apparently a real thing where I feels like someone poured concrete over my sheets sheets in the middle of the night and it’s exceedingly difficult to extract myself from bed.

Thing is that I like going to Church on Sundays, and it doesn’t seem to matter how early I got into bed the night before, there are mornings I can’t manage to get up in time. There’s been a ton of stuff going on in my life, but I’ve never had an experience in my life where I couldn’t get out of bed.

This Sunday was a bad one. And not only did I want to get to Church, but I also had Mind Camp / Growth Yoga, a series of yoga and personal development events that my buddy Chris Wilson and I are creating.

I didn’t know if I’d be able to get out of bed for Mind Camp. And I really just wanted to disappear from the world. Firing up a movie was about as ambitious as I thought I needed to be.

The past couple of weeks have been really positive for me, but have been incredibly busy and I’ve gotten stretched a bit between work and side projects. The stress level is high, and a few people around me have been telling me to “do less.”

But the voice in my head has a hard time doing less. I’m always trying to do more, and things rarely seem good enough for me.

I knew I had to write this post to get these emotions some oxygen.

And a funny thing happened as I started to write this. I realized that I have a ton of things to be thankful for, and that my life is at an incredibly positive inflection point.

I just turned 30. Had an epic bonfire party to celebrate. Indian summer has arrived in San Francisco, bringing 80 degree temperatures and sun to drive away Karl the Fog. I’ve been writing a lot (finished my first book!). My job is rad, and the company continues to develop. Things are good.

Except I wasn’t really able to see any of that. I wasn’t just having some Sunday Blues. Something else was going on. I was having a full-blown anxiety attack.

As soon as I got out of bed, a consistent layer of anxiety settled in and set my heart racing. I knew it would be impossible to have a normal conversation with anyone.

It took a few hours to get out of bed. I texted Chris and told him what was going on. He let me off the hook for the day. Things have been going non-stop, and he told me I could take the day for myself.

And the thing was, I knew that I could have done just that. I could have stayed in bed, and frankly it would have been OK.

I just wasn’t completely satisfied with that answer.

One of the ideas that he and I have been batting back and forth has been about being athletes, and what it means to show up every day and put in work regardless of how you feel. Building a routine and a system so that when you’re called upon, you know you can perform.

Since I got sick, I couldn’t be the athlete that I wanted to be, so I didn’t get that training early in life about athletic performance on sports teams. But I’ve always identified as an athlete, just one whose life took a really terrible turn.

But I wanted to be the athlete. I wanted to show up and do my work.

And there was something else I was thinking of the whole time as well.

When we sign up for something, sometimes you simply need to keep showing up because there is an opportunity unfolding in front of us that we’ll miss out on if we take a breather we don’t need. Sometimes by showing up every day we put ourselves in the right place to capitalize on an opportunity that will come along as a result of the momentum our daily work has built up.

I knew that I could take the day off, but I was pretty sure I would miss out on something important if I did. And I didn’t want life to pass me by.

So I got out of bed, made breakfast, walked across the street for a coffee, and went to the event.

I never felt good the whole day. I felt horrible. I kept having to leave the room I was in to get air and calm my heart rate down. I never get that anxious, and I have no idea what was going on.

But I know I put in the work. And Chris and I had a conversation that Sunday, which led into another conversation on Labor Day, which led directly into us recording this podcast together: What is the meaning of Labor Day?

Had I not shown up on Sunday, I doubt we’d have gotten that podcast out the door together. It might have been fine to miss the day, but I’m happy that I kept the momentum up.

Chris calls this “staying on the bike.” When you’re training for a race, sometimes the most important thing you can do each day is get out on the bike and put in some miles.

Some days will be close to impossible. Other days will be effortless. Each day is important to build up for your race.

austingunter

I’m Austin. I live in San Francisco, practice Tai Chi, have rheumatoid arthritis, listen to a lot of loud music, and host a lot of dinner parties. Want more? Start here.

2 comments

  • Some times you just have to put in one mile. Anyone can do one mile. Before you know it, you’ve gone past that mile and kept the momentum going.

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *