But a few years ago, when I encountered an major emotional crisis my pain goddess let me down--or so I believed. I could no longer go to that place where I could push my body until my muscles screamed for relief and my lungs could no longer breathe. The pain cave was inaccessible, she kept me out. It took a long time for me to realize that this was self preservation in the works; that without a stable mind my body wasn't safe from the pain I would inflict on it. The key to a strong body is a strong mind and vice versa, without each other one will fail.
So there I was, forced to play her way; stop when she shut off my strength, cry randomly until I felt better, sit in silence and meditate and the most difficult thing: ask my friends for help. Thankful that friends are always willing and a dear friend once said to me, "My wife (who is a fitness trainer) could torture me with a park bench." From this I realized that yeah, it isn't the bike, the power meter, the whatever, it's a mentality, a willingness to accept what you can do/what you have available and do it to the extent in which you can do it well. So I made that bike path my park bench yesterday, but I let my inner pain goddess decide how hard I could go and when to sit on it. After all, I want her to trust me again; to know that I have learned that sacrificing my body is not a remedy for woes of the heart or head.
It was good mid-ride to hear her whisper go harder ~so I did~~ and it felt like a welcome hug. After a series of intervals drawn from memory my quads had a familiar burn, my chest heaved, sweat rolled off my arms and I realized I was drooling and smiling. I sat up satisfied and elated and in that incredible moment of clarity combined with exhaustion and exhilaration I found the remedy for Obsessive Cycling Disorder:
Welcome back my old friend, Miss Pain Goddess, I'll follow your wheel to my new strength.