Race sensations, Pt. 2: Frustration

Frustration. It chases me like a pack of dogs up a hill. I’m easily frustrated. With anticipation’s furlough, fury boils in its place. Frustration pushes me to the edge and howls at me ceaselessly for my inability to jump.

It’s the same recipe for anticipation, except loathing replaces anxiety. Frustration is the excitement of the chase and the heaps of criticism for being unable to latch on, push on, make a gap, hold your pace til you crest a climb. Frustration is everything you want to be while belittling you for your inability to be just that.

Frustration is inspiration. It’s the single siren call when no one else seems to care, let alone notice. Frustration is a companion, riding sidecar and in lieu of waving a flag with your stripes, opts for using the loudest airhorn imaginable. It’s a vuvuzela of thoughts buzzing a whining, incessant, and degrading song.

In racing, frustration is knowing you’ve got more but knowing you don’t have the gall to give it. Frustration is seeing the group inch away from you. It’s the final sprint where in a spasm of embarrassment your frustration says coolly, “No, not today. Who do you think you are?” Frustration is the interstices of your heart and your mind. It’s in this Venn diagram where the circles, “want” and “need” overlap and in a sly response the answer is “never”.

You can’t race without frustration. It’s a call to deny. It’s the abject refusal of your own expectation. It informs you that if you never had something telling you it wasn’t possible, that you wouldn’t know what you really wanted. It’s the funnel for anticipation, a method for distilling down potentialities to a focused necessity and the pursuant drive.

As a racer, frustration shapes your character and informs you how hard you will push back when everything is pushing in. It expires in tears, breathlessness and the chronic burning of your legs and mind. Frustration rarely will tag along on a ride just for the fun of it; It craves motive.

To achieve as a racer you must make friends of your greatest enemy, yourself. As a racer I can’t say I much like the hellish heckler that is my frustration, but I’m fond of the fact that my frustration alone is my most noble fan. He’ll be there if I fail. He’ll be there if I succeed. But most importantly, he’ll be there if I never try.

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