Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Well, I fulfilled my promise to myself to honor our local "Bike to Work Week" by getting on my two wheeler and riding to work. "Just do it once, then you can say you did it," my inner self told me.
I made it. I left the house about 6:35 a.m., and got to work about 7:25. About a 50 minute commute one way. What I learned:
1. Those lovely little biking gloves that protect your palms but leave your fingers open to the air? Not such a great deal when it's 40 degrees Fahrenheit and you are making your own wind chill besides, with the bare fingers on the leading edge of your vehicle. Within 15 minutes I was stopping at a traffic signal and pulling the full gloves out of my pocket, putting them on OVER the half-gloves.
2. What they say about training for specific activities is very true: biking was HARDER for me than walking the same distance. I may have gone faster, but I was using a different set of muscles or the same ones in a different way. Coming home was harder than going out.
3. That said, being fit in general *does* help recovery time when you start a new activity. So, chances are, this is not my last bike ride of the year, but I won't try the bike commute again today... gotta get a little rest time in between.
4. I'm not crazy about commuting in rush hour. This is just a personal preference thing. Our town has great bike trails. But when you get close to downtown, they are right along side some pretty busy arterial streets. It's better than riding ON those streets, but you're still breathing the exhaust, and you still have some risk of something going wrong... those nightmare scenarios played in my head... "what if I were to skid, my brakes failed, etc... where would I end up... what's my alternative path in case of emergency..." Guess that defensive driving habit transfers onto the bike.
5. Oh, and when you ARE dealing with human powered transport, whether you're talking walk or bike, it does take longer to get from point A to point B. And when you work in a job where people grab your arm as you are leaving and delay that departure by 30 minutes with questions? 'nuff said.
I did it!
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
I do believe in the power of prayer, and I felt it yesterday as I went off to work. As anticipated, having something to do and take my mind off the date and the past steps on the journey helped a good deal. Finding that the soap opera that constitutes the combined lives of my circle of acquaintance helped, too... other people's troubles keep on bubbling along, too. Nothing makes one feel supported as much as paying it forward in the support of others.
After work last night I took another hack at pumping up the bike tires. I had them slimed a couple of years ago. For those of you who may not be aware, there is this substance called "slime" that they sort of feed into your bike tires that makes them semi-self-sealing, in case of incidents on the road. Anyway, slime in the tires has a side effect of making the tires harder to pump up, but the benefit of them retaining the air pressure you *do* get into them.
So, having had the bike shop slime the tires when they fixed my last flat, I ended up leaving the bike sit in the garage... for, like, two years, maybe? Ouch. So, over two years, the tires do lose their air pressure. Over the past week or so, I've been pumping them back up... slowly. And observing whether they hold the pressure. Last night I got to the level of confidence of taking the bike out for the first 2011 spin.
And today it is my intention to give riding to work a shot. It's "Bike to Work" week. And today is the only day left in the work week that they don't have a percentage of chance precipitation listed in the local forecast! Report on how it went and what I learned about the process of bicycle commuting in my own fair city yet to come!
And the thing that gives me the confidence to do this? Knowing that I am capable and fit enough to walk the bike home if I have a breakdown!
Monday, May 16, 2011
I started to write about the significance of the date, and I couldn't put it out there. I'm pretty open in my blogging, but this one... oh, gee.
Thirty years ago today, you see, I said my wedding vows. Every year on this date, I am reminded that I only stuck it out for 21 years and 11 months. And it all replays in my head: the ups the downs, the love, the control issues, the final realization that I could not survive this way. And with that comes a deep sense of failure. I know it takes two. But somehow I blame myself for getting out. Not all the time, not every day... just when I think about it too much.
Thirty years should be enough, don't you think? It should be time to let go and move on. I get to about this point and erase the blog entry. It is too raw, and I sound too pathetic. It is its own special form of survivor guilt, I guess. Added to too much listening to Polly Perfectionist.
Sigh. Pray for me today, my Spark friends. I'm feeling fragile.
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Saturday was supposed to go like this: a quick oil change in the morning, lay in the fresh produce for the week from the grocery, then meet my son at the trail-head for a jog, maybe take him out to lunch, then veg for the remainder of the day.
The mechanic finding a leaking rear strut started the day's deterioration. They needed to keep the car for 3 or four hours, which meant hitching a ride home and letting my son know if he still wanted to take his mom for a jog, he'd need to pick me up. Well, he begged off the jog, so there I was, pacing the house, worrying about various aspects of my unraveling day.
Noon-ish I hitched a ride back to pick up the car, and went grocery shopping. I was set up to make silly decisions and pre-disposed to do so. Telling myself those little lies, I brought home some of those 100 calorie packs of treats. Three different kinds. That voice has some good lines, which by now I should recognize. "You've done this before... you can ration these out, one little treat a day or every other day..." But I could also hear it thinking further, "Your number on the scale this morning was well at the bottom of your goal range, you can afford it", and "You've had a running calorie deficit for five days in a row... you SHOULD eat a little more today, it won't hurt if some of those calories are junk." I went through several of those bags. They add up fast.
Why is it we fall for the voices? Is it to regain those couple of pounds so we can run that deficit? Maybe. Maybe that's how we operate at maintenance. But it still feels scary.
And this morning, waking up with stuffed sinus passages (probably from too much sodium in those extra processed calories) and nausea (probably from less caffeine or from dehydration)... my initial thought was "food hangover", and "why do you have to keep proving to yourself over and over again that this is the price you pay?"
The body rebelling that way makes it easier to wake up and get back on track. Being perfect is not required. Being foolish is forgivable... remaining in that foolish spot is not an option. Treat self gently... chin up, and move on.
Friday, May 13, 2011
A friend's blog this morning was not intended to spark this one, but it did. My friend (you'll recognize yourself) was down on herself. Unable to see the good in herself. And it took me back to several (come to think of it) moments in my past. And quite possibly (when I'm honest with myself) in my future.
But one particular moment stands out in my memory. I remember sitting in a fast food joint in Baltimore, with a new blank journal in my hands and a pen, writing that I was tired of reading the success stories of others, I was tired of reading "how-to" books. I KNEW HOW TO, dang it! I needed to WANT to! That I needed to actually DO it. I was disgusted with my back-sliding.
In my blank book, I wrote that I was going to write my OWN how-to, my OWN journey, my OWN success... Not Oprah's, or Susan's, or Jenny's... MINE! Because this is a journey that each of us has to take for ourselves.
I've used writing a LOT in this journey... venting the lows, celebrating the highs, writing out the dreams... I'm a big fan of the journal. For the past year or more I've written them pretty publicly, right here on the Spark page blog. And when I get down on myself... I have them to go back to, to see where my mind and feelings were at other moments on the path. This is encouraging.
So to my friend, and to everyone else who is out there doubting themselves... you know who you are... you can do this. You can write the unique story of your journey through life, to health, to balance, to dignity. Everyone has a story. Live your own. Write your own. Be present and aware...
YOU can do this. And you're worth it!
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