I often think about that last day I ran and the day I rode my bike. I ran for only for 10minutes in Tucson, Arizona. Courtney and a couple friends from the camp were with me. The upper part of my left calf hurt like crazy but I was determined to keep going. By the time we finished I could barely walk without limping let alone stretch. It was at that point I knew something was seriously wrong.
A week later was my last ride on the road bike. For a week my leg was becoming more and more uncomfortable but on this particular day it was too much to handle. I was supposed to go for an easy 1hr spin but 5minutes into the ride I was in agony. I kept thinking it would go away but it only got worse. I started crying and by 15minutes I knew I had to turn around. The entire ride back to my car I could barely turn the pedals. The pain was indescribable.
With the amount of pain I was in for both of those days I couldn't truly enjoy either one. Instead the memory of agony is embedded in my brain. If only my last run could have been on my favorite trail in Sly Park, with rolling single track around a lake. I spent most of my winters on that nine mile loop smelling the fresh cedar and damp air. If only my last ride could have been battling it out in Salmon Falls with Courtney and Cliff in 90degree weather trying to avoid the poison oak. The first time I ever rode that trail I crashed over and over. I walked almost all of the technical, steep descents. Months later I was able to ride everything on that trail. It became my favorite place to ride and drop the hammer on all the guys. It has just the right amount of hill climbs and technical difficulty. There are tight single track sections with rocks all over the trail and a cliff to one side. Every once in a while you run into cows or skunks and a handful of other riders but most of the time I felt like it was my own personal trail and I had it all to myself.
The desire to get back to riding my bike and running is highly driven by these memories. I want to feel the wind blowing in my face and my heart rate sky rocket when I am attempting a difficult section. I want to feel the endorphins from running 10 miles at a steady pace. It is hard to get on an elliptical trainer inside 4-5days a week and not miss what I used to do. I am thankful I can at least workout but the longing to do something more doesn't go away. There is no "fix" from an hour of elliptical or 30minutes on a stationary bike. There is no sun that beats down on my neck as I lift weights. There is nothing that smells like the outdoors. There are only TV monitors and florescent lights while the top 40 plays over the speakers.
Two weeks ago I had a mold of my bad leg made. One week later Kenneth made a prototype brace for me to try out on the bike. Yes, one week. It is in San Francisco waiting for me to pick it up and try it out. I have been waiting for my kidney drain to be removed before I get back on a bike but I don't think I can wait that long. I need to get out on the open road. The sun is shining and the outdoors is calling my name. We have a borrowed tandem, we have the brace . . . Courtney just needs to make some modifications to my pedal and shoe along with some special custom bike shorts and I will be able to attempt a ride on the road.
I have a hard time sleeping these days because of the excitement. I didn't expect all of this to come so soon. I didn't expect so many people to jump at helping me get back on the bike. The possibility is right at the tip of my fingers. If only we could solve this kidney problem right now I would be riding tomorrow.
Two weeks ago Total Body Fitness and Bobby McMullen held a fund raiser for me. It was the premier of Bobby's movie "The Way Bobby Sees It!" The film is about how he rides blind . . . On his own bike off-road with a guide. He is a good friend and inspiration. I look at all that he has accomplished and I know I will be able to overcome similar obstacles. It's the kind of movie that motivates you to get off the couch. This movie has inspired one of my best friends, Kacey to do a triathlon in honor of me. I told her I would get her through this and have started training her. Even though she is incredibly sore and her lungs burn every time she jogs she has that desire and determination. I find it inspiring.
As the racing season approaches I encourage you to enjoy the ride. Take in everything life has to offer. And if you are sitting on a couch doing nothing get out and walk. Smell the fresh air!
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