Posts Tagged With: avoidance

 
 

Back in the Saddle, Again

June 14, 2016 Tuesday  ~ A month after my bike crash.

I woke up to a debate in my head.

I was tired and so I thought maybe I could justify not going out on my bike because of that. But I knew I’d feel better psychologically and physically if I rode. I tried to tell myself I’d exercise somehow at home. A bike ride sounded scary, potentially dangerous. My face remembers hitting the sidewalk; my head remembers the pain that lasted several weeks. My whole body remembers feeling out of control and suddenly, inexplicably, thrown to the ground.

I somehow have to push past all of that and make myself get out of bed, dress in my biking clothes, put my necessities in my pockets, fill a water bottle, tie on my shoes. I remember to leave the bedroom door open so if I have to call Lynn he’ll hear the phone ring. I put on my helmet, tighten up my chin strap a bit, since I remember the helmet coming off after hitting the sidewalk, or at least it seems like it did. I set my phone to track my ride distance and speed. I roll the bike out of the garage; push the button to close the garage. I adjust the pedals; I walk to the end of the driveway with the bike in hand. I look both ways down the street.

Bicyclehelmet_da_060713

Not my helmet.

And then I’m riding. Every push on the pedals feels awkward, I can’t get comfortable on the seat, and my grip is too tight on the handlebars. My knees remind me that they took a hit and aren’t quite fully recovered. I’m on high alert for any tiny obstacle, extra careful on turns. I’m tired already after only half a mile. I remember that the first mile is just to loosen up. I try to relax and start to get a rhythm.

I turn the bike south, the sun already too warm on my left; I push through and start to find I’ve settled in to the seat. I start to remember the exhilaration of moving under my own power, although I’m certainly not riding at any speed to remark about. If a runner came by they’d probably pass me.

I told myself I would only ride four miles and not cross any major streets. And yet, I find myself at a major arterial road and wait, probably longer than I need to, for traffic to clear. Then I ride past my own personal boundary line. A half mile later I turn and ride back to the same road, take my time, cross back, negotiate a curb and ride north an entire mile. At that point I’m sensing the bike react to every nuance of the terrain beneath me. I lift myself off the saddle to negotiate a large bump in the path. The bike manages through some rocky terrain as I turn south again. My hands squeeze the handlebars too hard and go numb. I shake the feeling back into each one, hesitant to let go even briefly. I regret this unpaved section, with its unpredictability and slippery sand and varied rock, but I remember that I’ve ridden this path dozens and dozens of times without incident at a much higher speed.

I turn, I negotiate another sidewalk to cement, and then cement to sidewalk and I don’t slam to the ground. I finally remember to breathe, although I’m sure I’ve been unconsciously breathing the whole time. I roll into the driveway, hop off the bike; punch in the garage code, back my bike into its parking spot.

I remove my helmet. I look at my phone and the app tells me I rode four and three quarter miles. Not much, not far, twenty-five percent of what I was doing with frequency only a month or so ago.

I report in to my cousin with a text.

Her response heartens me, makes me feel like a champion.

I did it.

I can do it again.

There’s no guarantee that a fall or crash or some craziness won’t happen again. In fact, it’s probably inevitable. But I’m more mindful now, less cavalier. I know there’s a lot I don’t know about the sport that only experience will teach me.

I know I can’t give it up. It’s one of the major things that keep my mind alert and my depression-prone psyche on an even keel.

Maybe next time the pre-ride debate will be shorter. And the time after that, or two or three, maybe there won’t be a debate at all.

~~~~~~~

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.”   ~Dale Carnegie

 

 

 

Categories: Biking, Mental Health, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Mondaze: Thoughts of a Turtle Wannabe

MSH has this dream of buying a motor home and living in it, as in a permanent residence. Me, not so much. A very small point of contention, really, in the grand scheme of things.

Anyway, I suppose that’s the ultimate way for a human to emulate turtle behavior. One could also argue that living out of a backpack would qualify more as turtle-like living. But that’s a whole different idea completely, if you ask me. Although there was a time, thirty odd years ago when that sounded completely rad and doable. (rad= seventies speak for radical, cool, awesome, epic, sick)

Me, I’m more like a turtle without a shell, so my unmovable house has to serve as my protective casing. That poses a problem for someone who needs outdoor time every single day.

photo-23 copy 9Family, I’m okay with. We can hang out and I don’t feel like I have to be “up” or pretend cheerfulness or some other mood when I’m just feeling “meh.” Even better when we’re all feeling the same kind of summer-heat-has-sucked-the-life-out-of-our-energy-reserves blahness.

Mostly, I just want to be left alone to do my thing.

When I go walking in the wee hours of the a.m., if I pass by and say “morning” to five people, that’s about, oh, five people too many. Ten people and I consider the place overrun by a crowd. Sheesh, you’d think they’d all stay in bed that early in the morning, but no, they all have to converge on MY walking place at MY private walking meditation hour.

I’m not always so acerbic and bitter sounding. Just lately I’ve felt that way. I blame it on the summer heat and probably something else that I haven’t figured out yet. Not feeling particularly motivated to analyze myself either.

photo-24 copy 5I ran across this turtle a couple of mornings ago while on my walk. He’s a pretty substantial size for around here. Of course, when it heard my steps on the gravel it pulled its head and legs in and hunkered down waiting for me to go away. I didn’t. Nope. I sat down on a nearby bench and pretended to not be interested in him. A bad plan, I have to admit. The turtle wasn’t fooled by my ploy.

I imagined, after a while, bad words in some turtle tongue racing about inside its little green head. “Stupid human, why won’t she just go away and leave me alone. Can’t she see I just want to be left in peace to enjoy the scenery by myself?”

I felt connected to this semi-animate-pretend-rock. I understood its need for solitude, simply wanting freedom to wander alone and ponder, unhindered by morning niceties and unspoken rules of trail etiquette. So I apologized and left.

Shuffling off down the trail I looked back hopefully, only once. The turtle felt not the least bit accommodating in showing its tail, feet or head even from a distance.

I’m afraid I do that myself lately. If my garage had any spare space I’d seldom show my face outside my house, except at ultra early, ultra late hours when interaction with other humans remains least likely.

What’s up with that?

Maybe I’m trying to keep reality at bay after my two weeks off from life. Maybe my brain feels too cluttered to allow in any outsider input from conversation.

Can you say vacation to recover from a vacation?

Nah.

Maybe Arizona summer psychologically demands something akin to bears hibernating and I’m secretly part bear.

Rawr.

Um. No.

Let’s just say I’m slightly anti-social lately. I think I’ll just roll with it.

It’ll pass in a day or so.

Or when the mercury dips back down into the nineties again.

Then I’ll be like:

 

tmnt 2

 

 

 

 

or something along those lines.

 

Categories: Mental Health, Mondaze, Outdoors | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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