“Your blood work is great, actually,” the doctor had said, while clicking various parts of his computer screen semi-absent mindedly, the way some people do when they’re playing solitaire out of desperate boredom. “There’s nothing wrong with you that I can see. It’s probably not cancer.”
“That actually doesn’t make me feel better,” I wanted to say. I clutched my churning stomach instead.
And so, I was going to write something about how much time I’ve spent in hospital waiting rooms and doctor’s offices in the past four weeks, for being an otherwise healthy individual. But a few new prescriptions have gotten things somewhat back to tolerable, and with both the Australian National Road Championships and the U.S. National Cyclocross Championships on the same weekend, navel-gazing self pity no longer held much appeal. I was even able to crawl back on the bike and back into the gym this past weekend. I call that good progress.
A year or even six months ago, I would have called it lame, unacceptable, barely-counts-as-progress, progress. But the good thing about being sick and no one being able to actually fix it for good? It forces you to not be such a
perfectionist lunatic. It takes everything you take for granted, takes it away, and makes you realize how good you have it when your body is sort of half functional. I don’t like the word “laziness,” so let’s just agree to call this new phenomenon going on in my head, “chilling the fuck out.”
This newfound attitude of mine means, of course, that I’m turning into the worst trainee ever. Or, as I like to think of it, just a less crazy one. For once, I didn’t beat myself up for not being able to train when I couldn’t even make it to work last week. I pushed out some intervals on the weekend, pat myself on the back for doing something and got on with my life. Fortunately, I don’t ride my bike for a living, so 1. I’m not going to get fired from cycling, and 2. no one is going to hate me for skipping a workout/underperforming/getting fat instead of fit [other than possibly my coach but let’s not worry about that for now]. It’s a pretty good set up for now, this whole “not freaking out” business. I’m enjoying it; savoring it like a fat kid’s first bite of a cheese fondue pizza.
I know I’ve lost a bit of my edge, my climbing ability, and overall power. I’m nowhere near where I was this time last year. But the ironic thing is that I think I’m happier for it. It’s not that the bike and I are breaking up; we’re just growing into a healthier relationship. You know, the kind where we’re not so codependent on each other. I still think there’s very little a good bike ride – or at the very least, a good bike friend – can’t fix; in the past four weeks or so, though, I’m getting around to not being so desperately needy about it. It took a while [like, three decades] but I’m learning to actually apply what I know to be true: the bike – like any sane male – will be there for me, always, but not if I get all crazy about it all the time.
That said, I was glued to my phone on Sunday during Australian Nationals, while baking banana bread with my sister. This involved doing the easy stuff like measuring out flour and making my sister do the actualy work like mixing and cleaning up while I kept tabs on Adam’s race. The walnuts we sprinkled on top got a little burned but I blame that on juggling a post-race congratulatory email, knitting on teeny tiny needles, and attempting to carry on a conversation at the same time. Still, the banana bread apparently came out amazing, Adam came in 13th at Nationals, Tim took the bronze the next day, and my legs were worn out enough from my weekend spins that I passed out at 9.45pm.
Life, relaxed, feels fucking pretty good.
[Special, super big thanks to BTB TV for letting this girl watch US Cyclocross Nationals live, all the way from Tokyo. You guys rock!]