I went on TWO bicycle rides yesterday. Actually three, if you count my redo when my tire went flat half a mile from the house and it started raining on me, so I turned around. Both rides were 32 minutes long, but were also both pain-free, which I can’t say I’ve experienced in the past six weeks.
It felt pretty amazing. I was stoked. Almost as stoked as the guy in this video. (Backstory: This guy walks self-suppored to the South Pole and back and finds one of the stashes that he left on the way in and takes a video of it. I guess there’s a whole documentary on his trip that they showed at the Banff Film Festival. I need to see it. Watch the video with the Closed Caption on for translation.)
This whole ordeal got me thinking a lot about my body and how sometimes I don’t give it the credit it deserves. I ask a lot of it and sometimes I don’t give it the means to do what I ask of it. Sometimes I forget how the mind-body connection is more powerful than I could ever imagine, and if the mind needs a rest, the body will ensure that it gets it.
Post AZT, I found myself getting mentally wrapped up in a few more ‘goals’ for the summer. While my body was busy resting, my mind was plotting, planning, scheming, counting days until I could ride again, basically not shutting off. What I’m starting to realize as I play trial and error with this recovery business is that my head gets just as worked over from big races as my body does and while it’s relatively easy for me to refuse to ride a bike for a week after racing, I’ve struggled with letting my brain rest just as much.
Even after the knee started to go, my mind was racing. I started looking at my ‘goals’ for the summer slipping away. I bemoaned the fact that I’d have to dig myself out of a deep hole for the second time in twelve months. The knee got worse.
Sometime last week, I got sick of being grumpy. I started to work on accepting that I might not race again this year. I stopped calling the knee ‘Stupid Knee.’ I got myself immersed in some sedentary projects. I let go.
The knee started to get better. I still feel like I’m working with something extremely fragile, but I’m more open to listening right now. I’m open to the possibility that my summer might be shot…with the knowledge that there’s a lot of racing to be done this fall.
Baby steps. It’s all about baby steps.