Sunday, February 13, 2011

From Demoralized to Moralized in Four Sloppy Miles

Today was supposed to be a long day of training. Bill and I had nowhere to be except outside so we decided not to set an alarm, sleep in and then hop on our mountain bikes for a fast and flat ride to Valley Forge. Our plan was to lock up the bikes once we got there, run for an hour and then ride home for a total of four hours or so of training.

Except last night I started getting sneezey. I was hanging out with some co-workers and I sneezed. Twice. They looked at me with alarm. "Um, you just sneezed and you never sneeze," one said. "You look confused. Are you sick?"

"NO! I AM NOT!," I yelled, deciding if I was defiant enough I would, in fact, not be sick.

"Shit," I thought. I suck at being sick and really did not feel like being relegated to the couch for a day, let alone several.

I've been fortunate to avoid even a single sneeze, sniffle or barf for at least four years (bachelorette party not included). I work in a children's hospital and thus spend the majority of my course of employment scrubbing my hands, getting jacked up with vaccines a few times a year and otherwise subsiding on a diet of hand sanitizer, anti-bacterial soap and surgical gloves. The germs have gotten the point and have stayed away.

So when I started sneezing, hacking and otherwise feeling not so great I didn't know what to think. When I got home I ate a few Benadryls and fell into bed.

Eleven (11) hours later I woke up. It was almost 11:30. Way to sleep the day away. I felt better. Not great, but not bad enough to bail on our ride and run.

We headed out and I was grumpy. I wanted to stay home. I wanted to sit on the couch, drink coffee and watch snowboarding on TV in my pajamas.

We rode to the beginning section of the trail, a two-mile stretch along a narrow canal. Or, The Land That Sun Forgot. There was snow, slush, ice, mud, muddy ice, snowy mud and slushy snow everywhere. Riding on it was misearable. My rear wheel kept drifting, regardless of my gearing, cadence or speed. Bill was fairing better but at the rate we were going it was going to take hours to get to Valley Forge.

I was entirely demoralized.

Riding with one foot unclipped in case I started to tip over, I felt like I was better suited for training wheels and the Strawberry Shortcake bike I had when I was four than an actual big-girl bike. I could have walked faster than I was going. I was a sneezing, dirty, muddy, slushy pissed off mess and still had hours to go.

We figured that once we got to the actual path, flat and paved, we'd be good to go. Except when we got there the conditions were even worse. It looked like six inches of fresh powder had just fallen. We stared at the trail in front of us. We stared at the trail off in the distance. No clean ground to be seen.

There was no way we'd make it to our destination in any sort of appropriate timeframe. Based on how slow we went along the first two miles of the trail we estimated three hours just to get there. I. Was. Not. Going. Fully prepared to have a temper tantrum if Bill insisted, I fell in love with him all over again when he suggested a change in plans.

"Lets hit a few hills and then dump the bikes in the Wissahickon and run for a while before heading home," he offered.

Man of my dreams.

We turned around and hit our first climb. Less than two miles after I'd considered jumping off the bike and having a full-fledged Veruca Salt tantrum I suddenly felt like I was flying. I was able to match Bill's pace and was no longer gasping for breath. We eventually wound our way to Wissahickon Park, locked the bikes and headed off for a fun 45-minute run. My legs were tired but I felt infinately better than I had at the start of the ride.

We got home only about three hours after we'd left. Not exactly the long training day we'd been hoping for but better than I expected.


Anonymous said...

And that's you being sick? Or at least not perfectly healthy? When I am feeling even a little bit under the weather, I stay under the blankets repeating "I am dying, I am dying" to everybody who will listen, including my mom on the other side of the atlantic. I do not go biking or running, especially not in the snow. II hope you are feeling moralized now! :-)

Abby said...

I went into this post expecting the reverse title (moralized to demoralized) - I'm glad to hear you guys regrouped and got in a good workout. Manayunk hill repeats? Nothing like 'em...

Mallory said...

You are my hero! I don't know how you do that stuff when you don't feel well. I am a big baby though. I hope you're feeling better!

Johann said...

I still admire all of you for training in those conditions, well done! I hope it was only some allergies that caused your sneezing.

kilax said...

I would have felt demoralized too! I am happy you changed plans and fit in a run.

One time last summer I went out to a train and found it buried in mud. I still rode through it, but did not get very far!

Anonymous said...

Man, you should quit the hospital and become a writer. (I just realized I have now started two comments to you with "man".) I especially liked the part about snowy mud and muddy ice...or whatever it was.

On another topic - impressive workout for being sick.