Saturday, 14 April 2012

The long haul

(First of all, a HUGE thanks to all of you that left comments with tips and encouraging words. It means a lot to me!)

Yesterday, J and I talked about the prospect of going for a long bike ride this morning. The weather wasn't looking too promising; the sky was grey and heavy. But I was still itching to get out. The doctor had said it was OK to cycle, and cycle I would. Anything to try and maintain the level of fitness I have.

After checking the forecast and finding out that the weather was supposed to get better, we took our bikes and headed towards Särö. I started off easy but after a few kilometres I put my weight into it and picked up some speed. I'm about as fast a cyclist as I am a runner. That is to say, really slow. J decided to challenge me at some point and started cycling fast. I kept up with him for about five seconds and then I ate his dust. He disappeared into the distance. And I'm supposed to be the fit one?

Then I remembered I am on diclofenac and shouldn't really push myself (it can cause heart and kidney complications), so I slowed down again. I was getting bored already, just 10 km into the ride. The sky wasn't the only thing that was grey. So was the sea, and the cycle path we rode on, and everything around that's usually green in the summer was bare and miserable looking.

There was apparently a cloud that hung over our heads and followed us around, because we had a light shower slowly soaking us to the bone the whole way, even when the sun finally broke through the clouds. Refreshing, right? Not so much. My fingers finally got warm after 20 km, around the same time my wet toes started displaying the first signs of frostbite.

I considered cutting the ride short. It wasn't that exciting to cycle the same old route I've cycled or run a million times before, especially not in this weather, and besides, did the doctor really think I'd almost be cycling a marathon when he said it was OK to cycle? Maybe I was doing more harm to my knee than good? But before I had time to make a decision, we were almost in Särö, our original destination, and I thought we might as well continue.

As soon as we turned around and started cycling back home, both J and I ran out of energy. Just like that, the fuel tank was empty. The two slices of crisp-bread I'd eaten before we left had obviously not been enough. My speed dropped even more, and an old man cycled past me. The shame! I tried picking up speed again, struggled, but then thought it wasn't worth it and settled into an easy rhythm.

When we finally got home, we had covered 37 km in just over two hours. And all I could think of was what a great long run 37 km would have made, even with grey skies and light showers. Yet, even though I didn't manage to still my running lust, I'm satisfied. I got my pulse going, I got sweaty, I had the first real workout in weeks. I spent some quality time with J, making plans about the future. I feel great.

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