Monday, December 8, 2008

Mile 2

Well, we're about a week into this.

There are all sorts of tired sports cliches that I could summon to ground us, to give us some navigation tools in this undiscovered country. I prefer to think about the centuries for which I've trained and ridden off and on for the past 20 years of serious cycling. A century is a 100-mile bike race, and it's more or less on par with running a marathon. I've completed a bunch of them, usually breaking five hours. To ride a century requires at least 10 weeks of focused training, covering between 150-250 miles a week.

How do you get through that kind of training and keep going? How do you punish your body and find something left in the tank for that last hill?

One mile at a time. The key is to discipline your mind to stay in the mile you're riding and to know your body well enough to know how much to keep in the tank for the miles to come. If you ride a bad mile, you make up for it in the next one.

OK, I think I've made my point. This is a century, and we're at Mile 2. One week into chemo, and I'm actually feeling more than OK. As Kath wrote in her earlier post, I had a couple of rough days last week where I felt a bit run down and nauseous. But honestly, I felt the same way both times Bush won, and I got over it.

We kept a bucket in the bedroom last week, and I never had to use it. A no bucket night is a good night. By Thursday of last week, I was able to work a full day. On Friday, I drove down to Rhode Island for a board meeting for MY TURN and felt fine. Amazingly, I'd been craving baked ziti all week, and wouldn't you know that my wonderful assistant, Jennifer Travers, had ordered it for the luncheon that day! Talk about a mind reader.

The board was incredibly supportive and helpful, which was an enormous comfort. After the "business" part of the meeting, we came downstairs to have lunch with a dozen key stakeholders of our Rhode Island programs. Wendy Mackie, our Rhode Island Executive Director, wowed everyone with her energy and vision for the program. But what I took with me on the car ride home was the
words of the principal of Mt. Hope High School in Bristol: "MY TURN has saved at least 15 kids from dropping out so far this school year." If that isn't worth dragging my sorry ass out of bed and riding the next mile, I don't know what is.

The boys and I had a good, low-key weekend together doing normal things like going to Guitar Center to jam on instruments we couldn't afford, working on ridiculous science project homework assignments, and most entertaining, going to the New England dog show, so that Louis could see the running of the West Highland Terriers. This was a down-market version of the movie "Best In Show," with more pathos than comedy. That said, getting a chance to see a dozen corgies with their owners trotting out to the parking lot and back might have been the oddest sight of a very odd human/canine assemblage.

Don't let cancer own you was the advice that's stuck in my head these last few weeks--not unlike the bike racing maxim that you have to own the course, not let it own you. Sticking to the normal, even the abnormally normal things like dog shows, is my way of owning this course. A couple of miles into this very long ride, I'm keeping my cadence up and making sure there's plenty in the legs for the miles ahead.


Andrew Wolk said...

All I can say is wow - keep on riding!

Crista and Harry said...

We are all supposed to be supporting you...but instead, I'm reading your blogs and FB entries and I'm getting motivated!