The muscle that lives under the shoulder blade (I think it’s one of the Rhomboids) has been giving me trouble the last couple of days. It started as a dull ache late Tuesday night and by 3:00 AM Thursday had grown so painful that I needed to go to the Emergency Room at the local hospital. That’s kind of a big deal. I haven’t been to a hospital or even to see a doctor in decades.
So this is how my consecutive days streak is going to end, I remember thinking to myself as I sat waiting for the doc. I also remember thinking that it would be okay. After three sleepless nights, the last thing I cared about at that particular moment was getting on the bike. I just wanted the pain to go away. I just wanted a little sleep.
For those of you who don’t know, I’ve gotten on the bike and gone at least five miles for the last 860 days. Most days I’ve gone considerably more…a total of over 28,000 miles which averages out to about thirty three miles per day. This is my resume on the bike. I’ve never accomplished anything of any significance that a lot of other people haven’t accomplished and that’s okay. The streak is mine and I like that it is.
We were home from the ER by 4:00 AM…an hour door to door. That’s yet another advantage of living in a small town. When we got home I managed to get a few hours of sleep, thanks to the combination of Flexeril and Toradol. I don’t do drugs, prescription or otherwise, and so I can’t tell you which was the pill and which was the shot into my left cheek. It didn’t matter. The combination worked. I got a little sleep even if it meant that I missed my first predawn ride since way back in late January when the temperature plunged to -26 degrees F.
Later, after I woke up, I asked Jan if she’d go for a walk with me that afternoon. I had no intention of getting on the bike and hunching over the bars. No, she informed me. She was going to ride. I was welcome to tag along if I wanted to, and so I did. It was nothing fancy…just a quick seven miles down to the Raccoon River bridge and back and then around the neighborhood. Consecutive day 861 was in the books.
Today will be 862, not that it matters. My shoulder and back still ache this morning, though not as badly as they did. I’m slowly recovering and that’s good. I’m not going to push it. Seven to ten miles is just fine. We’ll worry about tomorrow when it rolls around.
I have felt a little self-conscious about the streak for some time now. I worry that people might have the wrong idea, that it’s some sort of macho, ironman thing with me. It’s not that at all. Trust me. When you ride a lot it takes very little energy to cover five miles. It feels a little like the equivalent of walking from the living room to the kitchen. If the streak is about anything at all, it’s about the mindset that there are some days when it’s just not possible to bicycle. I’ve found that this is not the case, and I guess that’s really what I was trying to prove to myself all along.
There are very few days when I don’t want to get on the bike. Yesterday was one of those days. The good news is that there are no days at all when I don’t feel better after riding than I felt before riding. Yesterday was that, too and to me that’s the real magic of bicycling. The bicycle heals…physically, emotionally, spiritually.
And so I hope you get out and get a few miles in today. I hope it makes you smile. I already know it will make you feel better. Ride on.