Sunshine on my shoulders...
Friday, September 06, 2013
...means I finished my ride before sunset! And, yes, that makes me happy. (Baby Boomer song cue)
It's been an interesting week. First, DW and I had a nice holiday weekend. We didn't really do anything special, but it was nice, unstructured time together. We don't really get enough of that. Tuesday was right back to the regular routine, out in front of my house at O dark thirty to walk with J, who told me he needed to be away for the next week. I miss him, but I'm having a better week than he is. J was largely raised by an uncle who passed away this week. So, he's in sunny Puerto Rico with his family and his loss.
I had kind of an emotional moment while doing some housekeeping this week. I ran across an old organizer and, while cleaning it out, I found an old ID. I had managed to mostly forget just how huge I was. We celebrated here when I was down 30 pounds. That's just here and just this year. Since I was that man, I've lost the weight of a 5' 6", full-grown woman. No, I'm not going to strap one of you on and go hiking. Don't even think about it.
I'd like to say I don't know how I ever got that large, but I have a pretty good idea. I pretty much ate to self-medicate through a long bout of low-grade depression. It didn't work well, and I became more than twice the man I was meant to be. For the last couple of weeks, that depression has been creeping back into my life. Honestly, it's a little scary. Not that I've fallen into old habits. I know what lies down that path, and I'm not going there again.
Walking by myself doesn't really help. It leaves me too alone with my thoughts. So, with J away, I haven't hit the sidewalks in the morning. I'm still getting up, I just haven't gotten out the door. I'll be glad when he gets back next week.
Bike riding, on the other hand, is very therapeutic. I have to watch the trail and the other users (and the occasional small animal), and the physical exertion is cathartic.
I've taken two steps to cope with the setting sun. First, I broke down and bought a light for the bike. Yes, it's a no-brainer, but we really don't have money for things like that, right now. It was perfect on Tuesday. I rushed back out the door after getting home and I was running about 15 minutes ahead of the previous trips out the Union Canal Trail. I used the time to push a little further up the trail before returning home, but the lowering sun forced an end and I spent the last mile in increasing darkness. The new light was thoroughly up to the task, making it worth every penny of the investment.
Yesterday, the forecast was confidently mostly sunny for the whole day, so I strapped the bike on my car and brought it to work with me. I got onto the trail a whole hour earlier. That gave me a real opportunity to explore out farther on the trail. And, surprise! The next stretch gives up any pretense of being flat. It cuts through a Pennsylvania farm, and, if you've ever seen any, you know they're not flat. I took on a rise of over 160 feet in a very short (short for me, anyway) distance. It got the best of me. I struggled up one rise only to be greeted by a steep, short valley and an even longer rise. It was just about time to turn around anyway, so that became my turnaround point. It was actually farther than I had planned to ride yesterday, so I'm calling the whole trip a success. I think we'll tackle that next hill tomorrow.
And for Hansbrink, if you're still reading...the Cayuga did indeed have a flat bottom. I never faced rough seas in her, but we did have some 20 foot swells, and that was bad enough. They keep a guage in the Combat Information Center called an inclinometer. I watched that reach about 30 degrees. I thought it prudent to know, so I asked the Chief of the Watch just how far we could go before we didn't straighten up again. He just laughed at me. It put all the stupid worrying about "gear adrift" they did in boot camp into perspective. Anything not properly tied down was going to go flying.