Terii’s Cycling Babble


September’s Short Comings
October 1, 2016, 8:09 am
Filed under: Day Rides, Misc

Well, September fell quite short of any goals I might have made. About all I can say in positive fashion about it is that firstly, I managed to get out for a ride elsewhere even if it turned into a nightmare. Secondly, I did get more than half of the miles for the minimum goal I would have set if I’d ever gotten around to it. That actually cheered me.

I’ve jumped into gear with attempting to get some of my physical issues addressed. Did I mention that? After scanning posts, it doesn’t seem I have.

I do know I’ve talked (moaned, whined and whinged) about how bad the muscle pain has become and seems to be getting worse. More bad days and those are worse than they were say, 6 months ago. A few times, it’s even impacted me while cycling which hasn’t happened since the first months after the stroke.

So, sometime during the month, I dragged myself down to the health ward for a walk in with a nurse. I got one of the very nice ones and explained what was going on. She scheduled me for a Dr. visit for a few days later.

So, in I went and met Emma. Very nice doctor, not too long out of medical school so not yet jaded. She actually listened as I described the pain and how hard it is to function at times. I did use the fact I have a job now that I want to keep and implied it had made that difficult.

She threw herself into some books as this isn’t a common problem she sees every day or even every week or month. A few questions and she even asked if I had pained responses to touch at times and we tested it. Yep. She found a few spots that when applied gentle pressure felt almost like a branding iron, the searing sensation lingering for minutes. We considered that it might be my cholesterol medication. To test that, she prescribed me doses half of what I’ve been taking to see how I respond. Then, she also wanted blood tests. I knew it was coming, but I still dreaded it. I asked her to refer the tests to the hospital.

 

As for rides, there haven’t been many since my post on the 22nd. It’s actually become quite frustrating.

The 24th was the first day with a ride since the previous post. Mostly, I dragged out to take pity on Jens rather than the fact it had been 6 entire days without so much as looking at my trike. The first ride since the hard off-the-hamster-track slog. It was a gray day with threats of rain and 49 F. I wouldn’t have minded some sun at those temps, but I’ll take cool and cloudy over warm/hot and sunny any day.

Loke had energy enough, but he was moving with a hint of stiffness. At one point, I stopped and ran my hands over his shoulders and watched as the corners of his mouth pulled back in the doggie equivalent of a human’s pained grimace. It mostly seemed to be localized in the tops of his shoulders.

It was just a short 5.45 miles. After riding, I took a few moments to try swapping the pedals. My SPDs were not letting go for anything. Even bracing the trike as much as I could, the rear wheel popped up a few times. So, I tried it sitting on the seat and still couldn’t get either pedal to budge. It appeared it was a job for Super Bobby.

Yes, another river shot, but it's so PRETTY with the colors!

Yes, another river shot, but it’s so PRETTY with the colors!

The next ride was unexpectedly on the 26th. Originally, I was supposed to work, but got a call the evening before saying that one of my co-workers needed that Monday to get another day clear, so could we swap days. ‘Of course’, I said. So, I made a point of going out for a ride to keep from too many days passing between rides as the next chance wouldn’t have come until Wednesday since my next shift was Tuesday.

It wasn’t a leisurely outing though. I wound up scrambling around to do a few things as well as squeeze in the ride before I had to rush through doing laundry. I felt like pulling my hair out in frustration, but I had to ride. Loke needed more than the 100 yard hobbles I could manage without wanting to whimper, Jens had long hours at work, so off we went for just 2.6 miles to get the trike and trailer back to the apartment after Jens dropped us off. I kept it to just 6 liters of water in the Burley as I’ve become woefully out of practice. I probably had time to add another couple miles before the laundry time, but Loke’s toe has started getting the wound again, so I tried to balance it between what he needed from energy and ‘business’ standpoint and protecting the toe as much as I could.

May not rival Vermont, but still lovely autumn hues!

May not rival Vermont, but still lovely autumn hues!

It wasn’t as tedious as I expected. Autumn colors made for some scenic interest in the over-done landscape. The clouds were thin, so the light was fairly bright though without direct sunlight and temps mild in the mid-50’s.

I did get a few more miles after I’d snatched the laundry out of the drying room and back to the apartment though. After all, I wanted to get the trike back to storage. Finished the day with just a smidge under 5 miels and yep, Loke went with me for that.

There was more pressure behind the ride on the 26th than miles or Loke. Simply put, I have to get control. Not control of miles or the like, but control of my needs and my health. Work keeps me reeling wildly from moment to moment even when I have times when I’m not struggling against apathy to get out the door and roll. My schedule can get shuffled on the fly (as shown on the 26th). Combined with the fact that 3 days of work a week bites so very deep into the number of rides I can squeeze in or keeps them very short if I try to do them at 4:30 am on days I do work, being sick of late and other such things, I’ve gained weight. 5 lbs. I wonder how much my muscular pain issues stem from not only reduction in frequency of my rides, but also in the duration of the rides I do manage to squeeze in.

In defense of my job, the pain has been increasing even before I started the job which could be linked to the shortening of my rides.

So, after stepping on the scale on the 26th and discovering the weight gain, I got a bit furious and irritated with the struggles. Mentally, I drew a hard line in the sand. I will NOT allow 3 consecutive days to pass without a ride. I will also start pulling with the trailer with me more frequently. Not every single ride, but at least 2 out of every 3.

Part of my previous apathy about taking the trailer was because with the muscle issues, I’ve simply cringed at the idea of hurting while I load and unload it ever time I want to use it. My husband is kinda right that maybe it shouldn’t sit around with the weight in it all the time, but taking 30+ liters of water back and forth is a lesson in pain. But if it has to be done, it has to be done. I must take control for the sake of my health.

So, Tuesday (27th), I had to work, but Jens woke a bit early to walk Loke so I could sleep until some time after 4 am.

Wednesday (28th) turned into a huge fiasco. Running Jens to the train, I needed to walk Loke as well as shower, and run madly around Uppsala to get various errands done. Very little happened. I darted about like a squirrel on speed, accomplishing very little. None of the errands downtown and with heavy rains, I didn’t drag myself out for a ride either. 45 F, very wet weather and me still fighting a persistent cough. Just didn’t sound like a good idea.

But I still was going to have less than 3 consecutive ride free days as my next day at work wasn’t until Friday (Sept 30th).

So, Thursday, even with dinner out with the in-laws for the evening, I finally had a chance to get down to the hospital for the blood tests. Right at a week after having seen the doctor, mind you.

Just seemed that things were conspiring to keep it from happening sooner. Didn’t have the car to get to the hospital. Too much pain to even think about taking a bus. Work interfering. Didn’t dare take the trike there and leave it parked outside the hospital, etc…

So, finally I managed to get to it yesterday. Dreading getting jabbed repeatedly though I had fingers crossed maybe they’d get lucky (or extremely skilled) to hit me the first time like when I had to go before.

While I waited for my number to come up, circumstances tried to throw a monkey wrench to break that mental ‘line in the sand’ I’d made. My boss/friend texted to see if I could come in on short notice for the day. With the battery on the phone dying, I simply texted back, ‘At hospital for tests. Will answer when I can’, and started agonizing over sticking to my guns about getting my rides to help my health and weight or crumple and toss my convictions aside.

About then, my number dinged. The woman who called me back was one of the younger nurses. As we talked and she prodded for my hard-to-locate veins, she decided to see if the tests could work with the blood from finger pricks. As she went to look on the computer, the supervising nurse asked what she was doing. The older woman told her the tests would work with pricks, but she had to try for the veins at least twice.

So, the one taking my blood went to fetch heating packs to try bringing the veins to the surface. After a few minutes, she prodded with her fingers, but had no better luck finding something definitive. So, she craned her neck to look over the curtain, then pulled the packs off my arms, stuck them in my hands and whispered, “We’ll just do the finger pricks.” She tugged down my sleeves so it wouldn’t be obvious she’d not jabbed me in the arms. I slumped in the chair with relief and she patted my arm with a sympathetic chuckle.

Bless her.

We had a nice chat as she jabbed a couple of my fingers and squeezed out the blood she needed into tubes. Mostly about animals. Then she bandaged my fingers and said, ‘Our little secret’ as I waltzed out, not looking like a leopard after blood tests for once.

I called Jens to tell him about the work call. To my surprise, his response was, ‘If you need to, tell her no. You’ve accommodated every sudden shift change and call in so far. Don’t feel you have to especially if you feel it’s going to damage your health. If you have things that can’t be changed on short notice, tell them such. If they decide they have to let you go because of it, so be it.’

Love that man.

When I did, I was still begged to come in for a few hours, but decided to pass on even that. I needed to ride. Loke needed to run, especially since he was going to be left alone for 3 or 4 hours while we went to dinner with my hubby’s parents. If my relief just didn’t show up and I’d have been stuck until after our dinner reservation. I stuck to my guns.

I can’t say that I didn’t feel guilty about it. I did though I was doing it as much for my health (need to ride for weight loss and hopeful reduction of muscle pain) and Loke’s mental health as well. Relief was stronger than the guilt. I wasn’t going to be tossing aside my resolve almost as soon as I’d made it.

It had been gray and low 50’s on my way to the hospital. As I came out (on the phone with Jens about the work call), I felt a couple sprinkles on the walk back to the parking garage. A few drops of water dotted the windshield as I drove home, but with such low frequency it never would have even made my clothes damp.

Cold, drizzling wet, but out we go!

Cold, drizzling wet, but out we go!

However, by the time I stepped out in my cycle clothes, Loke leashed beside me, puddles were forming on the water sheened pavement. It wasn’t the heavier rain of the previous day though. It was more of a misting drizzle that would take time to dampen my clothes.

I took a moment to work that into my expectations and stepped out from under the awning to go to the car.

It was colder than I expected, but fortunately, I found another wool top hiding in my bags from my ride south of Stockholm.

The downfall had strengthened almost enough to count as a sprinkle when we rolled out from the storage. I didn’t take the trailer with me, not wanting to take the time to hitch it up while my seat got wet.

Loke was a bit of a fireball as we made the first turn. I gave him the freedom to run. It’s occurred to me that there’s really no need for me to keep him so restricted as the X-rays showed perfectly healthy joints. He kept giving me little sideways glances, as if wondering when I was going to slow him down as he pulled us into an 11 mph dash.

River beginning to ripple in the wind.

River beginning to ripple in the wind.

I’d decided on doing the Grave Mound loop as it’s been a while. The first mile though had me thinking of a detour though. A wind kicked up that pushed the light mist even further under my DaBrim to speckle my glasses. I wound up rolling along with my hand blocking a fair bit of my face to try and keep them clear. Sight is kinda important when riding a bike or trike.

The wet also got through my tights quicker than I thought. Wind, 46 F, and wet combined to make the skin of my thighs start stinging from the cold. Detour in deed. I was going to get my contacts in and find a wool baselayer for my legs. Of course, since I was pulling nice, dry wool tights, I couldn’t just pull wet Lycra back on. So on went a pair of dry tights. I felt sooo much better.

Gateway to the mounds as it were

Gateway to the mounds as it were

Loke was all eager and excited to go back out. We rolled on toward the mosque. On the way, I stopped at the cycle shop to schedule a time for Bobby to swap the pedals for me, replace the derailleur hanger, and adjust the gears. We settled on Wednesday. Fingers crossed that scheduling doesn’t bounce around and get in the way.

Loke and tree-shrouded Gamla Uppsala Church

Loke and tree-shrouded Gamla Uppsala Church

Pushing on toward Gamal Uppsala, I felt pretty good. The steady uphill climb didn’t have too much too much of an impact on my legs. The misting rain had slacked so I stayed pretty dry. At one point, I even felt too warm.

That didn’t last too long though. Only until I reached the grave mound path. Out away from the trees with nothing between me and wind but hundreds of yards, or even close to a mile in some places, but fields. Oh, yes. I was very glad of the wool. Wool is our friend.

Brrr... No windbreaks here!

Brrr… No windbreaks here!

It was along there, I got a surprise. As I passed the biggest of the mounds, my DaBrim abruptly went flying off my helmet. I stopped the trike and wound up chasing it across the path all the way to the small mound that stands next to the parking lot. There, the weeds at the fence line caught it long enough to be reclaimed from the wind. Something like 4 years I’ve had the DaBrim and this is the first time the wind has ever pulled it off my helmet. And I’ve ridden with it in some crazy weather, including into a 20 mph headwind while doing over 20 mph down a hill with nary a hint that it wanted to part ways with my head gear.

Loke kept sighing at me as I wrestled it back on.

View back up the hill below the mounds

View back up the hill below the mounds

At the bottom of the hill past the mounds, the wind roared through the canopy of the trees with a sound much like water rampaging through the rapids in a river. Many of the trees are conifers, but some are birch and other deciduous. The abuse the wind inflicted on the trees caused autumn gold leaves to shake loose and cascade down through the shadows of the path. It was very pretty. Of course, as soon as I pulled my phone out to video it, the wind fell to a hush.

I’ve since come to the conclusion that wind is camera shy.

The rest of the way back to the storage was uneventful and mostly dry. For me any way. Loke’s legs and belly got quite soaked thanks to the wet pavement and puddles. Over 8 miles.

Not a bad jaunt and it felt good to have held to my determination and decisions rather than let circumstance cause me to toss them aside.

Only 13 rides for the month and less than 100 miles. Yep. September has become the bad month of the year… so far. Now to calculate what’s needed for October to hopefully prevent it from following September’s bad example.

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