Saturday, May 16, 2009

Making friends with shadows

I finally got the chance last Sunday to go for my first bike ride since Mallorca – and of course I knew it would be a breeze, what with my newfound fitness and all. Flying along at top speeds, no problem. She’s back, kids!

Ha. As soon as I get out to Huntley and see the trees bending over, I know it’s going to be another day of shitty wind. But you know what? No whining. Time to suck it up. Deal with it. So I head out – that is, after having the valve somehow snap off as I’m pumping up one of my tires, so I get some practice in tire changing – and my legs feel....tired. Heavy. Like I ran 20 miles the day before, which I assure you I did not. Shit. I keep riding, still feeling like crap, into a crosswind so stiff that it’s blowing me into the road, which fortunately isn’t very well-traveled. Still. Headwind, crosswind. I’m determined to just suck it up, ignore it. And so I do, until the wind blowing in my ear gives me a massive headache. Which is morphing into a migraine. And it’s at this point that I start thinking, maybe I won’t be ready for IronSpud. And......I’m not sure how much I really care.

I mean, I DO care, especially since it would bug me to pay the NAS/WTC fucktards my $550 and then not race. (And for the record, what I find distasteful about them is not that they don’t do rollovers, though that does suck, but that they told me that they’d roll over my spot BUT that I had to pay their $550 AGAIN. Gee, thanks. Either roll it over or don’t – but don’t pretend you’re being all magnanimous when you’re just being a bunch of vultures.) But do I care enough to try to overcome how crappy I feel on a daily basis so that I can train enough? Because I do. Feel crappy, I mean. And I’m not looking for sympathy or anything, I’m just being matter-of-fact. I’m always tired – what saved me in Mallorca was that Stacey considers getting up at 8AM “really early” – so I could get some extra rest in. I go running almost every day, and every day my lungs feel like they’re on fire and I can’t get enough air. Lately I’ve been dizzy and off-balance; not sure what’s up with that. I get constant migraines. Not to mention that I seem to have no brain anymore. Seriously. I can’t remember things I did yesterday, or last weekend – it’s all just a big blank.

Anyway – whaa whaa whaa. Yeah, I know, I sound like a broken record. Did I mention that I’m also even MORE pissed off, now that I’ve read studies (including recent ones) that say that hey, guess what, all you parents smoking like chimneys your entire child’s life! You’ve increased by 68% the chances of your pre-menopausal daughter getting breast cancer! My dad, the 2-3 pack-a-day smoker, he died a few years ago, so I don’t get to tell him that I was kind of right when I kept telling him that he should quit because he was probably giving me lung cancer. I just had the type of cancer wrong.

So here I am, a fat, surly bundle of rage, attempting to train for an Ironman. Of course, in order to figure out what I should do and to find inspiration, I decide to turn to that most sage and wise of advice-givers: the internet. I first check out a book that I was made aware of through some newsletter email list that I’m on – a book written by a woman who proclaims it as the “triathlete’s guide to getting through your first year after breast cancer”, or something along those lines. I figure, aha, there must be inspiration there! If anyone would have attempted to do an Ironman, it’s someone who wrote a book about it, right?

After much research, I discern that a couple years after treatment, she ran (walked) the run leg of a sprint triathlon. And her “training” in that first year consisted of slow walks up and down her block. But her book was chock-full of pithy sayings, such as “Life is like constantly being in transition – just make sure you don’t forget your running shoes in T2!” And “When you get kicked in the head during the swim, just remember, the waves are there to build character!”

Now, don’t get me wrong, anyone who even bothers to get out of bed and leave the house in the months after cancer treatment deserves credit – I just didn’t find the inspiration I was looking for. So in continuing my quest, I googled “dumbass people attempting Ironman shortly after cancer”. Hmm, nada, though I did find some odd blog called the “Happy Hospitalist” – and after perusing it for a bit, I still have no clue what that’s all about. The other points of reference that I manage to collect are twofold: one, a correspondence with a pro triathlete who had treatment for testicular cancer, but he readily admitted that he had minor, outpatient surgery and just 3 days of radiation, so it basically didn’t affect him at all. I’m happy for him, truly, but again, not very helpful. Then there was the example of Mario Lemiuex, who also underwent 6 weeks of radiation treatment for cancer, and then went on to play in the Stanley Cup finals. And then had to take the entire next year off, in part due to fatigue. Okay, so at least that makes me feel like I’m not completely batshit crazy. At least not when it comes to feeling like crap.

After all this, I can only conclude that this whole Ironman thing is probably one of the stupider things I’ve done, or attempted to do. Again, not looking for any kudos or medals here – just stating the facts. Facts we already knew: I’m an idiot. A stubborn one at that, who won’t just say hey, you know what? Never mind. Bad idea. No, god forbid I should do anything that sensible.

So, back to the training I go – and if you happen to be driving around the Midwest and catch a glimpse off the side of the road of what appears to be a surly-looking, discontented lump, close to a black Felt bicycle and little Dino looking all ferocious.....yeah, that would be me and my compatriots. Nothing to see there, folks, just what’ll be my usual state of being for the next 5 weeks or so.

One last thing – we all know how fucking ANNOYING it is when people hear about your cancer diagnosis and respond with the “well, I could be hit by a bus tomorrow, so you never know!” type of comment. Right. Because there are all these rogue, kamikaze, killer buses teeming around every city and burg, attempting to mow down innocent citizens. MY chances of a recurrence or death in the next 10 years, with my kind of cancer? 37% and 17% respectively. I don’t think there’s an equal chance that any of you will be hit by that rogue bus.

So last night on Grey’s Anatomy, they seemed to kill off Izzy, who had the metastatic brain tumors. And George? Yes, good old George, the original McShlumpy..........he got hit by a bus. A fricking bus. Now, are we supposed to view that as supreme irony, or are all the tv scripts in Hollywood written by 3rd graders or stoners, giggling madly now as we speak? "I know, we'll have him....hit by a bus! Yeah, that's it! Like, an inside joke, 'cause no one else will get it." Just wondering.


D said...

Your whole post was overshadowed by the pics of the dino on the back of your bike. I'm gonna need one of those. Trade ya for some Timbits!

stacey, the voice of reason about the temperature said...

saw the dino and thought about how people whinge about needing the lightest this and that (water bottle cage etc) on their bike and you plop a 1 lb, totally aerodynamic for sure, rubber toy on the back ... awesome!!!!!