The subtitle of this post might be “Don’t take it for granted.”
As I mentioned in my blog earlier in the week, the Character Building Trial entered Phase Two as I had the cast removed on Monday, to be replaced with a removable brace. This was critical in that it removed four significant disabilities from which I had suffered during Phase One:
- Wielding a pen or pencil effectively
- Hygiene on the right arm
- Entwining a deck of cards in a random order (i.e. shuffling)
- Wheeling on a bipedal machine (i.e. riding my bike)
Therefore, this week I was able to start back on journaling the old-fashioned way. Although it was nice that I will not have to transfer my journal from Phase One, such that my Deficit was not growing at the time, not having the primary source in hand-writing makes it seem less personal. Well… I guess I DID write in my journal with my left hand: three different strings each day. For example, on July 30, my left hand wrote “J30 16” where the “16” was on a separate line and took up most of the page.
Although I have gone through phases where I did not really care about my personal appearance and hygiene, the Character Building Trial really showed me that it is important to keep clean so as to avoid pathogens. Between the stress of alternate EXCEL preparation (including late nights) and the frustration of partial disability, I must have left myself wide open to the attack of the virus. I know now that I will not take being able to keep a part of me clean for granted, nor should I take my good health for granted.
In some sense, I guess I now see how injuries can beget illness, and how long ago, for example, in wars, more of the deaths may have come from non-combat-related causes.
For entwining a deck of cards randomly, during Phase One, I was still going to the Pokemon League, despite my compromised ability to shuffle. The “mash” shuffle worked sufficiently for the fact that I was using cards with sleeves on them. However, this technique did not work in bridge, so on the Sunday nights, I had to get a proxy shuffler when it was my turn to shuffle. After I got the brace, one of the first things that I tested out was whether I could shuffle a deck of cards in the usual (i.e. bridge) fashion, and IT WORKED!
And perhaps the most exciting part of Phase Two: I got back on my bike! During the weekdays of this week, I simply rode my bike to and from Tech, as well as going to downtown Evanston a few times, or taking a joy ride on the Lakefill after a long day of work. In some sense, the latter I did since it was about the same amount of time that I would have spent walking from home to the office or vice-versa. Plus, the weather has just been so pleasant!
Yesterday, though, most importantly, I managed to partially exorcise one of the demons that was surrounding me. A couple of my friends hosted a party down in Lakeview, and I felt that it would be fun to ride my bike down there. So, I took Sheridan Road to the Lakefront Trail, at 20:45. Of course, I was equipped with lights, and I also had my reflective panniers on the back of my bike. Honestly, Sheridan Road was a scary part of this trip, because I was riding on the Groove Line (i.e. the road was a rough grooved surface).
But I valiantly returned to the road of the crash from 49 days ago. Given that it was dusk at this point, there were not many pedestrians or riders on the trail. I was still hyper-aware, and although I had to pass a few people, there was never anyone else in sight. As it turns out, I did NOT go by the scene of the crash, because that scene was about four blocks south of where I alighted the trail.
Upon returning home, I had ridden over 21 miles on the day, which is my longest ride in a month. My legs were not Jell-O by the time that I had returned home, so that I will not have as much of a training deficit as I had feared in order to prepare for the Four Star Bike Tour (September 7) or the North Shore Century (September 21).
My next step in regaining my courage on the trail is to go during a heavier time of pedestrians. As an old proverb goes, “Fall down seven times, stand up eight.”
Although my rehab assignment continues, I am definitely in a better state of body and mind than I was a few weeks ago.
Today is the two-hundred and twenty-ninth day of M.M.X.I.V. That makes thirty-two weeks and five days.
Today is the thirty-fourth day of the Character Building Trial. That makes four weeks and six days.