So after my meltdown I’ve been slowly making my way back. I got advice that I shouldn’t attempt to “make up” any missed workout, but just to pick up the next workout. The next scheduled workout was a swim for Friday. It turned out to be an unexpectedly busy work day for me, so I didn’t actually get to the pool until 8:30PM. I’d never been there so late before. I was the only one in the whole pool. It was dark, but the pool was lit underneath the water and the whole thing was kind of surreal and beautiful.

I didn’t end up having time to do the entire “Fitness” level workout, but I did do the Developing workout and it felt just fine. I just felt relaxed and it was so peaceful. I could see the lit-up bubbles underwater with every stroke – something I can’t see in the daytime – and it was like this very artistic, pretty feedback on how hard I was pushing through the water. Pretty awesome!

So that was reviving. Then today I met up with our regional group for a “Captain’s Run” which happened to be taking place just a few blocks from my house. Yay! I got to walk there. It also started at 9am which I considered very civilized.

These runs are often just timed runs – no matter what pace, we go 30 minutes out and 30 back in, so everyone finishes at roughly the same time, even though some people go a lot farther.

Captain Matt: "Just run that way until your lungs explode."

It was interesting how the run went, and how I felt about it. I was absolutely the last one in the group. I did walk/run intervals. There were a lot of hills and some of them VERY steep, especially coming back. It just seemed to go up and up and up. But you know what? I felt okay. I ran when I could, and I walked when I couldn’t run. End of story. I didn’t worry about keeping up with other people. I was in my element, in my own neighborhood in a place I knew well. Sometimes it was so misty/foggy I couldn’t see feet ahead of me, and other times it was HOT and sunny. The fog just kept going in and out. Like the underwater swim on Friday, I found it kind of peaceful. I just wasn’t worried about it. In the end I did a 4.88 miles in 70 minutes, which was just fine.

In the afternoon I was going to meet up with my awesome buddy Mary V, who has coached those 500 mile AIDS rides. She had offered to help me get used to the new pedals on my bike. I felt like I really needed to figure them out before our long big ride in Napa tomorrow. She suggested that we just go practice at one of the BART station parking lots which is usually empty on weekends.

So I met her out there and tried to clip on my shoe to the pedal. It wouldn’t go and at first I just thought I was being super uncoordinated. But then I tried to sit on the ground and just clip my SHOE (without foot in it!) to the pedal, and it still didn’t work. Then Mary tried to clip her own shoe in and no go.

Back to the bike store! Third time in three days! They’re going to have to paint my name on the floor in the spot where I stand and wait. Mary was nice enough to help me and help them and explain the issue. They loosened up the clip then let me get on their trainer (bike stand) to practice. Mary coached me in the in-and-out. I got my right foot pretty quickly but the left one was a lot more awkward. After about 15 minutes of this everyone seemed satisfied that it was working, I could get my foot in and out and I was deemed ready to go. The bike guys were like, “You want to go take it for a spin?” “NOW? HERE?” Um, no, thanks.

Mary took me up to the trail nearby where I’d practiced a bunch with Lily. She was so patient. (and believe me, standing in a parking lot and then in a bike store and then riding about 20 feet was NOT her idea of a fun bike ride!) She was so kind and yet firm. “OK, get on now.” She had me get on and off the bike and ride a bit (“Now stop!”) maybe about ten times.

And guess what? I RODE A BICYCLE with my FEET CLIPPED ONTO THE PEDALS!!!!!! CALL THE NEW YORK TIMES!

I only rode a little ways, and I’d say that I had two really awkward ugly starts, and two really nice graceful ones, and a whole bunch of them that were somewhere in between. But I DID NOT FALL DOWN once. And that was a huge victory. And even though I wasn’t what one would call “comfortable,” I DID It. and I hope this will translate into a not too humiliating or painful experience tomorrow.

Tomorrow we are riding up in Napa. Which is over an hour from here. And we meet at 7:45. IN NAPA. So I’ve got to get to bed now, y’all!

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