17 miles!

I don’t think I’ve felt this proud of myself since I pulled enough Français out of my bee-hind to have a lucid conversation with a clerk in a camera shop in France.

But THIS is a different kind of pride – mostly physical – but also emotional and even spiritual. I feel like I could do anything.

I got up at 6:45 and left the house at 7:30, checking the weather on the way out and hoping the rain would hold off. I was SO nervous, butterflies all over every internal organ, feeling giddy and silly and a little scared.

I rode the 2 miles to St. Thomas, met up with my friend Amy (the baker of my amazing birthday cheesecake) and after registering and buying a new helmet [on sale!] and biking gloves [purely a vanity purchase] I am SO hotsy totsy looking, baby!

It’s actually a pretty easy course, lots of downhill and coasting. Amy and I chatted the whole way – she’s very athletic and could have done the course in half the time it took me – but she very kindly stayed with me, making it a more fun experience.

It’s humid enough today that my breathing sucked eggs, so on several hills I had to get up and push the bike (I did take advantage of every rest stop, Janice, and that made all the difference!)

Yesterday it was much drier, I have a feeling yesterday I could have done it with less wheezing and puffing, but the coming rain kept the morning so beautiful and cool.

And WHAT beauty! The Mississippi river, glimpses of it between trees, was dark and smooth. I saw kayakers and fishers, everyone enjoying an unexpectedly lovely Sunday morning.

Past the Science Center I had to get off and walk again, stupid breathing. Finally I was back on my bike just in time to ride past my pulmonologist’s office, Hey Doc!

Ramsey Hill was a bear, but Amy was waiting for me at the top, at another rest stop, with water and baked goods and music.

The rest stops were so wonderful – SO welcomed – and made the whole thing feel like a party!

The last 3 miles down Summit were familiar territory, my own turf, and who should be waiting for me at Lex and Summit but Gerry and Hannah, taking pictures and cheering me on!

One last incline at Sydicate, then downhill the rest of the way. I called Gerry and he picked me up as the rain was just beginning to fall, and I was too exhausted to ride all that way uphill.

Now I’m home, showered, and relaxing while I watch Thomas a Becket meet his grisly end on TMC. If he had a bike, he could have gotten away.

Pictures tomorrow, I’m too tired and too busy basking to dowload them from my cell phone right now.

As great as my bike ride was, the REAL excitement was happening down in Marietta with my cousin. Here’s the message from Jan that was waiting for me when I woke up from a nap:

I’ve had a very busy day, the physical therapist came in and asked me how long it had been since I sat on the edge of the bed and I said, “Oh, at least 6 weeks…”

So he got my back brace on me and… I sat on the edge of the bed for 11 minutes!

For the first 5 minutes I just bawled, it had been so long since anyone had worked with me and got me to do anything. It was a really nice experience, everyone was crying…”

Yes, I rode 17 miles today, and it was exciting, but I don’t think it matches the excitement of actually looking out a window – not flat on your back – but sitting up for the first time in 6 weeks.

Jan’s spine has pockets of cancer, and her muscles are weak. The back brace helps immensely, but nothing beats the feeling of support she got from her PT guy today.

I’m so grateful to him, and so proud of her I could burst!

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