Make it a great day.

DSC02441February is flying by, I can’t believe we have already left the first week of the month behind.

Last week, although it seemed so brief, was a good week for me. I biked 201 miles which is the farthest I have gone in a week since I retired my road bike for the winter. Besides biking, work went well, I was able to spend time with friends and family and I began some projects that I have been putting off for awhile.

Good weeks don’t happen by accident. On January 31st, while I was visiting at my parent’s house, I picked up a book randomly lying around, titled- Coach Wooden: The 7 Principles That Shaped His Life and Will Change Yours and flipped to the middle.

My eyes fell on this quote,

When I was teaching basketball, I urged my players to try their hardest to improve on that very day, to make that practice a masterpiece…It begins by trying to make each day count and knowing you can never make up for a lost day.

Those words drew me into the book and I quickly read through that chapter, which was entitled, “Make Each Day Your Masterpiece”.

Then I came across these words,

“Have a great day” is a passive statement. But “Make it a great day” means that I am in charge of making my day great.

I couldn’t get this principle out of my mind, so every day last week I set out to make that day the best it could be. My goal was to go to bed each night knowing that I had spent my time wisely and done my best for God, for others and for myself.

It was fun thinking of ways to fill each day with meaning and purpose. On the other hand, it was sobering to realize how much of my time I fritter away carelessly. The mornings that I don’t go into work are my main weakness, it can take me a few hours to really get up and moving.

So tonight I am setting out all my bike gear. That way when I wake up in the morning it will be easy to get out the door for an early morning ride and get a jumpstart on the day.

I can’t wait to see the sunrise!

 

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Why cycling is bad for socks.

Some people love socks. They carefully choose a pair of socks each morning to fit their outfit and mood. They wear exciting, colorful socks that are fun to slip into. At least I think there are people like that out there, but I don’t know for sure because I am not one of those people.

Each morning, I grab a pair of socks. If they match (or close to it), don’t have holes (that will be visible to others) and don’t stink, I shove them on my feet and then don’t think about them again for the rest of the day.

But starting several weeks ago, shoving socks onto my feet became a harder than normal task. I often wear knee-high socks (that only reach mid-calf, naturally) and they were rebelling against me as I tried to pull them up. As I have mentioned, I don’t think much about socks so I simply tugged harder and then went about my day.

Also starting several weeks ago, sometimes I would notice the hem of my sock biting into and rubbing against my leg as I walked. But as I have mentioned, I don’t think much about socks, so I would readjust them and go about my day.

Another funny thing started several weeks ago. When I peeled a pair of socks off of my legs at night I uncovered angry, red, slightly itchy lines where the sock had hugged my skin too tightly. Ouch! I believe I have already mentioned, I don’t think much about socks, so I would rub my calves a bit and get ready for bed.

I should have seen the signs. I should have put two and two together. I should have known!

But this morning in the bathroom as I was pulling on my biking clothes, everything finally came together as I happened to glance in the mirror. What I saw there made my jaw drop. My. Calves. Are. Huge. I guess biking over six hundred miles a month, for a few months causes certain muscles to go through growth spurts. Funny how that works.

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I stopped to chat with this cow and naturally we both bragged about our calves.

Now I have a conundrum on my hands and I won’t sugar coat it for you, this is a tough one. I have to choose between buying new socks or cutting back on cycling. It is going to be a hard choice to make so I think I will go and make a “pros and cons” list to help me sort my options.

Pain in Perspective

Sometimes biking hurts. My legs burn while I climb a hill. My body is sore after a long ride. My mind wants to go faster than my limbs say they are capable of.
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Last Wednesday, I arrived at my church to set up everything for up worship practice after a fast, hard bike ride. I was running up and down the stairs, getting the sound system ready to go. My legs were like little lumps of jelly, protesting each dash up the staircase.

But then the other singers arrived to practice and I found out that one of the ladies has recently been diagnosed with moderate-to-severe arthritis. She also needs a knee replacement. To stand up for any length of time, she has to rock on her other leg to be able to endure the pain.  She remarked that if she stayed in bed all day, the pain would go away. But since she is the primary caretaker for her seven year grandson who is as adorable as he is energetic, laying in bed all day is simply not an option.

Instantly, grumbling at my sore legs felt massively silly and juvenile.  This lady lives with her pain on a daily basis. Pain that won’t let up, pain that signifies an aging body, pain without any benefits. She goes through so much suffering but she bears it with grace and poise.

I can’t help but see the contrasts with the pain I “endure” on my bike.

My pain is temporary.
If I want to make any discomfort end, the solution is simple. Back off, slow down, stop. Voila! Pain eradicated.

My pain is healthy.

Every time I push my body to go faster and further than it wanted to go, I am increasing my fitness and endurance. It makes me better at something I love to do.

My pain is optional.

I chose to make my body feel this way by pushing it beyond what felt comfortable.

My pain is satisfying.
When my body complains, it means I am working hard on my bike. And working hard on my bike feels good. It is fun to see just what my body is capable of.

This past week whenever I was out on my bike and my brain made me aware that what I was doing wasn’t comfortable, I reminded myself that this is the good kind of pain.

Someday, maybe due to an injury or an illness I will have to deal with “bad” pain. But until then I am going to be thankful for the discomfort I feel on my bike and the benefits I derive from it.

Shocked

Today I was roaming the depths of the World Wide Web when I discovered an article that shocked me. The article (from last winter) quoted a mayor who said that people who bike in the winter should be arrested. Excuse me?

But that is not the only thing that shocked me. What rocked me to my core is that this guy is the mayor of a city 25 miles away from me! Now obviously I am not actually afraid of being arrested for bicycling in winter, but I am worried about his attitude toward cyclists. Then I read the comment section. I have wondered what people are thinking when they pass me in a car, and now I can better understand some people’s mentality.

Why are some people so afraid of alterative forms of transportation? Goodness. I am fine with you not understanding why I choose to live car free. If you think I am crazy, I can deal with that. But I am not more of a hazard on the road than a car.

Best idea from comment section

No car? Hitchhike. It is winter no one is gonna leave you to standing there.

Upstate NY Mayor: People Who Bike in the Winter “Should Be Arrested”

and a follow up article

Watertown Mayor Jeffrey Graham defends cyclist comments following Sunday crash

My heart goes out to the guy who got hit by a vehicle and then caught flack for it. He can’t drive a car because he suffers from seizures. To me he is quite an amazing guy to decide that he won’t let not being able to drive a car stop him.

Sorry to bring up something that happened nearly a year ago, but I am kinda stunned because this is where I live.