Thursday, July 14, 2011

Challenging for sure!

I have a weekly appointment to have my blood checked. A year ago, after considerable weight loss, I experienced severe abdominal pain. Initially, it was assumed to be a gall bladder issue. But a MRI revealed a blood clot in the portal vein of my liver. Eventually, the pain subsided, I was placed on blood thinners to help my body to dissolve the clot.

A year later, I thought I would be over this health crisis. But the clot is still there. Now the blood doctor wants to watch me more carefully to assure that my blood is consistently thin enough. I'm told my gall bladder is sick too. But since it hasn't given me much trouble, they are cautiously waiting before removing it. They want to be sure I have no clotting issue before going ahead with a "routine" surgery.

While I was getting my blood drawn yesterday morning, the lab technician was very interested in my cycling activity. I shared with her how many miles Dave & I ride each week, and our great enthusiasm for tandem riding. She wanted to learn more. I offered her some encouragement to get involved in cycling. I enjoy spreading the word about the sport as a pastime -- it's a way to gain all the benefits of regular physical activity without the drudgery. It's challenging for sure ~ more at some times than others ~ but it's exhilarating and afterward, the feeling of being refreshed and relaxed is so worth the effort!

Last night, we joined in with an after-work group ride of cycling club members. The first part of the ride was a lot more challenging than we anticipated! When it comes to hill climbing, it's a lot tougher on a tandem! Dave & I struggled as our ride leader explained to us that there was approximately 4 miles of uphill facing us... Wow, that was 100% pure effort in our combined output for a prolonged period of time! During those climbs, we find ourselves questioning what we ate that day, was it too much stress, etc. And we feel pressured to keep up with the others, not wanting to hold them back. Dave becomes very verbal. I prefer to quietly focus. We're good together!  : )

The second half of last night's ride was better. The longest stretch of road was rolling with generous ups and downs. On the tandem, we were invited to lead the pack so that we could maximize our momentum on the downs to carry us forward on the ups. It worked out beautifully!

Overall, it was a 34 miles ride with 11 fellow riders, and a 14.4 mph average speed.

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