Sunday, January 20, 2013

Watching from the sidelines but from a bicycle

The start line of this morning PF Chang's  Rock and Roll 1/2 Marathon in Tempe.
It's hard for me to go to a race (and by that I mean a 10k, half or full marathon) and not feel sorry for myself these days.  It's been an entire year since I could run and training in general has been hit or miss depending on whether or not my knee wanted to cooperate with me.  The result is that I've lost significant muscle tone and generally feel out of shape.  The clot situation has thrown me off not only my school schedule but my rehab schedule as well since I'm not yet sure what I'm allowed to do.  I am supposed to move around but not exert myself - that last part being completely the opposite of what I've become accustomed to in my quest to stay strong and healthy in to middle age and beyond. Nonetheless, I decided to strangle my urge to pout and cheerlead the Planner Guy at this mornings PF Chang Rock and Roll Marathon in Tempe.  Bob's work schedule has put a serious dent in his usual training regimen but he found enough time in the last few months to prepare for the half-marathon race and since he wasn't going to give in to pouting about lost fitness I couldn't either.  I told him that I wanted to go and would bring my Brompton for tooling around Tempe as opposed to hobbling on my cane (yes, I've graduated from the crutches!).

Nobody could possibly not see that jacket.
Other than a bike trip a few days ago to knock out part of a class assignment, I've haven't been on my bike. Yes, I promised Bob, I would wear my helmet.  I also wore my mustard JCrew swing jacket for extra visibility.  I'd be very careful and cautious on the road and bike paths about getting bumped, knocked over or otherwise struck by a moving vehicle.  Whatever!  There were medical and emergency personnel all over the place to care for injured runners.  I marked my wallet to indicate that I'm on blood thinners, so I think I've taken all the safety precautions I can think of.

We decided to drive to Tempe but regretted it as cars moved at a snails pace to the parking lots and garages.  We should have bike to Encanto Station and taken the Metro, as we certainly would have arrived in plenty of time for Bob to do some pre-race stretching and hydration.  As it was, he had to jump out of the car and sprint to the start while I was unloading my bike.  Lesson learned:  always bike to anything Tempe (except for maybe IKEA).

Bodies in motion.
Anyway, being out among the runners and their friends and family was just what I needed.  Good to be out among the hustle and bustle.  The runners looked to be very fit and well trained this year, inspiring me to get on with it and start PT as soon as possible.  I want to be among them next year!

Cool single speed.
The crowd was quite large and included a lot of people on bikes.

At a coffee stop.
After the race got under way, the crowds dispersed along Mill Avenue, many, like me, heading for coffee and breakfast. No worries about finding a spot to lock up.  Bike corrals are aplenty in Tempe. I spoke briefly to the owners of these three bikes, who stopped for eats after completing the full marathon course that had been open to cyclists earlier in the morning.

Firemen on bikes, ready to render first aid.
By the time I finished sipping my coffee and thinking about the world, I noticed it was time to head over to the finish area as Bob would be coming in shortly, in just under 2 hours.  First aid responders from the fire department on bikes waited along the last mile to the finish.  So far I hadn't seen anyone who looked beaten up by the course though.  I was pretty envious of them as they came in that last mile.  Perfect weather for race day; nobody could have looked happier.  Bob finished about 15 minutes after I got to the finish, pleased with his effort after only a few months training, though reporting that the course was surprisingly hilly as compared to past races there.  We made our way back to Mill Avenue and stopped for brunch before heading back to the car and then home.

So first real day back on the bike and I didn't die, although I did get bumped pretty again, this time on the knee that just had surgery, when my pant leg got caught on something on the Brompton - maybe an Eazy Wheel, not sure.  Maybe I should use that reflective strap to secure my pant leg the next time.  Good grief!  A pant strap and a bike helmet?!  The only thing left to make me look like a complete bike nerd is a reflective vest.  I can't get off blood thinners quickly enough.


Jimio said...

I fell on my bike Betty Lou on a snow covered street hiding a pothole and sprained my ankle so I cant walk for well but for some weird reason I can still ride. Which proves walking muscles are different from riding muscles.

She Rides a Bike said...

They sure are, Jimio! Biking is infinitely more comfortable than walking at the moment. Luckily my surgeon said biking is the best thing for my knee.

Jim Bangs said...

Nice breakfast and a cruise on the Brompton. Sounds like a pretty good day!!