This morning I had an amazing bike ride. Although I was only out for forty five minutes, (although I wanted to ride forever) it helped me to recapture the joy of being active outside. I worked on cadence, keeping my pedaling a steady pace as I worked through small inclines and steeper hills. (Which, by the way, meant for a faster ride and one that didn’t tire me.) The air was freezing cold, to me, and I thought a lot about how to dress the next cold morning. Mostly, I just enjoyed the ride. And I noticed that many of the people I have come to expect to see running or biking in the morning were not there. The streets were pretty much empty. Could be Labor Day weekend. Or, it could be that the shift back to school is already underway. 

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Now is one of those vulnerable times, where all the progress I have made may take a step back. I have to go back to work. Don’t get me wrong, I understand completely how lucky I am to have the amount of free time that I get. But the balance of that is the long hours that go into being an educator in the next ten months. In the beginning of the summer, I maintained my four o’clock wake up calls as a preventative strike. My reasoning was, if I could continue going out before five, when September rolled around it would be a smoother transition. Unfortunately, I forgot about sunrise times and my own level of weeniness. Wake up times gradually became later, until I was no longer rolling out of bed by four thirty but instead five thirty. Still, I had time and was able to put in an hour of biking or running.

Those days are gone. Now, Monday thru Friday is a four-fifteen wake up call, so I can be at the gym between four thirty and quarter to five. And, Lordy, am I tired by the time four o’clock in the afternoon rolls around. Hopefully, I will become more accustomed to the early mornings, as I was back in the spring. However, waking up to work out in the gym is not as appealing to me as running or biking outside. Additionally, as the summer progressed so did my goals. I am going further and trying to do it faster, which is more tiring. And although I am hoping to capture at least two to four afternoons a week to run or bike outside, already, I can see that this is going to present a challenge. After school activities, committee meetings, homework, housework, lesson planning, yada, yada, yada, all need to be worked in. 

So, this morning was a gift. In a time that I have been feeling very much defeated lately, this morning was exuberance and joy. This morning reminded me of why I continued to keep biking, even when it was hard. And it reminded me that although the future holds a diminishing store of runs and rides outside, they will come back. I will have to scale back on the amount of time I can put into running and biking, but I don’t have to quit.  And going to the gym will continue to help make me stronger. So when the spring comes, or even when it visits for a moment, I will be able leverage gym sweat into longer, faster, stronger rides and runs. 


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