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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Deep Breath Out

For several weeks I've been keeping a low profile just to gather myself and become more centered. With all the fun and excitement of summer abruptly coming to an end, replaced by a more rigid schedule, the funk overtook me. Instead of fighting it, I let it settle around me, even wrapped myself in it like it was a warm, winter blanket. I made one short-term change--not cycling at all for three weeks--and one permanent change--deleting my dailymile.com account, to give myself space to breathe. The time away from cycling allowed me to not pour all my focus into mileage, speed, and how many calories I burned. I did commute to work, but those rides were slow, giving me a chance to look around and enjoy the scenery. The deletion of my dailymile account came about after admitting I was stacking myself up against my "friends" posting their workouts rather than using the site to just track my rides. The pressure I was putting on myself was ridiculous. I want to cycle just to cycle and enjoy the time out, the scenery, and how it helps me stay healthy. Not because someone posted a ride of 75 miles, or someone else posted a ride of 50 miles at 22.3 mph pace and I need to ride as far or farther, as fast or faster. Not healthy.

The Mysterious Praying Mantis
So I've been spending time with my boys, reading, and writing. With the boys, we've been enjoying watching the BBC program Dr. Who. Cheesy? Definitely. Fun? As The Doctor would say, "Oh yes." And for days following watching an episode, we're talking about the issues raised: compassion, friendship, bravery, even genocide. These make for great conversations. My reading has been almost completely short stories, but I'm also enjoying Pilgrim at Tinker Creek and A Moveable Feast. Dillard's Tinker Creek makes me consider the more philosophical issues of life: time, space, interconnectedness. Hemingway's A Moveable Feast helps me make connections between writers I've read and who influenced each other, among other things. Both have impacted how I'm viewing my own writing, which is coming along. I'm working on the last story for my collection, and though it's a tough write, I'm going to slog through it as this story means more to me than all the other stories of the collection.

At this point, the feelings of being off kilter are fading. The desire to get back on the bike is growing, especially after our last organized event last Sunday when we rode 42 miles through beautiful central Illinois countryside and ate pumpkin pie at the finish line. Work is chugging along smoothly; I couldn't have asked for a better semester thus far. Life is good.

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