Last Thursday was a glorious January day in Michigan. Normal temperatures for a January day are in the high 20’s (call it -2 C) but last Thursday, it was a fantastic 41 degrees (or 5 C on the nose). Under normal circumstances, and that day was normal excepting fantastic weather, I’d simply not show up to the Zoom meeting with my sponsor. He knows I’m riding outdoors on a day like that.
Driving back to the office from an on-site meeting I was struck with a thought that said, “call Greg”. It was that simple, and I heard it, I didn’t simply think it. So, having had this happen in the past, I did without hesitation (I wish I could say it was always without hesitation), figuring I would leave him a voicemail letting him know I was riding outside and not to expect me (he rarely picks up on the first try). That day was different. He answered on the second ring. I greeted him cheerfully as I always do, but he wasn’t in a good space at all. I’d never heard him talk like he was. He was struggling hard.
Two years ago, he was helping a semi-truck driver clear debris from the road that had fallen out of another truck. An old-timer in a pickup truck hit him hard enough he wasn’t expected to live. He did. His recovery from the crash has been anything but easy and he was down about how far he’d slid in terms of his ability to work. He’s worked his entire life and derived a lot of self-worth from his ability to easily make a buck (actually, piles of bucks). At this point he can only be on his feet for an hour or two at a time before he needs rest, or even a nap.
I listened intently and waited until he was finished. Then, completely out of character, I said, “You’re Gregory f***in’ C******. You are my sponsor and the man I look to when I don’t know what else to do. You will get through this. It’ll be baby steps at first, but this is no hill for a mountain climber.” That snapped him back a little bit.
We talked a while more and when he was good and done he said, “You know, this call couldn’t possibly have come at a better time. I can’t even tell you how much I needed this. Thank you.”
I offered that the pleasure was mine and we exchanged pleasantries before hanging up.
The moral of the story is this: Listen to that voice. It’s a gift and whomever that voice is about needs the other side of that gift.
The other night I wasn’t looking forward to my workout. I had intervals and pushups on the schedule and for one rare minute I actually thought about taking a day off. Surely a day off could be justified! I thought better and dressed. I thought, “Screw it, I’ll just do an easy 45 minutes and call it good.” I suited up, fired up a movie and started pedaling. I was slow for exactly three minutes. 15 to 16-mph was too easy. I up-shifted. Picked up the pace… up-shifted again. 18-mph, 19… 22, 23… and a rest for a minute or two… then I put the hammer down. 27… 28… 30… I held that for a minute then backed down for a couple of minutes. Then another interval, rest, then another, and another. I was done after 30 minutes and spent.
A friend of mine has a pain cave with a saying on the wall that says, “If you knew you couldn’t play tomorrow, how hard would you play today?” My answer, of course, is “very hard“. If I took it easy every time the mood struck me, though, where would I be when it was actually time to play? I’d be sitting on the couch watching the world go by! Well, not likely, either, but you get, the idea. And a nice use of the Shatner comma.
I’ve got another recovery post brewing, but this one’s gonna be tough…. stay tuned.