I used to be a runner. Now I’m a cyclist. Only recently have I been a stretcher. And apart from a dabbling a few years ago, I’m just beginning to be a weightlifter. I want to cross my country this summer on my bicycle ta-pocketa. I need to have “all lights shining bright” (from a David Francey song).
I’ve started working with Marcin, a personal trainer. He’s so supportive and so willing to challenge me. Day One is lots of reps using light weights. Day Two fewer reps and somewhat heavier weights. And then there’s Day Three – today. A couple of hours after our session, I was sitting in the Byron branch of the London Public Library, starting to read about my favourite Buddhist topic … being a bodhisattva, a person who hears and responds to the cries of the world. And I just about fell asleep. I managed a few pages and then realized that I didn’t have it. Simply exhausted.
At one point in the gym, Marcin was coaching me in doing a leg press. He chose the weight. I pushed … and nothing happened. The angled plate under my feet didn’t move. Memories jolted into me and my normally high self-esteem plummeted.
I went back twelve years, when I had ruptured a tendon in my right foot and had surgery. When the cast came off, the physio told me to move my toes to the side. I pushed … and nothing happened. Orders from headquarters mattered not. I felt deeply sad then, and medium sad today. And I let myself feel it this afternoon. No judgment, just watching it all wash over me.
I went back twenty-three years, when my thirteen-year-old niece Diana beat me in an arm wrestle. Lots of judgment back then. Bruce was bad, weak, repulsive, un-male, deserving scorn … Now I hold myself far more gently.
I did my best today. The last few reps of a set were often really hard but my mind was strong. Marcin settled on good weights for me, ones that stretched my everything. I will be ready on June 20, 2016, in Victoria, British Columbia. I will dip my rear wheel in the Pacific Ocean and head north to the ferry, and then east across Canada. I will not poop out in Manitoba (a province halfway across my home and native land). I will ride fast enough so that one or more of my Tour du Canada friends will choose to accompany me each day. I will create enough energy for hills, headwinds, rain and bad roads. And I will have enough left over to be good to my fellow riders.
For at least ten years, I’ve dreamed about this ride – seeing Canada, meeting Canadians, and blogging about it all. I will do this before I die.