A little less than a week ago, I received the results of my MRI report. And I began a new kind of race countdown. Previously, I was gearing up for the Lake Piru TT on January 6. Followed by the Bandit 30k trail run on February 17. Then, in March I'd have the Cheseboro Half Marathon. April would bring the ITU Club Championship, all building for a shot to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships at Ironman St. George 70.3 on May 4.
Those countdowns all ended with one phrase from my orthopedist: "You've got the Blake Griffin injury."
Translation: Fractured patella. Prognosis: Crutches for 2-4 weeks, no running for three months, no racing until at least May.
And there went half my season.
Fortunately, I'm alive. I just read a story about a cyclist killed in Texas. Hit by a car and boom that's it. I'm beginning to think that riding on a trainer is not only the best way to ride, but perhaps the only way to ride.
I'm getting used to a new kind of countdown. The one where we don't think ahead to the next race, but instead just hope to get through one day at a time -- because that's one day closer to getting back on the bike or being able to run. It's a humbling new perspective to face, but something I'm getting used to. I've had more time to spend with friends and family, and catching up on sleep has become my new hobby.
Finding the motivation to stay in shape is the hardest part. I can swim lightly without pushing off the wall, and that seems to be pretty much it. Still I'm trying to stay positive. I've organized a game drive for our office cleaning lady whose own 14-year-old son was struck while crossing the street on his way to school in a hit-and-run. He's been bed-ridden essentially since September. He has a PlayStation 3 though, so my studio is rounding up a bunch of games to help him out.
Channeling my own anxiety about my crash to help others has been a welcome distraction and feels good. It's also made me realize once again how lucky I was. But still, in the back of my head and in my heart, I wonder, "Why keep doing this?" This is a dangerous sport. What if there's a darker countdown to something worse?
I don't want to live like that. I can't remember the movie, but the quote from it stands out crystal clear: "Everyone dies. But not everyone truly lives." That is my philosophy.
So...the countdown to get back on the bike is on. The countdown to run again comes after that. And the countdown to resume the sport I love is just around the corner.
Until then...tick-tock. Tick. Tock.