An Off Day

Yesterday’s bike ride was a 26-mile dud. I was a little underdressed and my legs were worn out from riding six days in a row. An annoying rubbing noise from my front wheel spoiled the whole meditative aspect of the excursion. Instead of feeling refreshed at the finish, I felt crabby. I wasn’t surprised when my legs felt like lead this morning. All of which is to say, I needed a day off from my bicycle.

Why not go for a walk and test out my stenosis? Sounds like a plan, Don’t mind if I do.

If you haven’t done an activity in a while you really should take it easy so that your body adjusts. Maybe walk three miles or so, right?

It took me about two miles to get into any sort of rhythm during my walk. Although I had brought them with me, I wasn’t using my trekking poles. The entire time I felt a dull ache in my lower left back. This was not fun. Nevertheless, I decided to continue onward to see if the ache would go away.

No dice. I walked another mile and a half during which I noticed that walking downhill was significantly more comfortable than walking up hill, not because of the relative effort but because my gait had changed. I passed a small path through the woods. Whose woods these are, I know not, but the path belongs to Mary.

I hopped on the Mount Vernon Trail and headed for home. As I did, I deployed the trekking poles and noticed an immediate improvement in my comfort. After a mile of poling, my right hand had become numb. The shock absorbing rubber boot on the right-hand pole had fallen off.

I stopped twice on the trail to check out bald eagle nests, which are easily visible this time of year when the trees are leafless. Nobody was home at either nest. The walk up the gradual 1 1/2 mile rise was increasingly difficult. I could really have done with some water but I neglected to bring any because what kind of an idiot walks more than four miles on an off day.

At about five miles my head was tilted forward. No more looking around. Get this walk done. At the stone bridge I checked my iPhone I had walked 5 1/2 miles, If I walked straight home, I’d hit 7 miles. Plenty.

The thing is I was just getting into the vibe. Walking has a different mental feel than bicycling. Despite my discomfort and fatigue, I decided to add a mile to the endeavor and continued along the MVT. About a half mile later a blister started forming on my right heel. My right shoe did not get the memo about the vibe.

It was about this time that my knees decided to rebel. At times like these I think of the Edward Burns character in Saving Private Ryan: “Hey asshole! Any time would be a good time to stop.”

A mile and a half from home, i turned onto Collingwood Road and headed homeward. Most of Collingwood Road is barely wide enough for two cars and has no sidewalk? Yes, Fairfax County Virginia is where pedestrians go to die.

Well, long story short I made it home with one bloody sock and aches in places that I wish I didn’t have.

In my running days, 8 miles was an easy distance. That was before back surgery and age and chondromalacia and stenosis, not to mention 30 years of wear and tear,

Pass the CBD and the vitamin I.

Maybe I’ll take tomorrow off.

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