Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Beyond Pain...

   I celebrated my 54th birthday on March 17th by pulling a muscle in my back. Well, it just popped when I raised up from a bent over position, but found out later that was just the final straw that broke the camel's back if you will. My wife and I went out to eat that evening, in pain, I might add. Sunday we had a normal day at church, but by that evening I was hurting enough that I didn't go back. I went to work on Monday, and had lots of different tasks that involved bending, pushing, pulling, and so forth. Tuesday morning I was hurting so bad, it took me 2 minutes to get out of the bed. No way I could go to work, so I called in. Years ago, when I was younger, I would have pushed on through the pain and toughed it out. But I am older now, and have little tolerance for pain like before.
    I had to get some relief from the aching muscles, so I found a chiropractor that uses electro muscle therapy, and headed out. I got some relief from the aching lower back muscles, but started getting a terrible pain down my right leg. I said to myself "I'll just tough it out", and barely got up on Wednesday, and went back to work. That afternoon, I didn't think I was going to make it through the day and worse- I almost couldn't make it out to the car.
   I went back to the doctor, and got little relief, help or hope of getting better anytime soon.  I found out  it was Sciatica. The pain was pretty bad when standing, worse when sitting, and horrible when lying down to sleep at night. Two nights were spent on the couch writhing in pain to keep from disturbing Trish in her sleep. I had a very few high powered pain pills that relieved the pain enough to get some sleep, finally. I have had broken collar bones, surgeries, awful ear infections that were painful, but I believe this topped them all.
   I took the remainder of the week off, made an appointment with Dr. David Merrill, another chiropractor that I have much respect for, and am making great progress with the pain now. I decided to take off the entire week as vacation since we're only scheduled to work 4 days because of Easter weekend, and get healed up before going all out at work next week. I'll try not to complain about work, if I can only get back to it. It's now Wednesday, and I'm feeling decent now, but there's no use working one or two days. I need to get back to 100% for our famous 7 day work weeks where I work. I better be ready for the long haul when I pull out of the gate. I thank God for the healing, Dr. David Merrill for the great help that he has gave my family, my friends for all their prayers, and my family for the support.
     I don't think I want to try any more extreme motorcycle racing or mountain bike racing, as I suspect another episode of this type of pain, or worse could easily happen again, and it's way beyond anything I have had yet.
    So, I found out a man gets old when he turns 54 years old, to the very day!

Merrill Chiropractic, Kingsport, TN

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

My First Mountain Bike Race

 Well, I made it through my first mountain bike race today (7-19-2004). It was the annual Fun Fest Bike Rally held at Bay's Mountain Park in Kingsport, TN. I wish I had knew beforehand a little more about what to expect and I would have trained harder.
Back when I first rode Bay's Mountain's trails, I  headed up the main hill first thing. Boy was it steep, and long. I topped the hill, after many stops on the way up to get my breath, and rode down the first trail back to the truck and headed home. It was only 4 miles, and I thought I was going to die that day. But I lived, and came back more times to push a little farther. I went all the way around later,which was about 8 miles,  stopping often to catch my breath.
I found out about the race, which is 12.6 miles, and I thought I would give it a try as I wasn't getting any younger at 46 years old. I started riding the race route and made it in about 2 hours, then later 1:50. Well, 3 days before the race, I rode it like I was in a race and made it in 1:35! Boy, I thought I was really getting it now. I found out later that the top 50 to 60 year old men were riding it in less than an hour! Like they say, ignorance is bliss.
The day of the race, I had to work 6 hrs. that morning, which didn't help matters any. I got there early- too early, and had to try to keep the butterflies from getting the best of me for an hour. I lined up about 2/3 of the way back in the pack, knowing I wasn't going to be competing for the top places. Also, I didn't want to get ran over when I had to stop and rest on the big hill.
The race started and we were off! The pace was a little faster than I expected, but I was keeping up fairly well. The faster ones were out of sight, and the crowd started to thin out a little now. A few were passing me, and I even passed some. Well, I couldn't just let everyone pass me, so I pushed myself to go into another zone I had never been before. It may have been that 16 year old girl passing me that made me push myself a little harder. Well, I passed her back on some of the faster sections, and she would pass me back on the hills when I had to push my bike.  After about 4 miles, we came to the big hill. I already was huffing and puffing before I got to it, now I sounded like a vacuum cleaner turning on and off. My heart was really pumping now. I finally had to get off and rest, and so did a few others. But they didn't stop, they kept going, pushing their bikes along. Hey guys, don't you know we're supposed to stop and rest? I finally started to pull ahead of that girl, but ever time I slowed on the hills and had to catch my breath, she would show up. Back in the saddle again, we finally made it through all the major hills. Nothing but rocky downhills and gravel roads now. I was giving it everything I had, because we we only had about 2 miles to go. I passed 3 or 4 people on this last section, then finally crossed the finish line! People were standing around cheering everyone on as they made it in, which was pretty cool. I saw the clock and my time was 1:20. Wow, that was way beyond what I had hoped for. That time wasn't near good enough for a trophy, but I was ecstatic about the whole thing. About 3 minutes later, the young girl I was dicing with finished, and I found out later she won her age group.
Sitting there alone, I had no one to tell me "you did good", but I felt pretty good inside about doing something extreme, and going beyond what I thought I could do. It wasn't as exciting as dirt bike racing from my earlier years, but it was the next best thing. I raced again the next year, and only made it in 1:21, and blamed it on getting older. I skipped the next year, and at 49 years young, I did it again, and turned a time of a little under 1:19, my best time. I haven't done it anymore, just mainly for the fact the 50-60 year old men are quite a bit faster than that, and I have to work much more now, and at 53 years of age, I find it much harder to push myself to train that hard now. But, going beyond in whatever you find yourself in is so satisfying and worth all the effort it takes.
Thanks to my friend Johanna, who allowed me to post this to her blog, and encouraged me to start my own, and who inspires many of us to go beyond...