Sometimes Parkinsons is a person.
A mean old man, with hostile intentions. He is petulant, tireless and single-minded. In truth, usually I pay him no attention, and he leaves me alone, though I do see him hassling my friends now and again. He wants in – into my house, my thoughts, my consciousness. I don’t know why, but sometimes I do give him access; maybe only to prove to him that he can’t harm me, that I am too strong for him, that he has no future with me. I don’t think he cares – in is in. He is happy to sit in a chair, in the dark, and wait. Of course I want him out. Sometimes I yell at him, throw things, or refuse to acknowledge him until he is gone, but he stays seated, watching me, and when I am most piqued, he smiles.
But I am not defenceless. Sometimes I look right at him, turn on the lights, make him uncomfortable, and challenge him directly. I make him show his worst and I show him my best. I mean my absolute best. When I do that, frankly, I have no idea if he is still sitting alone in his sad little chair or not; I’m not even there. He can wait for me. I’ll bet you he’s not smiling then, but I sure am.
I really challenged the old man today. I don’t know what got into me, but halfway through the day I just felt like cranking. Though the ride had a vertical climb of about 900m, there was a decent tailwind that helped. I saw that my avg speed midway was about 25 km/hr, and it felt like a 30 km/hr day. It’s not easy to swing an average that far when I’m already over 50km into the ride, but I set that as my goal and I started chipping. I would hold 35km for 2-3 minutes but it barely made a dent. So I dug deeper 36, 39, 42, 44. I kept challenging myself and, for whatever reason, today I could hold it. There is a tailwind, but not enough to explain this rush of energy. There is a 45 km time trial on this route, and I captured the 12th best time on Strava – ever. And it’s not just me, Jim is moving faster too; much faster. I’ll bet that he is going to kill it in the prairies.
Maybe we are just getting acclimatized to the exercise, maybe our day off yesterday was unusually restorative, or maybe we are just getting stronger.
Whatever it is, it feels great.
I’ll pass on some advice that I received and adopted when it comes to dealing with health adversity later in life: don’t let the old man in.
Tune into CBC ‘Fresh Air’ tomorrow (Sunday) morning at 8:30 am est.