A Journey of a Thousand Miles
I’m Xakara, it’s great to meet you! I thought I’d throw a few things out, just to give some context and to get them said. I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome back in my late teens. I didn’t give it much thought, regarding it as primarily an extension of the insomnia I’ve had since I was 9 years old, (or from birth if you listen to my mother). CFS can go into a remission of sorts and I was blessed with that my junior year of high school. I rode that “up cycle” until my sophomore year of college when my body gave out and I had to go home.
There was very little known, or at least explained, about CFS back then. I had no idea that having walking pneumonia twice and then double-pnuemonia were all a part of how my immune system was responding to the lack of restorative sleep and the loss of nutrition due to digestive issues. Rebuilding my strength after the double-pnuemonia took almost a year, (extended recovery is another symptom I experience), but once I got back on my feet, another up cycle arrived and I rode it for years. In fact, I was in an up cycle for so long, that I started to believe that I was fine and the CFS was gone. Such is the delusion of someone who has been chronically ill since they were a small child. “Better” and “Gone” start to look like the same thing.
In mid-2008, after a cross-country move and more stress than I care to consider, I started to spiral into a down-cycle for the first time in years, but I didn’t recognize it--even after I put on 30 pounds. It wasn’t until things completely nosed-dived late 2010 with chronic injuries and illnesses that wouldn’t heal, that I started to suspect. It would take until May of 2011 before I could actually say it out loud. By then I'd put on an additional 60 pounds.
It’s been a rough road, but with a few peak between the many valleys. I stopped and started work on my health several times, due to arthritic knees and back issues that leave me prone to injury when my body is this depleted, for this long, with the CFS. To be fair, I pushed too hard and fell into what’s called the push-crash cycle. It’s just like it sounds, you feel better, you push too far and too fast, you crash, you feel lousy, that lingers, you finally feel better and push again. I take responsibility for that now that I recognize it. And now that I know better, I can do better.
I’ve been riding my stationary recumbent bike off and on for months, when my knees allow. One of the reasons I’d be off is that when I did finally ride, I’d push and pay for it afterwards. I fell into the pattern of having a few great rides and then barely being able to move my knee on the third or fourth day. Skipping one workout would lead to skipping another, and eventually weeks would pass with the scale stuck and my energy non-existent. For October 2011, I vowed to turn it around...and I have!
At my lowest point, with the least motivation possible, I made a goal of riding 1000 Miles by October 2012, with the hope of reaching that mark by my birthday at the end of June 2012. For the first three months, the aim is 100 miles a month. Doing that consistently should rehab my knee, strengthen my legs and increase my endurance. That in turn will allow 115 a month, for the six remaining months not only easy, but well below what I’m actually doing.
Regardless of how I progress, the rules stay the same from now until I reach 1000 miles. 1.) Ride every single day. 2.) Ride only as far and as fast as I can that day.
3.) Do Not talk about Fight Club. 3.) Every day is a new day.
Whether I ride 1mile or 5miles, as long as I ride, it’s a good day. As of the day I post this, I’m in a truly terrible struggle with the insomnia. This type of streak would have stopped me cold in the past, but I’ve kept my word and ridden every day. From the start on October 3rd, to the time of this post October 18th, I’m 60 miles down! At my current rate, I’m averaging 3 miles a day and that puts me exactly at the 100 mile mark on Halloween! I’m on my way.