Saturday, October 17, 2009

Unstuck - Not Undone

Well, I'm delighted to report that one of the biggest October storms in Northern California history swept my indolence away in a gust of warm and humid wind. Tuesday, the day of the deluge, I didn't venture out of the house at all, just sat in the house working and checking the rainfall totals. Wednesday I did the walk to and from the train station after sleeping in too late to do the bike thing. Thursday was crazy humid for this part of the world, but I was eager to get out and break up a long day at the laptop, writing endless, uninteresting paragraphs under deadline.

I had planned a bike adventure for Thursday, an extra 8 miles on top of my regular commute, from the Richmond train station to a meeting with a client and thence to the office. These are long-standing clients with a casual dress code, so I wasn't worried about showing up in my deeply nerdy cycling sandals and cargo capri pants. I was more worried about riding through the heart of Richmond's Iron Triangle (in photo) - either about ripping up my tires on broken glass and discarded syringes or being set upon by Deep-C gangbangers, who might find a fat middle-aged white woman riding by with cycling sandals and a pink backpack simply too irresistible a target for youthful highjinks. I could do most of the ride on a bike trail along the bay, but to get there I'd have to negotiate the Triangle, a gnarly overpass over I-580, and another freeway undercrossing near the clients' office. It was a perfect illustration of how urban enviroments in much of California are not set up for people to walk or bike with any kind of feeling of safety.

Anyhow, my meeting got rescheduled. So I worked at home and then I tried to figure out what to do for exercise. I'd have another bike ride scheduled for the next day, and just walking sounded boring. I considered a kiddie playground workout but settled on a session of shooting hoops at Leroy F. Greene Middle School. I used to be a serious basketball fanatic, dating back to when my very cool
fifth grade teacher, Gordon Russ, taught us proper form for the layup, the jump shot and even the esoteric hook shot. I was never a speedy player, but I had a pretty decent shot, could dribble with either hand, and could be quite insistent about using my butt to back my opponent down low in the post.

But it had been a while. Years, probably, not counting the 20 minutes or so I spent shooting a strangely bouncy basketball on the little court on board the Norwegian Sun on the Alaska cruise in August. I strained my knee slightly then, so I was determined to go easy this time. No driving layups or sprinting for rebounds. Just some "jump" shots, a few drop step moves around the basket. Greene Middle is about a three-quarter mile walk, so it was a struggle just getting there with the ball. When I got there, I was slightly disconcerted to see that the kids were still there from the after-school program, shooting and giving each other crap. Twelve-year-olds can be scary. But fortunately they ignored me as I spotted up from various points not far from the basket and launched my high arcing shot. I mostly missed at first, but after a while, I started making a few and feeling like I remembered how to focus on the back rim, getting the range a bit. That was cool. And then I was tired, and I felt a brief twinge in the knee, so I walked home. And that was that. And later I felt fine. Probably 30 minutes of walking, 20 minutes of shooting and walking or jogging after the ball.

Friday I did ride the bike, and that was all good. It was insanely foggy in the early morning, the tule fog that comes up over the Central Valley and makes things very interesting for drivers. I was glad for my LED headlight and red blinky lights as I made my way along the levee, the familiar landmarks looming strangely in the mist.

Saturday I lazed about for much of the day, feeling tired, stiff, and cranky. The weather has been strangely humid since the storm, sucking the oxygen out of the air and making things smell bad. I had a stiff neck and shoulder and the only thing I wanted to do was swim. Still no pool on my horizon, so I put on my unflattering suit and clashing orange swim cap and went over to the river. Perfect! The water was cool, cool enough that I even hesitated before plunging in, and there were just enough people there that I thought someone might save me if I got entangled in a vicious clump of weeds. But I had a huge stretch of open, weed-free, boat-free water to myself, and I swam up and down, 50 strokes each way, until I felt fatigue set in. A little backstroke to open up the shoulders, some dolphin kicking for the lower back.

I'm back at the laptop now, obviously, and the neck and shoulder are tensing up again, but I'm not cranky, and I'm tired in a different, much way. And I'm unstuck and unstalled. I got some form of exercise 5 out of the last 6 days, and had fun at least three times.

Tomorrow, a bike ride to the farmers' market for veggies, apples, honey, and maybe a cinnamon roll from the Davis bakers.

1 comment:

  1. Just found your blog and am truly enjoying it. Thank you for your excellent posts! I read your book a few years ago, loved it, and have recommended it to a bunch of people--it's nice to be able to read more from you.

    Kelly (