"It'll be just like starting over...starting over..."
I am FINALLY getting moving again. I was released from physical therapy after two-and-a-half months to the tears of the staff there...tears of joy, I am certain. Nonetheless, I am on my way. There is still pain in the heel, but the therapists felt the healing (heeling?) was going to be more a function of time than PT at this point. As long as I keep the ankle and the heel stretched out and mobile it should continue to improve, if only very slowly.
Yesterday I took a longer bike ride, one that I glossed the Tour de Libraries. Mrs. Fish had overdue videos at one library and I had books to pick up at another, so I hopped on The Cannondale and set out. Several thoughts occurred to me about how different things were as a result of the long layoff. First, and most obviously, I am out of shape (unless round is a shape). It's not surprising. I have a lot of strength built up as a result of the PT, but for longer, sustained, aerobic activity, it's going to be a while to build the stamina.
Second, things feel different from a sensory perspective. This time of year brings a lot of critters out and a great many of these end up as road Frisbees. The unique stench of animal decay was heavy through a couple of the more open spaces, notably around the woods and fields. I was also surprised at how quickly the temperature dropped. As the sun was going down, the Mercury dropped dramatically and I found I was nearing cold. Not that disconcerting cold, but just uncomfortable enough to make me pedal that much harder. I realized that being in the car removes me from these effects, and it's been a long time since I have had to concern myself with them. Next time, an extra layer is in order.
Third, I was surprised at how uncomfortable I felt on the bike. Not so much speaking to physical discomfort, but mentally. I was acutely aware of every vehicle around me, the smells, the speed, how close they were to me (which, ultimately, was not that close at all -- people are pretty respectful of cyclists in this area). I was also a little twitchy in the corners, which was weird, and I found myself not looking ahead far enough on more than one occasion, which added to my unease when I realized it. I am certain the comfort will return with time, but it was just an odd experience.
The highlight had to be on the way home, when this chap on a motorcycle passed me. He stopped at a red light ahead of me. It's one I sit at more than my share, so I am used to the timing pattern. I timed it so the light turned green and the rider got out ahead of me, then I mashed the pedals and passed him on the downhill, hitting about 40 miles per hour. It's not every day you get to pass a motorcycle. Dude was not amused, methinks.
Anyway, it's going to be a long slow recovery process, to be sure. I am comfortable on the bike and not too sore afterwards. Little Fish has offered to run with me as i return to this, so I have that to look forward to as well. One step at a time, one slow, laborious, plodding step...