Tuesday, March 17, 2020

A Sneak-Peek of Spring

Yesterday I saw my immunologist. We discussed quite a few things, and she wants to see me continue social distancing, as I have been for six months, but also to try and get out more. That’ll be hard to do with this coronavirus pandemic we’re dealing with, but yesterday was just too good to not take her advice. 

I just went around the neighborhood. I was so weak—so little stamina after a long, hard winter of sickness. I had to take several breaks. Even with the two ventilator valves on my mask, carbon monoxide builds up when I’m breathing hard. I lasted about 30 minutes total. It was a good effort.

Today, I strapped on my asthma mask and headed out to the Jordan River Parkway. The weather was gorgeous and it felt good to get out without a jacket on. I loved feeling the sun on my face again. 

The cracks along the parkway had widened during the cold, dry winter. I couldn’t take them straight on but had to run across them obliquely. At first I was very rusty, catching the wheels in the cracks here and there, but eventually muscle memory kicked in, and I cruised along while carving across the cracks without difficulty. My stamina had improved, and I didn’t need to stop to catch my breath. Instead, I had to stop to stretch out my feet from cramping. The muscles moving my metatarsals weren’t used to carving and counterbalancing, especially while bearing my winter-blessed weight.

After 20 minutes I came to a stop at my destination, a cement bench underneath an overpass. I pulled out my ocarina and played through my repertoire, musing over how well my lungs were holding up. It’s all thanks to that mask. I’ve been using it since December, and it’s made a massive difference in my ability to stay outside without having an asthma attack. 

I, also, was struck by how unafraid I was by people hearing me play.  Various cyclists and joggers would pass me as I played. They would acknowledge me, thank me for playing, or complement me. I usually experience quite a bit of social anxiety when performing in front of other people. I’ll have to try to analyze this later to see why I experienced none of that today. Perhaps it’s because I’ve been practicing so much that I felt confident in my skills. Or perhaps I was simply so exhilarated to be outside and enjoying the day that I forgot to be worried. Perhaps it was a little bit of both.

After running through all my songs, I geared up and headed back the way I had come. This time I rode goofy. I like to practice riding regular and goofy. One, it gives my abs an equal work out, but two, I need to strengthen both my legs,  quicken my reflexes, and improve my balance if I ever hope to make progress longboard dancing. I guesstimate that I have 10 years before I’m too old to do it, so I’m anxious to accelerate my learning. 

The ride back was wonderful. Riding goofy isn’t wonderful, however. I am not good at it yet. My leg muscles were screaming, and my ankles had reduced strength to minimize board wobble. I probably should have headed out riding goofy when my body was at its freshest. Although, it was a rough and wobbly ride, I persevered all the way back to my car, stopping only once to take in the spectacular Maxfield Parrish sunset. 

Here’s hoping the Spring will boost my health and allow me to roam freely outside again, even if I have to wear a mask. With luck, I am seeing a return to my stamina. 


Update 3/21/2020: I was bedridden by the end of the week. Between longboarding and running errands, I overtasked myself. It is hard to know what my limits are since I blow by them cluelessly all the time.