The Upward Spiral

This morning I am filled to overflowing. Yesterday was an amazing day, a particularly skyward inflection point of an upward spiral that has carried my last few months. Any attempt at a comprehensive summary will fall short – and run long – so instead, a few drops that spill out from my memory of yesterday:

I got to race yesterday for the first time this season! It was great! I went in with 3 goals: Start healthy, finish healthy, and go as hard as I could in between. I did all three. I was spent yet thankfully just a touch south of the puke zone. I raced the Flower City Challenge Duathlon, and in a nutshell, I did not PR. I was about 4 minutes off my time from the same race in 2010. That was a little disappointing; who doesn’t want to PR?

However, I have a different body, say nothing of mind, than I did in 2010. I’ve broken and healed my pelvis, significantly adjusted my run form to result in far less pain, and significantly adjusted my attitude to allow for more humor and hope than I allowed before. I also injured my calf this February and was not running (instead using QT2’s very effective Run Injury Protocol) until about 8 weeks ago. Since then I’ve only been running at recovery pace – meaning SLOW – to help my legs build durability. I haven’t run this far in a day – 2 x 5K, or roughly 6 miles – since I did this race in 2010. So I’ll happily take my 10:03 average pace as a starting point for the season.

My bike time was about 6 minutes slower than last time, but I felt great, went hard, and actually had the fastest bike split in my age group. My legs are cooked today, but I absolutely can’t wait to keep training. It is such a blessing to be able to MOVE, to watch the body gain capacity where there was none before. Such a blessing to open up similar spaces for the spirit to grow. The body can lead the spirit, and vice versa; our deepest core knows which way UP is, which way YES is. I’m learning to listen, and there is no better feeling.

On the note of finding YES, I was flabbergasted on Friday afternoon to be invited to attend yesterday’s Duel in the Pool with the Teens Living with Cancer group. The Duel was a 50-yard kick board race between my coach, Mary Eggers, and Lance Armstrong to raise money for the really important work TLC does for teen cancer patients and their families. Check out these news report for highlights:

In Buffalo, Lance Gets Chicked for Cancer – Lava Magazine article

Lance Armstrong Races in Buffalo – YNN News video & article

The Duel was incredible on so many levels. First, it was initiated by a tweet from Mary to Lance. She had the guts to ask, and he was gracious enough to accept. This is the power of possibility at work. Second, by engaging anyone in the community who wanted to help – including athletes, cancer survivors, medical institutions, media, and businesses both large and small – the Duel raised enough money to make a difference for TLC. No single person could’ve done this alone; it was the power of community and of a shared vision that made it possible.

Even more so, the Duel succeeded because it allowed people to add small pebbles to fill the pond. I was invited to attend because I’ve supported TLC in little ways and made multiple small donations, some of which came from the generous people I worked with. They – like so many of us – were able to kick in $5 or $10 or $20, and together we made a difference. Couple that with generous businesses and individuals who could afford to contribute more…and we turned a twitter-fed droplet into a ripple, then a splash and I’d daresay a cannonball. Yesterday had cannonball quality. 🙂

My upward spiral also keeps passing by – and picking up – new people. I was so happy to meet and spend time with the people involved with TLC and the Duel yesterday, not to mention my athlete friends. It’s amazing to be part of a community that’s both hopeful and real. No one is trying to paint a picture of life as rosy or simple; instead, people are finding the UP and the YES in the face of the things that don’t make sense and aren’t pretty.

I am inspired, humbled, and just so glad to have found and stuck with this upward spiral.


About solveighanson

I'm a (late) thirtysomething Plant Breeding Ph.D. student, daughter / sister / auntie, vegetable fan, yogi, sometime cyclist, and enthusiastic if infrequent baker. I started this blog in the summer of 2010 to trace my recovery from a pelvic fracture sustained in a cycling accident. That healing process was truly transformative, and since then I seem to have written mostly about the transformations that have followed. And hence the title of the blog: Don't call me a butterfly, because I'm not done changing.
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