Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Into the daylight

I believe today is the Vernal Equinox.

In the northern hemisphere, that means springtime. In Alaska, it means cold daylight.

Twelve hours now. And very soon, much more.

I've lived through exactly two Alaska winters and one Alaska summer. I may be one of the deranged few who actually enjoy winter more. Don't get me wrong. Summer holds its own joy, and its own trials. I basically stumbled through last summer. Making a major move and enduring a period of homelessness in the middle of it all didn't help. I found myself pinned between obligation and the constant crush of activity. Winter is very liberating to me. The landscape freezes over. The world slows down. And I can move freely among it.

Summer is going to be very difficult for me if I can't ride my bike. I don't say this to fish for sympathy or diminish the trials of people who are truly suffering. I'm just making a statement that I suspect is true. It's not about my life one, 10 or 20 years from now. It's just about this summer, and how I watch the sunset creep further into the evening and resent that retreat. Longer days have a way of feeling much more empty. I've always believed my life to have a well-rounded array of meaningful elements, but some holes can be difficult to fill.

Like I said, though, I'm really not digging for sympathy. And I promised myself I wouldn't subject anyone who stumbles across this blog to my whiny rants anymore ... but ... It's been on my mind a lot. Probably because it's spring now, and I have a doctor's appointment this morning. There's not a lot he'll be able to say that will make much of a difference - beyond "major reconstructive surgery" (unlikely since he's already established minor injury, but you never know.) However, I am now sufficiently humbled and will take any advice more to heart. And I do think this month has been valuable in learning much more about my weaknesses ... both physical and spiritual.


  1. Jill- You asked for no sympathy so you will get none, but just perspective from one of your strangers "who just stubbled upon your blog"...you live in a beautiful part of the world, you bring us daily blogs about the wonders at your feet...granted those feet aren't peddling anymore, but they soon will be. May the doctors tell you what you want them too. I - one of your new readers - hope that you will be telling us about one of your next races soon. I am in awe of your abilities to bike in Alaska! Keep your goal in the front of your mind and Spring and Summer will soon give way to Fall and Winter!

  2. I've stumbled on your blog via bikeforums and.. rock on. Keep up pushing through the knee injury, and good luck.

    I have sympathy because about 6 years ago I tore my MCL and partially tore my ACL. Put on a bunch of weight, never had surgery, etc. Now I'm pretty much normal with weird bouts of extreme knee pain. Sunday and Monday it was bad enough that I called the doctor, only to get the "you need another MRI and probably surgery FINALLY" answer. I hate that answer. :)

    Anyway, mine again is fine. It literally just popped loudly (and painfully) then suddenly was fine.

    Good luck, and it will get better. I know for me the mental part is the worst, the "is this the point where it finally gets so bad that I need surgery and can't walk for two months?" feeling when it starts hurting.

  3. Go get your knee immobilizer and your vicodin, everything is going to be OK.

  4. Not bike all summer. Very unlikely I think if you rest it now. How much rest have you really given the knee? Take a week off. No showshoeing. If you feel blah, go to the gym and lift upper body, do some core work. Take two weeks off. It's supposed to rain the whole time anyhow. Then it'll be, what..April 5? Heck, even if you take a month off we're talking April 20! That knee will probably be right as rain by then, and you'll have most of the spring and ALL of the summer to ride. Personally, I'd be stoked to see you tell us more about the history of Juneau, the mountains, the adventure, and see some more of the bomber photography you have. Fuel your passion for the outdoors, for challenging yourself, through the lens.

    Of course, it's your life, and who the hell am I to tell you what to do. Just my $.02.

  5. One last thought. It's already clear you are hard core. The real freaking deal. You did Susitna 100, Soggy Bottom and plan to do Iditarod. Everyone who reads this knows that. You should know it to. Again - you are the real deal. Feel good about that - you'll prove yourself again, but you've already proven yourself multiple times. Now you get to prove yourself again, by letting this thing heal, which might be harder than any 100 mile race.

  6. Whining is when you complain without acting. Seems to me that you're doing what you can to fix your knee, therefore what you're doing is sharing rather than whining.

    Humans are social animals and our emotional coping methods reflect that. Shared pain is lessened and shared joy is increased. It's why we have funerals and weddings and it's also why blogs have become so popular.

  7. I used to live in Sitka and while traveling to and from via ferry we would stop long enough in Juneau to run into town (or catch a ride really) and stop at the little shop that sells nothing but those little Russian Ravioli thingies. Peiroshkis or whatever they're called. I recommend you head downtown and don't leave that shop until your leg is healed. Logan


Feedback is always appreciated!