Depression Marathon Blog

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Diagnosed with depression 17 years ago, I lost the life I once knew, but in the process re-created a better me. I am alive and functional today because of my dog, my treatment team, my sobriety, and my willingness to re-create myself within the confines of this illness. I hate the illness, but I'm grateful for the person I've become and the opportunities I've seized because of it. I hope writing a depression blog will reduce stigma and improve the understanding and treatment of people with mental illness. All original content copyright to me: etta. Enjoy your visit!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

For your entertainment

It was one of those 90 degree, afternoon thunderstorm kind of days when I set out to explore a new bike trail east of Rochester. In fact, on my way to the trail there was about a ten minute downpour. Two minutes later, as I was unloading my bike from the back of my car, the sun was shining again.

I rode 9.25 miles north under sunny, puffy clouded skies. The bike trail was very nice. It travelled through the countryside. There were wide open sections with cows, pasture, and open fields. There were a few tree-lined sections, lots of bridges, and nary a building in site. Lovely. Until I turned around, that is.

As I faced south for the first time, ominous black, thick clouds greeted me. Apparently, they had been following me. Well, I thought, I only needed the rain to hold off for 25 minutes and I'd be back at my car. I started back at a brisk pace.

After about 15 minutes I was feeling pretty lucky. It was really dark, and the wind was stiff in my face, but it had yet to rain. Unfortunately, my luck ran out within the minute. Big rain problem, I thought. Then big wind, but I was still on my way. So I'd get a little wet... Ha!

I crouched low in my triathlon tuck, as the wind started sweeping me from the side. The rain was hard and heavy, and I was getting just a touch nervous. But I wasn't about to stop. I had nowhere else to go!

Suddenly, the rain was blowing in sheets across the path. The wind was so loud I could barely hear myself breathe. Oh well, I thought, at least I'm getting closer to my car. At about that moment, I looked up from my tuck. The trees in front of me were horizontal--parallel to the ground in the now fierce wind. Okay, that alarmed me just a bit. I rode harder. At least it's not hailing, I thought.

No sooner had that thought crossed my mind when, "THWACK!!" Something stung me hard in the back. What the...? Then, rat-a-tat-tat. I just had to laugh. Hail. I kept going. Thank God I had a helmet on my head! But the hail got heavier, and harder, and bigger. At 17 mph, hail kind of hurts!

About that time, I went across a road which intersected the path. As I crossed the open road, my breath was sucked right out of my chest. It wasn't until later that I remembered people in tornadoes describing just such a phenomenon. All I knew is that I couldn't breathe for a couple seconds. The wind picked up so fast it sounded like a train roaring down on me. Branches and hail were raining down upon me. Finally, I had to stop.

I was at mile 15.75 of my 18.5 mile ride. Fortunately, I had just entered a shallow valley lined with trees. I hugged up against a muddy hill for just a few minutes. I didn't want to stay there long. I figured the safest thing for me to do was to get my soaked, welted body to my car as quickly as I could. So as soon as the hail let up, I was on my bike again. Two minutes later, I was off. More wind, hail, and raining branches. As I crouched in some brush, I again chuckled to myself. How did I get myself into this? It was so pathetic, it was kind of funny.

The weather briefly let up again, and I began the final push to my car. I had to dismount two more times, as trees (yes, trees) had fallen across the path! I began to wonder if I had just ridden through a tornado.

Finally, my car appeared ahead. It began hailing again. As I disassembled my bike, so I could fit it into my tiny car, I cursed myself for not yet purchasing a bike rack. Then, comically, I had to struggle against the wind to keep my hatchback open long enough to shove my bike inside. Hail, rain, was unbelievable.

Finally, I got my bike in my car. But wait, this is the really comical part. In the time it took me to close my hatchback, walk around and get into my car, everything stopped. As I shut the driver's side door, the rain, the hail, and even the wind stopped. I sat there in my now silent car, and I laughed. There I was, a battered, drowned rat, and the sun was peeking over my shoulder. I drove home with my sunglasses on and my window open. It was sunny the rest of the day.

1 comment:

Stacy said...

Isn't nature unbelievable sometimes. Hell, if you're already wet, why not get wetter! I'm glad you end up safe and sound and able to see the humar in it. Kind of a scary situation if you ask me.