Tuesday, 23 February 2010

A break

We all need a break now and then and last week was half term for me, boy did I need that! My schedule which involved me leaving the house at 8 am and getting back at 10.30 pretty much every night was replaced by sleeping in (even until 9 on some days), more leisurely visits to my dad in hospital and some lovely training.

A southerly wind brought with it Sahara sand, but also the feel of spring and I was more than ready to go out and spend some time swimming, cycling and running.

On Monday my dad got an infection and we were warned that this could be it. Spent some of Monday with my dad, who was deep in sleep and had great difficulty breathing. He was not able to communicate, though he squeezed my hand firmly and smiled when I rubbed his now immobile legs. I went to bed thinking that Tuesday would be a difficult day, maybe the most difficult I was to live in my relatively sheltered life so far.

So Tuesday was such a gift. I got up early for a morning swim, which gave me a pleasant surprise of a new PB, then headed to hospital to find my dad alert and chatty. His fever had dropped and he was keen to discuss fishing again. He was certainly better. I relished my time with him and really enjoyed massaging his legs - it feels that the simple act of touch brought us closer together more than words could ever do.

Touch is so important in life. The simple act of connecting with another human being on the most basic of levels carries such power sometimes. It reminds us of our physical boundaries, it strengthens our sense of self as well as that of our surroundings. It conveys a million words, it gives warmth and love in a way nothing else can. Of my time with my dad the few minutes spent rubbing his legs are most precious for both of us.

The week ended, a new one began and I started back in my routine. I looked forward to going back to school, but was not enjoying the prospect of long days without a minute of rest. I am now sick and confined to bed, having a break of the sort that I would rather avoid.

Training has been solid - same amount of hours, cut slightly short by a nightmare of a ride. It was too windy and I managed to hit a pothole with such vengeance that I got an instant flat. I was shaken up and by miracle managed to stay on the bike and pull over. A quick inspection showed the tyre was damaged and the wheel was also making an... interesting noise. We got home, riding into a fierce headwind and I got off my bike with no particular wish to get back on it anytime soon. Until next weekend, I will give it a rest (and also repair the damage a quick lapse in concentration can bring).

The swim, on the other hand, has been pure enjoyment. I have been doing drills and sets with the new found enthusiasm that only an improvement gives. It feels more elegant and strong and less splashy and I guess that translates to faster too. I am looking forward to my next swim when I am feeling a bit better.

Cross training this week included a beautiful early morning canoe ride to an island my dad and I used to visit when I was little. I recounted the trip to my dad and his eyes lit up. He grew up on that shore, paddled to the island, slept on the beach - the place is alive with his energy. I can't wait to go back, wishing I could be with him, but knowing that he is always with me.

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