I was reading today about a young professional cyclist, Michael Goolaerts, age 23, who was on his 109th km of bicycle racing during his first Paris – Roubaix professional road race, when he suffered a cardiorespiratory arrest, fell off his bike into a ditch by the road and lay unresponsive on the ground. He died later that evening. That is incredibly sad. My heart goes out to his family, friends, and those that knew this young man. Yes he was doing something he loved when he died, but no one expects to die at 23. It could have been an unknown pre existing heart condition. It is too early to tell.
It was then out of some curious interest, I found myself googling how many professional cyclists had died during a race. There was 115 since they began recording such details. If you include those that died while training for the races it is closer to 150. That is a lot,
As a novice rider, at first I found myself quite alarmed by these facts. They were professionals, if they died, the cautious me, is screaming, what the heck am I doing on the road even on my trike? OK settle down, I told myself sternly. For many years, helmets weren’t even being worn. I also know, that flying down the road at high speed, just won’t happen if a bike is in my control. There is always potential for those freak accidents though.
As it happens a lot of things can be potentially unsafe. Crossing the road, has been hazardous to me recently, yet I still do it daily. Just this weekend, there was a horrific bus crash carrying a young Canadian hockey team, 17 people perished, last time that I checked. It could be potentially more. People don’t just stop driving.
Any day, could be potentially your last, with the odds adjusting depending on what you are doing at any moment. My dear father told me, that I must live every day, and I do. Filling the days with joy, movement, friendship and laughter, as best as I can.
While my thoughts were still actively dancing in my head, I couldn’t help but wonder. Are we in more potential danger when we choose to stay still, rather than “ GET A MOVE ON “ ? Yes, actually I think that might be more true, than we want ourselves to believe.
When I hurt too much to move, I could have easily given a sloth, a run for it’s money. My body did it’s best, but began loosing the battle, at a somewhat alarming rate. It doesn’t matter, that I had every justification to continue sitting still. The medical profession sanctioned my stillness. If I was any stiller I would have been dead. Only my loved ones, could have told the difference, I was a death, waiting to happen.
Fortunately, it didn’t happen, or I wouldn’t be writing this right now. A note of warning from someone, who came dangerously close to reaching the point of no return, when your body no longer performs the functions to sustain life, but begins to prepare for death.
Fortunately, our bodies are generally far more forgiving, than we probably deserve. Thank goodness for that. Even the then challenging move of lying on the ground lifting my legs a mere 1 millimetre off of the ground, made a difference.
The one thing I told myself, right from the very beginning of my health recovery, was , It took a long time, to get as bad as I got, so I can’t expect things to turn around quickly. I became committed to the long haul, and for most things, the change was far quicker than I could have ever hoped for.
As for the life long things that I have never been able to do, well they are taking considerably longer. In my bodies defence however, we are now on stuff that I have never done. Some things never worked correctly since birth. My calves were a knotted mess. Is just one example. It hurt, even when I touched them. Now, with prolonged effort, and Harley’s determination to get things functioning as they should, I now have done a seated calf lift of over 100 lbs and can actually walk on my tip toes.
That may seem like no big deal , but it is. Even if I just state the obvious, being able to stand on my tip toes without risking a fall, allows me to reach more cupboard content without grabbing a chair, or asking for help. All humour aside, it is more than the reach potential. It means that my body has created a far more supportive network structure. It helps my balance, I don’t get the horrible cramps that I got regularly since birth either. I even bet there are more things I can do now, because they are starting to work, than I have even thought of. Abilities are waiting to be discovered.
At the end of the day, are you more of a sloth, or a speed racer? Either, can get you killed , when you stop and think about it. Actually I am somewhere in the middle, no longer am I a sloth, nor am I being scouted for any Olympic speed event of any kind, in any sport. I will say, I am far more a movement girl, than that still one I used to be. Still finding my wings to soar. I do know this though, My body has worked very hard to keep me alive. Sometimes, without much help from me, and now, I am listening to my body, and working hard, to give my body what it needs to keep doing a good job, It continues to be a winning combination.