He’s 52 years old.
That’s my trainer.
I have a complex relationship with athleticism.
When I knew I was returning from Tampa to Blacksburg, I found The Weight Club site and studied the pictures of the trainers. I wanted the one who looked like he knew about pain.
In December 1998, I was making a bed, lifted the corner of the mattress, and felt stabbed in the back. I’ve had chronic back pain since.
The back story is a hard one but the saddest part of it is that after dozens of treatments–injections, reiki, massage, drugs–the only relief I got was from physical therapy. Extreme physical therapy. One of the many specialists I saw urged me to "make a tree trunk" of my abdomen in which the spine could rest, elongate, be supported.
The time, effort, and emotional summoning that required was almost beyond me. Turn human tissue into tree bark? Most chronic pain sufferers give up on physical therapy because it just doesn’t seem to work. The increments of improvement are so small. It seems, and truly may not be, worth it. One loses heart. Even after extreme physical therapy, my back aches. It just doesn’t stab me.
But I felt filleted and despairing when I had my first appointment with Don Belote in July, 2006. He understands extreme. Like an entrepreneur, he’s tough, alert, tenacious. Slowly, slowly…
The result of my flight from pain? I look fit.
In June, 2007, I married a really cool guy. Turns out he’s a triathlete. Triathletes swim, bike, and run, all in a row. That’s extreme.
I got a bike.
The bike made my back ache. Told Don. Can now ride the bike.
When I ride my bike, yes, I pedal along the Huckleberry Trail, but I’ll confess that I do a drive-by. Or a cycle-by.
I veer off course, head to the Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center, and buzz VT KnowledgeWorks. All the windows are tinted, as they should be–proprietary, ground-breaking stuff is going on in there!–but I peer into the one where I know Schultz-Creehan has its Micro Machining Center, then circle to where Cooperative Leadership Institute is working on cutting-edge leadership training that includes The Box (I hope they’ll let me look in it), then I swing to the back to wave at Lindsey Eversole, Member Services Manager. Even though I can’t see her, I can see her light, which is kind of the way she is in the world.
The first time I did a cycle-by, I was thinking of VT KnowledgeWorks as an incubator. I was checking on the entrepreneurial baby chicks.
It ain’t no incubator.
I now do cycle-bys for the thrill. Every entrepreneur I’ve met at VT KnowledgeWorks is hard, hard at work, muscling through business models, research, development, production, innovation.
Acceleration. Extreme acceleration. Like the kind needed for a 1045 lb. partial dead lift.
[Added 5/13/08: Here’s an article from the Roanoke Times on people in the New River and Roanoke Valleys who commute to work by bike. As I mentioned in my Nano Wish List, I haven’t decided about this yet. I don’t like the way my hair looks after wearing the hat.]