Back between schooling, I spent a couple of years living and working as an environmental consultant in New Jersey. Those years were characterized by a continual down sizing of vehicles. I arrived in the Garden State, wild-eyed and green behind the ears, driving a Nissan 4wd pickup. I eventually traded the truck in for a Hyundai hatch back with gas mileage and handling better suited to Jersey's roads. And in the end, I sold the Hyundai and decided to live carless and carefree for my remaining months in Princeton.
I had a six mile commute to work, and daily shouldered clean work clothes on my back as I turned to my bike for day-to-day moving to and fro. One day on my way to work, I was cruising through a residential neighborhood and spotted another cyclist ahead of me, apparently also heading to work. He was on a too-small bike with an un-lubed chain, wearing work boots, and shouldering a lawn mower. As near as I could tell, every property owner in the greater Princeton area had an immaculate lawn and beautiful garden, and not a single owner ever tended to his or her own lawn care needs. Clearly the gentleman ahead of me played at least a small role in that care, and probably had a job that day at one of the houses up the street.
Of course I did what comes naturally. I shifted to a larger gear, increased my cadence, hunched lower over my handle bars, and started quickly closing the distance between me and my new "rabbit." It didn't take long, and after awhile I passed the other cyclist in great haste with a short wave and a "good morning," which may or may not have been audible over the great roar of wind I imagined my wake was kicking up. It wasn't too much longer before I (figuratively) stopped to think, "Geez! Do you really feel the need to race a guy hauling a friggin' lawn mower?"
And the answer? Well, not so much race, but yes, apparently I do feel compelled to chase down my rabbits. On reflection, I don't attribute this to an overblown sense of competition. I didn't feel like I had beat the other guy at anything, particularly since he didn't even know he was playing. But I do like the challenge of catching someone in front of me. It provides a focus to push harder than I otherwise might. Today in races, whether running or biking, where I comfortably cross the finish line in the middle to back of the pack and win nothing, I spend the entire time reeling in whoever is in front and push a little harder because of it.
All of this is just a lengthy lead in to the fact that now it is frustrating to go out for a run and feel like I'm incapable of reeling in anyone. The rabbits all bound away up the trail. As noted in a prior post, during the first treatment cycle I recovered and was able to put in a final run at a pace near my pre-chemo running pace. I didn't really reach that point this time. We went for a run last Sunday, and while I was glad to get out and glad to be running, I never felt like turning the legs over at a higher cadence. Nevertheless, I hope and plan to maintain some level of running in the weeks still remaining.
My folks are up and visiting in Alaska. I have said for years that New Mexico green chile will cure what ails you. Now I have a chance to try to prove it. Mom and Dad packed 14 pounds of frozen roasted green chile, and so long as my stomach continues to tolerate it, I plan to eat my fill. I'll see if it fixes any of my ailments and allows for rabbit chasing again.