Dealing With Sickness

The trail ahead finally came to an end as the sign clearly said, “No Bikes” causing me to turn around and head home.

Little did I know that when I biked this new trail on March 29th going 23 miles round trip, that the very next day I would become deathly ill with the creeping crud that’s going around. My roommate was already complaining about coming down with it from his work-mates, but since he wasn’t staying home from work or acting very sick I just ignored his warnings. I’d had my flu shot like I get every year and I never get sick! Famous last words.

I woke up the next day with a small cough. I keep a glass of water by the bed because I get a dry mouth at night so that’s what I was thinking that morning as I gulped some water. I felt fine and was proud of my 23-mile ride, even bragging about it to my best friend.

I bike every other day come rain or shine and today was an off day so I planned to get some steps in between my writing and bragging. As the day went on I felt bad and it overcame me so fast that by nightfall I had a fever of 101.5, a headache that wouldn’t go away and was coughing so hard I thought my head would explode. I actually saw lights inside my head and immediately all my new-found energy was gone. For the first time in years, I was sick and all I could do was crawl into bed.

I felt betrayed by my body, after all, everything I’d read told me that people who sleep right, eat right and exercise don’t get sick as often as the average person. In fact, I read that a healthy person only gets sick half as much as the rest of the population. I was angry that I couldn’t get on my bike and felt that all of my hard work of the last 6 months was being lost. I was angry and felt depressed for the first time in ages.

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After a few days of this negative thinking while laying in bed it came to me. I had become part of the problem. There was nothing I could do about getting sick, I had done everything right and still caught the bug. All I was doing with my bad attitude was making things worse for myself. I stopped my complaining and refocused on taking care of myself.

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Just as I’d learned how to be healthy again after decades of bad habits I relearned the importance of  patience and acceptance. Once I did, my week of sick time passed, my fever broke and I felt ready to get back on my bike.

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On Tuesday, April 5th, I got dressed to go biking for the first time since being sick. It was a sunny, windy day nothing unusual for the Bay Area in the springtime. I was weak but feeling happy.

The first thing I noticed was the wind gusts hurting my ears which never happened before. I pulled over and used my ear buds without plugging them in which happened to work. I was puzzled since I had no ear aches and on the way home I was able to remove them with no further problems.

After the first half of my ride, I noticed a lack in stamina and my back was hurting. My endorphins never kicked in and I wasn’t enjoying my ride. I still had plenty of strength for hills but wasn’t feeling it. I had to bike against the wind gusts on the way home and as soon as I got in the door I peeled my clothes off and fell back into bed.

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After sleeping a few hours I got up had something to eat and started hydrating myself. I’m not young anymore and had a private laugh at how silly I was expecting to just fall back into my biking routine after being so sick. Instead of getting upset this time, I made sure my choices the next day were well balanced towards good health hoping to have a better outcome.

On Thursday, it was a gorgeous day with high temps, low wind gusts and sun. I did my normal route this time, it was much better and more enjoyable. I finally felt that it was all coming together again.

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Yesterday it was lightly raining when I went out and the weather report said rain so I expected it but by the time I got to the San Mateo Bridge it was pouring and I was soaked. I usually go under and past this bridge but I had 4 and 1/2 miles to ride to get home so I headed back rather than take a chance on catching cold. There were no wind gusts so I made good time.

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Before I got back home I stopped to photograph 2 jackrabbits that were chasing each other in the rain oblivious to me. This is the best picture I got of them and all you can see are the ears sticking up on one and the head on another. Bad weather brings the animals out they feel safe because people aren’t out in the rain. I see more animals during bad weather it doesn’t keep me from biking.

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When I got sick last week I felt that my body betrayed me, that all of my hard work biking was lost and that I’d have to start over again. Then I rediscovered what I already learned, that balance is the key to good health, mental and physical, and the weakness was in my mind not my body.

With the right balance of sleep, healthy food, exercise, and water, with a little fun thrown in, you won’t have time for depression or unhappiness. We all get sick but the better you treat your body the more resources it will have to protect you and your mind in times of stress.

Treat your body well and your mind will follow.

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Look What I Found On My Ride

Yesterday when I was on the return leg of my trip I saw something dark on the trail ahead. As I pulled up I saw it was a young seal! It was right in the middle of the trail and I saw a cyclist stopped nearby talking on his cell phone. He was calling the Marine Mammal Rescue Center in Sausalito so I pulled over to assist.

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Seal in danger! Cyclist’s and even state vehicles pass through here.

I found out his name was Luke and he was talking to the rescue people. While I waited to find out what they said I dialed a few numbers. The Humane Society was not helpful at all telling me they “didn’t do marine mammals.” I found them cold and not willing to even give me a phone number that would help. In fact, everyone was passing the buck. It made me sad.

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I carefully herded him into the grass on the side of the trail. Look at how much his coat shines in the sun.

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Once in the grass, he looked at me and seemed curious. It was lucky he was young because full grown, these seals can be vicious even attacking people.

Luke was instructed to take a photo of the seal to send to the rescue center. He did so and was told they’d send someone out. Sausalito California is far away but they said they’d find a local volunteer.

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Look at that face!

I called the same rescue center myself for good measure. They acted like they didn’t know about it even though Luke had called and sent a photo. They told us they’d send someone out. I had to be somewhere by 6pm so I had time to wait. Luke had to go back to work so I sat on a nearby bench watching.

Many people passed by not even seeing this little guy. A few people stopped and one guy was touching him. I asked him to stop telling him it was vicious and would bite him. I was just stretching the truth a little to make him leave the poor thing alone. He backed off. I can’t believe how ignorant and selfish people can be. You should never touch a wild animal unless you have to.

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I figured out that he went up the walkway (see map) and ended up on the trail. These rocks are big and sharp he wouldn’t have made it over them otherwise. You can see the bench I sat on.

I was worried because 3rd street (in Foster City) is not far away. I have to hope the seal just went back the way it came after sunning itself. After waiting over an hour taking videos and photos no one came to even check it out and make sure it wasn’t sick. They may have shown up after I left but I don’t think so they just didn’t seem interested.

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I think this seal was a little girl. Once she fell asleep she was unconcerned about the lack of care or the problems of the human world.

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What looks clumsy on land makes seals acrobats in the water.

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The seal checks me out as I check her out. You can see the city street behind us. In many areas the Bay Trail is close to city streets and highways.

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Begrudgingly I left to go home missing one of my afternoon appointments but what a story and experience.

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It was an extremely windy day going home with gusts up to 26 miles an hour making whitecaps on the water. The wind surfers were out in force if you look closely you can see them “making air” with San Francisco in the background. I almost got blown off of my bike and had quite a workout!

Seals showing up in people’s yards and in city streets is just a part of the spring season when they have pups and seek out places to keep them safe not realizing these places are inhabited. There was a story on TV this week about a small California fur seal pup being found in a front yard in Fremont. This young seal is the same kind.

It was such a precious experience yesterday, one I could never have had without my bicycle. I’ve seen the sea lions that hang around Fisherman’s Wharf but never see the seals especially up close. I’ll never forget this day and hope the young, unnamed seal is swimming in the bay and happy.

My videos from my cell phone aren’t the best but I uploaded the seal videos I took to YouTube. Check them out on my channel.

Marine Mammal Rescue Center, 415-289-7325 (seal), you should be ashamed of yourselves! Telling us you would send someone out and then not following up. At the very least, you could have called me back to update the situation. There’s no excuse.

When the wind works against you get a sail.

Riding On The Bay Trail

One of the great things about riding my bike for me besides the health benefits is the beauty of the Bay Trail. Although I travel the same route each day there’s always something different to see and depending on the weather the San Francisco Bay has different moods and looks.

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Leaving the home unit and ready for take-off! (Yes, I’m a big geek!)

My last ride was March 22nd (Tuesday) and as soon as I got to the trail I noticed the clouds. Puffy and dense enough to block the sun at times looking like huge cotton balls.

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A lone runner stretches before a run on the Bay Trail.

This is my view of the trail right before I get on it. I’m very lucky to live several blocks away so I can ride my bike from home. Coyote Point and the boat harbor is to the left it’s a dead end where people fish and San Francisco across the bay is closest.

To the right is my almost 20-mile round trip ride through all kinds of landscapes ending up at Highway 101 where the trail ends. If you consult the map of the Bay Trail on the bottom of my site it may look like one can bike all the way around the bay but unfortunately, many of those paths are dotted meaning they are planned and not yet connected.

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Looking towards Seal Point and the San Mateo Bridge.

I bike around that point, past the Golf Course, to the bridge and under it to the other side. Just look at those clouds! The bay was choppy but I was going with the wind on the first half of my ride.

The winds coming off of the bay on this side of the bridge can be very strong, sometimes incredibly strong. No one day is like the next when it comes to the wind. If the winds clock over 15 miles an hour it’s going to be hell biking into them. If they go beyond that it’s insanity. Those are the days I come home tired and sometimes sore. (After all, it is called exercise for a reason.) Once on the other side of the bridge, the trail meanders off of the bay and the wetlands are a pleasant ride.

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Taking a break to hear the frogs.

There are benches all along the trail I like to stop and sit at but I always stop at this one near the Golf Course because this is where the frogs are. I used to sit and listen to their funny noises on the first leg of my ride but because of the drought, it’s been pretty quiet. Only when I get stuck in the rain do I hear a few frogs and it makes me sad. Even though we’ve been getting more rain this year it hasn’t brought them back fully.

You can’t see it here but there’s water in those reeds and it’s a perfect place for frogs. I’m hoping I’ll be hearing them soon perhaps they are mating and increasing their numbers as I speak. The more rain we get the better for California’s waterways.

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Canadian Geese land to visit with me as I do a frog check.

You can see some of the water but there used to be much more. This is the only place on my ride that’s close to the trail and marsh-like although there are other spots along the ride perfect for frogs and creatures like them. This marsh is across the trail from the bay.

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The Belmont Slough.

Once I get away from the bay into Foster City towards Belmont, I follow the Belmont Slough. Let me state here that although I log and track my workouts I don’t ride to best my time. I like to stop and smell the flowers and sit on benches along the way. I haven’t used the top 5 speeds on my bike yet and I wear my camera around my neck so I can stop and snap if need be. It feels so good when I’m on the trail, too good to rush.

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As I sat to eat my Golden Delicious Apple this guy came to visit.

There were 2 of these spiders and they were curious about me. You’d think something as big as me would send them scurrying but these guys approached me with a swagger.

I don’t know what kind of spider this is but he’s awfully cute! Looks like a little crab. I left them a few drops of water on the picnic table which they checked out before I left.

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Looking towards the bay (hidden here) near Bat Ray Island.

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From the same bench, a flock of birds soar by making wonderful noises.

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These flowers have the prettiest patterns on them and bloomed early. They’re already fading littering the trail with petals.

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I love going under this overpass! Highway 101 is not far now.

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On such a perfect day I had no idea that the winds were waiting to ambush me on the other side of the San Mateo Bridge when I went back.

The camera taking all these beautiful pictures is a Nikon Coolpix, one of the first compact all digital camera made by Nikon. My roommate found it in our garbage when some people moved away. Why they did that I don’t know besides being a little beat up it takes amazing pictures and is so small I can wear it around my neck while I ride. It takes .avi movies and records sound. I tend to take terrible pictures because I always move and this makes me look like I know what I’m doing!

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Highway 101 marks my turn-around point about 10 miles out the first leg of my ride.

The Bay Trail loops around back onto itself here, taking me back the way I came. I live on Bayshore Blvd., by Highway 101 so I’ve made a big circle on the trail back to 101 only further south. If the trail went along 101 I could ride back home making a complete trip. I wouldn’t get to see the great view on the way back so I don’t mind.

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As I sit and take a break some ducks are having a great time!

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This cloud looks like it’s balancing on the tower. I enjoy clouds and take photos of them as you can see.

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The ice plants are natural but most of these flowers, trees and bushes are landscaping for all the expensive homes that line this part of the trail.

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Once back on the San Francisco Bay, it’s all blue sky and beaches on the Foster City/Belmont side until the Belmont Slough.

I have questioned myself as to whether these beaches are man-made or not and I promise to look it up. Some of the beaches are sand and some are gravel but they’re all beautiful. When on the bay it’s usually rocks on the shore so these beaches were a nice surprise.

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Looking back towards the San Mateo Bridge.

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The sun is coming out from behind a cloud as a man fishes near the windsock looking towards Mariners Point. That windsock comes in handy!

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Coyote Point, San Francisco in the distance, and the boat harbor are all signs that I’m almost home.

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On the way to my apartment I pass through neighborhoods and this house is one of my favorites with a Lilac Bush expertly trained along the front windows.

I hope you enjoyed photographs from my ride. I take them every time so I’m looking for the best way to show them off on this site so you can see all of them. Even if I repeat an area it looks different in every photo depending on the light and weather. The Bay Trail is incredibly beautiful and I consider myself lucky to live nearby so I can bike from home and take advantage.

Biking is fun, keep at it and you will be successful. Biking is low impact, aerobic and just fun. It burns an amazing amount of calories. Most of you should remember riding and having a bike when you were younger and you can feel those feelings once again.

Please leave some comments and let’s start the conversation. I look forward to hearing from you. Don’t be shy, let’s talk! I’m here to help and listen.

Get moving, keep moving and your life will move…forward!