How to Cure a Cold and Find Meaning in Suffering

I’ve been back in Barcelona for a week and a half after 6 weeks in the US. I immediately started intensive Spanish courses again, then caught a heinous cold. The kind that puts you to bed way before your bedtime. Pairing that with a California schedule (read: early dinner,bedtime and rising hours) and it’s as though I am not even here as far as my social life goes. It was also the type of cold that by around the third day, your body is deficient of some uncommon vitamin so you end up eating constantly to try satisfy whatever rare mineral you are depleted of, but only succeed in stuffing your face with crap all day, and in my case, mostly chocolate.

Which is where I was yesterday. Which also happened to be the middle of the first week of my “put the brakes on the winter chub and ramp up the fitness before spring” program. Some of my more interesting indulgences were handfuls of the boyfriend’s cereal called “Choco Pillows”, which are chocolate flavored cereal squares with a nutella-esque oozy middle, sugar free chocolate bars served atop crackers, all of the remaining carob chips I brought from the US, chocolate covered flakes picked out of the cereal dubiously named “Fitness”,  several bites of various chocolate covered energy bars, and white chocolate covered flakes picked out of another cereal that consists of cocoa flakes and white chocolate covered corn flakes the size of Fritos (Note: European breakfast cereal is something to simultaneously love and hate).

So today, determined to get out of the house, off my ass and around some people, I willed my hacking, sniffling body to carry my mountain bike down my building’s three flights of stairs, ride through the Sunday city crowds to the metro, carry the bike down and up several more flights of stairs to meet up with a weekly group of mountain bikers at the bottom of Tibidabo for a ride (note: link is to my first visit up there via scooter – two years ago! Can’t believe it’s been that long). I promised myself if I wasn’t able to breathe I would turn around after the first hill and ride home (it’s downhill all the way).

I am happy to report that not only did I stick it out for the entire 4+ hour ride, I also conquered a couple of single track downhill paths that 2 months ago I would have been walking down. So yay me. Also, near the end of the ride, there was a big hill climb that had a couple people seriously toasted. I was fretting in my own head, thinking I was also too done to make it, when I decided to just set a pace and make the climb no matter how much I was suffering. And surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad. It seems it only took the decision to finish, then my body stopped protesting and just did it’s job.

Which made me think about applying this theme elsewhere in my life. I have been struggling (kicking and screaming is more accurate) to make a certain situation involving a job happen for me, and it occurs to me that maybe what I need to do is just decide that it is going to work out, then let my everyday actions and decision take care of the details. Of course, it’s a complicated situation, but there really is only so much I can do. But maybe I can just calm down a little and keep pedaling from here on out.

Meanwhile, today’s ride seems to have nearly cured my cold. I don’t have the body aches and the stuffy face I’ve had for the last four days. It also has set my fitness program back on track,  as my heart rate monitor says that I burned over 2000(!) calories on today’s ride. Which, for me, atones for yesterday completely and gives me freedom tonight to indulge a little.

You better believe I’ve been eating GP’s Choco Pillows straight out of the box this evening. By the handful.