To my beloved and recently battered body,
I’m sorry I haven’t been taking good care of you. I’m sorry for not paying attention to your warning signs, instead pushing you over the limit.
When I signed up for the 140-km ride to Huairou with the usual bunch of local cycling fanatics, I should’ve known better than to go out on Friday night, indulge in cocktails, going to bed at 1 am and waking up at 6. You were pleading me for more sleep, but I ignored you because my desire to cycle was stronger.
It’s funny how the brain works sometimes. I remembered you, my body, completing three long-distance rides in July, and for that reason, I was convinced you were able to repeat the same feat. I conveniently forgot that after a three-week break, the endurance and strength you built up in July had seeped away and your muscles needed to warm up. I pushed you hard so you could catch up with the guys going at 30+ km/h, and in the process, I pulled a muscle in your right leg.
You gave me hell from that point on. Initially I thought it was just a cramp that would go away, and I continued cycling like I was completely fine. You kept telling me to stop by increasing the pain I suffered the harder I rode. I only got the message when the ‘cramp’ did not disappear after constant massages and rubbing for an hour. You forced me to abort the ride and find a taxicab to deliver me and the bike home.
For the whole of Sunday, you decided to totally expunge everything I ate in the last 48 hours (at least that was how I felt). I couldn’t even have a drink of water without feeling the need to go to the loo. The details are too gross for a public blog, but needless to say, you were completely focussed on the one and only task for a day — ridding yourself of everything that’s been clogging you up for however long.
Being apartment-ridden gave me a lot of time to think about you, my body, and how I’ve been treating you over the years. It’s taken me years to accept and love you as you are, even though everyone around me says you’re beautiful. I abuse you daily by sitting for hours in front of a computer, checking my smartphone constantly, walking and sitting with bad posture, wearing high heels too often, eating unhealthy food and drinking too much alcohol. I’ve subjected you to gruelling diets and insane exercise regimes for the sake of my vanity. And I’ve never been 100% happy with you. I always wished you were 5 kg lighter, your proportions were better…..the list goes on. It’s no wonder you revolted last Sunday.
Now I’m so scared of pissing you off, I’ve been ruthlessly choosy about what I put in my mouth, cycling to and from work at a reasonable speed and getting as much sleep as I can. Because I need you, my dear body, to be in tip-top shape for my upcoming trip to Zimbabwe.
Trying to treat you better,