Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Bike Maintenance

I've had a cold for weeks now but its seemed to be on the wane so I haven't worried that much about it. Over xmas and the New Year there's only a minimum of staff at work so being off isn't much of an option unless you really can't go in. My criteria for being off work sick is being so sick that I wouldn't go for a run - and that generally means I go in. I've had about 2 days off in 5 years, or I think, in total, 4 days off in the 7 years I've been there.

Its more a matter of habit than anything else.

The last couple of nights though I've been so congested I've had to sit up to breathe, and definitely couldn't sleep - probably not helped by running in the snow and ice and sub-zero temperatures... and last night at 4am I realised that there was a. no way I was going running that evening, and b. why was I going to get up at 5am to go to work? So I phoned in.

So now I'm at home with a stuffed up nose and I'm definitely not going out running. It occurred to me that I should face that test of character and adulthood - wash and do some maintenance on my faithful bike which has recently been sporting an orange chain from (the little) salt on the roads and, rather alarmingly, has almost no braking power at all. Well I've done the first part - washed it, which is no mean feat as it means running up and down three flights of tenement stairs with buckets of water and the bike and doing it in such an order that my bike is never left alone in Ned territory. Its an exercise reminiscent of the puzzle where you have to cross the river in the boat with the fox and the chicken and not have the fox eat the chicken. Okay its not that complex...I take the bucket of water down first, because if the Neds steal that its the lesser of 2 evils. (Although they wouldn't know what it is. Foooharhar har. Actually not true. The Neds are probably meticulously clean under their pristine white trackies where as I'm a bit too posh to wash - well, too lazy to wash...)

Anyway. The next stage, once its dry will involve seeing whats up with the brakes and fixing them and then oiling my chain. High tech. I know I know. Its not difficult, its just hard to get started.

After wondering on my last blog whether there is a known syndrome where you want to eat all winter I googled it and discovered that in fact one of the symptoms of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) is a craving for carbohydrates and a tendency to overeat and put on weight. Also listed are irritability, sleep disturbance...I've got them all! So does Peter. So part of me is tempted to part with some cash to get one of these expensive lights for treating SAD for which there is some evidence apparently, but also some contradictory evidence - so nothing conclusive. The trouble is I also feel that diagnosing SAD is probably medicalising something more normal and maybe even essential, although inconvenient for a runner. Maybe we need down-time where we're less active, more introspective, less fun to be around. Is it right to grasp for eternal summer? Like old men chasing young women to regain a sense of youth for themselves. Still, what if one of these lights made me feel better? And didn't undermine my moral fibre? What then?

Answers please...


Climbingmandy said...

Hey Mary, sorry to hear you are still poorly. This mean bug thing has really got you. Re SAD, I bought a sunshine alarm clock a few years ago which has an in-built SAD-type light. Would you like to borrow it? I don't use it anymore. Since getting the car I can get up at a more sensible time.

Yak Hunter said...

Thats a very nice offer Amanda but Peter would probably object to getting programmed to wake up at 5am.
There is a certain compensatory satisfaction to being off work ill rather than ill on my days off and holidays! Don't feel too bad but can't breathe through my nose. Hope you enjoy Peter's torchlight parade tonight!

Trail Monster Running said...

I think it's time for a holiday to some place warm and sunny.

mindy said...

I suffer from SAD as well. I've considered the lights, but I actually got one of the sunshine alarm clocks that your friend mentioned - I really like it. I helps you get some light earlier in the morning, I'd say it's worth a shot. That...and just going somewhere warm and sunny for awhile! Take care.