Wednesday, December 24, 2003

'Twas the Day Before Christmas

I managed to put another 6 miles in today, riding my bike in a loop around the park and back to the house. It was a beautiful day, with little or no wind, and perfectly clear blue sky.

When riding, I am struck by the short views I get of people's backyards through the slats of the fences. In our neighborhoods, almost everyone has a six or eight foot tall wooden fence around their backyard (our house backs onto commercial property, so we have an eight foot tall fake brick fence). The fences and the brick houses with muted earth tone accents add to the homogeneity of the neighborhoods. Which is OK, since we moved to this area southwest of Houston to avoid the chances of living next to a junkyard or liquor store. But the glimpses of backyards, a pool here, chairs there, toys in some, trees and flowers in others, causes me to feel like a voyeur. Of course, there's never anyone in the backyards, so there's nothing to voyeur. The spaces are invariably empty (at least in the glimpses I have), devoid of human activity. Just like the front yards I pass by. If I didn't see people pulling into driveways in their cars I would never see most of them. They get out, go into their houses, and never emerge again until they get in their cars and drive away.

Thinking about people and their lives leads me to remember, probably because it is Christmas Eve, that it's not about the biker (to bastardize the title from Lance Armstrong's book). The real reason I am doing this ride in April is to raise money to help people with a debilitating disease, MS. When I was comteplating riding the MS 150, I whined to Kim (the spinning instructor) about the Saturdays and other training time it would consume, getting ready for the ride. I guard my time jealously, and hate to be committed to events on weekends that take me away from home. Naturally, being the great person she is, she brought me back to reality and said that I should remember the people who could not ride bicycles, who could not train, who could not commit their Saturdays, because they had MS. That she kept people like that in mind when she was training for benefit rides.

So that's really why I train for the ride. To help people with MS.

That's why I've signed up for a warm-up benefit, the Houston Press Walk/Run 5K on January 18th. Any money I raise will benefit the Lupus Foundation of American, specifically the Gulf Coast Chapter. I have personal experience with Lupus (no, I don't have the disease, but someone very close to my heart does). I don't jog or run, it hurts my knees too much. So I plan to walk the 5K. But I'll be around thousands of people who are running the Houston Marathon that day. I expect that will provide inspiration to train for the MS 150.

I've never been good at journaling. It's strange that I would subject myself to having my words read by anyone in the world who cares to read them. This blogging is a means to an end, to raise money for Lupus and MS.

As in most things done to benefit other people, I expect that I will benefit personally, from getting leaner and losing weight, to controlling my blood pressure and decreasing my chances of developing diabetes, to extending myself physically and emotionally.

May God pour His healing Blessings on You and make His light shine wherever you go,