Saturday, May 21, 2016

Training Back from Training

Today Susan and I are rumbling east on train #6, enjoying springtime in the Rockies. The alpine meadows are unusually green this May, either through above-average snow pack, a wet spring, or both. In any event, I've never seen the high-altitude desert so lush. The water levels are high, wildflowers are abundant, and green is dominating over brown on the color palette.

Though Amtrak and I are old friends, Susan had not been on an intercity train since 1967. I promised her a day to ourselves accompanied by drop-dead gorgeous scenery, and Mother Nature has come through in spades.

The day didn't start so auspiciously. We were in Salt Lake City yesterday, where I delivered a pre-conference workshop on Community Conversations about Aging: What You Need to Talk about and How at a regional cohousing event that continues for the next two days. It was my first time on stage since receiving my cancer diagnosis in January, and it was gratifying to be able to husband my energy and rise to the occasion. It was also the first time Susan had seen me work and it meant a lot to me that she was able to experience first hand what I derive so much satisfaction out of doing.

In any event, I was pretty tired after the four-hour workshop. Although I've regained a considerable amount of functionality after undergoing the initial rounds of chemotherapy (and being completely discombobulated), my stamina is still in question. I need to protect time to recharge my battery between bursts (read sleep), and to recover from travel before stepping on stage. 

Fortunately, sleep accomplishes restorative wonders, and I was able to bounce back both Thursday (after traveling half a day Wed to get from Minneapolis to Salt Lake City) and Friday (after conducting the workshop nonstop for four hours). This is important data as I ease my way forward toward greater strength. On the one hand, I want to stretch my limit as a stepping stone en route to increased capacity; on the other, it's important that no single step be so far that I experience a setback. So far, I've done well by listening closely to my body. If the pain becomes noticeable, I stop and take a break. By letting that be my mantra, I've both been able to increase the range of what I do and not suffer a relapse. Whew.

In any event, Susan and I were scheduled to depart Salt Lake City at 3:30 am this morning, so that we could both: a) enjoy the fabulous canyon country of the Colorado River; and b) get back to Duluth in time for her to be well rested and back at work Monday morning. That meant setting our alarm for 2:10 am, so that there was time for a shower before taking a taxi to the choo choo station. We knew things were going to be tricky when we awoke around midnight (it's hard to sleep soundly when you have to wake up early) and discovered that the power was out in our room. Oops. 

We had been careful to make sure that the train was running on time before ordering the taxi (we might as well sleep in a bed for as long as we could), but when we got our 2:10 wake up call from the front desk and realized that the power was still out, we figured we'd skip showering in the dark. Rats! If we'd known we were not going to shower we could have slept another 15 minutes. Sigh.

The taxi was already there, waiting patiently for us when we made it out to the lobby, and we found out from our cabbie that there was widespread electrical outages across the city, due to a powerful electrical storm that had hit late the previous night—after we had gone to bed.

When we got to the station, the Amtrak agent told us the rain had produced flooding in northwest Utah and that our train had falling behind schedule by 90 minutes as it tiptoed through the high water. Uffda. That meant cooling our heels in the station for all of those 90 minutes. So much for advance planning to maximize our period of uninterrupted sleep.

From there our luck turned. The beds in our roomette had already been turned down by the car attendant and we just tumbled into them once we climbed aboard, happy to enjoy our night's sleep, part II. When we awoke three hours later, right outside of Helper, we had almost had a regular amount of sleep. And after breakfast (think coffee) we were almost normal.

In any event we've enjoyed the day thoroughly, rubber necking out the window at the fabulous geology, and not needing to go anywhere, excepting back and forth from our room to the dining car as we've steadily chugged east, to rendezvous with our car in St Paul Sunday morning.

1 comment:

Elke said...

Oh, Laird, you are so YOU! <3