My early birthday present from Jacqy Stone was a day of cycling tests with Jack Bice. (At Jack Bice's house/Lab ) For those who don't already know, both Jack and Jacqy are Physical Therapists (i.e., terrorists) at Johnson & Hayes. Both are avid cyclists, racers, and all-around over achievers and quite possibly they may not be a 100 percent mortal, not an imperfect, human like me.

As fate would have it, I became one of Jacqy's PT victims because I ruptured my Achilles tendon (complete rupture) in late January, and had surgery (Dr. Tindell) the following morning. After surgery I spend 3 months in a "boot" type cast. Two months with no pressure on foot whatsoever. During this time, I also had the added fun of having a mild surgical site infection & incredibly itchy rash from an allergy to the internal Vicryl stitches.

After my 3 months in a cast, I was sent to PT with a STRONG warning from Dr. Tindell that I could do as I was told, for as long as instructed or I would limp for the rest of my life. I was also told the recovery would be very long, most likely a year or so. What fun.

After 2 significant foot surgeries where Dr. Morley shaped my foot bones like jig-saw pieces, I thought I had a good understanding of orthopedic pain & recovery. Plus I've had torn ligaments, broken bones, ruptured bursa in knee, and the usual stuff. I was wrong. I had never met Jacqy.

Therapy started off innocent enough. Not unexpectedly, the post PT pain was considerable but I was absolutely 100%determined to walk without a limp one day & I fully expected to regain my ability to do one-footed toe rises (still working on that one but I will, one day).

So therapy continued as planned until that fateful day I said something to the effect that I loved riding my bike & I had a goal of riding 50 miles before turning 50 in a few years. I distinctly remember Jacqy saying, "oh, you're in trouble now."

I had absolutely no clue she was a "real" cyclist, had been on a racing team in Chapel Hill, owned a custom bike, or any of the other warning signs of my impending doom.

I think Jacqy and I initially became friends over our mutual love of dogs, biology, renovating old homes downtown, and just basic shared friendship issues. No thunderclaps, faint tingling of chimes, or a even sudden change in the direction of a mysterious wind; no, there were no omens whatsoever.

So post, PT, I began cycling. Jacqy decided to show me the marathon route & other safe places to ride. Week by week, this showing me stuff morphed into become my cycling coach. (oh yes, then she added that dreadfully early 5:30 am spin class...).
This is from my view point (vs.100 accurate) & I have tried to be ultra brief:

About 4hr period. you do get fluids only. No whining. You are allowed to vomit.

This was on a bicycle trainer- my bike hooked to a commuter, etc & made stationary.

1st the humiliation part- weight & body fat. Reality sucks.

10 minute warm-up in fairly high gear. I about died from that.

1st was a sprint race maybe a mile or two, regardless seemed like a little farther than eternity. As fast as possible, against a computer rider. Almost died. Starts in a High gear. So high, I can barely turn it. Then told to gear up. Oh, ****... race is on, got to catch the damn blue rider..... Many people throw up. I thought I would pass out. You are cheered on & told not to quit, which helps, though you hate them for it. Must be like birthing coaches. Hate, hate, hate.

I was allowed a brief resting period.

another warm up.

2nd was a repeat except I raced against the computer image of my first time. Way too tired to be hateful to the cheering squad this time. Maybe they help anyway. They sure are loud & demanding though. I beat me. YEA ME!!! Most people don't beat themselves due to fatigue, from the first near death experience.

Given 20 minutes to rest, drink, and just suck in air. Dizzy from lack of air or sucking in too much- not sure. Best I can do it just breath.

Jack announces that somewhere deep inside is a sprinter. This would be welcomed news- that there was anything slightly athletic in me but the fatigue, perceived lack of oxygen, and return of hateful feelings overwhelms or confuses anything Jack & Jacqy says. I just want to lie down & breathe. A shower, pee. Never see them again. Never touch a bike again. More air, please. and some ice. Bury me in ice cubes. and hurry about it.

Then the Lactate threshold test. Ride at 3 minute intervals killer fast, killer cadence, then a beep & Jack takes blood. Machine increases gear- 20 watts, whatever that is. Repeat in finititum. WAY, WAY PAST EXHAUSTION. I think I was pricked 6+ times. Who knows. No pain, the rest of me hurt so much I couldn't ever feel the tiny finger prick. My feet /toes are at pain level 9 & climbing. Rear too. Oh, why didn't I use the gel seat & my softer, wider shoes....

Not allowed to quit, slow down, etc. Very close to passing out. Couldn't get feet out of clips for awhile afterwards so tired. Jacqy did bring me litters of water (actually 6 liters!!) so much sweating, overheating, etc, Jack did turn on fan after a while... Given ice cubes for clothes & a cool rag... Lot's of cool rags. Jack runs OUT of ice cubes.

2nd part of LT: Had to maintain a heart rate of 145 and a cadence of 85 (this is personalized) for eternity & regardless of gearing, pain, or closeness to death. Really sure I would die soon & that would be welcomed. Not enough water or oxygen in the universe. More finger pricks. Immediately before death, you're suddenly done & when you are able to unclip & stand , you may collapse on the floor & just suck in oxygen for a while. Oh, they keep telling you how well you've done but you don't have the energy to hit them. But you really wish you could smack 'em upside the head.

Finally you get your energy bar, take off your shoes, and start peeing out the 6 liters or water, repeat every 5 minutes. Luckily you get to hug & kiss on Jack's precious Golden, Jake, & soon all is better. Then throw the ball for fanatically ball-dog Porter. The cold air is the nicest thing you have ever felt. Oh, and a cold diet coke. Granola. mmm. I'll hate them later; I'm getting better.

Better yet, it's Jacqy Stone's turn to suffer. Oh, maybe there is a god. Maybe she is a tiny part mortal- turns out she can sweat, and can get tired, and hurt, face turns pink, and she too becomes rather ill-tempered. Time to cheer her on. She gives really good hints. GET UP OFF THE DAMN FLOOR NOW AND START CHEERING ME ON!!! So much for sucking in oxygen; I'll have to get back to that later.

Jacqy beats her video self too. YEA Jacqy. Jacqy evens wants the fan. Even drinks water. A tiny, micro-sweat bead rolls down her now pink face. Hmmm, maybe she is somewhat mortal after all. Oh, but then I'm proven wrong or at least partly wrong. Turns out she has done this with a untreated broken foot. Maybe she's only 3-5% mortal, at best. I'll bet Aleta/Diane Appling does this for her morning warm-up...

Finally, it's time for everyone to relax and cuddle the dogs. Visions of a long, long, hot bubble bath. Going to bed as soon and I go home- oh, maybe I should try to eat something & take some more potassium. Oh yea, now I have to Google all this stuff & see what is that I've just done. I'll die later. Maybe I don't hate them after all. I'll just wait until I see the results before I decide...