What A Day Off Means To Me

                                                                             My old friend Jody Jividen was an avid runner who inYod 85 his heyday kept meticulous records about his daily near-sprints through the streets of Dunbar. Once I began to ride a bike somewhat seriously Jody would tell me, “Don’t plan a day off. They’ll come on their own.” Which meant, for him, he could have streaks of consecutive weeks in which he RAN. I never made the mistake of saying “Did you jog today?” more than once. That was offensive to the former Marshall University Cross Country athlete. And, happy drewif I persuaded him to take a day off to play some one-on-one, you’d better know that you were in store for some rugged hoops. The courts at Shawnee Park are named in his honor. We all lost Jody to colorectal cancer in August of 2002. Charleston’s Run For Your Life (in connection with the Smoke On The Water Chili Cook Off) began as a tribute to Jody’s memory as well.

IMG_0287I took a day off yesterday, which of course made me think of Yod. I’d ridden just shy of 90 miles in three days, 318 in fourteen rides through June, which is not impressive except that, I didn’t get to ride in April and May, so I’ve really been building a base in the first half of the month. We concluded our 3-week middle school basketball period with a morning practice and late-afternoon game, and while I could have squeezed a ride in between those events and the raindrops, I chose to rest (clean the kitchen).

 

“Don’t plan a day off. They’ll come on their own.”

Great Cycle ChallengeI’ve currently raised $1,568 for Children’s Cancer Research, good for second place in West Virginia, 615th in the U.S., but I sure hope for more. I put new cleats on my shoes. I have 10 days remaining to see what I can do in the Great Cycle Challenge. Through the rain that has become our state, through weariness of limbs, in memory of Jody, our friend and colleague Mike Cherry, my sister Kelly Spradling Simmons, I will not take another day off.

https://www.facebook.com/andy.spradling

Postscript: Internet was working slowly this morning. Got in 32.4 to surpass 350.  

©2019

 

The “Why” of It

Great Cycle ChallengeAs of today, because of the generosity of many friends and family members, I have raised $1,174.63 of my $1,500 goal for Children’s Cancer Research. This month, I’m attempting to ride my road bicycle 650 miles in the Great Cycle Challenge, to fight children’s cancer. I surpassed 205 miles yesterday, and have yet to ride today. I am behind pace and afraid that goal may be unattainable. But the goodness of people is already apparent, and that’s the important issue. We all know someone touched by cancer.

It has been nearly three years since I posted “Immeasurable Kindness,” the story of Rich Harper, our local bicycle shop owner, giving me an incredible gift.

https://andrewspradling.wordpress.com/2016/08/20/immeasurable-kindness/

(or on this blog site in August, 2016)

bike-in-b-n-wSince that time I have released my second novel, The Lost Lantern (available on Amazon.com), and am coming down the home stretch of my third. Along with my wife, I’ve watch our three children continue to grow and amaze us, our son graduating high school with high honors. This spring, I returned to work as a substitute teacher, finishing the final ten weeks of the school year as a long-term sub at my own former junior high. Now I’m jumping into coaching basketball as well as an assistant there. We are currently in our 3-week practice period, adding to my daily fatigue.

As I re-read “Immeasurable Kindness,” I thought how can I NOT be doing something? I’m quietly cynical at times and see the bad in our world. Sometimes I wear blinders, while my wife constantly reaches out and helps those in need. But people have been so very good to me, God has been so very good to me, I have to do something to give back. Forcing myself into a little fitness at the same time is a win-win.

Thanks for reading, A.S.

© 2019