36 Times Around the Sun

Today is my birthday! 36 rides around the sun.

To celebrate, I went out for a ride, intending to hit the 40 mile mark. Within the first 10 miles, however, I knew I should have just turned around and went back. I was NOT feeling it...

I spent most of the morning just putzing around, taking an hour to change an inner tube, finish some leftovers from a few nights before and then get dressed. I applied a healthy dose of sunblock and finally got going around 1 or 2 pm... Whenever. Obviously, I was stalling because I was not in the mood for this ride. But, I did it anyway.

I was just outside Wilkes-Barre, heading through Plains when I felt I was making a big mistake -- I was exhausted. I couldn't get enough air, my legs were burning, I was already cutting into my glycogen reserves. In short, I was in bad shape, and it was only going to get worse.

"Whatever... just power through it," I thought. "I'll regret quitting more than I'll regret the pain I'll be in."

I could blame the estrogen and the testosterone blocker, because that would be easy. For one, the testosterone blocker is keeping me from building muscle. Every stroke of the pedals rips another fiber, raises the heart rate and burns calories and glucose. As we know from athletic medicine, the body will consume muscle if it can't get anything else. Every time I push hard, I'm consuming more muscle mass. But there's a way to counter that... It's called "eating right," which I definitely did not do this morning.

I had about 3 or 4 ounces of leftover steak from dinner a few nights before and what was left of a baked potato -- mostly just the skin. That's like, what, 200-300 calories? That's not enough, especially when you're riding a distance that normally burns through 1300 to 1400 calories. Yeah, I felt awful.

So, the moral of the story is, eat a healthy breakfast that consists of the right foods and bring something along to keep your glycogen levels up, or you will be sorry. How sorry? Well, muscle cramps and spasms are not fun, I can tell you that. Generally speaking, if you're not feeling good in the first 10 miles, the next 30 are not going to be any better, and you are going to be in sorry-ass shape long after you get back. Believe me... I've had a nap, eaten some good food, done everything I can to recover in the hours since I got back. I still feel awful.

One last moral: UV radiation ain't nothin' to mess wit'. The estrogen has done WONDERFUL things for my skin. I no longer get breakouts on my face, I'm soft, my skin is light and pale... it almost glows. It also gets damaged by the sun in the blink of an eye.

I used to go for hours and hours without sunblock. I would burn a little, but nothing that ever seemed overly serious. Now... heck, 1 hour is enough to turn me red and burn me pretty badly. It's not good, so I've become very rightly concerned and now use SPF 100 sun screen. Even if you're not on hormone replacement therapy, wear sunblock. Skin cancer is serious business.

In closing, happy birthday to me! As I said on Facebook, I really didn't think I was going to make it to 36 -- it got THAT bad before I realized I HAD to come out and live as my authentic self.
Since then, however, coming out and transitioning has been the best thing I have ever done for myself. It really did save my life. I would not be here, otherwise. As they say, it gets better, and it definitely did! Here's to another 36!


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