What A Pain

Hengistbury Head - Click to view

The beautiful sunshine, despite a brisk westerly breeze, made my bike ride over to Hengistbury Head, near Christchurch, a real treat. There were lots of people who had also decided to make the most of the weather, so making progress along the promenade to Bournemouth was never easy.

Having the breeze at my back made the cycling easy, something I was to rue later in the day, and maybe it contributed to me riding further than I had planned to do. But it was very rewarding to find myself at the tip of the peninsula, surrounded by beautiful nature.

With the obligatory panoramic photos in the can it was time to set off on the journey home. Initially I made good progress, albeit having to weave my way through throngs of people as well as having to dodge the quaint little land train.

But as I reached to promenade, I felt the full force of the breeze that had helped me on the outward journey. Whether it was the result of the wet summer, leaving me with a lot less miles in my legs, or that I hadn’t taken enough to drink, we will never know.

Suffice to say that as I reached to rise up to the pier at Bournemouth, I started to get cramp in the top of my left thigh. Now I have never had cramp before, ever, so it was a rather nasty surprise, and I tried to ride through the pain, it just seemed to get tighter. A brief rest on a bench at Alum Chine, sitting in the sunshine and stretching my legs out, seemed to help, but the respite was only short lived.

The nasty little rise out of Sandbanks proved to be a bit of a killer, and by the time I reached to summit both my thighs were locked solid. I stopped, but couldn’t bend either leg enough to get off the bike. So I stood and waited for the pain to subside, much to the bemusement of a lady who was passing.

Finally I was able to trundle down the hill into Lilliput, but turning into Whitecliff park the pain returned. I found my self a bench and again waited for the cramp to abate again. Finally it eased a little, but not before I wondered whether I was going to be able to make it back home.

I set my pace by chanting. Nam Myoho Renge Kyo gives a good rhythm and it also took my mind away from the pain in my legs. I also kept a vision of me reaching home and entering the front door in my minds eye, and I found that this helped me to concentrate on my goal.

Well I’m back home and after having showered, eaten dinner and drunk plenty of water, and had a little rest, I’m feeling fine. I can tell that I’ve still got a bit of strain in my legs, but if the weather is good tomorrow, I think I’ll go out and stretch my legs again.

My chanting always helps me sort out the challenges in life, but I never cease to be amazed at just how versatile it can be. I can’t promise that the same method will work for you, but it might be worth giving it a try next time a challenge gives you a bit of pain or anguish.

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