I arrived back in MSP last Saturday to an empty home with a "for sale" sign out front.
Turns out this on-the-market deal means making each room look fresh from the pages of House Beautiful - or some lesser version - at all times (for someone who takes two weeks to unpack a suitcase, the pressure following my return seemed akin to detonating a bomb). It means mowing the lawn on when a dip in the lake seems less wet than stepping into the humid air. It means conducting business from coffee shops and park benches while strangers try to imagine themselves in your broken dream.
It means tonight I arrived excessively early to the velodrome. Stepping up from the tunnel and onto the infield for the first time in two weeks, I found it empty. Exhaling anxiety, grief and anticipation, I dropped my duffel and my wheel bag. A small airplane flew overhead, but the world remained otherwise invisible on the other side of the steep wood bankings. My mind wandered to Colorado, how there I feel safely nestled in the mountains, separated from whatever resides on the other side. This week involved gradually returning to my life here - first the house, then the office, interactions with friends and family, errands, the gym, a walk to the rose garden. The track completed my re-entry.
Never did I imagine riding my bike around an Afzalea bowl in the suburbs would largely define my daily life. Four years ago this week I started racing the track after discovering that part of me still longed for the pleasure, pain, and release athletic pursuits provide. It was a risk considering a significant pause and several pounds had occurred since my collegiate cross country days. But for some reason I didn't mind appearing foolish. Starting out being mercilessly lapped and ultimately deciding to pour myself into training became a process paralleling my inner journey these past few years.
It’s no coincidence I committed to becoming a sprinter the same day I finally saw the doctor about my depression this winter. Forget constantly enduring. Forget rationing energy, dreams and emotions. I know how to endure pretty damn well. I've practiced enough and can save that skill for when it’s appropriate. For sport, for fun, for living, I want muscle and passion. I want to be in it, with each fraction of a second containing all of me. And this has become my theme for life in recent months.
Sitting here in the earliest moments of Friday, still buzzing from my Thursday night velodrome fix and writing a somewhat convoluted reflection, I wonder what happens after the "for sale" sign switches to "sold."