The Summer That Never Was
Updated: Sep 16, 2021
I enjoy my winters here in the Pacific Northwest. There's nothing like the sound of my running shoes splashing through the forest while my fingers freeze. Especially when you go home and take that blissful shower. There's something to be gained in the struggle and more so when it's beautiful outside. To say I look forward to my summers is an understatement. Like Jesse Itzler, I measure my existence with how many summers I have left and 2021 is a write-off.
April was amazing. May and June followed suit. It was prime cycling and running season. Hiking season was on the horizon as well.
Pictured below is me taking my new baby home. Why do I look so short? Because my manager is a giant and took this picture from his chest level.
Then the heatwave arrived and surrounded us into a dome. I had some concerns as I was nowhere near heat-acclimatized, but this didn't stop me from riding my new e-bike to work on a bright Saturday. Readers, the heatwave starts Sunday, not Saturday.
When I left work, I had to stop for a break during my first hill. My Garmin showed 39 degrees, and I was sweating. In addition, my e-bike seemed to be stuck in a firmware update, so I was stuck with a heavy bike (added weight because of the motor + battery), plus no water as I wasn't expecting more than a short, easy ride.
Pictured above is my new e-bike, a pair of lightly used runners, and my last summer's baby.
The thoughts of what unfolded next still give me anxiety. I did okay given the circumstances and made it 1.5km away from home. The red flag was that my heart rate would not go down when I stopped at red lights (yes, some cyclists obey traffic laws). Suddenly, my body screamed at me to pull over and get off the bike.
I looked like I just stepped out of a pool.
My vision tunnelled and my adrenaline kick in. All my blood vessels in my neck dilated to prevent fainting. I was on the verge of a heat stroke. I got help from a sweet nursing friend who had sweeter AC. The next few days involved a sore neck and a tired body. I rested and waited for the heat to pass. Okay, by rest, I meant going to the gym and running 2-3km. It’s the thought that counts, right?
Pictured is what my daily journal looks like with the biggest highlight, "Didn't die from overheating," taking the title spot.
One week later, in a similar situation of being 1.5km away from my destination, I had the same sudden burning pain and feeling in my gut to get off the bike. This time, I was heading to work. Like the first, my e-bike was not helping me out. Here we go again?
For this last part of the ride, I couldn’t get my heart rate above 100. To this day, I have no idea what happened. My manager grabbed me a chair, and I sat watching my heart rate jump 72, 88, 66, 98... I was out of breath doing the simplest tasks. Somehow, I finished this shift. But the next day I elected to stay in bed until my friends convinced me to go to the ER. I struggled to breathe while wearing the mask and the nurse told me I would wait for 10 hours to see a doctor, so I went back home.
Now, I'm going to zoom ahead a little.
I had one panic attack while driving because of the sudden chest pain, so I had a rocky ambulance ride to the hospital. This felt like the end of the road. I was not getting better.
One week later, and I had the second and worst panic attack of my life. My body was freaking out in fight or flight. My fingers and body were going numb. I was back at the emergency room, but this time I had another panic attack and laid on the ground. At the end of these, I felt I had survived a bear attack.
With time, I accepted the circumstances. Life went on and my summer was gone. Everything seemed uncertain. There might be more summers, but maybe not. It was a dark ugly place I had to visit and in it I found power. I looked back at the 26 years of living I experienced with gratitude. My actions have consequences, and my protests were not helping. Anxiety was exiting.
So what am I left with?
Right now, there are GI issues. Sometimes, I burp for hours. There also might be some asthma making a return as the cold irritates my lungs. When I try to exercise, there’s this knotty death feeling in my heart, GI, and chest. I feel that something is blocking the route of blood flow.
Once I got past the initial bed rest stage, I worked on my next steps. I figured I had used all my bad luck chips for the year, so I began exploring options. Of these, I cashed my chips in for a master’s program (a tremendous thank you to my supervisor as this admission gave me new light.) I also took another role as a nutrition research assistant.
I also shrank. I went from 156 (March 2021) to 146 (before heat exhaustion, late June 2021) to 132-33 now (Sept 2021).
How's Bains Nutrition doing?
Bains Nutrition saw organic growth in May and June which halted when my personal well-being did. In those tough recovery months, Bains Nutrition reflected my revival. I re-did the website when I could get out of bed and use my laptop. Then, I launched a brand-new ad campaign which is consistently providing clients! Now, Google wants me to pay for more ads to increase my conversions, but I think this is all I can handle with my workload and current health. This gives me and Bains Nutrition steady growth. Working with clients also reminds me of my mission to share the wealth of knowledge that my lucky chips brought me.
Pictured above are my advertising stats for this last month.
Before I end this post, let's talk about a few things that broke my heart.
One project I had was launching reels on IG and creating videos for Bains Nutrition. My intern and I were excited and ready for this, but I wasn't up to par. I also had planned to develop products and launch a weight-loss meal delivery system (see picture below).
Last year, I did 22 hikes. This year I wanted just to hit the big hikes and save the small ones for tinder dates. I got one hike in to tunnel bluffs (pictured), so on the bright side, my last two-year hike count is now 23. My apologies to the ladies that I kept pushing one week by one week. My brain was convinced that we were going to bounce back soon.
Berg lake, our big hiking trip, flooded and hence, cancelled for everyone.
I also looked forward to cycling with friends that just got into the sport, including those I met from my time at the bike shop. I thought this year I would do the triple crown (cycling up Seymour, Grouse, and Cypress), and while I never announced it to anybody else, I aimed to run my second marathon at the end of this summer (I guess summer is not technically over yet?).
Now, I'm jam-packed for my next couple of years and I feel the window on some of these goals has closed for the time being. I'll still exercise in whichever way I can. Bains Nutrition will continue to grow, and we'll get there when we get there. :)
Was this summer everything you hoped for? I hope so.
Questions? Comments? I'd love to hear what's on your mind. Reach me through IG or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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