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Really missing the bike

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

I'm primarily a cyclist. I commute by bike most days, 9-10 months out of the year. Most weeks, I'll do anywhere from 50 to 75 miles commuting. If this was a normal year, I'd be up to around 80 miles on my weekend rides. But this is not a "normal" year.

In April, I decided to switch to multi-sport and set a goal of completing an Olympic-distance triathlon to celebrate my 50th birthday in September 2015. In May, my doctor recommended a complete hysterectomy due to increasing random growths and new scary-looking mass in my abdomen. We scheduled the surgery for mid-June, but I spent most of May & June knowing that I'd be off the bike, no running, and no swimming for four to six weeks.

In April, I weighed about 195 pounds (I'm 5'6", so that gave me a BMI of way in the low 30's and classified me as obese). I knew the bike portion of an Olympic-distance tri would be relatively easy. I hadn't attempted swimming for exercise in decades, and quite frankly, I haven't enjoyed swimming since Coast Guard boot camp in 1983. (Something about getting screamed at while trying to swim desptie suffering from the Cape May Crud (a bad head cold) and not being able to breathe made swimming less enjoyable than I remembered it being as a child.) And I couldn't run a mile, and the longest I'd ever run (when I was 25 pounds lighter) was three miles.

So I knew, going in, that switching to multi-sport meant spending less time with the bike I loved and more time doing things I don't love. {insert .jpg of me grimacing} But prior to my surgery, I had a case of the blues. Knowing I wouldn't be able to get any exercise other than walking made me sad. Knowing I'd have to stay off the bike made me really sad.

My surgery went well, and I receovered fairly quickly. I lost about 10 pounds within a week of the surgery. Since then, it's mostly stayed off. At my four-week check-in, my doctor told me I could ride and run again. I went to the office - I left my bike there, because the thought of having it home but not being able to ride was too much - and went for a ride. It was short, but it made me happy.

But now I am facing the pain of knowing that I simply cannot spend as much time on the bike as I used to and still give enough time to swimming and running. I still can't run a mile, but I am doing a walk/run at least twice a week, and I'm walking most days at lunch (although I haven't this week). Circumstances have allowed me to get in a few open water swims and several pool swims so far.

Tomorrow, I head to Leavenworth, Washington, for a training conference. (I don't like Leavenworth, so if you're one of those people that find it charming and adorable, please don't tell me how lucky I am. It's okay that you like it (the Hubs loves it), but I don't.) The past few years, the Hubs has been unemployed, so he's come with me. This year, he's working, so I'll be by myself. Normally, I would be bringing the road bike. I mapped out a lovely route with some great scenery and short hill climbs. I was really looking forward to doing this:
Then reality set in.

I need to take advantage of the pool at my hotel and swim. I want to got out for a longer walk/run (my morning walk/runs are less than two miles). That bike ride would probably take me at least three hours, which means it would be getting dark by the time I made it back to my hotel. And those hills probably mean some decent delayed-onset muscle soreness, which will make it harder for me to get a decent walk/run or swim. And I'm already planning to bring canning jars and my pressure canner because I'm headed to my parents' place to pick blackberries (and can pie filling and jam). So the car is really going to be full.

Even now, part of me is talking myself into taking the bike. Ride tomorrow evening. Swim Thursday. Run Friday. Bad Kim! Stop it! Much better plan: Swim tomorrow. Run Thursday. Swim Friday.

See what I'm facing? Riding the bike makes me happy, even when I'm suffering. And it's good exercise, even when I'm not suffering. It's counterintuitive to talk myself out of getting exercise.

I miss my bike!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • v GHK1962
    Late to this blog comment (I was in work travel mode all week myself.)

    And by the way, warning, warning, warning. I like making lists...a nerd LIST TIME!

    1) Tri's ... my wife does them. Not the longer distance Olympic Tri though...the one down from that .. called Sprint Tri's. The Sprint Tri's are a 1/2 mile swim, 12 mile bike, and 5K run. (You mentioned a 5K run in your latest blog ... are you doing a Sprint Tri instead of an Olympic Tri?) She swims in the pool to train, but within a month or two of her actual Tri she practices in lakes and open water, as it is more realistic, as it helps you get the feel of open water and learning to sight as you swim. (I am just blathering a bit, as I am only spouting off stuff she tells me.) Nevertheless ... HIGH-5 for you doing this. That is totally freakin awesome!

    2) Leavenworth - At first its an okay place (like at Christmas) ... but after a short while, what to do? What to do? And during Oktoberfest...there is only ONE choice of beer (whomever they go with as a vendor) .... c'mon!!! haha.

    3) Errr....there is no #3 item. But it is my opinion that you cannot have a legitimate list without at least 3 items. Hence my faux item #3. :)
    1076 days ago
  • v HILLSLUG98239
    I would LOVE to ascend Stevens Pass. The problem is getting back up the hill.
    1077 days ago
  • v KCNEWF
    Come on . . . . you just know you'll want to do something bike crazy . . . Say ascend Stevens Pass on the bike instead of just riding 20 miles. :). Whatever decision you make, it will be the right decision for you! Just do what feels right!
    1078 days ago
  • v MISSG180
    I'm so with you. My training has been utter crap because I can't quite get a grasp on a schedule.
    1078 days ago
    I don't understand this blasphemy of doing something other than cycling.

    Seriously, though, much as it bums you out to train for the run and swim parts, good on you for sticking to it. Goals like these are such good motivators they even get us doing things we've hated for 30 years.
    1078 days ago
  • v HILLSLUG98239
    I've done a couple brick workouts. (Well, brick "lite.") Over Labor Day weekend, I hiked, rode, and swam. My legs haven't felt the same since!

    1078 days ago
    I say, do a short swim then go for a bike ride.. or go for a bike ride and do a short walk.. mini-brick workouts even this early isn't a terrible idea. If you have the resources for the pool, get that swim in, but you should do what you feel driven to do at the time, if it is the bike, then bike.. then see if you have enough umph for a little swim afterwards?
    Good luck and have fun!
    1078 days ago
  • v HILLSLUG98239
    I have two years to prepare (but I just signed up for a sprint triathlon next June). A couple at our church offered me the use of their Endless Pool (before they knew of my triathlon plans!), but I have yet to take them up on it. I figure I will work on swimming during the winter. Right now, my biggest barrier is breathing while moving. I can hold my face in the water and breathe with the corner of my mouth under water, but once I start moving, all bets are off. I may have to break down and join a gym and work with a coach, but for now, I'll try my low-burdget way.
    1078 days ago
  • v BLUENOSE63
    Sometimes we just need to vent sister! I hear what you are saying but if you wish to do an Olympic, you will have to get into the pool pronto. Have you ever heard of the Total Immersion swimming method. I switched to that after years of a conventional front crawl and it rocks. It can also take a relatively non swimmer to a swimmer quite quickly. Try it! Actually look for someone in your area to teach it and in about 5 lessons, you will be amazed at how easy it is to swim long distances.

    Good luck on your Olympic. Read up on the Galloway method of running as it really works as well.

    Happy 50th!
    1078 days ago
  • v HILLSLUG98239
    OWL_20 - It's a valid question; no offense taken. I want to do something big for my 50th. Switching to multi-sport will help me lose weight more effectively than just riding. I used to run, and there really is no better way to drop weight, if for no other reason than running at nearly 200 pounds is so miserable.

    Every year, I set a goal of riding a century before the end of the season. I have yet to make it. By switching to multi-sport, I can set difficult goals that are less likely to result in over-use injuries. And I want to love running again. And maybe I can learn to love swimming again.

    I really do want to complete triathlons. I was just whining. And it will be a lot easier for me to complete an Olympic-distance triathlon for my 50th birthday than it will for me to get that novel written. emoticon
    1078 days ago
  • v OWL_20
    Here's what I got and feel free to throw it back at me, I really don't want to offend. If you like the bike--why put yourself through exercise that you really don't like (swimming and running)? Why not set a tough biking goal instead that you'll love? Either way you go, have a safe trip!
    1078 days ago
  • v HILLSLUG98239
    Solved it! If I can fit the bike & bike gear in the car, I'll do a shorter (20-mile-ish) training ride. Yay me! emoticon
    1078 days ago
  • v YUDEL6024KA
    You can do it great job
    1078 days ago
  • v YUDEL6024KA
    Great post
    1078 days ago
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