My Riding Shadow
I have been very blessed to be able to ride my bike almost every day this week. I took a much-needed week of vacation from work. It wasn't really vacation, it was using up comp time. That's even better. That means I still have vacation time I can take at Christmas.
So during this wonderful week, I've tried to sleep late. That doesn't really work well for me. I've always been a morning person, so sleeping late means staying in bed until 6 a.m. The first two days, I got up a little after 5, one day I slept until 7:30, and the other days? Well, mostly around 6 a.m. or a bit earlier. Typical. But I'm not much for sitting/laying around, anyway, so being up meant I got a few things done. And because I wasn't at work until 4 or later, I also could take the trip down to the Greenway to bike the long trail. Round trip it is about 12 miles. And I got to do it five times this week.
Being a fat girl, this whole riding a bike thing is a bit unbelievable yet. I would have said even a few weeks ago that 12 miles was "no way, no how." Yes, I was walking 2 to 3 miles a day, but that's walking. 3 miles takes me about 45 minutes. In a busy life, sometimes that's all I can give it. And until my foot injury, I was giving it that every day.
The 12 mile bike ride takes me about an hour or a little less, depending on how many times I stop. The worst problem when riding is not my knees, although they do hurt and I do a lot of down-shifting to get through it. No, the biggest problem is my butt falls asleep. Being heavy, sitting my wide butt on a little ole bike seat that is about as hard as a piece of wood, well, that has consequences. I am going to have to do something about that at some point (probably a gel or padded seat cover) but in the meantime, about 20 minutes on that seat, and I need to stop and stand up. Of course, this gives me an excuse to take a drink and enjoy my surroundings, and also to catch my breath.
I noticed the third day I rode that breathing wasn't as big a problem as it had been. My butt was still numb, but I wasn't gasping for breath, or being thankful to stop so I could catch up. I had noticed the same thing with walking. Within a week or two of implementing my walking regimen, it took further and further to get me winded, until I got to the point where I was breathing hard, but not out of breath, and not uncomfortable at all. Oh, my knees still hurt, and I was sweating, but I wasn't dragging myself along anymore. And it's become the same with the biking. My knees still hurt, and they may always hurt. But I'm in better shape. That part is obvious.
And that's the goal, after all. Not to lose weight. I gave up losing weight a long time ago. But being fat doesn't mean I can't be fit. It doesn't mean I can't take care of myself, strengthen my heart and my legs and gain stamina. I'm 51 years old. I don't want to be that old lady who does nothing but sit and watch soap operas all day, because my body won't allow me to do more than that. I refuse to be that old lady.
It's amazing what a week can do. It's amazing how much better I feel already. These last two-plus months of not being able to walk like I was made me lose everything I've gained. I now feel like I've gotten halfway back to that happy place I was in. That non-winded, can go all day place. And I don't intend to stop.
I'm going to use every beautiful day to my advantage to bike, and when I can't do that, I'll walk, even if it's just around the neighborhood. I have to. I have no choice.
If not now, when?
Now seems like a pretty good time. I think I'll go for that.