Bike Lessons

After having a distinctly Dante-in-Clerks day on Friday (“I’m not even supposed to BE HERE today!”), I got home, looked at the Hoarders-esque state of the house and said “Fuck it.  I gotta do something else.”  Our weather here has been unseasonably fantastic (I’ve NEVER had the house open and the AC off in August for a day, let alone a whole week), and I didn’t want to waste it cleaning house.

So, I decided to finally got for a good ride on my bike.  Since I bought it earlier this year, it’s been out only twice–once to go pick up my car from the shop (the reason I bought the bike to start), and another very quick circle around the subdivision.

This time, I left the subdivision, and decided to finally explore a local trail around the lake–one I was never quite comfy exploring alone, on foot.  The bike seemed to be a great way to explore this and get some exercise (I’ve been trying to up that with more walking after work on the treadmill to augment what I do at work walking between buildings for meetings–unfortunately, working 12+ hours a day cuts into that time significantly).

First lesson: Biking on loose gravel, headed down a steep a slope takes more care than I thought.  Thankfully, there were few people on the trail to see me nearly wipe out like a 6-year-old who just got the training wheels off.  Of course, I’m posting this admission on the web, so now anyone could know.

Second lesson: Going up long hills is way harder when you’re old and outta shape.  I know I’m out of shape (remember the 12+ hour days I mentioned?).  I know that age is creeping in at an accelerated rate.  But knowledge on a logical level and knowledge in my functional reality finally met when I had to get off my bike just before the top of a long pull and walk the rest of the way.  Seriously.  It was that, or roll backwards.

Third lesson:  My ass-padding is useless.  I have a lard-butt.  And it is useless against the bike seat.  Cushioning attached to me is no match for that tiny, hard implement of pain someone laughingly chooses to call a “seat.”

Despite the screaming of my leg muscles during this ordeal (and my lungs, and my butt), I don’t really feel the ill effects (other than the bruises on my ass where the seat was less than kind).  I don’t actually think I’m completely hopeless here, but it’s going to take a few trips before I’m back in the game.

Dear Joggers

Dear People Who Love to Run and Jog,

I do not want to be one of you.

I’m not saying you’re bad people, or that there is something inherently wrong in your choice of exercise.  What I’m saying is I DO NOT WANT TO RUN, so QUIT BUGGING ME.

Look, I know you get all endorphin-high when you and your Adidas become one with the pavement for extended periods.  In a way, I envy you your ability to get that kind of nirvana.  I also envy you the tremendous calorie burn resulting from your efforts.  But I don’t envy a lot of the other crap (aching muscles, abused joints…), and no matter how awesome you say it is, I’m no going to join you.  I’ve run plenty of times in the past and not once did I achieve any state of nirvana or even just liking of the experience.  And even if I did, I have a bum ankle and a knee that’s going the way of the dodo.  For the knee my doctor specifically suggested I not run, but walk instead because it’s easier on the joints and just as beneficial.  For the ankle, well, I’ve played this game:  Ankle goes, Cammy falls.  Falling hurts.  Falling while running hurts more.

And since these reasons seem not to dissuade you from continuing to pressure me when a simple “No” really ought to suffice, let me volley some TMI and semi-mean comments:  You long-distance running freaks?  Yeah, I’ve never met one of you with the boob problem.  Even when I DID run back in junior high track, I can now confirm through photographic evidence, that I still had boobs.  My girls don’t shrink when I exercise a lot.  They just remain obnoxious and in the way.  Running with the girls HURTS, damnit.   The visual on that movement is really not what I want people to see–it’s embarrassing.  Sports bras are less than effective for the busty set.  Believe me, I’m still on a quest for one that works well.

I can get my exercise zen in other ways, thanks.  Yoga, cycling, walking.  I can get my heart rate up and sweat doing any of those.  They work for me.  Running doesn’t.

I fully appreciate your freedom to choose to exercise (or not exercise) in whatever way you see fit.  I wish you would grant me the same courtesy.