Back in the Saddle

Recently, as in the last two weeks, I have brought bike riding back. In a year that I lost all ground and I was searching not only for my mojo, but also for my joy. I use to sing while I waited for the coffee to brew in the morning. Now I talk myself in and out of running.

“It’s too dark outside.”

“It is almost dawn. Don’t be so afraid of everything.”

“I’m so tired.”

“I’ll feel better if I do this.”

“Really, I didn’t sleep well. Maybe I should cut myself a break.”

“I never sleep really well anymore. If that is the criteria, then I will never go.”

“I’m going to be fifty. What am I trying to prove?”

“Exactly fifty! Refuse to let that get in my way. Get your ass out there.”

And then I go. I normally reach a compromise that goes something like this:

“Alright, but I’m not running fast and I’m only going for thirty minutes. Forty tops.”

This is actually my second Sybil like conversation. The first starts when the alarm goes off in the morning, when part of me is begging for a few more minutes and another part of  my brain is screaming: “Get up! Get up! GET UP!”

The problem, or you know great part depending on what part of the conversation you root for is that I do feel much better when I get up. And, I have to admit I am seeing improvement. I have lost between eight to ten pounds and therefore my running time is getting faster. The thing is, I never really know if I am going to have a good run or a really crappy run. I am up to about forty plus minutes most of the time, and I am doing four miles. My plan, if I have one, is to build off of this. Really, it’s not a plan, it’s a goal. My goal is to keep going until I can run seven miles relatively easily. This means that it doesn’t take me out for the day and I can run for about an hour two or more days a week in addition to this.

Biking is my reward and my joy. It is, I believe, the secret sauce to my workouts. For me, no matter how hard I kept running, I never felt as though I was seeing progress. I know that some of that was me being unrealistic, reaching for times and distances I had previously achieved when I was much better trained. But some, was just that it turned to drudgery. I use to see other people running and feel jealous, lately it’s been more like, “yeah, glad I got that out of the way!” I don’t burn as many calories when I bike, although more are from fat. To me it is the perfect HIIT exercise. Pushing myself hard up hills to coast down and give my legs a break. I do think that it is making me a better runner.  Working out the supporting muscles or some such. 

So now that I have brought biking back, I am hoping to keep it as part of my regimen. I never have those conversations with myself when I bike. My self talk is always at the end of the ride. It goes more like this:

“If I let the kids buy lunch, I can go for another ten minutes.”

“I really can’t be late for work again.”

“I know I can get a shower in three minutes. I can add just one more short loop.”

“Wish it was Saturday, then I could just keep going.”