Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Getting Back on the Bike

Instead of buying a bus pass for the summer, I decided to ride my bike in. I don't have to be there quite as often, partly because I'm doing a lot of writing for my dissertation and partly because I'm not getting paid so I am trying my best not to feel guilty about not being there every single day. We all get along very well in our office. A little too well. (That's a nice way of saying there is entirely too much talking to get meaningful work done once the other grad students come in.) So finding alternative places to work is beneficial to getting my degree.

Let me back up a bit. I didn't exercise as consistently as I should have over the winter. There were some injuries and it was cold. So basically, there were some injuries that I did try to work around and then I made excuses for the other times. I set up a tennis date with a friend and decided to bring out my bike that has been sitting in my garage since the summer before Buddy was born and ride to the courts. Being the avid biker I am, I failed to check the tire pressure before I headed out. It's only about a mile to the courts, a distance I thought would be an easy ride. I can walk a mile in my sleep, biking it should be easier and faster, right? Not when your tires are flat. It took me way too long to ride that mile and I was tired when I got there. We only got a little tennis in before my friend's newly crawling little man decided he didn't like playing in his stroller and needed to join us on the courts. So we had an hour of standing and talking on the courts. My ride home was almost as bad, except it's downhill so it went a little faster. Boy did that mile each way make me feel like I was in the worst shape of my life. So if you need a good science experiment for your kids about the efficiency in your car and the importance of keeping up with car maintenance, make them ride their bikes without air then fill them and let them experience the difference.

We bought a bike pump, I inflated my tires and set out on the 6 mile ride from my house to school. What a little air can do! It turns out I can pretty easily ride 6 miles on a slightly downhill course without a problem. That built up my confidence so when it was time to go home, this time with a full backpack (the new grad students start in the fall and they want me out so I'm cleaning out my desk!) and back up the hill, I thought I'd be ok. Half way up the hill, which is a pretty decent hill, I decided to walk my bike. I had about 5.5 miles to go and huffing and puffing up that hill may have tired me out too much for the uphill ride the rest of the way home. At the top of the hill, I got back on and rode home. While it wasn't nearly as easy as on the way to school, I can happily say the worst part was that bike riding hurts my butt and carrying a full backpack on my back hurts my back. A lot. This bag was definitely not made to be worn while hunched over a bike. Ouch! So for my butt and my back to be the worst part of the ride, I'd say I have to be a little happy that I can ride the 12 miles and not be passed out afterward.

My goal was to ride my bike to and from school for the summer, but I am revising that goal. Not only am I going to ride my bike, I am going to be able to ride my bike up the hill at a speed where a turtle would not pass me and make it the whole way home without walking my bike. (I'm pretty sure I could have made it up the hill, but it would have taken a very long time.) Now to force myself to do this again since I hate feeling so gross...

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