Tuesday, August 28, 2012

I Just Don't Get Cycling...Yet

My foot has basically gotten worse and of course, right as soon as I was getting ready to officially start my marathon training. I swear, I can't catch a break when it comes to injuries. I went to the doctor again, but the x-ray doesn't show anything (story of my life this year). However, the nice doctor knows something is wrong. He can see it's dark and swollen and that I came in June with the same issue. I have an MRI scheduled for September 4th to see what the hell is going on with my foot. My luck, nothing will show. What makes it worse is that I can't even get advice from the runners out there, because their injuries and advice have to do with running. My injuries (or sickness) are unrelated to running, mysterious, and come right as I've made a decision to say...I don't know...train for a marathon or 2 months before I'm supposed to run my first ever half marathon. It's quite discouraging, because I'm losing weeks to start training. I was finally losing a great deal of weight and feeling good about my training. I could run 3 miles without stopping or feeling like a zombie afterwards [not to be confused with a real zombie...please don't cut off my head]. I could finally visualize myself completing the marathon. After the Olympics, I visualized myself in professional running competitions.

I was finally feeling like a RUNNER...until this mysterious foot thing happened Memorial Day weekend that I hoped would eventually go away like a good injury. It didn't.

In an effort to get some exercise and maybe help a bit with my training (okay, really my weight), I wiped off the dust on the bike and got to that thing they call cycling. Ever since the Olympics, I've been swept away by sports and specifically cycling and running. I mean I watched the freaking marathon on TV; I watched the women's cycling (all of it); hell, I watched the open water swim marathon or whatever they called it. As I write that sentence, I realized I wrote about a triathlon. HA! All in good time. So, I was determined to get this cycling thing down. I want to make myself better. I want to understand it better. I even watched cycling events on TV to get me pumped and motivated.

But I just don't get it...yet. I am so close, I can feel it. I mentioned to Jim that I felt slow and stupid when I bike. I feel like everyone on the road is laughing at me, because I'm not wearing the right clothes or I'm going so obviously slower than normal people who just started cycling for the first time. I probably look like a turtle trying to cycle with a big bike 5 times the size of the turtle. I feel like everyone out there gets it, but me. I mean I did basically 5 miles in 40 something minutes. Something is not right. I can do faster than that at the gym. He told me about the gears and I was like yeah yeah yeah, I know, I've got the gears blah blah blah. He asked me about the left gear. Whoa! Wait! What! There's a left gear. I didn't even notice it. So, the cycling man candy that is Jim gave me some pointers on using both of the gears. I was ready to try anything. I mean other people like cycling. I see hoards of them in big groups riding around Hermann Park (please find me to ask me to join your group...please) having what seems like a good time.

So, I set out with my new knowledge for my bike ride. It was already a different ride. There were more people out biking and they looked like me. They didn't look like Tour de France. They actually looked like they were riding an easy pace just enjoying the day. And people were saying hello as I passed. But I'm not going to lie, it hurt...alot. Even though, I felt like I got to my last turnaround point faster than the other day, it was hard. With this new gear system, hills seemed almost impossible. I went farther than I have ever gone before (somewhere close to 5 miles or more) before I turned around. I ended up spending all my energy getting there and didn't have much left in the tank to get home. And since there was high upwinds that I hit coming back along the bayou, I was even slower. I did manage to bring my fancy new running watch (which I haven't figured out how to use best for my cycling, as well) so that I could keep track of my time. It was roughly 1.15 hours total. This is not good, although, I did stop for lights (because well, I don't like to be hit by cars) and to do 200 abs at this gym in the middle of a park I rode by in Bellaire. And when I got home, my butt and legs and everything was sore. Jim warned me that would happen, but I didn't believe him. Oh it happened and then some.

As I'm riding along the Bayou, I see this bird. I stopped to take a look and get a drink. It just sits there, not moving. A lady passes by to see it.

I begin to think it's dead or a statue and then finally it moves just a little bit. It was so freaky.
Looking back along the Brays Bayou Trail

Stopping to take a picture of myself at my turnaround.

I wanted a different shot.

This turtle was sitting on my path and almost got run over by another cyclist.

I went out again a few more times after that day. But I had a bad ride last Friday. I felt like every direction I turned no matter what slammed me with what I like to deem "all around wind." It wasn't crosswind or downwind or upwind. No, it was all over me hitting me from the back and to the left (reminds me of this classic episode of Seinfeld). I felt slow. I couldn't get any of the gears to work right. I ended up turning around sooner than I planned, because my legs were done. My butt hurt so much and my lady part areas were uncomfortably sore. I got home to complain and whine and yell at Jim about how ever since he told me about this second gear, I feel worse off and slower then before and I'm in more pain. I moaned that cycling was invented by the same people that invented Tennis. I ranted about how it was so easy as a kid...you just got on a bike and rode forever until it was time for dinner. There were no gears, no helmets, and no all around wind. He eventually calmed me down explaining to me (which he swears he told me before...I don't believe it) that you have 4 gears on the left and each of the 7 gears on the right go with one of those 4 gears. So, you get in to 2nd gear from the left, you have a new set of 7 gears. It totals 28 gears, which I was told from the beginning. It just didn't click to me that it wasn't 28 gears sequential. Since I felt like I was moving too fast and going nowhere with say maybe the 4th gear on the right, I never really went any higher than that (and I realize that I may be calling these gears the wrong number). This explains why when I changed gears to go up a hill or deal with the massive vortex of wind coming off the buildings, I never felt like I got back to the comfortable gear I just left when the wind dissipated or the hill was done.

Even with this revelation and watching more Cycling U.S. Pro event in Colorado on the TV, it still didn't hit me. I mean with running, you get that infamous runner's high. I got it early on when I ran my first mile without stopping. From then on, I was hooked. I started to think about why it's different for me or why it's taking so long for me to get it. That's when I noticed something that was different to when I started running and that was I had a running partner. I played basketball when I was young and only ran the mile at the beginning of the school year to ensure my entry on to the team. I had no time for a sport with no contact (that's why I didn't like volleyball). Consequently, I didn't know about running or long distance running. But when I started training for my first half marathon, I had a partner with me that had ran track in grade school and knew things. Plus, it gave me an outlet to talk to someone when I was struggling. With cycling, I don't have anyone riding with me. I don't know the rules. We have bike routes everywhere, but they sometimes just end in major traffic. I am just out there alone trying to pick which way to go and it can bore me. I think this is maybe why I just don't get it. I haven't had my cycling high yet and if I did, I wouldn't be able to share it with anyone anyways, while it's happening. I don't have someone giving me a high-five when I reached a milestone. I mean I even have my dog with me on runs and I get to pet him when we have a good run (he's sooo not ready for biking). I do talk to Jim about it afterwards and he helps me, but that's via Skype and so not the same thing.

So, in the last week and a half, I've bike roughly 35 miles. I have no idea how many calories I burned. I used the calorie converter on www.livestrong.com to see how many calories I burned on my longest bike ride. I burned roughly 320 calories. That's not so bad I guess.

I'm not going to stop cycling for 2 reasons: 1.) I have to do something, while my stupid foot heals. 2.) I want to get to that point where cycling is really fun for me like everyone else. I think I can do this, but I guess I'm going to have to buy some cycling shorts with padding. My lady parts are begging me.


  1. http://www.zappos.com/sugoi-rs-short-black

    Yes crazy expensive, but soooo comfortable. Totally worth it.

  2. Hope you find out what's wrong with your foot so you can get it taken care of once and for all! Jeesh!

    I never really got into the bike thing so good for you trying something new while dealing with your foot. There sure are a lot of people who love it so I hope you stick with it and find out what it is that makes people love it so much!

    Don't give up! :)

  3. Good luck with the foot and the training. Remember, it's suppose to be hard. If it was easy, everyone would do it. Never give up. BBD
    PS: If nothing else, you'll be ready for the zombie apocolypse

  4. You CAN do it ! But yeah - get shorts with padding !!!!

  5. I bought a bike a few years ago when running was out of the question..
    I rode it once or twice, too. :P
    Hope your foot gets better. In the mean time, when riding a bike, nothing beats hot pink Lycra. :)


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