Sunday, August 10, 2008


Since I've not been running much the past couple of months and the weather has been good, I've been enjoying biking quite a bit. It keeps me fit, gets me outside and keeps me (relatively) sane.

Biking is actually what got me running. When I stopped working with young children and got an office job many years ago, I realized I'd have to figure out something to do to keep the flab at bay. I joined a gym and tried swimming but the swimming pools here in Seattle leave a lot to be desired. I started lifting weights and half-heartedly trying recumbent bikes but it wasn't too exciting and I wasn't real motivated about it.

Finally, the gym I went to started spinning classes and I thought that sounded like fun. I went to one and had multiple realizations:
  • I was seriously out of shape. As in I had never been in shape in my life and thinking that just running after a bunch of kids all day was enough was delusional.
  • I could work hard physically, have sweat pouring off of me and not die.
  • Cycling might just be fun.
So I stayed with spinning classes (even got K involved) and started to feel in shape. After a winter of spin classes I thought I might try biking to work and figured out how to do that and was pretty happy with how things were going. Then the gym closed for a couple of weeks in summer for maintenance. Hunh. What to do?

I'd seen all those strange people running. I could try that. I was in shape now after all. I went for a walk and alternated a lot of walking with brief spells of running to the end of the block. Hoo boy! Was that difficult or what? I was pretty certain I was dying. But remembering the lessons from spin classes I persevered and eventually did my first 5k. I got more and more into running (dragging K along for the ride) and biking fell by the wayside.

Oh don't get me wrong. I really do enjoy a good bike ride especially once I got my zippy road bike which fits me really well. I used cycling as just a fun activity to do every once in a while especially with K. I am most definitely a fair weather cyclist. I've got pretty good bike handling skills and am comfortable in traffic from bike commuting but I'd rather be running in general.

Even though I consider myself a cyclist secondarily, I have never done a lot of biking. Two to three times a week at most and 20-30 miles per ride was about my max since I'm not all that consistent. These past weeks, I've been steadily increasing my ride time and have been feeling stronger on the bike. It is very satisfying to see the progress.

MPW the past 7 weeks:

20 (planned cut back and Ragnar Relay recovery)

Yep. I finally hit over a hundred miles in a week and this morning I had my first half century ride. I know for serious bicyclists, it's not much at all. For me it is a milestone I am very happy to have achieved.

My calf seems better, the experiment with no orthotics continues and I'm planning on at least a couple of good half marathons or even a marathon by the end of this year so biking will fall by the wayside again. I have hopes to maintain some of this cycling fitness but I just can't tell what will happen once that lovely combo of darkness and rain hits.

I am very glad I got a chance to explore some new challenges.

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