20 Jan

A year or so ago, if you’d have told me that I’d be excited about riding a bike, I’d have laughed in your face.  Not riding the brakes all the way down the hill?  Yeah. OK. Riding over a log without having to stop, falling off, or walk the bike over? Whatever.


Ditto with going to the gym to lift.  I just wasn’t interested.  I have a lot of hormone imbalances (that apparently nothing seems to be able to resolve FML), so I was worried lifting would cause me to build a lot of un-feminine muscle.  And being in the weight area of the gym (where it’s mostly just dudes doing half squats with a loaded bar and then sitting on the bench and texting for 20 minutes–women are confined to the cardio equipment, duh!) was intimidating.  I’d go when I got talked into it, reluctantly.


But I’ve been really thoroughly enjoying the biking and lifting I’ve been doing this winter.  Running has lost a lot of its allure these days.  I know it’s completely weather-related because when I think of a 40 or 50 degree day, my heart skips a beat as I think about putting in serious mileage on my favorite trails.  I miss the trails and more importantly (bc I’m still technically on the trails) the joy of running in shorts and a tshirt, braids flying behind me, feeling the fresh air blowing by me, my feet slapping the ground in tandem with my breathing, then hanging and laughing in the parking lot with friends until it got dark (oh yeah in my “joy of running” thoughts, I’m not running with a headlamp because we watch the sunset AFTER the run).  I miss it so much.  But right now, the super cold temps make my lungs super unhappy, the sloppy footing is not even remotely amusing to me, and the uncontrollable convulsive shivering post-run is miserable.  I’m obviously too soft for winter running in Rochester.  I take solace knowing that running through the winter will make me stronger–that the trails will feel so much easier in the spring (because it always happens this way…every winter…although I’ve never been this miserable over a winter of running before).


So I decided it was time to learn to love (or even just be able to do) something new.  At a time when falling off the bike was going to hurt less.  In theory.  Because the reality is that I fell (no idea when anymore, it’s been that long) and jammed the handlebar into my thigh and have since had a fist-sized bruise there turning various shades of blue, purple and green.  I’m starting to get a little alarmed that it will be a permanent thing (hmmm now I don’t need to get a tattoo??) and alternately feeling a little proud that I am such a badass that I got a huge bruise but it didn’t stop me from continuing to practice my new skillz.  With a z.  Because they are bad.  In a good way.


I’ve been feeling really good, despite all this lack of running.  I’ve been riding once or twice a week, lifting once or twice a week and still running a few times a week.  So fewer running miles, but the added riding and lifting has kept me sane (not running can make me go a little crazy), and I think I am seeing changes in my body, which is an unintended but exciting consequence.  Changes like my ass doesn’t hurt the minute I get on my bike anymore.  But seriously.  Today I went shopping for dress pants, which is normally a misery-inducing endeavor.  I’ve been kind of caught between sizes for over a year now, so either I can get a pair that kind of hangs awkwardly and looks sloppy or a smaller pair that is a little tight.  Today, every smaller pair I tried on fit…and relatively well.  So I bought a smaller size.  I was a little concerned, because it seemed that the ass was a little tight, but then I had to smile when I realized that the ass being tight-ish was just the result of a developing (I hope) bubble butt  built one squat at a time.  [PSA don’t listen to that whole song because it’s terrible…the lyrics are gross, and the actual music video is pretty disturbing so you’re welcome for not posting that one here.] [Also perhaps it’s not a bubble butt but rather just butt calluses formed over weeks of riding a bike…????]

If nothing else, I feel stronger, and I am loving seeing the progress in both my lifting and my riding.  Knowing that I am lifting more than I did last week, or that I can now ride through a lot of snow (slowly ha), over logs (that are not that big, but still…) or not ride the brakes all the way down a hill is pretty sweet.  And I can’t wait to see what all of this additional strength will do for my running when this terrible winter is finally over.




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