At Week 3 of my bike commuting I was feeling pretty cocky. I was still tired on the evening rides, especially the last one of the week, but I was feeling stronger and even a little bit faster. This was going to be easy and I was going to be in the best shape of my life, already five pounds lighter with lower blood pressure! Time for a reality check …
Week four … OMG! EVERYTHING hurt when I got on the bike for my first ride of the week.
I had felt fine when I was getting ready for work. Now I felt like I was trying to pedal against a hurricane. Not only that, but I could feel every single bump in the road. Even a slight incline was like a mountain to be climbed.
I thought I would loosen up as the week progressed, but no such luck. Every ride in Week 4 brought a new pain, one knee then the other, my hips, my shoulders, even my hands were sore. Thankfully not everything hurt at the same time, but each day was a new challenge to get on the bike morning and evening.
I was thinking about going back to transit. This was not fun anymore. I persevered, forcing myself onto my bike for all my scheduled rides, but I really wanted to quit.
At the end of Week 4 the Olympics began and I started watching the coverage in the evenings. Listening to the athlete’s stories – how they also had injuries, pain and setbacks to overcome to reach their goals was absolutely inspiring. I watched a segment on the physiology of rowing and how much pain a rower must endure for their sport; I watched a 39-year-old Clara Hughes racing against athletes half her age. It put things in perspective for me.
I may not be an Olympian but I feel connected to those athletes. In my small way I am experiencing exactly what they have in pursuit of my goal. Just like them, only I can decide if my goal is worth the pain.
Happily I am now at the end of Week 5 and things have improved. Still having aches and pains but taking things in stride. Every now and again I pass a 20-something on an uphill and I feel a surge of pride – I still got it!
In my next post I’ll talk about the practicalities of bike commuting for women. It’s much harder for women than for men!
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