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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

500 km in 30 days - I can do this!


Nothing like a nice walk down memory lane, right?

2014 was shaping up to be a really great year. I had started moving my fat ass shortly after December 4, 2011 when I turned in the keys to my leased Chevy Equinox and walked away from car ownership. I was car free for almost six years. But now I drive a Fiat. Don't judge.

I walked EVERYWHERE. And I took the kid with me. We walked to daycare, to the store, to the park, to the library, to swimming lessons. Then I bought a bike - a real shitty one off of Kijiji, with a bike trailer and I rode it EVERYWHERE. I took the kid with me. To daycare, to the store, to the park, to the library ... you get the idea.

I then took up long distance walking, averaging 10 km a night for five nights out of a week. I walked through the ice storm, through rain, hail, over ice, through heavy snow and once, in a blizzard (uphill, too). I lost 90 pounds in under two years.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving 2014. I'm the most fit I've ever been but unbeknownst to me, my right knee was having no more of this shit, and I blew out my ACL while trying to take up running. It was a stupid move.

For those of you who have heard all of this before, I'm glad you're hanging in there. It's repetitious because I have to tell the 'new to this blog' folks my whole life story. Forgive me.

Long story short, I injured many other parts of my legs and feet, and in the middle of this past April, after a really bad day and many months of feeling sorry for myself, AND piling on 30 pounds over the past two years, I decided I had enough.

That's me, a year ago to this day. Injured and miserable.

Despite the pain, I was going to cycle 500 km in 30 days. I got back in touch with my dietitian. We worked out a plan and I was going to commit to it. The first week was hell. I also was told to quit alcohol. Although I am NOT an alcoholic, I can sympathize greatly with those who struggle to abstain because THEY HAVE TO, and not by choice. Next to giving up sugar, abstaining from alcohol is god damn hard because I LOVE TO DRINK. Unfortunately, my body doesn't like it, and it causes all kinds of bloating and inflammation I just don't need.

Advil Arthitis in its pretty yellow and teal bottle is my only vice these days.

To track my cycling progress, I am using S-Health which is built into my Samsung S7 with GPS enabled. I also hooked up my Adidas fitness tracker and was surprised by how accurate S-Health is. I no longer strap on the Adidas device.

For simplicity, and for those who want to follow along, I've made all of my cycling posts public on Facebook. I reached 200 km last night in 11 days of bicycling.



For those who are thinking of trying this same challenge, I encourage you to invest in a good hybrid bike. I gave up the shitty Kijiji bike in June of 2015. You don't need to spend a lot of money. The one I have is the Giant LIV Cypress DX W - the W stands for women and it comes with a saddle specially designed for our lady bits. I've put over 2000km on this girl and it's still going strong. Also, don't clip your feet. You're not trying out for the Tour de France here. You'll want to be able to kick your legs out as you go down a hill, trust me. It's exhilarating. Start out slow before you ramp up to 500 km in 30 days. Stretch. Do hamstring curls. Take care of your ankles. Follow AskDoctorJo on YouTube. Her videos will help you get your body ready.

I also suggest that you buy a nice sized jar of Vaseline. There are all kinds of special cycling pastes and creams sold to ease saddle soreness and chafing, but Vaseline or its econo version, Petroleum Jelly (same thing really, just not name brand) will quickly become your best friend. And don't be stingy, coat it on, coat it everywhere, in all the valleys and crannies, ladies. Don't spend money on fancy cycling clothes. You don't need them. Tights and a t-shirt, or long sleeve shirt, whatever, it works (and for god's sake, don't wear black - you need to be visible). Don't wear a windbreaker. They act like fucking parachutes. I learned the hard way. You'll also want lights, flashing lights, a headlight, reflective tape, wrap around glasses (because bugs!) helmet, horn (not a bell, HORN) and tunes. Buy a bike mount for your phone so you can listen to your music as you ride. Don't use headphones. You need to hear cars. 

I'm lucky I live less than 2 km from some of the most amazing rural road bike routes in Durham Region, which is why I can cover the distance that I do. Find out where your local bike paths are, and bike lanes, and use Map My Ride to plan a route. Or, come out my way, park your car in the plaza at Highway 2 and Courtice Road, and just ride. And for god's sake, for the love of all things holy, STOP AT STOP SIGNS. I have zero respect for cyclists who blow through them. All you do is piss off drivers who then decide that I'm one of you, and so they do stupid things to "teach me a lesson". You're feeding into the game. Just obey the rules of the road. Don't be a dick.

I've lost 10.8 pounds in the past month and I'm down 14 pounds from my highest weight this year. My muscles and tendons have loosened up. The strength in my quads has slowly returned. I can get up off a chair without pushing myself up with my arms. I can now wear 65% of the clothes in my closet, up from 25%, and I move better. There's still pain, I won't lie, but it is no where near the level it was before April.

I have accepted that I will never be able to run again and though I've tried, I can no longer play tennis and probably never will again. That's been the hardest part of all this. I've played tennis since I was six years old. It was my passion. I can't part with my rackets. Tennis was a part of my life that was great and rewarding.
It's been heartbreaking to accept.

I'm also being careful to listen to my body. I rest when I should. The anxiety I had about re-injuring myself has greatly subsided.

I'm not a pro athlete and never will be. I'm just a fat girl on a bike.

11 comments:

Skin Man said...

Thanks for sharing! I love reading these parts of the blog, just as much as the batsh!t craziness on the go train.

Did anyone share the taser take down last week at Oakville 7am-ish? Dude wandering around with a big knife, not listening to police.

Happy riding!

C.J. Smith said...

WHHHHAT?
Um no.
Writing to GO Safety asking for more info now.

Curtis Walker said...

As someone who recently had a streak of seven consecutive years of 4,000 miles or more on two wheels broken, I feel your pain. Remember, though, that it's a lifestyle change, not a competition.

C.J. Smith said...

Roger that, sir!

Iona Pintó said...

Keep up the great work, Cindy, and thank you for the sage advice. If I may add my 2¢, spend some coin on a decent lock and more importantly, USE IT. A friend had her bike stolen from her garage one night, and it was never recovered.

Here is one of Hal Ruzal's videos (he has several) on bike locks:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kXXB8MqTNsU

Here is another video by Gareth Muldowney:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVd9-0HhsfA

Happy cycling everyone!

Anonymous said...

You are an amazing woman on a bike - that's what you are! Thank you for sharing your story, your progress, your ups and downs. I am in awe of you!

MG said...

Congrats Cindy! and good for you for sticking to it. I can't run anymore either :( My ankle/foot injury from last summer still has not healed properly. and just when I thought it was finally feeling better, what do I do? I ran for the train one day and now the pain is back. so ya I hear you. you just have to accept it and find something else to do. Maybe I should take up biking too :)

C.J. Smith said...

Cycling has saved me from so much. It's all I have. Well, that, and swimming.

C.J. Smith said...

Thank you to anonymous for your kind words.

Anonymous said...

Well this is quite the 180 degree turnaround! Good on you for shaking off the blues and getting right back at it. Loved being reminded through photos of how far you've come. You should be very proud of yourself. You've inspired me to stop whining about my injuries and just get on with it. Thanks. Enjoy your long weekend. ~veronica

Jules said...

thanks for sharing, you are inspiring Cindy. I need to get my ass in gear and stop making excuses, reading about your journey helps. You've done a great job.