Out on the trails
The weather has become much more springlike these past couple weeks, and I have taken great advantage of it. Last week I got in my first outdoor run of the year – a simple 5K along the nature trail. I didn’t go too fast, not wanting to push my legs too far too early (as I did last year), and I still managed to finish in under a half hour. Not too shabby. I’ve also had my windows open for much of the past several days, welcoming in some much-needed fresh air into the apartment.
I picked up my bike from Bike Tech last Saturday and took it for a quick spin. I reset the odometer and made a few adjustments to the spoke magnet and logged my first official mile for 2012. Yesterday I took it out for a real ride, along my usual route through the trail system – riverside trail, George Wyth, Big Woods Lake, Black Hawk Park and Island Park/downtown. An enjoyable 17-miler. I passed dozens of other bicyclists, joggers, walkers and pets along the way.
Early Sunday morning I was beset by a sudden, painful upper back/neck injury. I fell asleep on the couch watching a movie and when I awoke at 4am I could barely move my head in any direction without experiencing a sharp pain. I guess I slept in a funny position. Try as I might, I could not fall back asleep in bed, so I returned to the living room and watched a couple movies while the sun rose and the morning progressed. By the afternoon I had downed a handful of ibuprofen and muscle relaxers, which helped a little bit; I was able to lie down a bit for a short nap. Otherwise I spent most of the afternoon and evening lying on my back in the living room, the only comfortable position I could find.
Monday I was still in pain, and the muscle relaxers made me so incredibly drowsy at work that I had to resort to downing a bottle of Mountain Dew just to stay awake. Ugh. It’s been years since I’ve drank soda straight-up like that and it gave me some nasty heartburn, but it did keep me awake at work… just barely. Yesterday I felt a bit better; I could move my head around and tilt it back (but not forward) and could lift my hands over my head without wincing in pain – motor skills useful for putting on a shirt and shampooing my hair. Today the pain has downgraded to a persistent, annoying ache located around my right shoulderblade. My guess is that I strained a muscle or tendon and it’s slowly healing.
With the forecast calling for temperatures in the 70s through next Monday, I forewent bicycling today and got in a run, my first since Friday. Another half-hour 5K. Dozens of people out on the trails with me. I even noticed some buds on the trees and bushes outside the Mandalay… the groundhog was wrong this year!
Once it’s warm enough to consistently be outside during the week, I’m going to adjust my workout schedule to incorporate 2 runs a week and weightlifting at the gym twice a week. As much as I love cycling, I want to maintain a variety in my workout routine, lest I become bored doing the same thing day-in day-out.
On that note, I was reading the editor’s letter to the October 2011 issue of Cycling magazine last night… I was amazed to learn that editor-in-chief Peter Flax had driven1 100,000 miles in his adult lifetime (that is, he “is closing in on” that mark, at age 40). Assuming he’s been consistently bicycling since the age of 18, that’s over 4,500 miles per year. Good lord! I’ve logged somewhere around 4,500 miles since taking up bicycling in mid 2008, not counting stationary miles at the gym. If I cycled 4,500 miles per year between now and my 40th birthday, I’d still be shy of half his mark. Granted, he probably lives somewhere where he can cycle year-round, whereas I’d have to break out the studded tires and zip-ties to maintain my mileage.
1 yes, I am using the word “drive” when referring to cycling, as the person sitting on the bicycle is driving it, not riding it. A driver operates the vehicle; a passenger rides e.g. he is just “going along for the ride”. A cyclist is not a passenger on a bicycle in the same regards that a rider would be a passenger on a horse (which is one of the more ornery members of the animal kingdom, in my honest opinion, but I digress…). Many grammar sites suggest that straddling a moving object, such as a bicycle, a motercycle or a horse/camel/donkey, constitutes “riding”, but I would say that you can’t really force a horse to go somewhere it doesn’t want to go. Trust me on this. However, you fully operate the bicycle; that is, if you are not moving the pedals, the bicycle goes nowhere. The horse is free to go wherever it damn well pleases, which it can and often does. Oops, I’m digressing again…