After the PWC 5k and the damage I had done to my shins my osteo suggested I look at some lower impact options to keep my fitness up while I was a little sidelined from running. Sounded sensible. Just one problem.
I didn’t own a bike. I hadn’t been on a bike since I was a teenager. I’d never ridden a bike using gears, if the bike had gears I left it in whatever it was already set to. I’d never ridden on the road. I didn’t own a helmet or cycling nix. I’d borrowed a friend’s bike last summer and it sat downstairs the entire time without me getting on it once. Rascal also peed on it. Yes, it was a little embarrassing giving it back.
In late October, we bough a treadmill and it has been a brilliant investment. My excuses for not running had been too hot, too late at night or raining. All three were made redundant by having a treadmill in my house, plus it meant I could run while catching up on tv and not just sit on my butt while watching the same tv. Win! Simon did his research and we went into Rebel Sport to see what they had. We were in the right place at the right time because we got a far more expensive treadmill than we’d be planning on for half price. Yup, this thing has more controls than Mission Control at NASA and I’m not sure when I’m going to get it to 17% incline or 22km but the option is there!
So, I thought looking into an exercise bike would be a good way to cross train and having another piece of gym equipment would mean that Simon and I could workout at the same time and just swap exercises to keep going. That was the theory. It was pointed out to me that if I then wanted to ride outside I’d need to buy an actual bike and I’d probably never get back on the exercise bike. Plus, indoor trainers mean you can have your bike and eat it, too … wait, that’s not right.
Simon told me that if I reaaaaalllllllyyyyyy wanted a bike he would give me one as my Christmas present. Conveniently there is a bike shop on campus and walking down at lunch time to see what they had was easy. I mentioned that I had not been on a bike in twenty years or so, that I was planning to use a trainer to build confidence and I was firmly in the newbie camp. They suggested this beauty:
The model they had was a 17″ Trek 7.1 bike and being on the shorter side, I would need the 15″ frame. They showed me a few other bikes but I liked this one the most, plus it was Trek (I have watched the Tour a few times) and it was black. Order placed!
Buffy was bursting at the seams at this point – me! On a bike! In the entire time she has known me I have never been on a bike, nor shown much interest in cycling beyond watching the Tour with my Dad. And here I was buying a bike and all the added bits that come along with it. I don’t remember riding a bike coming with so many added bits before but we ordered a trainer, a helmet and some clothes for me. It took a week or so for all the bits to arrive and I wasn’t sure I was actually going to get a ride in before I had my weekend in Sydney but the night before I got to hop on and have a go!
No one is surprised at Rascal taking up prime position on the mat, are they? My first ride on the trainer felt like a slog – 3km in 30 minutes. I kept thinking that it must be torture to ride over 100 miles in an Ironman if it felt so bad to ride just 3km. I was reminded of the equipment versus exercising outside principle: it always feels harder and longer on a treadmill/stationary bike than it is doing the same exercise outside.
And a few days later, principle held:
13km! In an hour! And that was with us trying to work out which way the bike path went, me getting used to the gears and waiting at a few points along the way. I was more than happy with that and am feeling much more confident on my bike. I even rode up a hill that Simon walked half way up. Who’d have thought?
To make my cross training even more extensive, I’ve also been taking barre classes and doing some kettlebell workouts.
I have owned this 6kg kettlebell for about 3 years now and I had not used it once for an actual kettlebell workout until two months ago. I’m starting small but with consistency I’m sure I can make this a weekly activity.
I first heard about barre classes from reading Elise Cripe’s blog a few years ago and was fascinated by the combination of ballet and pilates, a way to indulge my inner ballerina without the torture of pointe shoes or scary teachers speaking in French. When I started thinking about adding in a strength training workout I immediately thought about barre classes and googled if there were any classes in Brisbane. I was delighted to find one not far from work and promptly bought a ten class pass.
I feel so much better for not trying to run every day and to give my legs time to recover between each session. When I started I thought I HAD to go harder and faster each time I ran but the smart way to do it is to mix it up and build your fitness. I have had a set back with a blister that got infected on my foot but I am going to keep trying to do what I can and not lose momentum.