Category Archives: fitness

Turning the Light On

For weeks, if not months, I have felt like I’ve been sleepwalking.

Recently, my sleep began reverting to the horrible insomniac ways that preceded my leaving Vancouver. I found myself moody, tense, and dragging my ass through my day. I’ve felt like I’ve been in a wet paper bag, slogging through each day and never getting half of what was on my to-do list done.

August was like a light turned on in my head and I became more productive, and was really hitting my stride in working-from-home and staying-on-top-of-life duties.

New sheets, freshly-washed duvet/cover/mattress pad, and more. Because good sleep is worth it.

Then Thanksgiving hit and our 100+ days of sun turned into typical Wet Coast autumns — full of moody gray clouds and all kinds dullness.

Last week, I grew angry as I realize my home I’d chosen for my Victoria life results in receiving the very last of my direct sunlight by 9:30am at this time of year. I was barely even able to get myself to my desk by 10am.

Then, Friday, I impulse-purchased a Seasonal Affective Disorder lamp. Yes, with actual money. It wasn’t some promo gift for writing a blog.

This week, after four days, I’ve got my house clean, my work done, my client’s project put to bed. I’m more optimistic, have more energy, and am sleeping from 10–6, which is my ideal night.

Now I’m on a mission to make my life less seasonally affected. Everything from buying gadgets to investing in better sleep products (new pillow, sheets, et cetera).

I even feel a bit more like writing.

Let’s see where a couple weeks of determined Season-Affectations-Combatting gets me, eh?

Beyond these battles, there are other things afoot in The World Of Steff. But for now I have to work on bringing them to fruition, not spilling the beans just for your voyeuristic pleasure.

Stay tuned, and I’ll report back what life is like later next week after I’ve had a couple weeks of this daily dose of Fake Daylight.

Science fucking rocks.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

The Heal Thy Steff Plan: The Victoria Model v2.0

I try to learn life lessons where I can, but I’m not sure what to glean from spending $95 on a massage, then sleeping on my arm wrong.

Sometimes, maybe there isn’t a lesson. Sometimes, maybe life’s just stupid.

Ignoring the “Oops, I did it again” sleep and all, the massage was awesome. I’m still in a frustrated headspace, though. This weekend, some game-planning’s goin’ down.

See, like the ever-smart pragmatist I try to be, I realized the year-end was upon us and I’ve begun trying to make all my leftover medical benefits vanish by way of use, rather than time running out on me.

I took this shot near my home yesterday. Had a 4km pre-breakfast sunrise walk. Beats the shit out of walking to a bus stop on a busy thoroughfare, like I’d be doing back in the city in the morning.

Hello, beefy masseur. Howdy, Mr. Chiro. Bonjour, acupuncturist. Allo, physiotherapist. Holy fuck, look at that crowded calendar.

Thus begins the 10-week intensive Heal Thy Steff regimen. Oh, and I’m signing up for yoga at the end of the month, and I’ve just joined the gym. I’ll continue with my avid walking/cycling life as well, with my last bus ride having been in July.

It’s about to become a very anti-social, very focused, and very broke end-of-year for me, but with, I hope, fantastic results. I’m imagining myself starting 2013 in the best mind/body place I’ve been in for a few years. But I’m under no illusions that this will be an easy time of life management or physicality. Time to get my game on.

Last year, when I did something similar, I spent my funds completely differently — on experimental stuff on the other side of town, after which I’d get home tired, often soaked, and frustrated. This time, I’m doing more traditional treatments I know have worked for me before, and I don’t need to spend 70 hours a month on the bus to make it happen. Instead, everything’s within 2.5 kilometres of me.

I’m switching chiropractors, which is the one big risk. The guy I’m with has worked with many Olympians and is incredible, but he also causes a lot of pain. I’m in constant inflammation, and I’m just wondering if someone else who uses the same techniques can be a little more forgiving with my body. The worst thing is, his time management sucks. Out of about 15 appointments, only 3 times have I gotten in with less than 15 minutes’ waiting, and at least 5 times I have waited 45 minutes. I know I’m not some big fancy rich person or anything, but my time’s valuable to me, too.

And given I’m cycling 30 minutes/9km each way to his appointment, that’s adding up to about 2 hours of my time, not to mention the half-hour I have to stretch after all the cycling’s done, or that I usually justify this time/effort spent as a reason to order bad food on my way home. Add to that the money I’ve spent on the session, and suddenly it’s a black hole of time and expense, and usually ends up making me bitchy.

So, Olympians or no, I’m moving on to someone closer, whose bio sounds like he has a similar life/wellness perspective as what I’m hoping to attain.

Any way you slice it, this plan I have in mind will take tremendous discipline, a lot of work, a lot of money, and a lot of patience. It’s a huge commitment, and one I’ve not been ready to make before now. In 3 weeks, I’ll be meeting with a prominent physiotherapist who’s got an amazing background, and I will be getting a program started with him.

It also means I put writing on the back burner once again.

My recent birthday, and getting my new driver’s license, has opened this realization that I’ve been on this five-year journey through a lot of levels of pain, and I’m fucking tired, man. It needs to end. If it means I throw EVERYTHING at this, for one amazing 10-week period, and see where it gets me, then so be it.

Five years ago, I got my driver’s license photo back and this massively fat face was peering back at me. I’d just quit a job that had sent me spiralling towards depression because my employer was a toxic, negative hag who had high turnover with good reason, and went back to a job I’d always enjoyed (and am still at). I chose to do something about that depression by way of exercise and eating better, and adopted a lot of good habits, worked crazy hard, and lost 85 pounds in the next year (but gained 10 back immediately, and maintained a 75-lb loss for the next 2+ years) before blowing my back 4 years ago this month.

The last four years have been a repetitive story of rehab and fall-backs, including me regaining weight (it was 25 lbs when I left Vancouver, spiked to 35lbs after, and now is at 28lbs regained, so…).

All this culminated in this year’s decision that the city was killing me and I needed a slower pace of life that would be kinder to my body.

So, I sit here now, typing in my pajamas before a day of working from home, which is some 7 or so blocks from one of North America’s best urban ocean stretches, where I find my soul and refill it often.

I have come a long, long ways in the last seven months since my move.

It’s why I’m ready to make the commitment now, despite the fact that the fat, long-injured girl deep inside me is scared as hell about what it’s gonna feel like to go hard and face all the things that emotionally come with rehabbing your body after injury.

I suspect I’ll get bored of being in all the same neighbourhoods by the end of this year, since I’ll be in a 3-5km radius for much of the winter months, until Victoria is bike-friendly and pretty and warm for cycling again, but at least I’m close enough to never have an excuse to not cycle to appointments, since it would amusingly take about 3 times as long to bus as it would to cycle.

I’m scared and excited, but either way, time to go to the next level of Steff v2.0: The Victoria Model.

Let’s do this.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Riding the Wave: Back at It

It’s been a day filled with plumbing excitement. I returned home last evening to find some other tenant’s mystery filth backed up in my bathroom sink.

18 hours later, it’s as good as new, and was even cleaned by the handyman. A year ago, I’d be waiting for a couple days or more, since, hey, bathroom sinks aren’t as important as kitchen sinks, and they didn’t rate the same service by my slack-ass jerk of a former landlord.

In little things like how my building is maintained, my life has changed from night to day in a year.

Sure, I need little things yet… like, you know, friends. But I know me and I’ll get ‘em. And I’ll get ‘em when I’m feeling better about myself than I have been before now, and I’ll net better quality people, because that’s what happens when you’re in a better place in both your life and your mind. It’s always about quality for me.

Who I am *right now* is much, much closer to the person I’ve been trying to get back to for quite some time.

My health’s improving on every level. I think know I bottomed out with the move here, but that was after what had been the most difficult year of my life. So, naturally, one has a little nuclear fall-out dealio with that.

But if this is how much everything has improved since July 1, then I can’t wait to see what’s ahead.

September 1st is my six-month anniversary of becoming a Victorian in this fine town, and the first four months were rife with a great deal of pain and injuries. I had a whole lot of painkillers for three-plus months there, people. Now I take maybe a pill a week. That’s, you know, improvement — or great restraint! But, no, it’s improvement. I just don’t need it because I’m just “regular sore” now and I’m woman enough to handle it.

I’ve gone from, in the third week of April, barely getting through a 5km bike ride without back twinges to being able to cycle 35km/130 minutes in an evening and just being ass-draggin’ wasted-tired, not crippled.

I’m trying to be active daily, usually walking 5 kilometres or cycling 10 kilometres, or more, a combination of both, every day. I’m using my balance ball chair for watching TV most days (but took the back off, because that’s just counterintuitive!) for an hour or more, I’ve phased in some weightlifting.

Now I’ve discovered I’ve healed my badly injured-and-then-reinjured-in-a-biking-accident shoulder on my own mostly, and I’ve gone from being unable to do a side plank AT ALL in the last three years to being able to do one for more than 30 seconds yesterday.

I’m only now returning to the level I was at in late 2009 in what I am able to do, but I’ve gained weight.

Now I’m past the “painful incapable stage” where I couldn’t DO anything, but I’m in the Oh-Fuck-I-Hurt stiff-ass sore-everywhere phase one gets into after they’ve started firing on all exercise gears. At least I’ve worked up to this stage slowly, so it’s only the first day or two of trying something new where it hurts. Today is residual pain from rediscovering planks and push-ups, but it’s not “something’s wrong” pain or over-inflamed, so I know it’s all good.

Shortly, I expect to actually enjoy working out without being apprehensive about what The Day After will bring, and I see myself being pumped about lifting weights and doing plyometrics.

Diet? I’m conjuring a plan to increase my meat and vegetables, and cut out carbs but I’m not too optimistic there yet, and I think this is the week I get serious. No more chocolate and other treats, no more fucking around with monster portions.

There gets to be a point where you’re working too hard to keep blowing out your diet. Like that time I cycled 35 kilometres from out of town to home, for more than two hours of cardio, then ate a whole commercial small pizza with a bottle of wine? Yeah. Talk about oxymoronic. But it was delicious and well-earned. Just… you know. Didn’t change anything, and I coulda.

I know people panic about getting everything right all at once, and I know it’s awesome result-wise when you do, but I’m just not that person. I can’t make radical changes all at once.

The moving-to-a-new-city thing was radical enough for one season. Yet, I’ll be phasing in new changes weekly. Little things here and there. Like, I’m considering going cold turkey on butter/margarine for a month. If I do it now, I can have it back for my birthday… Ooh.

So this is where I’m at, people. I’m working a lot. Exercising a lot. Changing my mind and body, if not yet the diet. Sort of figuring out where the hell I’m headed, but liking the view as I go.

It’s pretty much a deeply personal time as I kind of clue into a lot of things. But it’s a good time. Now and then, I’ll share some with you.

Hope you’re doing well too.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Cycling: Why You Should Start, & How

Britain’s greatest Olympian ever retired yesterday. Chris Hoy took another gold medal in Cycling, and then called it a day. Tearfully, he said his career and these racing competitions weren’t just about winning gold, they were about seeing more people get on bikes. More cyclists, more roads with bikes, more, more, more.

Cycling isn’t just about exercise, it’s not just a way to get where you’re going. Cycling is a complete change in lifestyle. It’s pretty much the only sport that can change your life, in every way, on a daily basis.

When you park that car and ride your bike, you’re saving money, you’re saving the environment, and you’re saving your life.

It costs, on average, about $10,000 a year to run a car. Just riding a bus daily for work can cost you over $1,000, and that doesn’t include lost productivity in all those hours waiting for connections.

Cycling doesn’t cost a cent once you’re in it. Yearly maintenance costs are pretty low, especially if you know how to clean your bike chain and do some of that yourself. Quality bike maintenance and parts can likely be done for under $200 per year, and a good bike should last well over 10,000 kilometres.

Me, I changed cities and lifestyles entirely so I could ditch busing and other forms of motorized commute. I’ve gone from 60 hours a month to only riding a bus for 15 minutes in the last 30 days. The rest of the time, I walk and I cycle. I’m happier, healthier, and less inclined to want to slap the masses.

Change Your Thinking

When I was new to Victoria, I was busing a lot to get a sense of the world. My chiropractor was just under an hour by two buses. Turns out his office is close to one of the nicest bike routes I’ve ever ridden. Total time to cycle there? 25 minutes each way.

With my saddle bags attached, I can hit up some of the great food shops, save $5 on return bus fare, and get an hour of cardiovascular exercise in, reducing my need to find time to “exercise” at some point in my week. How is that inconvenient in any way? Well, it isn’t.

Once you turn all those wasted commute hours — because, by bus or car, you know you ain’t getting anything done but reading or emails — into exercise, that too is where you change your life. It’s killing two birds with one awesome stone.

Cycling is a low-impact, high-result exercise that does amazing things for your body, IF you’re riding the right kind of bike with a good fit. If your bike shop isn’t concerned about “fit” and how a bike performs with YOUR body, then you need a better bike shop. This is not frivolous “entitled customer” thinking, as bike fit is absolutely critical to your enjoyment of the sport, and whether it has negative effects for you.

With the right gear, the right fit, and a little conditioning, you will be amazed at the way cycling simplifies your life.

Tired of getting home angry after a 15km commute by car? Try cycling it. It only takes a month or so to be conditioned to cycle 15kms (10 miles), and I’m telling you that as a girl over 200 pounds. If I can do it, what is YOUR excuse?

Here are considerations for getting started in cycling:

Saddle Bags Will Change Your Life

I pick different areas to shop in every week. My saddlebags will hold 70 litres of goods, which is actually a lot for a single girl like me. I can get beer, veggies, meats, condiments, and more, for over a week.

In one area, I get Mediterranean foods, stellar produce, and Indian ingredients. I plan meals ahead and get things from all three on the same day.

For routine staples and bad weather, I have a closer network of shops for more mundane goods, an 8km circuit I can easily do year-round in about 90 minutes including both cycling and shopping, that sees me hitting 4 to 6 great food purveyors downtown, from Italian to organics.

Then there’s my elaborate “gluttony ride” out to Oak Bay, a beautiful seaside area, where there’s an artisan salumerie, specialty wine shop, and great cheesemonger’s, and I hit that up once a month with a mind to enjoy a fantastic cheese & wine platter after that ride — and getting 75 minutes of beautiful flat touring ride makes it a guilt-free gluttonous night.

Now, I never, ever leave home without my saddle bags because I’m either packing my camera and a lunch, or I usually make use of my excursion by grabbing things on my way home.

When you do, buy heavy-duty saddlebags, because they will last for YEARS. Mine are 5+ years old already, from Canada’s MEC, and cost me about $75 when I got them, and they’re not the expensive ones. If I replace them this winter, it will be for larger ones, not because of wear. Make sure they’re weatherproof, clasp into place, and have reflective surfacing, extra pockets, and easy-to-carry handles. These will be the best things you ever put on your bike.

If you could exercise AND save money AND get all your out-in-the-world chores done at the SAME time, why wouldn’t you?

Pick the Right Bike

There are lots of styles, and more than you likely think, when it comes to bikes. From step-through Dutch bikes to hybrids, road bikes, and mountain bikes, to beyond. Each has benefits, and it’s why most lifelong cyclists have more than one bike.

If you’re looking to be a commuter and use your bike for recreation, then a road bike’s probably the last thing you want, oddly. Get a good bike shop, talk to friends about why they like their bike (as opposed to what YOU should ride, just find out why it works for them). Plus, use places like bike swap meets, used shops, and cycling organizations to gain some good insight from people who use cycling as a whole-life endeavour, because they’re the ones who know.

Know Your Paths

Cycling on the road isn’t a death sentence, but I sure as hell don’t enjoy it as much as I like a pedestrian/cyclist trail, like the great paths here in Victoria, which include the Galloping Goose and the Lochside. Most North American cities are designating paths for cyclists now, but they’re not always where you’d know to look. Ask at your local bike shop to see if they’ve got maps for your region, Google routes, or scan the app stores to see if there’s a cycling app for your area.

The Google (the web version only) now has a “bikes” feature in Beta testing on Maps searches, and you can select that to see the most bike-friendly route. Bike routes are often better, and different, than walking routes as elevation tends to be a big factor in riding. Here in Victoria, the Galloping Goose and Lochside trails are on an old train track, so the elevation grade has been smoothed out very nicely despite all the dips and valleys of living on an island. This makes for a much less intimidating ride than heading up car-friendly hills and other steep grades, and makes it the perfect place to get accustomed to distance rides.

Another plus to Googling places for your travel route is you can also get an approximate cycling time and distance. From my experience, the times tend to be for the “semi-conditioned” rider — not experts, but someone who’s cycling more regularly, so if you’re new, add some cushion time there.

Skills Count

Cycling, like motorcycling, is very much a skills-based pursuit. The more confident you are, the safer you’ll be. You need to know you’re a victim in the making every time you get on your bike, because Car vs. Bike almost always has the same outcome. But that’s not to say you can’t be more prepared to avoid these situations entirely.

Most cycling organizations have Skills-based rides where they teach you how to ride smarter. Here in Victoria, there’s a 3-hour basic skills course that’s free, and there’s an 8-hour one that costs $30, where you go on a ride through the city and they teach you in situ what skills are suited to what scenarios, and how to be a proactive, safe rider.

Safety First

Gear is pretty much the be-all end-all with cycling. You get what you pay for, and, trust me, when your life is on the line in a mid-winter chores ride near dusk, cheaping out isn’t the way to go.

Whether it’s great-quality raingear that keeps your head in the game, rather than you shivering and thinking how awful you feel, or lighting for evening rides, quality counts.

For lights, you want to check out the brightness rating. How many watts? Anything less than 2 watts should be a throwaway. And if it’s only 2 watts, you likely want to double up. Obviously, you need a front and back light, but most cyclists never think to put spoke lighting on their wheels. The only seriously close calls I have ever had have been from cars on side streets not seeing me in front of them and nearly T-boning me. For $15, you can get a couple sets of spoke lights to make your wheels light up and give yourself 360-degree visibility on the road at night. Trick yourself out with lotsa lights, because being a Christmas tree means being seen.

A helmet is a no-brainer, but most people don’t like them. I’ve been saved by helmets twice — once preventing a head injury, and once preventing death. But, hey, if your haircut’s that important to you, fine — just opt out of my medical system if you choose the no helmet route.

And That’s a Starter

Cycling will change your life. That’s inarguable.

If you get hooked, it will be your drug of choice. It will clear your mind, improve your health, bolster your finances, charge your creativity, and mellow your mood. It will save the planet, too.

If your arguments are “It’s too hard,” well, that’s because you’re new. Cycling on the road, your conditioning improves faster, better, than probably any sport I’ve ever tried. If you think “It’s too far,” that’s also because you’re new. Trust me. Give it one month of 4–5 rides a week, and you’ll be stunned.

There are really no good reasons to stay off your bike. I’ve seen parents taking kids to school on bike trailers, children as young as 6 years old cycling 10 kilometres around a city with Mom and Dad during a day, and more.

Cycling is more flexible than you imagine, more rewarding than you could dream, and it’s something you can do today to change EVERY part of your life.

Give it a shot. You’ve got more power in you than you think. Change your life, ride a bike.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

My Topsy-Turvy Love Affair with Cycling

Just a moment ago, I was stretching my stiff ass on my balance ball, watching the Women’s Omnium’s final race in the Olympics. (If you’re not familiar, it’s a serious of cycling track races that get tallied up for an overall score for the winner, kinda like track’s Heptathalon.)

Canada’s Tara Whitten finished fourth overall and was devastated, crying on a teammate’s shoulder after losing a medal.

The winner overall was a young Brit, Laura Trott. The announcer spoke of how the Trott family had been overweight, and their mom decided they all needed to get healthy. She took a young Laura Trott down to the cycling club, got her put on a bike, and now here the kid is, a Gold Medal winner at the age of 20 in the Olympics at home.

On one of Victoria’s amazing pedestrian/cyclist trails for a sunset.

Shifting Gears

I’d been half-inspired to write about cycling this week, but my mind’s in a million other places, thanks to personal anniversaries and such, so writing’s not been “working” for me.

Then I saw this girl win this medal, and it was something that all she started out doing was wanting to get fit ‘cos her mom saw the light. That’s all.

And I got to thinking that cycling’s never just “that’s all.”

Cycling changed my life — for good and bad. Mostly good, but here’s both sides of that story.

The Bad

The back problems I have been rehabbing off and on for 4 years, thanks to the repeat blowout on March 15th, 2011,  escalated and worsened because of a bad bike fit. Had that injury never happened, I probably would’ve remained on that road to glory I was on when I’d taken off more than 70 pounds in one year, from October 1, 2007 to October 3, 2008, the day my back initially blew.

Before that, I’d been cycling 150km or more a week, and I was just loving it. My mood was better, my ability to handle stress was better, I was happier to get out into the world every day. Cycling was my moment of Zen, it was my ADD cure. I was more productive day-to-day, more focused, and I really, really loved who it made me.

But the next three years became a cautionary tale about how important bike fit is, because we (meaning *I*) never figured out until last August that my bike could be the culprit keeping my injury sustained. That, and the 60 hours a month I was riding the bus.

Every time I had new back twinges, I’d be asking physios / chiros / doctors if my bike could be the culprit, and finally Dr. Bryson Chow made a couple suggestions, and we realized, yeah, the bike was a big part of the problem.

But that was then.

Now, I know what was the issue. Now I’ve moved and have a new chiropractor who’s worked with Olympic cyclists, and he doesn’t see me as some fat girl with a bad back, he sees me as a hopeful athlete who’s had some bad luck and bad advice over time.

Just five minutes from that great sunset bridge shot is this cycling underpass, on the Lochside Trail, just one of a couple painted-underside downtown bridges for cyclists & pedestrians only.

Time for a New Normal

I moved to Victoria March 1st. It was mid-April when I was given the okay to get back on my bike, the first time since last September. I was told to start slow, and never cycle back-to-back days, so I could always assess it after 24 hours and a sleep.

I’ve been seeing my chiropractor at least every 3 weeks during this time. He gives me advice, tells me what part of my body’s reacting badly, and we try to figure out where I’m going wrong and what to do next.

In mid-April, I began by cycling 5 kilometres a time for a couple weeks. Now I’m cycling 30, and I can cycle 4–5 days a week, not 2–3.

It’s proof that conditioning improves quickly when on the road or trails for cycling, versus working out in the gym. Especially, when, like me, you’re hauling way, way more weight up those hills than some skinny bitch or straw-like dude.

(Hicc) Namaste, Yo.

Despite those early hiccups, I’m reaching that Zen place again, where seeing a hill doesn’t send waves of terror through me. Instead of being sure I’ll have to stop at the top to wheeze and die, I’m more often sure I have it in me to reach the top of that hill. Last night, a long steep driveway I’d recently had to walk the bike up was one I easily scaled and kept on goin’ after.

And further along the same path, up around Rithet’s Bog or Blekinsop Lake, on the Lochside Trail.

Every time I’m getting on a bike and I don’t think I have the energy to do what I need to do, I somehow always find it.

But those first three months? They weren’t pretty. I had repeated setbacks as I found more and more things wrong with how I was riding, what I was doing. I had to make some fit adjustments, I’ve had postural mistakes. It just hasn’t been pretty, but for every step back, there were two steps forward.

Just three months on, I’m quite further along than I really expected to be. I’d looked at maps of places I longed to visit, and though I’d never make it that far this year. I had moments where I could only be described with words like “distraught” and “crestfallen.”

Now, I’d choose words to describe how I’ve felt of late like “persistent” and “victorious.” Now, I’ve been past many of those places I set as early goals. Now, new goals are needed.

It takes a long time of plodding through and feeling quite useless, I find, before you realize that it feels good now, or better-than-bad most of the time.

It’s really a great journey, that of getting back into cycling, and going a little further and further, and gradually seeing your conditioning change because the scenery you get to see is changing too, as that distance creeps up week after week.

It’s Not Exercise, It’s a Lifestyle

Now, I don’t bus. I walk, or I cycle. My saddlebags are my life on my bike. Every week I’m finding new food stores to cycle to, places to see. Know what’s better than a 20km bike ride? A 20km bike ride that includes a trip to an artisan salumerie, a signature wine shop, and an encyclopedic cheese shop. That’s a cycling gift that keeps on giving — and it’s my kind of cycling life, in between the days when I’m finding myself on some tree-canopied trail on the other side of town, that is.

Soon, I’ll write about some advice for beginners on bikes, from all the things I’ve learned the hard way, some gear suggestions, and ways to make cycling touring a lot more fun.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)

Holy World of Hurt, Batman! Round Deux Begins.

I am NOT keen about this.

Let’s say THAT right now.

Shortly: Round two of IMS. That’s intramuscular stimulation. Which is, you know, a fancy way of saying STICKING NEEDLES INTO THE SUCKIEST PART OF YOUR SUCKIEST MUSCLES and wriggling it around until a contraction is forced. BOOM, muscle tension be gone.

Know that saying “No pain, no gain”? They were talking about shit like this.

So, surprisingly, there’s no alcohol or mojo-picker-upper in this coffee of mine. I have no portable brass balls I can adopt for this. I am quivering nervously before I go in. Truth be told, it’s my “girl time” and we get a whole lot more sensitive to pain when we’re in this phase, so I’m afraid I’m gonna kick the woman when she’s pricking me.

Last week I shouted “HOLY FUCKING SUCKY, BATMAN.” No, really. I did. Apparently that was the first time a patient ever had that reaction.

But, fuck, man, the thought that I’m walking in there and paying to be stuck like a pig, well, that just baffles the mind.

AND YET.

AND YET I’m going in.

Why? Because there’s been so much improvement since my first visit. Because I know things don’t come easily when chronic pain has been the status quo for months, months, and even years on end. Because I know the only way to the end of pain is to go THROUGH the pain.

And because I know I’m gonna have wine, pizza, and sleep a lot after it.

I decided to quickly write this post because I know a lot of people who’ve had injuries and then they choose to piss and moan about those injuries without ever doing anything about them.

It’s why I got so depressed for a while there — because I WAS doing what had to be done, and yet it was fucking up every time. This time, I’m not on the bike that is reportedly so much a part of my sustained injury, and the progress is great because I’m doing what needs to be done — the hard exercises, as well as the therapeutic practices, and I’ve figured out what to STOP doing, too.

If you’re living with constant pain/injuries and you’ve never seen proper physiotherapists to get proper treatment, and you don’t put in the 4–7 hours of exercise a week it tends to need for recovery (minimum), then you gotta ask yourself if you’re doing what needs to be done.

IMS is gonna end the stupid muscle memory that’s been putting so much strain on my spine and fucking up my nerves. It’s gonna break all that Stupid up, and things will improve. It’s literally breaking me down so I can build myself into something new, better, stronger, faster.

Since last Saturday, all nervous-strain tingling in my feet and hands has stopped. This is a good development.

Still, it’s okay to REALLY FUCKING HATE GOING IN, so long as I’m also reminding myself that, by about 6 tonight I’ll feel great, and I’ll probably sleep 10–12 hours tonight too. And I’ll have a yet another week with much less pain than I’ve been living with for 8 months.

That’s rehab for you. Suffer, then improve.

It’s been a pretty rocky road, but this is the first week where I’ve had more good days than bad since about Christmas 2010, and I’ve exercised the whole way through, and the first time in a couple years where I’ve began an intensive new workout schedule where I didn’t have a world of pain that followed.

Rehab from serious injury is never a straight line. It’s not an easy road. It will emotionally kick the shit out of you, it will isolate you from the world, and it will cause you to learn a lot about yourself. It will force you to try new things and learn all about different aspects of health — if you really care about healing.

It will also teach you that career professionals and doctors are as often wrong as they are right, and that no one’s an expert on your body like you are, if you really listen to it.

I’m hoping this is the turning of a corner.

But I’m still going to hate attending this appointment.

AND YET… I’m off. Stick a fork in me, Henry. I’m done.

EDIT NOTE: It’s the afternoon and the session was less painful than last week’s, so I guess the first time’s the worst time, and I’m glad I gave into the fear and expected the worst, since it made me feel like a goof and I’ll be calmer next week. Much less sissified. :P

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Shout it
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter
Google Buzz (aka. Google Reader)