Skip to main content

Swim, Bike, ... Gym

So this no-running thing has its advantages. I went from almost solely running to branching out into other activities I previously ignored because (1) they seemed burdensome (equipment, etc.) and (2) I would have to learn how to do them more efficiently. It was easier to stick to my solo sport--until I had to deal with an injury.

After a recent appointment with my favorite orthopedist (only a very injury-prone person gets to claim a "favorite"), Larry Collins, I was convinced I needed to get clip-in pedals and cycling shoes for my bike, and ride "clipless." I don't understand this terminology; it contradicts itself. But whatever. The point is, I need to keep my foot flat, rather than bending it and putting pressure on the ball of my foot, and cycling shoes don't really bend. So despite the expense, I decided it would be a good investment for longterm cross-training. One thing that has always put me off about cycling is the cost of everything--bike aside (which can be exorbitant), there's the padded shorts, which I resisted until I understood the need for them; the gloves; the helmet; the lights; the pocket shirts; the bike computer--odometer or GPS, depending on how fancy (and pricey) you want to get; and now, the shoes, pedals, and cleats. I remember when I used to hesitate over the cost of a pair of running shoes. Such simpler days!

My "shoes of the future," as my sister lovingly commented.

But I'm embracing this new adventure. Yesterday I went for my first clipless ride. And I get it now. Many people told me how much better of a ride I'd have clipped in, and, fear of falling aside, I did feel stronger in my riding. I was able to use more of my legs (and less of my feet). I almost regret selling my road bike for the hybrid. I didn't think I'd be doing all of this; I didn't think my foot issue would return. I still love my new bike, and I can use it for in-town riding more easily than the road bike, but I know I'll never get as much speed or mileage out of it as I would have the road bike. Lesson learned.

Post-ride success--no falling!

Something else I've taken an unexpected liking to is swimming. Actually, I've always loved being in the water, but I never quite learned how to lap-swim, without just flopping my head from side to side on each stroke. So I talked to some triathlete friends and watched a YouTube video to make sure I understood proper technique, and after a couple times in the pool, I felt a lot more comfortable swimming laps. I'm sure there's tons of room for improvement, but at least I'm not swallowing gobs of water on my breath strokes--for the most part. And my endurance has improved a lot after just a few times in the pool. But my main issue the last couple times in the water has been my ears. I have very sensitive ears to begin with--I have some hearing loss, some recent tinnitus, and I get a "clogged" feeling when I do a lot of exercises changing levels (like moving back and forth between standing and floor exercises). Water also bothers my ears. And the earplugs I was using--the waxy, moldable kind--weren't molding very well and so they weren't sealing off my ears, which allowed water to trickle in every time I would turn my head to breathe. Every time. I think it's because I bought them years ago when I thought I was going to get into swimming (I've had a lot of starts and stops), and they lost their malleability. So that's what has kept me from staying in the pool longer. But now I'm armed with new ear plugs and ready to get back in the pool and keep trying to be better, stronger, faster. Or at least last longer than 20 minutes. Baby steps.

And while I'm still not running, I learned from Larry that can use the elliptical at the gym (yay), as long as I keep my feet flat and don't push into the balls of them. It's not running--by far--but it's about the closest thing I can do right now. So on my non-bike, non-swim days, I'll go to the gym, do 20-30 minutes of permissible cardio, and then strength-train for about 30 minutes. I tend to do more body-weight exercises than weighted, though I try to mix it up now and then. I'm trying lots of different exercises that I see online and pin to my Fitness board on Pinterest. And I usually have to write out my workout on a sticky note beforehand and put it in front of my face while I'm working out. But hey, whatever gets it done.

So I'm not running, but in a way I'm doing more than I ever did before, when I was just straight running five days a week. Not to say that I don't miss running terribly, but I feel pretty confident that I'll be able to get back to it in a couple of weeks. And I plan to keep these other activities in my rotation. And who knows? Now that I have the makings of a triathlon under my belt--or at least in progress, I may not have an excuse not to do one in the near future.

Comments

B.o.B. said…
Yay for swimming! And sorta yay for cycling. (I'm not quite back to being friends with it yet.) Maybe we can do an OWS together soon? Like... Saturday?
Lee Davidson said…
I would *love* to do an OWS, but I'm in Orlando this weekend :( I'll try you soon, though.

People Liked to Read...

Surgery Chronicles: I Exhale

I've really been holding my breath with this recovery, more so than the last one for some reason. After getting past the three-week point (which was two weeks ago, when I started to write this), I felt a little more at ease. Since then I've been changing my own dressing daily and slowly weaning off of crutches so I can now walk around in the boot—hands-free! I'm still a slave to icing and elevating as much as possible throughout the day. But the very best part? There's no other foot left to do. After this, I'm done, done, done. I can start to return to a life not defined by sitting and waiting and feeling confined and limited and trying my hardest to heal but having little actual control over any of it.

I wrote in my last post about the difficult emotions I'd been having throughout this second surgery recovery. I think I underestimated the psychological toll I would take doing one foot right after the other. And while there was a feeling of elation after gettin…

Surgery Chronicles: Hard Feelings

I'm one and a half weeks out from my second foot surgery, and, by all important measures, I'm doing well. But boy has the past week been difficult. In the first few days post-surgery I was in a pretty good mood; the surgery had gone well, I was in the excellent care of my mom, and I had made it past the last major hurdle of this months-long event. All I had to look forward to was recovery and progress and gradually returning to my normal life, whatever that might look like.

But even though I've gone through this process once already, it's still just as difficult this time around. There's the constant worrying about this weird feeling or that new pain, the accidental step in the middle of the night when I forgot which foot was injured, and the agonizing wait time between appointments. Now it's compounded by concern over whether I'm taking good enough care of my first foot. Did I ruin the surgery when I stubbed my toe falling off an exercise ball? Am I using …

Surgery Chronicles: 12 Weeks and Progress

I'm now more than 12 weeks recovered from my second (and final!) foot surgery, and life is starting to feel a little more normal. When I last wrote an update, seven weeks ago (still blaming Irma for all of my delays), I had just gotten off of crutches but would wear my boot for two more weeks. I've been out of the boot and walking in shoes for just over five weeks. The constant discomfort I've felt in my foot from swelling is finally starting to wane. I work in the office now, I do my own groceries, and I even attended a work conference recently, which meant lots of walking at airports and the conference hotel, frequent standing, and few opportunities to elevate and ice. I was very concerned about how my feet, particularly the left one, would endure. And while it wasn't comfortable, I made it through, no worse for the wear in the end.

I joined a new gym/community center recently, with a new and beautiful outdoor pool, and I'm so happy that I'm able to use it n…