Today, I continue my “Summer of Sue” series, with a look at how leaving one sport and picking up another helped pave the way for more fun and relaxation.
HANGING UP MY RUNNING SHOES:
A few years back, I discovered the “joy of running”. However, that would now be more accurately defined as the “joy of stopping”. I picked up running as a way to lose weight, build stamina and muscle, and just to prove I could do it. It gave me a sense of accomplishment, confidence, triumph and stress relief. It pretty much also gave me my sanity, as it became the best and most efficient way of dealing with my anxiety and depression.
Unfortunately, it also gave me hip bursitis, hamstring injuries and plantar fasciitis. It seems I have been battling one running injury after another these past 3 years, making each run painful before, during and after. For the record, plantar fasciitis is evil, and the most debilitating when it’s flaring up, and taking the longest to ‘heal’. I can’t even say it’s healed yet, because one 2-mile run is enough to still make me gimp around the rest of the day. Still, I was reluctant to quit. I was afraid I might quit working out altogether. Afraid I would lose my drive. Afraid the weight would pour on. Afraid I would go crazy (literally) without that stress relief.
Enter Kay. Kay is a friend from work who began participating in duathlons and triathlons, and found she really liked the biking aspect the best. She bought a better bike, joined the local bike club, and became one of those weirdo bikers cruising around in padded spandex shorts and funny shoes. She began sending me invitations to join her on rides or bike club events. I turned her down. I was a runner, not a biker. However, Kay, being the tenacious mother she is, did not stop inviting me. Nor did she stop telling me about how much fun she had biking, and how it helped her lose weight and how it helped her get rid of stress. Kay is not in sales. She should be.
By the end of winter, she had me convinced. I threw my hat in the ring and set my running shoes aside for a pair of Pearl Izumi bike shoes.
AWAKENING AN OLD LOVE:
Back when our firstborn was an infant, I got a part time job at a local bike shop called Bob & Kip’s. I learned a lot about bikes from the guys there, and purchased my first “real” bike with that knowledge (and some greenbacks) – a Cannondale SM700 mountain bike. It had Deore LX derailleurs with rapid fire shifters, knobby tires and black paint with Chameleon green splatter. I loved that bike, and rode it everywhere.
Based on that memory, I decided that if I was going to do this, I wanted to do it on a Cannondale. I found a local dealer, Pedal & Paddle, and picked out a Cannondale Quick 4 – a hybrid with a carbon fork and 700c wheels with a sweet spoke pattern. It’s performance lives up to it’s name – nimble and quick, yet tough enough to handle dirt and gravel. On the long haul, it requires more energy to traverse distance than a traditional road bike, but I like that it’s more durable, versatile and forgiving of my inexperience.
THE FUN PART:
Riding, of course! Sponsored event rides with yummy foods at rest stops (Mmmmm….strawberry shortcake!), solo rides where I got to explore the countryside, bike club rides where I learned the intricacies of riding with a group, long rides with Kay, conversing about work or our families (if you can’t eat on a ride, then you must converse!). I’m outdoors, staying fit, meeting new people and loving how I feel when I’m out on the road.
Riding has given me as much confidence, sense of accomplishment and feel good endorphins as running did, with the added bonus of not being sore and gimpy when I am done. I also don’t have to mentally prepare before a ride like I did with running. It’s all pure joy, and it completely made my summer.
Tune in tomorrow for a photo journey of the Summer of Sue…Part Deux!