In the past few weeks I've been experiencing something that I'm guessing many a 40-something-year-old woman who gets a bit overzealous on the old exercise bandwagon has felt from time to time in her quest for greater fitness: pain.
Pain in one of my feet, more specifically. My feet pretty much serve as the base for most of the fitness choices I've been making. Nothing critical yet. No X-rays have been taken. But still, a pain in the side of my right foot when I do certain things.
Like the crazy fun dance moves of Zumba. Or the jumping jacks in the decidedly not crazy fun 30-Day Shred video. Even though I began incorporating those activities as part of an overall cross training program, they are presently on hold.
Enter my bike.
I don't have a super fancy bike, but it works. Dan bought it for me for Christmas three or four years ago. It has a very nice cushy seat, and a brand-new cyclometer that tends to exaggerate the mileage a bit. Add in one dorky helmet, some sun screen, an iPod that I play on much quieter than running levels, and I've got a whole new thing I can do.
And it just so happens I live near a lovely little lake with a riding path. It took me 17 years to realize how nice it might be to actually take a bike ride around that lake but that's a late bloomer for you.
When I head out to take three laps around the lake, my foot feels as fresh as a daisy and I swear to you, I feel like Lance Armstrong. And in my new Nike shirt, I could even be mistaken for a real bike rider.
I am still working in three runs a week, mostly on the treadmill because I can focus on better foot placement and as long as I'm not going from side to side, there's no pain when I'm doing it. I'm reading Chi Running right now, on recommendation from several of you, and I'm really enjoying what author Danny Dreyer has to say. If it means I can keep running, and minimize pain and injuries from bad form, I'm in.
The cool thing to all of this, pain issues aside, do you know how good it feels to say, "Well, then… I'll just switch to riding my bike!"? It means so much because I am really craving this whole move more aspect of my plan.
Exercise makes me feel good.
The older, chubbier me is impressed, to say the least.