The Feel Good Soreness
How I felt when I started riding again, not oh no, more like, heh, whatever, I am on a bike!
I am not a man of exercise, one might even say I am a lazy sod. I find this might run rampant among the writers I have so happily read lately, so I thought I might speak up about the importance of feeling sore. About two years ago, I gave up beer, my life long friend for almost forty years. I had my first beer when I was five, because my grandpa wanted to see me barf. He had a good time, I had a good time, and I learned, just a sip of his beer, not a whole one. He also bought me my first six-pack when I was a teen, and we had several beers together over the years. He’s passed on for many years now, so although it was hard, there was no real emotional attachment. I then stopped consuming so much garbage food in my life, and eventually, I have become an almost sober and clean kind of person. I no longer drink, and the whole stoner thing is certainly not going to help me write as I get older, so I gave that up as well. Being in my mid 40’s has given me a new look on life, a look like, well hell, I could actually kill myself with bad practices, so that led to me trying to find some sort of exercise that I could handle. I know I have said it, but so many people never do, I was morbidly obese from all the drinking and eating, and that has recently changed to me just being obese. Handling exercise is actually a hard thing when you are really out of shape, and I mean like, painfully, horribly out of shape. Just walking is like having knives stuck in your body after about a block, so the usual let’s just walk it off was not going to work. I also stand all day, as a cashier, so the back, the feet, damn, every time I wanted to exercise, I really just needed to rest. Two days off would just let me recover enough to work another five days, it is a trap, but I will not rant about crappy jobs here.
Eventually, I got this idea, after trying different things that I could not get motivated about, what about a stationary bike? I could work it off in a low impact sort of way, and I could get the cardiovascular I needed. Well, without spending 300 US on a bicycle that never moved, nothing worked in that category, and then, although it seems simple to most, it hit me. Just get a bike. Not some exercise machine, but a bike. Not a scooter, cause I wanted one as I got more active, but a bike that I had to ride to get to new places and parks. I have a rather generous friend, he is very nice to me, that helps me out from time to time. He brought me a gift one day, a beautiful black heavy framed click shift bike. It is a real bike, not cruiser, it has 21 gears for those tough hills in Denver, and I love it. I will return it to him when I move, and hope he finds another like me to continue the spirit.
Getting up on it was a dream. I had bought a bike from the clearance rack some seven years ago, and it was too small to ride. I gave it to my friend who had kids and never got back on one until this. At first, I could barely go ten blocks, but ten blocks in Denver is a long way for a guy who has lived on three for years. I was wobbly, all over, and had no conception of where to turn or how to get on and off, or even how to take off right. But soon, very soon, I found I could ride. I could go a mile, then two miles, now I can go about five miles, here and there, inclines and hills, and I am actually living in the center of the city, instead of living in the three block radius I have come to know as my stomping grounds. Now I know this is not the way to do things, but today I said ok, if I can go to these places, let’s go then, and reward myself for working so hard. I went to Denver Ted’s for cheese steak, Lik’s for an ice cream, and then came home stuffed with myself, and happy. Well, almost happy. I still felt it was to easy, so I did the hardest thing I have done yet.
Grocery shopping is not what you might think, from the ride above as an example. I can eat those things, because I do not eat them all the time, and it was a special day for me. Here is my grocery list:
- 5.28 lb oranges
- 3.41 lb bananas
- 3.10 lb onions
- 5 lb granny smith apples
- 5lb red potatoes
- 10lb mini watermelon
- 4 cans calorie free monster energies, about 1.5 lb each
Apologies to my EU and Aussie friends, I am quoting the receipt, and I am not doing the conversions for now. To be honest, growing up in the halfwit america, I can not do the computations immediately, like I can for Celsius or km, and I am just going to wait until I live there, and just get used to it by buying my produce at the shops.
So I left the grocery store, loaded down, with a 3000 cubic inch internal frame backpack that weighed alone another 5 pounds, making for a total of just under 40 lb (just under 20kg.) Pretty much the weight I have lost over the past year. It is just 1 km…oops, just under a half a mile from the shops, but the entire way is a small incline, so I was completely buggered by the time I got home. I found it hard to lift my bike, to climb up the 3 steps from the sidewalk, and then just stood there. I have five steps to my front door, and I needed oxygen. I panted for about a minute, then spoke with my neighbors on the porch for a few, then finally, clumsily lifted myself and the bike inside. But it was at that time that a curious and happy event unfolded. I dropped the bike and the backpack, and I felt light on my feet. I mean, really actually felt light! I could have danced if I had not been so wiped already.
Later that evening, in order to relieve my muscles of the crappy seat I write on, I took another walk around the block, to buy some water and apple juice. Those sore muscles were bought and paid for by me, and I want to take care of them. I can feel the differences now, I can walk easier than before, I can see the fat coming off of me, I feel like a human, not a fat tub of lard. I can stand without my weight pushing me off-balance, I can walk down stairs without fear of falling forward, I can get around mates, I can actually get around. Next time I go to eat with my buddy after work, lights and reflectors be damned, I am taking my bike and he can meet me there. These sore muscles feel good, even if they hurt.