Everyone Starts Somewhere and I’m Starting Here

I am fat and out of shape.

I’m not trying to be down on myself, just being real. The fat part I care about just because a lot of physical activities would be easier if I were lighter, and I remember a time when it was easier to shop for clothes. My biggest concern is the out of shape part, that’s the part that isn’t healthy. I’m tired all the time, I feel sick, my muscles often hurt – including my heart. It is not good.

I have started so many workout routines. I tried the Couch to 5K app on my phone. I have heard many good things about it, and it really is a great way to build yourself up to jogging an entire 5K. However, my ankles are so fucked up, I cannot walk on them for any extended period of time. They have both been sprained so often I lost track. When I walk/jog for a distance longer than 50 yards they start to burn, and it gets to a point where they are so tight I’m afraid I’m going to rip something. I just have not been able to get myself motivated enough to have a regular walking/running routine.

I tried to use a Beginner Yoga App on my phone. That was a failure. I wanted to learn some basic poses, or a standard routine to use in the mornings before I got on my bike, but none of the apps I could find were fat friendly. 75% of the poses I couldn’t even get into let alone hold for any amount of time. I tried to find something built for fat bodies, but all I could find were books or programs that cost $50+ and I just got discouraged.

My saving grace has been biking.

In May 2012 for Bike to work month Shawn, my boyfriend, biked from his house to work (23 miles) and back 4 times. I was super jealous! I had been wanting a bicycle for a while, and I was envious of his sweet ride. Well he, my sister and bro-in-law chipped in and got me a bike for my (early) birthday last year, and I started riding a little. It sucked for a while. My butt hurt constantly and it seemed like 23 miles was forever out of my reach to ride to work.

Eventually I moved in with some friends, and I decided I would try riding my bike home from work. I didn’t want to risk being late by riding my bike into work, and all the buses have bike racks, so getting my bike there wouldn’t be a problem. I rode 2 to 4 times last fall. It was miserable. I didn’t really have much other exercising, besides walking to and from the bus (about a mile each way), so riding 14 miles when the days were getting darker and colder, and without the proper biking equipment, was just miserable.

During the winter holiday I received several bike related gifts: a new light set, so it’d be easier to see in darker days; padded bike gloves; a great rain coat, perfect when sweating during rain; and a pannier which can convert into a backpack. I decided then that once daylight savings did it’s next change over I would start riding my bike home once a week, and build myself up from there.

March flew by, so I told myself I had to ride a couple times in April to prepare myself for participation in May’s bike to work month. All of a sudden, April was gone, and I still hadn’t gotten back on my bike. Finally May was here, I was on a bike to work month team, I hadn’t ridden even once since November, and I knew I needed to get my 4 round trips in.

My first ride wasn’t until Thursday, May 9th. I rode my bike home from work and it was tough. 14 miles after 6 months off my bike is really hard on the tush, took me about 2 hours and 20 minutes. When it really started getting tough, about 5 miles in, I said to myself:

Everyone starts somewhere, and I’m starting here. 

This I have repeated to myself hundreds of times. It has become my mantra, what goes through my head when I have felt like quitting. Yes, it’s tough; yes, my body hurts; yes, I just want to get on the bus; but no, I’m starting here.

I did start there. I rode my bike to and from work the next day 28 miles, 42 total in two days. It felt great. My muscles were a happy tired and I felt like I could sleep through the night. My sit bones were not very happy with me, but at least it was only my sit bones, and not my entire crotch. I ended up doing just over 200 miles from the 9th to the 31st of May. I got my time down from 2hr20min to 1hr25min to do the 14 mile ride. That is only 3 minutes longer than my bus commute, and a way healthier way to spend the time.

I tried to keep it up, but things have been getting to a point with my dad that I have to spend every weekend with him, and I only get to see my boyfriend on weekdays, so it has been harder to find the time. Also, after so many miles, my seat has sunk. I’m not able to get only my sit bones on the seat, so my whole crotch has been feeling the pressure. It sucks the day of, but the worst is that for the next several days my tailbone aches. I rode yesterday, round-trip 28 miles, and today my tail bone has been aching non stop. Luckily I was able to get a new saddle today, thanks to Shawn, and tomorrow I’m going to go on a ride after work. I hope it treats my ass better.

Each day is the start for the rest of my life, and I’m starting here. 

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2 thoughts on “Everyone Starts Somewhere and I’m Starting Here

  1. Joshua Ryan Johnson

    That’s an excellent post and an even more awesome undertaking. The proper gear is DEFINITELY one of the major factors in being able to enjoy riding a bike. Another is fit. Have you gone to a bike shop and asked them to help you fit your bike?

    There are so many things that can be adjusted where your butt and your hands meet the bike. The height, angle, and position of the seat and handlebars are really crucial and most bike shops should be able to walk you through these things in a short amount of time.

    I hope it gets easier and easier to make those long commutes and that you may eventually be able to have enough time to branch out and do other cycling-related activities here in the city (Point 83 weekly rides with Snowy, casual rides with friends, and etc…). Keep up the hard work and don’t forget that we’ve all got your back and would love to join you on a ride sometime.

    Reply

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