My Butt is Smaller

kim Friday, 28 February 2014

OK, I know virtually nothing about Kim Kardashian (including how to spell her name, which I’m copying from the google search).  I am also the least media connected human you know, so the fact I even know Kim’s name is pretty astounding (and I really only know it because Jimmy Buffett includes a crack about her butt in a song).

But how ENORMOUSLY  freeing would it be to grow up in a time in which her body shape is OK.  And maybe even to be emulated.  (Did you know Kim is 5’3″,same as me?)

cher

This is who I grew up wanting to emulate.  Putting aside the fact that she’s at least 5 inches taller than me and can sing, what chance did I have?  Seriously

starbucks

Anyway, that’s a long introduction to say that I’ve hit the weight at which random men make random (friendly) comments to me while waiting in line at Starbucks.  It’s happened every time I’ve been in Starbucks to purchase product in the last week.  The guy behind me, without seeing my face or having a clue how old/young I might be makes a friendly, weather-type comment to me while we wait.

Even with Kim and her bulk in the news, and the general expanding waistlines of American society, Americans are, in general, hugely discriminatory over weight.  I know that.  I’ve experienced it before.  But it’s still an interesting day when you drop below the discrimination line.  (The markers going the other way aren’t as noticeable.)

Cycling Downhill

cycling Thursday, 27 February 2014

I’ve been riding a road bike (what regular humans would call “a 10-speed bike”, a vastly less technical version of the kind of bike Lance Armstrong rode) for a month or so.  I’ve probably been on 6 or 7 rides.

I wear a helmet and very cool riding gloves.  I have a cycling jersey.  I have cycling pants (built-in padding in the butt and crotch to protect delicate butt parts from the hard seat).  I wear special bicycle riding shoes that “clip” (lock)  into the pedals.  (Gratuitous sentence to prove I am super hip.)

I fall over almost every time I ride.  Not exactly every time I stop.  But usually once a ride while stopped.  While I’m laying on the ground, someone on a bike almost always rides by and asks “are you alright?”  I always say “Yes.  Just a beginner.”

The last two times I’ve gotten on the bike I have been surprized at how much more comfortable I am on the bike.  Everything about it it vastly easier — including shifting gears — that it was a month ago.

Today I went for a bike ride that included uphill and downhill.  Riding uphill can be hard work.  Riding downhill can be crazy scary.

Today I was going down hill at god knows how many miles an hour — maybe 15 or faster — almost outside myself thinking “is this really fun?  Do I need to be doing this?”  I was (literally) locked onto a tool that weighs about 15 pounds (it’s made of carbon fiber) on wheels maybe 1″ wide.  (I’m sure that’s wider than they really are).  Wondering if it was fun.  The ratio of scared to fun was pretty high in the wrong direction.

I get, after just this little time, how wondrously fun this cycling thing can be. Almost every ride is lovely.  And I totally get the value of being able to go up and down hills (like if you were touring the country side in, say, Italy, where I will be in November).  And if you’re going to do that, there are going to be hills up and down.

The explanation I got today is that you have to be able to go fast downhill (don’t scream, don’t ride the brakes) so that you don’t get dropped from group rides for slowing down/holding up the group.  Humm.  Maybe that’s the wrong group?

I am hopeful that in another month it won’t be so scary.

Swimming is Getting Better

2-10-14 Pool10 February 2014, Monday

Remember the last time you got better at something?  I’m getting better at swimming.  Tonight I did 13 laps without stopping.  My Garmin is completely confused about the distance; as near as I can tell it’s recording precisely double the distance.  (Obviously I put the pool size information in incorrectly.)  A mile is 1733 yards and I went 750 yards; less than 1/2 but more than 1/4.  (The extent of my math.)

In the beginning I was gasping after two laps.  Gasping hanging over the edge of the pool for two minutes recovering.  My arms and legs could have done more, but I had no more air at all.  Now, I can breathe easily (on both sides) and I’m not exhausted.  Really, I’m just quitting because I got to the count for the night.

I’ve evolved to the point that I can think about other things while counting to three (to take a breath).  Now that I’ve figured out a way to count and not loose track (and I have the Garmin to help, sorta), I don’t have to concentrate so much on counting.

2-10-14 swim stroke

I suppose swimming faster is next, if you want to compete at any level.  Do I want to do that?  Unknown.  God knows I don’t want the spend the time in the pool that the swimmers of my youth did — remember those kids in high school that were in the pool every morning at like 6 AM?  (Probably not that early, but what did I know.  I was asleep.)

On the other hand, I promised myself I’d swim regularly 3x week for at least a quarter to see how it changed the shape of my body.  Results as of this moment — not much change.  But it hasn’t been anywhere near a quarter and I haven’t done it more than twice a week regularly.  However, now that I’ve found the slots in the week to get it done and it’s easier/doable, the regular work will come.

Wanting to be faster sorta ruins things.  I want to run faster to be better for myself.  What about running just for the fun of running.  Answer for me:  not that much fun on its own terms, but I feel VERY empowered by the act of running and it’s VERY therapeutic for me.

And the new biking thing I’m liking A LOT, but I find the financial investment daunting.  At least this year.

Whatever – tonight, the happy dance for visible/noticeable improvement!!

2-10-14 pool lanes

Maybe a cycle?

IMG_0977[1]Friday, 7 February 2014

Went for a ride today.  I rode around the parking lot, practicing stopping and going, clipping and unclipping.

Riding VERY carefully along the super skinny river bank bike path, way on the wrong side of the path.  I picked a point to practice stopping.  Stopped safety (no other bikes or people around).  Then fell over into clipped side, scraping knee (but not tearing tights – how does that happen?).  Got myself up and re-organized.  A guy rode by me from behind and said “are you alright”.  “I’m fine.  A beginner.”

Wore padded shorts.  This was good.  I wore long running tights over the shorts because it was chilly (for CA).  Mock turtleneck, fuzzy jacket, and neck thing (buff?).  And gloves.  All comfortable.  I need a better place to carry phone.

Had a lovely time.  The park was GREEN, green, green.  The sky was BRIGHT blue.  The sun smack in my eyes as I headed west.  Cool.  So different than running the same space.

Afterwards I was a little wobbly — maybe needed fuel.  But after that, I was full of comments on facebook — endorphins?

Second BEST story of the day.  Trifling minor knee pain at the end of the ride.  It’s a function of strengthening the quads.  I’m working on that.

Best story of the day.  My experience with cycling is in competitions.  Actually I have NO experience with cycling competitions — doing or watching.  But it’s my impression that my friends who cycle tend to do it in competitions.  I’m not 100% sure I need to do this.  But touring would be a different story altogether.  Gliding along, looking around.  It was fun today.  I saw a picture in a magazine, recently, of a bunch of people on bikes in the Tuscany region of Italy.  I assume you have to contemplate hills — but I wonder if you have to contemplate the kind of big hills that triathletes train on/for?

I won’t know until mid-March if this is the year I can take on the expense of cycling.  (I’m guessing 5K — and all that new knowledge.)