Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Sitting, fast (Project 190, Day Twenty-three)

The important thing, when you're biking outside, is to always keep pedaling.

And to have air in your tires. 

I went biking outside today, on the bike Sweetie gave me years ago for Christmas but which I haven't used in probably four years; it's been sitting in our garage that entire time, building up cobwebs and leaking air from the tires, unused, until I finally decided today that I was going to mix outdoor biking into Project 190.

I gave up outdoor, nonexercycle, biking, about four years ago because too much biking can be bad for the back and bad for the parts where bikers sit, and I had a bad back at the time -- the result of thinking I could cross a bunch of floating pads using a cargo net to hang from at a water park. (I couldn't.)

But today, I decided to bring it back, for a few reasons.

First, I wasn't able to get up and bike before work today; I had a hearing in Antigo, Wisconsin, which is about 3 hours, 20 minutes away, and the hearing was at 9:00 a.m., so I opted to not get up at 4:00 a.m. to work out prior to driving for 7 hours in a single day.

"I'll just work out when I get home," I said, forgetting that "work out when I get home" isn't something I really do; "work out when I get home" is code for "not working out at all but really just watching Workaholics and eating Kinda Healthy Snack Mix," because when I get home from work I haven't seen Mr F and Mr Bunches and Sweetie all day and I want to talk to them and spend time with them and so I put off working out until the boys are in bed and then I'm too tired (lazy) to go do it.

That was kind of what was happening today; I got home at 1:15 or so, early enough that I was able to go to pick up the boys from their all-day therapy at 2.  The plan was that I would take the boys with me to the club, where I would try to get Mr F to go to the playroom before swimming, and would work out, then take them swimming.

That hasn't worked the last three times we went to the club.  Mr F no longer wants to go to the playroom before swimming, and so the last three times we went, I took the boys swimming while Sweetie worked out, and then I worked out later.

So I had a backup plan: If the boys wouldn't go to the playroom, I'd take them swimming, and then come home, drop them off, and go back to work out.

Only (A) I knew that Mr F was never going to go to the playroom, and (B) when we picked them up from therapy (which we call "camp") Mr Bunches said:

"Baseball at Walmart?"

Referring to my promise to him that we would go this week and get him a baseball bat and glove and ball and that he could then take them to the baseball field where I would teach him to play baseball.  I'd promised that Sunday, but had to work late on Monday and Tuesday and so we hadn't gone.  Yet.

"Sure," I told him.

So the plan was then (1) Baseball at Walmart, (2) go to "Little Park" (all of the places we go have particular code names and "Little Park" was where the baseball field is.  It's not "Little," at all, but on the day we went there and named it, I thought Mr Bunches wanted to go to the park that is little, and so I said "You want to go to Little Park?" and he said "Uh-huh," but then directed me to the park that has the baseball field, which we now call Little Park."  (3) Play baseball, then play at Little Park, (4) go to the health club and hope they go into the playroom and if not, etc. etc.

I had at that point figured I was going to have to steel myself to go workout at 9 p.m. to make sure I didn't miss a day, but we had to go home to get money to go to Walmart (I didn't have my wallet) and so I was able to unload Mr Bunches and Mr F for a few minutes while they had a snack, and I saw my old bike sitting in the garage.

I hefted it up.

I thought "I bet it just needs air in the tires," and I made a decision to go biking right now, outdoors.  With Mr F's help, I loaded the bike into my car, found a gas station that had an air pump, realized that I didn't have a dollar in quarters to pay for the air pump (when did we start having to pay for air? This is America!) and then found a gas station that had free air...

...the gas station I once sued for not fixing my car right and so I felt a little guilty,  using their air...

...and got my tires pumped up and went riding.

The world threw one last hitch at me: before I left, leaving Sweetie in charge and promising to take the boys after my exercise, Mr F came up to me, sad-eyed, and tried to get me to not leave.

"I'll be back in an hour," I said, and he ran away, holding my watch, to cover his head so he wouldn't see me leave.

Thus fortified with guilt, I got the air in my tires and went riding around the nature trail of the Pheasant Branch Reserve - - the same trails I jog, outside. 

Biking outside is harder than fake biking the same way jogging outside is harder than running on a treadmill.  There's wind resistance, and there are hills and there's also the fact that I have become very timid as a biker: I used to be able to ride no-handed easily, a nice trick to help rest your back and avoid leaning over, but today the few times I tried it the bike wobbled and I lost my nerve.  Then, too, the hills and curves seemed steeper and sharper and dangerous-er than I remembered.

But I remembered to always pedal, even downhills.  As I said to The Boy once when we were biking: "If you're not pedaling, it's not exercise.  It's just sitting, fast.

And I made it around the entire loop of my jogging trail, plus up a big hill and down another trail, in 27 minutes, seeing only a few other people the entire time, because it was, after all, 3:00 p.m. on a weekday and not many people were able to not be at work and instead be bombing around a nature trail on their old bike.

Also: we did get the baseball, and the bat, and the gloves, and a hat for each of the boys (Mr Bunches got a Spongebob Pirate baseball hat.  Not the Pittsburgh Pirates: Spongebob with an eyepatch.  Mr F got an Avengers baseball hat.)  And we went and played baseball, and we built a sand castle, and we watched part of a Little League game, and we played chase on the slides, and we came home and now we're going to watch Up for a while before bed.

And Mr F's guilt trip?  When I got home from biking, he came up to me and I said to Sweetie "Did he miss me? Was he sad the whole time?"

"No," she said.  "He played."


Rusty Webb said...

Wow. You found a place with free air? I haven't seen a free air machine in over a decade. I have a hard time thinking s place that gives air away for free would ever be sued, by anyone.

Although, if I had the superpower of suing businesses that screwed me over, well, I'd pretty much always be in court. Still, I think air should be free. Just like public toilets. That's what makes us America!

And my own personal project weight loss (I'll be posting about that Friday) had me eating Fruit Loops for dinner tonight, I decided to focus on the Fruit part of the food, and not worry about the Loops part very much.

Man, I can practically hear the pounds melting away.

Andrew Leon said...

I am so looking forward to school starting again so I can start biking with the kids again.

@Rusty: Maybe you should eat loops only. Those don't sound like they're made of anything that would taste good or have calories or anything.

PT Dilloway, Superhero Author said...

I never learned how to ride a bike, at least without training wheels. I'm sure if I tried now it'd be like when I tried to remember how to roller skate last year and almost broke my ass.

Liz said...

Considering all the distractions, I'm amazed that you got any exercise in at all. I'm impressed. Congratulations.