September was a challenging month for me. With school starting back up again, there were a lot of unknowns about everything. How would the kids handle the new mask mandate? How the hell am I suppose to teach five days a week in person while also offer the same quality of education to 40% of my class who are choosing to be virtual this year? How am I going to balance a full course of graduate school classes, act as the Assistant Director for the school’s theater department, be a good wife, friend, sister, and daughter, while doing my best to take care of my health and not catch COVID?
Needless to say, my mind was really spinning in its tracks. My anxiety was sky high. I felt exhausted by the end of the week, and I felt burnt out within three weeks of teaching. Oh…and while I have still managed to avoid COVID, I did get Strep Throat after a full 8 days back at school.
Once I felt better and once I was deemed no longer contagious for Strep, I finally got back out on the trail. It had been three weeks since I had last biked anywhere, so I parked at the Gandy Trailhead and started pedaling.
And after two miles I broke down crying. I had no idea just how much anxiety I was carrying until I finally started moving my body in the way that it needed. I felt so sad that I let three weeks go where I hadn’t prioritized my own physical and mental health. That’s not a judgement by the way, that’s a statement of fact. Teaching can be a self-flagellating job if you let it, and I have to be okay with the fact that I cannot do all things perfectly all the time AND THAT’S OKAY!
So since that realization, I’ve managed to get out to go biking two more times. I’ve only cumulated about 35 miles this month (oof) but it’s far better than the 0 miles that I biked in June when my bike seat broke, and it’s even better than all of March and April when I biked 0 miles because my gym was closed due to COVID.
I had to really dig deep within myself over these past few weeks. What do I want out of the rest of 2020? The answer to that question is simple. I want my health. I don’t care if I don’t hit 2,000 miles by Dec. 31st. Sure, I’ll be bummed but I’ve already biked 1,100 which is over double what I biked last year! Don’t get me wrong. I’m not throwing in the towel. (In fact, I’m actually doubling down). No matter what happens, I am still biking for a reason. My goal is still those 2,000 miles, but my goal is to also train for the Kortelopet ski race in February. And now that the weather is starting to turn a bit more dreary, I made a purchase that will help kick my training back into gear.
That’s right folks! My bike is mounted in my apartment. The stand it’s on allows my bike to become a stationary bike, and I bought a cadence meter so I can record my average RPMs and do some fancy math that I haven’t done since my high school Algebra 2 class to determine a rough estimate for distance.
Is it perfect? No. I don’t have a way to account for resistance which means I’ll probably be underestimating my distance rather than overestimating it. But the bike rack that I purchased still works like a charm. In my last blog post, I said that I’d give a quick review of the product. So here you go:
- More affordable than a Peleton or home exercise bike (It was $90 before tax)
- I get to use my own bike seat and not some sweaty, half-cleaned one at the gym
- The noise it makes isn’t too loud. Honestly, my dad’s Nordic Track was way louder
- It was easy(ish) to set up (watching a Youtube tutorial helped)
- My apartment is boring to look at for 45 minutes straight
- You don’t get the outdoor ambiance when you’re at home
- My husband has to watch me exercise because we live in a one-bedroom apartment
- Lack of elevation change makes the ride a little boring
I’m feeling a renewed sense of wonder and confidence now that I have a plan to bike in the winter. I’ve never owned a home cardio setup before, so I’m enthralled by the idea that I can just hop on for small increments at a time if I want. Waiting for dinner to cook? Go bike for a mile or two! Want to listen to the newest Dresden Files book? Get on that bike, lady! Are you watching a movie? You can bike and do that at the same time!
Now there are no excuses. I have the means to go biking and the dang thing is right in the living room. No more of “I’m tired” or “It’s raining out” or “But I don’t have time.”
2020 isn’t over yet. So when the world is chaos outside, it’s a good idea to just keep pedaling.