Back On The Road Again

I felt like it would take forever to get back on the road again after dual knee replacement on August 26th. After 2 days in the hospital and 9 days in the rehab hospital, I was glad to get home. When I came through the door my Norco was waiting patiently for me but it would take some time. It was good to be home and see my bicycle again!

I crushed my PT thanks to the experts at El Camino Acute Rehab Facility and got to ride a stationary bike several times. At the 4 week point, I was already doing what people achieved at 6 weeks and my team was pleased. I worked hard on my PT and had a group of great people at the facility that made all of the difference.

On Sept.13th I went in to have my waterproof bandages removed at my surgeon’s office. I saw my stitches for the first time and got all kinds of good news.  I had full range already and was told I could walk without my walker, drive, and even start to ride my bicycle again. Very carefully of course. This was only a month after surgery so I was thrilled!

I was having PT once a week at the clinic where I was able to ride stationary bikes, use weights and learn to walk again. Because my knees were bent replacing them meant I now had straight legs. I had been embarrassed for so long about my knees, they were ugly and made me walk with an abnormal gait. When I looked in the mirror I was in awe!

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In this photo on my bike, you can see how badly bent my legs were at the knees. In the second photo, it’s fixed. It seems like magic.

On Sept. 21st it was a warm sunny day and it seemed like a good day to try my first ride. My roommate came along to give me strength. Although I’m a seasoned cyclist I was feeling really shaky on that ride. On the other hand, what a feeling it was to be back on my bike!

The hardest part was starting out and stopping because both put the most pressure on my legs/knees. My thighs above my stitches were hurting and burning but I still made it the 8.92 miles around Coyote Point Harbor with a smile. What’s a little pain when there’s so much pleasure to be had?

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My very first bike ride after dual knee replacement was painful but oh so sweet!

Sept. 29th would be my next ride. I was going mostly on weekends with my roommate. I was feeling great but still having a lot of pain so working on recovery was paramount. Before surgery, I was riding 20-30 miles every other day and now it was 17 miles once a week but I had to start somewhere.

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That smile just keeps getting larger. At 5 weeks (above) I’m not doing too badly. My knees are still a little swelled.

Today I have 16 rides under my belt and am almost back to biking every other day. During my off time, I lost a lot of conditioning so it’s going to take months to get that back. I’ve gone out to Radio Point (26 miles) twice but am still riding 17-20 miles most days. I have my work cut out for me it just takes time.

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James (my roommate) and I taking a break on our favorite bench during a bike ride. He was great to come with me when I needed it.

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Look at those straight legs and sexy bicycle!

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The Bay Trail is on my left, San Francisco Bay on my right.

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It’s starting to get cold on my rides so it’s time to get the fur out.

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Yesterday was my last ride but I’ll be going out tomorrow! If you look into my sunglass lenses you’ll see the white pelicans I was looking at.

After all is said and done I’m back on the road again and so happy to be back! As I’ve said many times now, dual knee replacement was the hardest thing I ever did but so far it’s so worth it. The things I’ve gained outweigh the pain and hardship of recovery. It still feels new but after a year I’m told things will settle down and feel more normal.

On Feb. 20th it’ll be my 4 year anniversary for riding every other day, losing and maintaining my weight loss, and living a healthier, better life. Because of surgery, I missed more days this year than any other but I’m going to make up for it and will be celebrating heavily on that day.

Time is flying and the holidays are fast approaching with Thanksgiving coming up in a couple of weeks. I’m not ready but I never am. At this age and being solo the holidays are just more days to enjoy. I will be making a turkey and soup with the leftovers. I’m thankful I got my surgery over with after waiting for decades!

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Back in the saddle again!

Smoke On The Water

In 2017 there were terrible forest fires in northern California but the air quality didn’t suffer for most of the state. The weather was clearing out the bad air and no one needed masks unless they were sick.

Then this fall, another fire started up north (only 100 miles away) and near LA at the same time. Now there were fires above and below the Bay Area. A windless, rainless front dropped into the area and would not move. Our air quality was stagnant with smoke and haze for weeks making history. Even now I wait for the air to clear which is supposed to happen tomorrow when we finally get some rain-if we do get some rain.

Screenshot_20181109-085043_WeatherBugDon’t go outside! This was not the worst air day it got much worse. I couldn’t ride my bike for over a week until I bought N95 masks.

People not living here wonder how this could happen. For decades we had a horrible drought that killed trees, brush, and dried out our forests. When this second fire started the high winds scattered the fire with plenty of fuel to burn. Perfect fire weather.

Although we had a year in between of rain that restored lakes, rivers, and creeks in the state it didn’t stay green for long. Just as we were hoping the drought was over we had another dry year. After weeks of historically bad air quality, closures and warnings we’re told it might clear up the end of this week. Only then can we begin to figure out what happened and rebuild.

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Me biking last Thursday. Behind me isn’t fog or cloudy, the air is that thick with smoke and bad chemicals. The sun was out you just can’t see it.

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Wearing the masks made me happy for the first few rides. After I found out how irritating they are to wear I only rode 3 times with them on (meaning I only rode 3 times in weeks.) I had to keep stopping to wipe the sweat off of my face and dry off the inside of the mask. My sunglasses would fog at the worst times and be hard to wear. Drops of sweat would hang on the tip of my nose under the mask and at times felt itchy.  My nose would run. I saw only one other cyclist with a mask on-no wonder!

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The windbag at Windsurfer’s Beach hangs limp for weeks. Coyote Point is the mass of trees to the right in the background. Further down the peninsula, the landmarks like San Francisco and the airport are lost in the smoke and bad air.

This week is Thanksgiving. I last rode my bike on Saturday and should have ridden yesterday but I couldn’t put the mask on. The landscape on these masked rides hasn’t been that pretty and I feel for the animals trying to go about their lives in this soup. Everything looks unfocused, the light is strange, colors not sharp and everything smells like smoke. I did see some of the regulars who ride the Bay Trail but were surprised to see them not wearing masks. The masks truly are hard to wear exercising but to me health is everything!

Even in our homes, our air is bad there’s no getting away from it. I wear masks everywhere I go even in my car but I don’t wear one at home. Having my bedroom window open all year helps me sleep better but all windows are shut tight until this is over. Anything you run in the home isn’t safe unless it’s on a closed loop. All one can do is wait and get through it.

This is the first time that I’ve missed weeks of biking. I’ve biked every other day 20-30 miles for almost 3 years and although I’m not in training, it’s like a training schedule. I like to stay in tip-top shape. Biking helps my depression and mood swings so it’s been difficult coping without it. I’m especially thankful that I didn’t lose everything in these terrible fires.

We have a few Spare The Air Days during the year but nothing like this. I hope the news is right and the weather does change tomorrow so all of us can have a good Thanksgiving and be thankful for the clean air and peace it brings.

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Have you ever worn a mask exercising or lost time biking due to circumstances beyond your control? How frustrated were you?

Enjoy what you do have, count your blessings and be thankful!

The Right Motivation

One thing about tracking your rides with an application like MapMyRide (MapMyFitness) is at the end of the year you can look at your stats to see how you did and hopefully be amazed. I can log onto the site and look at my ride statistics including the maps, of every ride (or workout) I’ve done since the beginning. It’s great for motivation and reviewing just how hard you did work.

Learn how to track your rides.

I get emails from MapMyRide periodically to remind me of how I’m doing and this year blew my mind! You can see my stats HERE and it has some nice animation to go with it. This was my first full year riding and really was my best year yet.

My Best Year Yet Equals WOW

  • 3,630 miles, that’s equal to running 1,168 5K races.
  • 170 total workouts, that’s like working out daily for 24 weeks in a row.
  • 328 total hours, that’s like working out 24 hours for over 13 days. (Half a year, every other day.)
  • 158,185 total calories burned, that’s 427 slices of pizza.
  • 6 challenges finished, winning 19 awards along the way.

Plenty of times I didn’t want to ride. I almost always ride alone and without a bike carrier so I always bike the same 30+ miles every week. Motivation is my biggest problem. I wish I had a secret to overcoming a lack of motivation but the only way I know of is to try harder.

Overcoming Bad Motivation/Moods

  • treat yourself to something nice after your hard work (not food)
  • have a time of day for your workout and stick to it
  • eat breakfast every morning
  • hydrate, hydrate, hydrate before, during and after
  • think about how good this is for you and pat yourself on the back
  • practice a positive pre-ride mindset/ meditation to clear your mind
  • smile at others and let the scenery take you away
  • be thankful that you can workout and do what many cannot

If all else fails, do the mental work and try again. A half hour into my ride I almost always feel better. If your motivation is low don’t beat yourself up about it pick yourself up and start again. Never workout when you’re sick or have a fever and everyone needs a day off from exercise sometimes.

For most people, the number one reason many fail New Years (or other) resolutions about exercise is motivation. It took you a long time to get out of shape so it will take some time to get back into it. The more positive and realistic you are about your goals the better you’ll do.

Learn how to track your rides with a Fitbit. 

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Motivation:
ˌmōdəˈvāSH(ə)n/
noun

  • the reason or reasons one has for acting or behaving in a particular way.
  • the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.

There’s no way I could have done what I did last year without learning how to deal with my lack of motivation. Most of the time this was linked to my moods or the weather. This winter I’m having a problem with the weather. It doesn’t snow or freeze in my area of California but if it’s a cold day I can balk.

In reality, it’s barely below 40 degrees and adding full gloves, a head covering and a coat solves that. It’s not too cold to ride but I “feel” like it is and if I don’t challenge that in my mind I probably won’t go. In moments like this, I decide to put on my “big girl boots” and do it anyway. I’m always glad I did.

For every good reason to go work out, there are probably 3 reasons why you won’t. Motivation really is mind over matter which is why so many people fall short of their goals. The real culprit is moods we can’t give in to them. The good news is once you get into better shape you’ll feel better which will put you in a better mood. You’ll find your moods are more even and might find yourself happier.

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I’m much happier going into 2018 and I know it’s because of my love of biking. So many positive things have happened to me surrounding it besides the good health and other benefits for someone my age. I’m a more confident, comfortable person all around and planning to keep it up. And yes, I’m damn proud of myself!

Put Your Bad Motivation On Permanent Vacation For 2018