Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Continuing Saga of Bullet Hole’s Shape-Up Pledge—or Why I Needed an Inflatable Doughnut

You’re all familiar with the fact that I started on this ‘Shape Up or Spread Out’ campaign to get in better physical condition. Right? I’ve blogged about my first experience at the Fitness Center. My daughter still wears dark glasses, enters five minutes after me, and sticks her Ipod headphones in her ears and pretends not to hear me as a result. Can’t say I blame her. It must be pretty traumatic to see your mother extricated from one of the weight machines by the Jaws of Life. Okay, so I exaggerate. The point is…okay, so I forgot the point. I need my coffee!
Anyway, since the weather has warmed up, I decided to take my act on the road. Which means I take a walk every morning from 2-3 miles depending on whether I can afford to flop down on the sofa for half an hour when I return or not. I walk the same basic route every morning. And I walk in a cemetery. That’s right. The walk from my house to the cemetery and around it once is a little over a mile and a half. Why do I walk in the cemetery? First off, it’s peaceful. No one disturbs you there. And, if by some chance someone did? I’d get the best workout of my life by hauling my cookies out of there. Win. Win. I also like the cemetery because the grass is always cut with liberal use of the weed-eater apparent. By contrast, when someone says, “It’s a jungle out there,” I often think they’re talking about my yard. And probably the most compelling reason I walk in the cemetery? I don’t pass any convenience stores on the way where I might be tempted to stop and buy a Crispy Crème Doughnut or my personal favorite, the jumbo-sized frosted sugar cookie to nibble on. So, my walking program is up and running. Well, so to speak.
But we all know it only makes sense to diversify. You know. So you don’t get burned out or bored limited to one physical activity. So me? I selected biking! Why? Primarily because I already had the bike. A rather nice bike. A bicycle that was just like new—minus the cobwebs and flat tires, that is. So, one day my son and I got the bikes out of the shed and cleaned them up, and then hauled them to the gas station to get the tires aired up. I lubricated the chains and tested the hand brakes and speed shifters. We were good to go. Or so I thought.
We got on our bikes and headed out. You’ve heard the saying, ‘It’s just like riding a bicycle’ when referring to something you hadn’t done in a while but that you’ll pick up right away when you do it again. Well, that little statement doesn’t take into account certain morphological changes that take place over time. No. I’m not talking about evolution or adaptations, I’m talking about butt spread. And teeny, tiny bicycle seats. And how they are so not compatible. And I’m talking about knee joints that don’t work like they used to. (Think the Tin Man without his oil can here!)
We had just ridden a few blocks when I hit the first pothole and I knew I was in for trouble. By the time we’d gone several more blocks, my posterior was in a state of perpetual agony. Determined not to let my son know I was in distress in de derierre, I stuck with it until we finished our inaugural ride. Back home I looked at my son.
“I’m going to have to make some adjustments,” I said.
He noticed my heavy, labored breathing.
“What kind of adjustments?” he said. “An oxygen tank?”
Funny kid.
I shook my head.
“It’s nothing major. I just need to raise the seat.”
I have this freaky knee thing that requires me to almost fully extend my legs on the downward pedal strokes. I lifted the seat as high as it could go.
“You’re joking,” my son said. “That looks ridiculous.”
“I have really long legs,” I explained. “It has to be this high.” I got on and tried it out.
I now had to hunch over the handlebars like Quasimodo.
“I’ll need to raise the handlebars, too,” I mentioned.
My son shook his head.
“Ya think?”
I made the adjustments and then got back on the bike. My tippy toes barely touched the ground. I winced at the contact with the seat. “I just need one more thing and I’m good to go,” I said. “A new seat.”
He frowned. “That seat has hardly been ridden on,” he pointed out.
“It doesn’t exactly fit me,” I said.
“They’re not one size fits all?” he asked.
I raised an eyebrow.
“Not all of us were born without a butt like you,” I pointed out to my skinny kid. “One of my butt cheeks is bigger than that entire seat,” I pointed out. “I’m getting a new seat.”
I dragged the kid to the store and to the bicycle aisle. I stood there and stared in awe. I couldn’t believe what I saw. A bike seat with two gi-normous gel pads on it. Sweet! I selected one and stuck it behind me and ‘sat’ on it in mock bike-riding fashion. It felt like heaven.
“This is incredible! Who knew? Are you sure you don’t want one, too?” I asked thinking about the potholes and how he had zero padding to absorb the impact.
“An old lady seat? Forget it.”
“It’s not an old lady seat,” I told him. “This is!” I held up this super-sized, super-cushioned seat the size of a major league catcher’s mitt.
“What if the gel pads explode?” he asked and I frowned at the implication.
“They come with or without the pads,” I said, showing him. “I’m getting this one.”
He looked at the seat for a long moment.
“Yeah. Okay. I’ll get one, too,” he said. “But just so you know, I’m telling my friends you made me do it.”
‘It’s just like riding a bike, Bullet Hole.’
To the person who perpetuated that treasured saying, I have a wee token of affection for you.
It's a ‘like new’ bicycle seat.
And it comes with simple instructions on where to stick it.
Have you taken something up after being away from it for a long time? A hobby? A sport? A club? Has it been a positive or negative experience for you? Any biking moments you care to share to get me psyched up for more biking? (Or scare me off it?)
Where do you enjoy walking? Do you walk daily? Carry weights and swing your arms and the whole nine yards?
Share and share alike!
~Bullet Hole~


terrio said...

I rode a bike almost two years ago for the first time in forever. And was pleasantly surprised to find I could still walk afterward. I have really bad knees and my doctor says bike riding is the best way to strengthen the muscles to make the pain go away. However, I don't own a bike. So I joined the rec center. Now I should probably pay it a visit.

Aren't those seats great? I would walk more but it's super hot here and with the wild fires burning close by, you can't breathe outside without getting asthma. So I'm going back to doing my little Pilates DVD.

Kathy Bacus said...

I didn't know what to expect when I got back on a bike, Terrio, but I think I'm going to enjoy it.

We're fond of saying 'it's not the heat that gets you, it's the humidity' here in the country's midsection. Yesterday morning when I walked, the humidity was
93%. I had to take my sunglasses off because they kept fogging up on me!

Today we're getting socked with heavy rain again so I had to cancel the walk. Just what we don't need. More rain.

~Bullet Hole~

Jenyfer Matthews said...

I wouldn't exactly I enjoy my daily walks. I don't own a car so walking is a necessity these days but drivers in Cairo do not yield to pedestrians. They often seem out to get us actually!

Biking? My husband mountain bikes. He once lost control on a down slope, hit a small boulder and flipped over the handle bars - cracked a rib and messed up his shoulder good. Didn't ride for a year.

My own misadventures involve roller blades. I was quite a skater as a kid - I never used the brakes, I used to spin to a stop. Ha! The problem with growing up is you now know all the things that could happen if you fall. I couldn't spin OR use the brake effectively. The last time I tried (more than 10 years ago now!) I hit some gravel and fell on my elbow (thank god for pads!), jarring my shoulder.

I decided I was better off on foot :)

Kathy Bacus said...

Glad I'm not the one hoofing it in Cairo, Jenyfer. From the sound of things, I'd be a hood ornament for sure.

You know, one thing I never learned to do with any skill at all is skating. I rarely went to the roller rink and was a disaster on wheels when I did go. Roller blades were no better.

My brother was fairly competent with a skateboard but when I tried to use it I fell and chipped my front teeth on the sidewalk.

I do think we become a bit more hesistant to go 'full throttle' as we get older. I know I'm less gung ho about certain things than I used to be.

Boy. Both you and your hubby's wipe outs sound nasty! If I'd taken a fall like your husband, I doubt I'd ever get back on a bike.

Glad you both recovered!

~Bullet Hole~

Linda C said...

I've started biking around our neighborhood, but not for any length of time yet. Work keeps getting in the way, darn. However, a couple of years ago my husband and I along with another couple spent a weekend on Mackinaw Island here in Michigan. It has no cars, so you either walk, bike ride or drive a horse. We took our friends horse up to the island and while she and my husband rode around in the carriage, her husband and I rode bikes.

The Island has a rode around it that 5 miles long. We thought is was a breeze to ride it. That is until the next day. Good thing I brought plenty of asprin. These were mountain bikes so no "skinny seats" for me.

Linda C

Gemma Halliday said...

Wheels and I do not get along. I roller bladed once. Just once. *shudder* I was booked to be in a roller blading infomercial with Downtown Julie Brown (anyone remember her from MTV?). Only my agent failed to tell the director I couldn’t actually skate. Picture them shoving me down Venice boardwalk, yelling "action", filming until I neared the end, then yelling "cut" as some large grip caught me before I face-planted.


terrio said...

Kathy - I'm in the Va Beach area and we get the humidity too. Unfortunately, I don't live close enough to the water the enjoy the breeze much. Upper 90s today with smoke in the air but no idea about the humidity.

I roller skated and I've ice skated but never been on roller blades. For some reason, they look more difficult to me. And those wipe outs sound really painful. I remember lots of crashes as a kid on my bike. And they didn't give up pads back then. Ouch.

Keri Ford said...

ack...when I visited my dad in the summer back when I was still a kid, he was a military man, so very let's do lots of outdoor activity. Did I mention he lived in Florida? yeah, Flordia, summertime, outdoor excercising. You do the math with the breathing and heat and humidity.

Anyway, one year, we loaded up the bikes and took them to the beach where there was a sidewalk walking path thing. I kept getting hollard at because I couldn't keep up--which was also frustrating to me, because I dont' like to be in last. Clever me checked out the size of my bike tires and compared to the size of everyone elses. Gee Whiz! No wonder why I was tuckered out! Their tires were twice as big meaning I had to peddle twice as much to keep up!

Tori Lennox said...

I need to exercise more, but I'm kind of limited in what I can do. So I end up not doing anything. Bad Tori!

Kathy Bacus said...

Now that's the way I'd like to get around, Linda--as God intended. ON HORSES!

And five miles sounds just about perfect for a bike ride.

For some reason, it's not the next day that's torture for me after exercise, it's the one after that.

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

That shoot might have been okay if it was a commercial for, oh say, bandaids or pain relievers, Gemma. Good thing the grip was handy or you'd have been snaggle-toothed like I was...

And I do remember Downtown Julie Brown. Wonder what she's doing now?

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

I always wanted to learn to ice skate, Terrio, but never got the chance. I also figured since I was a dud at roller skating and blading, I'd be a dud on the ice.

I did try my hand at skiing. It wasn't a pretty sight. I think I'm one of the few who got injured on the ski lift before they even made it to the slopes.

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

I remember being the youngest kid and getting the hand-me-down bike, Keri. (It even had a name: Betsy.)

Betsy and I always seemed to be in last place. Eventually, like you, I realized that everyone else's bikes had the bigger tires and I was having to work twice as hard to keep up.

~Bullet Hole~

Kathy Bacus said...

I decided it was now or never for me, Tori. I don't know if what I'm doing is helping much, but I guess it can't hurt.

~Bullet Hole~

Heather said...

Ah, Kathy - something else we have in common! First floods and cemetery walks, now picking up bicycling again after too many years. I used to be only 2 miles from work, and often walked at least one way at least 3 times a week. I've really missed that since the company relocated 7 miles away. I recently decided to get my bike out of the basement and fix it up so I could start riding that on days it wasn't storming.

Um...yeah. I had intended to take it out on a few shorter practice runs before attempting those 7 miles, however...stuff happened and I found myself biking to work last Friday. Like you, I hadn't gone a mile before I realized a new cushioned seat was in order before taking it out again. My knees seemed okay, though it took about an hour to really get my legs back under me again, but it was pain in another area that made walking uncomfortable. Definitely not doing that again until I get more practice in.

I used to be pretty good on ice and roller skates, but hesitate to try roller blades. Somehow I doubt that would end well!

Kathy Bacus said...

I remembered you mentioning you also walked in the cemetery, Heather. It's very peaceful. On Memorial Day and Flag Day when the flags were flying, it was a moving sight.

Too funny that we're both on the same wave length when it comes to the bicycling--and uncomfortable bike seats--too. All I can say is great minds think alike!

And you'll enjoy your biking experience so much more when you get the bigger, comfier bike seat!
I guarantee it.

~Bullet Hole~

Jana DeLeon said...

LOL Kathy! I would definitely need that seat too. And yes, I used to be a champion boogie boarder in high school/college. I could jump the wake, do 360's and was working on the flip when I graduated and went to work - butt in chair, butt spreading in chair. Seven years later I was with a group that went skiing and I headed out with the boogie board. Good Lord, I had no idea it required that much upper body strength. I felt like I was being dragged by a race car and to this day I haven't tried it again. :)

Shel said...

Kathy -
I feel your pain. I've been boxing a few times a week and can barely lift my arms. Yikes! Keep going, it's worth it. I've lost 30 pounds!


Gemma Halliday said...

30 pounds? Shel, you are my new hero.

Christie Craig said...


I love riding bikes, but I don't do well with hand brakes. Imagine me hitting the wrong one being thrown over the handlebars.

Fun blog.

Crime Scene Christie

Shel said...

Thanks Gemma -
I'll let you tell me that again when I get rid of the next 20!