If you are a regular reader, or subscribed the newsletter, you will have noticed a change in me. It has been COVID–19 that has compelled people that start exercising or change the way they do it, but mine was a pretty annoying and painful injury. At the time it didn’t feel like it, but I am glad to say it is the best thing that has happened to me for a long time.
For more than 18 months I have been struggling with my health and fitness. I have always been pretty active, but unfortunately picking up injuries easily and suffering because I couldn’t exercise as much. Around 6 miles (ca. 10 km) into an otherwise average run my calf twinged horribly. I stopped to try to stretch it out, but to no relief and from lack of other options I had to walk/run/hobble the rest of the way home agonising.
This resulted in my calf being torn badly and I never really recovered fully until recently. As much as my wife tried to convince me this was because I am getting old, I found myself getting pretty upset about it. I couldn’t do much exercise for weeks, the only thing I could stand was indoor cycling and found that tedious, so didn’t do it very often. When I did get back to running I was very limited to around 5k before it started to hurting again.
I tried to push myself too much every so often which resulted in not being able to walk well or having to stay off it completely. Couple this with the associated issues with trying to recover, my gait was really affected and I started to get knee and lower back pain due to what I think was subconsciously compensating. This all came to a head just after Christmas with a nasty hip injury that made it difficult to walk sometimes.
So at the start of March, with no other choice I reluctantly pulled my road bike out the garage, dusted it off and started riding.
I absolutely hated every second of it. It was windy, cold, and I was desperately out of shape due to not all the injuries. I eventually managed to puff and blow myself around 16 km. I was annoyed at myself for being so unfit again, but buoyed at the realisation that I had no hip pain for the first time in weeks.
So, I got on again the next day, and the next day, and the day after that. Actually, I think I had some rest days in there at first — but you get the idea. Pushing myself a little further and working on my technique. Beginning to watch videos on beginners tips, and reading advice on bike servicing, cycling crept into my life.
I didn’t know then I was hooked, but when out for a ride a few days later I stumbled on hill that took everything out of me to get to the top. Upon and conquering it I knew this was it, something clicked and I fell in love.
Cycling has allowed me to do more than I ever imagined. It gives me not only a ridiculous workout with a lot less stress on my body, but it gives me time away. I ride for around 90mins each day and that’s my alone time with the world. Its made me happier, fitter, and a better runner than I ever could have been without getting on my bike. Getting injured was annoying, painful and slightly depressing, but I am better for it.