Wednesday, July 2, 2014

IRL: Biking is Good

I debated with cluttering up the blog with personal bits, stuff not related to EVE, etc. etc.  I decided (obviously) that a few personal tidbits wouldn't hurt.

Today was a good day.  I went biking.  As in bicycling.

That statement alone, doesn't mean much to all y'all, so let me explain:  I basically have 2 passions in life.  The first (obviously) is being a gamer nerd.  The second is being a biker and Triathlete.

A few years back I'd have scoffed at the notion of being an endurance athlete.  Exercise, well... sucks.  On the downside, I had found 100 pounds over the course of 10 years and I was beginning to not recognize the old fat guy in the mirror every morning.

I could write pages and pages on the story, but in the end it's something that either people appreciate or they don't, so I'll give the stripped down version.

In 2008, my brother got married.  We got the wedding pictures back and I was devastated by how I looked.  A few weeks later, I dusted off my 15 year old mountain bike and rode it until it exploded.  I then upgraded, and upgraded again a few years later.  I firmed and toned.  We began swimming once or twice a week at the gym.  We added miles to the nightly bike routes and sought out charity event rides.

In 2010 I did my first Triathlon on a dare from my brother.  I got hooked.  My cubicle at work is now plastered with bib numbers and maps from races and rides.  I'm not fast, but each race sees my times improve.  I've lost 90 of those 100 pounds and have maintained my Doc's target weight for 15 months.  Last August I completed the swim and bike portions of a Half-Iron distance race.

I typed all that so that I could type this:  About 2 months ago, my world turned upside down.  I noticed that my after-ride stiffness became after-ride pain in my lower back.  Then it became difficult to walk the next day.  I changed a few things and life got better, but the pain was still there.  The season looked suddenly like it would be over before it started.  Friends and relatives wispered things like "herniated discs" and "surgery."  I was already signed up for races and had thousands of dollars of equipment in the garage.  I didn't want to punt the season let alone give up the sport entirely.  I hoped to put down a double metric century (200km) ride in August, and had hopes of doing a full-Iron distance swim+bike in 2015.  All of that looked like it was off the table, and I'd be tossing the equipment up on Craigslist.

A visit to the doc yielded a referral to a sports medicine guru down the road from my office.  Response so far has been great, but I barely logged any miles in May and have been off the bike entirely almost a month; I didn't know if it was just lack of biking or if the therapy was actually working.

June ended.  July began.  Tonight, biking was back on the table.  So far I am pain free.

I'll ride again Friday.

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