Awhile back, as I was still fighting the flu, Jeff and I “accidentally” rode 70 miles. I felt pretty good the next day and in the days following.
This last stretch of being sick and then jacking up my ankle had me quasi-ambulatory for nine days. Nine days. Now, I hadn’t ridden a lot in the days leading up to my trailrunning injury, but I had been running and riding when I could. So when I proposed a measly 45 mile ride to myself this past Saturday I believed I was wise in the estimation of my abilities.
And in a sense I was. If you read my last post you would not get the impression I had a bad experience on Saturday. And I didn’t. I felt really good and managed to keep up a 17+ mph average until about mile 35 when I skirted the borderlands of bonking. Sunday, on the other hand, was a day of grunting through the pain and incessant rambling self-diagnoses. I hobbled around all day with a knotted up back and aching legs. The ankle had done fine on Saturday, but sang occasionally on Sunday just to join in the choir of my other aches and pangs.
Here is the problem:
Well, let me back up. For my regular readers you’ll know that I used to ride 20 miles daily in the course of getting to and from work. I average over 400 miles a month in 2012. My body was used to riding a lot. And the occasional longer (40+ miles) ride didn’t adversely affect me much. In just three short months I’ve started to lose some of that conditioning. I’m struggling to get 100 miles a month now due to a combination of weather, geography, scheduling, and sickness. I’m hoping the trend will turn around in the next few weeks as the weather improves, but the reality is that on March 25—as I sit writing this—snow is whipping past my window.
Here, then, is the problem: I’m getting old and fat.
I’m losing my overall conditioning and will therefore continue to do things like sprain my ankle when I go out and try to make up for the lack of activity in my life all in one fell swoop.
I’m older and don’t recover as fast or get back into condition as easily. I just can’t outrun the realities that are settling onto my shoulders.
I know the key is that I will have to do everything within my power to get back into a respectable condition (SOON!) and maintain a certain level of fitness so my impulse trail runs won’t shut me down completely. That’s more important now, in my fortieth year, than it ever has been.
Maybe I’m just whining (what is the third “up?”), but I recognize the reality that if I don’t maintain control of my physical condition I could go downhill really fast and not be able to enjoy the things I like doing, much less (but so much more importantly) stay healthy.
Life is more enjoyable when you maintain your health so you can recreate on demand.