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COVIDcation 2020 isn’t a Vacation? The Hell You Say…

The new narrative out there is that the rich aren’t being fair.  I know, stop the presses, right?  They’re trying to flee their city of origin for quieter towns where social distancing is easier. Supposedly worse, they’re heading to their second homes… you know, the second home they own. Good God, not that. I almost fell over from shock after reading it was happening!  I properly and promptly filed the information in the circular file marked No Shit, Sherlock.  I did, however, want to take a minute to play.

Now, I’m not pompous, indignant or ignorant enough to pull off the proper disdain, so I’ll quote the linked steaming pile of shit article:

“The worst part is that these second-home owners are coming up and acting like isolation is a vacation,” said Jen, 39, who lives in the northwest Colorado Rockies.

Get that? The worst part.  Of the COVID-19 pandemic and people escaping festering cities where the virus is thriving because people are having a tough time distancing… is that they’re treating their retreat as a vacation.  I disagree with Jen wholeheartedly. In fact, treating COVIDcation-2020 as a vacation is not even in the top 50 of bad parts. There exists a vast number of worse parts than that. Vast.

I didn’t even bother with the low hanging fruit in the article and there are a number of reasons to hate an article like that; from its pompous nature, to its white privilege negativity and racism (assuming a whole race of people are incapable of caring for themselves without help from another race is quite racist, dear snowflakes – I think that’s actually in the definition of the word), to its virtue signaling faux guilt and pitting one race against another for the sake of writing about something. Anything that will put a divide between people.

Beyond that, my point is, if you can treat this like a vacation, and I certainly hope you can, do it. If you can take your money somewhere to ride this thing out, do it. If you can weather this thing with a smile on your face, do it. If you’re struggling, my prayers are with you that you get what you need to make it and get to a place you can make the best of it.  Most of all, if you’re one of these people who think we should all be sulking around, miserable, you are wrong.  Sure, we need to do our social distancing best, so that means putting some social distance in where you can – and if that means rich folks depopulate cities and hunker down in a smaller town, that’s a good thing.

Me? This is, without question, a f***ed up vacation, but a vacation nonetheless. And nobody will drag me into the guilt-gutter in order to convince me I shouldn’t look at this as an opportunity to enjoy life on life’s terms.  I’ve worked my entire adult life without missing a week of work unless it was a vacation – into my third decade.  If the experts tell me I have to take some time away, to “socially distance” myself, you can bet your ass I’ll figure out how to make the best of it.  That’s what I do.  That’s what we are supposed to do.

We are all in this mess together. We need to each do our own part to act like it… even if we have a deadline for an article with a predisposed, bullshit narrative.

On the plus-side of all of this, I won’t start worrying until they drop articles like that for articles shouting, “All is well” from the rooftops. If that happens, that’s when shit just went sideways.

Till then? CoVengeCation, baby.  Have bike, will ride it.  Excessively.  If you think I’m wrong, do me a favor and go sulk in a corner for me.  I’ve got some fun to have.  Socially distanced fun, of course.

CoVacation-2020; A Fabulous Month of March

I had every intention of writing a scathing post about Chicago’s mayor who recently said something to the effect that this is no time for long bike rides and 5k (runs)… that allowing people to go outside is meant as a mere respite from being locked indoors and anyone caught out for more than that mere respite could be fined and eventually imprisoned.  Actually, it’s a perfect time for running and long bike rides unless you happen to be anti-science…

However, I don’t know Chicago’s situation so I’ll reserve my opinion of the mayor’s statement and just say I’m glad I passed on the $13,000 per month job I was offered out there.  We’re still free to roam the roads as we please as long as we choose to do that at the appropriate distance (which vastly exceeds 6′ or 2 meters on a bike, btw).  Also, the irony after my post from yesterday would be just a bit too rich.

That said, if the information here, here, and here is right, the mayor could be doing more harm than good for the people she represents.  One can only hope the local news agencies hold the mayor accountable, but I won’t hold my breath.  I can understand requiring people to avoid congregating – I’m on board with that – but requiring city residents to stay cooped up in their homes seems over the top and wrong.

I’m simply going to remain thankful that smarter heads have thus far prevailed in my home state.  Interestingly, at most of the links I’ve looked at (more than what I’ve included above), all of it suggests mild exercise is good.  This is to say, rather than the kind of exceedingly rigorous exercise I’m used to.  To that end, I’ve slowed down considerably, though I also increased my mileage.  With the downturn in traffic, cycling has been safer and more enjoyable than I can ever remember it and I’m going to continue to take advantage of it.  I ended up with a little more than 240 miles last week and am vastly happier for getting out.

Don’t Listen To the News; Use Your Looking Balls. Look At How Happy Your Neighbors Are To Be Walking and Riding In This Uneasy Time.

In my post yesterday, (sort of) following one of my favorite blogger’s wordless posts, I included one of my favorite quotes of all time.  I like to shorten it during troubled times because I need to keep things simple so as not to get lost in the weeds; I want to be able to say, “Wow, what a ride” when it’s all over.

What am I doing today, right this very moment that’ll help me get there?

This is what I think of when I’m in a snit with my wife.  When I’m having a tough time with a task at work.  When I simply don’t know what to do…  What am I doing right now to get me to, “Wow, what a ride”?

I’ve ridden 26 of the 28 days we’ve had in this month – 18 of those 26 were outdoors.  653 miles (and I’ll get at least another 40-ish today)…  You know what’s stuck out more than the awesome lack of traffic?

Friday, after putting in 30 fun miles with my wife, I went back out to add another ten or so to crank out some hard miles.  My wife is a little anxious because she’s going through the exact symptoms I had last week, but hers have persisted longer than mine.  I think she’s surprised it isn’t worse, but waiting for the hammer to drop at the same time so she doesn’t want to push it by riding too hard.  A feeling I can relate to – and it’s scary.

Four miles into my bonus miles, I rode up to four couples walking down the road, all in the same direction, but spread out more than enough on both sides of the road.  I said to all eight, “You know, I’ve been riding these roads for years.  I’ve never ridden up on four couples out walking, let alone four couples in the space of 40′.  I love it.”

Three couples turned and smiled.  One person responded, “You know, we were just talking about the same thing”.

Friends, I don’t know what things are looking like in your communities, but in mine I’ve seen more good than I can list here.  People aren’t just sitting in their homes, they’re getting off the couch and going for walks.  I’ve seen an unprecedented number of cyclists and bike riders out to get some air pumping through their lungs.  Even at the grocery store, I’ve seen people nod and smile at their fellows with that, “We’re all in this together” wink.

There are going to be those random examples of idiocy and evil.  They are not examples of human nature.  They’re examples of inhuman nature.  Don’t get sucked into anger and self-righteous indignation.  No good can come of it.  I don’t want to skid into my casket thinking, “Wow, I wish…”

As for me, I can’t tell you how glad I am to be a cyclist… actually, relieved might be a better word.

 

 

What a RIDE!!!

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The Joy of Cycling; Road Edition. You Really Must Get Outside

Last evening was my sixth consecutive day (seven in the last eight) riding outdoors.  When November rolled around last year, I was ready to head inside.  Riding on a trainer is simple.  Fewer clothes required, I get to watch a movie because my wife and my trainers are set in the living room, right in prime Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound real estate.  There’s no waiting for traffic lights, no angry motorists, no dirt, wind or rain to worry about… just a constant 68° and with a good movie, I love the simplicity.  Through the dead of winter, I’m a big fan of the trainer over riding outside in the freezing cold.

Then, every March a magical thing happens as the temps turn warmer.  Those first few rides outside in the sunshine; all of a sudden, every part of my body works and feels better.  The aches and pains I suffered through all winter, fade.  My joints feel like someone spritzed them with an oilcan.  My attitude and outlook on life improve greatly (and that’s pretty impressive, considering how happy a guy I am!).  This year is special, though.  I can’t ever remember riding so many days in a row in March, though it appears my nice little streak will come to an end tonight with 24+mph winds and chilly temps.  I could use a day off anyway before the weekend.

The point is, putting time in on the trainer through the winter is great.  I’m able to do a lot of good with that training.  On the other hand, like my brother from another cycling mother pointed out the other day, cycling is an outdoors activity.  I can’t replace riding on pavement with a stationary trainer – there’s nothing like the open road.

Finally, A Fantastic After Work Ride… OUTDOORS. My Pitch for Ditching the Trainer

The last few weeks has been a bit rough in Michigan.  It’s been cold, then seasonable, then cold again… I just haven’t had a drive to get outside to ride.  I start thinking about how cold it’ll be and I just cave to the trainer.  Then, my superstar daughter had a big Metro’s swim meet Wednesday, a glorious day by all standards.  I wouldn’t have missed that, so I didn’t get home till 6 that evening.  Trainer again.

As luck would have it, I had to check up on a job we’ve got only 13 minutes from my house, so I was home early, even though I technically didn’t miss any work time.  It was decent out, call it the mid-40’s (7 C), but I still envisioned being cold so I hesitated.  I was just about to jump on the trainer when the thought struck me; riding the trainer is freaking nuts.  I suited up, changed my rear wheel, and headed out the door.

I was glad to be outside within a tenth of a mile.  Wind at my back, 23-mph spinning easy… then a crosswind for a couple of miles at 20 followed by another leg of tailwind.  I was alone, with an out-the-door target speed of 17-mph, figuring I’d lose some when I had the wind, which wasn’t light, in my face.  The goal, after my interval session the day before, was just to enjoy a nice ride on my Trek.

My first mile into the wind was a little ugly – it was one of those headwinds that won’t allow you to coast or soft-pedal downhill.  I checked my clock as I rounded the corner, doing some quick math… 3:10 per mile, ten or twelve miles to go…  I chose twelve miles with the bonus lap, knowing I’d be cutting it close, but not caring.  I was feeling it, and it was glorious.

The rest of the ride wasn’t exactly grin-inducing, but it sure wasn’t bad, either.  The two mile stretch into the wind in the last four had me questioning my fitness a little bit, but I managed to power through it and pulled into the driveway with an 18.4-mph average.  A little over my target speed, but not my target intensity – which means good things for the season.

Now, back to the Title; my pitch for ditching the trainer.  I’ve been pushing hard gears on the trainer all winter long and it’s obviously going to mean a fun spring.  However, I tend to wake up a little on the sore side.  Sometimes, I’m so sore it wakes me up and I can’t fall back to sleep without taking a Motrin first.  Until this morning.  I woke up with a spring in my step.  No pain, no soreness, no tightness.  I felt like my joints had all been lubed up while I slept… I rode harder and for twenty minutes longer outside yesterday.  Oh, and I spent the whole rest of my evening last night with a smile on my face, thinking about how lucky I am to be me.

I never feel that good after a trainer ride.

Whatever it is, and I’m not even going to bother with a guess, “Thank you, sir.  May I have another?”  Well, maybe not today.  It’s currently snowing.  We’re a hearty people.

Cycling In Michigan: Part 1,259