Onwards, Upwards and Heels too!

I have to admit since we got back from our travels in March my usual fitness plan has at best been sporadic! Work is busy and along with a wedding & Family commitments there never seems enough hours in a day or my hip is just too tired to do any more at the end of many hours doing all things horticultural. Swimming for so long a constant – and comfort when the hip can do nothing else –  has fallen by the wayside. The gym, I am lucky if I get there once a week although spinning classes and circuits are faring better!

In spite of this lapse my hip has still made some progress. Recently the long-suffering and I took on a new route riding our road bikes – for only the second time after my hip revision last August. We now live in a valley meaning whichever way we ride out there is a hill climb to start, one direction in particular poses a real challenge. It was this way we chose!

IMG_2043

Hill climbs – Post accident nerve damage is still an issue meaning the extra pressure of a steep incline can cause electric shock like pain in my bum and thigh. When this rears its ugly head, I get off, walk for a bit and then as it eases get back on and continue.

I used to get very cross and frustrated about this, especially as I watched long-suffering become a dot in the distance, riding in circles once he reached the summit to allow me to catch up. In another life I would have been up there with him! Now, I try not to waste energy with negativity, but instead hope for a small improvement each time.

Post accident cycling one handed – for hand signals/drinking – was impossible, due in part to the strength imbalance of my left leg/hip but also a real fear of falling off making our outings a very stop/start affair.

Not anymore though, a breakthrough…..The first hill climb although extreemly challenging, I cycled on almost to the top, walking only a few steps then resumed the climb. In the quiet of an early morning a startled pigeon flew out from the hedgerows and into the path of my front wheel – a true test of balance as my wheel ran over it sending me lurching from either side as I struggled to stay upright in a mix of shock, horror, fear and eventually sadness as the bird lay inert and motionless behind me.

Recovering at the top my legs like jelly the view more than made up for the spanners in the back pocket ache – always a presence after any hip/leg exertion!

IMG_0834

Feeling balance confident after the bird altercation I decided to try drinking while in motion! With a flat road ahead ………

IMG_2042

The first challenge was locating the bottle in its holder while keeping eyes on the road ahead. After a few panicked, aborted attempts I managed to locate, extract and take a wobbly quick glug from the spout. More fumbling followed getting it back in the holder – by then my legs were barely turning and I was zig-zagging precariously towards the hedgerow and ditch. Luckily, as I was about to give in and stop, the  holder was located. Long-suffering, oblivious to my trials was once again a dot in the distance!

IMG_2041More hills followed not quite as steep, by now on a roll, instead of getting off I tried standing up instead to ease the pressure. Another first! I could even do this albeit in a crazy side to side see-saw motion! All the Standing hill climbs on high gears in spinning classes I have groaned about have actually paid dividends.

 

Dancing…………progress continues, after surviving without incident a great evening spent ‘mum dancing’ – in high shoes – at our sons wedding reception, the next challenge was to get my latin shoes back on!

IMG_1941

Salsa is the only way I have ever got long-suffering on a dance floor actually dancing with me – not counting the ‘dad slow smooch’. After a few years lessons and practice together -photo right in 2010 – before the accident, giving it up is not an option! Besides which IT IS FUN!

Shoes on and a twirl in the kitchen and we were ready to give it a go – not sure Long-suffering was as totally keen, but he went along to please me.

We have since attended two latin events together in the last month and although rusty and lacking in confidence we have managed to remember……. moves = him, and following skills = me! I even managed a double spin! Watch this space………

 

 

 

 

Back on the Treadmill

This morning after four weeks apart the spinning bike and I were reunited. Over the festive period I must confess the gym and bike fell by the wayside only walking and swimming prevailed.

I arrived for the class early to get set up. There are about twenty bikes in all arranged around the room in a gently curved half circle two or three deep all facing to the lone instructor bike in the corner. The back ones always seem to get taken first – presumably to be less visible if a rest mid session is needed!

Duly taking my place at the back near an open window for air – my excuse – I set up my bike. By the start of the session a few front bikes remained empty, the rest carried riders regular and newbies varying in age between twenty and sixty.

A few facts about spinning…..It is ridiculously hard – if you don’t cheat. The music is LOUD. You will be SHOUTED at throughout – ‘keep going, you’re doing well, don’t give up’ and ‘last push’ the favourites. Saddles are NOT comfy. No matter how many fans are blowing, windows, doors are open, by the end all will be steamy and the floor will be wet from yours and others sweat!

The session got going with everyone settling into their own particular rhythm as we warmed up. Heads nodded up and down like the nodding dogs in back of cars, bodies hunched forward over the handlebars, Tour de France style, some sat upright hands on thighs, others swayed, side to side to the beat of the song. All of us building to the challenge to come.

Why do I do it? Twenty minutes in this morning I wondered precisely that as after a few sprints, seated and standing hill climbs I was secretly slumped over my bike, legs still spinning, trying to dismiss the very real threat of adding yesterdays food to the already damp floor.

The answer…because I can, low impact on my hip, pure adrenaline rush, great workout for the lower half and heart, safer than muddy roads, sociable – although last not strictly true given the loud music and sheer exhaustion rendering idle chat nigh on impossible.

I did recover as I knew I would – first time back is always the worst – and made it to the finish line without mishap however with a river running between my chest and down my back, hair sticking out at all angles, my face resembling a shiny tomato, and my legs like jelly I was not a pretty sight.

Glancing around the room happily revealed I was not the only one!