Ok, ok, so this is a blog normally about bees, flowers and other insects that catch my fancy. But hey – my blog, my rules. I thought it would be fun to add in a little section about my new hobby which has Taken.Over.My.Life. Call it whatever you want – biking, cycling, spinning, pelotoning – but for the past 5 months I have been on a journey that is changing the person that I am.
It all started early in the year when we made the decision to invest in a Peloton. Before my third kid, and my move to a more rural part of Ontario, I used to work out at the local YMCA at least 5 days a week. And I missed it. And though I would argue that I led a pretty active lifestyle (I do have 3 kids!), I was often sore and exhausted by the end of every day. So we placed an order and got a set-up and delivery scheduled for mid-March.
It wasn’t until about the middle of April until I started using it – we got delayed on delivery due to quarantine, and then I put the bike in quarantine when it did get here. And I will be perfectly honest – my first ride was NOT PRETTY. For those not familiar with Peloton (and I suspect the other stationary spin bikes on the market are similar in set-up), you have a tablet attached to the bike and you can watch on-demand classes where an instructor yells out numbers for cadence (leg speed) and resistance (how heavy it is) that you feel has no other effect than to try to kill you. And no matter how much effort I put in in those early classes, I could not match the recommended cadence for more than a few seconds.
Fast forward to August and I am on the bike EVERYDAY! I can follow most classes and recommendations, and I have seen a huge improvement in my strength, lung capacity, endurance, and power on the bike. Off the bike I have so much more energy, sleep better, and bonus – the postural kyphosis that I have had for at least 25 years is actually improving!
But my favourite thing about my new past-time is the effect it has had on my kiddos. They all eagerly jump on the bike, their tiny feet barely filling my shoes that they use to clip in, and just ride. My 3 year old cannot reach the seat, and only goes for a minute or two at a time – but he is watching and learning good habits. My 7 year old has the ability to endure has actually done 45 and 60 minute rides! My 10 year old is killing it, and recently this has spilled over into an interest in running. So now a few times a week him and I are lacing up and hitting the pavement together.
And this has been an amazing bonding opportunity, with so many great life lessons of learning goal-setting, determination, hard-work and resiliency. But this is also where it gets scary. A couple of weeks ago, after completing a rather long ride (or at least what I thought was a rather long ride) and all full of endorphins, I casually commented to all three kids “I am going to do an Ironman by the time I am 50”. They all looked at me, and I looked around hoping that statement had come from someone else. But nope, I said it. “What’s an Ironman, Mom?” they all asked. “Let me just look it up” I causally replied. WTF. I legit did not know what I had just gotten into. Turns out an Ironman competition is a 3.86 km swim, followed by a 180.25 km bike ride, and then finished with a 42.20 km run. In 17 hours. And I told my kids I was doing it. Thankfully I gave myself 9 years to train, but so help me if I have to drag my body across the finish line at the 16h:59m:59s mark a day before my 50th birthday, I will show my kids that you can achieve anything when you set your mind to it. I got this. Right?