08 March 2012

Am I an Athlete?

Pondering life's big questions...

I've never thought of myself as an athlete.

I've been a relatively active person for most of my life, alternating between dance, yoga, pilates, and the like, but I never practiced these a particular amount of intensity or dedication. During my 'pre-cycling' years, I viewed injuries as pretty much an act of God, like a hurricane, or an earthquake -- and the method of dealing with them was similar to that of a natural disaster: lay low and wait for it to pass. Suddenly, my attitude to injury has changed, and it has made me realise: I might be an athlete.

Somewhere along the way last week I picked up a minor ache in my knee. I think it started last Monday when we cycled 30km roundtrip to Hammersmith after work (on our commuters) to see a play. My commuter bike really isn't set up for those kinds of distances; the seat is too low. My right knee (the one that always makes the first pedal stroke when I set off from a traffic light) started bothering me on the way home, but I didn't think too much of it. To be honest I didn't really take much notice of it over the course of the week; I have vague memories of it bothering me slightly, but not enough to stop me from two runs and a few days of bike commuting.

But after our Friday Night Ride to Ramsgate (which I am sure Alberto will be blogging about any day now!), my knee was quite achy and remained that way for a good 24 hours. I had noticed it a bit on the bike, but it hadn't really troubled me until we finished the ride. As we recovered (read: attempted not to fall asleep) on Saturday, I decided that I should take a few days off from both cycling and running to try and let it heal.

Now, back to the original point of this post: the realization that I needed to take some time off from my normal activities was actually troubling to me! I had been contemplating spin class on Monday and certainly going on several runs in order to keep up my fitness; this weekend we have our first 200km audax of 2012. (The idea of skipping the 200 was completely out of the question!)

Not only was the anticipation of missing all these activities upsetting, but I found the week without physical activity quite challenging mentally. I have been feeling pretty sluggish all week, and this morning the minor setback of having to retrace my steps by three minutes to get my wallet which I had left at home  had me near tears! I decided to go for a run today after work as my knee felt better (and I just couldn't take  the emotional turmoil anymore!) So far so good, but we will see how it holds up on the 200.

In the meantime, I am left wondering... am I an athlete now?!

1 comment:

  1. Absolutely!

    What you experienced is the same way I feel if I don't get enough exercise. I guess it's an addiction to endorphins. All I know is that eventually my wife tells me "Go ride your bike!"