It’s a nightmare come true. A year after achieving the highest fitness level I’ve ever had – I’m once again fighting against 150lbs. That’s the maximum weight I will allow my body to carry. I was down to 138lbs, running faster and harder than I ever thought possible, looking forward to getting down to 120lbs or even 125lbs. I felt like my best self and now here I am fighting against a total crisis. The worst part is that although I wasn’t working out as much, I was still working out. I started a running program and was a few weeks in when my left knee locked up on the treadmill. The pain was intolerable and I had to stop. A couple days later, I tried to run again and my knee locked up again. All I could manage was walking, so that’s what I did. I walked on an incline of 5° and prayed that this would make up for the running but it didn’t. It’s like I got even bigger and felt gravity pulling me down this slippery slope. Why couldn’t I run? I had recently bought a brand-new pair of running shoes, and now all I can do is walk? This wasn’t enough and I knew it. Every time I finished a half-hour, I could feel it wasn’t enough. Any jumping, squatting, lunging and the pain returned. I can’t afford to injure myself. I didn’t knowingly injure myself. What the heck is going on?
The workouts can’t stop and I tried to be brave. Walking on the treadmill coupled with using the Bowflex Xtreme and dumbbells was helping me chip away. I felt stronger but still missed the intense cardio that running gave me. I also felt embarrassed and ashamed because I’ve taken you all on a journey with me, but here I am struggling yet again. It’s utterly demoralizing and just when I thought the situation was hopeless, a revelation came from the unlikeliest of places. I was interviewing a guy named Micky Dymond for My Life at Speed about the Race Across America he’ll be doing this year. His team, The Legends of the Road, will be riding relay on bicycles non-stop from the California coast to Baltimore, Maryland. As we were chatting about endurance cycling, Micky talked about the benefit of using a bicycle to train when an injury prevents running.
“I think running would be the best training for racing. Not everybody can run. As soon as you hurt your knee or your ankle, your foot – you’re on a bicycle; and then the bicycle training, there is so much you can do with your hips, your legs and your lungs that don’t affect a broken wrist or something else that you can’t do other types of training.” – Micky Dymond, My Life at Speed
It was like God using was this beautiful man to talk to me. I have a recumbent bike that was mostly unused because I preferred to run. Now here it was that I couldn’t run and behold a bike sitting there, waiting for my butt to get on the seat! Just like when I was heavy and healthy, then a friend gave us a treadmill. God’s plan was for me to make a switch. So you know my next workout was on the bike and guess what? No knee pain! It was great but I refused to get ahead of myself. Fifteen minutes at first and then I increased to twenty. Now I’m trying two 15-minute splits to build stamina. Temperatures are higher now so it’s easy to build up a major sweat. I’ve done this before and will do it again, but now I’ve had to switch from running to biking. So far I’m down to 148.5lbs and don’t want to get obsessed with the scale, but I definitely feel a difference. It’s also weirdly strenuous because I’m sitting down but I’ll get used to it. The bike isn’t new and I’m concerned that the resistance isn’t as strong as it once was but for now it’s doing the job so I’m not complaining. Hopefully I’ll be able to run again when I’m lighter in case that’s the problem. If not then well…I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it. Just in case you’re wondering why I don’t ride a bike outside it’s because I haven’t done that since I was a kid and fell off one the last time I tried as an adult. There is the possibility that I’ll be cruising the neighbourhood with training wheels, but that’s another story. So enough about me, has your workout routine been turned upside down? You can find me on Fitocracy, my username is 1opinionated. Let’s connect and share our progress. We’re in this together. No retreat, no surrender and no excuses.