The Fitness Bug

Something interesting seems to have happened.

I’ve caught the fitness bug. Either that, or Bug has gotten into fitness (my dad’s nickname for me was either Bugginia or Bug).

I spent all of last spring and part of the summer not riding the bike I bought, which was a fairly decent women’s step-through that wasn’t quite the right fit or size for me. I went for a few rides, and made it around the 20 mile course for Tour de Cure last year, and I liked it all right, but never felt very comfortable on it. Also, I wished I had bought something lighter and had spent more time test riding and trying different things – I had this thought in my head that I didn’t want to awkwardly lay the bike halfway over to get my leg over the seat (never having been graceful) on my previous bike, which was a mountain bike with nobbly tires.

Unlike David, I didn’t go out of my way to ride my bike, and I didn’t plan travel around it (on vacation in Maui last year, he rented a very nice road bike for the 2 weeks and raved about it, but I’m not ready to be a road cyclist).

So then in December when I was diagnosed with diabetes, it was like running into an ice-cold wall of wake-up call. Although I was eating fairly well (following David’s low-carb diet), I was overweight, out of shape, and having to deal with a chronic disease that I was supposed to regulate with diet and exercise.

I still haven’t been to the nutritional class for newly-hatched diabetics, but I attended a 4 or 6 week seminar with David when he was diagnosed that was run by the local hospital, and I’ve been through my own very quick rundown with the nurse-nutritionist at my doctor’s office. The whole thing was a blur, but I came away from my “Congratulations, you’re diabetic” consult feeling slightly underwhelmed by the information I was getting.

Fortunately, with David being so involved with Tour de Cure Chicago (team captain of Team Red, is a member of at least one committee and is well-known in the offices of the American Diabetes Association in Chicago), I pretty much had the gist of what it means to to have diabetes, and have it be “well-controlled.” We’re lucky, neither of us currently have to take medication for it, although many, many of the people we know through the various ADA fundraiser and educational events deal with insulin, oral medication, insulin pumps,and more.

As far as being “well-controlled,” which is keeping one’s daily blood glucose readings within a healthy range, I’m doing all right. I had already decided to do the Tour de Cure and ride 40 miles, and had David set me up with a custom web page that re-directs to my Tour de Cure fundraising page (which has an impossible URL as far as remembering it, reposting it, etc.).

During most of the long, cold, dark winter, I was riding my old bike, set up on a training rig in the spare bedroom. David hooked sensors up and set me up with fitness apps and other gadgets (such as a Vivofit that’s linked to Garmin and also My Fitness Pal). I rode for about 20-30 minutes at a time, every few days. It was boring, uncomfortable, and not that pleasant. But I was getting some benefit and my weight dropped, and my blood glucose kept dropping from the rather high 140s-160s to a more reasonable 110-115. And then it kept on dropping.

So then David started talking about getting me a new bike; lighter, better fit, and so on. I came around to the idea of lifting my leg up and back to get it over the seat again. We talked to a guy David trusts at our local bike shop, Brad at Bike Connection. I looked at a few bikes, but one Brad sized me on had felt right. We made plans to go back and do some real test rides at a couple of places.

Meanwhile, I’d been out on the old bike on a few rides around the neighborhood, and hey, my blood glucose really started to drop. It was good to get the old bike off the trainer, and it wasn’t as uncomfortable as it was on the rig, but it still wasn’t what I needed.

So last Saturday we rode around, and the bike that still felt best AND rode best was Veda.

Since then I’ve ridden every day, even today, a mid-week day (there was a regular Meetup ride at Busse Woods). David got me a refurbished Garmin bike computer, because using my iPhone and some apps with an ANT adapter wasn’t cutting it. And my blood glucose, weirdly, has stabilized in the 80’s-90s. I know, WEIRD, right?

Here’s my Strava route from today – it was oddly cool and warm at the same time. There’s a big booming wind coming from the west tonight and although the temperature read 73 degrees, it felt a lot cooler than that, especially when the wind came over the still-slushy lakes.

This ride from the day before, my first long ride on Veda, ended abruptly when the battery in the iPhone died. I kept riding and went back to Holy Moly, where I’d left the car park (it was a post-church ride).

My mileage is NOT impressive compared to some of David’s friends whose Strava postings are pretty intense, but it’s good to get outside and do something and I’m seeing so much benefit from it already.

Still have to tweak some things as far as the bike is concerned (sometimes called “dialing it in” ) but I’m happy to have caught the fitness bug while it can still do me a lot of good.

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