Go fast and hope for the best

by Grace Ellen

For the last six days, I’ve biked seven miles round trip. I’m taking a summer class at one of the universities here in town, and I thought it would be a good idea to leave my car at home
When I told my husband that I wanted to bike to class, he told me all the reasons it wasn’t a good idea. I didn’t drop the topic (i.e. nagged until he realized I wouldn’t give up on the idea). Then he brought out his secret weapon, the words he knew would deter me: So, I had a premonition of your death, he started, not looking at me.
Uh-huh, I said.
Well, it wasn’t really a premonition, he continued. It’s more like I thought about what will happen when you
die on your bike. Like what it will be like having to raise the baby by myself. And who I’d tell first. I guess I’d call someone in my family and give them the job of calling other people. And being home with the baby this past month, I don’t want to raise him alone.

More silence.
Okay, fine. I won’t do it, I conceded. I don’t want to die.
No, no, no, that’s not what I meant, he backtracked.
Well, what did you mean?

It’s just that I worry. Not so much about you, but about other people. Other people are idiots. Cars don’t pay attention to where they’re going. I don’t want you to die.
We had several conversations like this, and I started to doubt my grand idea. My anxiety kicked in, and I began saying things like I want to be buried in Orange, or I just want to see my baby grow up. I worried up until the day before class, when my husband had to practically push me out the door to do a practice run.
I got on my bike. I wobbled and teetered and almost fell, and then I took off. I huffed and puffed my way down the streets and up a hill and on and off of sidewalks up to the university and back home again.
I loved it. Yes, I looked like an idiot in my off-fitting helmet, and I had some near run-ins with pedestrians, but I loved it. When I came home, the endorphins had kicked in, and I breathlessly told my husband, I can feel my arm fat melting off.
You were feeling your arm fat on the bike? he asked.

Yep. It’s going away. I was excited about all the good things biking to class was going to do for me. I was going to get skinny. I’d be setting a good example for my kid (not that he can comprehend what I’m doing), and I’d be doing my part to spread out the $40+ I’m spending to fill up my Civic.
I’m loving biking to class. I don’t mind being the smelly kid in class. Being on my bike gives me a new perspective on my beloved city. I’m able to people watch and architecture watch. I also get to see the mixed bag of people who wander into the local porn store.
But I was overly optimistic about the results of biking. I don’t feel any thinner, and for some reason I can’t understand, the numbers on the scale keep climbing this week. I don’t think I’m building muscle either. It’s harder than I expected to roll out of bed at 6:45 in the morning and bike bleary-eyed up a hill that seems more like Mt. Everest. I have to go in and out of the street, dodging pedestrians, cars and other bikers. When I get home I’m exhausted and hungry, and with only 20 points allowed each day, I have a hard time finding something to eat that doesn’t cancel out the activity points I earned by biking.
I’m also having more fun than I expected. I look forward to the challenges I’ll face each day, and each day I get a little braver. I ride on the streets more and on the sidewalks less. Even though I can’t see or feel the results, I’m sure they are there somewhere. And I haven’t died. Yet.


7 responses to “Go fast and hope for the best

  1. Jen on the Edge

    Keep biking!!! Don’t stop and don’t worry about the numbers on the scale. This is a good thing and you’ll benefit from it, I’m sure.

    As for my brother having a premonition of your death, I’d be happy to punch him the next time I see him.

  2. OMG! My husband has practically the same conversation with me EVERY. time. I talk about riding my bike 2 miles to work. Except the “raising the kid alone” part. That’s not part of our equation. But, what the. . .

    Good for you for doing it anyway! Keep up the good work!

  3. I’m with Jen. Just punch him in the face. Or the ear. The ear really stings 😉

  4. I used to rollerblade to work and my hubs never pulled out the “worried I would die”….I’m the one that usually thinks like that….of course, he could just believe that I’m too stubborn and mean to go young….

    Anyway, don’t stop. You are melting fat and building muscle and endurance, it just takes a while to see it. And in another week or so your body will adjust to the activity and it won’t make you so hungry. Great work!

  5. Keep going! You’re doing great, and our body will adjust soon and then you won’t be so hungry.

    btw – at least your hubby cares! I used to roller-blade 10k through traffic to work and my husband never once worried about me….I guess he thinks I’m too stubborn and mean to go young!

  6. He means well…
    I woke up this morning to a flat tire and had to drive to school! It’s thrown my whole day off!

  7. Keep it up! I’m inspired. My hubby is fixing a bike up for me for my birthday so I can start riding, too.

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