Something very exciting has happened in our family this week. We are in the process of becoming “a biking family.”
This is something that my children have wanted to do for ages and ages and their mama has been pretty adamantly opposed to their scheme.
For more years that I can remember I’ve had an allergy to physical activity.
It’s true! When I try to do something active I have an almost immediate reaction! I have a hard time breathing, my chest closes up and I begin to feel faint! My face gets red and my tongue swells. It’s clearly an allergy, thus I do my righteous best to avoid antagonizing the situation and avoid physical activity with some diligence.
This summer, however, things have changed.
One big change is that I’m on a leadership sabbatical and have been shedding leadership responsibilities left and right. It grieves me to do so, but I also feel a clear release from the Holy Spirit for these exits, and I have been amazed at how God has become so real to me throughout these decisions!
In addition, about 3.5 weeks ago my favorite Young Living essential oil guru had us over for dinner and handed me a box of oils as I walked out the door. “I can’t promise it will do anything, but I think you need to try this,” she said.
I went home that night and started the Young Living Freedom Protocol. A week into using the protocol I bought it for myself and returned her box because… my friends! … I began to sleep.
Sleep is an elusive thing for me and has been for quite a while. In general, it’s extremely hard for my brain to turn off and stay off. I mean, the dog turning over in their sleep wakes me up at night. It’s ridiculous. But the Freedom protocol has me sleeping.
After having normal sleep for awhile, I discovered I was becoming a normal human again. The house got cleaner. I felt accomplished.
Then, about 10 days ago, I decided that I was tired of carrying so much extra weight that I couldn’t wear my wedding ring anymore. I have a deep dislike of the scale and avoid it like Covid 19, but I finally mustered up the courage to overlook my distaste and weigh myself. Then, I discovered I weigh more now than I did with any of the four pregnancies. Houston, we have a problem. I mean, I suspected the problem existed, but I didn’t know how bad it was and it’s the first time I’ve had enough emotional energy to spare that I actually care!
So, as an action step for that care, I signed up for Noom. I’m still on my free trial, but I’m planning to continue because… I’m learning so much! I’m starting to lose weight! I’m counting calories (which is something I’ve never done before…ever… probably because calories have to do with math and numbers which are my long-time nemesis) and I’m starting to “get it.”
And some time in all of this change and new beginning stuff, I realized that if I exercise even a little a bit there’s a hazy opportunity available for my stomach to not be shaped like a pillow anymore.
Well, I’m always up for an adventure, so why not give that a try?!”
But as good as exercise sounds in theory, this is where things begin to run amuk. You see, I am not really built for exercise.
However, I am married to a ridiculous athlete. Like stupid ridiculous. When he plays soccer it’s watching ballet, full of grace and speed and effortless beauty! He can snowboard, he can bike, he can do all the things with the body he was given and it gives all of us such joy to see!
I, myself, am like a car that’s been parked in the garage for more years than anyone can recall. I’m a nice enough model and (underneath that layer of dust) there’s a practically-new car that runs. But it’s sluggish. And old.
Because God has a sense of humor, the two of us met and we reproduced and now have four children that are natural athletes. (Not much of readers, which is disappointing because that was my contribution to the gene pool, but apparently the athleticism gene won the fisticuffs with the bookworm gene.)
I kind of hate this about them because it means I spend many hours on the sidelines watching them all do amazing things and after a while my bum goes numb.
But in this particular instance… it means I’m surrounded by five people who are used to using the body God gave them and don’t consider working out a health threat.
And into this lava lake I plunged with the grand desire to meet their request to “be a biking family.”
I bought a Huffy. It has a basket.
Now, in honor of this purchase I decided to try to remember the last time I’d ridden a bike and – as best as I can recall – it was in 1996 in Palermo, Sicily.
Palermo is a beautiful city on the shore of the Mediterranean and I rented a bike for the day to get around. About 45 minutes into my rental I returned the bike, convinced it was a death trap I had barely escaped, and made a vow to, from that point forward, only trust my feet.
I have forsaken that vow.
The birds-egg blue Huffy with the charming basket, cup holder, and cell phone holder called.
For two days we rode as a family. Our total high milage was 3.4 miles/day.
I began to feel the Huffy was plotting against me. It felt like I was sludging through oatmeal as I huffed and I puffed.
The athlete I married told me it had something to do with speeds and tire width and some other stuff that I’m sure makes sense to someone with a brain that processes numbers and mechanics but when he spoke I started to hear (like a Charlie Brown’s teacher) “wah, wah, wah, wah,” all I took away from his (repeated) explanations was: The swanky Huffy has style but a slow bike and it’s not going to get better.
So when a friend of mine told me she had a bike she wanted to send to a good home, I took her up on it! We collected the bike last night and this afternoon was my first, glorious, speedy ride on the Schwinn.
Schwinn… doesn’t it just sound like a breeze?
There are gears. I don’t know know what they do. The seat has an air pump and I know what that does because it makes my bum feel glorious when I ride over a bump.
I was flying. The wind was in the strands of hair poking out from under my helmet! We were a biking family, all of us lined up like little ducks in a row, killin’ it!
And then, at the mid point of our ride, I stopped for a breather… and lost my balance… and fell into the road of the main street highway.
So, lesson learned. I shouldn’t have worried about the 7-year-old doing something dangerously stupid, I should only worry for myself and my phenomenally lacking dexterity. Note to self: Know your limits. They are currently about 2 miles and more downhill than uphill.
I hopped out of the road without anyone even honking, blushed when I realized all the patrons of the Sizzler had probably watched the episode (and then sighed in relief when I realized that that Sizzler has been struggling to stay in business so probably there wasn’t anyone inside to see me), and did my best to ignore the fact that my foot and my knee were throbbing.
We turned around and made it home and now, after a shower and rest, I have to acknowledge that my right foot is significantly larger than my left foot.
The athlete/coach “I’m not a sports medic but I did sleep at a Holiday Inn last night” I’m married to has diagnosed turf toe and says it’s ok that I cried a little when I tried to stand on it to make dinner.
And this is where I acknowledge that I have to eat some humble pie. Friends – when you don’t use your body in a real way for decades, start small. It won’t go so well. So small steps, small victories. (And hopefully no turf toe.)
But keep trying. Like I will. I’m definitely going to try again – after all, the Schwinn is calling my name!