Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Some days I feel despondent about injury, and some days I feel defiant. It is hard to wedge myself somewhere in the middle. But the only way to figure out how much is too much is to start somewhere near the bottom, which often feels worse than doing nothing.

I had an unsuccessful weekend of resting (although it was only resting in the physical sense. I haven't been through a whirlwind of activity like that in a while). My new plan is to slither back into cycling. And in order to not tempt myself into two-hour jaunts, I decided I was going to do that slithering at the gym. On their creaky, old, rubber-straps-for-toe-clips stationary bike. I hate that thing. Which is the perfect mindset to have when you're trying to avoid the temptation of overuse. I pedaled 20 minutes at low resistance. Mindless spinning, and in the meantime I read "Over the Hills" by David Lamb, a book written by a middle-age reporter for the Los Angeles Times who smokes and drinks and decides one day in the 90s to cross the country on a bicycle. I was reading the part where he was making his way across Arkansas and writing about all of the delicious pies he was eating. I wanted to find out more about those pies and the quirky small-town folks he met, so after my prescribed 20 minutes were up, I sauntered over to the elliptical trainer.

That's how it goes down. 45 minutes passed there. After that, enough time had passed that I had to go straight to work from the gym anyway, so I killed 20 more minutes lifting ... including the crackle-inducing leg extensions (because I read somewhere that once that crackling starts to subside, I'm good to go, so I wanted to see if it was still there. It was.) But the real drawback of all that is, when I'm popping Advil and hobbling in the evening, I have no idea whether I can blame the 20 minutes of pedaling or not.

Today my plan is to pedal my prescribed 25 minutes and nothing more, and leave my book at home so I get good and bored in that time. It really doesn't even seem worth the effort of putting on gym shorts and my knee brace, but with two months of failure and a nonsurgical diagnosis, all I have left is baby steps.

The goal is that I'll understand when it's no longer appropriate to hold back. Moderation in all things. Even moderation. (Good quote, by the way, Dave.)