Last week, I rode my bicycle for the first time in at least three years. As the cliche has it, I remembered how to do this task without difficulty. At least, I didn't have difficulty with the usual concerns like "balance" or "stopping". Hill-climbing, however, was problematic.
I appear to be somewhat out of shape. While I did pass a physiological / cardiological stress test, I now think that perhaps the high-sounding goal I achieved (13 METs) may have been somewhat hyped. The test is most often administered to elderly patients with multiple health problems prior to surgery, as a way to gauge a person's ability to survive general anaesthesia and invasive procedures. So maybe it was a little on the easy side.
A picture from the National Health Service of the UK. I have no idea what that creepy big-eyed kid is doing with the lungs. WTF?
I rode my bike to school, up the rather feeble "Gordon Street Hill" three times last week (Weds, Thurs, Fri), and again on Monday (yesterday, so this rant may actually be accurately titled in the first word). Yesterday, for whatever reason, sucked the most. Today I did not ride my bike, but only because I'll be visiting the grocery store later today (it's near school) and the bus is much more convenient when carrying large amounts of food.
I am not in great physical shape (as should have been obvious from the picture), but I like to think I'm not totally useless. I don't get out of breath walking to the 'fridge for another beer, for example. But yesterday morning, when my chain slipped off the front derailer and I had to stop and put it back on, I was seriously out of breath. I don't like that feeling, at all.
Other people talk about 'runner's high' and similar concepts, where the PAIN of physical exertion is apparently washed away by some combination of mental distraction and endogenous narcotics. I have never experienced this. Depending on exactly how far I've let myself slide, I feel variously uncomfortable, unpleasant, or shitty during and imediately after strenous aerobic activity*. That sucks.
Obviously, as I ride my bike more, and continue to get some much-needed exercise, I can expect this feeling to occur with declining frequency on my daily commute. It's still bloody annoying that it happens at all, though.
* One strenous aerobic activity that I quite enjoy does not provoke any such negative feelings, so there is an exception to that rule.