Bike Commuting

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So, for the first time in about 2 months, I commuted to work by bike today. It’s always more challenging than it should be for me to convince myself to get on the bike in the morning, especially considering that I usually enjoy most of my ride. My goal for this summer was to consistently commute via bike 3 times a week, and thus far I’ve been failing miserably. TDY’s haven’t helped, but that’s an excuse. The ride today was mostly enjoyable, but my ass hurts. Plan is to do it tomorrow, weather pending. I was also supposed to buy myself some rain-gear tonight so I could stop using possible rain as an excuse.

What’s interesting, though, is the speed I rode at today. After 2 months away from biking and generally not being all that active, I not only broke my time and speed records in both directions, but I broke my outbound by 10%, which I feel significant. My previous best had been a about 52 minutes, and today I rode it in 47. My average speed beat my old average speed by almost 2 miles an hour.

My ride back wasn’t so impressive, and although I beat my previous best by about 2 minutes, I think it was likely because of extreme luck in stoplights. I barely hit any.

I have noticed a theme with physical activity for myself. Any time I take about 1-2 months off of doing something, I usually get a small window of really high performance right when I start doing it again. This has been true of most of the stuff that I’ve tracked; fencing, lifting, and now biking. Running seems to be the exception, but I feel like my biggest foe running is mental: not exhaustion, but boredom. I get really bored running, and it takes me awhile of doing it to find the zen ability to let my mind drift and THINK about things to keep myself from getting so bored running that I stop.

I find when I am doing any long-time-frame (anything over about 20 minutes) solo physical activity, the only way that I can continue to do it is to find some kind of balance between pain and boredom. Pain I can deal with, boredom I can deal with, but apparently I can’t or won’t deal with being bored and in pain. (I’m good at differentiating between healthy working pain and you’re injuring yourself pain, so to protective friends and family: I am not, and never will, hurt myself or try and “tough it out” through injurious pain.) If I’m gasping for breath, and my legs are getting tired, and I’m bored, not only will I likely quit, I likely won’t come back to it.

This is one definite reason I’ve always been better at team sports. One of the things I’ve noticed on my bike commute is that when I get passed, I can outperform my normal best easily and without much mental sacrifice just staying close on the tail of whoever passed me. Competing, even at the same thing that bores me without just a hint of competition, keeps me entertained.

It’s all very odd.

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