A Runner Rides a Bike


Some of you may remember a couple weeks ago, the doctor told me to take it easy, regarding my running, in order to give my foot time to heal from alleged plantar fasciitis.

Some of you also may remember that I balked at his advice. But still, he was right–regardless of the diagnosis, my body was telling me to lower my mileage and add some cross-training.

Day one: I went to the beach, where the only exercises were tapping my Kindle screen with my forefinger and occasionally lolling on my raft in the lake.

Day two: I did the elliptical in the basement, which seemed like a good workout, but when I was done, I didn’t feel like I’d accomplished anything other than watching an hour of TV.

Day three: I got up before dawn, strapped on my helmet and Katie’s old knee, elbow and wrist guards; dug my mountain bike out of the garage; and rode along my running trail. Naturally, this would be a piece of cake, so in order to make it challenging, I did my 12 mile hilly route (okay, so most of my routes are hilly around here).

Here’s what I learned:

1) Just because I can run does not mean biking is easy (except downhill).

2) Balance matters.

3) I can ascend a hill faster on my own feet than I can on a bike.

4) Going downhill requires a bit of courage.

5) Balance really matters. Really.

6) My brakes are squeaky.

7) Biking is loud.

8) I’d rather be running.

Now, bike riding is fun, and honestly, I’ve never felt my heart rate shoot up so high as when I was tackling those steep hills, my legs incessantly spinning; and I enjoyed a nice shot of adrenaline when my back tire slid on a gravely, steep descent; but for mediation time, prayer time, just sanity time, biking isn’t my thing.


Day Four: I laced up my running shoes.

I am happy to report, that I had very minimal pain, as long as I didn’t run too quickly. I decreased my mileage and went to a four-day running schedule, rather than a five-day schedule, which seems to suit my 39 year-old body more. And now, three weeks after the doctor told me to take it easy, I have little to no pain at all. The only time I notice a ‘twinge’ in my arch is when I begin a run, but by six miles, it’s gone away.

I’ve done three runs of 18 miles and one run of 20 miles. So far, without anything hurting.

Overall, I’m sure cross-training has a valuable part to play in becoming a better runner. And while I will keep my ancient bike with the faded ‘squirrel’ bell maintained, I’m not likely to enter cycling races any time soon.

My Squirrel Bell, which has been around longer than any of my children

I may not be fast, nor am I in perfect condition, but a good, long run soothes my soul.

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.


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