Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Sacamento, California
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Cycling to fitness status check (2 months in...)
My primary question is this: Am I pushing too hard too soon?
I'm in my late 30's, and for better or worse - I've lived a largely sedentary lifestyle for at least a decade. After a divorce of the variety they write country songs about, I have arrived at cycling as my portal to a more positive self image, a primary vessel for my overall health, and a sort of purification ritual.
Taking a step back:
Growing up I was always the most oustanding athlete in my neighborhood/peer group/school. The sports I excelled at were not endurance sports, and even at my peak of physical fitness, I would became weary after 3 quarters of play. I have theorized that I'm simply not physiologically constructed for an endurance activity, which could contribute to keeping me from my goal of completing a century et al. Although I might best describe myself of having the raw physical makeup of a cyclist (long legs/slender(ing)/stronger lower half than upper half).
After enthusiastically taking up road cycling some 2 months ago, I have made some progress, and made some drastic changes in my diet and lifestyle. I have used the "Abs" diet to get myself on the right path nutrition-wise, and have consequently quit fast food/high fructose corn syrup/hydrogenated oils/desserts cold turkey. Full disclosure: I have not yet been able to kick my one vice: the evening beers after work.(In my defense I HAVE kicked the In 'n Out Burger/Round Table Pizza habit...no small feat)
The positives: So far I have lost 15 Lbs., and when I think back to my 1st rides two months ago, my fitness level has certainly increased. My leg weariness has lessened...my 'saddle' stamina has improved with a newly upgraded seat (Terry Fly)...so now my limitation is my cardiovascular fitness level. I am doing 90 minute rides three times a week. Many rides are encouraging with an amazing 'second wind' arriving about 30 minutes in.
My problem/concern: for each 90 minute ride that is strong/vigourous...I have one that is a struggle. I get a sensation that my heart is over-laboring and beating large in my chest/throat...while at the same time feeling strong in my legs. Most after-rides are fine, but some I am left feeling a little over extended or even a bit nauseous.
I am an abject novice to endurance sports, and given my history, I know that I will need to sweat out years of cobwebs before I would begin to consider myself "in-shape". I am wondering if what I am experiencing is unusual, or if my expectation level is too high. As I can see, beginning cycling is a three prong senario of leg strength - cardiovascular fitness -and to a lesser degree saddle stamina. I very well may be just pushing too hard and not allowing my fitness level to develop naturally. I am still 20 lbs over my goal weight, and logic would suggest that has to happen over time.
I am very much enjoying this process, but at the same time there is a little pessimist's voice in my head whispering 'you can't do this, you arn't made to do this, you will fail and fall back into you old unhealthy patterns'.
Words of reality / encouragement are greatly appreciated.