Thursday, October 8, 2009

Does My Bum Look Fat In This?

We hear a lot about the positive consequences of exercise; the weight loss, improvement in cardiovascular health benefit, longevity, psychological benefits and the whole social aspect of working out. From our point of view, it seems that exercise also has a darker side....

Anyone seen my inhaler?

Chronic, overuse injuries are hard to deal with because they are there as a direct consequence of the sport. Let's face it, who hasn't sat on the couch icing that foot or trying to stretch their ITB (and come on, who are we kidding, the words "ITB" and "stretch" are surely mutually exclusive, unless separated by the words "can't be") wondering if they'll ever play the piano again. They can lead to a whole new dark-side of anxiety and, unfortunately, only patience will get you through this. That and a huge stack of DVDs!

Bike accidents aren't glamourous and I wouldn't wish one on my worst enemy (apart from, well, you know who you are). The line between telling an amusing story to your friends and a policeman telling it to the coroner is too thin. The split-second you find yourself in the air thinking "oh crap, this is really gonna hurt" isn't that much fun. Neither is lying on the road looking at the underside of someone elses bottom bracket shell or front grill and feeling yourself all over to see what still works and if everything is still attached. If you're lucky, you'll come out with a juicy-looking scar and as the saying goes "pain is temporary, glory is forever, chicks dig scars". For those of you of the diploid-X persuasion don't worry, this works both ways. Male roadies will always be impressed by a scar, regardless of the karyotype of the knee or elbow it happens to be adorning.

Hello Doctor, is this a big hole in my leg or am I pleased to see you?

Being an alleged paragon of healthy living (lots of fruit, early nights, no alcohol or cigarettes and plenty of exercise) doesn't always play well at the doctors office either! Unless (or sometime seemingly because sometimes) one is wheeled into ER on a trolley, doctors often get excited by the low heart-rate and signs of an enlarged heart. Sometimes I think all of us of the endurance multisport persuasion should have our training logs and possibly our palmares on our health cards. True, the latter might be a bit egotistical ("look Doc, I got a winner!") but the former, well that would be useful. No more having to explain everything, besides, it's hard to say "I run marathons" with a tube down your throat. Plus, you know all those surveys that say North American per capita consumption of potato chips is ca. 9 kg or they drink ca. 70L of beer each per year? I'm seriously annoyed as it means some-one else is drinking my beer and eating my chips (and I'm eating their damned salad!).

Bank managers may also have problems understanding our ilk. I cannot be the only one to have their bicycles listed as "significant assets" can I (well compared to my POS car they are; actually to be honest the value of my car did recently increase significantly, but I had just filled it up!)? Our spending habits may be slightly erratic and not necessarily planned; it doesn't matter if it's Aerobics First, Cyclesmith or MEC, something always follows you home, be it a flashy light, "extra" pair of shoes or a fully loaded Pinarello Dogma with Campy Record (as if). And yes, mea culpa, I did once pop in to buy an inner tube and impulse-bought a bike; who hasn't?

There is, however, an unplanned hit. The weight-loss means having to buy a whole new wardrobe, several perhaps. Surely I'm not the only one out there who appears to be playing dress-up with their parents clothes. For many multisport athletes it's the swimming that does it; one day you're fine, the next your shoulders have magically increased in size and you're busting out of your Thomas Pinks like the Incredible Hulk.

Waking up the day after swim practice, Mark inexplicably found his shirts no longer fitted

I recently experienced this hit in a slightly different direction; I can't get trousers to fit me anymore. The old standby off-the peg measurements don't work. Either the waist fits but they won't fit around all the miles in my quads or I can get the width in the leg but I need to put another notch in my belt and yet it still has to be cinched tighter than the zip-ties on the finish-line banners at Guysborough this year. Unless you want dress-pants tighter than the Sex Pistol's jeans that you can't move in, you have to go for the slightly baggier ones. But this means buying the larger waist size! As comfy as these trousers may be, every step you take down the street you say "I can't believe these are 32's, I can't believe these are 32s". Obviously I have my mother's thighs, but then she did ride the kilo for the DDR.

Does my bum look big in this?

In the long run, for the sake of my own sanity, I think this means I'll now have to get both my suits and my frames bespoke!


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