Monday, April 18, 2016

"It's Just Like Riding a Bike" - by Robin Janney

They say that once you learn how to ride a bicycle, you never forget how to.

They are not kidding!

The bike.
My husband loves me just as I am, my fat doesn't phase him one bit.  But he would like to see me weight less, to be healthier.  Himself as well since he's gained weight since we've been together, even though his fat doesn't phase me one bit either.  So he's always trying to come up with ways for us to exercise together.

For some reason, he doesn't like just going for a walk. Even though walking has always worked for me in the past.   I walked away weight to fit into a prom dress.  In my twenties I walked off almost 40+ pounds - that I ended up putting back on because I stopped walking.  Part of the problem is that I don't walk fast enough for him to break a sweat.  I've told him to walk on ahead at his own pace, but nooooooo, he wants to stay with me. So, he's been coming up with different activities - - that often end up pushing me outside my comfort zone and stressing me out.

Last summer, it was swimming.  I never learned how to swim as a child.  And because one of the first times I stepped into a pool as a teen was an unpleasant experience, I was terrified of the water.  Didn't like it over my head, didn't like it in my ears (still don't), and was just afraid of drowning. But Mr. Janney knew how to swim and did his best to teach me.  It was stressful for me, for all the reasons I already listed and because sometimes I felt like he was trying to rush me. Still, I kept at it.  Even one of the lifeguards at the pool commented on how well I was progressing.  I'm far from being an experienced swimmer, but I'm no longer afraid of drowning - or having my car end up in a lake and not knowing how to swim to the top (thank you Mythbusters!).

Of course, after the warm weather was over and I couldn't swim, I put some weight back on. I've been holding steady where I'm at though since Christmas, so there's that much at least.

So this year's project, even though I want to get back to swimming, is apparently bike riding.

Until Sunday, the last time I was on a bicycle...was over twenty years ago. Over twenty-five even.  I seriously don't even remember the last time. I remember the bike ramp incident when I was somewhere between seven and ten - the most common age mentioned as I try to figure out how old I was is eight.  My twin cousins built a bike ramp in our driveway one summer when they were visiting; they are only a few years older than I am. I think my brother Cliff and I were the only two to go over it.  I landed my jump, but I came down hard and swore up and down I'd hurt my genitals.  So I ran inside to make sure I wasn't bleeding. My brother apparently did not land his very well, because as I was coming out of the bathroom, Cliff was running inside with blood hanging out of his nose.  By the time our mother got out to investigate, the ramp was long gone!

Needless to say, I've been a little intimidated at the very thought of getting back on a bike.  But, I don't want to disappoint my husband. In the weeks leading up to this, whenever I've expressed my fears, he's told me "I have faith in you."  I mean, what is there to say to that?  He said the same thing when I was trying to learn how to swim, and I was able to do that.

The training grounds...
So while Mr. Janney and his father were working on a flag pole to put up in the yard, I was down below in the lower part of my in-laws driveway facing my fears. I was so anxious about this, I'd actually had a dream a few nights before where I just hopped on the bike and took off.  Which is honestly pretty much how it happened in real life - - I hopped on the bike pictured further above and took off.  I didn't ride far, just out into the road and down to the other driveway which you can't see in the photo.  I hopped off to turn around, hopped back on...and almost didn't make the turn and almost rode right into the woods on the other side of the road.  But I managed to get straightened out and back into the driveway.  And apparently was going too fast when I tried stopping and hopping off again, because I went face first into the driveway...I jokingly say that I kissed Mother Earth! Thankfully the only thing scraped up is the knee I landed on, and my hands a little bit.

I didn't let that stop me though.  After I finished telling my hubby that I was alright (he didn't see the fall, just me sitting in the dirt) I hopped back up and tried it again.  Much better the second time. The third time I made it down to the nearest neighbors, still not far away, and back again.  I can't even begin to describe to you the different feelings I had going through me as I soared.  Joy and fear held hands.  It was exhilarating, it was fun, it scared the crap out of me.

So I took a break to help with the flag pole.  Meaning I tried to take pictures for the most part.  But they all flubbed because my fat fingers got in the way.  The picture to the left is seriously the best picture I got.  I know Mr Janney will be happy that I didn't get his face in there.  The picture below is after they got the bell hung and the flag hoisted.

And let me tell you, when they were hanging the bell, all I could think was 'well, that doesn't look safe.' They put the bell in the bucket of the tractor you see, as well as my husband!  Then my father-in-law raised the bucket, bell and husband.  I did help during this part - I got to hold the rope attached to the bell so that it wouldn't get in Mr. Janney's way when he stood and lifted the bell into place.

I'm pretty sure we all took turns ringing the bell once it was all said and done.  I like the picture to the right; that little dot by the bell is the moon.  I wish it showed better, but my fingers weren't in the picture so that's a plus!

After this, Mr. Janney got his bike out and we both went for a little ride.  I tried making it as far as the neighbor who has the pond we like to go swimming in, but my legs would not push me up the little hill. So I told hubby I had to stop and get off...and almost face-planted myself again.  I managed to get myself flipped in time, thankfully there was no traffic as I was laying in the middle of the road. What's even worse, my hubby got off and tried helping me up - only my legs locked and I couldn't stand.  I was so embarrassed even though it was just him there.  He gave me another minute to stretch my legs out, still in the middle of this not-country-enough road, and this time he was able to get me to my feet.  My legs were so shaky from the exertion that I walked my bike back part of the way.  But once again, I didn't let the falling stop me - I got back on and rode the rest of the way back.

I thought I was done for the day after that, but my Mr. Janney decided to make a few alterations to the bike to see if it would be easier for me.  So of course I was obligated to give it another shot after he was done making his changes.  And I don't know what all he did, but it was more comfortable after that.

It was a fun day, and even though bike riding still scares me, I know that the fear will not stop me.

Although I really do think I'll be buying some knee pads and a helmet in the near future!

Safety first!

So dear readers: What fears have you faced recently?

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