Wednesday, September 25, 2013

"I really wish that women would stop spinning."

It's supposed to be a thing, to be "in shape." But I remember failing the UChicago orientation-week fitness test (yes, this is, or was, also a thing), this despite being in what was by all accounts the best shape of my life - after three years of high school track, and before whichever college debauchery, which, granted, largely consisted of the vending machine outside the Maroon offices. I remember, during those high school track days, being just fine on long runs, but when it snowed and we had a "stairs" day in our ten-floor building, I... did not hold up as well.

And then there's this: I can now run reasonably long distances and reasonable paces: 10-minute miles for a seven-mile jog outside, or under nine per mile for a half-hour one on the treadmill. (Both of which required great effort to arrive at, so yes, I'm going to announce these stats in an obnoxious, braggy-overshare manner.) Yet biking to town, which takes maybe ten minutes, leaves me beat. Or it did today. The two hills (and these are nothing major) took all my might. Part of it was the flat-ish tires, and my not noticing them until quite far along on the bigger hill. Part of it was also that it's about a year since I've biked regularly, and several months since I've gotten on it at all, so whichever exact leg muscles are relevant for this, fine, may have atrophied.

But isn't there supposed to be such a thing as cardiovascular health? Or in colloquial terms, fitness? And isn't biking 1.5 miles supposed to require less of the stuff than running at least twice that distance? What is this "shape" they speak of, that's supposedly transferrable?


Tracy Anderson continues (remember long-butt?) to fascinate:

I really wish that women would stop spinning. I say that with such conviction because almost every day in my office, I see women crying and unhappy because they can't fit into their jeans, because of the thigh bulking. 


Ponder Stibbons said...

Biking up hills works the glutes a lot and is more of an anaerobic thing (short and intense). Running uphill on the other hand works the calves more than the glutes. I find that I'm sore in different places when I run vs when I bike. Also when I'm going uphill on a run I try to find a pace that I know I can sustain for a decent amount of time, whereas I'm more likely to try and mash on a bike so as to get it over with faster.

Phoebe said...

Yes, this makes sense. Especially the part about the need to pace, as vs. to just get it over with. This comes up particularly if you're using the bike for transportation and only incidentally as a workout. On that specific ride, part of it was, I was mid-hill when I saw that the tires needed air, making it all the more pressing to get to the top of the various hills, to the bike shop.

caryatis said...

The tires make a difference, as does carrying cargo on the bike, which you probably don't do running. Also, why did you have to take the stairs because it was snowing? Is this a Chicago thing?

Phoebe said...

No cargo, so that can't have been it, at least not this time around.

The stairs were in New York, and they were because a long run on snowed-over pavement, esp. if you don't have any particular gear for it (which we, a public-school track team, did not), isn't so practical. Or maybe the school thought it would be sued if they let us run outside? Probably, though, it was just that the most efficient fitness-thing our team captains came up with was the one that allowed us to work out right there, in our regular gym clothes.