Limbering Up

We’re well into June, and that means the assault on Mt. Stephenson is underway— the Ascent Team has agreed to read Cryptonomicon in June, Quicksilver in July, The Confusion in August, and The System of the World in September. I’m tingling with anticipation of getting back into The Baroque Cycle after all this time! This means there’s going to be more blogging around this place soon, so I thought it would be a good idea to warm up with a few short posts before we head off into thin air with Neal Stephenson.

I’m a couple of weeks into an experiment with taking public transportation to work instead of driving. Gas prices are the proximate cause of this change, supported by the need for more reading time, the critical need for more regular exercise, and free-floating liberal guilt. I’m a Portlander, for pity’s sake; how can I justify driving a single-occupant vehicle 26 miles a day when there’s a Max station on the corner opposite my office building? Commuting takes planning, organization, a big time commitment (driving, my work day is 8:00-6:00; commuting makes it 7:00-7:00) and a certain amount of anxiety-control, given that being alone amidst a lot of strangers is challenging for me. On the upside, it forces me to walk a cumulative hour every day, plus the cardio I get on the stairs at Hollywood station (my doctor is SO pleased!), and once my tush is in a seat, I can just relax and read—someone else is worrying about the traffic. I’m powering through Cryptonomicon at a record pace, thanks to the extra hours of reading time in my week.

I’ve only managed to commute two days per week so far, and am trying to get to three. I’ve run the numbers, and with my workplace subsidy on bus passes, driving half the time and commuting the other half is the break-even point at current gas prices. I can commit to that. As I get more accustomed to it, and as gas prices continue to rise, it will be even more appealing.

I do, however, need to get some kind of stretching routine into place. So far, I haven’t been able to commute two days in a row because I’m so frickin’ sore and tired the day after I’ve done it. Doing stretches I remember from PE class isn’t cutting it, so I suppose I need to Google around for something more effective—recommendations, anyone?

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5 Responses to Limbering Up

  1. Preston says:

    I applaud you for doing this. I wish that I could live closer to my job and commute. Heck I would even ride my bike to work if I could.
    As far as stretches are concerned, what hurts? If its the calf muscles (which hurt me after a lot of walking), I would do the standing wall strectch. This is what I found on the internet:Keep both legs straight and use your rear leg to push your hips toward the wall to get a deeper stretch through your calf and the arch of your foot. I would also strecth the inner leg by standing and then taking the leg opposite of the one that you want to stretch and placing it a comfrontable distance from the other and then lean the opposite way. This should strecth the inner thigh muscle. Am I making sense?
    I sure hope so. I guess I could have just said, “Do some runners stretches” and saved some space, huh? Love you! p

  2. kaizerin says:

    It is my calves, largely, and hamstrings. Sometimes my knees and ankles hurt. Sometimes I have an all-over heaviness in my legs. This morning, the small of my back is tight and aching. Basically, I’m a wreck. 🙂

  3. Preston says:

    My knees and ankles hurt all the time. Partly due to my weight and partly due to the fact that my right hip is always out of place an inch. So I am constantly in pain. I can go to the chiro, but that only lasts about a month, month and half and then it goes back out. So I basically have learned to live with it. Now my left hip/ankle is hurting probably because I have over compensated for my right side for so long. I’ve said that if I cut off my entire right side, I would probably be better off and hurt less, although, I would look awkard 🙂

  4. Preston says:

    I forgot…I broke my right foot in Junior High…I can feel the arthritis in it on a daily basis and my right knee I rammed into the edge of car door @ Hy-Vee when we lived in Normandy Terrace. My knee will just throb and ache. Hence the comment about cutting my right side off and why I would feel better although, look very akward. So sometime in the future, I will probably have to have it replaced. Hopefully for not another 20-30 years…. 🙂

  5. kaizerin says:

    P–I forgot all about you breaking your foot! That is the kind of thing that comes back to haunt a person in mid-life. As far as your joint aches–I don’t know if this would be true for your hip, because it’s actually mis-aligned–but I found that my post-hospital walking program quickly reversed age/weight-related problems in my left knee. It had been sore and stiff pretty constantly, and giving me real problems on stairs. A few weeks of regular morning walks, and I suddenly realized the knee was no longer aching or seizing up. I think Mom would agree, given how well she rebuilt her knees with pool exercise.

    I will say, this kind of thing is hard to stick to when you’re habitually sedentary, like I am. You really have to motivate yourself. I had a good program worked up a few years ago, but gradually fell away from it. Then I did aqua-aerobics for a year, and got great results health-wise, if not any particular weight loss. Now, I’m trying this walking/commuting thing, and it’s been tough, but is slowly getting easier. I finally did a back-to-back this week, and found I felt tons better on the walk home Friday than I had on Thursday. I would have expected Friday to be worse, but apparently, the secret to easing sore, over-worked muscles is to use them more–who knew?

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