What Goes Down, Must Come Up

No, I am not talking about my weight.  (I hope.)

I am a lazy exerciser.  Sounds like a bit of an oxymoron.  Seems like it would defeat the purpose.  But it works for me.  Let me explain.

I can count on both hands the number of times I have hiked in my life.  But I learned very quickly that if I hike again, I will try to only go on hikes that head uphill first and downhill second.  A few summers ago our family visited the Grand Canyon and we hiked down.  Not very far, but far enough.  And because what goes down must come up, there was no avoiding the hot climb back to the rim that somehow seemed more than twice as long as the hike down.  But if I hike up first, I will do the hard part when I have more energy and not risk being stuck at the bottom of some canyon or waterfall, too exhausted to haul myself back up the hill!

The same theory holds true for my outdoor bike riding.  I am very aware of each and every long or steep hill on our usual routes.  And I plan my ride around them.  There are certain hills, for instance, that I only do going one direction in a circuit, because I have learned that coming back the other way is much harder.  And often I have hubby drive us to the trail-head so that we can avoid the very long climb that we would otherwise encounter near the end of our ride.  Another way that my laziness comes out is with my planning based on wind direction.  I have been known to watch several weather forecasts each morning to get a majority opinion as to the potential headwinds we will encounter.  I am all about planning the route so that, whenever possible, we have the wind at our back for the last part of the ride when we are more tired.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not so lazy that I am just taking a quick, casual bike ride around the neighborhood.  I am consistently pedaling away for between 20 and 25 miles, several days a week.  And there is always some variation of hills to undergo.  Kansas, contrary to rumor, is not all flat!  At the top of some hills I am sucking in air and my heart is racing.  And on most of my rides there is very little coasting going on.  (Except down the hills, of course, but even then I often have to pedal some to keep up with my husband who is sped along by his weight and gravity.)  So my little tricks aren’t really keeping me from working out hard.  Just not hardER.

Every once in a while my husband says he wants to tackle the toughest of our one-way hills in the other direction.  Just to see if he can do it.  I say “go for it hubby.”  But I’ll wait for you at home that day.  I am perfectly content with my current laziness-induced exercise planning.  So much so that I am going to change my verbiage from “lazy” to “smart:”  I am a smart planner.  I am putting in the time and the miles; that’s what counts.  I can get just as good a workout hiking uphill first.  I can ride my bike further and longer if I avoid some wind and hills.  That’s my theory and, for now anyways, I am sticking to it:)

Postscript:  Yesterday we road a circuit with a very steep hill.  In my climb, I passed one rider, caught up to a second, and chatted briefly with a third who was walking his bike up.  Hubby, during all of this, had long since crested and was waiting for me to catch up on the other side.  Just in case you thought I was a total slacker:)



Filed under exercise

34 responses to “What Goes Down, Must Come Up

  1. Genie@dietof51

    If I wasn’t too lazy to bike, I’d do the same type of planning.

    If I’m doing your math correctly, 60-75 miles a week is awesome!

  2. I say whatever works for you! At least you are doing it, right!

    I tackle my hard stuff first too. In the gym, I start with the hard core treadmill stuff & the StepMill before the Elliptical. It works for me!

    The one thing I do though, is change up what I am doing on there. I still work it hard but just keep the bod guessing!

  3. You got it, not lazy but SMART! I also have hills that I’ll only do one way. And I, too, like my biggest hills in the first half of the ride. I’m very impressed by your mileage. Kudos!

  4. Yup. Exercise is better than cement feet. Plus, you’re not really lazy. You’re smart.

  5. HAHA I can totally relate. ‘Tis why I like running so much: least amount of time I have to spend exercising. lol!

  6. I so feel ya on the biking hills thing. I once rode my bike 7 miles to a small neighboring town, all slightly downhill, which I realized on the way back. I was so.tired. when I got back home, and I vowed NEVER to do that again. Haven’t to this day. I’ll stick with BodyPump. 🙂

  7. Hills — argh! In my hiking days, I hated hill/mountains because sometimes the down was as bad as the up on my knees, even though the ridge walking was glorious for the views. Here in Tucson it is mighty hard to find circuit riding without any type of hills except in the heart of the city. As long as you are being that physically active + enjoying it, who cares it you ride around a few of the “scenic hills” (as they are advertised) in Kansas?

    You guys should consider a trip out here in November for El Tour de Tucson along with 10,000 other riders of all categories and several circuits to choose from. You could visit Canyon Ranch and walk over for coffee/tea!

    • Link to El Tour de Tucson http://www.pbaa.com/!ETT/ETThome.html – “one of the premier organized rides in United States”

      • Karen

        That is a lot of riders! Thanks for the link. This looks like something we should do next year, when our nest is empty. Your scenery is soooo much nicer:) I did do a ride one of my trips to CR. Sabino Canyon maybe? Definitely up and down and I am pretty sure I had to get off to walk at least once. And I did a hike out there once too. Up first:) I know what you mean about knees; my sister-in-law, who was with me at CR, uses poles to help her knees on the way down.

  8. I agree not “lazy” but “smart”. I am waiting for the high temps to go down so I can bike more.

  9. I love hiking — and hills and heavy breathing. But I am also a huge fan of walking.

    I don’t think of it as lazy — I think of it has finding how how you are at you optimal.

    Great job on the biking as well!

  10. Karen, I just read your comment on my blog. Believe me when I say… you know what it is. You do. What is the thing that you have thought and dreamed about? Get quiet, you know the answer. I promise you do.

  11. Karen, I’d love to go hiking with you, you’re a girl after my own heart!

    I too strongly prefer to do the hardest parts first!

  12. You ARE smart, Karen! Without your “smart planning,” you probably wouldn’t ride at all. I totally love your method here!

  13. Basing routes around weather forecasts and wind directions is genius. You have turned cycling into a science 🙂

  14. I agree that being smart about your workout plan is different than being lazy. My husband is an avid bike rider going for 40-60 miles on a Saturday and he does the same thing.

    I would ride my bike more but I hate riding in traffic and to get to any decent place to ride requires it. I am looking into getting a bike rack for my car so I will drive to places and ride more.

    • Karen

      We have a rack and my husband is so sweet to do all the work loading and unloading it. I really don’t like riding on the little bit of road that we sometimes do. A couple times this summer we loaded up and drove a bit further to a longer trail that is quite hilly. Only on days the wind is coming from the north:)

  15. Amy

    Ok I totally get you / it. This is number one reason why I am so much better with group exercise classes. I get competetive and I need the motivation to push myself. Otherwise on my own I don’t push.

    • Karen

      I do better in group classes too! Not because I am competitive, but because someone is telling me what to do and I can’t just quit and wimp out. But I also enjoy the camaraderie.

  16. I’m with you! My favorite long walk at a local park is a loop. If you start out to the left – it’s straight up a breathtaking hill for about 1/2 mile, and a couple of other not so big hills, then mostly level or down hill for the rest. The other direction feels like all uphill, though less steep. I always pick #1!

    • Karen

      I so rarely take long walks anymore that I forgot about that. But there is one longer walk from my house that, again, I always do in one direction to avoid the worst of it. Those darn hills!

  17. I think you’re just wise. I’ve been employing that strategy since I was a kid. Plus, going downhill has it’s own challenges, with walking or hiking anyway. Not sure about biking.
    I look forward to biking once my rear isn’t too big for the seat!

  18. I plan my routes around hills and such, too. Some hills I prefer to go up, some I prefer to go down. I remember riding down one monstrous hill in San Francisco and calling back back to my friend Morgan that I’d rather be riding UP it. 🙂

    For me, it’s also about the effot vs. the amount of time I have for exercise that day. If I’m short on time, I’ll increase the intensity. If I’ve got the full hour, I’ll focus more on endurance. I like the variety. 🙂

    (Thanks for the b.d. wishes, btw .You’re so very kind!)

    • Karen

      I have to admit that I am not a very confident biker. So unless a hill is very straight with no bumps or obstacles, I brake on the way down. I keep picturing Lombard Street in San Fran! But I think your approach is part of why I toy with jogging – less time, greater intensity.

  19. I’m the exact same way! I don’t think of it as laziness, though. I think of it as smart. I know I’m going to have far more energy, strength and endurance right at the start of my workout/walk/bike ride/etc. So, if I can, I’ll get the hard stuff out of the way then.
    Or, like Cammy, I’ll do a longer route with far less hills if I know I’ve got the extra time. If I’m rushed, I feel like the hills make the shorter exercise more worthwhile.

  20. That is so funny! I love your strategy and hey it works for you and allows you to enjoy your bike ride. Go for it.

  21. Good point about the Grand Canyon, Karen! We went there this summer, though we stayed at the top and just peered into it with binoculars. It looked worth it, but who knows how I would have felt if I had to hike that monstrosity? 🙂

    • Karen

      My husband would love to hike rim-to-rim some day. Not me! Forget how hard it would be, but all uphill for the second half. And then there is this book we bought while there – “Death in the Canyon.” Tons of true stories of people who have died while visiting. Yikes!

  22. I definitely would label it smart planning, rather than lazy. For me, I like to challenge myself, but I know my limits and if it’s too hard I’m not going to do it again. (I will probably work at improving my strength and cardio so I can actually do it one day, but I won’t keep going at it if it is so hard it’s no fun.)

  23. You are definitely in the smart category here! I think finding what works for you is so important!

  24. Sounds like balance to me. Good for you and congrats!! 🙂

  25. I used to think that biking was the lazy way out. Until I tried it.

    My seat hurt for days – but it is a LOT more work than one might originally think.

    I think the important thing is that you were moving your body…and that is always good. Plus, it sounds like you enjoy it – and that is huge!

  26. My husband is an avid hiker (or at least in the past he was). I haven’t been able to go with him at all, those hiking trips are usually reserved for him and his buddies. Maybe some day I’ll go with him, I’ve never tried it before.

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