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The Cult and the Kool-aid

I drank the Kool-Aid, bit the bullet, joined the cult.

However you choose to see it or phrase it … “I did a thing,” as they say and purchased a Peloton bike.

Now not to be confused, I did not win the lottery and I did ponder this big idea/purchase for a good long month in mid-summer. I mean after all, I’m a runner, cycling has never been my thing. When not on the road, I’m on my mat working out the tension in the muscles as well as the mind, practicing yoga.

So why (especially now) invest in such a thing? Not only did I not hit the lottery, I remain a single mom of two kids and yes, I still have cancer. Believe it or not each of these things were contributing factors to the investment.

Upon learning of my Stage 3 Breast Cancer in mid-April, I learned a number of things in my life would change over the coming months. Most of the information was around treatment plans, surgery plan and recovery time. 

Running would need to be on the back burner, yet walking (daily) was heavily encouraged. My breast surgeon is a great advocate for adrenaline and endorphins and maintaining a strong body as much as possible.

I still recall breaking into tears at the thought of walking and not being able to pound pavement during a time when I needed the release most.

Months into my journey I’d pop out of bed on the good days and log three to five miles whenever possible. In time, I learned this was just as beneficial for my mental health as running, just different.

Yet I desperately missed the aspect of the personal challenge, as well as the feeling of belonging to a culture of like-minded nut jobs. And so the Peloton purchase debate began.

Before going further and for those interested, I think it’s important when debating this type of investment to know what suits you in the way of physical activity. Simply put, are you an extrovert or introvert when it comes to workouts. 

Personally, I am exactly the opposite in workouts than I am in person. I’m not a gym girl. The crowd and in-person group atmosphere does not suit me. A yoga class would be the only exception, but that’s a completely different animal.

While I prefer to take in my activity in the great outdoors, nine years back my parents gifted me a treadmill and to date it has many miles logged on it. When my kids were young it was the ideal way to train, as well as release stress in the early morning or after they went to bed.

It’s worth a mention, said treadmill was also a valuable tool to help keep the scale from returning to my once 264-pound unhealthy self.

Knowing the amount of time I’ve spent on the “dreadmill” was helpful in the decision making. As my children have grown older, they each have taken an occasional fancy to logging a few miles here and there to prepare for certain activities (swim team or local fun run). Their participation also factored into the decision of should I or shouldn’t I.

Journeying through summer, the idea of Distance Learning also lingered in my head. This, I felt, would be an amazing purchase the whole family could use. Little did I know, the App used by the bike, also includes other programs such as yoga classes, HIIT training and running tutorials. This was perfect!

Once I finally bit the bullet and hit purchase I became both excited and relieved. This (I told myself) would be a great investment for our family. It would also be a great way to keep my cardio up, which would be helpful once I returned to running. I was to run the Chicago Marathon this past October, which was tabled thanks to COVID and, well, cancer would have factored in as well. Now with a race date of 2022, marathon six is still well on the horizon and cancer or not, maintaining a certain level of fitness is critical.

Buyer remorse did set in, as the bikes became so popular delivery dates were pushed back. Recognizing my bike would be delivered two weeks prior to my surgery date I thought, what had I done? The timing was terrible. I would now be paying for something I wouldn’t be able to enjoy for at least four weeks post-surgery.

But an investment is an investment, as I like to see it. Just as the market can drop, it can also return. So as I recovered, my bike gave me more determination to walk each day to rebuild strength for when I could return to the saddle.

The lesson in all of this, the message I hope to bring to readers is to not be afraid to invest in yourself. 

As we come out of the month of thankfulness, enter the month of giving and face a new year remember the value your life brings to the table. Look for what brings you joy and invest in that, to invest in yourself. It doesn’t have to be the trendy bike or a fancy Tesla, it could be anything which fills your cup. 

If COVID has taught us anything, it has taught us the value of life, the return to basics and the beauty of living our best life – despite the challenges.

Cheers to a 2021 of fresh starts, lessons learned and wise investments.