cycling · fitness · strength training

Ramping back up, but what are my long term goals exactly?

I’ve been cleared for return to regular exercise. Woohoo!


As my surgeon said, “Go lead your best life.” I’m a philosopher, not just by inclination but with professional training and credentials, and so the question of ‘best life’ and what constitutes one for me raises lots of questions, only some of which I take up here.

“I don’t know who needs to hear this but living your life to the fullest does not have to involve hiking.”

Mine does though, while I can.

On the simple side of things, it’s time for bike riding, aquafit and aquayoga, hot yoga, dog hikes, and the weight room.

Physiotherapy continues with Estee at Defy but I’ve also got strength training with a personal trainer. When he asked the other day what my goals were now that my knees were both fixed I confess that I was flummoxed. And I’m not often flummoxed.

I’m so flummoxed this is a hard post to write.

I’ve been tending to my knees for a long time. Ten years maybe since my first visit to a sports doctor? Physio for knees for most of those years? Then injections of knee goo and then very pricey (but covered by insurance) knee braces. And finally surgery. Along the way I’ve given up soccer, running, CrossFit and Aikido.

For a very long time my knees have taken up most of my fitness focus. I’ll have still have to give them some thought, it’s true, but they’re feeling pretty good.

The big question now is what next? What do I want to go back to? Looking ahead, what do I want to be doing in the next 5-10 years and in the long haul? What are my fitness goals? Do I have any fitness goals?

Five years ago Cate blogged about our many fitness lives and while I haven’t gotten it all worked out exactly, I’m pretty sure the last five years at least have been the fitness life that is all about taking care of my knees. So, what’s next? What’s my next fitness life all about?

Back to the very young personal trainer and his question. (I think he’s four years younger than my youngest child!) He was pushing the line that you can do anything you want to do if you set your mind to it and you’re prepared to do the work. And yet, of course, it’s not that simple. I won’t be able to run again. I’m not sure about martial arts. So I am still mulling.

I do know when the surgeon told me to “go lead my best life” what motivated him is that most knee surgery patients give up too much too soon. People swap their road bikes for recumbents and only walk short distances. But there’s no need. Impact is a worry but I won’t wear them out from biking too much.

I understand though why people scale back their goals. I don’t think it’s just fear of hurting new knees. I think it’s also frightening, and potentially sad making, to have big goals and not reach them. The fear of failure is real. Suppose I say what I really want to do is some of New Zealand’s great walks (or their equivalent elsewhere) but my knees never get up to that level of performance. It would be sad to really want a thing and not be able to (ever) have it. So I’m still working through this one.

Back to the every day…

Here’s what I am doing now:

Zwift 2-3 days a week

Dog walks 2-3 days a week

Physio at home exercises, everyday

Aquafit/aquayoga 1-2 days a week

Physio at clinic, 2 days a week

Personal training, 1 day a week

Here are some of my more ambitious fitness goals:

Long bike rides and multi-day cycling trips

Long multiday hiking adventures

Long back country camping trips

Group rides

And here are some of things I want to do soon:

Serious strength training

Spin classes

Outdoor riding

Return to Zwift racing

Hot yoga

Although it is frightening I’ll name some of the things I want to do.

Long term I want to do some long holiday hikes, and some vacation bike trips in faraway places–Japan, Scotland, Ireland, Norway, Cuba, Iceland, Australia, and New Zealand. I’m going to work very hard to get there. And yes, there’s risk that I’ll work hard and not be able to do it but I think that risk is worth it and I will enjoy the work along the way. I feel vulnerable even talking about this here!

I also want to become stronger, now my knees aren’t in the way of that goal.

What will my next fitness life look like? I know I’m ready to train for it.


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