You can’t stay neutral on a moving train. – Howard Zinn
I spoke to two friends recently, independently of one another, who are aware of my new focus on fitness. One is an avid facebook user and reads the blog from time to time, but I do not see him in person often. The other reads online postings less, but I have more direct contact with her.
Within two weeks, each one told me something very different. The first friend who reads what I write, but doesn’t see me often, noted that I seem really hard on myself. The second friend who spent more time with me in person noted that I seem a whole lot happier.
I guess the internet brings out the worst in all of us.
With that in mind, I don’t want this post to come off as negative, but it could. So I will start with the good.
I’ve been reviewing my training logs, and looking at a big goal race coming up in a short time. It’s clear I have to get more consistent with training, and increase volume, or I won’t be ready. But when I look at the volume of the year, I am blown away.
Since January 1, (1 month after starting running), I have accumulated the following stats: I have run 127 miles. I have cycled 170. I swam 71.
That may be a light MONTH for an ironman training plan, but for me, this is a huge achievement. I plan to finish the year with even more impressive numbers, but I have to sit back for a moment and remember that just about every time I’ve ever made the big decision to get up and do something, it’s been Labor Day weekend. Like a smoker who has quit over and over, I’ve been on day one of a new venture over and over. This time. Labor Day rolls around and I can point to concrete evidence that this year really HAS been different.
I’ve finished 5 sprint triathlons, run a couple 5ks, one on snow packed trails, and I just did a 10k. I won my lap swim challenge within a couple months of getting in a lap lane for the first time. I’m kicking down doors. I’m moving from doughboy to ironman.
But there’s one aspect of all this that is like a treadmill going nowhere. That is my weight. I saw the first signs of this back in March, but I thought once I got through that month I would tighten up and do better. Well, I haven’t. I’ve been using training as an excuse to continue with bad eating habits. I may be stronger and have greater endurance, but I’m still the same place I was in the obesity problem.
And before anyone trots out the old “oh but you’re gaining muscle” – no I’m not. That takes serious resistance training that I have not been doing. I am not losing inches either. This is just fact.
So I know two things now. #1 – I have the will to do what I would not do before, I have the training logs to prove it. #2 – I have not put that same will into eating right.
I’m not going to make any bold claims like I’ve done too many times in this format already, saying “from now on I get it right!” I don’t know when I will. This does not make me depressed, or self-hating, it’s simply the truth. Maybe letting go of the now-or-never mentality is what I need to finally make some progress. Maybe increased training and minor dietary changes will make the difference for steady slow weight loss.
One thing is for sure, I didn’t expect that after all this time, I’d still be at the same weight I was for SnowFest. And it’s great getting all the support and encouragement as the big guy at the event, but the novelty of that is going to wear off soon. I’d still be one of the biggest people in the crowd at 225. I’d be a lot faster at 225 too.
So I’m taking stock, and I am really impressed with where I am, compared to where I thought I could be at this point. But there is so much more to do, and I’m not losing sight of that.
This past weekend was the Camp Mount Luther Dandelion Run. It was the 10th year. I’ve watched it from the pavilion probably 8 of the previous 9 years. After every Labor Day weekend saying “some day I’ll run it,” I finally did. Twice. 10k in 1:44. Then I made balloons for kids. My kids ran the fun runs, and I am tremendously proud of them. Thanks to “Uncle Chad” for doing the video of them, as I was still on loop two of the course, probably somewhere near the pond. (Meg had to be on call for work.)
A year ago I would have thought doing the 5k would be the pinnacle of my year. This time it was a “routine” run of 10k, after which I thought about riding my bike. I didn’t ride that day. But I did the next day. That’s what counts now. Not just doing a distance that seemed impossible, once. But doing it, and doing more the next day. And the next.
Dewey Beach Triathlon next week. Believe it or not, the swim has me most concerned. 1/2 mile in the ocean. After Hilton Head, I do not take the surf lightly. After that, the bike and run are short, and flat. I hope to have lots of pictures.
Keep on keeping on, friends and random internet people. Doughboy’s still moving.