Trying to go 7 for 7

I just don’t think I’ve ever had such a good year, physically.  Sure, I have had my nagging little sore spots and I have been tired a lot, but that is normal if you train hard enough.  But since I started working out again when I got to Columbia, I have not had a year that was, overall, as good as this one.  It truly has been amazing.

I’ve always said that I will never grace a podium or smell the fresh air at the pointy end of the pack.  And I’m perfectly fine with that.  This is about being fit and healthy and the vehicle I am riding to get there is endurance sports.  You can have your $10,000 bicycles and $1000 entry fees.  I went there for a while and didn’t like what I saw.  WAY too much pressure on myself, my finances and my mental well being.  Nope, I’m good where I’m at… finally.

In December of last year, I set a goal to finally change my evil ways for good.  It started with eating right and not drinking alcohol.  Then exercising regularly.  I gave myself until April to see where I was at, before I set race season goals.  I set seven total and I’m 6 for 6 so far, with one still outstanding.  This is what happens when you do it the right way:

Lose 40 pounds

I actually lost 50.  I started at 222 and my lowest was 172 during peak season.  I’m at 174 now.  I did it simply.  No alcohol.  Limited sugar.  Portion control.  No “diet” or fad foods.  No calorie counting or Juicing.  As I look back on it… It was easy.  I got hungry a few times… but that was it.  Yes, I even cheated on everything except for the alcohol… 🙂

Complete another half marathon

Once March rolled around and I saw my mileages going up and weight going down, I set a goal to do another half marathon and then immediately completed it in April.  Then I did 4 more races of half marathon distance or greater for the rest of the year.

Complete the Triple Challenge in Chicago

This challenge (3 triathlons in 2 days) was more about energy planning and race coordination that output.  The water was ROUGH, but I made it and didn’t really feel unsafe or uncomfortable.  The rides were AWESOME (not fast, just unique and beautiful), the runs were just runs.  The last one got hot.  But I never felt like I wouldn’t make it.  The only time I felt like I wouldn’t make it was simply trying to get from the finish line back to transition and then back to the start line for the next race.

Get under 48 minutes in a 10K

This was more a “hmmm… I’m running pretty good… I wonder if…” kind of a goal. I was feeling strong, a race popped up that was in the timeframe I was looking for, so I gave it a shot.  Ended up running a 46:43 on a HILLY course.  I may have to go after a sub 45 next year…

Get under 1:45 in a Half Marathon

After going for and getting my half marathon goal AND going under 1:50 for the first time, I smelled blood in the water.  I wanted 1:45.  Once the triathlon season was over and I could focus on running again, I went for it.  I came away with a PR of 1:43:17. I think, as a goal for next year (if I focused on it), I could get below 1:40.  I can’t believe I just said that…

Get under 22 minutes for a 5K

Oh… man.  This has been on my bucket list for years.  But one thing or another has always gotten in the way.  The speed work I did all summer had me wondering if maybe…

But I had stopped the speed work due to darkness and weather, so I just wasn’t sure.  I knew I needed to run 3 @ 6:58 to really nail it, but I’ve never run under 7 minute miles in a race…  I did know, however, that I was running MUCH faster race times than my training times were showing.  So, what the hell.  My old PR was a 22:15 and my first shot at it I ran a 21:05!  That :05 is going to eat at me though.  My second mile, for no apparent reason other than I must have lost concentration, was 7:24.  If I fix that… I can get under 21 minutes.  No. Freakin. WAY!  I have 3 more chances before the first of the year…

Don’t drink alcohol for 1 year

Honestly, I’m most proud of this one.  I decided on my birthday (December 19) last year, that the best gift I could give myself was to walk away from my beloved beer.  It was just counter to every one of my other goals (see above).  I have, thus far, survived St. Partrick’s Day, Memorial Day Weekend, July 4, 5 beer festivals, over a dozen new beer releases, a HUGE party in Chicago, Halloween, Thanksgiving and numerous other times, both good and bad, where a beer would have tasted REALLY good.  I have 18 more days until my birthday.  I can do this.

Some have asked if I will drink again.  Maybe someday.  I think my new rule will be: I will drink only that beer which is given freely at the finish line of a race longer than 13.1 miles.  Kinda like chasing a carrot…

But honestly, I like the way I feel so much better now…  I may pass on that rule most of the time as well… 🙂

I am already terrified about next year.  Just sayin’…

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