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’…