|Not me and my daughter, but pretty close.|
I started this blog just over one year ago. In my post a year ago, I wrote about how my workouts were two "river loops" in about an hour. That is about 13 miles. Not a fast pace and I confess that I am really not much faster now, but I tend to ride more often with other, newer cyclists now, so who knows how fast I would be on my own. On my post a year ago, I only see comments from my daughter. Very sweet and encouraging.
These reminded me of where I was a year ago and how far I feel I've come. A year ago, I weighed about 50 pounds more and had yet to ride in my first race, El Tour de Tucson. My goal was simply to finish. Could a guy who weighed 325 pounds ride 35 miles before the street lights came on and the race was closed down? I did it...in about 2 and 1/2 hours and it remains one of the biggest highlights of my life.
Since then, I gained confidence and lost a lot of weight. I raced my bike in 3 other races. I got in good enough shape where I could run for 90 seconds at a time, then 5 minutes, then 7, then 11 minutes...until my friend RockStar Tri just told me to keep going and I ran a 5k distance (3.1 miles). My 5k time dropped from 52 minutes to 34 minutes! I have a certificate that shows that I was third in my age group on the last run!
People comment a lot about my weight loss and I know that I go through periods where I am focused on either exercise (like this month) OR weight loss (last summer)...rarely both at the same time. Yet, I'm still very pleased with it all.
Looking ahead, I will be so proud to ride in this year's El Tour de Tucson with my son and my good friend Crazy Jim. Both started cycling this year, in large part, due to my cycling. When this race is behind me, I know that my focus will be on choosing a longer riding distance for myself at some point in 2011 and to start training for a 10k in Q1 of 2011 and I'm even cautiously considering a half-marathon or sprint tri later in 2011.
In January of 2010, I wrote out a list of goals for 2010. Here's the link. I achieved every goal, except my cycling mileage goal, which was very aggressive. The walking/running miles became more convenient and required less time from home. Other than that, all goals achieved. Remarkable for this former couch potato.
I realize that this post seems a bit self-congratulatory and I don't want to seem as if I am seeking some atta-boys from anyone reading this. I just wanted to pause and document how grateful I am for what I've experienced this year. Perhaps if I should stumble in the future (or if anyone out there is wondering if they too can make subtle lifestyle changes and get dramatic results)...this post can remind me/us that change is always possible. You don't have to be a former jock, or massively obsessive-compulsive about a new healthy addiction. Reasonable changes, when steadily applied, can bring dramatic results. Consider the river running through the Grand Canyon.
I'll end this with some words that I wrote at the end of that original post about my goals:
I have been blessed with these positive things in my life and I believe that God is calling me to finally get serious about improving my health. I will not waste this time.
My thanks to all of you, anyone who has ever commented on this blog or reached out to me via e-mail to encourage or challenge me along the way. I am grateful to you beyond words.
Finally, you may have noticed that I am not commenting as much as I used to on some blogs. I feel guilty about this, but my wife and I have been heavily burdened with a challenge (outside of our family) that continues to require a lot of time. My schedule is pretty tight right now and my computer time is limited, but it will free up soon and I look forward to being more encouraging of all of your great progress.