Friday, March 11, 2011

Defying Expectations

Thank you for your feedback on my previous post.  You helped me answer a few questions that were bouncing around in my head.

My basic question was...are short rides of 9-12 miles (or runs of 3 miles) long enough to bring improved fitness and weight loss?  Those distances seem so minimal, compared to typical mileage amounts for endurance athletes.  As I type it again, I realize it was a pretty stupid question.  The answer is "of course...any exercise is good".

A co-worker and I met up yesterday afternoon. He is a field tech for our company, doing physical labor everyday, and he told me he is concerned about his high blood pressure. The doctor is giving him pills. I said "do you exercise?" He said "no, but I won't have to now, because I'll have the pills."

He went to say how fit and healthy I look (I've never had high blood pressure and we are the same age). I was surprised because I still feel so heavy. But he could tell that I am different now. He had heard about my cycling and asked what else I am doing. I mentioned that I am running as well. He said he "could never do that".

As I drove away, I realized that he was right about the changes I have made in the past year or two. My progress has been slow, but it has been steady. I am becoming an athlete for the first time in my life.

I have never been an athlete...not in high school, college, etc.  I don't have a burning competitiveness toward sports and that is fine with me.  I started this cycling (and running) thing just to develop some new improve my quality of life and prevent the illnesses that accompany that middle-age, sedentary, high-calorie lifestyle.

But I do like to defy expectations.  Throughout my life, I have taken on challenges (work, hobbies, skill sets, etc.) that others around me wouldn't dare try to do.   

This Clydesdale Project of mine defies some expectations, at least my expectations for myself.

Because among the people that I work with, and my customers, and many of my friends (most in their mid-40's),
  • very few of them have run over 100 miles in the past few months. 
  • very few of them have ridden their bikes over 1,500 miles in the past 18 months.
  • very few do cardio workouts 5-6 days per week.
If you are an endurance athlete out there, these might seem like small numbers to you.  But, considering that I am a "lifelong non-athlete" who is still close to 300 pounds, I am in a pretty elite group these days.  I can name only a handful of people in my life (outside of you, my blogging pals) that do what I do.

My pace is improving.
My monthly miles are increasing.
The fact that I am still exercising multiple times a week, month after month, is life-changing.

I will take breaks.  I will have setbacks.  I will likely be a middle-of-the-pack racer. 

But I am defying expectations and I won't quit.


TRI714 said...

To keep on keeping on is the true secret. Although not much of a secret, it is the key.

Patrick Mahoney said...

This is great BC, you do what you can do and keep taking the steps to a healthier lifestyle. That's pretty awesome if you ask me.

Kovas said...

Taking on those new challenges is healthy not only physically but mentally as well - kudos!

tahoegirl said...

Great post! Congratulations for being among the relatively small group of people who are dedicated to exercise! You probably inspire a lot of people around you that you don't even realize.

GeorgiaSnail said...

Don't ever forget that big dude! Every time a friend or collegue says, "I could never do that." I always ask, "Why, have you tried?"

I have learned it all starts one foot in front of the other!

Kimberley said...

Keep on defying expectations BG!!! I am thrilled when I read about all this great stuff you are doing for your body!!! You rock!

I am without question the largest person at yoga and feel like I am defying expectations as well...sometimes I even surprise myself!!!

I might even get on a real bike outside one of these days...I won't discount it. I think we both know anything is possible!

Jessica said...

This is awesome and you are doing great things for yourself! Keep up your great work and inspiration to other bloggers!

JK said...

Great post. Doesn't it feel wonderful to realize you are defying not only your own expectations but those of others around you? Unfortunately, in our culture, most don't believe a larger person can be a fit person. You and others I know are showing people of this mindset how wrong they are. Maybe one day, that dominating thought will be changed.

RockStarTri said...

Time to raise those same expectations.

Bruce said...

What's fun about the whole journey Clyde, is finding more and more about yourself along the way. Keep up the great work!

Dr. Fat To Fit said...

Don't forget the mental changes you've gone through. I know I have. I would've been the, "I could never do that" kind of person a year ago.