Progress in Fitness, Progress in Life.
Tomorrow morning, we have 14 miles on the schedule. Twice before in my life, I’ve run 14+ miles. Once about 2 weeks ago, and once last fall. I’m excited but also feeling a little tired. My training this week was good, but I monkeyed around with the schedule. I took Monday off entirely, feeling tired and having a sore throat. Well, not sore exactly. The feeling came on overnight and I felt like someone had punched me in the throat three days before. It’s still not quite right.
Then Tuesday I did a full strength and conditioning workout with my trainer, followed by a 5.3 mile run. It was slow, but it felt good to do a lot of work. Wednesday I was scheduled to run, but my knee felt tight after the hard day Tuesday, so I rode 16.35 miles on the bike instead, which took about 75 minutes. A good cross-training day. Yesterday I ran 5.6 miles.
So, starting the week Sunday, I’ve done two gym workouts, 14.2 miles running, and 16.3 miles on the bike. I’ll do 14 tomorrow, and that will round out a successful week of training, I think, even though the schedule got mixed up. Today is normally a rest day, but since I took Monday off, BB and I are thinking of a light gym workout or a bike ride tonight.
In the past calendar year I have run 1015.3 miles. Of which 55.5 were competitive. I’ve also averaged two days a week in the gym, and now, over the past two months or so, I’ve ridden 197.6 miles. If you had told me a year ago that I would do all that, I’d have guessed I’d be a lot fitter than I am now. I’m discovering that fitness is really, really hard to attain.
I mean, yes, obviously. As a person on twitter said to me not too long ago, when has it been evolutionarily advantageous to lose weight easily? And yes, I know that fitness and weight are not perfect correlates, but they go together pretty consistently. But I seem to have hit a plateau. After losing about 50 pounds (22.7kg, for my metric friends, and 1.4 pood for the Russians), I’ve stalled. I’ve been hovering around 185 lbs for about eighteen months despite all the work I’m doing.
But my body has changed dramatically. I’m trimmer, and I even wear a 40R suit jacket for the first time in my adult life. I can do three pull-ups in a row without putting my feet down. Even though I still have a reasonably thick blanket of flab about the middle, I am capable of doing things that were so far beyond my abilities a few years ago that it didn’t even occur to me to dream of doing them.
And that’s the real goal of fitness for me. Yes, I’m incredibly vain and I’d love to look good naked and all that. But what I really want is to be healthy and active and able to enjoy the things I’d like to enjoy. Being active allows me to eat things I like to eat without much remorse. It allows me to participate in things that I enjoy without being miserable, like walking for hours and hours and hours in a strange city. Or just playing. This weekend, I think we’re going to go to a waterpark. I love waterparks and I almost never go. And I’ll have the energy and fitness to run around and play for hours, because of the work I’ve put in.
I am approaching my fitness much like I approach my sobriety. Incremental progress. Progress, not perfection. I am doing better than I was, better than I thought I could. I will never be perfect. Not in any aspect of my life. But I feel good about where I am and where I’m heading. Life is good. I feel strong and healthy and sober and happy. And I feel ready for the next challenge, whatever that is.