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August 2008

why it wasn't all an epic fail (fitness challenge update)

Looking back over the past 12 weeks, watching as I crashed into a fairly deep depression that I have not climbed out of, I'm still proud of the fact that I got to where I wanted to be in most senses, though I still weigh about 5 pounds more than I'd like. I stopped progressing about 5 weeks ago. But I haven't lost ground. So there were 19 (really about 22) weeks headed in the right direction, and then a long miserable plateau. 


However, there was a master plan to all this which actually began last fall. It took a lot of mental shoring up to get started, but my goal was to become the cyclist I'd always wanted to be, a goal which was sometimes hampered in the past by unexpected pregnancy, and then really set back by the onset of mold- and weather-induced asthma. I was chronically ill for half the year for several years, and just as I was getting a handle on that, the build-up of relative inactivity caused a painful ongoing back problem. 


That started on January 1, 2007. And it took about a year to work out what I needed to do to fix it. It's been one year since I started planning my reentry into cycling, 7 months since I started in earnest to do something about it, nearly 6 months since the world came crashing down around me, 6 weeks since I reached my original weight goal, and 1 week since I began real training on my bike again. Slow, careful, middle-aged person training. But it's really good, and I'm excited about where the results will take me. 


Before gardening, cooking, LIFE magazine, the love of French and Italian language, and the relative hungers for gin, sushi, and sex, there were only two things that counted in my life: book-reading and bike-riding. 


There hasn't been nearly enough of either for a long time. Especially the bike. I remember imagining as a teenager living in a place where I could get anywhere I needed to on a bike. I didn't want to need a car. 


I never even imagined having children. 


But here I am, and so here I am. 


At the end of my personal 12 week challenge, which overlaps the Vox fitness one a bit, I'm going to a cycling weekend in Virginia. It sounds just beautiful. And then next year? Next year? I'm finally completing the century (100 mile ride) that got halted because of rain, the one that got halted because of a baby (oh, he's so great, you know, at 14, but man, I had no idea that was the beginning of a long exodus rather than the end of one,) the one that got halted because of one more fucking fickle interruption in my world followed by another and another and another. 


And then I'm doing another one. Or maybe I won't, maybe I'll just take another weekend tour, or several weekend tours. 


I can't be run over anymore by ridiculous circumstances, and ridiculous people, and the ridiculous serendipitous nature of the universe which seems designed to laugh at me despite what it created me to be. I am made of awesome, and it's high time that started counting for something for me, not just for everyone around me. I don't really know how to do that, as it's anathema to my nature. People who arrange circumstances to please themselves without regard to how it affects those around them just completely confound and upset me. But I might figure out how to please myself without taking anything away from anybody. 


I just want to ride a bike and write a book. There are about a thousand specific things heading my way to try to prevent me from accomplishing either one. Life is getting harder, not easier. But I just can't let the stuff stop me anymore. I am too broken up inside as it is, and each day is a struggle to get through. I am not eating right and I haven't slept well in ages, at least not slept well for me. I've never been a person for whom sleep is anything like a challenge. These days, though, it is. So there has to be something I'm winning at, in order to just keep going.


Right now, I look great on the bike, but feel really awkward. Realizing I'd actually done about a 12 mph pace today was both rewarding and frustrating, because that was nothing special in decades past. It's kind of an old people and little kid pace, actually. But it's an improvement over the last few rides, so it counts, and is an indicator I'm moving forward again. At least with something. 


I got too depressed to do the fitness updates on this "blog" but I think it would be good for me to do them while preparing for the cycling weekend, so we'll see how that goes.