I often let things get bigger and more complex than they might otherwise become on their own. I think I get caught up in the idea that everything worth doing is worth overdoing. Recently this can be seen through my approach to cycling. Everything started innocently enough. I started riding a trail on an old bike because I was only working three days a week. It was fun and I started to lose a little weight. It fit in with quitting smoking and gave me something to focus on with my free time. At the end of my first season of riding, my father-in-law asked me to go on a charity ride with him through Hartford butt on by Bike Walk Connecticut. It was a great introduction to group rides and had me hooked for the next season.
The next season came and I bought myself a new bike to ride. It was a lovely Trek Dual Sport and I rode it all summer. I put more miles on over this summer than I thought was possible. My average ride went to over thirty miles and I felt great. I even took my bike on a quick trip to Philadelphia so I could get a ride in. We rode the Hartford charity ride and added a new ride on Martha’s Vineyard. The Hartford ride seemed to shrink but the Martha’s Vineyard ride was amazing. If I wasn’t hooked on the idea of doing more group rides before, that day sealed the deal. I promised myself that I would be ready for the next season.
I followed the advice of a friend and bought myself a trainer. Now I could ride all winter in relative comfort. I bought books to learn more about training and cycling in general. I started reading and subscribing to cycling magazines. I started watching cycling more, even though I am more of a trail rider than a road racer. I tried to find the bike culture and learn as much as I could. None of this helped my ride any stronger, but I felt more secure with a little knowledge of what I was supposed to be doing.
My obsession continued to grow, or in this case shrink. If I am been amazingly generous, I am overweight. I am in far better shape that I have been in ten years, but I am still not in the shape that I should be. At six foot four I will never be the ideal body type for a cyclist, but I can do more to at least be the proper weight for my size. At first the weight started to fall off, but then I ate more so I started maintaining. Because I really do overdo everything I started to eat better. Then I started to take vitamins and even a supplement. Now I am attacking my nutrition issue at the base and I am counting calories and monitoring my intake. My wife is not thrilled at this latest change as I used to be the source for all of the good yet unhealthy food in the house. The whole milk and salty snacks. The ice cream. The alcohol. I’ve stopped buying it all. Now she tried to sneak in two percent milk instead of one percent.
Katie does support me in everything, and she is also the voice of reason in our house. She is the one who pointed out how far I’ve come and how much my habits have changed. She has a great sense of humor so when I get out of hand she jokes around with me about it to help me stay balanced. She also supports me when I have a setback like getting hurt and having to be off the bike or if the numbers on the scale go the wrong way at weigh in.
Even I was surprised at the latest development. I love to ride my bike, but I generally hate to do other forms of exercise. I never expected to want to run. Recently I have kicked up my time on the trainer in preparation for this years’ first big ride, the Five Boro Tour of New York. I am riding with a friend who has always been faster than me so I want to do extra work so I don’t slow him down much on the ride. The extra work has been causing some leg pain. Thankfully it’s not knee or joint pain, just extra muscle soreness at the end of the ride. I did some research and found out that running can help develop your legs’ other muscle groups and help make you a stronger runner. Now I can’t wait for the snow to melt so I can start logging some miles. While I was waiting for that to happen, a friend asked for someone to run a mud/obstacle race called the Rugged Maniac in Massachusetts. I jumped right in and signed up with her. What better motivation for me to run than knowing I have a 5K at the end of the summer?
I also had the idea to invite some of the people that have inspired me to get on a bike or run. The people that have helped my see that anything is possible and that I can change what I weigh or how I look at exercise. My friends Tara and Katie from college have been a constant source of support and encouragement. My friend John has been supportive of the blog and following my journey. My friend Matt who volunteered to ride with me in New York even if I slow him down. My friend Angie who inspired me by running a half marathon. After speaking to them I have decided to open the invitation up to anyone who follows the blog. We are going to start a team and run the race together. Everyone is welcome, even if you aren’t in the best of shape. Especially if you need the motivation of a huge end of the season challenge to help get you running. Anyone who is interested can contact me through Facebook or Twitter for more details as they become available, or check out Rugged Maniac’s website. We also need help coming up with a team name and possibly a t-shirt if enough people are interested. I can’t thank Alysha and WickedMuddy.com enough for all of her help figuring out how to put a team together and how to register. I am sure I will be bothering her for more help throughout the process.
From a simple way to kill time I ended up obsessed with riding my bike. My friends’ call for someone to run a 5K with her inspired the team idea. If it’s worth doing, we might as well over do it! Who’s in?