One of the most distinct memories I have of riding last year happened around mile 60 of the century ride my brother and I did in Sept 2013. We were both feeling the positive effects of a good meal an hour previous, we had no wind, the path was extremely flat and smooth, and were heading back for home. We took turns pulling each other in roughly mile long shifts. I felt no fatigue, just a smooth rhythm at 20 mph. It was awesome.
That feeling is long gone. The few rides that I've managed to sneak in this year have been slogs, usually against a wall of wind dragging against the multiple layers of clothing I've been forced to don. While this feeling isn't surprising, it is nonetheless discouraging. Prior to 2013, I've never been "in shape" in an athletic sense, so I've never had much to lose. A photo of me a year ago does not look that different from what I looked like at "peak" a few months ago, I lost maybe ten lbs, a good portion of which are back. Now I know what being in shape feels like, and I want it back.
This summer and fall I could run eight miles at a stop, which had never been possible before. I could bike for a hundred miles and feel pretty good. I could storm through loose gravel without gasping for breath. While my running legs are still mostly functioning, thanks to occasional runs through December, getting hard miles on the bike has been tough, and I feel like I've lost my engine.
Enough griping, here is what the plan going forward looks like:
Live Healthy Iowa. I'm teamed up with my wife on this 10 week program. She wants to run her first 5k sometime this year, I would love to drop into the sub 210 or 200 pound range. The program involves tracking weight loss and time exercised as well as access to classes and discounts at the local ice rink and indoor swimming pool. There is also food entry, which'll keep me honest about my snacking. I'm not doing anything fancy (eat less, eat healthy, exercise like mad), but I want to drive down my weight into numbers not seen since high school. At a minimum, I need to either run or ride on a daily basis. I also need to work on core strength to make those rough road more bearable.
On a side note, I was very surprised to find out that RAGBRAI is coming back to Sioux County! The ride will be starting in Rock Valley which is about 15 miles from me. The shop I work for is the closest local bike shop to the start, so I anticipate things will be very busy come spring.