Before jumping into my plans for 2017 and why, a quick recap of my fitness history:
Early 2000s, really got into shape for the first time. Changed my diet and started focusing on home cooking and gardening and eating as seasonally as possible and found that quite motivational. Decided to do a triathlon and did a few (Olympic distance), including Chicago twice, and ran some half marathons and my first marathon in 2005 (Chicago). Did the Apple Cider Century (well, the 75 mile option) and the Katy Trail (west to east, over a few days).
Late 2000s, for various reasons, lost focus and stopped running or exercising much at all and regained a bunch of weight that before then I was convinced I could keep off without much problem.
January 2014, decided this had to stop and that I would get back into shape. Lost a LOT of weight and made it roughly to goal around February 2015, while riding my bike to work a lot, and working up from a 5K to a 10K to a half marathon (Batavia) to a faster half marathon (Naperville, not that fast, made my goal for under 2:05, but not my more ambitious goal of under 2 hours).
Had trouble getting myself to run outside in the winter (and I hate treadmills), but I kept in shape with a lot of spinning and some Computrainer classes, and 2015 started strong with a Backroads bike trip to Hawaii (indoor training resulted in me being better trained on hills than I’d ever been before and I did my first full century, as well as a lot of other riding) and the Get Lucky half in March (I wasn’t trained enough for it due to the lack of running over the winter to hit a PR, but I still easily beat my Batavia time).
My plan for the rest of the year was to do a few triathlons ending with a half ironman, but that’s when I started (gradually) to fall apart. Not sure if it was self-sabotage or nerves about doing a triathlon (the logistics were built up in my head to be intimidating, given how long since I’d done one), or maybe just my decision to finally get clipless pedals which made me nervous to ride my bike in the city or along the crazy lakefront trail, but I couldn’t stick to a training plan, kept postponing my first triathlon, and let my eating (and other things, ugh) get entirely out of control. Finally, although not at race weight, I decided I should just suffer through a triathlon and put the nerves to bed. Did Iron Abe and had fun:
Somewhat against my better judgment, I even let the success of this experiment convince me to go ahead and do a half ironman, and I made it through Great Illini in Mattoon that Labor Day weekend. It was kind of a nightmare — I got turned around on the swim and swam much farther than I should have and was convinced I was in last place (I’m not a fast swimmer at the best of times), had a lovely bike ride (seriously) despite the fact I ended up on the ground (hard!) when hitting some gravel on a turn and managed to get super sunburnt, and then completely suffered through my supposed strongest event, the run, due to not being adequately trained, it being probably the hottest day of the year after a mild summer, and there being no shade at all in that it was now nearly noon out in farm country. I had not intended to walk, but simply sticking somewhat to a alternating walk/run was victory enough. Despite what seemed a comedy of errors or sheer pain by the end of the race, I managed to come in third in my age group (yay for being a woman of a certain age), and ended the day being sure I’d do another one soon, and more ready. (Below are a couple of scenes of the race area plus my swag.)
At this point, I felt like I was back on track and ready to go on to greater achievements in 2016, but (spoiler) that’s not exactly what happened. (To be continued.)