Tuesday, January 23, 2018

What's Up With Change?

I've been counting my calories for over 4 years now, and I've been training consistently for almost that long. I've been able to keep my weight where I want it, and I've been able to train on average 6 days a week in that time. But that doesn't mean everything has been exactly the same that whole time.

The foods I eat have changed. The training I do has changed. My feelings and attitudes have changed. And the circumstances in my life have changed a lot, which of course effects my diet and exercise. You eat differently by yourself than when you're living with someone. The time you have available to exercise changes too.

My goals and priorities have changed as well.

None of that should be surprising. Everybody experiences change. Even people with very stable lives experience this. I've seen friends get injured. I've seen friends just plain burn out. I'm seen friends struggle with their diets. Even if your life stays the same, your heart and mind undoubtedly don't.

I just can't see myself going back to where I was before this journey. I put on a little weight during the holidays, and I'm on an even stricter diet this month to lose it (and have been successful so far). I also signed up for a second Ironman this summer. Part of the reason I did that is to keep myself accountable so I keep training.


I've seen a lot of people quit though. That's pretty common. If health and fitness aren't a big enough priority for you, it will be hard to stay consistent. And you can be healthy without having 10% body fat or training every single day. There may come a day when it's not as big a priority for me either. I don't really have anyone left to impress. So these days my obsession is mostly from "momentum".

It's important to have something in life that gives you purpose. Some people have to stop training because of their family. Their family gives them purpose. Some do it because of work. That can provide a sense of purpose too. If I ever reduced my fitness level, I would have to do it for something that's even more important to me.

It may sound like I'm doubting myself, but that's not the case. The point is just that change happens and you have to accept that. Because sometimes it's difficult and sometimes it's scary. It's your choice how you deal with it. You can surrender and allow yourself to be pulled like a raft in an ocean, or you can take control and ride those waves. It comes down to your attitude and what you want out of life.

And that's the key. How hard are you willing to work for what you want? And are you able to adjust that goal without losing your perseverance? I used to just run 6 - sometimes 7 - days a week. Now I bicycle and swim too. That may not seem like a big difference but it is. Marathons just don't excite me the way they used to. And I've traded them in for races that take far longer to complete.

Don't worry, I still do crazy runs.

In some ways the training is easier. If I don't feel like running, I can bike or swim instead. In some ways it's harder. When I was training for marathons, my longest workouts were 3 hours or so. My longest workouts preparing for an Ironman are 5 or 6 hours. Even though I'm still six months out from Ironman Lake Placid, I had a 3 hours workout this past Saturday.

It's a change that I'm happy about though, and that's even more fulfilling. I don't believe I could ever go back to "just running". I do lament the loss in my running speed, that I never qualified for Boston (though I did get to run it, and my best race was less than 5 minutes off my BQ time). But my training now is more engaging, and I've got even more goals. Right now I'm really focused on improving my swimming.

I have no doubt that my training will change again in the future. In fact I hope it does. I don't know exactly how. But I know what's important to me in my life. Being happy, being healthy, feeling fulfilled and purposeful, and having people in my life to share love with. I hope in the future more of my fitness will involve other people. And I hope I can resist signing up for a third Ironman, because I kind of look forward to doing more of what I want, rather than what I feel like I "have" to. Plus the cost!

Well over a grand total just
so I can take an absurd selfie

Writing. I like writing. I'd like to do more of that. Believe it or not, one of the reasons I keep training is so that I can keep writing about it. Maybe I'll write about other things. I already kind of cheat on this blog, even though it's about pavement and crushing it. But change is great when it comes to writing! The more I experience, the more I can write about. Maybe I should change the name of the blog to something else.... "Crushing Everything"?

Fitness will always be a part of my life. I know that much. But how exactly that looks in the future.... I don't know. And that's exciting! I enjoy what I'm doing, but it's reassuring to know I have the power to adjust. That I can always seek growth and improvement, no matter where I am in life. I don't ever have to give up or stagnate. I just have to be willing to accept change.

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