Wasn’t it just the beginning of 2022? Wasn’t I just in PT with Taylored Physical Therapy once again rehabbing my wonky right foot and ankle? I know there is a lot of worry and scrutiny about global warming and its influence on our climate and weather, but has anybody checked to see if the speed of Earth’s rotation around the sun has increased? I’m pretty sure it has.
Really when I stop to think about it, my early-2022 PT appointments seem like a long time ago. I remember through the end of 2021 and my relatively inactive beginning of 2022 noticing an ever more burgeoning belly and the numbers on the scale creeping upwards but kept thinking “As soon as I’m through this and can run again, I’ll be more motivated to eat better, run more, and be healthier.” Well, it’s 2023 now and I’ve been running freely since April and let’s just say that wasn’t it. In fact, when reviewing my yearly tally for running, biking, and swimming, 2022 was my lowest mileage year in a long time especially for running. Running-wise I only logged 500-and-something relatively slow miles. I didn’t run for almost all of January and February due to foot and ankle rehab and then kept things pretty minimal as I ramped back up. This slow, shallow ramp was partially due to a legitimate concern about blowing out my decrepit post tibial tendon but also due to a total lack of making any effort to push myself.
I’ve officially downgraded myself to “Jogger” and have been avoiding local trails for fear of finding a dead body.
I have been patiently waiting for the race bug to return. My first race was 13 years ago in 2009 and one could say I got a bit over-the-top since then completing everything from 5ks to marathons, a full Ironman and everything in between. For a while, my daily life consisted of only work, swim, bike, and run. I spent the 2010s (or whatever you call 2010-2019) in the best shape of my life. And then COVID hit and the racing world, along with the rest of the world, came to a screeching halt. As always, I was signed up for a number of races in 2020 and all of them got postponed time and again until the world began to feel safe getting together again. But something was missing. The desire to push my own physical limits was gone. While I still enjoyed an easy run down a local trail or the ability to see friends and chat again during a morning run, planned races came and went and I was happy to stay home and take a DNS. I watched hundreds of dollars of race fees disappear never to be seen again and was totally fine with it. 2022 is the first year I haven’t run a race since 2009.
Meanwhile, my daily pajama commute to work continues. Like my race motivation, my appetite for commuting back to the office is gone as well. In my current work role, there is absolutely no benefit to being in an office. A very small percentage of those I work with are local to my office and few are ever actually in the office. In fact, on the couple occasions I’ve been in the building it has been a ghost town. Despite all that, we still get work done. Modern tools such as Teams, Zoom, etc. have erased the necessity of co-located employees for a lot of jobs. Unfortunately I remain co-located with our kitchen and pantry and my appetite for grazing and stress eating has grown. Ultimately, there is more Pete than I’ve gotten used to. Not that I need to start seeing Omar the Tent Maker for a new set of hunting clothes or anything but even if the racing bug doesn’t bite again soon, the healthier eating bug better start making an appearance.
I was pleasantly surprised to see my swimming distances actually increased in 2022 which, at first glance, was a little surprising since I did no open water swims. Open water swimming had become a much look forward to semi-monthly event over the course of my triathlon life. But my desire for triathlon left in 2019. My open water swimming venue is much closer to work than home and I didn’t feel the need to either commute to the lake or pay more money for something I could do at home in my local pool. Some of the additional mileage can be attributed to a very wet January and February when I was unable to run. I have noticed my average times for 100 yards has crept inevitably higher but, at this point, I’m not that worried about it. As Dori would say, “Just keep swimming!”
Some mornings it is difficult to convince myself I really want to go jump in a swimming pool, but swimming is a bit cathartic and I enjoy it once I get going. There is something relaxing about churning out lap after lap of stress-free yards in the water. Too bad swimming makes you so hungry!
Back in 2019 as the desire to continue in triathlon faded, I spent most of my time riding Carl, my gravel bike. My tri bike collected dust in the garage. Finally and fortuitously, I decided to sell it toward the end of the summer. It seemed silly to have an expensive race bike and race tires languishing while I was out having fun getting dirty on the local trails. In August of 2019, Rakeeta found a new home with a gentleman that planned to do his first Ironman in 2020. Poor bastard. I wonder if he ever got to do one?
Anyway, I feel like I did more cycling than I had done in a long time in 2022 even though the numbers don’t bear it out. I rode at least one club ride almost every week. I did skip basically all of May. After 30+ years of work, I was granted a sabbatical and Janice and I went on the road in the motorhome for a month. I decided not to bother taking my bike. Janice doesn’t ride, and it would be just something else I did by myself while she remained at camp. Plus it is inconvenient to load the bike up between campsites and we would be moving around quite a bit.
Still, I did ride consistently through the summer mostly at distances of 20-30 miles at a time. One of the reasons I stopped doing long-course triathlon is because it is domain of the uber bikers. The mantra of 90% of the triathlon community is “float, hammer, jog” instead of “swim, bike, run”. I like riding my bike. I just don’t love riding my bike that much. Two hours or less at a stretch is plenty for me. After that I just start to find it grueling and boring. Ironman or even half-iron training requires way more riding than that. Still, I enjoy a nice 25 miler on a pretty day and I’m fortunate enough to live near some great cycling areas. It is nice these days to be able to go out and just ride without having to focus on hitting my power numbers, or worrying about speed and climbing a certain amount of elevation.
In my post triathlon life, I do spend a lot more time walking. I mean, we all walk right? It’s how we get around. But on pleasant days, I set out and make the 2 mile walk around our development. Not only is the exercise good but I have fun talking to neighbors and even more fun meeting their dogs. It seems like I’ve been pretty consistent year to year here. Clearly, these charts only show where I initiated “Walk” as an exercise on my Garmin. If it isn’t on Garmin or Strava it doesn’t count, right?
So what lies ahead for 2023? Am I making a resolution to race again? Eat healthier? Be a better person? No. Not really. I don’t put a lot of stock in New Year Resolutions. I don’t especially think we need to wait until January 1 to make ourselves better and it seems like a convenient excuse to say “I’ll start in the new year”.
I don’t know if I’ll race in 2023, or ever. I used to hunger for the finish line and used to relish lying in the grass totally spent after a hard 5K but at that time being, such efforts seem a lifetime away. As I’ve noted in previous blog posts, the reduction in emphasis on racing has allowed me to try some new things the last couple years. I do intend to participate in the Total Archery Challenge again and also plan to try to improve a bit at the Steel Challenge and GSSF shoots.
I know one thing for sure. I’ve been in denial about the growing belly that is beginning to hang over my belt and making my clothes a bit tight. It needs to go. Whether that means signing up for a race for some motivation or purchasing a Hannibal Lecter style mask, in some way, shape, or form, I need to get a handle on my out-of-control eating mostly of junk food.
It wasn’t “just January 2022 last week”, it was January 2000 “last week”. It goes fast, enjoy it as much as humanly possible!!