a bit of backstory

[this page is a draft - more info to come]

Where do I begin?  

I was not an athletic child.  I've never played a sport.  I never even took dance. Except for PE class in school, I didn't do any regular exercise beyond the simple play of childhood.  My family was amazingly sedentary.  We didn't even watch sports on television, let alone play them.  I did, however, always have a bike. From my first ride on a two-wheeler at age seven, I fell in love with the breezy freedom of cycling.

I married at age 22.  My husband has always been athletic.  He played ice hockey from childhood through college, ran cross country in junior high and high school and was on the college cycling team.  I remember times early in our relationship when he would go running.  I'd always think - "ok, but why?"  I simply couldn't understand why anyone would just go outside and run.  We did cycle together though.  I completed two MS150 rides in the first couple years we were married, but I really didn't have a regular riding schedule.  

In the years between 1994 and 2002, I gave birth to three sons and one daughter.  In the fall of 2000, we became a home school family, taking on full responsibility for the education of our children.  We were renovating the house we live in about that time as well.  My crazy, busy life as wife-mother-homeschooler seemed to crowd out all but the basics of caring for my family.  I developed a foot issue called plantar fasciitis during these years.  It was so painful and debilitating.  I never felt like doing anything that required much walking or standing.  Without realizing it, I was becoming a slouchy, saggy mom.  My hair was already greying, my posture sliding, my skin aging.  I was too busy to notice.

I did begin to pay more attention to nutrition though.  We started eliminating foods with artificial colors, then things with high fructose corn syrup, then refined flours; each year brought new awareness and new changes.  I began buying wheat in bulk, milling it just before making it into bread.  We bought a juicer in 2004, because I began to have some digestive health issues and read that fresh juice could help.  Even with all this knowledge, I was not paying attention to my weight.  I considered us a healthy family simply because we avoided most processed foods.  I never thought about exercise.

And so the years went on.  Fast forward to December of 2011.  I vividly remember squeezing into a pair of jeans before heading out to a family Christmas dinner.  I tried not to focus on the reality that these jeans were a 30x30 men's jean.  Relaxed fit.  Even when I saw my bloated face in the group picture from that day I rationalized that it was winter, and it's normal - even healthy - to carry a little extra weight in the winter. Ha! 

Somewhere along the way I think I gave up.  Without questioning the thought, I seemed to have accepted the notion that I would always be a frumpy mom.  I had been dealing with marginal thyroid concerns.  I had mild uterine issues. I was worried about menopause.   
Summer 2011

Then, in January 2012, I was in a fitting room trying on pants.  I grabbed a size 8, because in my mind I was still a size 8.  I couldn't even get them past mid thigh!  I was shocked.  Then I looked at myself in the full length dressing room mirror.  What I saw shocked me more.  When did I become that!?!  

Summer 2011 - not yet at my heaviest weight...
So, in mid January I decided to make a change.  Really a lot of changes.  Small changes every day.  My first reaction was to create a calorie deficit.  That quickly went up in smoke. It made me so focused on food that I couldn't think about much else.  I started looking for books and other information to help me make sense of things.  I found some information by Dr. Andrew Weil which suggested that 15-20 minutes of daily exercise was important, along with a diet rich in whole foods.  I felt like I understood the diet part pretty well.  I knew I needed to cut out all the little things I had let creep back in over the years - like pastries and chips and other empty foods.  The idea of regular exercise was something I had never fully contemplated. And so I began.  Every day I walked for about 20 minutes in my neighborhood.  After a month, I wanted more distance and scenery so I moved my walk to the city park a half mile from my house.

First bike: age 7
First baked a loaf of bread: age 12
Wife: 1991
Mother: 1994 / 1996 / 1998 / 2002
Homeschooler: 2000
Cyclist: off & on since 1990
Runner: 2012
First 5K: May 2012
First 15K: October 2012
First Half Marathon: November 2012
2nd Half Marathon: April 2013
First 3/4 Century ride: September 2012
First Century ride: June 2013
First Marathon: November 2013

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