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Old 09-02-07, 12:56 PM   #1
soma5
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Progress in my return to cycling

I wrote earlier (in July or August) that I'm 56 years old and that I'd been "forced" to return to cycling after 12 years of a purely sedentary lifestyle by my now (almost) grown children. My first ride was July 1. I asked for training tips for returning cyclists and got a lot of good information. Thanks to all of you for that, and for the encouragement you gave me. I thought that it would be of interest if I gave an update after the first two months. As you read this, be aware that my writing style is sort of formal and it's hard to communicate the fact that riding again has been the incredibly joyous experience that it's been. I'm outside, I'm spending time with my kids, I'm improving my physical state. Can my mental state be far behind? (Joke, you're supposed to smile! )

Overall, I've made a lot of progress. However, the progress has been mixed. In some areas, I'm very encouraged. In others, the progress has come slowly. I've tried hard to keep from overdoing things and trying to do too much, and then injuring myself. That part has been an unqualified success! I used to be a masters racer, and I am trying to keep perspective - I don't really want to try to compete with my former self and that would be a losing competition anyway.

Over July and August, I rode 410 miles. Most of those miles were in small increments, like 10 miles at a time. Yes, I rode fairly often. I am capable of riding at about 18 mph average on "gently rolling terrain" with no real climbs for about 25 miles now. I am not capable of climbing real hills with anything but pure agony written all over my face, so I avoid those rides for now (and I used to be a climber). I'd rather not push that and injure my knees, for example. I have enjoyed riding with my children. They've been my best and most frequent riding companions. For example, I did a 22-mile ride this morning with my son. Last weekend I rode with my daughter, a 24-miler. This weekend I pushed myself harder to see what kind of progress I'd made and did a 42-miler yesterday. Today I had no strength in my legs. Ha. There is no quick return to fitness.

I think that the best advice I got was 1) to take it slowly and 2) to find joy in other aspects of riding besides the competition I used to thrive on. So far, I have had no injuries, feel stronger and more energetic, get to spend a lot of time with my kids and enjoy the relatively cool summer we've had. I won't do any climbing training until next spring, I think, when I have accumulated enough base miles. My training goal is to reach a certain level (which is confidential at this time ) by the end of next August. No, it's not a competitive level, far from it. My riding goals are to keep enjoying myself, to keep from taking it too seriously and to keep riding with my kids.

-soma5
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Old 09-02-07, 01:07 PM   #2
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Hooray for you! You've done great in all respects. Congratulations on your terrific progress and staying with your plan.

Have you made any dietary changes yet? I found your earlier post in which you said you'll tackle that soon. If you haven't found something yet, I highly recommend an exchange-type eating plan (like that offered by the diabetes exchange plan) in which you eat real food, is adaptable for almost anyone, still lets you eat your favorite goodies (within reason, at appropriate intervals, in appropriate amounts), and will soon turn into a new lifestyle of eating that anyone can follow for the rest of your life. It's not a trendy "diet", just a healthy way of eating. I've been doing it for 3 years (I'm not a diabetic -- anyone can do it) and now it's a habit to think in terms of food groups and portion sizes rather than "calories" or "carbs". Yes, carbs are your friend (especially if you are very active).
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Old 09-02-07, 01:10 PM   #3
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Old 09-02-07, 01:10 PM   #4
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Good Luck and stick with it. I'm not 56 but got back into cycling after a 10 year void. I am not as fast as I use to be but do approx. 125 miles a week.
Your right..its good for the body and mind..no kids but I'll take my dogs jaeger and panzer in a converted burley trailer on the back of my swobo for a few miles.
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Old 09-02-07, 03:24 PM   #5
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Well done, Soma5. Stay with it.
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Old 09-02-07, 03:41 PM   #6
soma5
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Originally Posted by Yen View Post
Hooray for you! You've done great in all respects. Congratulations on your terrific progress and staying with your plan.

Have you made any dietary changes yet? I found your earlier post in which you said you'll tackle that soon. If you haven't found something yet, I highly recommend an exchange-type eating plan (like that offered by the diabetes exchange plan) in which you eat real food, is adaptable for almost anyone, still lets you eat your favorite goodies (within reason, at appropriate intervals, in appropriate amounts), and will soon turn into a new lifestyle of eating that anyone can follow for the rest of your life. It's not a trendy "diet", just a healthy way of eating. I've been doing it for 3 years (I'm not a diabetic -- anyone can do it) and now it's a habit to think in terms of food groups and portion sizes rather than "calories" or "carbs". Yes, carbs are your friend (especially if you are very active).
Thank you, Yen and others, for your encouragement. Yen, do you have any links to information about this exchange plan? I've been doing this kind of thing ad hoc and it would be interesting to see what changes I would need to make. One change that I've already made is to eat more carbs, especially on riding days. I went to a "low carb" diet a few years ago to keep my weight down because I wasn't exercising at all. Folks, if you ever want to lose weight (possibly at an unhealthy rate) go "low carb." The weight rolled off at an incredible and alarming rate. I guess I'm on a "lower carb" diet now that allows me to maintain my weight. I've put on a few pounds with the cycling muscles but I haven't put on any more fat. I'd like to get more formal about my diet plans, though. I'd prefer a plan backed by some research, as opposed to my mish-mash of speculative ideas.

-soma5
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Old 09-02-07, 04:12 PM   #7
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Way to Go!!
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Old 09-02-07, 05:21 PM   #8
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And it just keeps on getting better from there, believe me
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