My buddy over at Bike War posted a comment the other day that’s really had me thinking… He commented on this post about the ability to cycle off a less than perfect diet: “Good post Jim. Part of the beauty of cycling, at least non-professionally, is that I can “fake” on the bike with a less than ideal diet, but I can’t similarly do that for my next marathon. It’s healthy food onwards or I pay for it on the run.”
Now, as many of us do, I read a lot more into that comment than what was written – not only that, when I revisited the comment to write this post, I was amazed at what was actually written. I’d been rolling that comment around in my head so much that I added to it in my head. Now he didn’t quite mean it like this – by “fake it” I think he meant that he could still be fast a bit overweight… I took it that I’m able to fake my diet because I can burn off so many more calories on the bike. That said, either way he’s right. I can’t run off junk food like I can cycle it off – there’s just no way. Recovery time gets in the way – and believe me, I tried. All of that, and having nothing to do with the comment itself, got me to thinking about “being true to me”.
First, my main goal for running and eventually cycling in the first place was to be able to eat what I wanted… Not necessarily how much I wanted, but definitely what. See, I don’t care how much I have to cut back to be trim, I can get used to being hungry. However there are a few things I won’t cut out of my diet, no matter what.
There’s no chance of me ever giving up meat. In fact, if the Veganazi’s ever got their way and the consumption of meat was completely outlawed (I was going to link to an idiot’s petition to Congress but I decided against giving the dope the press) , I’d be shooting squirrels and rabbits in my back yard and barbecuing them up. I’d have a chicken coop “for eggs” and sadly would be stuck with a batch of chickens that would suffer from broken neck syndrome and end up on my grill. I might even go so far as to raise a couple of pigs (gotta have the bacon) and maybe even a cow for a steak or 30 – I mean milk. If somehow reality and science were turned on their head and it was discovered that people could add 100 years to their life if they just gave up meat, I wouldn’t care or change a thing. The rest – candy, pop, cakes and cookies, I can live without (or at least on a limited basis though I would never be “for” banning such things, at least it used to be a free country – nor would I be for banning veganism even though eating in that way is very dangerous if not done properly).
Second, at least for today, I have no desire to be an age grouper, a racer or even exceptionally fast at the expense of my family, the enjoyment of the sports I love or my enjoyment of life in general. I simply have no desire to sacrifice anything to be fast. For now I’ve got a great balance and I love the fact that I look forward to every bike ride (outdoors of course).
Finally, in a small way, my enjoyment of the recovery lifestyle depends on my fitness, or my enjoyment of cycling and running. I need the outlet and the escape (if you can call shutting the brain down for an hour a day and a few on the weekends an escape).
Now, I’m svelte… But I’m not perfect by any stretch and I have no desire to give up what would be necessary to lose my last few percentage points of body fat. My idea of balance includes enjoying really tasty foods. To an extent, food is fuel – if I use premium I can feel the difference. On the other hand, a little regular unleaded every now and again sure is yummy.
On the other hand, I’ve got a pretty strict schedule that I maintain quite meticulously and I work really hard to make sure I’m as fast as I can be keeping up that schedule.
In short, I’m happy. I don’t have to be any thinner, faster, heavier, stronger or,, for the lack of a better word, better. The trick is I can’t let off the gas though. It took a ton of work to get here and it was worth every single minute, every single run and ride, every single skipped piece of pie.