"The green reed which bends in the wind is stronger than the mighty oak which breaks in a storm.” ~ Confucius say... :-D
Having reached my original goal, the one that I set before myself on that first day I began this journey, I'm very much pondering where to go from here. If I've learned anything in life, it's that plans and the future are always changing. Those who are inflexible to change... to adapting their plans depending on what life throws their way... well, they struggle to find their way in this world. When I made the goal to weigh 185 pounds, it was based on remembering the last weight that I felt happy at (over ten years ago), and by referencing my healthy BMI. So the plan was simple: lose 80 pounds, and reach that weight. As I got closer to this weight though, a funny thing happened... I found that I was finally completely happy and comfortable with my body despite not being at goal weight. I could very well have stopped there and considered it a job well done. For months, as I lost weight rapidly, I had begun to ponder the concept of maintenance and was gearing up for it... but something changed again. My personal goals evolved... happy with my body, my focus began to shift to my running, and at the end of October I found that I was able to run 4 miles three times a week. Whereas I once held 5k to be a good goal for distance, I suddenly had my sights on 10k. Then the challenge was dropped into my lap to attempt a half marathon distance. The reed bends and sways in the direction that the wind is blowing... and so I embraced that new chapter in my life, and with it a variety of new perspectives on things. As I crept ever slowly toward 185 pounds, I began to see that running had become more than just my path to weight loss, it's become a passion... something that pushes the boundaries of what I think is possible in my life and allows me to conquer my body. Although quite happy at 185 pounds, the truth is that through my passion, I'm going to continue to burn calories like mad, and will continue to lose weight... and so I adapt, and new goals have arisen. So, without further ado, here's what's next for me.
I believe that although I'm not attempting to maintain a specific weight right now, I can still characterize my status as being in a maintenance of sorts. It's not fixed on weight at the moment, rather is more a case of maintaining muscle mass, maintaining energy levels, maintaining a healthy body, and maintaining momentum. With running being more of a goal, it's easy to determine that my body will respond with more speed, endurance, and less wear and tear, if I continue to drop some weight from this frame. My loving wife bought me a fancy weight scale for Christmas - one that tells me a whole whackload of information. According to it, I have a current body fat percentage of 21%. This is considered smack dab in the average percentage range for my age - may seem strange if you see pictures of me or even when I look at my body in the mirror, because I look leaner than that, but clearly my body composition naturally disperses my body fat incredibly evenly... definitely not complaining, lol. My fitness range for body fat lies around the 15% mark. With all of this in mind, and knowing that my body will naturally continue to shed pounds in the months ahead, my new goal is one based around body fat percentage. I plan to lose another ten pounds of overall body mass (essentially ten pounds of fat), and gauge my body fat along the way. Once I clock in at 175 pounds, I plan to name that my game weight, and work toward maintaining that number. Since I would still be burning massive calories, I'll work toward increasing my protein intake to build muscle (along with more strength training if needed), and increase my 'good' carb intake to aid in my energy levels for running. This should offset my weight loss (in theory) and at that point continue to cut away my body fat percentage while maintaining a specific weight. Ideally, losing ten pounds of fat might land me really close to my percentage goal, but I'll simply evaluate that once I get there. I expect this to be much longer and more drawn out goal, and am happy to work at this for the next few years ahead. Patience is everything in this journey. Patience with ourselves, patience with our results, but as always, keeping the resolve to work hard as strong as possible. I'll be changing my ticker to reflect this new goal very soon, and am excited to see where this road leads.
Apart from this, I just plan to keep pursuing my passion for running. I've signed up for a 10k in April, and have the half marathon in May. From there, I plan to run the Toronto half marathon in October, and look for other 10k runs in between. Next year I'll be looking to run about four half marathons, and work toward the next impossible distance for myself... a full marathon distance. My running mentor, Stephen, has insisted that I not fill my head with too many thoughts on marathon running until next year, as he wants my primary focus to be conditioning my body over this next year. Once I'm conditioned for half marathon distance, then he'll be happy to guide me on in that sense. I can't tell you how much this man and his guidance has meant to me. I'm so fortunate to have him as a resource... as a friend. Once I'm up to running marathon distances, I've had the genius idea that it might serve as an outlet for meeting some of you in real life! :-D There are far more marathons run in the States than are available to me locally, and ideally I would like to run at least two per year. My dream is to travel to some of the cities near some of you, and not only race, but shake the hand of and share an embrace with those of you who've I've formed super close bonds. Though, I doubt I'll be able to afford racing near Venice (sorry Tina, lol). In the long of it... I have a big hope that now dangles ever so gently before my eyes. It's a very long term goal... it's one that I realize heading into it may never come to fruition... one that might come so close within my grasp but evade me none-the-less... I want to qualify for and run in the great Boston Marathon. The mere thought of this goal gets my heart pumping, and my soul smiling. It excites me... compels me... causes me to drop my chin ever so slightly, grit my teeth together in determination, and narrow my eyes in fierce desire for something that represents the final frontier in my imagination for what I'm capable of achieving physically. There's a long road ahead for training and conditioning, and there are many unforeseen obstacles that exist which may cause me to have to abandon this dream... but one foot in front of the other... one day at a time... this is where I'm going... ultimately, this is what's next. Boston 2018... I'm coming for you.