Tracy’s 49th Birthday: The Year in Review and the Year Ahead

Early FallHappy birthday to me!  We are now both halfway to our “fittest by fifty” date. Even since I last took stock in the late spring, my goals have changed. Even though I realize that birthdays are actually just arbitrary markers (like–I’m just a day older than I was yesterday, as is the case EVERY day!), as my birthday approaches I always feel a bit reflective and a bit funky and out of sorts.

I don’t really mind getting older, but it does kind of put things into perspective.  I may be reclaiming some of that childhood feeling with the new bike, but let’s be honest: youth is never again to be mine.

Still, I feel like I’ve done some amazing things this year, things I never thought I’d do–things like triathlons, running races, and a road bike with clipless pedals.

Unbelievably awesome things like MAKING PEACE WITH FOOD!  Let’s hear it for intuitive eating!  It’s really something that I have not bailed on that, running back to the false sense of security that a new, restrictive diet used to bring.

Without going into tedious detail, my highlights from the past year are:

  • Joining the Y and starting swimming again!
  • Making and keeping my commitment to follow the guidance of Nia Shanks and her Beautiful Badass training program. Yep. I bought the manual, read it, chose a plan, and I’m seeing the results.
  • Talking Tara into being my workout buddy at the Y.  We’re seriously working hard together and I can tell you, you don’t dare stand up your friend at 6:30 a.m.  It’s just not okay.
  • The Kincardine Women’s Triathlon, even though it turned into a duathlon. See the race review here.  Great friends and good fun!
  • The Lakeside Triathlon a couple of weeks ago. Race report here.
  • Okay, just generally discovering triathlon. In my last stock-taking I said I wanted to do a half marathon by the time I turn fifty. But you know what? I no longer want to do that. I can get all the challenges of endurance sports in the multi-sport model of triathlon. I would much rather swim, bike and run an Olympic distance triathlon than run a half marathon. Like, no contest.
  • Running with a group on Thursday evenings (sometimes). It was great to try something different.
  • Buying my new road bike!  Bike shopping experience report here.
  • Letting go of my parking pass and making a commitment to ride or walk to work. So far, so good.
  • Getting into the rhythm of intuitive eating.
  • Tossing the scale and rejecting the bod pod.
  • The blog. I love it!  I love doing this with Sam, and I’m thrilled with our regular commenters and our guest bloggers.

What I’m working on:

  • Getting rid of the thought that I may run, but I can’t be fast.  I had an epiphany yesterday that this thought has held me back from even attempting to be faster.  Maybe, just maybe, I can actually achieve changes in this area.
  • Scheduling. I sometimes feel as if I’m doing one thing too many, but I don’t want to take anything out of my schedule.  Every week I’m doing what I can to fit in: 3 yoga classes, 3 runs, 2 weight training sessions, 2 swims, daily bike rides for commuting (and now I want to add longer rides). And I have a fairly demanding full time job. And a partner whom I like to see (and vice versa).
  • I’ve made peace with food, but not so much with my body.  But that’s starting to feel “tired,” so maybe, just maybe, it’s easing up and will just go away the way the way the food thing did.
  • Learning to ride with the clipless pedals. It’s coming and I’ll post about it on Thursday.  Yes, I have a few bruises, but if I’d started with the lesson from Sam instead of trying it alone I’d have none.

My “fittest by fifty” goal is this:

  • Sprint distance triathlon in the spring, Olympic distance in the late summer or early fall.

I’ve signed up for swim training starting next week and will add some other group triathlon training in January.

Why just the one goal? I want to keep things simple. And anyway, training for triathlon is pretty diverse, and has the running, swimming, and biking built into it.  Resistance training is a must for maintaining muscle strength. Yoga is my goal-less practice that keeps me grounded, strong, and flexible.

The whole fittest by fifty project is always evolving, but that’s part of it too. We don’t have to fix things in stone (if we did, I’d be training for half marathons instead of triathlon!).

I have few other aspirations, like going on some longer bike rides with Sam and her biking friends (possibly even being part of the Gran Fondo Niagara group she’s trying to get together for next September if it doesn’t conflict with my triathlon).

I’m feeling pretty good about it all today.  For a woman who is pushing fifty, I could be doing a lot worse.  But I went to yoga this morning, will be riding my bike to and from work today, and plan to meet friends for dinner tonight at my favorite vegan restaurant.

And I ordered a whole triple chocolate vegan cake for dessert! And yes, I’m sharing.

14 thoughts on “Tracy’s 49th Birthday: The Year in Review and the Year Ahead

  1. Happy birthday! I say that all the fitness accomplishments are worth congratulating you on–that’s a lot of workouts consistently…props!–but that it’s the healthy mindset and the patience you have for yourself that I think you should really take some time to celebrate! Inspiring!

  2. Happy birthday! It’s been really wonderful reading about your journey so far, and can’t wait to see what the next year brings to you. Both you and Sam are inspirational!

  3. Happy birthday, Tracy! You should be so proud of your accomplishments to date! I have learned alot from this site, and have thought a fair bit about matters I’d have never even considered otherwise, and so I thank you and Sam very much. Any further thought being given by you and Sam on co-authoring a book about fitness and feminism, perhaps following you both turning 50?

    1. Thanks, Craig. Oh yes, we are writing the book for sure. We’re going to the Banff Centre in December and plan to crank out a draft. Not going to wait until we’re 50 for the (first) book.

  4. Happy birthday! Your honesty in laying out goals, fears, progress, reservations, and your courage in pursuing, adjusting, accepting, pushing– all of these deserve a big huzzah! Philosophers don’t use this word much, but the blog and your approach are really inspirational to me and lots of others. Thanks, and keep those posts coming…

    -catherine w

  5. Happy Birthday “T”….we will do a “review” on your 50th!!! lol..hugs!!
    Have an awesome day…….

  6. Great goal. Looking forward to riding and some running with you. Hope Gran Fondo works out. I had a thought about birthday funk. For me, it’s partly seasonal. Fall versus spring. I think a May birthday might be good.

  7. Happy birthday! Loved this post, you’ve done so much over the past year and it’s been great to watch/read all about your experiences as you’ve gone through them.

    FWIW I think fittest by fifty is not only a great goal but totally achievable. My husband and I often talk about how amazing it is that he’s 51 and he’s the fittest he’s been in his entire life. Human bodies can be so cool sometimes.

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