This past weekend, I participated in the 2nd Annual Twilight 10k here in Madison. The run began and ended on Capital Square with amazing views of Lake Mendota, the University of Wisconsin campus, State St., and the Capital. As I ran I reflected on just how lucky we are to have such a great community of health and wellness advocates and was excited by the diversity of participants in the run. Whether this was your first distance race, or you were a well-seasoned expert, you weren’t alone and the level of support for runners was incredible.
My goal was to complete the race in under 60 minutes. I narrowly missed this goal, which I blame on the 40 mile bike ride I decided to go on that morning, but was still very proud to have completed my third 10k. Four years ago, the thought of running for six straight miles would have seemed crazy. I was nearly 300 pounds and living a very unhealthy lifestyle. For me, the bicycle was a catalyst for change.
Once I purchased my first bicycle as an adult, the benefits were clear almost immediately. With support from friends who showed me around the city to the supportive staff at my local bike shop, biking Madison was far easier than I could have imagined. It was just a matter of weeks before I was riding sixteen miles a day to and from downtown to visit friends or play basketball at Brittingham Park.
In the spring of 2010, my wife and I made the commitment to choose to commute by bicycle on all trips under 4 miles. By the end of the summer I had lost 48 pounds total, and felt great. While I still have a long ways to go, leaving my car in the garage and going by bike has had an undeniable impact on my health. Not only on my physical health but mentally as well. While the benefits of cycling on my psyche are far more difficult to quantify, the feeling of wholeness I have when riding is unmistakable. For me, cycling has created a time where I can escape and reflect. I find that many of my best ideas come while biking around Lake Monona, or escaping to the Capital City Trail in Fitchburg. As I jogged past mile four down the SW Commuter Path this Saturday, the capital dome clearly in sight and just two miles away from completing my third 10k, I realized just how crucial my bicycle was to my completing this part of my journey. Despite the soreness in my legs, I couldn’t help but smile as I contemplated my next step… half marathon next year?
Bring it on.