It might have appeared that moving to Kenosha after 30 years was a nostalgia trip, a step backward. But coming home was always about moving forward, about crafting the future I want as my young-adult kids move on.
For one thing, I want outdoor fitness to be a part of my life, and Kenosha offers an array of beautiful trails and routes, from the lakeshore to Petrifying Springs Park. I am sure I only know the half of it.
Getting in shape has been a challenge, though, because the same old thing no longer works.
Years ago, I was an avid cyclist. In my 30s, I rode multiple century rides in Wisconsin and Virginia, on my most favorite vehicle, a Trek 2100 road bike.
But when I took my old Trek out to ride it here, it didn’t seem to fit somehow. It was like I was trying to relive the past. Such narrow tires are not well suited to the varied terrain I could run into.
I decided this new life needs a new bike.
So, I did some window shopping with the Putt-Putts, a bicycling off-shoot of the Kenosha Running Club. I searched three stores for the same excitement I felt when I bought my first Trek.
Finally, I found true love in a “gravel bike,” a type of road bike with wider tires, built for more rugged trails. My new fiesta-red Felt will take me anywhere, and I can hardly wait.
The new bike got me thinking about what else I could do.
Last winter, I joined the Pleasant Prairie RecPlex, an extensive fitness complex with swimming pools and an ice rink and indoor track. I dabbled half-heartedly in a six-week running clinic.
It dawned on me I now have all the equipment to train for a triathlon. Except that would be crazy, because I am a lousy swimmer and an unreliable runner.
I mentioned this to my nephew’s wife, who has done some triathlons.
“No, you should do it!” she said.
She told me there is a triathlon held at the RecPlex in August that is great for beginners. The distance for each sport is relatively modest (1/2-mile swim, 11-mile bike ride, and 3.1-mile run).
I remind her that the last time I took an adult swim class I flunked out before I could successfully freestyle a lap. As for running, I’m all talk. I mostly go on Saturdays for the coffee.
Despite my protests, this triathlon idea started to grow on me. We have four months. We can help each other train! I can borrow her wetsuit!
I went to the website for the Iron Girl Pleasant Prairie Sprint Triathlon presented by Kenosha Subaru.
I have a habit of over-committing to just this sort of promise. I often believe, irrationally, that “future me” will have more time and be better-disciplined.
Sometimes I get it right, though, and wind up conquering a goal that scares me.
I clicked the button to register.
Now, there’s no going back.
Amy Ambrose writes this column monthly. Email: email@example.com