A Fat Man's Journey (Working my way back…)

An Attempt to Journey from Fat to Fit in a Lifetime. Eat right, Eat less, Move more

When 22 miles Equals a Thousand


The North County Trailway is a Rail-to-Trail that runs from the Putnam County line to Elmsford NY. It is a 10 foot wide, 22 mile long slice of beauty.

I rode it today, North to South, with my friend KG. KG is a good friend and she has been steadfast in her encouragement as I wander along on this Journey of mine.

A couple of years ago I was in much better shape than I was at the start of my Journey. I rode the 42 mile Five Boro Bike Tour in NYC and I did a few other rides. KG took up cycling at about that time to compliment her running and we did a couple of these planned rides together.

As I piled on the weight I stopped cycling. Which came first is really hard to say but let us say they happened concurrently.

Now I have been hiking and walking and I took a couple of ten-mile rides but I had not yet attempted a longer ride, something over 20 miles, something a little more challenging. A few weeks ago I came up with the idea of riding this trail and KG agreed to ride along with me. Cold weather, rain, busy schedules, pushed it back until finally I said damn the chill, I am doing this ride.

After leaving one car in Elmsford, we drove together to Somers, NY to the start of the trail. We got going at about 10:20 AM. Still chilly but warming. I thought my ears were going to freeze off after the first mile or so…

I rode strong. I felt strong, my legs felt good and I was not at any time winded on what was admittedly a pretty flat ride. There were some long inclines but nothing steep and some long down hills but, again, nothing steep. All in all we stopped only twice, once to admire the view on the Croton Bridge and once, about 5 miles from the end when I wanted to stretch my leg out and let the numbness in my right foot subside. I ended the ride with my right calf healthy, my quads fine, nothing out of sorts.

22 miles. 13.8 miles per hour. A nice little lunch afterwards. Then off to home.

22 miles

22 miles from Somers to Elmsford.

A thousand miles from where I was.

The very thought of this ride would have seemed a pipe dream, a fantasy, a delusion just three months ago when walking up the stairs to my bedroom tired me out. Three months ago when walking a mile and a quarter felt as though I had just run the NYC marathon. Three months ago when I finally said ENOUGH, I am tired of being fat, tired of being out of condition, tired of being a worn out old man before my time.

It isn’t easy to look at yourself and say these things. Don’t think it is. Don’t think that it is easy to admit you get tired walking the stairs to your bedroom. Don’t think that asking for a table at the diner because you don’t fit in the booth is an easy thing when the three people you are with want a booth. This is not easy; it is hard, it is painful. The day I tried to ride the wind trainer and couldn’t because my belly was in the way of my peddling… That was painful, embarrassing, hard.

Today I swung my leg over the saddle, snapped in to my pedals and began to ride. I rode easily. I rode comfortably. I rode as though I was at home on the saddle. I rode smoothly and I rode confidently. I knew within the first three to four miles that I would be able to finish the 22 miles. What I didn’t expect was to feel so good at the end. All the walking and all the bleacher-sets are paying off…

I rode 22 miles today.

On the Croton Bridge

I rode 22 miles today.

It feels so good to say that

It feels even better to know that I am a Thousand miles from where I was…


112 thoughts on “When 22 miles Equals a Thousand

  1. Wow, what an accomplishment! Congratulations on completing your ride. Keep up the good work.

  2. Wow. Congratulations. I’m sure I couldn’t do that. And, as the old joke goes, 22 equals 1000 (for very large values of 22).

  3. WTG Mark and i don’t care what you say in this picture you do NOT look obese at all! You just look great!

  4. Congrats — that’s a HUGE accomplishment!


    So what was the overriding emotion you were you feeling at the end of the ride?

  5. Congrats on your journey–and congrats on Freshly Pressed. That will be one heck of a ride–I promise!

  6. Nice blog, hope you reach your goal 🙂 good luck

  7. Congrats, you look as good as you sound. You just went another 1000 miles by getting that out there about how you felt. Cheers Sue

  8. wow, congrats! whats your bike set up?

  9. That is awesome! I’ve lost 81 lbs in the last 11 months and I know exactly what your saying. I’ve been unable to work out for the last 7 weeks because of an unexpected surgery and slow healing time. I cannot tell you how much I’ve missed working out because of it, which is so funny to say because before I lost the weight.. I would have looked for any excuse to not work out..:) Congrats to you!

  10. Your reaccountment is a great motivator for others who are struggling with the same thing. I commend you on your efforts and hope that you continue this great journey and reach the end with a feeling of self-pride and inspiration. Nice work!

  11. I’m glad you managed to make the right decision where others would have given in. Sometimes we all make it to a point were it just becomes easy to give up but what is also easy is how ones world revolves around a choice and you made the excellent one my friend. Just don’t look back when your peddling away and keep going cause lord knows what its like to say – “I’ve been there before” only to find yourself there again -,o


  12. Congratulations on your personal – and very cool – victory!

  13. Congratulations 🙂

  14. Congratulations.
    This is really a good work. I appreciate your efforts behind that.

  15. Fantastic Mark! There is such a joy in being able to move your body isn’t there! I’ve been on a thousand mile journey myself and you express those steps so beautifully.

  16. Congrats Mark! This is a fabulous accomplishment.

  17. Wow!! Great job on that. I was wonderiung if you could check out my blog. Come and see an 11 year old’s view on all things baseball.

    P.S. Feel free to give me any advice.

  18. Good luck!

  19. I love stories like these, full of “I Can do it”. I’m happy for you that you feel good again. I’ve gotten out of shape raising kids and such, forgetting I need exercise too but the Katy trail (Missouri) is practically in my back yard. I’ve been on it a few times and It really feels good. Your entry gives me extra encouragement to keep getting back on it, thanks.

  20. Congrats on making Freshly Pressed and again congrats for doing so well working on reaching your goal, great job!

  21. So nice to see this on Freshly Pressed. I just moved to Portland and remember feeling the panic of the seat belt on the plane not buckling and if it did, having no extra room on the belt. I panic every time my friends here talk about camping and hiking, sad but true.I feel 80 instead of 58. It hurts on so many levels and I want a do over. Thanks for reminding us it’s never too late.

  22. Congratulations on the weight loss. I am a somewhat larger man; and just started working out again; mostly strength training but with a fair amount of cardio and calisthenics. Its certainly not easy at first; and I have bad knees from getting in fights as a kid but my arms are taut again and getting bigger and I feel like the rest of me is getting smaller. Hopefully Ill be working my way to where you are and then down to my goal weight of about 220; my old fighting weight.

  23. Good to see you got freshly pressed and that you are back in the saddle again. I am a fellow cyclist and know how good it feels to get back on the bike. Keep it up.

  24. Nice post! Keep it up! I’m sure your journey from fat to fit will not take a lifetime.

    Best Regards!

  25. You rock! Kudos to a healthier you! 🙂

  26. I”m sure you’ll get there: every cyclist has to retrain their leg muscle cycling memory and other body areas to cycle longer and further.

    But enjoy the scenery along your journey. Get your body to become hooked to the love of cycling.

    Consider weaving cycling to work, shopping and make it part of your lifestyle. Then it doesn’t feel like exercise in this way.

    From a cycling returnee..20 yrs. ago and still goin’.

  27. Awesome! I am a cyclist myself, and I remember when 20 miles seemed like an impossible feat. Just keep riding consistently and you will surprise yourself, just as I have.

  28. Hey, cool…freshly pressed! You deserve it.

  29. Brilliant and I really do know and understand where you are coming from (I’ve lost over 9 stone!). Haven’t got round to writing about that yet, but I will.

    Just remember how you feel today, it will get even better, trust me.

    WELL DONE!!!!!!!

  30. You’re an inspiration! Congrats on getting freshly pressed, and thanks for blogging!


  31. Wow! What an excellent ride — and nice post. Congratulations on coming so far!

  32. What a great post! I can just feel your joy in your words. As a fellow “loser” and having taken up a 20-mile personal biking challenge last year, I understand, I get it, and I wish you many, many more spectacular miles. Welcome back to the trail!

  33. Love your header image so much. I do have one picture of path as the background of my header image. Yours symbolizes your journey, whereas mine symbolized “the path to Chinese characters” in my Chinese learning blog. Please check this out if you’d like http://path2mandarinchinesecharacters.com/. Cheers.

  34. What an inspiring blog! Congrats on being freshly pressed too 🙂
    I’m not overweight but I am always out of breath. I am trying to get healthier and go hiking but I lack any motivation…example, today it was gray and dull and chilly outside so I stayed on the couch and ate cookies. The entire day I thought I really should just put on my trainers and go for a walk, but now it is getting dark out so another day is gone. I recently joined a soccer team but i worry that i will collapse if i dont do some training on the off days. I have signed up to follow you so that maybe you can motivate me to get off my butt and do something too! Thank you for sharing, Leah.

  35. Saw this on FP and really enjoyed reading about your commitment. Keep it up. Oh and nice bike!

  36. It’s a weird synchronicity that this popped up on “Freshly Pressed” today. I right now am where you were several months ago, and as difficult as it is to get started down a healthier path, you are right….it is not effortless to put up with the lack of energy and knowing you are not at your best. Thanks for the inspiration.

  37. Congrats! There are lots of beautiful places to ride in Westchester, as well as to walk or jog around in nature, and you’ll enjoy doing it even more as the weather gets better! Keep up the awesome work 🙂

  38. You succeeded the day you took your very first step months ago. Congratulations on your journey (and being featured on FP!)

  39. Thanks so much for sharing, it was really inspirational. I am trying to get myself to go to teh gym more and lose weight so to hear your honest words that resound with me motivate me to at least try … it seems once you do taht failing isn’t an option

  40. A Fat Man’s Journey. Congratulations for your strength and determination in accomplishing your trip. Dreams are made of this. Congrats for being Freshly Pressed.

  41. you just motivated me to go cycling this week end! Thank you for writing this inspirational piece! Keep up the great work, and i hope thousands more to come!

  42. Congrats here as FP and with your fantastic accomplishment. You get to where you want to be by doing! Wishing you many more miles!!!

  43. you are so awesome!!!!!!!!!!!

  44. you are so awesome

  45. Congrats! I too am a big man. I started out at 440 and dropped to 300. Then I got married, went back up to 400 and now I am back down to 340 since we got pregnant 7 months ago. I do a lot of hiking, mixed with healthier foods and holistic health when I need a doctor. It has made me healthy and I am happy about that. I do have a bike that I do ride in the summer time around the River’s Edge trail down in Great Falls Montana. That is a lot of fun. I don’t think I have done 22 miles on the trail because I have a regular street cruiser bike and not a mountain bike which you need for most of that trail. The urban trails on the west side and lower south side are pretty easy good for a street cruiser.

  46. Congratulations! Keep going strong! 🙂

  47. Way to go! Lately, it seems like I see more and more people either getting back on the bike or getting back on the bike, embracing the joy of cycling and the joy of better health. That’s a beautiful thing, and stories like yours are simply inspiring.

    22 miles is a big accomplishment! For me, that was about the distance that marked the point at which I stopped thinking of myself as a ‘bike-riding guy’ and started thinking of myself as a ‘cyclist.’

    May the road rise up to meet you, and may the wind be ever at your back!

  48. PS – I love your tagline, “An attempt to journey from fat to fit in a life time.” The ‘life time’ element is so important. What a great way to capture the essence of the idea!

  49. Keep pushing my brother. Great blog and clearly you are having an impact on a lot of people. Keep up the fantastic work!!

  50. It’s a big deal – to ride 22 miles. Not because of the physical part of it but because of the changes in your head that have to happen in order to ride the 22 miles. I’ve walked in a couple of Three-Day 60 mile walks for breast cancer (5 years ago) and am going to do a Two-Day 39 mile walk in September. Right now, I can’t honestly imagine walking 26 miles one day and 13 the next. But I know from experience that so much is about controlling my attitude and just refusing to sit down. I admire what you are doing. I think I get really get it.

  51. Very inspiring, indeed. It is absolutely true how accomplishing a goal trumps any number. It doesn’t matter whether your goal is to ride a mile, lose a few pounds, or get a simple degree. What matters is that you accomplish what you set in life because progress is what will eventually drive you to success. I don’t normally comment, but this blog entry speaks volumes about personal drive and success. Neddie

  52. The thrill you feel from accomplishing this feat is contagious. Congratulations!!! You are an inspiration to many, I’m sure of it.

  53. What an inspirational post. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  54. congrats!! I’d never be able to do that…very inspirational

  55. Fantastic effort, I love cycling and the achievement of riding something like this is indescribable. Good on you and thanks for sharing.

  56. Go ahead, brother! That’s all it takes, just one step at a time. There are so many with you in spirit!

  57. Rock on! That feeling of looking back and seeing how far you’ve come (both literally and figuratively) is wonderful, isn’t it?

    Congratulations on how far you’ve come. 🙂

  58. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed and your success in your weight loss. You’re very inspiring and I’m glad to have found your blog through it being FP. Looking forward to reading your previous posts and the future ones too.

  59. Congratulations on your accomplishment so far – I’ve been cycling for years and you’re already faster than me! I have many patients that I can’t convince to even try a little exercise or lose a little weight. Too bad I can’t bring you to my clinic to get things going. Good luck on your goals and good for you – being FP’d!

  60. How wonderful to hear about your fitness goals and the success you have had thus far! I am a couple months into my weight loss goals and I started blogging to be able to share in my journey, amonst the other challenges in life as well! Thank you for sharing your story, what an encouragment!

  61. Wow – I’m really impressed by the stats at the top of your page. Best of luck on your continued journey, and congratulations on what you’ve accomplished already. Congrats, too, on being freshly pressed!

  62. Very inspiring. Congratulations!

  63. Congrats to you! I had a similar experience with swimming not too long ago–being so out of shape for so long, doubting my abilities, but taking the plunge (literally!) and finding I could do it. That quiet, amazing moment of victory when I actually swam a mile in one go…awesome! What you said about the booth/table thing really rings true for me, too. That moment when you realize there’s room between your gut and the table is a really nice one, haha. Keep it up, man. Good work!

  64. Congratulations on the ride! I hear you on the “I don’t know which came first” regarding the stopping exercising because you got big or got big from stopping exercise. I suppose it doesn’t even matter at this point, and I appreciate your post to make me realize that!

  65. Congratulations! 22 miles is better than me! You’re so fun and encouraging to read!

  66. Well done for taking charge of yourself; it’s so easy to turn a blind eye till one day you wake up and hardly recognise what’s been happening whilst you were ‘sleeping’. You’ve inspired me to take up cycling again too. I haven’t ridden a bike for 20 years!!!! I hope they’re right and it is something you never forget! Congrats again!

  67. Wow 22miles. Very impressive! I struggle to bike 2 miles. I’m very jealous!

  68. You are truly an inspiration, not only for pushing yourself further, but for every single person who thinks they “can’t” do it.
    Thanks so much for sharing this part of your life with all of us. (I think that takes a lot of courage!)

  69. That is awesome; good for you! I can relate to your journey.
    When I was reading your post I was reminded of a great book I read called, “The Memory of Running” by Ron McLarty. It is also about a man and a bicycle. If you like to read you should check it out 🙂

  70. Yes! This is fantastic! Loved the article..feeling inspired to take a nice long bike ride, thank you! Keep up the good work.

  71. Wow! 22 miles biking, that’s awesome! You are also from my neck of the woods (well I am currently in Spain right now but I’ll be back in September), Westchester County! It’s nice to see a fellow Westchesterite get freshly pressed. 🙂

  72. Way to go! I see your goal is to ride a metric century by the end of the summer. At 22 miles you are well on your way! You might not believe it, but once you’ve accomplished that goal you will be ready for 100 miles. Good job on the weight loss and a healthier diet, too. I have to say thanks for being another source of inspiration. Congrats on being freshly pressed!

  73. Just the way you wrote about it gave me goosebumps. Way to own it. Very inspiring!

  74. It’s funny that you are 1000 miles into your journey, and as I read this post I feel like I am just beginning down the same path. Thanks for the blog, I will follow along in hopes that I can pick up a tip or two.

  75. You, sir, are a true role model!
    Hats off to you and your determination, your words have touched me and made me more determined to undertake such actions (for, like you, I find myself into a somewhat similar issue regarding my shape, or to be more precise, the lack thereof).
    Congratulations on being pressed, this is the kind of material that changes the world. 🙂
    Keep rocking and being awesome, you’ve earned the profound respect of yet another. *bows*

  76. Pingback: An annoyance…and a small victory :) | Fino's Weblog

  77. Your an inspiration! Seriously I love to read stories that get me going as well. Thanks for the post! Keep on pedaling.

  78. Just wow! You are on an amazing journey – kinda doing something similar but on 2 feet not wheels – the best of luck on your journey – the view is amazing at the top! J x

  79. That’s awesome! I should try to get back on my bike…

  80. Keep up the hard work. Its worth it!

  81. That’s really powerful. It’s so great that your journey has such gorgeous views along the way, and it sounds like you’re really absorbing them and making the most out of them.

    • Well, truth be told, my riding partner had to remind me to stop on the bridge and enjoy the view… It is a lesson I am taking to heart…. Thank you for reading my blog I truly appreciate all the people that are taking time to read it and taking to to comment.

  82. You are such a great inspiration – congratulations on all you have achieved !!!!

  83. Congrats on Fresh Press…and on your perseverance!

  84. i really love this! I hope you keep on going! we support you! i know how you feel, i have made a similar journey myself, if you are interested on reading it : http://dinagewely.wordpress.com/2012/01/07/inspirational-story/

    Keep up the great work!!

  85. Awesome job! Are you freshly pressed today, or did you just have followers come out of the woodwork to say You Are Awesome!!!!!

  86. Pingback: July 8, 2013 | A Fat Man's Journey (OK, not so fat now...)

  87. Pingback: FRIDAY!!! Oh, and my Blogging Anniversary | A Fat Man's Journey (Working my way back...)

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