Since I've lost weight I've had to keep in front of me new goals. Awhile ago, when I really hated working out, I decided to change how I think of myself. I stopped thinking of myself as someone who had to work out to lose weight. I started thinking of myself as an athlete. This was a huge paradigm shift for me. I was a complete couch potato! Now I can say, with confidence, that I am an athlete. That doesn't mean I go out and win anything, or that I consider myself on par with professional athletes. It just means that I move my body every single day and I set physical challenges for myself. You can be an athlete at any size. It's the attitude, not the aptitude that matters.
In fact, I'll say it publically. My very first race was a one mile race. I was last. Dead Last. So last, in fact, that they turned off the clock at 20:00 minutes. There were extenuating circumstances, but suffice to say it was NOT a stellar performance.
My first triathlon my biggest fear was I'd be last out of the water. Well you know what? I was...last out of the water! Yup. I wanted to DIE. But I didn't. I kept going and finished and I did NOT finish the entire race last. I went on to do more triathlons.
My point is, it is TRULY the attitude and not the aptitude.
So, in order to keep things interesting, I have set up some athletic goals for myself. I am athlete. That means I train my body every day. (Rest is as important as exercise, therefore I take at least one rest day a week. I am always still active, but I do not train as hard that day.)
My initial goal for the summer of 2004 was to participate in the Danskin Triathlon in August. I started training with running and biking in the gym. I did that and have continued to tri, to run, to bike. As of summer 2008 I've completed 8 triathlons with my first Ironman 70.3 on August 3!
Ever since having my surgeries and feeling so miserable and so sick, I had wanted to do something to show my body how much I value my good health and fortune. I wanted to do something amazing. Now I know to some people this isn't very amazing, but to me it sure is. On August 15, 2004 I completed the my first Danskin Triathlon and had a marvelous, miraculous time doing it! Click here for my Danskin pages.I have completed four Danskins since then and plan to participate every year!
In addition to Triathlons, I love to run. I have completed a variety of 5ks, 10ks, half marathons, and TWELVE marathons (as of July 2008). I have decided that my lifetime goal is to complete a marathon in every state. I have eight states and one province down, 42+DC to go. If you're interested, I do race reports on most of my races. My race report page is here.
I always wanted to see myself as an active gal, and now I am. I ride my bike, I run, I swim at least two times a week, I climbed a rock wall once (and want to do that again...that was FUN), I bowl, I kayak, I golf (not well and not often), in short...I do all sorts of fun things to remain active and stay in shape. There is no more "I have to go work out." Now the attitude is, "I get to go play!"
I've added the picture to the right because I want to be honest. Swimming in a triathlon is very scary the first time, unless you're someone who grew up swimming in a lake. I panicked and had a horrible swim. I was last out of the water and you can see the disappointment on my face. But you know what? I did NOT quit! I kept going. I did better on the bike, passing a number of people, and I rocked on the run. The next day I got back in the water and just kept swimming, swimming, swimming. When I did the Danskin that year I didn't panic (much), I didn't stop, and I wasn't last. So even when it feels like you've just met your biggest nightmare out there, that doesn't have to be the defining moment of who you are as an athlete. I learned a LOT from that experience. I learned that I needed more practice swimming in a lake. I learned that I can have my worst fears come true (and being last out of the water was, honestly, my worst fear) and it's okay. I learned to never quit. I'll add this picture of me crossing the finish line so you can see that I bounced back and my experience was, overall, a positive one.
On May 1, 2005 I ran my first full marathon and in January 2006 Roy and I ran the Disneyworld Marathon together. I loved it! Was it hard? Hell yeah! It was a bitch, but it was also a HUGE sense of accomplishment when I finished. Here are some pictures from the Vancouver Marathon (top six) and from the Disneyworld (bottom six). Since then I've gone on to run the Salt Lake City Marathon, New York Marathon, Christmas Marathon, Coeur d'Alene Marathon, Seafair Marathon, Seattle Marathon, Grandma's Marathon, Portland Marathon, Eugene Marathon, and the San Diego Rock and Roll. Chicago will happen October 2008, and I have a number of others I'm considering.
Below are some links that you might find interesting if you're interested in training for a triathlon, 5k, 10k, or even a marathon.
If you are planning on participating in a triathlon or marathon, have done it before, want to correspond with someone else training for the Danskin, drop me a line! I'd love to hear from you!
In preparation for the Danskin I set up an athletic blog at www.beginnertriathlete.com. I have continued to update it daily because it's a great resource for tracking my training. Please visit my blog by clicking here.
I am doing a lot of cross training because it keeps me interested in working out, and keeps me from over-training one muscle group. It should also help me to avoid injury. Here is what I do:
-Running: I am now up to an average of 40 miles a week with one long run on the weekend. I do alternate hard/easy runs so I won't injure myself. I have learned that my back has a few degenerating discs, but that hasn't stopped me. I just get my run in before my adjustment!
-Swimming Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday mornings: I am a horrible swimmer, but getting better. I have dedicated to swimming at least two times a week, working on form and increasing my cardiovascular fitness in relation to the pool. I found it interesting the first time I got in that I was out of breath after two laps. I can run five miles, but I can't swim two laps? I realize it has more to do with my technique than my fitness.
-Biking I have been increasing my biking mileage. In fact, I've biked more miles in 2008 so far, than in 2007 all together. I have even commuted to and from work a few times (about 36-40 miles, depending on route, round trip). I like to use my bike for transportation as often as possible. I am not a very fast cyclist, but I enjoy it.
-Weight Lifting: I am trying to get back into a lifting routine at home. With the swimming, I had dropped it, but there are muscles that I need to strengthen to be a better swimmer.
-Abdominals Most days a week I do 700 crunches using a fitball. I do an overball back stretch (picture laying on the ball draped over it stretching out your abs. I then do 100 crunches on top of the ball, followed by another stretch. 100 more crunches. I move to the ground and put the bar under my right arm, leaning against it I get up on my left foot keeping my body straight and do oblique crunches, 50 on each side. Then the ball goes under my feet, I lie on the ground and I do 100 crunches. I follow that with 50 hip thrusts (yeah, the guys love that one...wooo) and another 200 crunches. I finish with one set of 100s Why so many abs? Because I have some SERIOUS muscle issues after four surgeries. I'm trying to strengthen those muscles as much as I can so they'll lie flatter.
Other stuff...We started kayaking last summer and liked it so much, we bought one this summer. Roy kayaks with me when I swim in the lake, and we get out together (it is a tandem) once a week or so. We've seen some AMAZING things on the kayak, like a bald eagle practically in our own "backyard" (the slough that runs south of our city). It is so peaceful and a good workout to boot!
This page last updated April 19, 2010