I am still not anywhere near my goal weight, but I have reached an even MORE important milestone. I am feeling happy, healthy and free! And a big part of that has to do with what I thought would get my more quickly to my goal weight- fitness!
I signed up for my first triathlon training class in May 2011. I was hooked! Danielle, the instructor has more enthusiasm than her small frame can contain. She's SO encouraging and such an example of fitness in her own life. At the end of the month we did our own "triathlon". That was the first time I had ever swam so far in my life. In fact at the beginning of May I hadn't EVER swam a lap. My running wasn't great, but I LOVED the spinning!
Later that summer, end of September- so I guess technically fall. I signed up to compete in Triathamom, and completed my first official triathlon. Still didn't love the run portion, but I felt like a decent swimmer at that point, and still LOVED the bike portion. In fact I started scouring classified ads to find my own road bike. Which I did shortly, after that- my own Little Red, otherwise known as a Specialized Dolce. I've loved her and she's been a great companion- which you'll read about more shortly.
I don't know at what point I found a local athletic group, "Triple Threat Triathletes" started by Rachael Gill, but it has been a life-changer. The strength of reciprocally encouraging friendships has been so amazing. So many inspiring women and a couple of men, that help me get out of bed at 5:00 in the morning, or help me to not skip that run even when I REALLY don't want to do it. I don't know if its a shared craziness, or mutual desires to escape the stresses of life, or truly just a love for these sports- probably a little of all three, heaviest emphasis on the last one. Whatever it is- this is just what I have needed in my life. It truly does make me Happy, Healthy and Free- which is where I want to be. The weight is slowly coming off, and THAT no longer matters as much to me.
DON'T mistake that last statement as apathy or that I am now suddenly thick-skinned. I still feel sad when someone sizes me up as a novice swimmer, or assumes I probably couldn't ride down the street, or wonders- "Wow, if she is riding her bike over 8 hours a week, why doesn't she look like all the other cyclists?" The Truth is cycling and all fitness in general has become so much more accessible to the masses and I'm so happy about that. I would love to look differently on my bike. BUT that doesn't change the exhilaration I get when I cut time off of a hill climb, or just feel stronger all around. I love it, I'm hooked and maybe possibly a little addicted. You have to love it in order to be training for a century and then sign up to do a 70 miler 2 weeks later, just because it sounds like so much fun and you wanna do it with the other girls in the group. Oh yeah, I didn't mention I signed up for my first half marathon in February 2013. That will be the subject of another post!
Why "Taking Care of Me?"
April 16, 2011 marked a new starting point for me. My sweet husband surprised me with a trip to a health spa, Fitness Ridge to be exact. It was literally life-changing, but didn't have the immediate results I, and I presume everyone else, expected to see. We watch The Biggest Loser and are amazed by their quick transformations and think- finally a difficult yet good way to finally lose the weight. Don't get me wrong I did start losing weight, but more importantly I started the journey to taking better care of me. That gift, when I remember to apply it, has been so vital in changing so many aspects of my life. Taking care of ourselves doesn't always look like spas, facials and massages. Rather it looks more like taking the time to cut those vegetables; getting a little less sleep to make it to the early morning spin class; taking the 5-10 minutes to pray and meditate at the end of the day. All because these things are really what taking care of ourselves look like.