Focused on what I've gained (and lost too)
Wednesday, February 28, 2018
Last year, about this time, I was just 2 months into this journey, and to help shake things up, I joined a challenge at my YMCA called the "Ironman Challenge". In it, you do all the distances of an Ironman Triathlon (2 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run) but you have up to 6 weeks to do it, and you can modify by walking, using a recumbent bike, swimming with a kickboard, etc. At that point, I was not a runner, not by a longshot, but as I started the challenge I thought to myself -- why not? Why can't I be a runner? It occurred to me that if I figured out how to run, I could possibly do a REAL triathlon -- a short one maybe, but still.
So I started to teach myself to run in March. I set a goal of doing my first 5K, running the whole way, in the first week of May. My next goal after that was to do a local "sprint" triathlon (500 m swim, 20K bike, 5K run) in July.
I was slow, but I did both races and finished. Somewhere along the way I realized I actually enjoyed running. I did a 10K in August, and two more 5Ks in September and December, and loved each one.
The Ironman Challenge at my Y has come around again, and as I now do it without modifications, I can't help but think of where I was a year ago. It's amazing what a difference a year has made in my life. I am a runner. I am a triathlete. I have gained muscle, endurance, confidence. I am so proud of what I have gotten my body to do.
Weight loss is a great side bonus. Almost 60 lbs down from where I started; I'm super excited that I am in the 150s and a pant size 10/12. I am even considering getting a bikini this summer. I know I have done it in a way that is sustainable -- I don't feel deprived with what I eat, and exercise has become such a part of my life that I miss it terribly if I go more than 2 days in a row without it. I know I can have a treat here or there and it won't sabotage me.
But it's really all the gains that make the difference. Those are the things that sustain me. It's not so much how I look in the mirror (though that is nice), it's that I can just decide on a nice day to go for a 4 mile run in the park and feel just great. It's that I can pick up my 4 year old with one arm, and still swing around my 7 year old. It's looking at the race medals hung on my wall, or wearing one of my race shirts, and knowing that I worked and earned those things. It's about so much more than a number on a scale.