Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Journey That Led Me Here Part II

I entered CNN FitNation's video contest and hoped for the best. The night before they were to be chosen I prayed to God for help. If I didn't get in, how could I move forward? If I didn't change my life around, my daughter and husband would be left without a wife and mother. Did I REALLY want to accept that? Was that REALLY the role of a wife and mother to accept what I had the capability to change? "Lord? Can you help me I cried?" and he did...

 I did some research the night before which led me to a local Triathlon Club. I decided to stick my head out there and find out what kind of gear I would need and just how pricey things were going to get. Since it wasn't going to be cheap, I needed to find a way to complete my goals not just with a triathlon in mind but realistically looking at overall health & wellness.

If I was going to change my life, it was going to take balance. Mind, Body, Heart, Soul and Spirit. If one was out of balance, nothing would work. Without proper nutrition, my body wouldn't get what it needed and I would not lose any weight. However, if I didn't move I wouldn't lose the weight either. Add to that attitude (which I am STILL working on) and faith in the very same God that helped me through every other aspect of my life, without His mighty strength love and guidance NOTHING would work. There has to be a balance. I absolutely HAD to make time for God, myself, my overall health and emotional wellness.  THAT is when I prayed for answers. How was I to move forward if I didn't get chosen for CNN FitNation's 2014 Triathlon Challenge?

I woke up and went to the computer where I found several responses waiting for me. One of those responses came from someone who said he saw my video and wanted to talk to me about coaching me and helping me get to my goals. I called him and he told me I would be the bike shops health & wellness ambassador and that he would cover the cost 100% along with the bike shop owners. I had never heard of such a thing! Who would do that? I waited for the catch but there was none.

Working hard in the basement. I believe this is January.

I started training in January. Coach put me through the ringer and never treated me any different from his other athletes which meant that I received no slack.  He accepted no excuses and expected me to put the work in. That I had no problem with! I walked shyly into the store several days a week afraid of being judged by the guys in the store only to find out later that these men had hearts of gold! I was encouraged every time I walked in and even hugged by Steve when I broke down in tears.

As I started to focus on numbers. Time became my enemy and I kept comparing myself to seasoned athletes who were FAR above my capabilities.  If you learn anything, please DO NOT COMPARE YOURSELF WITH OTHERS!  These seasoned athletes spent many years perfecting their craft. In their own right, they deserve credit for the hard work and dedication they've put into the speed and accuracy they have earned.  As I've heard plenty of times from all these folks, it's that we are racing against ourselves! I am racing against death, fear, anxiety, depression, age, and my own negative attitudes.

Because I spent many months focusing on numbers, I was put in corner after corner with my bike on a trainer so that I could concentrate on what was important.  Coach praised me for my strengths but took my weaknesses and built them up.   I started with a basic bike and a pretty big seat. My stomach was in the way and I felt self conscious every time I got on the bike or stepped in a gym to swim.  What I found completely dumbfounding was that not one person pointed their finger at me or had the same attitude about me as I had about myself.

My assistant coaches Kellie, myself and Joslyn. Oh I don't know what I'd do without these two!

Soon I started seeing results and some of the seasoned athletes were taking me out to help me perfect my own craft. I went out running, (and I say this extremely lightly as I could barely jog a quarter mile without gasping for air) with the two girls I call my assistant coaches. They've earned that respect from me! Not only have my coach and assistant coaches worked with me but they, along with countless others including the bike store owners have given tirelessly physical, emotional and financial resources without asking for one single thing.  They reached out in love and encouragement to someone who needed help.

First time out on the course. Thank you Joslyn & Kelly MANY times over!

By the time spring came around I started seeing more weight come off and my goal to get off the insulin pump had come to fruition.  Shortly after that more weight slowly started coming off and more medication.  My Hemoglobin A1C went from 9.0 when I was pregnant with Jackson, to 7.0 for years after that and NOW to 6.3 which is 3/10ths of a point of above normal.  My cholesterol went down and my GOOD cholesterol went up in just 3 months time 3 points above what my Dr. suggested at 40.  He couldn't believe it! He said he'd never seen anyone lower their good cholesterol that fast before.

Lab Report that astonished my Dr.

I left shortly after conning him into letting me stay off oral medication and keeping to just one long-lasting insulin as specified by Dr. McDougall in his book "The Starch Diet".  He couldn't believe he was doing this but with his trust and faith that I've gotten this far along with the fact that HE too represents PREVENTION and wants the best for his other patients, he let me move forward.

Just several weeks left until Iron Girl and I cannot believe I've come so far! My coach upgraded my bike a week before the race and I was moving faster than I had before. It felt comfortable and I felt more and more like I was becoming a woman that I once knew.

January to now.

I kept working at swimming and running, though I knew I was slow and inaccurate. I made it to every training night with the club except the one I volunteered for and the ones that were rained out. Several women became family to me and I went from that recluse I spoke of earlier to constantly smiling and saying hello to others. I couldn't believe it! In just 6 months time I lost over 40 pounds, got off my medication and spoke so much that my coach would say "if your talking you aren't working hard enough!"

Lucille my first bike racked!

So much work and it seemed like time just passed right on by. NOT without a few breakdowns or hiccups with illness or injury. I met with my past out on a jog with my assistant coach Joslyn. I was sick of carrying the baggage of fear. I was afraid to live, afraid to drive, afraid of everything. A whole lot of baggage was left there that night. Only to face one fight after another with each person who happened to be on that training with me.

The run I lost my marbles on! Okay, I just had a good cry.

There are many people to thank for this journey. Without them I wouldn't have made it here. I am and will always be forever grateful to my coach Jamie, who loved me enough to reach out when he saw I was dying both inside and out. The people who lent me gear, gave me gear, shared prayers and encouragement. The ones who donated, wrote articles, took pictures, swam/ biked and ran with me. The ones who to spite me feeling out of place, walked up to me and shook my hand to introduce themselves to me.  These people have no idea how much they truly have impacted my life! The honor to hang out with seasoned athletes or watch them from afar. The fact that they educated me on technique, speed, or basic Triathlon speech. I gained a whole new life and family when Jamie took me on that day. It is an honor to be among them!

Which leads me to race day! I did say I was TRYING to make this a II part story didn't I? Well, I'm sorry to say that race day will have to wait until Monday.  There's nothing wrong with keeping you interested! At least I hope you're not bored already.


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