Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The journey

I have had a battle with weight for a long time. I was always taller and bigger than all my friends. When I was in junior high/high school was probably when I first started really noticing my size differences in a negative way. I was able to kind of keep my weight under control until I got married. I don't know what made things change in the beginning but I know that working full-time and taking care of a household added to the pressure. I got lazy and stopped thinking about me. I started to really gain weight around 1999. It would go up and down, up and down. Once I had my first son in 2001, the weight just kept going up. I would have times when I would start working out and would lose a little weight but it always came back. By the time I had my second son in 2005, my start weight was the same as my heaviest weight during my first pregnancy. Once again I had times of working out and weight loss but nothing ever seemed to stick. I would get busy and my priorities shifted to being a mom, a wife, and a full time student. When I re-entered the work force in 2009, I no longer had any time for myself. I gained the “freshman 15” all over again. In the fall of 2009 I began to have heart troubles and was diagnosed with osteoarthritis. I had several tests and even a hospital stay. They couldn't find out what was wrong other than being obese, hereditary, stress, fatigue, and caffeine. They put me on a beta blocker to control the new onset hypertension I was also dealing with. The doctors recommended that I do nothing more strenuous than walking due to my joints and heart. In January 2012, I was the heaviest I had ever been and I was tired. I was not happy with myself or with my life. I couldn't even walk up a set of stairs without getting completely winded. I knew I had to do something. I did not want to live the rest of my life like this. I gave up caffeine and decided to take on the other thing that I could control, my weight. I saw a deal for a 2-for-1 entry into a Rugged Maniac 5K obstacle race that was set for October of that year. I asked my husband if he would run it with me. He said yes but that I needed to get in better shape because he wanted to really run it. So the initial challenge was set. Once I was registered for that race, I saw that the month before the mud run was an all women’s sprint triathlon. It looked fun and I thought what better way to get fit than to have a huge, unthinkable challenge to work towards. So with two big races set for that fall, I started working out in February of 2012. In the beginning I could barely jog one mile. I started going to the gym a few times a week and running a few times a week. The weight didn't want to come off. I didn't see a change in the scale for months. A few months before the women triathlon, I met two girls that were also going to race their first triathlon with me. We bounded over our fear and anxiety but we also encouraged each other and built each other up. By the time of the race in September I had only lost about 15 pounds but I knew that I had trained enough to complete the race. It was a wonderful experience. I met my goal time and had so much fun. When I crossed the finish line I knew that I was forever changed. I was addicted to the feeling of accomplishing something that I had never thought possible. Since that first race, I have now completed twelve sprint triathlons, four Olympic triathlons, a sprint duathlon, two obstacle 5K mud races, about twenty-five 5Ks, several 10Ks, two 11Ks, a 12 K, two half marathons, and a three hour timed run. As soon as we moved to Las Vegas, I connected with a wonderful support network with the local triathlon club. I was able to instantly meet new training partners and learn about great training locations. In August 2013 I was able to come off of my heart medication. My blood pressure is now under control and I have lost over 55 pounds. My joints still occasionally act up but the pain is much more under control. This journey has not been easy. I have had people ask me how I have lost the weight and the only answer I can give is “lots of exercise”. There is no quick, easy fix. I had to come to a point in my life that I was ready for a change and was determined to achieve it. I have met some amazing people along the way. This community is so encouraging and motivating. It is not a solitary journey. I have had amazing support from my family and friends. This journey is not over. I hope to continue to lose weight and get fit. But most importantly, I hope to continue to make a better me. I have grown through this journey. My family has gotten healthier and happier through this journey. I want to encourage others to see that change is possible. To believe in themselves and to take that first step. To realize that life is too short to be unhappy. Love yourself because you are worth the effort and the journey.
Before pictures (2010-2012)

2014 was a busy year!

2014 was a busy year! Here are the medals I acquired. I also received 9 plaques and 2 trophies. There were several races that did not give out medals too.
The complete list is:
1. Running from an Angel 10K 1-25-14
2. Death Valley Half Marathon 2-1-14
3. Aloha Run 5K 3-1-14
4. St Patty's Day Half Marathon Relay 3-15-14
5. Las Vegas Triathlon Club St Patrick's Day Fun Run 3-16-14
6. Las Vegas Triathlon Club 10K 3-30-14
7. Windy 25 Memorial 5K 4-5-14
8. Rage Triathlon Olympic distance 4-12-14
9. Tour de Cure 35 miles 5-3-14
10. Vegas Sunrise Triathlon Olympic distance 5-10-14
11. Nevada Wildfire Awareness 5K trail run 5-18-14
12. Sand Hollow Triathlon sprint distance 5-31-14
13. Sprinkler Splash 5K 6-7-14
14. Republic Tiger Tri sprint distance 8-9-14
15. TriArkansas USAT Athena Division National Championship Olympic distance 8-16-14
16. DeGray Lakes USAT Athena Division National Championship sprint distance 8-17-14
17. Kokopelli Triathlon sprint distance 9-13-14
18. Silverman 70.3 Relay 10-5-14
19. Rockin' Walk for the Goodie Two Shoes Foundation 5 mile 10-12-14
20. Las Vegas Triathlon Club Trick or Trot 5K 10-18-14
21. Pumpkinman Triathlon Olympic distance 10-25-14
22. Phast Triathlon sprint distance 11-1-14
23. Ride to Recovery Honor Ride 65 miles 11-8-14
24. National Veterans Day Run 11K 11-9-14
25. Rock 'n' Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon 11-16-14
26. The Great Santa Run 5K 12-6-14
27. Operation Jack Three Hour Challenge 15.75 mile 12-28-14
Next year will not be as full.