Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another Introduction

Veg*Triathlete was nice enough to ask me to contribute to this group blog. I hope she doesn't come to regret it ;) I'll give you a quick background on my sportiness and veganess.

I never ran a mile until I was 30 years old. I'm now 33. The year I turned 30 my friend had died of cancer just a bit before he turned 40 and it really freaked me out. I decided I needed to pay more attention to some preventative health care. I went for a full physical and found out that I had very high cholesterol. I wasn't sure exactly what to do with that knowledge considering I hadn't consumed a bit (that I know) of cholesterol since I went vegan in 1997. Of course, genetics play a major role here. My mom also has high cholesterol. I'm pretty anti-medicine so I decided I needed to do everything I could possibly do before I turned to being on pills daily for the rest of my life. [Of course, I realize that some folks absolutely must be on a medicine for a variety of reasons and am not in anyway second guessing that or other people's choices.]

Because I'm nerdy, I picked up a variety of books and read that based on your height and body frame, if you are within a particular weight range, it was with over 90% certainty that you would not develop heart disease. To be honest, I'm not even sure that knowing what I know now that I even believe that any more, but it got me off my couch! In order to get my weight within that magical range, I had to lose 20 lbs. I never saw myself as a fat person, but I also had never felt good about my body, been active, or very healthy overall.

I set out to change. I signed up for a gym membership. I started taking aerobic classes, yoga, pilates, and lifting weights. I would combine a walk and very slow jog on the treadmill. At the end of my workouts, I would rinse off and then float in the therapy pool, which is set at 97 degrees. Oh, yeah. I loved to be in the water but didn't know how to really swim other than the regular kid's underwater breast stoke.

My workouts largely consisted of what the gym trainer had told me to do - 30 minutes cardio and then a weight routine. I started to jog more on the treadmill though and realized I really liked the stationary bike. My only goal though was a weight goal and the weight was definitely coming off. I was losing on average 2 lbs a week. I was feeling great but realized that I'd have to set a new goal if I was going to maintain my new found healthy lifestyle. Once I had reached my 20 lbs lost, what would keep me going?

About the time that I was realizing that I'd need a new goal, I found out that an acquaintance was a real life triathlete. I was so impressed. She encouraged me to make a triathlon my new goal. What the hell? What ya talking about crazy lady? I had just run my first mile ever in my life! I don't know how to swim! I don't even OWN a bike! How the hell could she think I could complete a triathlon? She was pretty insistent though. She explained about the existence of spring triathlons and encouraged me to simply pick a race and work towards it. That was March 2005.

I bought a road bike. I joined a women's triathlon training group that has a coach. He taught me how to swim. I ran my first 5K in June 2005. I completed my first sprint triathlon in August 2005. It was a wonderfully supportive women's only race in Santa Barbara, California. I sobbed when I exited the ocean swim because the feeling of accomplishment was so overwhelming. My mom even flew out from the East Coast to see me do something we all would have never believed I could do.

Since that time, my training has waxed and waned. I've done several other 5k runs and a half marathon. Haven't yet done a 10K so that is my most current goal. I did several other sprint tris and my first Olympic distance triathlon in September 2006. In October (or was that also September?) 2006 I completed every mile of Cycle Oregon (amazing, but hella hard). In 2006 I hurt my knee and pretty much let 2007 get away from me. My friend KG (not Kevin Garnett, although that would be cool) told me I let myself go last year. With friends like that . . .

If I could do this stuff, anyone can and I hope will! I'm excited to contribute to this group blog. It is great to be among other sporty vegans, but mostly I'm hoping it will help keep me on track. After all, I won't really be able to post much if I don't get myself the hell out there, right?


Vegan Run Amok said...

Yay, welcome to Sporty Vegans! 2008 will be a better year for you, I just know it!

Vegan_Noodle said...

Sounds like quite a transformation!! A very motivating story, maybe this will help me get my exercise program back on track!

the little one said...

Thanks vegan run amok! I did spin today so here I come 2008!

Vegan Noodle -- you can do it!!!!! (imagine the character that is in all the Adam Sandler movies saying that, e.g. Little Nicky)

Heather said...

My own move to athlete and cook and vegetarian is similar. I quit smoking in 2000 and three months later I saw an ad in Shape Magazine for the Danskin Women's Triathlon. The inaugural event was to be held at Walt Disney World Orlando, just 60 miles from my home so I recruited a colleague's wife and we started to train. I went from 98 pounds, 3 packs of cigarettes, and 3 pots of coffee a day to 115 pounds, eating, sleeping, and training. I completed that tri in a respectable time and then immediately began training for a marathon. I trained for and ran two marathons in two years and of course injured myself so badly I needed surgery. Three and a half years later, I am still running and finally getting back some speed if not the distance need to train for marathons. Someday hopefully!

Hang in there!

Christie said...

I love your story. It's very motivating.