Extra Life Triathlon Fitness

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Brief History and Purpose

This blog has a few purposes, some of which I don't yet know, but I want to make an attempt at an honest, open, and candid chronicle of my gradual conversion from leading an unhealthy lifestyle, to becoming physically, mentally, ans spiritually fit. Furthermore, I have committed to training for and competing in the Ironman Los Cabos in March, 2014 to challenge my progress. That is a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike, followed by a marathon. Before you ask why the heck I would want to ruin a perfectly good Sunday in Cabo San Lucas by venturing into the hot desert for miles and hours of physical abuse, let me provide some background.

For many who know me, you may be wondering why I am calling myself unhealthy. That's a fair question, as I have never been significantly overweight, I have been for the most part "active", and I've been known to eat  a banana or a salad frequently. I myself believed I was healthy. Outward appearances don't always tell the whole story. In truth I supplemented a poor diet with a few nutritious items to validate my perception of health. The exercise I performed was too harsh, and only further abused my body to the point of injury on multiple occasions. I also drank heavily. Heavily enough that it was affecting my family, my life, and my relationship with God. Toward the end of 2011, I began to cut out exercise all together. For years the net mental affect of all of this was high anxiety, irritability, depression, exhaustion, and lack of motivation. Physically my blood pressure was always elevated (usually over 140 over 90, way too high for a 32 year old), I was showing rapid signs of aging, and I was on my way to an early heart attack or death (God only knows what I was doing to the rest of my body). Spiritually, I no longer felt God in my life. That hole was being filled with other more temporary solutions.

In early 2012 I quit drinking and focused on my spiritual health. I was tired of being angry, anxious, depressed, and tired all the time. I had to let those things go to God and focus on His Will in my life. I feel that this alone gave me the motivation to do things I had always told myself I could not do.

I had surgery on my shoulder in early 2013 due to a previous injury, and I was overcome with a sense of frustration that I could not be active, which came as strange to me since prior to this I did not have any desire to exercise, but only did it out of "necessity". I tested the limits of "doctor's orders" by going on long walks. I realized that while I couldn't push myself physically, I could at least start to eat healthier. While I had cut out alcohol, I was still eating what I wanted when I wanted. Thus began the healthy diet.

My initial frustration led me to the realization that this transformation from unhealthy to healthy was a process that would require significant amounts of humility, patience, and acceptance, each of which I recognized I need a healthy dose. Up to that point, I had never even considered doing a triathlon. On the contrary I said I would never want to do one. But at that point I recognized the correlation between my need for humility, patience, and acceptance, and the necessity of high levels of these attributes to train for, and compete in triathlon.

My mind immediately went to a decade prior when I had watched an Ironman race on TV. At that time, I was amazed by the athletic fortitude required to accomplish such a feat. This was especially true for the age group athletes who had jobs, families, hopes, fears, pain, joy, and any number of other issues. I didn't recognize that at the time, and certainly didn't think I was in any position to be on the same level as them. Thus, I cracked another beer and went on feeling sorry for myself.

When my mind came back to the present and my reality, I recognized that I was in an extremely fortunate position. I have two arms, two legs, and a healthy dose of willingness. At that time I committed myself to competing in an Ironman, and chronicling the whole process, from unhealthy and injured to Ironman triathlete. Further more, I set the high goal of working toward qualifying for the Kona World Championship. Having only competed in a couple half-marathons, and never having done a triathlon, I realized that this was a formidable commitment. But I hope to show others that truly anything is possible.

So back to the purpose of this blog. First, the selfish reasons. I am doing this (the race and the blog) to hold myself accountable, and I follow through with this goal of being healthy and fit. I also want to test the theory that a healthy diet and fitness make one a happier person (so far this has been true for me). I also want to set a good example for my family. I would rather my kids see me swigging tomato juice instead of beer.

For unselfish reasons, I am hoping that the few eyes that do come across this page are able to get something from this. It is also my intention to draw awareness to worthy causes and use this as a portal for fund raising (hence the name, "fundracing"... Get it?). If I can be successful in this endeavor, perhaps we can keep it going for future races. I am currently in the process of lining up the charity which will be associated with the race next March, so stay tuned for that.

I now have permission from the doc to run, bike, and swim to my heart's content, so now the training begins.