Fitness Challenge

As part of RHF's 8 Week Challenge, Jeanne will be blogging and sharing her journey with us. Leave a comment to encourage her or share how you've been inspired! 

May 20, 2016  

When my Dallas-based sister first mentioned  participating in Vancouver, BC's Iron Girl sprint triathlon six months ago, it sounded like an excellent motivator for getting in shape. But it is now only nine weeks away and the time to start training for the August 7th race is way overdue.  As Arthur Miller wrote, “One can’t stand forever on the shore.  At some point, filled with indecision, skepticism, reservation and doubt, you either jump in or concede that life is forever elsewhere.”  Perhaps this overstates it a little, but I think the sentiment holds. At age 62, overweight and out of shape, a triathlon might seem a little ambitious. I haven’t swam in two years. I bicycled maybe once this year. And I do not run; walking is enough of a challenge. 

About twelve years ago, I was taking a late-morning summer walk around Seward Park. I arrived just as the Seafair Triathlon organizers were packing up the finish line. Relieved to have missed the crowds, I started down the trail around the park. About fifteen minutes into it, a lone woman with a race number pinned to her t-shirt came into view. She was walking slowly, eyes to the ground. I changed direction to join her for a bit and asked how she did in the race. “Still doing it,” she said, and explained that she had just wanted to see what doing a triathlon was like, without training for it. “It’s much harder than it looks,” she pointed out.

It’s time to commit myself to the training effort, lest I find myself in a similar situation. My (realistic, I think) goal for the triathlon is to reach the finish line before it goes into the truck.  This is doable, I think.  

So today I joined the fitness challenge at RHF. I was not looking forward to the fitness test, realizing it would be the first exercise I’ve had in a long time. I didn’t set any records (unless it was for the slowest and fewest), but Alicia was kind and pointed out that I’m only trying to beat my own baseline.  And there’s lots of room for improvement there!

The triathlon is only part of the reason for doing the fitness challenge, though. The truth is, I can no longer pretend that I am not a senior citizen. A moving target for so many years, eventually it just ran out of space and settled into my age range. Exercise is just plain good for your brain and your body–that’s a well-researched fact. My father, who has exercised just about every day of his life for the last 60+ years, is a healthy and independent 88-year-old.  While I can’t catch up to him, I know that whatever I do at this point will help.   

Getting out the door is the hardest part for me. By agreeing to write a blog about my experience, I have chosen to shine a spotlight on my efforts (Imagine how embarrassing it would be to give up the challenge after starting a public commitment like this).  I hope I’m up to the challenge.  

This is the plan for my first week, Monday, May 23rd through Sunday, May 29th.  

General fitness:  
Two exercise classes at the gym

One session of strength training

Exercise – of some sort – every day

Triathlon prep:  

Two 10 lap swims at the Rainier Beach pool.

Three 30 minute fast walks.

Two bike rides to Seward Park and back.

I’m keeping a daily log of exercise so I can stay on track and make future modifications as needed. Despite my reservations, skepticism, indecision and doubt–not to mention a healthy dose of fear and dread–I’m jumping in!  Stay tuned…

Jeanne