Six Aurora BayCare Medical Center employees have embarked on a wellness challenge that will change their lives forever! Over the next six months, these people will be coached, trained and transformed into triathlon-level athletes through the Aurora BayCare Sports Medicine Live Fit program.
What a long strange trip it’s been. –Grateful Dead compilation 1977
December 2011. Licking the congealed sugar from my encrusted fingers after a particularly satisfying twisted, crunchy doughnut I decided enough was enough and something had to be done about the expanding mass below my chin. Fooling myself long enough by consuming a diet energy drink to counter the calories of three cookies and a second lunch portion. Life’s fun was diminished. Body mass was interfering with my ability to do things like work outdoors, buy nice clothes, wrestle my son, sleep and function normally. After applying for the Triathlon six pack I wanted to test my fitness which couldn’t have been so bad. Leaving the front door with intention to run a half mile fatigue and heavy breathing overtook me at 50 yards. The mile was completed with mostly waiting and walking. I was immobilized by pain and stiffness for a week afterwards. First instinct was self-preservation; withdraw the application. When the Live Fit team walked in my office it was too late.
January 2012. Our team gets together for the first time and we get some inspirational talks and a fitness assessment. Again humiliation. Calipers and scales defined just how much blubber had accumulated over the years. I finished the evaluation covered in sweat, dejected, wondering if survival was possible. The next eight weeks were a blur. Consumed by the personal training, individual workouts, work and dietary scrutiny results slowly unveiled the rewards of staying on mission. I was in a whole new ecosystem of fitness freaks. It was amazing to witness the attrition of well-intentioned souls who crowed the gym in January and the diehards who are still there today.
In February from my perch on the treadmill I watched a bunch of crazy people jump up and down on steps training for the Berkie cross country ski event. Everywhere there was a diverse group of folks a similar quest towards personal improvement. Being better, stronger and fitter has a price and all were paying it. Our six pack met informally and pounded out some interesting Saturdays and weekday spin classes. We had to adjust when the personal training stopped and beginning tri class started.
For me the turning point was March 17 in New Dublin at the 2 mile Dublin Dash. Running in a group for the first time made me realize success was possible and it provided a spark I have had a hard time quantifying. The sad thing is I almost blew it off because my pride and fear of failure tried to defeat the mission.
From that point forward I was all in. I started more person training, swimming, running and analysis galore. Running, biking, swimming analysis were very helpful in correcting unrealized problems and improve performance. Trainers kept things on task. I succumb to bike lust and upgraded my 30 year old Trek.
As the weight reluctantly dissipated and my cardiovascular status improved the expenses began to build up. I discovered many new things to “help” “the cause”. Besides the new bike an appreciation of compression clothes developed along with an exacerbation of a preexisting shoe problem. Who would have thought evenings would be spent watching You Tube videos, cruising web sited and reading about techniques for transitions, swimming, biking and gear reviews?
By themselves it would not have been so bad but yapping about working out leads to discussions with enthusiasts who are happy to give recommendations about technology. So a multitude of apps, devices, playlists and assorted other toys got a try out. There is actually a term for this problem: Trizophrenia1.
The immediate horizon of the event has forced reflection and mindful consolidation. Bottom line is to finish doing my best and support those who have been there along this journey. Even though the past few months have been a blur the experience has been exceptionally positive and I am looking forward to its conclusion.
Watch out doughnuts here I come!
- Trizophrenia: the triathlete’s obsessive-compulsive need for the rituals of the sport: eat, swim, eat, work, eat, ride, eat, work, eat, run, eat, go to bed early. Get up at dawn and do it all over again. Trizophrenia: Inside the Minds of the Triathlete, by award-winning and nationally syndicated illustrator and veteran triathlete Jef Mallett