Posts Tagged ‘Danskin’

It Was All in My Head

June 8, 2010

In my continuing quest to take my life back and own my body, rather than being controlled by my body, I made a momentous decision.  I committed to training with a group of Cancer Survivors to participate in the Danskin Triathlon.  Little did I know how profound that decision would be.

At almost 90 pounds over my ideal weight, way into middle age (55 years old) and a body experiencing the difficulties that accumulate from life (back injury, surgery, broken bones, etc.), I got off my rather expansive butt and decided to do something different.

Like many overweight people, I was uncomfortable with the thought of working out with “athletes” and figured I would be “different”, perhaps even laughed at or, at best,  tolerated and I knew I would not be able to keep up with most, if not all, of the others in the group, but I put that aside and did it anyway.  What I discovered: all of that was in my own head.  No one laughed, no one tolerated, no one “put up” with the fat girl.  They were supportive and enthusiastic and willingly accommodating.  The coaches, the other participants, everyone just wanted to see everyone else succeed.  How incredible!

So, train I did.  For 12 weeks.  And then, the day of the Danskin arrived (I would say dawned, but the Danskin started long before dawn).  We arrived in the dark (5 am) to set up for the day. The triathlon included a 1/2 mile lake swim, a 12 mile bike ride (open road, hills, you name it) and a 3.1 mile walk/run on grass through fields and over dale.  Oh, yeah.  Did I mention I have asthma?

But, what I really want to share is that I DID IT.  Those people I was so afraid would laugh at me and be so much better than me–the ones that often, in my mind, kept me from making the choice to make a difference–those people didn’t laugh at me or abandon me.  Those people stayed with me and supported me and allowed me to support them, each in our own way.  And, we all finished.  It took 3 hours, 58 minutes and 43 seconds to finish the course and finish it we did. I did it while still almost 75 pounds overweight, 55 years old and with all the same problems, but I DID IT.

It brought home to me how ridiculous the self talk and embarrassment and all the reasons I gave myself to not do something are.  It was all in MY head.  Everyone has something they must overcome and everyone has the talk in their head.  The key is to step outside the internal chatter and just do it (do I sound like a Nike commercial here?).  I know, at least for me, it was easier said than done.  But then, I look at the wonderful people who journey with cancer and journey with obesity and journey with asthma and journey with back injuries (you get the idea), and still do it.

And, now, I, too, am one of those people.  And you can be too.

Come join me on the journey to just do it, to take control back over your life and your body and please, along the way, share your journey so we can experience your triumphs and support you and welcome you back to a place of controlling your own destiny.

P.S.  This post is dedicated to Capital of Texas Team Survivor.  You go, ladies! You are incredible.

The switch from “want to want to” to “want to”.

April 21, 2010

I don’t know what switch was turned on for me.  For years I have been overweight and frustrated by it, and complained about it, and threatened to so something about it, but it was more of a want to want to than an actual want to.  I knew it was unhealthy and I knew I “should” do something about it (I am really good at “shoulding” on myself).  Many of my friends were, and are,  very encouraging, but still I did nothing.

Then the cancer was diagnosed (a cancer that is fed and supported in its development by the excess estrogen produced in fat cells) and still I wanted to want to but did nothing.  I talked about doing something, I laid elaborate plans for things I would do that I didn’t do.  I even joined a gym and kind of went, but didn’t really push it much while I was there.

I got the operation report for my cancer surgery and read all about the problems encountered and actions taken as a result of my obesity, but still could only find the “want to want to” in myself.  I attended support groups, nutritional counseling and in-depth workshops.  They all supported my fantasy that I was doing something, but I was still not moving my body nor changing my eating.

Then, one day, I was.  I signed up to participate in training for a triathlon (the Danskin) and I knew I would probably be the heaviest and most out of shape person there (I still am) and it was scary and uncomfortable and yet, suddenly, I was willing to go.  I was suddenly willing to do what it takes to take control back over my life, my body, my health–everything.  I wish I could pinpoint what made the switch turn on.  If I could do that, I could make a fortune turning everyone elses “want to want to” to a “want to”.  But I can’t.  All I know is that finding a set goal and a set group of people who could provide the tools without judgment to get me there, who could see for me what I couldn’t see for and in myself, has been a huge part of it.  It would seem that in my endless planning and attempting that I actually put myself in the way of the answer for me.

So, I am training (not as hard as some of the others, but training none the less) 5 days a week.  And, while not a flattering picture of me in any way, here is proof that it doesn’t matter how big I am or how out of shape I am, I CAN DO IT if I just decide to. And so can you, when you decide.

I would love to hear about your journey from “want to want to” to “want to.”

Meltdowns and other manifestations of fatigue and stress

April 16, 2010

I was recently reading the blog from Cancer Bitch about meltdowns and thought it was incredibly timely.  I, too, have been in meltdown.  And, for no good reason.  Except fatigue and stress.  It doesn’t feel acceptable to blame the cancer or the treatment, even though i want to, kind of.  My treatment was over almost 15 months ago.  Supposedly, the cancer is gone. But, nonetheless, I just wanted to cry. And cry. And pull the covers up and cry.

True, I am training to participate in my first Danskin triathlon. And the training is hard and my body is fighting back and I am exhausted and I hurt and I am totally graceless and awkward and frustrated and resigned and you name it. And then, yesterday I just wanted to cry. For no particular reason. I just wanted to cry. And I can’t blame it on treatment or chemo or anything. And, it has been 15 months and I should be ok and, and, and…… But I just wanted to cry. But, of course,  I didn’t cry because I didn’t have a reason.

Interesting how I had to have a reason–a socially acceptable reason- to allow myself to feel and express that feeling.  I wonder if some of the fatigue I am feeling comes from my unwillingness to just feel what I feel. Why, I wonder, do I need to have permission and validation to have and express feelings?  How interesting it is that I assume that because I am not currently in treatment or actively manifesting the disease that I should believe that would be the only reason I can use to justify a meltdown.  I can’t just feel stressed and fatigued because I am working hard to catch up on debt from medical treatments or a down economy, or stressed because I am eating differently and moving my body more, or stressed because I am taking on several new projects, including writing a book and presenting a number of workshops.  For some reason, I believe I should be able to handle all of these without being stressed. What???!!!  What is that all about?

What I am realizing is that life is stressful without journeying with cancer.  We all feel stress and everyone has a right to feel that and express it.  If it means crying, then by crying.  If it means cuddling and sleeping, then by cuddling and sleeping.  Meltdowns are the body’s way of saying “you aren’t dealing with this.  You have forgotten to take care of me.”

Once I realized that expressing what I am feeling is the first step in taking care of me, last night I chose to just cry.

And then, today, in the mail, I got the results from my most recent cancer screen and it was negative.  And, for a moment, I thought “See, I have a reason to be stressed.  I was waiting for these results.” Perhaps.  But, do I really need a justified reason—still?

Maybe.

You don’t control me–cancer! I have control again.

March 30, 2010

Cancer is such a betrayal.  We wake up every morning and expect our body to function.  Even when we feel sick, we trust that our body will heal and we will eventually feel better–that our body has the ability to continue functioning. I think that is why we are so startled and fearful when we suddenly trip and fall, or try to lift something and find we don’t have the strength.  We live in the assumption our body is a tool that works all the time.  It is startling to find it sometimes doesn’t.

Cancer can be even more unsettling. Not only does the body not work correctly as expected, but the body has actually turned on it self and is in self-destruct mode.  It certainly left me with a feeling of having no control–my body was set to kill itself and I was along for the ride.  Of course, there were decisions to make and things I could do to take control over the cancer, but the questions remained: when would my body decide to self-destruct again?  After all, it had made the choice once, it could make it again.  It can be easy to give up our power to make a difference with questions like this floating through our mind.

I have been in this space for almost a year and finally realized I had given up my power to make a difference–to work with my body to let it know how honored it is, how important I believe it to be and to love it by taking care of it.

To take back that control, I committed to training with other cancer survivors for the Danskin triathlon in June.  The training started 2 weeks ago and, while I am sore and realizing how poorly I had been treating my body, it has been incredibly empowering to know I am taking control of my body once again.

I invite you to share in my journey as I take control of my own life, body and health.  For those who have found ways to take control of their bodies after illness or injury, I would love to hear your stories.