AGAINST ALL ODDS: my story.....

I am not your average triathlete. I am not blogging and I am not training because I want to lose weight, even though I feel like I constantly preface my stories with I wasn't always this fat.

I train to stay alive.

I was always athletic, but something always got in my way. In elementary school, I did gymnastics, but my parents couldn't afford to keep me going. In high school, when this picture was taken, I was a vegan and 15.96% body fat. I figure skated 3 times a week. That became uncool and I couldn't afford to keep going. Then I joined Police Explorers. Running was part of their "Police Academy," and I HATED it. But I was determined NOT to be at the back of the pack, so within the first two days I was either top 5 or leading the group.

Several years later, I started college, started dating and put on the "Freshman 30." I didn't start running again until I was about 19, when I wanted to join the air force. I never did, but I got down to a solid 10-minute mile and I ran nearly every day of the week. That ended when I found myself in a somewhat abusive relationship and stopped doing anything. Once again, derailed - until I met my soon-to-be-husband. (See picture on left).

Over the next 4 years, I kept my weight reasonable with Weight Watchers. I started running again - even racing, thanks to my girlfriend Dawn the Ironman. The picture below is what I look like when I'm about at my normal size. Meaning, lots of exercise and the occasional eating indiscretion.

But life once again slapped me in the face. I developed ITBS in left leg and possibly right leg. I battled not one, not two, but three different heart arrythmias, an inner ear balance disorder in both ears, a minor muscle problem in both feet, disordered eating, full-time classes, a difficult work environment and more. And my marriage started to fall apart.

The doctors didn't tell me I couldn't run the Mercedes Marathon in February 2007, but they prescribed lots of careful training and physical therapy. My days were an endless stream of PT for that and medicines, special beverages to keep my electrolytes up, extra salt and other things you might imagine filling the life of someone decades older.

In addition to all of this drama, 2008 and 2009 were filled with countless personal trials and tribulations. I stopped and started blogging about 12 times. There was some good: I graduated summa cum laude after almost 12 years of working on my undergrad degree, I received an award from the college, I qualified for Nationals (Olympic, not Sprint). There was some bad: I had some more relationship troubles, struggled with my self-esteeem, was DQ'd from 2008 FL 70.3 - my first Half Iron attempt - because I didn't finish in time, and didn't start what seems like 100 other races.
But I got back in the saddle. I took 2009 off from triathlon and started marathon training again.

Then, several days after PRing at the Disney Marathon in 2010 (that's my bib on the left), when everything seemed to finally be back on track, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. I had already struggled with all of these health issues, and my energy and weight, and now I was to be without a thyroid at all. Things looked pretty bleak. I became extremely bitter and - some would say - negative. I almost lost all of my will to fight.

I had a total thryoidectomy in March, radioactive iodine treatment in April, and was back to training and racing by May.
That actually leads the conclusion of my story right back to where it ended when I first started blogging in 2006-2007.....

This time, NOTHING is going to stop me, and I mean NOTHING. I'm going to get where I need to be, even if that means two workouts a day for the rest of my life. And I won't stop when I'm healed.
Oh no.
I'm going all the way to the f'ing top. The goal: Finish at least a few events in the top 30% of my age group (athena). At least a half Ironman by next year, maybe a full someday.

In a perfect world, I'd be healthy and my life would be stable. But I'm not, and it isn't. So this is the lot I've been dealt. I will not let any of this prevent me from completing my next triathlon or my next marathon or my next Half Ironman.

The doctors tell me that exercise is good for me. It had better be, because racing is the one thing that makes me feel healthy and whole despite all the problems I have.

So this is it. This is the path I have chosen. I am in this, for better or for worse, and certainly against all odds.
(^ME in December 2009)

People make fun of tattoos with Chinese words, but I did a lot of research before I had the Chinese character for "tough," "tenacious," or "determined" permanently inscribed on my body.

Just because I am not ordinary does not mean I cannot be extraordinary.

1 tidbits of wizdom:

Dances with Corgis said...

Wow... I am so happy you posted on my blog... pleasure to meet you, Meg! It seems like you and I face a lot of the same turmoils. (I'm not married but have had my share of relationship drama over the last year!).

I'm adding you to my links if ya don't mind! :)