Friday, August 13, 2010

I'm Leaving, On A Jet Plane

Hey All!

Well, vacation time has FINALLY arrived! I leave tomorrow for my week long- and SO needed- relaxing beach vacation!

I wanted though, to post a few things before I left!

First of all- I want to wish my friend Shelly GOOD LUCK in her FIRST OLYMPIC triathlon this coming weekend! Everyone who reads my blog, please keep her in your thoughts this Sunday as she ROCKS it. I know she's going to do an awesome job, and having you holding her up in your thoughts will keep her motivated to push on through this amazing feat!

Secondly, in the true spirit of Triathlon- and encouraging and motivating others to push past their own doubts and insecurities, my friend Dina (whom I met when competing in the Sprint Triathlon in Naperville) has graciously permitted me to share her Triathlon story with all of you.

I hope you enjoy it.

Have a great week everyone! And I'll post when I return.


Dina's Story:
Max and Me
A journey to the finish line

When I was just about 18 years old I was diagnosed with PCOS. What is that? Polycystic ovary syndrome: Abbreviated PCOS. Polcystic ovary syndrome is a condition in women characterized by irregular or no menstrual periods, acne, obesity, and excess hair growth. PCOS is a disorder of chronically abnormal ovarian function and hyperandrogenism (abnormally elevated androgen levels). It affects 5-10% of women of reproductive age.
I have been struggling with this for 10 years and have gained over 100 lbs. I wasn’t always the fat girl. I was an athlete; I was a gymnast, a tennis and soccer player. I even taught step aerobics in high school. When I was in school and we had to run the mile I was cruising along with ease and I saw the overweight girl struggling and just about ready to give up. I felt terrible for her, so I went back, ran with her and we finished together.
So what happened that I went from a so fit to so fat? But more importantly how would I change? My mom who is my inspiration and mentor encouraged me to do a 5 k with her. It was pretty miserable the whole time, you can tell by my face in my finishing photo. So when she told me that she joined a team called Max Multisport to do a triathlon I figured she was nuts! None the less I would support her; I mean she gave birth to me and all. I guess the least I could do was take a few hours out of a Saturday to cheer her on; I even had a tee shirt made that said “my mom rocks” with her picture on it. I would ask how she was going to do the tri, she would tell me about the practices with the Max team and the encouragement and the support she was receiving from them. She was so proud and confident of what she was doing. She finished her first triathlon and I was there tee shirt and all to be her support and cheerleader. Little did I realize how strong her support system was from Max coaches and teammates. When she crossed the finish line my eyes welled up, it was a bittersweet moment. Sweet because at 50 years old my mom was able to accomplish something that most people will never do- a triathlon. And bitter because I sat there 100 lbs overweight, legs tired from standing at 27 thinking- wow I could never do that.
My mom was hooked on triathlons and when the next season came around she had become a Max workout leader. Next thing I know, I am sitting at the Max informational, quiet as mouse looking like a deer in headlights. All I could think was what am I doing here; I can’t even do a 5k. I don’t even have a bike and the last time I rode one I crashed into a fence. But I listened and Laurie, the coach said “this is your race- no one else’s. Everyone has different reasons for being here. We will work with each woman at her level.” Ok so I have to admit at this point I am feeling a tiny bit empowered. The first practice came and that nagging feeling of doubt and fear whooshed over me. I started running my first few laps and all of a sudden the girls on my team were saying “go Dina, good job Dina.” Hey that’s me! They are cheering for me, they’re not judging me or saying look at that fat girl… they want me to succeed. I forgot how much I missed the comradely between team mates, and I was starting to feel that again. The coaches Laurie and Katie, as well as the work out leaders, Maria, Pam and Diane (my mom) became my biggest supporters. I put everything I had into my team practices, but a lot of the time I would fall behind my team mates but no matter what one of the coaches or workout leaders were there right by my side to support, drive and encourage me to the finish. These ladies were not just Max coaches but they became my friends. I finished my first triathlon on June 13, 2010 in 2 hours and 54 minutes which was about an hour longer than most. But as I was pulling every last bit on energy to cross that finish line my coaches Katie and Laurie, ran by my side until I crossed the finish. They were cheering me on the whole time. It took everything I had to not breakdown and cry from joy.
At 28 years old, 25lbs lighter with over 20 new teammates and friends- I did it!
Just a few weeks later in Wisconsin I finished my 2nd tri. I could have never gone through this journey without the knowledge, support and dedication of my Max family! I will continue to train with Max all year round!
Thank you to Renee for staring an organization that empowers women and shows that we can do anything! Thank you to my coaches Laurie and Katie, as well as the work out leaders, Maria, Pam and Diane! Thank you to my team mates; you were my guiding light to the finish!