The following post is from Marsha, Marsha, Marsha! She wrote it last year when she still worked at Jack & Adam's. She's letting us post it here to help inspire those of you training for the upcoming Skeese Greets Women's Tri. Thanks, Marsha!
So, this is not a story I've shared with many people at all until recently, but it feels like an appropriate time to share now.
For a lot of people, getting into triathlon or cycling or something out of their comfort zone isn't so easy, especially since lycra is not all too flattering on lumps and bumps we wish weren't there.
Trust me, I know.
When I got on a bicycle three years ago I was 200 lbs. For a girl who is only 5'3" and a HALF that is a lot of weight to carry around. I was fat. Very uncomfortable in my own skin. (coming into college I was a svelte 125lbs and put on weight after I stopped rowing and dated someone with a horrible lifestyle... can we say fast food and video games?)
This was me June 2005:
I would say getting on the bike saved my life... But the journey wasn't and ISN'T easy. I lost 35lbs on the Alaska ride, but put back on 20 or so pounds when I got back. I picked up road racing then was immediately dropped from the pack in every race. I think my only top 15 result was in a race with 12 women.
It was embarrassing.
I was use to being the girl on the rowing team who would fight like hell to try and make the top boat. Balls to the wall, all out effort, no holding back, throw down. I took the phrase "dig deep" to heart. I was use to being in the front, first or 2nd boat... not in the back of the pack and definitely not off the back alone.
I was lucky enough though to have very supportive (and strong) teammates who never stopped encouraging and pushing me forward even when I whined and complained and flaked out. This is why I will always be loyal to the Berg girls (now with AT&T Brain and Spine). For my 23rd birthday Mel bought me a t-shirt from Twin Six that said "ALP D'HUEZ" and a card that said "Are tangerines just oranges who didn't try hard enough... (and on the inside read) SO ARE YOU AN ORANGE OR A TANGERINE?!"
I started eating a lot of oranges. I started eating a helluva lot better. I got a coach to write up training plans. I scrawled "COMMIT" on my garmin. I woke up at 5am to get on the bike by 6am to ride 2-3 hours before work. In the cold, rain, and dark. I surrounded myself with information and people with information. I drink water all the time. I only ate junk food on Monday's (Marsha's Mondays included brownies, BBQ, okra, hush puppies, nachos, cheese, more brownies, cake.... although I've let it slide a few times on days that weren't Monday).
I sweated A LOT.
Last week I looked in the mirror. I mean, really looked in the mirror at the girl standing there in a sports bra and shorts and actually thought. HEY, I think I'm going to try on one of the bikinis we are selling at the shop.
And it wasn't half bad.
I've finally dropped below 160lbs and feel like a much stronger person physically and mentally. My new goal is somewhere in the 130's yonder, but the primary focus is to eat even more fresh, wholesome foods and explore new ways of preparing it.
So why did I write all of this? Part of me wants to benchmark this point in time and acknowledge how far I've come, but also reassess how much farther I want to go. Another part of me wants to tell every one of our customers who are looking to get on the bike for the first time to get healthier that it all has to start somewhere.
For me, it was the moment I was looking at what I thought was a bruise next to my belly button and realizing it was a very small but distinct STRETCH MARK. As shallow as that may seem, when I saw that little mark it occurred to me that 'oh SH*T, this is what PREGNANT women get....'
I went out and ran three very painful miles that day. And for those of you who do know me. I don't really do the running thing. Just not a fan. Even now.
I really admire some of our customers. Like Carol. I absolutely love her attitude. She takes things in stride and is really positive about the Danskin coming up. I'm so happy that she got on the bike and is loving it. It's awesome how she doesn't make mountains out of molehills.
One of the best ways to tackle a challenge like a triathlon or LIFE in general is to acknowledge whatever insecurities and fears you have and then you know what?
SUCK IT UP.
Yeah, ok, maybe you have a bit of cellulite or a belly (last time I checked, there's a bit I'd still like to get rid of), but you're RACING hon, you're going to be sweaty and gross an IT WILL BE AWESOME. Your muscles are going to ache, but you're going to feel ALIVE.
Our bodies were made to run, swim, jump, skip, sweat, and be put in motion. Roll with it. Put your head down and move!
Nothing in life worth doing or having is free. You have to GO GET IT.
This one's for you Carol. I hope you throw down at your race and I hope you keep at it. Celebrate the good times, push through the hard times, and you will go as far as you believe you can.
And because I LOVE this picture so much. Here is me... May 2008:
And me being a nut like always:
That is some superstar customer service right there.
What started out as motivation for weight loss and fitness has morphed into a lifestyle that I love and am thankful for every single day I get on my bike and ride (which would be uh, everyday). I am blessed to have so many people support me, prod me, and drag me along the way so I am standing here where I am. I hope maybe I can help motivate others to get a movin' too.