Introducing: Corby’s Corner!

Jan. 14, 2014

The following is a guest post from Corby, a very dedicated athlete who I am honored to call a good friend. Corby and I have been friends for many years, and she is also a triathlete – we did our first half ironman together last year at Ironman Muncie 70.3! We also recently just ran the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon, where I ran the full and Corby did the half. This is us in the starting corral for the IMM:

MonumentalMarathonBeforeRace

Corby and I will both be doing the 2014 Ironman Racine 70.3 together and I can’t wait! In her guest posts, Corby will post here about her training, and anything else she wants :) Without further ado, Corby’s first guest post:

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Goal: Racine 70.3

From the time I was little until now, as long as I can remember, I’ve always been overweight, obese, big, stocky, sturdy, or large. You get the picture about my body composition, but I’ve also always been an athlete. I began playing softball from the age of 8, and I began swimming at an even earlier age than that. I don’t remember a time in my life when I didn’t smell like chlorine or have a slight green sheen to my otherwise raven black hair. Throughout high school I either had scabs down my thighs from sliding during softball season, or dark goggle marks around my eyes during swimming season. I never had acne, because the pool water dries out the skin, and I could throw from behind the plate to second base with ease. My friend Jill and I were the crazy country kids who rode our bicycles three miles each way to middle school, just because we wanted to and not because we had to.

Two things most people would say about me: I’ve always been fat, and I’ve always been an athlete. How, you may wonder, do these two things reside comfortably in one body? Sometimes they do and sometimes they don’t. There are occasional moments of glory. There are occasional moments of pain. Hopefully, in this guest spot, I’ll write about a bit of both.

I would love to win an age-group award at some triathlon or foot race, but it’s unlikely that I will. Try strapping a fifty to seventy-five pound weight on your back while you run and see how much extra effort you have to put forth to complete the race, and you’ll understand why I won’t ever win any awards. I don’t run or compete for awards, though, so I don’t mind coming in last. I compete to finish, to avoid being just another fat person who people refuse to see. When I compete in triathlons, I wear a tri-suit. I refuse to hide my larger-than-others body. In fact, I revel in my size. I have to because I spent way too much of my life hating my container. Much of my post-collegiate studies have focused on the ways in which women, in particular, section off their bodies from their minds from their spirits (or souls), and I have made a conscious effort to stop quarantining off certain facets of my person from her other facets. I want to be one, well-functioning body/mind/soul. I just want to be a fat triathlete.

My quest for greatness, my quest for wellness, my quest for moderation and health comes from a few bad months when I was about 24 years old, a new teacher, and unbearable insecure. I briefly entertained joining the Navy or the Coast Guard to go to medical school on the government’s dime. The biggest immediate problem was that I was about 50 pounds overweight. In retrospect, I’d love to weigh the 180 pounds I weighed then, instead of the 220 I weigh right now. I could pass all of the physical requirements, except the run (I was too slow) and the weight (I was too fat). I began a rigorous ritual of exercise and starvation. Every morning I got up and ran 3 to 6 miles then swam a mile or two or lifted weights, ate a bowl of oatmeal, taught school all day skipping lunch, then went for a bike ride of 15-20 miles before eating a chicken breast and some broccoli for dinner. Maybe dinner. I lost weight. And hair. And skin. And joy. And anything else that makes us human. I was a robot. Since those days, I’ve been (in no particular order) vegetarian, vegan, Atkins, cabbage soup, South Beach, Weight Watchers, Shaklee, paleo, primal, and all-you-can-eat. Basically, I’ve tried everything, even complete lack of rational thought, in order to lose weight. Obviously, it’s worked well, since I weigh 40 pounds more now than I did then.

So I have a new plan, which will, along with other things, be a subject of my guest posts here: moderation. I’m going to work really hard on my way to Racine 70.3 on July 20 to follow a mostly alcohol-free and primal way of eating, because I feel the best while eating only whole foods and no grains. But, and this is big, I am going to eat the things I want to eat too. Like last Friday I had some ice cream, and I felt no guilt. I even had a bit of string cheese today without wondering if that would screw up my primal-ness. My difficulties usually come when I stick so rigidly to a “diet” that I don’t allow myself to live. I’d say I’ve got a bit of OCD when it comes to food consumption, and sometimes that thwarts my efforts to be healthy.

I’m also a bit compulsive when it comes to working out, so I’ve decided to exercise moderation in my training as well. Instead of doubling up on workouts to burn more calories to lose weight, I plan to swim twice a week, bike twice a week, and run three times a week, which means one sport a day with an occasional triathlon tossed in to shake things up. But, and again this is big, if I want to run and/or bike and/or swim on the same day, I am going to let myself, not force myself. I’ll throw in some yoga and some body weight exercises in the morning to get myself going, but if I don’t exercise in the morning, I am hoping not to go into some exercise-related tail spin.

Basically, on my way to Racine 70.3, I want to practice moderation while loving myself and maintaining health and wellness, mind/body/spirit.

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