From Couch to Duathlon in 14 Months!
“I don’t want to join a gym!” I whined to my partner for what seemed like the hundredth time as we parked the car in the DHAC parking lot on a cold and blustery February evening, and made our way into the building. I had not stepped foot in a gym since 1984 when I went to the Y to lift weights for winter training for the crew team. I was 19 then, and gyms were dank and gloomy places. This was the template I had stuck in my mind. This time, I was 51, fresh from a lecture delivered none too gently by my primary care doc about my weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure. I knew I needed help. To say I was surprised by what awaited me inside that night would be under-statement: clean, bright, and beautifully appointed; and the staff were friendly, helpful, and welcoming.
So, setting my pride aside, I dragged myself into the 60/60 Program, and immediately found the structure and support enormously motivating. I noticed I was looking forward to the sessions with Dodi, Jason, Robbie, or Jeremie. I tentatively branched out, and took a few group classes: Aqua Fit, Trail Mix. The gym began to feel like a friendly place, and I was pleased with the changes I could see and feel in my body.
By the time I finished 60/60 I was completely “hooked.” Since I am, by nature, a competitive person who thrives on setting goals, I decided to train for a duathlon: a race consisting of running and biking. I remember tentatively voicing this goal to Jeremie, and his unequivocal and confident response “I can help you with that.” With his help, I began working on this goal: integrating group classes and individual work-outs.
In April of 2014, 14 months after beginning this journey of re-entry into exercise, I completed my first duathlon: running 3 miles, biking 12 miles, running 2 miles. In the process, I raised over $1500 for the Jimmy Fund in memory of my sister and a friend who battled cancer, and felt more empowered and energized than I had done in a long time. I have since done one more Du, a couple of 10Ks, and have some more races in the pipeline.
I do believe that exercise is the best medicine, but in order to accept this, one needs a whole lot of support, instruction, and encouragement. DHAC, in my view, is not just a gym, but also a fitness community which I have found to be a continual source of motivation and inspiration. It is a place that makes one feel that almost anything is possible: and that’s a pretty amazing feeling!