An Unexpected Journey

Posted by Alexander on October 15th, 2014 (Health)

If I can do it, you can do it too, but you won’t know until you try.

I’ve been training extremely hard over the last 6 months to prepare for the Port Macquarie half iron-man triathlon. 6 months ago, the thought of a 2 km swim, followed by an 90 km cycle, topped off with a 21 km run terrified me.  Well if I’m honest, it still does!  But last weekend, I did my own pre-triathlon around Collaroy here in Sydney, and I managed it. I knew I could do the 3 segments separately, but I didn’t know I could do them together.

By the end, I was suitably exhausted, but buoyed on by the thrill of knowing I had achieved my goal.  I’m still anxious that I can complete all 3 legs within the cut off times on the day, but I sure will give it my best shot on Sunday 19th October.

What I’ve really enjoyed though is the getting fit, even though at first it was an up-hill struggle. In 2004 I ran the New York City marathon, so I have experienced the kind of intensive training you need to build-up to these extreme challenges before, but I did not maintain my fitness afterwards. As always life took over, I emigrated to Australia, had a child and built up my dietitian practice here in Sydney. So it has been an interesting journey, 10 years later at age 44 to boost my fitness to such extremes, and one I have enjoyed more than I ever thought possible when I first started.

My training went from 2 laps in the swimming pool, no more than a 5 km run and a short 8 km bike ride to swimming over 3 km, cycling 200 km and running 40 km last weekend. My fitness levels have increased greatly along with my energy levels.  I have always believed we can all push ourselves a bit further, not just physically but in other areas of life too – but now I truly believe we are all capable of much more than we think.  You just have to believe it. After all we are what we think – or so I believe.

This journey has even had other added advantages, that I hadn’t foreseen. I am now training to be a personal trainer so that I have the professional knowledge to help others boost their fitness with an appropriate exercise program, as part of my work here at Hamilton Dietetics. I am also planning to walk up Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa next year, a dream I have been nurturing for 20 years. Sometimes, when we challenge ourselves, who knows where we will end up, what new avenues it will open up, or what it will propel us to do. It’s the same when you finally beat the issues that have been holding you back from being your best self, whatever they may be.

I am running the triathlon to raise money for for the Alzheimer’s Australia, a cause that is very close to my heart – and as our population ages, an issue that will only grow.  We all know about Alzheimer’s, but until someone close to you suffers with it, the devastation it causes on a practical level is hard to fathom.  Or worse, the emotional roller-coaster it can become when in that one particular moment, you know they do not even recognise you at all.  If you can spare $5 or $10 to pledge to Alzheimer’s Australia, that would be fantastic and very gratefully received. You can sponsor me online at Fight Dementia.

I’ll let you know how it goes! 🙂

Written by Alexander

Alexander is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian having completed a Bachelor of Nutrition and Dietetics, and a member of the Dietitian Association Australia (APD)

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