Good Natured Mom

We are all just walking each other home. -Ram Dass


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Midlife Transformation

A friend referred to me as her fitness guru last week. The week before that someone else asked me to mentor her through her first triathlon.

I’m no expert…on fitness, especially. But I think I’ve figured out why people think I am the expert, the guru. It has to do with who I was and who they have seen me become.

My foray into fitness began about 5 years ago. I was 51, out of shape and lacking motivation. After some subtle changes, the occasional walks around the neighborhood turned into short bike rides, which turned into a century, charity bike ride. I began walk/ running, then running. I added swimming and began to imagine that I might possibly be able to complete a sprint triathlon. That was 4 years ago and I’ve completed 13 triathlons since then. The transformation was gradual, and for those who knew me in the beginning, it was significant.

They say the best exercise is the one you will do and the sport of triathlon offered me three options; swim, bike and run. Training for three sports provided variety and the ability to recover from one discipline while working out for another. Balancing and organizing the workouts kept me focused and interested. I wasn’t doing the same sport every day, so I never got bored. Plus, I loved the way I felt when I exercised. I was, and continue to be, grateful to be able to have a body that can swim, bike and run. I never lose sight of the fact that I have not completely succumbed to the aging process, illness or some other circumstance. I love the mental boost endorphins give me. They elevate my mood and keep me feeling positive and optimistic. Finally, my body responded to exercise and training in the best possible way. Body fat decreased, muscle tone improved and overall fitness increased. Triathlon training became a regular part of my life and was profoundly impacting my whole being.

Beyond the obvious physical changes, I was learning to live beyond limits. I was shedding the excuse driven mentality that was holding me back from….experiencing …life! Because I tried something difficult, new and out of reach, I learned about goal setting and that the process it takes to move toward the goal is probably more important than goal achievement.  My perspective shifted dramatically and I began to see challenges as opportunities instead of obstacles. My attitude changed as I became a possibility thinker. And I liked that.

So, when my friend refers to me as her fitness guru…I think she means this: I knew you before you had this amazing physical and spiritual transformation. I want what that kind of change in my life. Show me the steps you took to get there…because if you can do it… then, I think I can do it too.

Yeah - I finished...hardest race to date.

Yeah – I finished…hardest race to date.

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Who I am and why I’m here

I’m kick starting my blog in 2015 with the help of Blogging 101. My first assignment was to introduce myself. I’ve already done that on my  “About Me” page. This is what shows up:

“Hi! I’m Joan, a fifty-something mother of four, nearly launched kids; wife of the best triathlon Sherpa on the planet and triathlete. Three years ago I completed my first triathlon and since then I’ve been rediscovering myself through the sport. From multi sport training to nutrition to positive thinking, I’ve learned to redefine the term middle age!”

I wrote that 6 months ago when I created the blog. I suppose it defines me, but this blog is not just about me and the sport of triathlon. It’s more about my purpose as a middle-ager and my transition from full-time parent to emptynester…and how I came to realize its connection through my new-found passion for endurance sports.

Simply put, some things you really should know  about me:

  1. I’m a neat and tidy person; a super organized, compulsive straightener.
  2. I like to do repetitive tasks… shoveling, washing dishes, copying., riding my bike for hours on a trainer, swimming many hundreds of laps in a pool, running for miles and miles…you get the idea.
  3. I drink too much coffee.
  4. When I drink too much coffee I start to multitask, which tends to make me cranky (Coffee or multitasking? I’m not sure).
  5. I’m a rules follower.
  6. My best days are when everything is flowing harmoniously. No stress, arguments, pressure, deadlines.
  7. My husband and kids are the smartest, funniest, most creative, fair-minded and beautiful people on the planet and I thank God for them every day.
  8. I have magical powers when it comes to finding lost items. Just ask my family.

More to come as I redefine middle age!