A Not-So Brief History of Me
I don’t like “About Me” sections because I don’t know how much the world wants to know about a late-20s year old woman living in western Wisconsin. Do you want to know that I am a high school teacher? What about that I’m a nerd, geek, gamer, avid reader, writer, and cat-lover? Maybe you came here to learn about what drove me to do such a crazy thing as sign up for a 29 kilometer cross country ski race. If that’s the case, then strap in because this is going to be a long story.
I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. There was not one moment in adolescence and adulthood where I felt good about my body. I’ve had mildly successful bouts of weight loss in the past, but once I lost some weight I stopped doing what I was doing and gained it all back (big surprise, huh?).
In March 2019, I did a complete overhaul of my health and started with my mental health first. I talked with my therapist and got on an antidepressant for the first time in my life. I was nervous. How would this change me? What kind of person would I become? Well, the answers to both of those questions are what many might expect. I changed in that I lost almost 60 pounds in a year. I also became a more optimistic and mindful person because I could finally feel again! Going on this medication was the second best decision I could’ve made for myself.
So here’s the cringe-inducing (for me), embarrassing (again…for me), but hopefully inspirational part of the story. Let’s start at the very beginning…
When I started the medication and my health and wellness journey, I weighed 306.4 pounds. My resting heart rate was in the mid to high 80s. Thankfully my blood pressure was normal and I wasn’t diabetic, but I did suffer from intermittent back and knee pain. Naturally, I couldn’t just jump right in to balls-to-the-wall exercise and barely eating anything (from my past attempts at weight loss…that clearly doesn’t work). So thanks to my boost in energy from my antidepressants, the unseasonably nice weather in March 2019, and support from Reddit’s r/loseit, I kept a food journal and started walking. That’s it. I lost 12 pounds that month.
After the April blizzard we had, I knew that I wanted to get back into biking again. Even in high school, I enjoyed biking as I was a youngin’ for my grade and was one of the last to get my driver’s license. Thus, biking became a regular form of transportation for me. I didn’t actually start biking seriously until May and that’s when I set a goal to bike 500 miles over the summer from Memorial Day to Labor Day. I arbitrarily chose that number — or maybe my brain was in a mood to listen to The Proclaimers — but the number seemed like a goal that I could accomplish.
Over the summer, I biked between 3-4 days a week while still logging my food and by Labor Day, I completed my goal (after a ride of almost 25 miles) and I had lost 50 pounds. Once I accomplished that goal, I knew that I could do anything.
Over the 2019-2020 school year, I set another goal but I focused on running. My sister Brittany and I made our goals around the same time: Run 100 miles by December 31st. I started the Couch to 5K program (hence the inspiration for my blog title) and brushed off my Snap Fitness membership. This goal was arguably even harder because I am intimidated by gyms and I don’t like running as much. Still, I persevered and by December 31st I met my goal and I had lost 67 pounds. This would be my lowest weight for a while since January – March were rather challenging for me.
In the Spring of 2020, I didn’t know what sort of goal to set. Instead of three-month long goals, I decided to set a year-long goal. Since I started biking, the idea of traveling across the country on a bike appeals to my wanderlust and my independent spirit. Of course, I’m far too sensible to actually do it (…now…) but I like the idea of touring the country by bike. Thus the “bike across the country” goal was born. I calculated the distance by bike on Google Maps and decided that I wanted to figuratively bike from California to Wisconsin (a distance of approximately 2700 miles give or take depending on your route). But Spring in Wisconsin is a bit snowy and cold, so I allowed the distance I’d accumulate on a stationary bike to count until the weather warmed up. Then COVID happened and my gym closed…
Which brings us to today.
In addition to my year-long biking goal, I did something a little crazy and I signed up to ski the Kortelopet race in Hayward, Wi (my hometown) for the first time. My sister Alyssa skied it last year for the first time and watching her cross the finish line was incomparable. The entire spirit surrounding the American Birkiebeiner and the Worldloppet races just pump you up with such feel-good excitement that watching the race will make anyone want to start skiing. I told her that next year, “that will be me.” And I’m usually a woman of my word, so with my sister’s gentle reminder that sign ups were open for 2021, I went ahead and signed up for the Korte.
Here I am. Starting this new journey at 250 pounds. With the same skills, determination, resilience, and knowledge at my disposal, I plan to document the good, bad, and ugly of this journey to hold me accountable and to hopefully inspire others who are looking to make significant changes in their lives.