From the Sidelines to the Turf... by Leslie McCaskey
When I got married, I was lucky to have the tiny, size 4 wedding dress body. I wasn't into working out, but I could go for runs and not feel terrible at the end of a few miles. During that first year of marriage, my mom got diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung and Brain Cancer and I spent the majority of that time practically living at Vanderbilt Hospital and Alive Hospice. Looking back now, that's when my own health started a sad, downward slope. Being a stress eater, I started gaining weight from terrible cafeteria and fast food. I was trying to balance newly married life with a corporate job, which caused anxiety, depression and migraines. Those meds became my best friends and I think at one time I counted about 16 pills getting me through a day.
On the other hand, my younger brother dealt with his frustrations of my mom's sickness through working out. On a whim, he decided to train for the Country Music Marathon (yes, the full 26 miles) and even beat Eddie George's time. But upon doing so, he realized he had bad knees, therefore the next step for him was biking. After my mom passed, my brother participated in Austin's LiveSTRONG Challenge and rode 100 miles in the "Ride for the Roses." My family raised 16k for the foundation and we all went to Austin to watch him ride. That's when I officially took on the role as "spectator." Every bike race he rode, or every 5k or half/full marathon a friend was doing, I was on the sidelines with my cowbell or poster screaming for them. It's how I loved on my friends and family... It's how I participated, without actually participating.
Nevertheless, I was inspired. I got a gym membership and started training. When I first started working out, I used to carry a picture of my mom with no hair, yet still smiling. I used to tell myself that if she could pick herself up off the floor after a chemo session, I could get through an hour of spin, a training run or lift those weights one more time. The next year I finished the Country Music Marathon half all by myself. It was a lonely 13 miles, but I didn't die from it and crossing that finish line felt good. Even after I had my baby, my close friends started dubbing me as a "gym rat," but my body wasn't living up to the name.
My sister-in-law decided that it was time to make me a runner. We started in February of 2011 and got up 4:30 am every other day and ran 3 miles. I pounded the pavement each morning with determination to not fail at this. I went from 17 minute miles to 11 minute miles within 6 months and ended up doing eight 5k's that year. Let's just say, I got addicted to the finish line. But again, with all that running, still no weight loss. What's the deal? What was the matter with me?
Finally, I found out this year that all those meds I was taking caused weight gain. All the effort I was putting into working out, I was just maintaining weight because of the pills. I finally decided to take the last step I was holding out on. Work on my diet. I took a drastic approach and took myself off all dairy, carbs and sugar and start eating "clean." That first month I lost 12 inches and 10 lbs and was able to get off all my meds. But you know what else I did? I started D1 Boot Camps. I actually heard about D1 through my brother because his bike team used to train there during the off season. But, that was the place for him….not me, right? But I bought the Groupon anyway and tried it out. I got a few other friends and co-workers to try it out too. We were all going to get initiated together. Turns out I was wrong, this was the place for me too.
After almost 4 months of D1, I've come to love the culture there, the motivation and encouragement from the staff, and for the first time in years excited by the results I'm getting. (I'm 18 lbs down). For the past 6 years, I've tried to "impress" my brother with some kind of physical activity. Between all his focused, heavy duty training nothing I've done has ever raised an eyebrow it seemed. It wasn't until last month when we were talking about my time at D1 that I finally saw some pride in his eyes when I heard him talking about my training to his bike friends. He even wants to come back to D1 with me when his cyclocross bike season finishes this winter to train together.
So for now, I'm looking for my BIG finish line. I'm not sure what it is yet, but I know it's out there. In the meantime, I know that with each D1 workout, it's making me stronger and ready for that race. In the meantime, I'll still continue to cheer on my active friends and family. I'll show up to their races when I can because I know how hard they've trained and worked. I know how much it means to them because I know how much it means to me, knowing one day, it's going to be ME they're clanging their cowbell at.
To be continued.....