I was 2-years old when Dorothy Hamill won a gold medal for figure skating in the 1976 Olympic Games, and 10-years old in 1984 when I saw the made-for-TV movie, Nadia, about Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, followed by Mary Lou Retton’s gold medal performance in that year’s Olympics. Before discovering gymnastics, I spent every possible weekend watching Dorothy perform on TV. My mom even had my hair cut in the Dorothy Hamill style so I could look like her. When we moved up to the lake in 1979, I went ice skating for the first time and found my bliss practicing spins, sit-spins, and camels on the bumpy ice of Benedict’s cove. A few years later when the 1984 Olympics catapulted my interest in gymnastics, I tore up the backyard with my endless cartwheels, round-offs, and somersaults. I pretended that doing a bridge was the same as a backbend and somehow managed to escape serious injury as I hurled my body all over the place in an attempt to mimic the floor routines I watched the real gymnasts do; although, there was one little incident where a handstand in my living room turned into a flip with my foot ending up in the wall, me suspended upside down. Too much velocity.
As much as I would love to perpetuate the image of my little-girl-self following her dreams to become a world class champion, I suppose I should admit that all of my success took place in my very vivid imagination. Like most kids I knew, my parents could not afford to give me ice skating or gymnastics lessons, no matter how much I begged, but when I practiced my spastic moves, I WAS Dorothy and Nadia, and Mary Lou.
The summer before fifth grade I found out that the town was holding a gymnastics program at the middle school gym for a few weeks. This was my chance to be a real gymnast!! My friend Kim (from blog post #2 – “A Little Slice of Humble Pie) and I headed to the gym on a warm summer night in all of our gymnastics finery, which for me was a navy blue, short-sleeved leotard (I also had a light pink one I’d steal from my sister). Before us were mats and bars and beams and vaults…I was in heaven! I couldn’t wait to impress the instructors with all the “moves” I had spent the last few years perfecting.
Sadly, it didn’t take long for reality to throw a chalk bag in my face as I saw girls who were way more limber, acrobatically proficient, and, well…shorter. I’ve been tall from a young age and it wasn’t lost on me that the reason I couldn’t do much on the uneven bars wasn’t because I had no talent (although that was a contributing factor), but because I couldn’t fit! The bars were too close together and they weren’t about to move them just for my benefit. The balance beam scared me, but the vault and I became friends. I loved jumping on the springboard and flying through the air. I’m fairly certain there was no grace involved in my performances, but I didn’t care. At the end of the summer we got to put on an exhibition for our families. I’m pretty sure mine was sitting there, shaking their heads, and wondering why I wasn’t discouraged by my obvious ineptitude. It wasn’t as if I hadn’t already figured out that perhaps gymnastics wasn’t my thing, but I had waited so long to be a “gymnast” and this dinky little performance was the equivalent of my Olympics.
As I got older, I found new goals to pursue that were more achievable. I started doing triathlons, ran a marathon, and found my niche in open water swimming. Every season I found new races to do or worked to better my times on previous courses. My life revolved around how I was going to spend my spring, summer, and fall. But 2012 is going to be different.
As previously mentioned, my January car accident has left me nursing whiplash and an injured quad. While my doctor hopes I’ll be able to swim by the summer, he can’t promise me anything and has told me it could take anywhere from six months to two years to fully heal. I’ve had to start thinking about what kind of goals I want to pursue and it’s been tough coming to terms with my current limitations. I find myself resenting the guy who hit me (even though I know it was an accident), but then feel guilty because I know I’m luckier than a lot of people. I don’t want to harbor negative feelings, as nothing good comes of it, so I’m trying to focus on what I can do and make goals out of that. Here is my current list:
1. Lose 5% of my original weight – 11.27 pounds (only a few more pounds to go!)
2. Lose 10% of my original weight – 22.54 pounds – and then aim for 5 pound increments thereafter
3. Walk at least three times per week and ultimately increase the amount of time I’m able to walk. Currently I can walk for about an hour and fifteen minutes before my quad starts to act up, so that is the time to beat.
My goal for the next week is to make an effort to exercise. I’ve found that if I use up all of my weekly points and don’t exercise then I only lose about ½ a pound. I’m happy to lose and not gain, but I can do better. Baby steps.
4/2/12 – 217.6 pounds
Pounds lost in last week – 0.6Total pounds lost to date – 7.8