Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Jennifer Frank, MD: My try-athlon

I am pretty physically active. This shouldn’t be confused with being physically fit. I am one of the few Americans who enjoy exercise. In contrast to my husband, I don’t look at my exercise sessions as grueling opportunities to do my best. I consider them more leisurely forays into a combination of “me time” and a healthy behavior that benefits mind, body, and soul.

For the past few summers, my husband competed with a relay team in a local half Iron Man triathlon. I am suitably impressed by anyone who runs a race, personally viewing running as a form of torture perfected by the Army, in which I served.

Nevertheless, I get caught up in the excitement at the finish line and cheer loudly for him as he comes into the home stretch. At these moments, I (briefly) envision that one day, I too will compete in a marathon and picture myself crossing the finish line, thrilled with my mighty accomplishment. Soon, though, I remember that this involves running, which I detest, and the dream floats away.

I am considering being part of my husband’s relay team this summer. He would run, I would swim. Once we find a willing cyclist, our team will be set. Read more
My husband studies me as I make this announcement. “You have to swim in the lake,” he reminds me.

“I know,” I respond, acting offended. One of my faults is that I often leap before I look, later regretting my rashly made decisions to do everything from the aforementioned joining the Army to agreeing to write another journal article. We discuss it more seriously. I think about it as I do my laps at the YMCA. I asked him when I have to make my final decision. “I need to know by March what you’re going to do,” he responds. He already has a lead on a cyclist.

So yesterday, I pushed myself harder at the YMCA. Instead of my usual leisurely, and admittedly short, swimming workout, I vowed to do a mile swim in the shortest time possible. I will have to swim 1.25 miles during the triathlon and want to make sure this is something I can do easily in the pool before I take it out to the open water.

I was successful in swimming my mile. I felt that I could have even gone longer, had I the time to spare before I was ousted from the pool to make way for swimming lessons. I will not advertise my time here – let me practice a bit first before I have to confess that. I proudly bragged to my husband that I accomplished this goal.

“I knew you could swim a mile,” he says bursting my bubble. “You just need to be able to do it faster…and longer.”

My medical training has prepared me well to take up a challenge. As a mom, I would love to set the example for my kids that you can start something new at any age and successfully accomplish your goals. So, we will see if this tired and exhausted, not-quite-stellar athlete, mom, and doctor is up to the challenge. More to come…

1 comment:

  1. Do that marathon (or at least a half), but start with helping your husband.