Three CMH employees have been racing their way to better health.
These three work for CMH Information Services (IS) and over the last couple of years, they've been working out together and competing in area races and triathlons. Not all of them started out as "athletes." Read more to learn about each of their journeys.
Jon started running three years ago, though it wasn't a successful start. "My first attempt at running was in the middle of summer. I couldn't make it half a mile without having to stop. Between being discouraged at how little I could run and the heat, I quit. The next Spring when the weather was nice, I made another attempt and got hooked."
Jon had grown up athletic, participating in school sports. Like many of us, as he grew older, he grew more sedentary. Having two other people in the office that were training for races, inspired Jon to start down the path of achieving better fitness for himself. "In the office I would always hear Kevin and Rodmy talking about triathlons and any recent races they had competed in. It did not take long for me to aspire to accomplish the same goals," said Jon.
Jon's first race was a half-marathon that he signed up for with his brother-in-law. He thought it was going to be a 5k race, and found out about two weeks before the event, that he'd signed up for the half marathon. Jon told us, "I was still early getting back to exercising and was only running 1-3 miles max, heck, the furthest I had ever ran in my life was 6 miles. The race was a life changer for my personal fitness though, I ran almost the entire time and it was a blast."
He stays motivated by constantly setting new goals and signing up for new events. "If one of your goals is to complete a certain event, one trick I have learned is to put money down early on the event. Your goal will become a reality and make you want to train. Just remember, start slowly and gradually push yourself from goal to goal, you will improve. Your perspective will continually change, 1 mile seemed like a huge distance in the beginning and now I am competing in Half Ironman’s," Jon shared.
In four years Jon has completed 2 Half Marathons, 5 5k’s, 20 mile Trail Run, several local 56 mile bike rides, a Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, 1 Sprint Triathlon, and 1 Half Ironman.
Kevin began his "real" training for triathlons in July of 2009. He had dabbled in mountain biking and a little bit of running, but didn't really focus on training until he'd registered for his first triathlon. Like his co-workers, Kevin was active in high school, playing basketball, baseball and golf. After high school he told us, "I became lazy and just couldn't find the motivation for over 10 years."
His motivation to start seriously training was turning 30. He'd told some people that he wanted to complete a triathlon before turning 30.
When Kevin started training he had a specific goal in mind - the Jackson County Triathalon on 8/23/09. "I signed up 6 weeks before the event and had NO clue what I was getting into! I learned to swim and bought a new bike in those 6 weeks and was hooked on the sport the second I crossed the finish line."
Kevin sets realistic goals to help keep himself on track. He advises, "Make it a weight loss goal, or completing an event, or achieving a time in a certain distance. It doesn't really matter as long as it is achievable and you really go for it."
The inter-office competition is nice, but Kevin thinks that having co-workers (or anyone else in your life) to keep you accountable. "There are daily lunch conversations about how our training is going and it really keeps us motivated.
Kevin has completed a handful of 5Ks, 4 half marathons, 2 25K trail runs, 3 50K trail runs, 7 sprint triathlons, 4 half ironman triathlons, 1 full ironman triathlon and a lot of charity bike rides!
Rodmy started training for the 2009 Polar Bear 5k run in the Fall of 2008. His co-worker, Kevin, gave him a “Couch to 5k” program and we decided to do the race the following February. I could not run for even 5 straight minutes, but I stuck to the plan and eventually ran/walked the 5K to the finish line.
Rodmy, like a lot of us, was pretty active during his high school days, but stop doing much physical activity once he graduated. His weight ballooned following that. Shortly after he started the "Couch to 5k" training program, he went to Venezuela to visit his mom. He tell us, "As I was securing my seat belt in the plane I realized that there wasn't much slack left on the belt once I had fastened it, and that shocked me because I didn't think I was that big. The other event happened shortly after I arrived at my mom’s home and she lovingly asked why I had gained so much weight."
Rodmy has great advice for staying motivated, "My advice is to make realistic goals and stick it. I've used running or triathlons races as my motivation to get out there whether it’s cold or hot. It’s important to create a calendar with the different things you want to do each day and try to stick to the calendar as much as possible, but knowing that missing a workout or training is not the end of the world and you just have to keep going."
"It might seem intimidating at first, especially if you are around people who already exercise, but you just have to focus on what you want to accomplish and not worry about what other people are doing or might think. I think that most people who exercise regularly are happy to provide encouragement or advice to someone who is getting started, so don't be afraid to ask."
Having co-workers in his office that are working towards similar fitness goals makes it easier to get motivated. In the IS office, you'll often hear these three "talking trash." They try to do the same races, so they can support each other leading up to the race and travel together to out of town races.
Rodmy never imagined that he'd be completing triathlons when he first starting training in 2008. "I started with the goal to do a 5K and never expected to do a triathlon. I wasn't much of a swimmer, cyclist, or runner, so triathlons were not even on my radar. But, training for that 5K gave me the confidence to at least attempt to do one. It is amazing how much progress one makes once you get in a routine and start exercising regularly. The thought of doing triathlons or running marathons sounded crazy at first, but I've been able to do it," he said.
Rodmy has completed 1 Ironman triathlon, 4 half-ironmans, 15 sprint/Olympic triathlons, 1 marathon, and 3 half marathons.
If their stories have inspired you to get started, you're in luck. The Polar Bear 5K is just around the corner. The race is held at the Bolivar YMCA on Saturday, February 2. If you're new to running, try one of the Couch to 5k programs. These are designed for non-runners to help you get ready for a 5K race at a safe and steady pace.