Journey of Health and Fitness

Learning to Ride a Bike with my Dad about 5 years old

I remember as a little girl about 7 years old, living in Eastern Colorado, on the border of Kansas, asking my mother why all the other girls had such skinny legs, and I didn’t. This of course makes me sound like a very over weight little girl – I wasn’t. I was very active, always outside playing and doing something crazy. My six foot tall slender mother replied as gently as she could “Well my dear you have nice strong legs like your daddy and you are fed very healthy food. The other girls have little twigs and don’t have strong legs some day a gust of wind will blow them over, but you will be ok because you have strong legs.” Well that didn’t answer my question and was such a bizarre answer it has stuck in my head for all these years…




Fast forward to being about 12 years old and now living in Southern Utah. I’m still very active and loving life I had been begging my mother to let me join the swim team for quite sometime, but there was always a reason that I couldn’t. One day my mother looks at me and says well I guess we better put you on the swim team so you don’t get fat. šŸ˜ These to stories make my mother sound awful! That’s not my intent, nor is she awful – but sometimes she definitely misses some tact. Regardless I finally was able to join the swim team! I was happy regardless of how it came about. I had always loved and adored swimming and I really could care less about other sports. I swam competitively for the next 7 years! How I loved it! For a long time I was never outstanding at anything, I performed each event just about as good as the next. However, swim team taught me so much and really helped me develop as an individual and ‘slim down’. My junior year of high school I was still so frustrated that I didn’t have an event of my own that I really excelled at – despite my years of swimming for hours a day!! (swimming from 4-7am, 1 1/2 weight lifting/strengthĀ training/dry land, and swimming again from 2:30-6pm daily, in addition I had marching band for 1 1/2 every other day as well – I have to count that too!)

Canyon View Swim Team 1998

Canyon View Swim Team 1998 – I’m third from the left on the front row.

Me @ State Swimming my Junior Year

Me @ State Swimming my Junior Year

My Family and I at State Swimming my Junior Year I'm grateful for their support

My Family and I at State Swimming my Junior Year I’m grateful for their support

My Grandparents & Uncle would come whenever my meets were close

My Grandparents & Uncle would come whenever my meets were close

My grandparents also came to my concerts - This picture really showed how skinny I was

My grandparents also came to my concerts – This picture really showed how skinny I was

My girl friend Tracey & I

My girl friend Tracey & I

I had swam just about every event – except two. The 200 IM (IndividualĀ Medley) and the 100 Fly (Butterfly). I begged and pleaded with my fabulous coach, Mark Thiele, to allow me to just try swimming these events to see how I did. He reluctantly agreed and said that I still had to swim my other ‘normal events’ the 500 Free and the 200 Free – but right next to these other events – all very hard! I agreed. The first time I swam both events I made the top 20 list in the state! That day changed my life! All of a sudden I mattered to the team and I made a difference! After this dramatic swim meet, my first swim coach Dick Coston was SO mad at me! Swearing and Hollering and carrying on that I made the difference for this team and not his. I know Dick really liked me, but Mark new how to encourage me, and to let me know he believed in me. I’m so grateful for swim team and all the blessings that it has continued to bring to my life. I continued to swim through high school eventually holding the team record in both events and taking 6th at state swimming! I also played Water Polo with the same group as well in our off season. So much fun and honestly one of the two factors that kept me in high school and fromĀ choosingĀ to graduate early. I also went on to do a few Bi-athalons (Swim & Cycle but no Running). In addition I really enjoyed cycling and did quite a few long distant Bike Rides. I ended up developingĀ tendinitisĀ in both shoulders and elbows and ending up with rotator cuff injuries. Just to make it through my senior year I had to go to the doctor 3 times a week to make sure everything was ok and that my shoulders were notĀ dislocatedĀ as the slip in and out extremely easily. My swim practice turned in to hours of kicking only… it was hard mostly mentally. Half the time I couldn’t feel my arms and would have what I called ‘Lightening” going up and down my arms from the nerve damage. I was terrified that I was going to loose the use of my arms and hands by the time I was 20! šŸ˜¦ I finally decided that the best decision was to stop the repeatative damaging process all together, and I stopped swimming. It broke my heart, and still continues to. What I didn’t know at the time is that what I really needed was aĀ strengtheningĀ coach or physical therapist to work with me. I tried to ‘work out’ a few times after that doing dry land – oh I hated it! Plus, I had no idea of how to put a work out together. I knew how to follow instructions and get my butt movingĀ especiallyĀ when they came across in German! I had no idea how or what to do to stay fit. At the time that I quit swimming I was a size 4 and weighed 180 lbs. I was solid muscle! I might not have known how to set up my own work out routines, but Mark certainly knew how to condition our bodies to be the powerhouse team that we were! I went to college, gained gained a little, but wasn’t too concerned… I was scuba diving and dancing hoping that would help, but it didn’t do much… I wasn’t too worried though.

More to come later …

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