Sunday, July 29, 2007

The price of being "overweight"

I put the term in parenthesis, because I feel it is used as judgement of folks, particularly women, who do not fit the stereotype of American "beauty." Two beautiful friends of mine have experienced prejudice most of their lives due to their weight and this issue is close to my heart. Folks come in all size and shape, and health is not solely related to weight. Corporate america is taking it one step further in attacking folks whose weight deviate from certain norms by charging them health care penalties. I read in the paper today that workers who meet overweight criteria will be charged a fat fine. In addition to obesity, other factors that may warrant the fine ($30 every two weeks) would be high blood pressure and high cholesterol, maybe diabetes too. One of the person surveyed stated that she thougth it was a good idea and that her weight is fine. What happens when other health concerns make the list? Should I pay more because I have asthma that requires a lot of maintenance medication? Yes, we all have a certain amount of control over our health status, but there are other factors that need to be examined as well. What if an employee has a very stressful position within the company which leads to high blood pressure? What about genetic predisposition to these conditions? Should they be included in the equation? Or do we need to get a Gattaca-like society where health status dictate our social status.

If you have not noticed, I'm a little steamed by that. Americans don't want socialism because it is too controlling, but resort to such pernicious strategies to exert control over those who do not meet the societal norm. Makes me crazy!

Monday, July 23, 2007

I did it!

I have to admit, I'm pretty proud of myself. I completed my first triathlon yesterday. I say my first, because now that I did one, I want to do more. I had a better time than I expected at 2:28:31. I thought I would take three hours. The wind was helpful on the bike ride pushing us in on the return trip and not too hard on the first leg. I mostly walked rather than ran, but still did run some. What can I say, a runner I am not. The swim was great but tough because I hurt myself on Friday at my last training swim . . . getting out of the pool! I bruised my left rib so breathing throughout the event was painful, particularly when swiming. But I did it. It was great! Now I want to do another one as soon as my rib heals!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Busy Summer

The last couple of months have been nuts! I am currently training for a Triathlon, yes, I am not kidding you, a triathlon! It is a short distance, but any distance does not seem short to me! The swim is 1/2 mile, the bike ride is 15 miles and the "run" ( I will most likely walk most of it) is 3 miles. The bike ride is probably my most comfortable event. I do like to ride my bike and have done some decentrides in my days, so with a little training I feel ready for that one. Especially since the course is a little hilly, but no great hills or climbs. The worst part of the bike ride is it can get windy, and the return trip would be against the wind if it is windy. So I'm hoping it's not a very windy day. The swim is my next favorite event. Although I am very slow, about a 1/2 hour for the 1/2 mile,(most folks get it done in 20 minutes) I do love the water and feel comfortable in it. In the last few months, I have learned to relax in the water and just keep swimming and pacing myself when I get tired. At first I could barely do 3 width of the pool and now I do 36 comfortably. I had a setback there when I actually learned to swim (that is, learn how to have a good stroke, where to keep my feet instead of letting them get down and drag) I found it much harder at first and even became much slower and I was very discouraged, but this week I finally got back to a decent speed and apparently I look good in the water! The run, ahh the run. Well as I said, I will mostly walk. First, because after the swim and the bike ride, my lungs will be done. And second, I still can't run 3 miles straight, even when that is the only thing I do. My lungs just quit after about 20 minutes to 1/2 hour, even at the slowest pace that I can get myself to go to. And then when I run that slow, my legs hurt, I probably can walk as fast as that slow run and it does not get me so out of breath. Go figure! Also, the middle leg of the course is all uphill, and even experienced runners say that it sucks, so I'm walking. My friend's brother who has completed several triathlon and an Ironman in New Zealand said that as long as we cross the finish line running, we should look good! Anyway, I'm very excited and scared at the same time! And maybe if I train all year, next year I actually can run the run!