We are beyond thrilled to introduce you to Caroline, our newest contributor. She went from being a self-described non-athlete to a becoming nationally ranked figure competitor in the space of just a couple years. She’s inspirational, funny, and tough as nails. Oh, and did we mention she’s also a librarian by day? We know you’ll love hearing her story—and Caroline herself!
Hello Fit Approach readers! I’m so excited to be a part of this fantastic community and can’t wait to share thoughts, ideas, motivation, and inspiration for a fit and healthy lifestyle with everyone.
I am not an athlete by nature. I didn’t play sports in my youth and had no affinity for exercise or a healthy lifestyle until my mid-thirties. Until that time, chances are that you would find me in a bar or coffee shop, drink in one hand, cigarette in the other, not in a gym. I worked a ton, ate what I wanted, drank what I wanted, rarely worked out.
No earth-shattering illness or awareness entered my life to convince or force me to change my ways. I have no dramatic story to tell, although I do often wonder how dramatically different my life would be now if I hadn’t changed.
Here’s what did happen.
When I was 34, my younger sister inspired me to sign up for the Nike Marathon in San Francisco, which benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. My father and mother have both suffered from lymphoma and whether it was for that reason or a healthy dose of sibling rivalry (or a little bit of both), I decided to run. The plan was to train for the half marathon, being the newbie that I was to strenuous physical activity. Unfortunately, or fortunately, as the case may be, I procrastinated. While I started my training in time to prepare for 13.1 miles, by the time I tried to register for the race, the half marathon was sold out. It was 26.2 miles or no miles at all.
I may never have played a sport in my life, but you don’t have to be athletic to be competitive and determined. The crazier, more unrealistic a goal, the more challenging I find something, the more fixated I become on proving myself capable. Rather than call it crazy, though, I prefer to call it hardcore. Makes me feel better….and stronger!
And that’s how it began. I accelerated my training and ran my first full marathon with just 10 weeks of training. I wasn’t fast, it certainly wasn’t pretty, but I finished in a relatively decent time for a first-timer and I was hooked. I wanted more. I wanted to be better. I wanted to get faster. And so I did.
Over the course of the next four years, I ran another full marathon and quite a few half marathons and 10ks. I tried different diets, different approaches to training, all with a goal of improving my time, my endurance, my standings within my age group. After a few years, though, I realized I was no longer enjoying myself. While I did like the fact that I was getting better, I never did actually like the act of running in itself and I didn’t particularly like what it was doing to my body. But I did like the way it had changed my life – gave me a focus and a goal, something productive to do with my time. I didn’t want to lose that drive, I wanted to stay hardcore, but I needed a new goal.
So I became a bodybuilder. Huh? Not exactly an obvious leap.
I’m actually a figure competitor, a division of bodybuilding that focuses on muscular definition and symmetry over size and highlights grace and femininity. My ex-husband is a coach for competitors and encouraged me to take my amateur interest in lifting weights to a whole new level a couple years ago. And I love it! I feel much more comfortable in the weight room than I ever did on the track and I am so thrilled with the physique I’ve been able to create with this type of training.
I love it so much and I feel so strongly about sharing what I’ve learned about diet and training and about motivating and inspiring other women to reach for their own fitness goals, competitive or not, that I’ve decided to reach out. I’m a member of the Beautifully Hardcore team of writers and coaches and that’s also why you find me here now on Fit Approach – reaching out to everyone here!
Look for articles on training and diet, competition and motivation. I may seem at times a little hardcore – I diet strictly and I train hard – but I’m really just a regular gal in her early forties with a day job, a life, and a strong urge to live my life in the best possible shape for as long as I possibly can!