Her Photo describes her personality very well. I know Vickie to be a very happy person who has much to be thankful for in her life. My first contact with Vickie was via phone and she was interested in exercise testing to determine her training zones on the bike so she could build her fitness efficiently. When I asked Vickie what her goal was she replied “To stay alive.” I will not forget how that made me feel to hear those words from her. When we met in person, Vickie’s presence alone brought a positive energy into the room. Here is an interview with an amazing woman with a special kind of courage that I think will be contagious.
- What gave you the desire to do a triathlon and sign up for the She Does Tri camp?
For the past two years I have been on a mad tear to improve my level of fitness and overall health. I have worked out for years, but have not been as committed or consistent as I should have been. This summer I participated in the Livestrong Cycling Team Challenge with a dual purpose of raising money for cancer research and to provide me with a focus on better health and fitness. In preparing for the Challenge, I hired Krista Schultz to conduct VO2 testing and provide guidance on how to be a better cyclist. Armed with additional information about how my body functioned, I was able to increase mileage, stamina and speed. While I don’t consider myself an athlete in the true sense of the word, I like challenges and activities that provide a positive focus. A triathlon seems like a natural progression and provides more of an opportunity for cross training as opposed to one endurance sport. She Does Tri camp appeals to me because it provides a non-treating environment filled with learning and the camaraderie of female peers. Many people ask if I am intimidated by the thought of a tri – you better believe it! This will be no easy accomplishment for me, especially the swim. Perhaps I can wear water wings to buoy me though and of course I will be looking for Krista to show me the way!
- What things have you accomplished through training?
Self-confidence is the greatest gift I have received from training. When I first started cycling about 5 years ago, I knew very little. My bike fit was wrong, I fought the bike rather than learning to move with the bike, I did not know enough about my own exercise physiology to understand how to make it work for me. Training with professionals helped me better understand my strengths and weaknesses, allowing more targeted improvement. Training has been like drinking from a fire hose – tons of information, but not always knowing what to do with the knowledge. Training with a coach is much more prescriptive and allows you to build knowledge slowly and perfect techniques rather than learning the wrong way and having to circle back to correct.
- What are some of your goals for this year with triathlon, fitness, etc.?
Most specifically all I want to do is finish the sprint triathlon. It will be an enormous personal accomplishment. In 2009 I was diagnosis with cancer, the very biggest surprise of my life. Staying well is critical and often challenging. Fitness allows me to use my energy in a very positive focused manner rather than focusing on the negative. Additionally I hope to meet more like-minded people along the way and to benefit from their experiences and share some of my own.
- How does the training make you feel and what are some of the benefits to working toward a goal?
Empowered. I am an A++ personality, but there is nothing like the high you get from accomplishing a goal. Exercise is a fantastic drug. Training with a purpose is even better.
- How has your nutrition changed or how would you like it to change?
My nutrition plan has been the biggest change I have made. I often skipped meals and was never properly hydrated. After returning from long rides, I would be flat out for a day – maybe even two, depending on the length of the ride. Now I plan my meals, 5 – 6 small meals a day. It is complicated, especially if you travel frequently. Five to six meals a day feels like you are eating all the time, but I have learned that properly fueling your body makes a tremendous difference in my performance. Eating properly has given me so many more benefits than I could imagine such as converting fat to muscle, mood booster, making me more alert and overall performance. There is still plenty of room for improvement.
- What does your normal weekly workout schedule look like and how important is each different activity you are doing (e.g. swim, bike, run and lift)?
I tend to mix things up depending on my work and travel schedule. I read a great deal about exercise and nutrition and seek advice from professionals. My goal is to always incorporate 45 minutes of interval cardio training three times a week and lift three times a week. Honestly some weeks are better than others. Swimming lessons is my next skill to tackle. An open water swim is intimidating, but I think with proper training I can be successful. The other option is not really an option…sinking to the bottom of the lake.
- What would you tell women who are afraid to do a triathlon or triathlon camp?
If I can do this, so can you. Again, I don’t consider myself an athlete, but rather an athlete “wanna be”. I am a 49 year old, two-time cancer surviving, working wife and mother of three fantastic children (and three dogs). I didn’t get serious about working out until after my cancer diagnosis. You do the math. I am not a young thing. The positives of achieving a specific goal are motivational to me. When times get rough, I go to the gym and work on my goals. Having cancer is scary – really scary but not being around to enjoy my family is more frightening. Through training and positive focus on my goals, I think I can beat the odds – at least that is the goal, right?
If you have anything else to add or have something different to write about please feel free.
Setting an example for my children is critical. I want them to be healthy, self-confident adults. Through my life’s experiences, I share what has worked and not worked with them – and others who are willing to listen to my rants. My experiences offer valuable lessons. It seems I have a positive impact on others. Many have shared that I have motivated them to achieve new personal and professional goals. While I am not always sure of my own abilities and how my motivation of others really works, it is such an incredible high, that words cannot explain. Inspiring others is an unintended thrill.
You are a true inspiration, I wish you all the best! This world would be a much better place if all people faced their challenges with this type of strength and determination! I know my life is so much better with exercise….I just finished my first marathon after a very difficult year. Unlike you, it wasn’t myself who had the health issues, but my family members. All of the training, kept my mind, body, and spirit right where it needed to be. Good Luck in all your future endeavors!