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  • Christopher Breen

Life Really is Good


This one is too good not to share. It is not technical, not triathlon specific, or about a specific workout. It is simply a small vignette of a 15 minute office visit with one of my patients. My "other" job is that of a physician assistant specializing in orthopaedics. In many ways all the hats I wear intertwine with each other and I learn and incorporate experiences from all of them to be the best I can be at all of them. The other day during a routine office visit I had the pleasure of seeing an 80+ year old female patient who came in for her yearly check-up following a total knee replacement last year. She had no real complaints except for minor muscle aches here and there. She was pleased with her outcome and reported significant pain relief as compared to how she felt prior to having her surgery. After examining her and reviewing her x-rays I told her she was good to go. To keep doing what she was doing and to follow up with us only if she needs to. She was appreciative and stated she had one last request. She was looking for exercises to strengthen her quadriceps. She felt weak going up stairs and stated she was "in training" so she needed to build strength. As one who is always training or training someone else for a specific athletic event I was of course immediately curious to find out what she was "in training" for. She proceeded to tell me about how her and her two daughters are all training for a race in November to honor veterans. One daughter is training for the 6.1 mile distance, the other daughter is training for the 3.1 mile distance, and she is training to walk the 1 mile distance. But, she just doesn't want to walk the 1 mile. She has a time goal. Thats right a time goal. She wants to finish in under 30 minutes. First, because she felt that was a reasonabe time to complete it in and second because she wanted to make sure she was done prior to her daughters so she can take photographs of them at the finish line. I got the full breakdown of her training regimen. How often she walks, her pace, the incline she uses on the treadmill, the whole plan. Which by the way is mainly done on the treadmill for convenience. Now, she wanted to add a small strength routine to support her walking and was super excited about it. Even a bit surprised when she was told she need only start with 3 days a week. She expected more.

I was taken a back by her excitement and determination, mainly because I didn't expect it when I started the visit with her. Of course however I was fully supportive of her goal. Two days prior I tracked all my friends and an athlete I coach competing in an all day triathlon. Ironman Lake Placid. I even stayed up until midnight watching athletes cross a finish line of a race they started 17 hours prior. This day I was discussing completing a 1 mile walk in 30 minutes. Everybody starts somewhere in there athletic pursuits and everyone finishes somewhere as well. Regardless of the distance as long as you are trying it is worth every effort. Our athletic pursuits provide so much more than just our physical well-being. It is how we connect with our friends, our loved ones, how we connect with nature, our inner child, and our spiritual self. This process for her adds so much more than just being physcially and physiologically healthy. It keeps her mentally fit, it provides camaraderie amongst her and her daughters, and allows her to connect with other athletes she may never have met, to name just a few of the benefits. It enables her to bond and share in a common goal with her daughters in a way she may never have had before. Life really is good and there are so many different roads we can take on our journey to better ourselves. I'm excited for her and I am anxious to see the development of a new athlete.


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