While not a household word, Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS), a form of Spondyloarthritis, is more prevalent than Rheumatoid Arthritis. AS is a chronic disease that primarily affects the spine causing painful inflammation leading to loss of mobility, stiffness, bone fusion and a forward-stooped posture. I know this because I’ve been living with it longer than my 17 year tenure with Adecco.
It’s well known that exercise is one of the best ways to retain mobility so this Try a Tri presented a perfect opportunity to set my sights upon. About 5 years ago while on a business trip, I decided to pick up swimming as a way to battle this disease. I remember barely being able to swim 10 lengths of a swimming pool that was maybe 10 yards long. Slowly over the years I’ve built up to swimming a mile or so a week.
When Adecco announced this Win4Youth event, I purchased some running shoes and tires for my old mountain bike. At that time I could count one hand the number of times I ran further than a mile, and that was in High School long before AS. However, by setting a plan with incremental small goals like 1, 2, 3 miles at 15, 13, 11 minutes per mile, I built up endurance and run speed. At the same time I started riding my bike to the health club to swim and read a book on triathlon preparation.
At the start of the race, I have to admit I was nervous. Not sure why because it was all just for fun; but showing up at sunrise with hundreds of participants and hundreds of supporters put an unexplainable lump in my throat which needless to say is not good for swimming. Then I thought to myself, I can do this and jumped in the pool.
This just goes to show that anyone can do whatever they wish so long as they put their mind to it, dream, and then make it happen. While crossing that finish line felt great, thinking about the journey brings an even bigger smile to my face. Thank you Adecco for planting the seed and promoting such a worthy cause.
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