Athlete of the Week: Lacy Fuller
Posted September 30, 2011on:
The Athlete of the Week series was created to spotlight the amazing people around us who are not only moms, dads, workers and friends but they are superstar athletes as well. Being an athlete does not always mean that they are Olympic level in their sport. It doesn’t even mean that they compete, or that they would beat anyone else if they tried. It means that they have made a commitment to their health by staying active and changing their lifestyle to do so. They inspire me every day, and I hope they inspire you as well.
Every Friday, look for a new installment and a new athlete spotlight. If you’d like to be featured, just email me at email@example.com!
This week’s Athlete of the Week is Lacy Fuller, a swimmer, yogini, new bride and computer magician in Fort Collins. She is one of my favorite people to work out with because she is always thinking about how much farther she can go, but always knowing her own body. She lives to exercise because she has fun doing it. Lacy is an adult athlete extraordinaire, and not just because of her performance in the water, but because of her ability to treat her body right and balance her life.
Personal Mantra (optional):
Don’t waste your time feeling guilty. I read once (on the blog of Olympic swimmer Ian Crocker) that feeling guilty actually slows down your metabolism, so it’s better to just eat that donut you’re craving and not feel bad about it, than to agonize over it.
There’s also the guilt of skipping a workout. I’m terrible about feeling bad about missing a swim practice or planned workout session, but feeling bad about it doesn’t help anyone. We are all human, and some days we just need that extra sleep, or to rest an injury, and realizing that skipping a day at the gym isn’t the end of the world is important to keep you from overdoing it (again, I’m very guilty of this), or burning yourself out. This is a mantra that I keep up to try and remind myself that I’m not a professional athlete, and that I’m allowed to take a day off if I need it.
Swimming. I spent a lot of years trying to get excited for just going to a gym and lifting weights, run on a treadmill, or go to aerobics classes, but I could never make myself stick with those things. It was just too easy to blow them off, or put them off, especially when my parents were footing the bill for the gym membership.
A few years ago I got really excited watching the summer Olympics in Beijing, particularly the swimming competition. That spurred me into taking swimming lessons (I hadn’t had any instruction since I was a little kid) and then, eventually, to start swimming with a Masters team. I found that swimming with Masters was way more motivating than swimming on my own. Having a coach there to dictate a workout keeps you from just doing easy sets and not pushing yourself. It’s also a great way to keep yourself going, having a coach and teammates who expect to see you, and question your whereabouts when you skip a practice. Not to mention all the camaraderie of being on a team, having people to help you when you’re struggling, or share your victories.
Swimming is such a great workout; probably the best I’ve ever done. Another thing I really like about it is the lack of impact. I have issue with my ankles and knees (including one that I just had surgery on for a torn meniscus), and I can still swim (and fast!) with little pain or irritation.
What makes you committed to staying active?
The way it makes me feel. Days when I don’t get to do something active, I tend to get anxious, or have trouble focusing. I feel better when I can slip off at lunch and swim, or even just ride my bicycle to work.
I also like that it keeps me healthy. Doing endurance sports has helped my asthma, and improved my overall health (more muscle, less fat, lower resting heart rate, etc.). And that helps buoy my self confidence, makes me feel better about who I am and what I can accomplish.
How do you work exercise into your busy life?
I work for a company that is very committed to keeping a good work/life balance. They encourage people to be active, and allow for flexible schedules to allow employees to get out of their chairs and do something. Because of that, I’m able to swim almost every practice my team offers, and I can easily ride my bike to work.
I also tend to make a schedule and stick to it. I decide what days I want to do which activity: softball on Tuesday, swimming M/W/F morning, running on Wednesday nights, something like that. Then I keep track of what I’ve done on my US Masters Swimming Fitness Log (FLOG) so I can keep myself accountable. I try not to skip my workouts or change my schedule unless it’s something unavoidable. Having a schedule enables me to keep up with my plan, and try to avoid the inevitable decision to blow a workout off because I’m not feeling like doing it.
Who inspires you?
My swim teammates. I swim with a lot of really ambitious people (including Ms. Sara Jelley) who go off and do things like swim 10Ks or do Iron Man triathlons or swim across the English Channel. I’m not sure those are things I’ll ever do myself, but I figure if they can do that, then I should be able to do an Olympic distance triathlon, or swim a mile in competition. The people I train with inspire me to go faster (to keep up!) and work on my technique.
Being on a team is so encouraging. I can’t stress that enough. My teammates lift me up when I’m feeling down, and cheer me on when I’m racing. They’re there when I climb out of the pool to give me high fives and hugs of congratulations. There’s really no better feeling than knowing you’ve got people on your side. It makes you want to do the best you can, so you don’t let them down.
Do you have any words of advice for new fitness enthusiasts, regarding sports, exercise, and/or life?
Listen to your body, and do what’s right for you. There’s no need to push yourself past your limits, and trying to keep up with someone who has more experience or ability than yourself can be extremely discouraging, and potentially harmful to yourself. There’s nothing wrong with competition, but the only person you need to measure yourself against is you.
I’ve recently hit a rough patch in my active life by sustaining a sports related injury. I’ve been knocked off my feet a couple of times in the last two months, and it’s so hard for me to sit back and wait to heal. I spend a lot of time thinking about the hours of work I’ve put in – in the pool, on the treadmill, in the gym – and wondering where I’ll be when I’m finally back on my feet again.
The challenge for me is to listen to my body and not rush myself back into my normal exercise routine. All I want is to be back to normal, but that’s going to take time. The thing is, it will happen. I just need to be patient, and to take it easy when I’m able to return to activity.
We are all different, have different levels of ability and skill. Don’t let the feeling that you’re “bad” at something discourage you from doing it. If it’s something you truly love, don’t give up on it! Who cares if you’re the slowest person on your swim team? You’re still swimming, and taking that step toward a more active life. And that’s never a bad thing.
Favorite vegetable and why?
Okay this is a tough one for me. My first thought was avocado, but that’s not a vegetable.
Being a vegetarian, I eat a lot of vegetables – and love a lot of them, too – so choosing one favorite is quite a challenge! I think I will go with green bell pepper. I love them cooked and incorporated in things like veggie chili and stir fry, but I also love to eat them raw, dipped in a little ranch dressing. They have such a unique flavor and pleasing texture, I just really enjoy eating them!
Thank you Lacy! I love what she has to say.
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