Taking My Life Back at 46… The Journey, by Tamara Campbell, RN

Where do I begin?  My journey to take back my life began at age 46, as a journey to become healthy.

I am the wife of an amazingly supportive husband and mother of 3 boys. My youngest was born with cerebral palsy – spastic quadriplegia, which would later leave him dependent on a wheelchair and full care.  This meant I had to work the night shift to be home to care for him during the day. My 2 eldest boys were very active in rep hockey from the age of 5 through 16 with my oldest continuing on when drafted into the OHL.  This meant if I wasn’t working, I was at appointments by day with my youngest or I spent most evenings at a hockey rink.

When I wasn’t parenting, I had an incredible career as a full time RN.  My career started at The Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto on the Bone Marrow Transplant Unit where I worked for 2 years. From there I moved to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and stayed for 10 years.  The stress was starting to show. My commute was an hour long before and after my 12 hour shifts.  I often found myself in tears driving home after a difficult day at work.  I loved the work but for how much longer could I do it?  I made the decision to move to a hospital closer to home.  They didn’t have a pediatric ICU, so that meant returning to class to complete certification in adult ICU, yet another stressor, but I saw it as temporary.

I settled into my new position in an adult ICU close to home.  My commute was 12 minutes.  My kids were getting older and less dependent. Then it happened. I attended a family gathering and of course pictures were taken.  I was shocked.  Who was this person?  I always saw myself at a healthy weight, but not this person in the pictures.  What had happened over the past 15years?  I guess I was delusional that because my life was so busy, I must be fit. After all, I had been  athletic in my younger years, and I still felt young.. I could give a million excuses. I had had 3 kids,  I was tired, I was busy going to appointments for my son on my days off. Basically I had devoted every spare moment to my family.  Somewhere along the way I had forgotten about ME!  I had taken a back seat for everybody else.  It was time for ME!  I hadn’t realized it, but the stress of life had taken a toll on me physically and emotionally. I was depressed  at the fact I had let myself go.

The “Before”

I needed to start practicing what I had been preaching to my kids.  You are what you eat. Don’t just settle on mediocre,  give anything you do your all. Once you start something you finish it. After all, my eldest boys had excelled in hockey, and my youngest had excelled beyond doctors’ expectations.  So at age 46 I joined a gym, and with it I got 20 sessions with a trainer.  To be honest I was not going to do more than those sessions with a trainer. I thought I would learn the exercises and be done.  From there I could do it myself.  And so began the journey.

The first few months were agony.  My trainer kept pushing me.  After 6 months it started to feel somewhat less painful. I was losing weight, my endurance was better, and people were seeing me happier and healthier. Besides seeing my trainer twice a week, I was doing spin classes and jogging when my kids were at school. My confidence was increasing.  So much so that I thought I could do a half marathon.  Nope, I don’t start with a 5 or 10 km race.  10 months after I started my journey I had completed a half marathon!  I had the bug. What else could I do?

I was feeling great. Exercising was the key to stress relief. I needed to keep going. I needed to keep setting goals for myself. When I wasn’t exercising I wasn’t happy.

The gym I attended was having an indoor triathlon.  Swim in the pool x 10 minutes, bike on the stationary bike x 30 minutes, and run on the treadmill x 20 minutes.  I could do that and see if I liked it.  Well that was the beginning of triathlons for me. I started to train towards a “real” outdoor sprint triathlon. Within 6 months I was ready for my first sprint. Since I didn’t even have a bike, I rented one from the local bike shop. I didn’t want to commit to buying a bike until I had actually done a real triathlon. Unfortunately, due to water conditions, it ended up being a duathlon.  By this point the Canadian triathlon season was over.   I was determined to do a “real” triathlon. It was going to be a goal for the next year, and in the meantime I would continue to train each discipline.

By the time the next spring rolled around I was in the shape I wanted to be in.  I had purchased a bike.  I had lost weight and I thought my conditioning just might be enough for an Olympic distance triathlon. Was I crazy?  I hadn’t even really done a triathlon.  Well as it would happen, our family vacation to Tennessee happened to coincide with an Olympic distance triathlon.  Truth be told, I think my husband planned this.  As it would happen I won my age group in that race. My first “real” triathlon, and I win my division.  This as it turns out qualified me for the US Nationals the following year.  What an experience that was.  What an incredible supportive group of athletes.  I haven’t turned back since.  This year, at the age of 50, I trained for a 70.3 Ironman. My first attempt resulted in a concussion on the swim from a kick to the head.  Having done the training I wasn’t going to let that be it. On my second attempt, 5 weeks later, I completed my first 70.3 Ironman.

I keep setting goals for myself. It keeps me going, and it keeps me healthy both mentally and physically.  People ask me how I do it. I tell them it gives me time, and space to myself. It’s my stress free zone.  My life is busy. I am coming up on my 17th year working full time in the ICU, 29 years in nursing.  I am still relatively new to triathlon, with just 4 years under my belt. My youngest is now in high school, and striving for independence. My older boys attend university and college. My husband is still by my side encouraging and supporting me with whatever I set out to do.

The “After’

Tamara was born and raised in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She studied nursing at George Brown College in Toronto and has been an RN for 28 years, specializing in Critical Care for 26years. She has been married to her husband for 26years, who is also an RN. Together they have 3 boys.  When she is not training for triathlons she enjoys sunny vacations, family barbecues and jujubes. She has a secret passion for Veterinary Medicine. She is grateful to be surrounded by supportive and always cheering family and friends.

 

13,375 Replies to “Taking My Life Back at 46… The Journey, by Tamara Campbell, RN”

  1. I absolutely love your website.. Great colors & theme. Did you make this web site yourself? Please reply back as Iím hoping to create my very own website and want to learn where you got this from or just what the theme is called. Many thanks!

  2. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Thank you, However I am going through problems with your RSS. I donít understand the reason why I am unable to subscribe to it. Is there anybody having identical RSS issues? Anyone who knows the answer will you kindly respond? Thanx!!

  3. Aw, this was an extremely nice post. Taking a few minutes and actual effort to create a top notch articleÖ but what can I sayÖ I procrastinate a whole lot and never manage to get anything done.

  4. After checking out a few of the blog posts on your website, I seriously like your way of writing a blog. I added it to my bookmark site list and will be checking back in the near future. Take a look at my web site too and let me know what you think.

  5. I’m very pleased to uncover this web site. I need to to thank you for your time for this particularly fantastic read!! I definitely really liked every bit of it and i also have you book-marked to see new things on your website.

  6. html模版“跑年账””跑年账”    除夕夜,噼噼啪啪地响了一夜的炮仗。突然想起了一个沉重的话题”跑年账”。其所以要 孔子读书阁 加上引号,是因为跑年账的本意是指旧历年底追讨欠账的行为,而本文所说的却是过去春节期间行乞者一种自嘲的雅称。    小时候常常听父亲说起他年轻时”跑年账”的那些事。父亲出生于1911年,那年正是大清朝末代皇帝退位之年又是民国元年。那时候苏北农村水、旱灾害频仍,每年秋后都有许多遭灾的农民在自家的小木船上苫起棚子,拖家带口的逃荒到江南去谋生。他们大多数是在苏南农村给人家打零工,或者是扒河蚌、做小生意。一到过年,都会全家出动上岸去”跑年账”。对于船上女人们来说,”跑年账”其实就是讨饭,

  7. The very next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn’t fail me just as much as this particular one. I mean, I know it was my choice to read through, however I genuinely believed you would probably have something useful to say. All I hear is a bunch of moaning about something you could fix if you were not too busy searching for attention.

  8. I would like to thank you for the efforts you’ve put in penning this website. I’m hoping to view the same high-grade content by you in the future as well. In truth, your creative writing abilities has motivated me to get my own, personal site now 😉

  9. Next time I read a blog, Hopefully it doesn’t fail me just as much as this one. After all, I know it was my choice to read, nonetheless I genuinely thought you would have something useful to talk about. All I hear is a bunch of crying about something you could fix if you weren’t too busy seeking attention.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *