Nell Stephenson - Paleoista Sherpa

We are so pleased to introduce you to our friend, Nell Stephenson.  Nell, a tri supporter, nutritionist, author, Paleo, educator, and age group Ironman World Championship qualifier AND finisher is above all a great person.

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Nell Stephenson

We had the pleasure of meeting Nell two years ago at the 70.3 Ironman World Championship; again a case of triathlons bringing people together.  Nell is the author of two books:  The Paleo Diet Cookbook, written with Dr. Loren Cordain, PhD and Paleoista:  Gain Energy, Get Lean, and Feel Fabulous with the Diet You Were Born to Eat.  She has also appeared on the Dr. Oz show to discuss the Paleo diet.  And whether you are Paleo, want to become Paleo, or just have an interest in health and fitness, there is great information on Nell’s website, PALEOISTA.

Here is Nell’s most recent Sherpa story, published on her blog August 25, 2013.  Watch for more of her guest posts in the future.

Race Day…But I’m The Sherpa This Time!

We’re here in beautiful Whistler, BC for the Ironman today.

I’m happy to take a turn being the Sherpa this time for my husband (slash Ironman & training partner!) as he, along with about 2,500 other athletes, swims the 2.4 mile course in Alta Lake, followed by the 112 mile ride through the pristine peaks and valleys and finishes up with the marathon, looping throughout the quaint Whistler village.

Next up for me is World Championships in October, so I’m relishing this time to be in a serene setting with a little weekend of downtime before my last training block resumes upon my arrival home in Los Angeles.

It’s nice to take a step back from our sport now and then and spectate, support and be there to see what it’s like from the other side.

In particular, I always find it motivating to watch the challenged athletes compete, as well as the community element of it.  People from all over the world, and all walks of life can choose to participate in a sport that tests the limits.  Young, not so young, fit, not so fit, those battling illness or injury, those trying to qualify for Kona and those simply out there to tick having completed an Ironman off their bucket list.

For me, racing Ironman began in 2001 because it was something I simply wanted to see whether or not I could do.  Prior to that, I’d raced short courses for a while, not actually grasping that I could even attempt Ironman.

So what changed?

It was being there for a friend who raced her first full, and seeing several challenged athletes come across the finish line.  Imagine me there, 26 years old and able bodied, thinking “I could never do an ironman” and then seeing a gentleman cross the finish line in a wheelchair.  Then, another with one prosthetic leg. Then, an 84-year-old man.  And a woman with a guide who was blind.

They hadn’t let anything stop them.

Why should I?

That was my epiphany and I signed up the next day for my first ironman, which would occur a year later.

Through the sport, I met some amazing, lifelong friends, and my husband!   I learned an incredible amount of mental fortitude, gained physical strength and found my panacea in motion, which surpassed any physical activity I’d tried before.

My intention of this little diatribe is certainly not to suggest that everyone should be racing Ironman. Rather, it’s to remind all of us that we need to be moving, and not let our minds prevent us from doing so, by thinking we can’t.

Having a body and not regarding it properly with the right food, physical activity and rest is a downright shame.

Find your personal vehicle to execute motion and have fun.  We only have one body. Treat it with love!

And, good luck and have fun to all who are racing today!

  – NELL