How COVID-19 changed my life

Robin Setzer with her fur friend Charlie

How COVID-19 changed my life
October 28
14:17 2020

By Robin Setzer

After the death of my grandmother five years ago, I put on the weight as I sought comfort in food. A year ago I decided to make a change. I started a keto diet and lost 30 pounds; however, when the COVID pandemic hit, I knew I had to do more. 

I had diabetes, two autoimmune diseases, and was obese. To say that I was a high risk is an understatement! I sought the help of a holistic doctor and a nutritionist. 

Besides a diet change, my doctor said I needed to get my heart rate up. Even though I was walking two miles three times a week, this was not enough to get my heart rate up. I remembered when I was in college at WFU, I would walk a par course in the early mornings and there was an older woman there race walking.  A television crew came and did a story about her and I learned she was involved in competitions. I decided to research power walking and race walking. 

I found that these activities were perfect for me. I can push myself and get my heart rate up and yet be gentle to my knees. However, I also know I will not really push myself unless I have a reason. I contacted Piedmont Plus Senior Games and Chuck Vestal helped sign me up. Having a race to prepare for would motivate me to push myself so I would not embarrass myself.  

My times were initially around 16 minutes for 1500 meters. I thought this was pretty good until I saw the results from last year’s state finals. There were several 70-year-old competitors that had times in the 14-minute range! Now the challenge had been set! 

I went from working out three days a week to working out six days a week. I alternate the 1500 meter power walking and race walking in the mornings and at least three days a week I do the 5k power walking. I´ve now lost 65 pounds and my A1C went from 11.1 to 6.8. But even more, I have met several new walking friends.

I am excited about the virtual races as it is not about what others do but about me doing my best. Regardless of what my times will be, I know that I am getting healthy and that is all that really matters.

Robin Setzer is a race walker and power walker, and a first-time Piedmont Plus Senior Games’ participant.

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