Now they consider triathlons a leisure activity.
Little by little, Ryan and Kasey adopted a healthier way of living, and it has improved everything. What started off as Kasey tiring of a sedentary lifestyle has blossomed into a renewed sense of spirit for both Grahams, as well as a family feeling of activity.
Since last summer, Ryan, Antioch’s deputy director of community development, has dropped about 90 pounds. Kasey, the Antioch Unified School District Teacher of the Year at Dozier-Libbey Medical High School, has maintained a 40-pound weight loss.
While the weight loss has allowed Ryan, 37, to achieve a major goal, doing some indoor skydiving with his son, it has also given Kasey a better all-around feeling. She feels she can practice what she teaches at the medically-based high school.
“I have better confidence in myself, not just on the outside, but I know I’m taking care of myself and I’m doing the best I can for myself,” Kasey said. “The kids are watching me go through this process, and I feel like I can be a good role model for the high school kids that I spend time with – and my own children.”
They’ve found a new favorite family activity – triathlons. In April, the Grahams participated in the Wildflower Triathlon, held in Pacific Grove. They competed in the mountain bike triathlon, comprising a quarter-mile swim, followed by a 9.7-mile bike ride, finishing with a 2-mile run.
Ryan completed the course in 1 hour, 32 minutes; Kasey in 1:41.
“One thing that we love is that we do it together,” Ryan said. “I think that’s really cool.”
This urge for exertion started at the end of the 2010 school year, when Kasey, 42, noticed she was gradually losing energy – and happiness. She took a boot-camp-style fitness class – Mind and Body Boot Camp, led by Lori Smith – and started taking her health seriously. Ryan noticed the changes Kasey was making and joined the cause.
They gave up going out to lunch and started walking more often around Contra Loma Regional Park. Walking turned into participating in 5Ks, which evolved into 10Ks, which led to triathlons.
After shedding 40 pounds, Ryan ditched the noisy, bulky sleep-apnea machine. Shortly after, he stopped taking medication for high blood pressure. Kasey and Ryan’s moods – and relationships with themselves and their children – soared.
“It just frees your life up,” Ryan said.
Ryan and Kasey are now hooked on the triathlon lifestyle and enjoying the company of the welcoming society of triathletes. They plan to participate in the Tri For Fun at Shadow Cliffs Regional Park in Pleasanton on July 16. Ryan’s next big goal is the October DiabloMan triathlon – going for a quarter mile in the pool, 10.95 miles on a bike and then 2.8 miles up Mt. Diablo.
“Having a goal of a number for weight loss wasn’t enough anymore,” Kasey said. “Instead of exercising, it’s exercising with a purpose. When weight loss stopped being the goal, fitness became the goal.”