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Fit Folks: Matt Wayne, 40

Staff Writer
Austin 360

I like the Chinese proverb that "every journey begins with a single step." It is such a powerful lesson about starting and keeping fit. People tell me that they are too old, or too busy or too "something" to ever get fit, let alone compete in a triathlon or marathon. I used to be that person. The truth, though, is that anyone at any time in their lives can get truly fit for the first time or again after a long break.

Growing up, I was active in all types of sports, but especially track and field. After many years on a corporate expense account, I had neglected my nutrition and fitness and gained weight. During the past five years, I have been on a mission to get fit and make up for my time away from sports by competing in endurance fitness activities. I have raced in triathlons and marathons all over the world, but I especially enjoy local races. Races serve as good motivation to keep you working out.

The most challenging and scenic race I have done so far is Escape from Alcatraz, in which I swam 1 1/2 miles in 55-degree (supposedly shark-infested) water in the San Francisco Bay, cycled 18 hilly miles, then ran 8 miles on trails through a tunnel, on a sandy beach and up a 400-step sand ladder.

Ultimately, an endurance sport like triathlon is not about winning as much as it is about winning the battle in your mind and doing your personal best each time you compete. The good news is that the side effect of taking the first step again for me was that I lost nearly 80 pounds and feel like I am 20 years old again. You can do anything if you take the first step toward fitness and Austin is one of the best places in the world to do it!

We're looking for Central Texans who keep fit with interesting activities. Tell us – in 100 words or fewer – about yours. If you have a photograph, include that as well. Send your name, age and contact information to Pam LeBlanc, Austin American-Statesman, 305 S. Congress Ave., Austin TX 78704 or email it to pleblanc@statesman.com.