From overweight and unhealthy to Ironman. You can’t help but be impressed by this 53-year-old woman

Marcia and her husband Mike

Marcia and her husband Mike

When she turned 51 on October 21, 2013, Marcia Scott wrote herself a letter. In it, she reflected on the year that had passed. And how hard she had worked to improve her health.

She reminded herself how she’d always been a major goal setter, starting as a young girl when she vowed to sell the most Girl Scout cookies in her community. She did.

She was the first female news producer at her local NBC affiliate in her 20s. A top Mary Kay Cosmetics representative in her 30s (and still).

But some goals have given her a struggle. Important, potentially life-saving goals. By her mid-40s, she had high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

 “No matter how well I ate and how much I exercised,” she says, “I could not shake the extra weight and get control of my blood sugar levels. The mental turning point came for me when my brother died at 48 years old – never living a healthy life. It was time for me to set a goal and take action.”

First thing she did was fire her primary care doctor. “Who had me on too much medication and not getting results,” she says, “and who actually told me, ‘Maybe this is just how your body is meant to be.'”

She found another doctor who was willing to partner with her on her goals. By the time she hit 50, Marcia had lost 50 pounds — five months ahead of her target date. Her blood pressure and cholesterol are now under control, and so is her diabetes. “I’m currently taking 500 mg of metformin per day — I used to take 1500 plus one other prescription pill AND daily noninsulin shots.”

Marcia at Pumpkin Run

Great Pumpkin Run 10k /Camp Ellis, ME 10/15

She’d always been active, but she ramped things up even more.

  • Completed seven sprint triathlons
  • Completed countless short races and sporting events
  • Made incredible new friendships via a more active lifestyle.

Three years have passed since Marcia wrote her letter. Now she’s edging up on 54. While her health is under control, she says still struggles with her weight. “I keep going back up about 15 pounds, down 10, etc.,” she says. “The most I have been back up is 15. It is a constant battle.”

Marcia in the water

Cape Cod Bay 2014

But she isn’t letting that battle stand in the way of setting yet another goal. She’s going to do the 2016 IRONMAN Lake Placid on July 24. Getting to this point has been a process. “I started with the Sprint Triathlon in 2011 (1/3 mile swim/14 mile bike/3.1 mile run) and just loved the sport and the community of friends that came from it.”

After three years of sprints, she did some longer races. “I liked the challenge of longer distance training and the more mental challenge of racing the distance,” she says. “In 2015 I started training for a Half Ironman — and it was in the training process that I began to imagine I might do a full Ironman.

And what does the full Ironman entail?

  • A 2.4 mile swim
  • Followed by a 112-mile bike through the Adirondack Mountains of New York
  • Followed by a marathon

That’s 26.2 miles all in the same day!

Marcia running

Kennebunk 5k 2015

“I like the personal challenge,” she says. “It continues to improve my health. I went to Lake Placid to support my friend Mary last summer when she did it and discovered the Ironman Charity partner is raising money for cancer. That finalized my decision because I lost my brother to cancer in 2008 and my father has beaten stage 4 cancer.”

She has a ton of hard work to do between now and July 24. People are always asking her what she’s doing to train. She gave an answer in the blog she’s writing about her experience.

The toughest part for me in this off-season and living in Maine is I am not training outdoors the way I like to. Swimming is in the Pool. Biking is in the Speed Lab. And thanks to mild plantar fasciitis, running is limited to the treadmill (dreadmill).

So to answer the question, how much am I working out, here is what my plan looks like this week:

Marcia with bike

Kitt Peak, Arizona/Mexico Border 3/16

A week ago, Marcia was training in Tucson, Arizona with her coach Bob Turner and some fellow athletes. Their goal was to do some serious bike riding.

Phew! I am exhausted just thinking about all the work this woman is doing! I pat myself on the back if I manage to do 30 minutes on the treadmill twice a day. What do you think? Could you imagine doing an Ironman? How have you pushed yourself to be more physically active?

By the way, if you’d like to follow Marcia’s Journey, check out her blog Marcia’s Magic. She’s also trying to raise money for the Ironman Charity Partner, the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. There’s a link to the fundraising page on her blog or you can go straight to it here, if you’d like to help her reach that goal — she’s halfway there.

Diane Atwood

About Diane Atwood

For more than 20 years, Diane was the health reporter on WCSH 6. Before that, a radiation therapist at Maine Medical Center and after, Manager of Marketing/PR at Mercy Hospital. She now hosts and produces the Catching Health podcast and writes the award-winning blog Catching Health with Diane Atwood.