Local woman goes from couch potato to Iron Woman

Cindy Humiston never imagined the changes in store for her and husband, Mike, until after he had triple bypass surgery in 2008 and they both began a regimen of healthy eating and regular exercise.

“I was known as a bookworm while growing up,” said Humiston.

Exercise and sports were not part of her lifestyle.

Her husband’s surgery was a wake-up call and the beginning of a journey into triathlon training for Humiston that began simply with walking regularly with her husband. As winter turned to spring that year, the couple began biking together and Humiston’s walking turned into running.

After a friend mentioned training for a marathon, Humiston, not interested in marathon training, started thinking about setting a goal for herself.

“I am kind of competitive and thought, ‘What could I do? I’m already biking and running, and I used to swim, so I looked up triathlon distances, went to the gym and tried them all and came home and died,’” she said.

“A few weeks later, I tried them outside and came home and died again but decided that would be my goal – to train and complete the Durango Triathlon.”

Focusing on the sprint distance satisfied her for a few years, but then she got hungry for the Olympic distance. She ramped up her training and was shocked when, after three months, she had gained 20 pounds.

“I couldn’t figure out what was going on, but I completed the event and continued training and competing, finishing 13 events in 2011,” she said.

In 2012, she set her sights on the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic. That same year, she had blood work done and discovered that her cholesterol was high and she was prediabetic. After the IHBC, she had her blood work run again, and it was even worse.

“I broke down in tears,” Humiston said. “I was just so desperate, I didn’t know what to do.”

Working with a nutritionist, trainer and naturopath to try to find a solution, Humiston began to see some results. The naturopath, in consultation with a doctor, diagnosed her with metabolic syndrome and prescribed a regimen of supplements to address the problem.

“I have a genetic mutation, hypercholesterolemia, where my body does not metabolize lipids,” she said. “They get pulled into my bloodstream at twice the normal rate and stay there twice as long.

“Endurance training is not recommended when you have this condition,” she said.

Not one to back down from a challenge, Humiston decided she wanted to train for a half Ironman.

“People ask, ‘Why do you want to do one?’ Because I have never ever been this fit and healthy, and I want to see what I can do with it,” she said. “I finally feel like I have the body I wanted to have when I started this process.”

The hard work is paying off. Humiston has lost more than 30 pounds and just completed the Iron Horse Triathlon, dropping time in all three events, and her most recent blood test came back within the normal range.

Humiston will cap 2013 with Ironman 70.3 in Boulder on Aug. 4.

“This year was focused training. Next year will be a year of fitness, travel and enjoying myself in an active lifestyle,” she said.

Reach Marjorie Brinton at runswim55@gmail.com.