Irene Knapp

In February of 2007, Irene Knapp decided something had to change. She had lost a very close friend and fell into a depression.  As many depressed people do, she turned to food for comfort and relief from the pain of depression. She was 400 pounds and everything hurt. You can imagine exercise is not an easy option in that circumstance. Irene got started with Pilates and the pool.  Both joint friendly options. As she gained strength and stamina, she worked on the elliptical and did personal training. A trainer suggested she might consider a triathlon training program that was going on here at McConnell at the time. Triathlon training would provide variety, set goals to work toward and build a support network of other like-minded people to exercise with. In June of 2010, she finished her first triathlon. 

While Irene was having success with her triathlons and ½ marathons, she wasn’t seeing the weight loss she wanted. After lots of fact gathering and deliberations, she decided to undergo gastric sleeve surgery in April of 2012. She has lost more than 100 pounds and keeps it off with her current lifestyle. Recently, Irene attempted a full IRONMAN in Chattanooga. While she was not able to complete that course in the allotted time, she plans to return in 2017 with a better plan and stronger legs for biking on those hills!

She says that while these events keep her motivated and on track, she sometimes has trouble after an event is over. During that down time, before training for the next event, she sometimes struggles with keeping up her workout regimen. She just tries to keep in mind what she tells her friends and family when they struggle…Start slow, but get moving. Feel good about the exercise you do and don’t expect perfection from yourself. It is not an all-or-none situation. Every step is one step closer to health and fitness.

Irene has found that if you surround yourself with people who are active and moving, then you will be active and moving, too.  So, she continues working with others to train for events. The next big one is when IRONMAN comes to central Ohio. She plans to complete the ½ IRONMAN in Delaware next July. Good luck Irene!!