Leaving obstacles in the dust

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Shane Dunaway
  • 36th Wing Public Affairs
Editor's Note: This commentary is the second in a summer-long series highlighting the progress of Senior Airman Shane Dunaway in his quest to become Team Andersen's "Biggest Loser." To send words of encouragement or for information on his workout methods and diet, contact him via email at timothy.dunaway@andersen.af.mil.

When setting a goal, whether it's to lose weight, save money or anything in life you're dead-set on accomplishing, there's always going to be an obstacle, challenge or adversity to overcome. The obstacles I've faced so far in this Biggest Loser competition came in a set of three.

The first hurdle I had to jump over was making sure I didn't fall back too hard into old habits during the operational readiness inspection. With a change in my work hours and a body constantly craving caffeine throughout the night, it wasn't the easiest to overcome. I made some slips on my routine, but after a few strong workouts in the gym, I prevailed over the self-inflicted setback.

My second challenge was an actual challenge by namesake -- the first Biggest Loser Challenge of the competition. The challenge consisted of a walk, jog or run up Sander's Slope, an area on base many squadrons love to run and that many Airmen dread to do so. The event started at Bamboo Willie's and teams were met with health-related trivia at checkpoints along the slope.

The fitness center staff divided the participants into three groups of 10. I was very fortunate to land in a group that mostly stuck together and motivated each other to push themselves. This was also my first real test on my hip because I haven't attempted to jog or run since the wing run back in August 2009. Our team finished in second place and I pushed myself as hard as I could. I can tell the hip is improving every day.

I surged past my final obstacle Tuesday morning by facing my demon, the Air Force fitness test. Knowing the consequences a fourth failure would trigger, it was "Do or die" time. Once the test was over, I knew my effort and dedication to the cause had been rewarded. My score was 75.13, but to me, it didn't matter if I passed by .13 or 13 -- I finally removed the metaphorical "monkey from my back" and accomplished my short-term goal for the competition.

As I see more progress and I overcome more obstacles, more people seem to walk up to me on a daily basis and rave about the amount of weight I've lost. The encouraging words from them coupled with my own self-determination push me toward my long-term goal for this competition -- weighing in at the end of the competition at 172 pounds. I will make it there. It's only a matter of time.