February 04, 2023 4 min read 1 Comment
Luise Easton once weighed 256 pounds.
Then she found a remedy for a foot injury.
Will compete in 2 world triathlons in Spain in 2023.
By Ray Glier
Luise Easton has a picture in her wallet from three decades ago. It’s when she weighed 256 pounds.
“I was very unhappy,” Luise said.
By putting it in her wallet, she memorialized the picture as a reminder of what can happen when we become strangers to ourselves. Luise was a life-long swimmer and a physical education teacher. Then she retired and took up crafting. She sat a lot.
It didn't help that Luise had a bothersome lump on the bottom of her left foot, which required three unsuccessful surgeries. She started over-eating and rewired herself from active to less active. Weight gain followed.
Luise reconciled with Luise—and got her foot properly looked after—and there were no more compromises with her health. It took her about a year to trim down.
When she pulls the picture out of her wallet, it’s motivation to be sure. It is also proof of life after a serious health reckoning. People marvel over her fitness at 84 years old.
“When they don’t believe it when I tell them how heavy I was, I show them,” Easton says.
Now she weighs 138 pounds…
…and here is what's really hard to believe.
Luise, a former smoker, does triathlons.
That’s right, she puts together that cardio trifecta of open-water swimming, biking, and running, though the run is more of a walk these days.
“I've always been the kind of a person who hears about something and thinks that would be fun to do and I just go do it,” she said. "I heard about it and just did it and kept doing it."
In April, Luise will go to Irving, Texas and compete in five events in a sort of triathlon carnival. She stopped doing the Olympic-distance triathlons, but she will do the sprint distance triathlon of 0.25-mile swim, 12.4 miles cycling, and 3.1-mile run (5k) and then four other events.
Luise might have competition, she might not. She will be in the 85-year old age bracket so it’s tough to find someone hanging with her.
But we have said before at Geezer Jock, there is no competitor meaner, fiercer, and more difficult to put down than Father Time. We should amplify the people like Luise who keep the competition with Father Time from being too one-sided.
In May, she will go to world championships in Spain for the Aquathon, which is the swim/run. She will go back to Spain for a super sprint triathlon and the AquaBike in September.
Luise’s mother, Huldah, lived until she was 101. My guess is Luise might not have made it to 80 weighing 256 and smoking.
At least she had two things in her favor.
“I'm very fortunate I don't have any bad knees, or bad back, or bad shoulders,” Luise said. “I don't have any replacement parts. It doesn't look like my bones are going to need to be replaced. So I think that's pretty lucky that way.”
Her bones have to be an advantage she gained from that second thing in her favor, which was being a life-long swimmer. Luise swam as a kid in New Jersey and then in Fairfield, Conn., and later at Springfield College in Massachusetts. She was a synchronized swimmer.
Luise even swam at 256 pounds, she said.
There are plenty of cyclists and runners, but the piece they are missing for the triathlon is the swimming because it is harder to find a pool than run down the street.
Easton has done over 100 triathlons. After she got some of the weight off in her 50s, she did some triathlons until around 1989. The foot pain was too much and she took a 22-year break because she couldn’t do the running leg of the triathlon.
After three surgeries, a foot doctor made her an insert, and Luise returned to triathlons. She trained for the 2013 National Senior Games, which were near her home in the Cleveland area. She finished last.
Luise started to bear down in her self-guided way. She was a swimmer and could build leads in the open water, but it was the bike and run that put a drag on her performance. So she hired a strength training coach and started training harder on the bike.
In 2014, Easton finished fifth in her age group in a national triathlon in Chicago. She was 76.
In 2015, in Minneapolis at The National Senior Games, Luise won a gold medal at 77 years old against five other competitors.
We tend to listen to people who have experienced the setbacks we are going through. Luise has been through a few setbacks: the foot injury, her weight.
One thing is clear. Age is not a setback, not yet anyway, even at 84.
What’s uplifting to me is that Luise is working in long-term care homes bringing arts and crafts to older folks. That's right. She's crafting again, but this time she knows how to weave the gold of exercise back into her life.
Her crafting business borrows on the nickname she has carried around since she was a kid: Weezie. Her business is Weezie Does It.
If Weezie can do it—which is manage weight and get ourselves together physically—we can do it, too.
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February 05, 2023
Another great story… as usual! She looks way younger. Guess I need to add swimming and biking! 😀