Monday, March 7, 2011

29 things

Oh, the eve of my 30th birthday.
I think your 20's gives you a lot of leeway.  "Oh, they're only in their 20's".  As in, you really don't need a grip on the world until you're in your 30's.  Or maybe that's for your 40's.  Maybe there is the benefit that (hopefully) you've figured out what you want to do and you're doing it, and you no longer have to wrestle with that decision.  I can say I've accomplished that, although I have temporarily put it on hold and created a fantasy job - which really is a great way to celebrate my 30th birthday.  I am doing exactly what I want.
I'm a pretty lucky person and very fortunate to have great support all around me.

My life is fairly day to day - it works for me.  I have longer term projections of what I want, but I seem to operate best on a 'what do I have to do today' schedule right now.  I'm not a super simple person but I like to simply things.  That's how I get stuff done.  Every once in a while though, I've thought back on all the things I've done to get to this point - things you sort of forget and sweep into the back of your mind.  They've all helped me get to this point where I am now.  So, on this last day of my 20's (all those in your 30's and beyond are rolling your eyes, I know) I wanted to write a list - 29 things I am proud of doing or want to do and be proud of.  I don't think I can ever do this again because 29 things seem daunting and really, fairly egotistical, but I am going to give it a shot.

29 things:

1.  The first thing that comes to mind is agreeing to play on the grade 10 girls basketball team.  I am really no good at basketball, but I was fit and the coach just wanted me to run up and down the court.  This was hard for me b/c I was relatively good at most sports.  I did lay-ups so hard that the basketball would rocket back onto our side of the court.  But, I hung in there and ran back and got my own rebounds.  I think my Dad laughed (kindly) at me while other girls got mad when I got away with errors such as double dribbling, etc. I hung in there and I finished the season and never played again.

2.  Learn to swim.  I loved the water as a kid and was very proud of my ability to tolerate cold west coast ocean temps.  But I couldn't put my head in and swim a length to save my life.  So in 2009, when the weather was awful and I was sick of running in it, I went to the pool and started to teach myself to swim.  I remember the glorious day I could swim 200 continuous metres.  At the time I started swimming I had no goals of doing a triathlon whatsoever.  This skill would come in handy though, when I decided I wanted to.

3.  Do a triathlon.  This is something I never thought I could do. With many thanks to my friends and especially my friend Blair, we decided to do our first 1/2 Ironman together.  I had no plans on doing anything shorter than this as a first race because I knew my swim was so weak that any shorter race would really showcase my discrepancies.  Plus, I had done marathons and wasn't afraid of an endurance race.  While I had a panic attack in my first lap, then promptly swam WAY off course on my 2nd lap (when the kayaker asked me if I wanted to finish the race there was a moment of doubt...), I still slugged it out and came back and tore up the course to finish my first triathlon in under 6 hours.  I had never been so happy to get on a bike in my life.

4.  The first day I realized I had run a half marathon while training for a full marathon.  I know exactly where I turned around and thought to myself, "I just ran a half marathon".  My confidence level sky-rocketed.  I still have never had that proud of a training moment to this day.

5.  Ok, a break from sports.  I really am proud to be a physio.  While doing my first degree in university, I did think about physio (mostly b/c I was at the physio so much), but I never thought I would be smart enough to become one.

6.  Try out for the girls BC provincial soccer team in high school.  And not make it.  We played in snow and it was awful.  I tried my hardest every day.  As a defender, I generally ended up marking Christine Sinclair - tough gig.  But the point was I tried and never gave up.

7.  But I did make the women's varsity soccer team at Dalhousie and we won CIS gold.  Pretty awesome.  I never told anyone I was trying out because I didn't think I would make it.  I told my parents about 2-3 weeks after I made the team, just to be sure I was still actually on it.

8.  I moved across the country to go to school without a thought of insecurity whatsoever.  It just seemed like the right thing to do.  Now I realize not everyone does this.

9.  My first marathon.  The now defunct Country Roads Marathon in the Comox Valley.  I really don't think I had any idea what I was doing (run from the start line to the finish line was my plan).  I won my age group - there were 2 people in it.  Someone told me that was a Boston qualifier and I had no idea what they were talking about.

10.  The Boston Marathon.  Once I realized what it was, and to not take for granted that I had a qualifying time, I went.  I was very, very proud of myself running down the final stretch and that was the first time I had to hold back tears after crossing the finish line.

11.  Finishing 4th in a BC provincial beach volleyball tournament.  My partner and I were not nearly as skilled as the other players, but we were smarter and we were fitter.  And I do believe we had more fun.

12.  Putting a lot of my insecurities about myself to rest.  You're ugly, wear make up, you're fat, lose weight, you're not good enough, try harder.  These truly were horrible thoughts and I am so glad I've decided to stop thinking those things. (Now I have to convince myself things like, "you really should shower" or "maybe try not wearing sweatpants today"....I think these are healthier thoughts).  Being a teenager really did have it's horrible moments and no matter how many good things you have going for you, you can really lose sight of the important things.  It's such a waste of time, but it's so gripping when it's got you.  Even now when I'm at the pool drying my hair I watch women stare into the mirror and touch their face, look at their butt, change their hair.  They waste so much time looking at the mirror and come away looking no different.

13.  Taking a sabbatical for a year to train full time and see what potential I have as an athlete.  It really is a dream but a lot of things had to fall into place for this to be able to occur.  There is a lot of balancing and a lot of support I am truly grateful for.

14.  Completing an Ironman at Ironman Canada.  I had a great time (literally and figuratively).  I remember while I was running back along the lake, about 10 hours into the race, I thought to myself that I didn't want this to be over.  That's when I figured out maybe I was good at this.

15.  It was only recently that I realized I really liked writing.  I liked writing in elementary and high school but had seemed to forget about it.  Only through this blog did I start to remember that I really take pride in writing things I would want to read again, sometime down the road.  And if other people like it too, that's a bonus.

16.  Sticking to a core strengthening plan.  That has taken me YEARS to adhere to.  I loved running but did not love planks and push ups.  Now I finally do them regularly and it makes a world of difference to my strength and endurance as an athlete - my mood too, as an uninjured athlete is a much happier athlete to be around.

17.  Doing a 12 hour endurance race around Mt. Uniacke in Nova Scotia.  I suppose this was my first endurance race, and it was a tricky orienteering course, with run, bike and paddle sections. I did it with Marieke and Cori and some guy (usefully his name is forgotten because he got us lost on the trails, but was sure he was right and wouldn't trust girls - tool).  I initially had passed on the race after acquiring a whopping case of mono and having splenomegaly (love that word), but someone dropped out and I really wanted to do it.  Most memorable moments were when I decided to lead the group and jumped headlong into a bog, getting (I counted) over 100 mosqutio bites, being pulled in the canoe b/c Marieke and I were such weak paddlers, getting lost on our bikes (we were on track to win the race!), carrying them over a mountain, me crying because I was so exhausted, and having to radio for rescue b/c we were truly lost.  And it still didn't matter that we didn't win, it was great.

18.  Somehow I managed to get above the national average on my board exams for physiotherapy - I thought that was pretty cool.

19.  Snow to surf - I was so proud of our team for finishing (and winning our category!).  Every person on that team had a story to tell.  Poor Tim and his slashed up hands from ice, poor me for deciding to stupidly run 17km down Mt. Washington (NEVER again), Gord for tearing up the bike and then having to wait quite impatiently for us to get the kayak to him, Shawn for crashing some superstar girl biker, my Dad for running in a full mustang life jacket and holey soles to the canoe, and Linda for running past the bell at the finish line (in her defence, she said the last time she did the race the bell was further along the finish line).  We won chocolate and beer mugs.  Awesome.

20.  Being one tough soccer player.

Ok, I'm just feeling so much pride - time to switch to a few things I want to be proud of.

21.  I would like to run a sub 3 hr marathon.  I'm told I can do it.  If you had asked me 6 months ago, what would be the single greatest achievement I could dream of in running I would have said a sub 3 hr marathon.  As training goes along and you get faster, sometimes you lose sight of what you dreamed about before hand.  I will try not to forget this if I get past the finish line in less than 3 hrs.

22.  I would like to qualify for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii.  At some point.  And hopefully that point is this year.

23.  I would like to run the New York City Marathon, and run it well.  It looks so cool.

24.  Be on the cover of a Wheaties Box?  Haha, just kidding.

25.  Enter a bike race, and probably get schooled.  I don't mind.

26.  Enter a swim race, preferably open water, and definitely get schooled.  Fine with that.

27.  Read more books that don't have the title "It's not about the bike" or "Once a runner".

28.  Take more pictures when I'm training - I get to see this big beautiful world everyday and writing about it is great, but so are pictures to give it more depth.

29.  Confidence.  Have it.  Use it.  Fake it.  Be it.  Do it.  I think the rest will fall into place if this is paramount.

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