Tuesday, July 27, 2010

24 for 24

With my 24th birthday quickly approaching in a couple of days, I decided to make a list of things I'd like to accomplish in the next 24 years... I am open to suggestions too :)

1) Ride a cruiser bike with a bell and basket across the country, stopping at all the touristy locations
2) Teach English in another country
3) Run with the bulls in Pamplona
4) Bike the Tour de France route (taking my time to stop and smell the flowers of course!)
5) Compete in the Olympics
6) Complete an ultra-marathon
7) Learn how to ski and snowboard (I do live in Colorado after all!)
8) Save up enough money so I can buy bikes for kids who live in poverty and can't afford one... socioeconomic status shouldn't determine whether or not you can participate in any given sport, more specifically triathlon and cycling.
9) Become a piano teacher
10) Get one of my stories published
11) If #10 works out, become a full-time writer
12) Achieve something that my under 24 self thought was impossible
13) Become a certified yoga instructor
14) Be a mentor
15) Compete in a triathlon on every continent (Antarctica included!)
16) Learn how to say "hello" and "thank you" in each of the major languages of the world
17) Learn how to ballroom dance
18) Visit the 7 Wonders of the World
19) Swim in the largest swimming pool in the world (off the coast of Chile)
20) Learn how to cook something besides pasta
21) Read every novel that has won a Pulitzer Prize in the fiction category
22) Become a morning person (that is, be able to wake up before 8am and be happy about it)
23) Maintain my blog and have at least one person who cares to read it :)
24) Live my life to the fullest and continue to be thankful for all the wonderful people God has put in it..

This is my road to 2034 and it starts...now!

Monday, July 5, 2010

What I Know For Sure...Now

It’s not about the cards that you’re dealt, but how you play the hand – This saying from Randy Pausch’s book The Last Lecture obviously applies to many life situations, but for now I’m going to focus solely on how it relates to my life. When you’re dealing with pain, you’d think that your initial response would be to respond to the little red flag with rest and rehab. Unfortunately, the little voice inside of most athlete’s heads is a stubborn one – one that whispers thoughts of super human capabilities and says that to rest/pull out of a race is weakness, especially after traveling all the way to the race site.

When I was having trouble running the day before my past race in Iowa, I should have listened to my body and pulled the plug on racing the following day, knowing I wouldn’t be able to give my usual 110% effort. This thought never crossed my mind. Instead, I spent the rest of the day plotting how I would get through the race and thought “I’m as fit as I’ve ever been, I can push myself through the pain.” This is the typical athlete ego. In addition, I thought about past races/training sessions where I’d pushed through the pain, found that “extra gear” and achieved amazing things (running with a broken toe, finishing a tri after a concussion, blablabla…) My mind was focused and ready to go for race day, now I just needed my body to cooperate for a couple of hours.

I learned pretty early into the race that mind over matter doesn’t always work. After a decent swim, my foot started throbbing as I ran (read jogged) out of the water and up towards the transition area. At this point when I was experiencing excruciating pain, I should’ve stopped. But, once again, the inner voice told me that maybe the pain would subside once I was on my bike and that I should continue on. I hate DNFs more than anything, so I hopped on my bike and off I went. What ensued after that can only be described as pure torture and the longest 10k run of my life. I finished the race but something was obviously off with my foot and I now know that there are only certain types of pain you can push through.

It would be very easy for me to feel sorry for myself right now as I do all my running in a 10yd stretch of a pool’s deep end instead of the gorgeous trails of Colorado this summer but that’s not what I plan to do. I’ll take the forced down time and come out of this stronger and smarter than before. If you are an athlete reading this, I urge you to learn from my mistake and always listen to your body. Besides, making the decision to look after yourself is the best healthcare you can have. That, and playing your cards wisely...

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy summer!