I thought to myself as I crunched up the mountain in my snowshoes this past weekend. Even when you’re up with a large group like the one called “Shoes and Brews,” there exists plenty of time for contemplation and self-assessment. The trees overshadowed us with limbs laden with iced snow. The sky looked dark, shrouded in clouds that had not yet made way for the full moon. Maci stood about 20 yards ahead of me, waiting for me to catch up before she zoomed off down the trail. Just off to the side, Bryan and Jayne’s dog, Otis, enjoyed some time in the snow, plowing through the trail, face down, rear up.
Earlier that day, I’d taken Maci on a run through the neighborhood. Raised a country dog, she didn’t quite understand the need for a leash when she prefers to run several strides ahead of me. While my knee pain has improved over the last month, it reminds me daily that it is far from healed. Knowing the Ironman is “all about the run,” I cannot ignore the twinges of anxiety that rattle me with every footfall. So I run shorter distances, slower paces, and adhere to my exercises to encourage healing…and promote confidence.
I’d also spent my longest time, to date, on the trainer that morning. While my strategy to break up an hour-and-a-half segment of steady effort worked well for my mind, my ass was not as impressed. When the trainer is concerned, bike shorts have nothing on two hours: two hours is two hours is two hours.
I felt incredibly blessed, then, to find myself later that evening with enough energy to drive up the mountain and hike over snow in temperatures that should have encouraged me to dive straight for my bed and seek extra hours of sleep. To think some people cannot even walk a block down the street due to respiratory issues or obesity. To think some people have no desire to care for the body they were given. To think some people have not explored any further than what their nearest shopping center has to offer. I am exceptionally blessed.
For the last month, my parents have entertained themselves after dinner by watching old family movies. I’ve seen these movies time and time again: Ian (my brother) trying to hit a baseball off a T-ball stand, failing miserably as he hits the stand with his bat as hard as he can to make the ball fly in some odd direction, finishing off his swing by spinning around several times before landing on his butt; Dad wearing wild shorts, playing a toy guitar with a green lily pad on his head (not sure whose idea that was), dancing with Ian and me to “Baby beluga;” and finally, setting out cookies and milk for Santa on Christmas Eve, Ian practically drooling over the cookies because he wants one so badly. The video cuts to Christmas morning with a tree surrounded by presents everywhere. This year—and about the last 5 Christmases leading up to this one—there were no presents under the tree.
As great as it would have been to find a new iPad, power meter, mountain bike, or down payment on a new home under that Christmas tree, I realized many of my gifts I’ve already received throughout the year: my parents, who provide for me far more than I can even begin to list here; a brother, who acts as my sounding board when I’m upset and laughs with me when I’m not; Maci, the greatest buddy I could have ever asked for; and friends (you know who you are), who have shown me the importance of relationships and graciously welcomed me into their lives.
Finally, I am most thankful for the goals and dreams I have established. To have the potential to do something, to be something…that is what I look forward to most in 2013.
Many of those goals revolve around my training and racing, and I would feel remiss if I did not admit to that. I feel fortunate to have such a healthy
interest in triathlon and all the benefits it has and continues to bestow upon me. I continue to meet friendly people everyday, and I continue to enjoy the company of people I have met through my training and racing.
To know people support me and what I hope to accomplish means a lot as well. I have some great friends, and I also look forward to working with my sponsors who see potential in me that I’m not sure I’ve completely discovered myself. I must first thank GU Energy Labs, Elements Therapeutic Massage, and Moulton Law Offices for keeping me fueled, healthy, and active this past year. I look forward to working with them in the upcoming year. I also thank Therapeutic Associates Physical Therapy for including me on their 2013 team, as well as Johnson Orthodontics for their support as well.
I think to myself about all I there is to accomplish this next year. It seems daunting and slightly unrealistic: internships, training / racing, Ironman, graduation, leadership commitments, finding a job, a house… Yet I looked down at my snowshoes, realizing that just like they serve to make walking on rough snow a little safer—a little easier—so do the people I’m surrounded by and the activities in which I participate make each day what it truly is: a blessing.
To all my friends and family: Thank you. May 2013 be all that you want it to be. I look forward to spending it with you all!