Impossible?

Categories: me, race, training, tri
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Published on: October 7, 2010

In the midst of my internet meanderings, I came across a daily motivational quote on potential, and in the middle of it were these two sentences:

“Think of all the things, once considered to be impossible, that are now commonplace.  Always remember that when there is a good enough reason, there is a way.”

And that got me to thinkin’ a bit … I mean, really – how many things have I now done that I was TERRIFIED of doing at one point or things that I would never have thought even be possible? And, as you can imagine, I managed to scrape up a few examples…

(drumroll, please)

5 Seemingly Impossible Things

  1. Running a 5k … I remember being at the Brookfield Zoo Run Run 5k/1 mile walk.  Some college friends and I were there for the Zoo Walk Walk (as we liked to call it), thinking it’d be a fun way to pass a weekend morning.  As I looked on at the people lined up for the 5k, I was probably 40 pounds overweight but still a weekend athlete, and inexplicably I thought to myself, “I could totally do that.  It’s only a couple of miles” (note that I didn’t actually know how many miles were in a 5k yet).  And then, even more inexplicably:  “Next year I’ll do it.  Next year.”  And next year?  I toed the starting line of the 5k.  I remember being so nervous, so scared I wouldn’t make it to the finish line.  I had trained, sure, but this was different:  for the first time in years, I was doing something competitive that was just me pushing myself as hard as possible.  I finished that first 5k in 29:36.  I was ecstatic. And mostly dead. Which was good, because if I had more energy, I would have puked.
  2. Running a half marathon … this has turned into one of “my stories”.  You know – everyone has them – the stories that you trot out for people that don’t know you too well, the stories that are fun, entertaining and are guaranteed a laugh or two.  Very long story short:  I broke my arm.  Badly.  I was in rehab for a very, very long time.  Long enough to become friends with some of the folks there.  One of the OT’s?  She dragged me, kicking and screaming into joining with Team In Training to run the Country Music Half Marathon in Nashville.  I thought she was crazy.  I thought *I* was crazy for allowing myself to be peer pressured into it.  Funny how the thing I so didn’t want to do, the thing that seemed like the longest, hardest thing I’d ever done turned into one of the best things I ever did for myself.  Or, rather, was forced to do for myself.  :)
  3. Getting up at 4am every day … a non-sports/non-tri-related impossible thing.  When I was in college, the 8am class was my nemesis.  Unless I absolutely had to, I wouldn’t schedule one because I KNEW I wouldn’t be able to get up for it.  One semester I ended up in a 5-day/week, 8am Advanced Calculus that just about killed me.  I skipped at least once a week — even though I could nap for 1.5 hours in between that and my next class.  If you would have told me then that I’d be STARTING work at 6am?  I would have laughed at you. No – I would have had milk (or Coke Classic, as my drink of choice back then) coming out of my nose, rolling on the floor, unable to stop the tears, laughed at you.  And now?  My alarm clock starts ringing at around 3:40am.  Every work day.  And – like the responsible adult I am – I get up and get going.  I honestly never would have thought it possible.
  4. Surviving a triathlon swim leg … when I decided to dip my toes into the triathlon waters, I knew that swimming would be my Achilles heel.  Even as a kid, going swimming wasn’t ever high on my list of things to do.  Oh sure, I was forced to go to swim lessons by my well-meaning parents, but I never enjoyed it.  In fact, the mandatory swim class in high school?  Yea, I managed to finagle my way out of it.  Wasn’t pretty, and the teacher (who – of course – was also the swim coach) openly derided me in front of the class, but hey – I didn’t have to swim.  Who’s laughing now, buddy? (at least that was my thought as I strode triumphantly out of the pool area and headed to study hall).  So, fast forward to summer, 2004:  my first triathlon.  Um, yea.  Perhaps, I *should* have taken swim class in high school.  It wasn’t pretty.  Lifeguard assistance was necessary (hyperventilation + swimming = notsomuchfun) and I ended up doggy-paddling to the other side of the lake.  I made it, but had decided then and there that this was the end of my triathlon career.  One and done!  Apparently, I’m a glutton for punishment, though…
  5. Completing a Half Ironman … I remember the debate, the back and forth about whether I could even dare to do such a thing.  The adrenalin rush when I went through the online sign-up.  The immediate panic about 3 seconds after the adrenalin rush.  And the low-level panic that stalked me throughout the 20-week training program.  I was nervous about it all, but mostly the thought of 1.2 miles in Lake Michigan made me so crazy it almost gave me hives.  And then – the day arrived.  To my amazement, Lake Michigan – for the first time ever, it seemed – was calm.  As I stood on the beach, awaiting my wave start, a calm took over:  I knew I’d be okay.  That somehow I’d make it.  That even if I had to bob from start to finish in my wetsuit, I could do that.  And you know what?  I did.  As it turned out, the swim was the best part of my day.  The bike?  Who knew that 56 miles could be so HARD?  And the run??  Let’s not even go there.  I started the run thinking, “I’m FINALLY at the part that I like the best!” but switched quickly to thinking, “OMG THIS HURTS… is it done yet? I’m never gonna make it!”  But – 6+ hours later, I crossed the finish line, never in my life so proud of what I had accomplished.  Style, panache and all semblance of sanity may have deserted me over the course of 70.3 miles, but I did it.

And what are some of your Seemingly Impossible Things?

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