So that's kind of what makes tomorrow so cool.
At 24, I had just moved back up to the NEO. I had decided that law school would not be for me, and that despite the beatings that teaching tends to give you (especially as a young female teacher in a high school setting), I was in it for the long haul.
A nice little Saturday at 24 included happy hour, lots of pizza, dollar drafts, and staying out with my friends having a wild rumpus until approximately 2:00am, chasing the evening with bagel bites.
(Needless to say, I had some junk in my trunk.)
That summer, my girl TriShannon and I decided we were going to make some changes. She was going to leave a job that was secure but not fulfilling, and I was going to do a few daring things myself. We both signed up for our first sprint triathlon and trained diligently on a plan we found on Beginnertriathlete.com. And by diligently, I mean we rode mountain bikes. And sometimes had DQ Blizzards after our "grueling" 15-20 mile rides.
What became a lofty goal quickly changed into a lifestyle. We finished the race that day, despite the rain. Despite running into a buoy with my head and almost losing my goggles. Despite the doubts and fears.
I felt like I could do anything after that.
So I did.
Two weeks later, I took what I now refer to as The Most Important Road Trip of My Life--something I had been meaning to do for years. I finally let go. I signed up for Weight Watchers, cleaned up my act, and lost 35 pounds. And 6 weeks after my first triathlon I got up the courage to tell Matt how I really felt.
(Okay, so that one did require a little liquid courage. But the end justified the means, people)
Then came a marathon. And Pedal to the Point. And my wedding. And then all doubt was shot since I knew the answer to, "Can I do an Ironman?" after I did those things. I had the base, I had the desire, and I had the support, which is all you really need. So then came my Wisconsin Year.
A few more blinks later came my little Bug, and finally my little Bean. And here we all are, 10 years later, I-don't-know-how-many-races-later, and still a few DQ Blizzards later.
So tomorrow's race will most likely be in a choppy lake, as we've had some big time storms roll through. It will be hot, it will be humid. If I do it well, it will be a suffer fest where I end gasping for air and doubled-over, since that's the best way to do a sprint, right? I never do these sprints, so this should be interesting. But for me, I'm thinking it will be more like a celebration of the past 10 years and what that simple little local triathlon race did for me.
It brought me courage. Friendship. Health. The ability to really, finally, believe in myself.
And I kind of wish I could go back 10 summers and see that 24 year old girl and tell her, yes, you can do this. You can do everything you want to do. Sometimes it will be hard and you'll fall flat on your face and have a choppy lake and humidity that will suck and headwinds both ways. But that life you always wanted to have? The happiness, the health, the two children? It's even better than you can imagine.
And it's just down that road. So put your goggles on and rack that borrowed bike.
It's time to go.