Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Personal Accomplishments

As I had mentioned earlier in the week, Thursday is my last day of work outside the home. While I was going through documents on my work computer, I came across this personal profile I had submitted to our Healthy Lifestyles Committee which posts profiles of employees from around the globe. As you will notice, it was written towards the end of 2010. While I seem to have lost my running mojo, my philosophies have remained the same and I have taken on new interests such as Zumba and meditation. I think that I should read my profile weekly, if not daily as a reminder of my spirit and accomplishments. This was really the perfect time to read it and remind myself that stepping outside of your comfort zone is a truly important step in your life as is following your heart. As I move onto the next chapter of my life and begin the homeschooling journey with our girls I look forward to the personal accomplishments that life brings us.

My profile from 2010:

I have never felt like much of an athlete so it seems strange to me, as we near the end of 2010, to have had people refer to me as a runner or an athlete or as their motivation.

Sports have never come easily to me. While I participated in swimming, skating, softball and karate as a child, I was far too self-conscious to participate in athletics during my teenage years. I remember the dread of track and field, gymnastics and field hockey. Even with much encouragement from my parents, I never felt as though I were good enough or improving even though I was trying my hardest.

It took until 2001 when I moved back to Manitoba from B.C. to realize that it is important (and somewhat necessary) to step outside your comfort zone and not let fear stop you from trying new things. I also decided that while I may not set any records in athletics, I can participate in sports and enjoy their rewards - physically, mentally and socially.

I had only stepped onto the curling ice once before the winter of 2001. I was encouraged to join our local ladies’ league with three new friends who were also relatively new to the sport. Although I felt some frustration with my lack of progress over the next four years of curling, I had found a place within the community and developed many wonderful friendships while at the rink.

After moving, I finally had the chance to spend time on the golf course and along with hitting the links with my husband, also joined the ladies’ club for  few years until my youngest daughter was born.

In 2006, while 3 months pregnant with my youngest, I had the misfortune of breaking my ankle. At home with my 2-year-old daughter, pregnant and on crutches I promised myself that I would never take my mobility for granted. With determination, I worked hard to gain strength and flexibility in my ankle.

Less than a year after my youngest daughter’s birth and just over a year after my ankle injury, I decided to try my hand at yoga. I had planned on joining a class while pregnant, but anyone who has done yoga knows that it would be most difficult with the use of only one leg! What I found with yoga was a new sense of myself - confidence in my body, breath and mind. I absolutely love what yoga brings me and look forward to each class. I find the strengthening aspects, meditation and focus on myself and the present to be inspirational and refreshing.

At the opposite end of the yoga spectrum - a girlfriend and myself started talking in the fall of 2007 about starting a ladies hockey team in our town of approximately 400 people. Although I had taken skating lessons as a child, I had only been on the ice a handful of times as an adult. My husband, who has been skating since he was 2 years old, was more than encouraging. The first time we went skating I either held onto him or the boards, but he reminded me that I was just starting and would improve with time and practice. I remember wondering what I had gotten myself into with starting hockey, but listened to his words of advice. The first year we had approximately 20 women come out to play. In the years since we have grown to a team of 30. How wonderful to know that so many other women had the courage to try something new as well. I have taken on the position of goalie and love every minute I am on the ice.

In 2009 while enjoying some post-hockey camaraderie, a few friends suggested that I run in the Manitoba Marathon relay with them. I had never enjoyed running. In fact, it’s safe to say that I had convinced myself that I despised it and told them so. After much thought (and succumbing to peer pressure) I agreed to join. My husband had decided to run his first half-marathon at the Manitoba Marathon and so I found motivation in his determination and also did not want to let down my team mates. I can still recall the first time I ran only 30 seconds during my run/walk training and thinking there was no way I would ever be a runner and would likely have to walk most of my relay leg. I was determined after that moment that I would stick with my training and do my best. The further into my training, the more I came to enjoy running and how I felt afterwards. The Manitoba Marathon was a great experience and opened up what became somewhat of an obsession/addiction to do more running and try longer distances. That September I ran a 10km. I felt such pride in the fact that I ran the entire way without walking. How far I had come in just six short months! My husband and I headed to Phoenix in January 2010 to run in the Rock & Roll Half-Marathon. While I didn’t finish in the time I had hoped, the feeling of elation / accomplishment after crossing the finish line and participating in this event with my best friend was overwhelming.

Since January 2010, I have completed another half-marathon, a try-a-tri (condensed triathlon) and cycled 80 kms in the Rona MS Bikathon - Ride to the Viking. All of these athletic triumphs in my life have occurred because I was brave enough to step out of my comfort zone. I am also extremely fortunate to have great support from my family and friends.

Most importantly, even more so to me than the health benefits, is the fact that I want to be a good role model to my two daughters. I want them to lead and enjoy healthy and active lifestyles throughout their entire lives. I also want them to remember that you are never too old to try something new, that sometimes you have to step outside your comfort zone and that while you may not be the best at something, as long as you are trying your hardest and enjoying yourself that is all that matters.

“The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”

                    - John “The Penguin” Bingham

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