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I’m 35 Today: 140.6 Lessons for the Next 5-Years

Posted Jan 29 2014 9:53pm

Today is my birthday. I’m 35-yrs old.  That means I’m officially in a new age bracket for any race that I enter…woo hoo!  Now don’t get me wrong, I know there are many, MANY fast women in this age group, but at the same time, it will be nice to see that I’m no longer competing against girls who just turned 30!

Turning 35 has gotten me to thinking in the weeks and months leading up to this day.  When I stop and look back to where I was physically when I turned 30 it’s safe to say I was a different person.  I didn’t exercise much other than an occasional run of no more than 3-miles at a time.   Heck, the idea of 5-miles was insanely daunting to me when I first hit the treadmill in the spring of 2010 to train for my first 1/2-marathon. I think it probably goes without saying that many of you know that I’m a goal oriented person and don’t often do well when I’m not on a training plan.  I thrive obsess on the numbers and spreadsheets I keep to log my training miles.  To say that a Boston Qualifying time was a true “goal” of mine when I started running wouldn’t be accurate, but to say a BQ was a dream of mine before I hit 35 probably is more or less truth.  However, like I’ve mentioned here a few times before, I rarely put down on paper what my goals are for fear of failure.  For better or worse (and many times worse for my health) I move through life and select goals with an all or nothing mentality.  If I cannot succeed in my first attempt I will either just choose to avoid whatever that challenge happened to be or, rather than admitting to myself that I’m unable to do something I push myself to the brink in order to save face and succeed.  But that mentality isn’t healthy for me physically or mentally—or for my kids for that matter.  I’m certainly not teaching them to stretch their preconceived limitations and attempt something out of their comfort zone even if it means it doesn’t come easy…or quickly by avoiding potential goals in life that at the moment seem out of reach.

One such goal that has been turning in my head for well over a year now has been triathlon.  For some reason there is an allure of the triathlon that has kind of been like a siren song…calling me…luring me towards its melodic, hypnotic tune.  Swim…bike…TRI!!  After having Mr. Man, I planned to race my first sprint triathlon…while training for back-to-back postpartum marathons.   Keep in mind I’m not a swimmer.  Also keep in mind I have not been on a bike in years, never mind at race speeds in packs of people (which I’ve NEVER done)!  Yet, there I was trying to take swim lessons at the YMCA at night after the kids were in bed.  I tried to keep up with my marathon training and learning to swim with more efficient strokes feeling like a fool.  I was uncomfortable in the pool because I was not a “swimmer”—I was a runner posing as a swimmer.  I felt like I was sticking out like a sore thumb.  When I added that fear to the stress of trying to train for a personal best in the marathon I realized I was in over my head (no pun intended) and I stopped swimming.  I was certainly in an uncomfortable place for me and I didn’t reach.  I chose to not continue learning.  It was that all or nothing mentality again.  I realized I wasn’t going to be a good swimmer—I had a fear of the open water.  Rather than just sticking with the swimming and getting better at it and just ditch the sprint-tri plan, I opted to stop swimming altogether.  I missed a great opportunity.  I don’t want to miss another opportunity to challenge myself—to better myself.

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So today I turn 35—what is my goal for the next 5-years?  I’ve discussed this with The Hubs a few times and I think know that he believes in me, he also likely thinks I’m 100% certifiable and is just smart enough to keep his mouth shut!  My goal is something that I think is actually realistic for a change.  It isn’t based off of an all or nothing mentality…it’s going to be something that I work on over the course of the next 5-years.  It will give me the time to learn, practice, and grow.  What am I leading up to?  I’m leading up to the magic numbers 140.6!  Yes—my goal in my 40th year, 5-years from now is to race an Ironman !  That siren song will not quiet in my head.  I want to hear the words announced over the loudspeaker—“Danielle Crane—YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”  The thought of it gives me goose bumps!

I’ve watched friends cross the finish line over the live feed—like my friend Kelly from high school.  I’ve watched mentors and role models cross the finish line—like Dimity McDowell from Another Mother Runner .  I’ve listened to blogging and Nuun Hydration Ragnar teammates like Leana and Tasha and my Team Tough Chik teammates talk about their experience in Ironman competitions and triathlons.  I hang on to their every word and every moment of the races that I see.  I understand, to some extent, that there is incredible dedication and commitment needed to train for one of these events.  Hours away from your family.  Sacrifices they make—not just you.  But that is also why I realize that right now with a 2 and 4 year old trying to go all-in isn’t possible.  I understand that a sprint-tri isn’t even on my horizon for this year.  But I have 5-years to get there.  5-years of swim lessons and group bikes.  5-years to race sprint, Olympic, and even 70.3 distances.

The Hallmark card my BFF sent me for my birthday

The Hallmark card my BFF sent me for my birthday

I opened a birthday card today from my best friend, Suzy—it said, “In a world of ordinary mortals you are a Wonder Woman.”  I’m planning on using that as my motto for the next 5-years.  Wonder Woman was not deterred from her goal—but she was also calculating and knew what battles to pick.  An Ironman goal isn’t all or nothing for me.  It’s going to be about my journey to get to the start (and finish) line.  It’s going to be a lesson in patience and humility for me.  And when I turn 40 in 5-years, I have no doubt that whether I’m able to hear The Voice tell me I’m an Ironman or not—I will have challenged myself to go outside the bounds of my comfort zone; my safe place.  My kids will be 7 and 9 years old—they will see the hard work I’ll put in.  They will see me cross the finish line and hear my name announced.  It will be a lesson for all of us—dream big, set lofty goals, but don’t be deterred when things don’t go as planned.  Sometimes it’s just the road you travel to reach your goal that is even more important the goal itself.

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