Note from 2020: This post got shuffled to present day during my cleanup of this blog and so I’ve dated it based on the times of my trip to Colorado referenced in this post.
I left our rental house at the base of Peak 8 in Breckenridge on Friday morning for a run. It was 1.4 miles down to the greenway that runs along Blue River so I thought that would be a good way to ease myself into the altitude, with a downhill run. The plan was to have my brother pick me up on Main Street so I wouldn’t have to run back up the hill to our house.
As I started running along the Blue River Bike Path (Greenway) I found and actual dirt trail to follow along the river. I started to feel this overwhelming since of awe of the mountains around me and pride in myself. There I was, on the cusp of turning 40, running on my own in the early hours of a vacation day in the Rocky Mountains. If you had pulled me aside 10 years ago, as I was on the cusp of 30, and said, Hey…FYI…in 10 years you’ll be celebrating your upcoming 40th in Breckenridge on a solo trip with your brother and his family. You’ll be signed up for a 10K on trails, but on the other days you’ll be voluntarily running around the area on your own. Some of this is simply for fun, but some of it will be as part of the training for your first Olympic Distance triathlon which you’ll be doing 2 days before your birthday. You are pretty badass. – I would NOT have believed you.
At 30 I had never run a race before other than my feeble attempts to be part of our very small and undertrained track team in my very small high school. At 30 I still couldn’t successfully ride a bike with gears. At 30 I could only play in pools and only where I could touch. At 30 I had never done a burpee or run on trails or had even heard of such things. At 30 I was very much a homebody and had more gifts for my upcoming child (I was pregnant with Nikki at 30) from my online friends than from anyone I knew in the real world.
And there I was, cruising (at a snail’s pace, even with adequate oxygen I’m no speed demon) around the river on the trails and thinking about how much more fit and more healthy and more active and social I was going to be in my 40s than I was in my 30s. I was 31’ish when I attempted to become a runner but failed at doing it on my own. I was 35’ish when I joined a Boot Camp and finally started getting some confidence and tried running again. I’ve been fit ever since.
10 years seems like such a long time if you’re still 30-year old Kim. It’s hard to really get excited about who you could be in 10 years. But, man. I have friends who are 70 and still at this stuff so that gives me 30 more years of this lifestyle ahead of me and that is a VERY LONG TIME. If I could make it to 70 and still be toeing the start line of the periodic race, I’ll have been this person longer than I haven’t been – and that feels damn good.
I haven’t been very proud of myself lately. I’ve had some very bad days being very unimpressive versions of myself. I am not known to handle stress well anyway, and I’m under way more of it than usual. Because our life got so crazy AFTER I signed up for this race coming up on Saturday (new job, house still on the market, etc) my training has not been as consistent as I had intended when I first set forth this goal. All of this means I take it out on the people who deserve it the least, my family, which makes me feel even crappier as a human being.
But there I was, running along the blue river, weaving in and out of the low ground cover and listen to the water rush by me and I thought, Damn, Kim…you are pretty badass.
I need to not lose site of who I’ve become as compared to who I was. None of us can be perfect all of the time. Hell, most of us can’t even be okay all of the time. I give the people around me much more buffer from awesome than I give myself. I’m about to turn 40 and I’m doing pretty great. I need to wipe off the residue of funk this anxiety has deposited back on me since I returned 2 days ago and remember the freedom I felt and the pride in self that engulfed me while I ran down the mountain during the Independence Day 10K. It was a fantastic 3 miles of insane downhill that I had earned after making it the 3 miles uphill and I was flying around people scared to run down the slope. I finally made it to the hard-earned downhill and I broke out my trail legs that I’ve been developing for 4 years now and just let myself fly down the mountain and my heart was flying around me.
I need to remember that feeling and hold on to it when I wake up like I did today, feeling overwhelmed and anxious and disappointed in myself.
I’m probably going to come in close to last on Saturday (my bike times and swim times are slowest comparing to last year’s results, the only thing that will save me is the run) especially since I’m starting to think I’ll be the only one there not using aero bars or clipped-in shoes. I’ve had to do most of my training in a pool and on the trainer and the last two weeks it’s been mostly running thanks to my vacation. My right elbow is wonky because I was locking my arms on the bike and didn’t know that was a “No No” until a week ago.
But I’ll show up, and I’ll harness as much of the awesomeness from that trail run as I can to get me through. It may not be pretty, but I’ll do it and I’ll turn 40 having achieved a goal I never thought possible at 30.