18 things I’ve learned in 2018
Do things you are afraid of.
I was recently listening to the Trainer Road podcast where they were ranking the list of races that a beginner to the sport should do, beginning at a gravel race and building to a crit race, which was laughable to them. Well friends, that was my starter and I have never been more afraid before a race in my life.
My grandfather had just passed away and I was a bit numb as I rolled up to the start line alongside the top female riders and my number pinned incorrectly.
The gun went off and I just focused on not crashing. I was inefficient and worked much harder than I should have but I took second in my category and worked with a relentless grit that ended with complete and utter joy when I crossed the finish line, conquering one of my biggest fears.
I then proceeded to do it two more times until I won, each time chocking on fear. The risk is always worth the reward.
2. No matter where you go, there are good people.
This year, I jumped into many new communities. I began a leadership program. I joined a competitive cycling team. I started lifting heavy weights with Limitless Performance. There are incredible, kind, smart and talented people everywhere, despite any cliches or preconceived notions that surround them.
3. Travel more.
I am really fortunate. I set some goals at the beginning of the year and my birthday is on May 31 which is the perfect halfway point to reflect and do a check in on how I am doing. This birthday, I discovered with complete clarity that I need to carve out more time to explore, travel and learn. I spent the latter half of the year going to New York City, Gaspisie and the USA West Coast. Next year, I am going to southern states, south of France and Italy.
4. Learn always.
I started a program with the University of Toronto in 2017, thinking I would get certified and be done with it. But then I signed up for another program and then I have my sights set on a bigger program after that. It is a time commitment. A financial commitment. An intellectual commitment. But it is something that I want to make automatic and constant because the more I learn the more I realise I have so much more to know.
5. Read more.
I took down my TV this year for servicing and have not put it back up and instead, have read every night before bed. Sometimes it’s fiction, sometimes it’s self help, sometimes it’s autobiographies, but it has really re-energised me.
6. Littles are magic.
There are few people that I will drop everything for, scoop into my arms and kiss fully and bestow with endless gifts like I do my nephew. It has really baffled me how much I can love someone who only so recently joined my family. I have almost zero maternal instinct and NO MOM, THIS DOES NOT MEAN I AM HAVING A CHILD SOON. It has just been a beautiful discovery that I can indeed love children, even if it means also loving giving them back when they are in tears.
7. Turning food up higher on the stove doesn’t cook it faster, it just burns it.
I am pretty crap at cooking. It not due to a lack of love for the activity. I actually may be the only person on the planet who loves cooking but is terrible at it. I have realised it is because I try and cook quickly while doing 10 other things. I will improve, if nothing else, just to prove my naysayers wrong.
8. I can run over 100 KM a week and the world won’t end.
I’ve been terrified since my double stress fractures in 2014 that running high mileage will make me get hurt. Turns out, it is ramping things up too quickly. Running a reasonable amount and incrementally building it allows me to easily get to mileages I never knew I could and that feels GOOD.
9. I can paddle almost 100 KM in a weekend and the world won’t end.
My adventure racing team mate and I took off to the north for a paddling adventure and over the course of two days, I paddled so much, I broke the paddle. It didn’t break me, however, and I was proud to feel strong and ready for my four day adventure racing stage race in September. One step closer to being a paddler!
10. Saying goodbye is hard.
My grandpa died this year. For some reason, it made losing my grandma the year before that feel even harder. I miss them a lot and I often think about what a pleasure it was to have them in my lives.
11. Nothing makes my heart burst like seeing my friends find happiness.
I watched one of my very best friends get married this year and I wasn’t prepared for how absolutely overwhelmed with happiness I was.
12. Winning a marathon feels damn good.
It was my first time officially breaking the tape in a marathon this year and it was fun to race with strategy and win some money for crossing a finish line first!
13. Giving back feels good.
One of my focuses for the year was to be involved in things that were outside of myself. I coached cross country running for a local college. I worked with Fast and Female to bring events to my local Waterloo Region. And it feels amazing to feel like I am making a different in people’s lives.
14. I can be a cyclist.
For so many years, I have operated by thinking of myself as a runner who does a few other sports. This year, I was determined to view myself as a cyclist and put in a lot of hours. I am excited and proud to feel as much as a cyclist as a runner as the year comes to a close.
15. It’s important to live life at more than one speed.
I was typing this out and Mark looked over and said “It’s important. But you just operate at 110 or completely passed out.” For me, this is at least a start. I have started meditating and coming around to the idea that rest is just as important as pushing my limits. It could be old age or maturity, or perhaps a bit of both.
16. I still can’t keep plants alive.
It’s not for lack of love or passion. My apartment is just a hospice where beautiful plants come to spend their last days.
17. You can love getting your hair and nails done and also love running through the muddy wilderness for 4 days and chase adrenaline sports.
I started getting my hair coloured again this year for the first time in a long time and I get my nails done regularly. I also will return from a mountain bike ride covered head to toe in mud and I can squat more than I weigh. Because balance.
18. The people in my life are everything.
Life is nothing if you don’t have people to share it with and I am beyond blessed to have some incredible people I get to call my loved ones. 2019 is going to be a great year.