Tag Archives: swimming

Big Goals

This past week, I went to hear Matt Frazier of No Meat Athlete speak about his brand new book of the same name. I had already pre-ordered his book through Amazon and wasn’t sure if I’d attend the signing but on the day of, I signed up for the waitlist. I figured if I got a ticket, great. If I didn’t – I was still getting a signed bookplate thanks to pre-ordering! Well I did get an invitation to go and while I was all fluttery about it I am SO GLAD that I went.

Matt spoke about setting BIG goals. This was in reference to running and sports, but as he was talking, I was thinking.  What was it that I really wanted to do with myself? Was there something athletically I wanted? What about the rest of life? He suggested that we probably already knew what this goal was and that it most likely felt or seemed impossible. He gave a few examples and spoke about creating goals that may seem impossible now but that are EXCITING to you or you won’t stay on track. He also suggested that you tell everyone you know. That blogging, calling it out on Facebook, telling family and friends, tweeting about it – are all ways to help you stay accountable. To help push you toward that exciting goal.

I’ve been tossing around a few ‘goals’ here and there lately. I’ve been meaning to really focus myself, nail some things down. I even got a new notebook and pen to write about my goals! To put them out there and think about them. Manifest your destiny, Sarah! I haven’t exactly done it yet. Womp, womp.

As Matt went on, I couldn’t help be inspired by his story. A normal, average, everyday guy that decided to run a marathon. After years of struggle (and many marathons later), he finally qualified for the Boston Marathon and now he has completed his first 100 Mile Ultramarathon. You heard that correctly. ONE HUNDRED MILES people! I can only imagine how impossible that must have seemed way back when, but now? It’s a reality of his.

Two things came out of this talk for me. Two goals. Two seemingly BIG goals to me. One I’ve tossed about on here, on twitter and with family friends but have yet to solidly commit to it. The other, I’ve spoken to absolutely NO ONE about. Hell, I’m still even hesitant to admit to myself that I want this. I also thought about you guys here, how supportive you all are and how maybe, you would be a motivation for me to keep on track.

Are you ready?

1. I want to be a midwife. 
2. I want to complete a triathlon.  

Sure the first seems so simple. Like of course Sarah – go do it. The fact is, it hasn’t been that easy for me. Back in July, I loosely made a plan in my head of how I would become a midwife.  I would use my time in New York constructively. I would become a Doula while here, using the vast resources of such a big city to help me gain experience and certification, making me a desirable candidate for UBC Midwifery School when we returned to Vancouver. I even downloaded several books from the Dona International certification reading list to my brand new kindle. Seems easy right? Well – since then I’ve had the dates of the course I wanted to take in my head. November 9th, 10th & 11th. Over and over, the dates rumbled in my head. I figured, if we had a little left over from our move and could spare it, maybe I’d take the course and get started. Then, some family gave me money to help us get settled here in NYC and I quietly earmarked it for this course. If I signed up before October 9th, I’d even get a discount.

Well, it’s October 5th. After hemming and hawing. After being scared and thinking of all the failures I could. After worrying about our financial state and my lack of employment. I took the leap. I registered.  I am registered for a Birth Doula Workshop in early November that counts as 2 out of 3 course requirements for certification as a Birth Doula.  I did it.

Goal #1 – started.

As far as Goal #2, it’s a bit more complicated. The day after Matt’s talk, I was reading Caitlin’s post about her triathlon. I read through the links she provided on training, what, where, how etc. I thought about it quietly to myself before even admitting it to Andrew. Then? I went to TriFind.com and started a search. Just a hypothetical ‘what if’ kind of search, I told myself.

I mean, I’m struggling to get back into fitness as it is, how could I do this? I don’t even LOVE running. Sure, I used to be a competitive swimmer, but I haven’t in YEARS. I don’t even have a bike!

All sorts of things ran through my head as to why I couldn’t possibly do it but as a sprint triathlon showed up in my search, for June 15th, the one thought that kept ringing true was – I really want to do this. So while I haven’t registered for this one yet, I’m going to work on it. It’s far enough in the future that I can prepare myself. This fall and winter, I’m going to work on my running. I’m going to talk to my Stepdad who is a cyclist and see if he can help me with that part. I’m going to find a pool and squeeze into my racing suit again. I’m going to spend the winter working on things and see where I’m at. I’ll be sure to tell you guys when I make this one a reality. I can do this, I know I can. It might be in a beat up bike and some spandex shorts instead of a svelte racing bike and trisuit, but I’m going to do this.

So thanks, Matt, for the inspiration and motivation.

I’m excited guys. I’ve got November 9-11 and June 15th on the brain.

*And as a side note, I would highly recommend Matt’s book, “No Meat Athlete” if you’re interested in fitness on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Or even just on becoming a better runner.

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Summer Baby

“You know, this time next year you’re going to have to fence all this off.”  Or so my Mom said to my grandfather around the 4th of July, 1980 from her lawn chair at my family’s camp in the middle of Maine.  This is the story I’ve heard so many times as I’ve grown up anyway.  My Mom said she felt ‘off’ at a summer BBQ and had to go home just before she went into labour with me. I was born on July 6, a few weeks early. A summer baby I began and always have been.

Pe (My grandfather. I couldn’t say Grampy – ‘Pe’ was all that came out and it stuck!) was a swim instructor at Boy Scout camp and had me in the water from the get go. Before we had a YMCA or local pool, swim lessons were held at the local public beach. Mom and I would pile into our little aluminum boat (I grew up calling it the tin boat) and the 9.9 horsepower motor would carry us up the lake in the wee hours of the morning. Mom would beach the boat and I’d run off to swim lessons, diving for plastic roses and rings while she read on the sand. Rinse and repeat for most of the summer.

I distinctly remember Pe teaching me how to do the side stroke, tread water and how to jellyfish float. I still don’t really understand what the purpose of the jellyfish float was, but it was fun to learn. I don’t remember a fear of water and every picture I have from when I was little, was me in a swimsuit at the lake. Pe was always in the water with me, raking the rocks out of the shore so I wouldn’t hurt my little feet and he would have to drag me out of the water just to have lunch. I always hated getting out. I even remember my Mom talking about how I’d ‘brown up like a berry’ because I was in the sun so much, all the time.

Nana’s lunches (and breakfasts) were always the best. A quarter of a cantaloupe with yogurt, honey and sunflower seeds. Cold cuts & condiments for a sandwich spread. Seltzer water with a bit of sugar and lemon. Yogurt and honey smoothies. Blueberry bran muffins with honey butter. Bagels with cream cheese and guava jelly. Sometimes, they’d pull out the portable picnic table and we’d eat on the front lawn rather than the screened in porch. I loved those times. Pe always had to find the right spot on the lawn where the table wouldn’t shift and would sit evenly in the grass he had just cut with his push mower.

Pe took such amazingly great care with the grounds. He didn’t use a gas mower because apparently it didn’t cut as nicely as the good old push mowers did. He’d pick up flat rocks from an island in the lake, bring them back and create terraces for my Nan to sit and doing her crossword puzzles on. He always had a trowel and a cardboard box in the trunk with a pair of garden gloves in case he saw a wildflower he liked on the side of the road and just had to have it for the lake. He took great care weeding and planting, setting stones and tidying his lawn. Looking back, it was such a beautiful, lush green space that I can hardly believe it.

I recently found out that the pansies that I grew up picking at our camp, were planted just for me so that I’d have something to pick. They were always on the right hand side of the walkway to the point, where the hammock always was. Purple johnny jump ups with flashes of yellow. Yellow pansies with swatches of orange and purple. There’s a glass pansy bowl in my family, with a glass grate over the top to hold the buds that I really love and hope I’ll keep for generations.

Summer with my grandparents meant digging in the clay and covering myself with it like I was some crazy lake monster until they made me wash it off. Sleeping on the fold out bed between theirs and bouncing back and forth until I got tired, sleeping in Pe’s old v-neck undershirts. It was waking up and washing my hair in the lake with Nana and swimming in the rain because the water was warmer then. It was truly getting to just be a kid and be loevd.

As I got older, my grandparents were kind enough to let me have end of the school year parties at the lake, birthday parties and end of summer parties. We’d BBQ, swim, knee board and tube behind the boat, lay around and drink sparkly drinks from plastic cups and just enjoy the sunshine and freedom.

It seemed I always had friends out at the lake. I was even lucky enough to bring my charges here when I babysat. I’d get them all packed up, drive them out to camp and we’d just…play. Splash. Eat. I took the kids kayaking once and they both learned to call my grandparents “Nan & Pe” just like I did. I don’t think they quite picked up on the fact my grandparents called me ‘Baby Sa-Sa’ though, which is probably a good thing.


(omg guys, that HAIR!?)

I wish I could outline more memories for you, but I think you get the picture here. From Memorial Day to Labor Day. Camp was my home. While we don’t own the camp anymore, I feel so blessed to have the summers I did. I just cannot even begin to think about what summer means to me without the memories of my Nana and Pe.

(This post is for Week 2 of Bring Back the Words thanks to Ginger! I’m really loving these prompts and I hope you are too! Why not join in?)