Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013, Winding Down

    Hah! I made the conscious decision to neither go out and party for New Year's or stay home moping. How, you may ask yourself, can she not do one or the other? Easy-peasy, just take matters into my own hands. From the moment I got off work I raced around accomplishing small errands that lead to greater things. Some quite mundane: hauling loads of stuff to the dump and Goodwill to help free myself of clutter. Others, still mundane but slightly more creative: Hit Home Depot for a hallway light fixture, semi-gloss paint to freshen the molding in my home, and a sample tile to re-do the bathroom floor, and hit the grocery store for delicious, nutritious, delightful food to fuel the amazing engine that is Me. Then I hit the pool for an epic swim: Three miles; 107 Laps = 5350 Yards = 3.039 Miles = 4.89K. If I would have known I was about 100 meters shy of swimming a 5K I would have done 3 more laps... Next time.
    There is a deep sense of satisfaction to be found in even minor personal achievements. Simple things like clearing the clutter from my life, hauling it away, simplifying, calming the chaos of my personal space. Also, having the materials on hand to work on my long To-Do List. I have a To-Do list that covers half of my refrigerator. I'm not kidding. A list that I have not made much headway on this last year or so. I worked so hard the first six months that I was in my little house that I burned myself out. I needed to take a break from always being the responsible adult, with some project always underway, needing my attention, taking me away from being able to just go have fun and play. Now I want to find the middle ground, finish a few of the projects hanging over my head. Top on the list are some of the electrical and lighting issues plaguing my house. Of course, when one is in Home Depot, one can't just walk out with the one thing that was on the original list, there are so many materials to lure in the pie-eyed do-it-yourselfer. And now I am on a vendetta against clutter and chaos, I am sorely tempted to tear out the manky rug in my living room.
    But what has really left me feeling accomplished tonight is my swim. Honestly. It was a helluva thing. It is said that a 3 mile swim is the equivalent energy output to a half-marathon. I believe it. I didn't sleep well last night, not that  have been sleeping well on any night lately, so I was tired when I got to the pool at 4:00. The first mile was tough, and my goggles didn't want to hold a seal, so I kept having to stop and adjust them. It didn't help that my left shoulder and right elbow were giving me grief. But I knew I would swim until I either hit my goal, or had to give up due to injury. After the first mile it got easier, I settled into my I-can-do-this-all-day pace, and just swam. Half the time my eyes were glazed over and nearly closed,  the chaos in my head calmed down to peaceful murmuring, and I just swam. Yes, by the end I was feeling the fatigue in my arms and shoulders, but I kept good form, and swam long and strong clear through the final lap. It felt great. Beyond great, amazing. To know I can set a goal, and push myself hard, without any outside influence, and no reward other than the knowledge that I can do it, gives me an inner peace that is unmatched. 2 hours and 20 minutes of steady swimming, with minuscule breaks to tweak goggles or take a mouthful of honey water. It was totally cool.
    Now home, with a fire crackling in the wood stove, a belly full of homemade chicken pupusas piled high with fresh guacamole, a cup of rosemary and mint tea at my elbow, muscles still tingling from my workout, my beloved dog snoozing at my feet, and a cat draped across the back of my chair purring loudly, I am content. As 2013 winds down and quietly passes, I can look back over the year and see my triumphs. I had declared 2013 as The Year of Grand Adventures, and then made it be so. I attended and graduated Firefighter Academy as Firefighter 1, passed the Emergency Medical Responder course to become a certified First Responder, learned to drive a fire engine (which is totally epic, by the way), got a job at the Harley-Davidson dealership, ran a multitude of small road races from 10K to 10 miles, an obstacle course race, several adventure runs, two trail half-marathons, swam countless miles and overcame my phobia of open water to the point that swimming in The Cove became my escape from the world, cycled hundreds of miles on my dear Joshua, trained hard day after day, and followed the number one rule of Ironman training; Train Every Day. All the training culminated in one fabulous, magnificent day, when I completed my first half-Ironman race, but in reality, I enjoyed the journey as much as I enjoyed the destination. I love to train. The most astonishing, exhilarating adventure of 2013 was being on the first engine in on a 4 alarm fire, getting to man the first attack line on a massive structure fire, and knowing that our district kept a tragic structure fire from becoming a devastating, deadly conflagration. 2013 was epic.
    Yes, there were disappointments and defeats, but there always are in life. I choose to look past those, count them up to "lessons learned," and move on. It is my victories that I see in my highlight reel, victories that are mine and mine alone. Triumphs won by sheer determination, stubbornness, and my own desire to chase after my dreams. In 2013 I reached for the stars, and found myself with armloads. 2014 will be a continuation of journeys started, the excitement of journeys yet to begin, and the thrill of new beginnings. 2014 The Year of New Beginnings.

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