I was an army brat as I grew up. I was lucky though, I didn’t have to move around near as often as some people did. In fact, I’ve lived in Washington state ever since I started the 8th grade. I may not be a native, but 37 years here makes it close. Gotta say, given the weather in the rest of the country this winter, I am glad I do live here.
During my high school years I was NOT athletic at all. I did not go out for sports, though I knew a lot of people who did. I was much more likely to read a book and do homework than work out. I will say I rode my bike a lot, and played football and baseball with friends, but nothing organized at all.
Somewhere, though, even though I was all of 120 lbs and not an athlete, I made the decision that I want to do a few things “someday”…
The biggest goal hit me in my Earth Science class (told y’all I was a geek). We were discussing the Volcanoes of Washington State, and I decided I was going to climb the biggest 4 in the state. Rainier, Adams, Baker and St. Helens.
Anyone who’s read this blog for any length of time, knows Rainier just wasn’t in the cards, even after 4 attempts. My body just doesn’t get me over 12,500 feet. As you can see, I was NOT a happy camper!
Adams is a blog post all its own. Any time you are with a guide that is late and one who gets lost, it can’t end well. In this case I was climbing strong, but there was a storm at the summit. We had to turn around at about 10,000 feet. This picture may look familiar.
It’s easy to concentrate on the goals that were NOT achieved, but there were some I made!
Baker, summited without a problem in 1998.
St Helens I climbed MANY times in the late 90s and early 2000s. Every time was different and every time was incredibly cool!
So on the volcano goal I hit 50% and I am good with it. I gave it all I had. One should never say never, but I am not sure I’ll ever try to climb another big Mountain, though St Helens would be cool.
I did come up with two other NON mountain related goals at the same time.
The first was a 12 k (7.2 mile) run in Tacoma called the Sound to Narrows. Its an annual event, and the biggest running event of the year for Tacoma. I remember all my track and cross country friends as well as a number of teachers doing training runs and being very excited to do this event each year. I on the other hand, had run a mile maybe once in PE. I distinctly remember, though, deciding someday I wanted to run this.
In 2003, it finally happened. I had been running a 5 and 10 K runs for a couple of years prior. I worked all year to add to my miles per week to get ready. Finally it was time
And I rocked it! I was there with my running buddy Angie, and we were supposed to meet our buddy Virg but we never saw him before the run started. I ended up leaving Angie in the dust early on. I hadn’t realized I had until I looked around and she was gone. Virg said I passed him on the last hill, something I had never done before. My final time was 1:06:44, and I was VERY happy.
I ran this 2 more times before I finished with running, the second time I cut a minute off the clock but the third was slower. The third was my last long run ever. I found this picture today, and I could remember this exact spot in the run. Crossing that finish line left me warm and happy. The skinny little guy from high school was very proud of me.
This last one I am not sure when the goal was made. I know I had it for a LONG time. I think it started in college when I read about a firefighter stair climb in NYC. We have the same thing in Seattle at the Columbia Tower. 69 flights from bottom to the observation level. Every year I would see a article in the paper after the event was held. I just never took the time to figure out WHEN it was going to happen in time to sign up.
2004, this changed! The internet was our friend! I found the date and pounced on it! I will tell you now, though, of each and every event or challenge I have tried, this one disappointed me the most. My time was great, 11;52. But I am not sure what the heck I was expecting.
Maybe I thought with it being the biggest building in Seattle (if not the west coast) that it would have a unique stairwell. NOPE, boring cement. And with 6000 people climbing all day long, it STUNK! After 12 minutes in there, my lungs were fired, I was coughing for 3 days trying to clear them! But I made it!
Trouble is, I had to do it 2 more times over the years, both Mathmajor and Manchild decided they wanted to do it. So I went along….
Now I can look at that building and KNOW I kick it!
It’s way too easy to remember the times you didn’t make it, the hurt and pain and sadness you experienced. Those times you felt like a failure. Its almost as if these memories force out the wins. This means its important from time to time to go back and look at the triumphs you’ve had. Big or small. Then sit and try to remember exactly how you felt. It’ll put a smile on your face and help you keep trying.
SOMEDAY does actually come if you help it!