Or Alternate Title: How a girly-girl discovered a love of the great outdoors.
So far, 2015 has been the year of adventuring. I did say that was one of my new year’s resolutions, so I’m succeeding at least to follow through with that part of it. The thing is, I continue to surprise myself every time I try something new. I was never the outdoorsy type. Being fair skinned and easily burned with a protective mother, I shied away from being outside a lot. I discovered a love for running and being active about 8 years ago. Sure, I have had gym memberships and run a lot outside, but until recently that was the extent of what I would do to be fit and active.
This year, that concept is changing. I’ve tried snowshoeing, rock climbing, mountain biking, I signed up for my first marathon and rediscovered my love of horseback riding. I’m learning to be open-minded about trying new things. I’m discovering the balance between my body being strong enough to achieve something (which is capable of a lot more than I thought!) and my mind believing I can.
Don’t get me wrong, I still get girly about things on occasion. I complained incessantly when my boyfriend and I went on a hike that was plagued by mosquitoes. It was on that same trip, though, that I came across a big rock and decided I needed to climb it, thus the beginning of my love of climbing. I still choose cute workout clothes over practical stuff because, you know, photos. And always sneak in a little makeup even if most of it’s going to melt off my face. I want to do all these amazing things but my vanity wants to look good while doing it. It’s like I have two sides of me that compete for attention. I’m a girly girl with a badass outdoor woman inside trying to break free. Does that sound too Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde? Ha!
What I appreciate the most about this new adventurous side of me is how much I’m learning about myself; my capabilities and my limitations. There was one mountain bike ride my boyfriend and I went on that I met my limit. It was too technical (rocks and stairs and very steep climbs) and my lungs felt like they were going to explode or I was going to fly from my bike and hit a tree. I felt defeated a bit when I told him I could go no further, but now I’m excited to try it again after I feel a bit more comfortable on my bike.
When a friend of mine asked me recently if I want to try standup paddle boarding in the ocean, I said “No way, the ocean scares the shit out of me!” then I realized a few days later that somehow my mind had been changed and that in fact, I do want to try that. Fear is still a big factor in what I’m doing. There have been many times that I’ve been afraid of wiping out on my bike, falling from the rock wall, sliding off a cliff of snow in my snowshoes, or just somehow meeting an untimely end. My pride fears looking like a fool, or a weakling, or unfit, or generally not good enough. But then I realize, I’m out there, doing it, pushing myself to be better and that every mosquito bite, sunburn, scratch or bruise is a battle wound; a reminder to myself that I’m stronger today than I was yesterday and to keep going for it.