Sunday, August 28, 2011

this girl's back in town.

6 weeks! Oh, I know. I have been a crappy blogger.  And I could think of a whole realm of excuses (and I do, actually, have them lined up) but actually - that's ridiculous. I haven't blogged all summer because for a great number of reasons my attention has been elsewhere, with other people.  It's been good to take a break - I've consciously spent less time on FaceBook and I've even sold my beloved iPhone 4 because I felt I was just spending too much time fiddling about with it (I don't care how BlackBerry tries to sell itself, those phones aren't nearly as sexy as iPhones.  Just what I need).

And while it's been really good to spend the time away from my screen and with lots of good real people, I have also missed the real friends I have out there in the blog and FB world, and I have missed the contact and accountability that comes from keeping my blog and reading yours.  So within the next week or so (give me a chance, both kids are starting new schools so there is an ocean of labelling to be done) I will be back with you all, finding out what you've been doing.

And so - if I wasn't on FaceBook or messing about with my iPhone, what did I do this summer?  The highlight has to be my trip to Oregon.  Way back in January, I asked on this blog what you would suggest I do to celebrate this year where I turn 40 and Jen immediately emailed me and invited me to run the Cascade Lakes Relay with herself and her husband and their team.  My immediate reaction to this invitation was "yes" and so, on August 3rd I set off for Portland.  The trip was wonderful from the first day to the last.  My first hosts, Zach and Jen, went out of their way to welcome me into their home and show me the sights of Portland before we set off for Bend on the Thursday evening.  There I met the whole team (Left, Right, Repeat) before hitting my bunkbed.  Our van was the first to start, and so by 8:30 we were in Diamond Lake in the cold morning, waiting for our first runner to start.  And then the whole event just - happened.  It was an intense, fun, funny, tiring, emotional roller coaster - there was such a relentless pace to the whole thing and yet there was so much down-time.  The physical proximity of us all in the van meant we had in-jokes from 5 minutes in, the support we all showed each other during the legs was incredible.  There were so many highlights but things I will never forget:

Deana and I at the start
Van 1 - ready to go! (Sean, Kevin, me, Jen, Zach and Deana) 
Look at that heel strike! 
Waiting to finish our first leg (me, Jen and Deana)
Oh coffee - you're almost better than sleep..
Thank you Jen...
I'm out on that dock - this was how we waited for Van 2 to finish.. 
  • starting on my first leg (unsupported by our van as it was off-road) and being warned there were rattlesnakes but they apparently "are more scared of us than we are of them".  This is the kind of stuff I tell my kids and even they don't believe it...  It put a spring in my step for sure.
  • running the night-time leg in the cold under the enormous starlit skies of central Oregon, with the marshalls following us on horseback;
  • having a shower and a flushing toilet at the high-school gym where we could sleep for 2 hours;
  • having an egg mcmuffin and a coffee on our way out to start our last legs - never has junkfood tasted SO good;
  • Jen jumping out of the van and keeping me company on the tough last leg.  Only 4 miles but it was so hilly and so hot and so high - it took everything I had not to stop and walk.  
But really - the thing I will never forget is my team and the way we were together.  I wanted to have an unforgettable experience this summer and I got one. Thank you Zach and Jen and everyone else on Team Left Right Repeat.

And on the tail of this amazing experience, I got to spend 3 days with another blogging / FaceBook friend, Emily - another great intense experience of friendship and connectedness.
Emily and I 
People sometimes say that you should do the things that you fear: while I wouldn't say I feared going to Oregon at times I did think it was kind of insane to make such a huge trip, away from my kids during the summer vacation, to spend time with people who I had only met once or twice and whom I knew mostly from their blogs.  But it was an incredibly memorably, warm and life-enhancing experience - the kind of thing that proves that it is right to do things that you are afraid to do, to take risks, because the rewards can be so incredibly wonderful.

Which leads me neatly into the next thing I'm doing that frightens me - I've taken the plunge, I've paid my fees - I am taking my advanced diploma in personal training and it starts next week.  Now if I had the occasional twinge about my Oregon trip, this enterprise completely frightens me.  I wake up some nights feeling there's an ice-cold fist around my heart..  I am afraid of so many different things - I have never done anything practical professionally (I did a BA and MA in English and have footled around for years with various other things), I am afraid I'll not have any clients, I'm afraid I won't be a good enough trainer ...  the list is fairly extensive.  But fundamentally it really comes down to a fear of failure.  I'm not sure how to get over that (advice would be really welcome) but I've decided to park that fear, for the time being, and carry on regardless.  Feel the fear and do it anyway.  Jump.

So watch this space - next week I'll tell you what happened. And in the meantime, I'm going to catch up on your blogs.  A bumper sticker I read recently said "It's only one-six billionth about you".  I'll take it to heart.  


Runner Susan said...

Glad you are back! Missed you. You look marvelous, btw!

Runner Susan said...

Oh, and I'll pretend I didn't read the iPhone part. :)

Emily said...

So great to see you out here too - next time I'll crash you in Lincolnshire!

You are going to be a great trainer. I know that doesn't help the fear of failure bit, but the only thing we can do is to keep trying.

Happy almost 40th!

Susan said...

You are my inspiration, as always. :)

Unknown said...

yea!!! your back!! i'm so excited for you. Personal training and all. Plus it looks like a great time away from blog land. Cheers!

Ana-Maria RunTriLive said...

Wow! You certainly don't sit down on your bum with a box of chocolates when you are away from blogland! Awesome recap! Lots of fun things! Yes, feel the fear and do it anyway. You are right, fear is just a feeling. It does not do any harm. The harm comes from our thoughts and from making them reality when in fact they are just...thoughts:) Good luck!

Jill said...

Petra!!!! Oh how I have missed you and have wondered how you've been. Obviously not enough to email...but that's just cuz I'm entirely too lasy most days. How exciting about your relay, I just did one a couple weeks ago and know how much fun they are. Unfortunately, I did one with a bunch of people I didn't know which made it sort of tough but it was still really fun.

I have always believe that fear is just a thin line away from excitement, so those things we fear are actually end up being the most exciting for us. You are going to do awesome as a trainer (and look at your fantastic body, I am so envious. Obviously, I am not making a lot of progress in that dept :( ) are making the first step, getting certified, and the rest you will figure out and it will be awesome!! SO excited for you.

Lastly, I am so proud of you for selling the iPod, you had to feel it was distrupting life and the need to change. Me...I look forward to the day when I can dump my stupid BlackBerry and get an iPhone! :)

Love ya bunches!!

Amanda@runninghood said...

Oh Petra, I LOVE your posts...I usually feel like I'm on similar wavelengths. The way you described your experience with the Relay made me think of my Hood To Coast experience this weekend. Next year you should celebrate 41 by coming out for Hood to Coast next year. Ha! Kidding...that would be crazy. Bummed we didn't get to meet but I totally understand. :) So glad you had fun! Looks and sounds Amazing!!

And congrats on your big decision! You will be awesome. Put that Positive Petra energy out there and rock it girl! Can't wait to hear more. Missed you!

pensive pumpkin said...

Yea! You're back! I was starting to wonder if my reader was broken...

Without fear you have no opportunity to be brave. I don't know you well, but the reason I read your blog is because your positivity gives me confidence by association. Bravery is something that comes naturally to you, so I say embrace that fear as well.

As for the particular fear of failure: who made the rule that failure is a bad thing? If you never put yourself out there and give yourself a chance to fail, then you are not living your life to the fullest. You are going to succeed at this. Heck, I want you to train me! You motivate me when you aren't trying to, so Lord knows what would happen if you were. But the idea that failure is something to be avoided was created by people who never get on planes to Oregon and never run a race and never face down their health difficulties with a smile.

You've freaking got this.

Welcome back.

Fran said...

Welcome back! YOu had many good reasons for not blogging. Looks like you had a great Summer with fantastic experiences.

I'm proud of you for going to be a PT and no worries: who wouldn't want you as a PT. I know I would.

Unknown said...

So so so happy you're back. It sounds like you've had an exciting summer. Don't fear the personal training venture. If anyone can succeed at it, it's you! You are amazing and you are perfect. You will inspire and motivate so many people along the way. You will help people believe in themselves and reach their goals. I know you will.

Best of luck studying. :)

Unknown said...

It gets easier to take risks, doesn't it??!!
Loved this post and I really connected with your fear of are definitely ready to take the plunge. GO FOR IT! Keep us filled in!

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