As I was walking back to my office (and my bike) after my swim today, I was thinking about how much I’ve changed in the last two years.  And I owe it all to one former student of mine, and one small decision I made over two years ago.

During the spring of 2009, I was busy playing rugby, and volunteered to teach a summer class.  Little did I know that teaching that summer class would change my life.  That April, I broke my ankle in a rugby tournament, ended up with a blood clot, and was forced into early retirement.  Needless to say, I was bummed.  At that point, my rugby team was my life.  I had created that team from scratch and put every single ounce of my time and energy into it.  Now, I was no longer able to play.  And I didn’t want to run the team if I couldn’t play.  That would just have been torture.  So I retired and turned the team over to the other girls and hoped for the best.

But I was feeling very lost.

That July, my summer class started.  My ankle was back to normal, but I had nothing to do with myself and my time.  But fortunately, I had a student in my class that was a freshly-minted triathlete and was extremely enthusiastic about it.  We often talked during the class breaks about his triathlons, and this got me thinking – I could do something like that…

One night, a few months later, I decided to take the plunge.  That October evening, I signed up for my first marathon.  I remember sitting on the couch, afraid to click the “submit” button because that meant I was really going to do it.  I took a deep breath, clicked “submit,” and then informed my husband that I had just signed up for my first marathon.  He must have thought I was out of my mind.  But fortunately, he only looked at me like I was nuts for a split second.

Since then, I haven’t looked back.  I have completed a half marathon, two marathons, and several other shorter races.  I’ve come to love running, training, and pushing myself to see what I am really capable of.  Sure, there are often times where I just don’t want to go out and run – that’s normal.  But once I get out there, it feels great.

Now, I’m training for my third marathon and starting to train for some spring triathlons.  And I’m absolutely certain that some day in the not-too-distant-future, I’ll complete my first Ironman triathlon (obviously I’ve got some training and shorter tris to do first!).  If the me of two years ago saw who I am today, I don’t think I would recognize myself.  And I’m happy with that.

The thing that amazes me is when I think about it, I owe it all to that simple decision I made back in the spring of 2009 to teach a summer class.  If I hadn’t done that, I never would have met that enthusiastic triathlete student of mine, and never would have been inspired to begin my own marathoning and triathloning (is that a word?) journey.

So I guess the lesson for today is to keep an open mind.  You never know where you’ll end up.

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