Sunday, December 21, 2008
Picture from the Science Education Resource Centre at Carleton college
While reading another blog the other day, the author was quite pleased that she had reached the goal of running 1000 kilometres in 2008. It was a goal that Maria had set for herself back in January and she did it, in segments of course, about 5 k at a time.
I could do that on my bike. So I am hearby declaring my intention now for all the blog world to read. There are some road warriors out there who ride in the winter and through snow and wind. Not me. I'll be back outside on the bike by March (I did get out a couple of times in February last year) with the goal of biking 1000k by the end of September.
A few years ago I made a goal for the new year to give Brussels sprouts another try. I love cabbage, but the little green balls named for a European city have tortured my taste buds since I was a kid. About a month into the year I had the opportunity to try a Dutch dish of stuffed Brussels sprouts. I can only imagine the hours it took to stuff all those little things. The filling had walnuts which was delicious, but the Brussels sprouts just didn't cut the mustard (so to speak). At least I gave 'em another try. (My folks love this vegetable. I was going to a farm market one summer and Dad asked me to get some, so I did. I brought home a stalk of them and he didn't know what they were, never having seen them like that before. "What is that?" he asked me. "Brussels sprouts" I said. "No they're not" was his reply.)
The thing about resolutions or goals is that they have to be attainable (realistic) and the desire to achieve them has to be strong. In Canada in the 70s there was a public health push to get people more active. The national campaign was called Participaction and it lasted for years. In schools there was a program for phys ed that involved doing a set of tests, like the 50 yard dash, a chin up for 60 seconds, a certain amount of sit ups in a certain time and by the end of the year we were supposed to be able to do certain things according to our age and degree of physical fitness. At the end of the timed tests, our results were tallied and you received a cloth patch indicating your level of fitness: bronze. silver, gold, or the highly coveted Award of Excellence. Two years in a row I got silver, so by Grade 7 I was bound and determined to get the Award of Excellence. In gym class I practiced my sit ups and chin ups, trying to do as many as I could. I ran all over the place to begin with so wasn't too concerned with that. When it came time for the testing, I did really well. The last test was to hold a chin up for 60 seconds. If I did that I'd get my Award of Excellence. After 30 seconds my little arms were burning, but the class was cheering me on. At 40 seconds they started counting the time aloud. I got to 60 seconds and thought I was going to die, but held on. I lasted 10 more seconds to cheers and shouts and was finally able to claim my Award of Excellence.
Over the years I have tried my hand at different sports and failed miserably with most of them. In grade 8, I was always selected to be the goalie while playing soccer because I was flat chested and the other girls didn't want to risk stopping the ball with their chest. I ran track and field for a couple of years but was only in the middle of the pack as far as performance went and I really didn't enjoy it. I tried jogging for a while, but never enjoyed that. I played Little League baseball for a summer but that was because people told me girls couldn't play baseball and I wanted to prove them wrong.
Until I was 16, the whole purpose (in my mind) of going to school was with the goal of becoming a doctor, a brain surgeon actually. At 16 I realized there was an enormous world out there with so many other things I dropped the idea of medicine and decided not to decide on what I wanted to be until university.
An Ironman Triathlon is out of the question for me. As is neurosurgery as a career. So I will attempt 1000k on my bike this year instead. As Maria told me, totally doable. And fun, too.