The American Birkebeiner
I officially completed the American Birkebeiner!
This race was an incredible mental and physical challenge. It was time for me to try something new; time to find a winter activity. I bought skies this summer and signed up for the 50k race thinking it would be easier than running.
Well, on a chilly December day I put the skies on for the first time. I couldn’t even stand up. It was an extremely frustrating and humbling experience.
On January 1, I went skiing for the second time. It wasn’t any easier; I was convinced my fingers and toes were going to fall off. I went through a spectrum emotions - I went from wanting to be a cross country skiing competitor to never wanting to be outside again. I was constantly battling the mind games.
Next step was a private lesson - best decision thus far. This one-on-one lesson was a breath of fresh air. I learned technique and was actually progressing. Over the next few weeks I skied a handful of times, slowly beginning to enjoy the winter activity and fresh air.
On February 9, Chase and I came up to Hayward for a trial run. I made it 12k and was exhausted. At this point I decided to promote myself to cheerleader this year.
Being my determined self, this didn’t sit easy and I kept toying with the thought of starting the race for experience and catching a ride when I got tired.
I decided to go to the expo on Friday and pickup my race packet. I stopped by the Info Desk and asked the kind old woman how the buses from the aid stations worked. She looked at me with a funny look and said, "You can finish this race." I was honestly surprised and awkwardly questioned, "Really?!" She confidently said, "Yes, once you get through the first 12k you will be fine. Just take your time and rest as you need."
Saturday morning came. I layered up, sipped my coffee, and had the most positive mindset. This was no longer about being the best, or winning my age group. This was about determination. This was about mental toughness and proving that everyday athletes can achieve greatness.
I learned a lot over the past 90 days. I learned a lot about myself, life, and relationships. Life isn't supposed to be easy. There will always be challenges and when there aren't, it's your turn to seek out something new. Newness provides perspective, shakes up the norm, and pushes you to new places that you will make you forever grateful.