Go Ahead, Double Dog Dare Me

Day 9 of Gwen Bell's Best of 2009 Blog Challenge:"Challenge. Something that really made you grow this year. That made you go to your edge and then some. What made it the best challenge of the year for you?" Hands down, being part of the Shredheads. Thanks to the Shredheads, I went from being skeptical that I could give myself 20 minutes a day of self-care to gargling my heart for 60 minutes at a time to posting bikini pictures online to getting past my belief that I was incapable of running to running my first race -- a 4 miler -- this past Thanksgiving.

While the journey sometimes has been labored and painful, mostly it has been awesome. For the first time in a long time there's a time and space where I make myself a priority. I accomplished something IĀ  always assumed I could not do. And it's given me the confidence to try just about anything.

Like a 200-mile relay race with a crazy group of bloggers come spring.

And like those figure skating lessons I always wanted as a little kid. After feeling a bit of post-race let down last week, I decided I needed to shake things up and find a new challenge. Plus, if the winter continues on in similar fashion as today, I'll need an indoor backup to my running sessions. Finally, after struggling with Laurel for the last 6 weeks over the swim lessons she begged for then ended up hating, I realized I needed to live up to my words of, "It doesn't matter if you're good at it or not. Just try it and have fun."

I hit the ice this past Sunday with ginger shuffles, and after a brief moment of feeling self-conscious about largely being amidst a group of 5 year olds, I decided to just go for it, not giving a damn what the other grownups thought (there were only two of us grownups on the ice as students, all the rest were instructors or parent spectators of little students). I learned to glide properly, stop, skate backward, scull forward and backward, and then was sent to a different instructor to begin exploring how to spin, lunge, and do crossovers.

And did I mention that prior to that day the extent of my skating was scooter pushing around the boards; most recently being last winter when I essentially used Laurel as a guard rail? And that before that I probably hadn't been skating in about 10-15 years? Yes, I'm in really good shape right now, but I also think that letting go of my concern about what other people thought opened the space for me to pick things up quickly.

When my first instructor said, "OK, so we just covered four lessons in one. I think I need to send you to the other group," I thought, "It's been that kind of year."