Sunday, December 30, 2012

The end of the year, but not the end of my endeavours

This is only my second post this year. Truth be told, I've been more focused on actual living this year - so much so I haven't had time to really think about all I've done. Although you can read about the entire journey on Facebook if you're really that interested. I kept a pretty good journal of my exploits there.

But with the year almost at an end, I knew I wanted to document what I've accomplished here. This has been a year of incredible change - of impossible change - and if people ever actually read this (besides people who already know me, that is), I want them to know the entire story.

I named this the Year of Endeavour (which means to strive toward a noble goal). My original plan was to focus on what I started at the end of the Year of Reinvention - to become healthy and fit. I mentioned in my May post about my first race - the Sporting Life 10k. That really was just the start.

I expect if I'd decided to become fit on my own, I never would've changed my life. I might have lost weight and done awesome things (My joy in life is doing awesome things) -- but I probably would eventually have ended up right back where I started (I did that once already...I lost 30 pounds during the Year of Transformation and then gaining most of it back over the next few years).

But this time around, I asked for help. I engaged an awesome trainer (Chris Cecile of to help me become fit. He's the one that made me realize that fit isn't a goal -- it's a lifestyle.  He's the one who dared me to set a crazy(and real) goal - to run that first10k, when I'd never ran before in my life.

I don't know what he saw in me to get me to set that particular goal -- but running that race changed my life. It made me realize I could do so much more than I ever had imagined.

Picture 1: The Sporting Life 10k (Finish Time: 52:02)

Since then, I've shattered every expectation of myself. I broke through walls I didn't know existed and found myself in a world where everything and anything is possible. I think that is going to be my new motto in life: Anything is Possible.

What else did I do? Well, here are a few of the (Race) highlights:

After the Sporting Life - I did the O Course with a friend from Work (Michelle). This was a prep course for Spartan Race (and was harder to be honest!).

Picture 2: The O Course - We carried that bloody 2x4 everywhere!

Then, I did Spartan Race - a 5k (It was really 7k) obstacle course with fire and ice.

Picture 3: Spartan Race - Jumping over fire

 Picture 4: Spartan Race - Crawling through ice, under barbed wire

Next, my brother Anthony convinced me to do the Loaring Beginner Triathlon. This was a 400 meter swim, followed by an 11k bike and a 2.5k run. I had to learn to ride a bike from scratch to do it, but I managed! Even came 3rd in my age group (I put my ribbon on my fridge)...sure there were only 7 of us, but it was still kind of awesome.

Needless to say, the minute I was done, I knew I wanted to do more.

Picture 5: Loaring Triathlon - Riding a borrowed bike...and not looking very fast

Picture 6: Crossing the finish line at the Loaring Beginner Triathlon

Following the Loaring Triathlon, I went back to Running - finishing the Run for Heroes Half Marathon in Amherstburg, Ontario.

Picture 7: Running to the Finish - Run for Heroes Half Marathon (Finish Time: 1:50:19)

What's funny - is the Run for Heroes got added to my schedule after I asked my trainer if there was anything wrong with doing two half-marathons in a month (I know...can you imagine my ever asking that kind of question?). After he said I'd be fine - I added this race.

Three weeks later, I did half-marathon #2 - the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon. The conditions were more challenging...with a downpour before the start and the fact my Garmin didn't work half of the race. Even still, I finished only a minute off my first half marathon time.

Picture 8: Sporting Garbage Bag Chic at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon Start Line

Picture 9: Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon - Nearing the end of the road...running up Bay Street (Finish Time: 1:51:21)

I also ran a couple of other races which I didn't get pics at...the Energizer Night Race 10k in September (Finish Time: 51:04 I think) and the Santa Shuffle 5k (23:16 unofficial time since there was no timing chip).

And back to the rest of the story...

...from the above, you can see that I really tried to live up to the Year of Endeavour...but focusing on fitness wasn't all I did during my year of Endeavour. I realized mid-way through the year that I wanted my life to have more balance. I wanted to be able to do what I was good at all the time, while also having time to train and do awesome things. To that end, over the summer. I also quit my well paying job to start my own company.

In September 2012, I formed Inspire Consulting - a company focused on strategy and communications consulting, stakeholder engagement, and freelance writing. For the past few months, I've started to build this company up, delivering my first projects and setting the groundwork for more in the New Year.

I never would've had the courage to go on my own without the proof that I could do anything. The proof that came from achieving my initial athletic goals (with results far better than I'd ever have expected). Remember my motto above? Anything is Possible.

It really, really is.

So, here I am at the end of 2012. I am not the same person I was in 2011, not by a long-shot. I found a new path hidden in the brush and veered off-road to see what's at the end of it.

Who knows how I will do, or what I will accomplish. I am sure I'll have challenges. The seas won't always be perfect. But you know what? Right now, right here - I wouldn't change a thing. Because I can tell you - the next year is bound to be more exciting than I ever dreamed. Heck, the rest of my life is bound to be more exciting.

So thank you to my Year of Endeavour - a year where I strived towards one of the noblest of goals - to change my life for the better. In striving toward this goal, I found a new passion for life and for adventure and for discovering what's possible.