A New Year’s Challenge

 

 

Runners on your marks.

 

I love my wife. She’s always coming up with some way to mix it up. For the past couple of years she did that by starting the New Year out running a race in Seattle called the Resolution Run. The idea is to run a 5K and then jump into Lake Washington. Participants who choose to do so must submerge completely in the chilly water before clawing their way back out. Of course, now that Carol’s done that she wants to try something new.

 

(c) 2012 Javabird.com. All rights reserved.On one level, jumping into a frigid lake, river or pool in the middle of the winter is absolutely crazy. To call it bracing or eye opening doesn’t do it justice. The water is a complete shock to the system. Surprisingly, thousands of people join events like the Resolution Run each year. Even more amazing to those of us who prefer to stand back and watch in our heavy winter coats is how the participants come out loving it.

 

Runner's take your marks.

There’s a lot of peer pressure at organized events.

Carol is seeking a new challenge this year. A major advantage of joining an organized event like the Resolution Run is the resultant peer pressure to perform at the critical juncture. It’s hard to back out when everyone around you dives in.

 

This year Carol intends to jump in the lake with no one else to accompany her or to egg her on. True, I’ll be there to snap a few pictures and hand her a towel, but I plan to remain mute while she determines whether and when to jump (or not).

 

Believe me, knowing she’s taken the plunge before doesn’t make it any easier. The water is cold, but the air temperature is even colder. Thus, the simple act of stripping down to jump in becomes a challenge in itself.

 

Getting ready to jump into the icy waters.

Here’s Carol approaching the water during last year’s race.

This time around Carol’s challenge is to take a leap forward into the New Year on her own and prove an icy plunge is something she can achieve without the prodding or assistance of others.

 

Though I have no intention to jump in the lake like Carol, I do appreciate her grit. She’s always looking for new challenges to tackle. This past year she started the year off with a run and an icy plunge, took a first ever trip to France in the spring, tried biking to work over the summer, and ended by learning how to can fruits and jams. Her jams were a holiday smash!

 

What was I thinking?

At the Resolution Run, the participants run down a ramp into the water, dip their heads to get completely wet, and then run back up the ramp.

 

If there’s a lesson or point here it’s to lead a richer, fuller life while you still can. Life really is a fragile thing and far, far too short. Carol’s mom passed away last summer. She had Early Onset Alzheimer’s so we expected she’d be leaving us far too soon, but you’re never really ready when it happens. On top of that, we could only stand by and watch when a close friend suffered an abdominal aneurysm, and my Mother’s husband suffered not one but two debilitating strokes. Thankfully, both have survived, though the doctors say our friend’s recovery from his aneurysm was nothing if not a miracle.

 

Carol looking a little blue around the gills.

We just finished thawing Carol out from last year’s run, but she’s bound and determined to take another plunge. Good for her!

As you go to face the New Year, challenge yourself to go about it consciously. Set resolutions you want to achieve and then make them happen this year—while you still can. Let me be clear. I’m not just talking about the mundane things like a resolution to start a new diet or do more exercise or payoff a few bills. Instead, set solid goals to do a few of the fun things you’ve always wanted to do most in life. If there’s a trip you’ve been meaning to take, a project you’ve been meaning to start, a book you’ve been meaning to read or write, a race you’ve wanted to run, a hobby you’ve wanted to pick up, this is the year to make it happen.

 

Don’t wait. It’s a brand new day and a brand new year. Set the bar high as you plan and hope for brighter, happier future.

 

Will Carol take the plunge? Tune in tomorrow and find out.

 

If you missed it check out Carol’s post, “My Reverse Bucket List.”

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