Never Say Never

20131021-172511.jpgThings I’m doing now that I never thought I’d be doing:

1. Riding my bike to work most days (and I turned in my parking pass to make sure I do!)

Some years back I put away my bicycle. Whenever Sam asked me about riding, I said I was too scared. More than a decade ago one of our local cycling clubs met with a horrific accident when out for a group ride one weekend morning. A truck driver ‘didn’t see them’ (‘distracted,’ according to reports) and plowed right into the group. A colleague in our philosophy department was among the seriously injured. And a well known local artist, Greg Curnoe, famous for his paintings of bicycles, was the one fatality.
Staying off a bike forever because someone died in a rare accident is like never driving again because someone else got killed in a car accident. That reasoning could keep me hiding under the covers for the rest of my life.

So I bought the commuter bike. And then the road bike. And now I’m riding with clipless pedals!

2. Running

When I started back into weight training with a personal trainer almost two years ago he urged me to start running.
“Not going to happen,” I said.

Why not? Because almost every runner I know has been injured.

I polled my Facebook friends about it. Lots had been injured and lots hadn’t. Sam made the most compelling point: if you’re injured in running it usually only stops you from doing one thing: running.

So I tried it. Slowly and cautiously. Then Chi running came to my attention (thanks Mum!). And though I’ve not yet found a workshop, I do have the book and it has helped my form a lot. And, look Mum! No injuries (touch wood).

3. Owning a road bike and using clipless pedals

Commuter bike, okay. But clipping in and riding out on the country roads? Never.  Well, okay, not never.

4. Training for an Olympic distance (or ANY distance) triathlon

Triathlon was even more remote from my realm of possibility than running.  That’s something athletes do.  Apparently, then, it’s either not something only athletes do, or I’m an athlete. Either way, I’ve completed two minis (okay, one became a duathlon but nevermind) and I’m now training for a sprint distance in the spring and an Olympic distance before my 50th birthday next September.  Like: I’m swimming, biking, and running.  Me.  Tracy I.

5. Hot yoga

A few years ago I participated in a student event on campus and as a gift of appreciation, the student group gave me a class-pass for the hot yoga studio just around the corner from my house.  I accepted it as graciously as I could, even though I had no intention of ever trying hot yoga. I had dedicated myself to my Iyengar practice and it was serving me well. No need to branch out. And anyway, there was no way I could bear doing yoga in a hot room.

Flash forward to about four years ago.  I still had the pass. Some small voice inside of me said, “Why not?”  So I went. It zapped me of energy for the rest of day. I went again.  I bought a one-year unlimited pass.

I didn’t get rid of my Iyengar practice, but I love, love my time in the hot yoga studio.

And that’s just about activity. I also never thought I’d be vegan, or an intuitive eater, or stop thinking about food all day.

Taking the risk to try things I thought I’d never do feels good!  I’m taking my “never say never” idea into my running. I mentioned a few weeks ago that I have it in my head that I’ll never be a fast runner (or even faster than I am now). But maybe that’s not true either.

I’d love to hear your stories of things you’re doing that you never thought you’d do (good, positive things — no confessions, please).

[image: “Mariposa Low Profile,” by Greg Curnoe]

12 thoughts on “Never Say Never

  1. I’d count CrossFit amongst my “nevers” from when I was younger. I thought: I’d get hurt (maybe–but I get hurt doing just about everything I do), I’d put on muscle and be bulky (yes, but I don’t care because of what my stronger and healthier body can do), it was expensive (yup, but I value it) and it was trendy (meh, we’ll see on that one).

    It’s funny how we end up doing things we didn’t think we would…I love this post! Keep up all the awesome activities. 🙂

  2. I’d NEVER do yoga because I’m too fat and was terrified I’d fart in class. Finally after 2 years of my beloved pestering me I went to classes at the Y, love it. Yoga allows me to appreciate the amazing things my body can do. Turns out I’m super flexible sideways and my monkey brain is lovely and quiet during and after class.

  3. If anyone had told me seven years ago that I’d be riding my bike every day (commuting to work) and that I’d EVER ride 50km in a day, never mind 100km or 160 (both of which I have done, the 100km fairly frequently), I’d have thought that person was crazy and/or making fun of me. It was so far out of my comfort zone that it was beyond my imagination – but I was so deep in depression that my imagination couldn’t stretch very far, really. I had never been athletic in my life.

    But somehow I bought a basic bike, and somehow I rode it a few blocks, and did that again the next day, and a little farther… each time I felt a little better, and a little stronger, and I could eat a little bit more (did I mention the stress-induced anorexia? Yeah. Not fun).

    Depression is a very scary, very sneaky foe, but it turns out it’s a lousy cyclist. One day I looked back and realized I had outpaced it.

    Next year: road race.

    By the way, I have my 40th birthday in a week; and I am stronger and fitter and happier than I have ever been. I can’t wait to see where I’ll be by fifty!

  4. Pretty much everything I am doing right now – running (not unless something scary is chasing me), biking (why? I have a car), taking a Hoop Workshop (no skill, too big, etc…), strength training (umm… what is that?) Since the beginning of this year, I have been turning all sorts of “nevers” into “sure, I’ll give that a try.”

  5. I never thought I’d run consistently, and then I did C25k. Then I never thought I’d run a marathon, but just did that this month!

    Next on my list is triathlons – it used to be so far down the “never” list that it didn’t even occur to me to think about it being on the never list, but I’m working on learning how to bike and swim.

  6. I started running as a way to manage PND and said that I would “never” run a marathon as that was just crazy. Ah, well, yeah, ran a marathon just over a year ago and planning to run another one next year after I get over having tried a tri series this Spring starting next month! Never say never indeed. Why limit yourself? I think I have learnt that lesson. Great post as always. 🙂

  7. Yea, true I would have never thought I would be cycling to work daily over 25 yrs. ago. Just over 10 years, I would have not thought I would do it through snow, put preferably on a bike path. Not on a slippery car road.

    1. That’s inspiring because I’m contemplating winter riding. Starting to think about appropriate gear to make it more comfortable. Any tips?

  8. Well here I am reading this weekend’s weather forecast of strong possibility of up to 20 cm of snow here.

    Now I am the type of winter cyclist that does it on dry pavement or light dry snow. That’s it. The advantage of dry prairie air and bright sunshine in winter is that snow melts more easily than in southern Ontario where I lived for lst 40+ yrs.

    If the sides of a car road has icy/slushy areas then I won’t cycle out there. I can’t expect cars to stop for me on a dime in slippery conditions and I end up cycling in the middle of the road, not good in winter.

    so I keep my bike rides in winter shorter and functional –work, shopping, bank and meetings close by. Believe me, I celebrate a dinky 8 km. cycle in winter @ -15 to -25 degrees C! with a 20 km. near frostbite wind, I feel I’ve lost 150 calories just from keeping warm while on bike!

    And surprisingly, all these little bike rides, help keep your cycling fitness basic.

    I have wider, Schwable tires on my hybrid bike. I haven not yet bough studded winter bike tires. But I’ve been looking and getting good advice from LBS.

  9. I’ve always been a swimmer, but I never thought I’d swim competitively. I thought joining a swim team would take all the fun out of swimming, since I always thought of it as a solitary activity (since your face is in the water). But 11 years ago, I joined a Masters swim team, and now I think it’s great to have a coach, swim with others who share the same passion, and win medals and ribbons at provincial and national championships! My goal is to qualify for the World’s in Montreal next summer. The Masters swim motto is “fun, fit and fast” and it’s a terrific experience. The next challenge is triathlon, since again, I think it’s fine to do all 3 sports by yourself, but not sure about being in a crowd.

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