36 years old. Whoa, I’d like to say that again. Thirrrrrrrty-six. Thirty-six. They say people get more comfortable with age. For the most part I think this is true although no matter how comfortable I feel with myself and the world around me I don’t think I ever wish to get so comfy that I stop learning, growing, and discovering. You won’t believe what I got myself for my birthday by the way. Then again, you probably will.
I wonder why people get so hyped up over their birthdays, at least after childhood years. We are celebrating the day we entered the world which means we are celebrating life. This is something we should celebrate and give thanks for every day, right? As a kid there was a lonely feeling about being a Christmas baby. A birthday scattered in with the holiday craze. Once I became an adult it didn’t matter, although I often still associate my birthday with those same feelings I had as a child, usually hoping it will come and go quickly. Now, I look my birthday as a time to reflect and set new goals for my next year ahead.
Thirty-five was one of my greatest years. Packed with things I’m passionate about, thirty-five kept me busy. The highlights of my year are of easy to pick out…racing IRONMAN Lake Placid and the IRONMAN World Championships on the MMRF Team for Cures. I still owe myself an IMLP race report and Kona race report, I know. Right before I turned 35 I set a goal to race IMLP and to raise $35,000 for the MMRF. That’s $1,000 to give thanks and celebrate each of my years. This was my goal and priority of the year. I knew this was possible and I never doubted that for one second. I had no idea though how much dedication, hard work, and passion it would take to end up raising $44,894 and earn the opportunity to race the IRONMAN World Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Being part of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Team for Cures through IMLP, fundraising and racing the IRONMAN World Championship were indeed some of my biggest and most exciting accomplishments yet so I look back at age 35 with a lot of happiness.
There were a lot of other things too that made this past year joyful. The month after turning 35 I enrolled in a Hypnosis and childbirth education instructor course. After attending births using Hypnobabies for two years I decided to get certified to teach. I had no idea how much I was overloading myself with commitments at the time. I figured it was already going to be a busy year so why not add one more thing that’s important to me? Somehow it all worked out wonderfully, phew. I scaled back quite a bit with work though, only taking birth doula clients for half of the year and much less with my other business in order to remain focused on fundraising, training and studying. I was able to doula thirteen beautiful births and seven Hypnobabies students gave birth this fall and winter. I’m grateful for each family I worked with and what they taught me. Being a doula for the past five years has made such a great impact on my life. My studies, course training, fundraising, Ironman training and racing, and maintaining business this year by no means was easy and overall it was a challenge to balance. I enjoyed what I was doing though. I met so many inspirational people, new friends and had such incredible support. Visiting my family in Ohio this summer was another highlight for Joe and Hattie’s wedding. It was awesome to have so much of our family together again. Thirty-five was a year of incredible opportunities.
Thirty-six. I like typing thirty-five so much more but I know great things are ahead for thirty-six so long as I make space and begin creating them. Nothing that happened last year happened by sitting around waiting. Starting the morning first thing with a wonderful yoga class and hearing “HAPPY BIRTHDAY” from niece and nephew on the phone were two of the best parts of my day. Boy do I love hearing their voices. That and hearing from everyone in my family. I also made an important decision today after going back and forth for 2 1/2 months since Kona. I’ve been asking myself whether or not to race Ironman next year. It’s funny how I look back on Kona, the biggest race the exists, and think how fast it came and went and how much it really meant to me. A big part of me feels like I need a break next year to focus on other personal goals. I made the decision not to race a full Ironman in 2016 and signed up for IRONMAN Atlantic City 70.3 on MMRF Team for Cures. Keep reading though, sometimes it doesn’t take much to change my plans. The other part of me has felt bummed when I think about the year without Ironman. How can I top the experience of Kona? Truth is, I probably never will so in some way thinking about the next Ironman isn’t so exciting. That’s not a valid reason not to continue though and the goal isn’t to surpass that experience. There’s always new goals that comes along with each one and the challenge of each race is so much fun and rewarding. You see, my relationship with Ironman has been a strong one. Deeply connected, so much growth and a great deal of positive change with each one. Ahhhh, IRONMAN. I love you. Why not start the first day of my next year with new goals? Well, well, well… great timing. Last night I was fishing around on the internet and realized that IMNC opened for registration a few days ago. It seems like the perfect race since it falls late in the season. Enough time to still allow my mind and body a break before focusing on training plans in May. I don’t sit on decisions like this too long so just like that I purchased myself a huge birthday present. IRONMAN North Carolina HAPPY 36th BIRTHDAY TO ME! And yes, I picked this over the all-inclusive Costa Rica yoga teacher trip I was considering, which ran around the same price and would have been the same month. Sitting on the beach for an entire week sounds incredibly boring and a long weekend getaway to race 140.6 miles is so much fun! I’ve never signed up for a race this far ahead though (301 days) so the excitement factor isn’t quite there yet plus like I said…something about the next Ironman isn’t quite as big of a deal as the previous. I know once I get started with training something special will come out of it though as something always does with each one. Oh, and I guess this means I’ll finally be getting my big girl bike this year too. That’s pretty exciting!
I look forward to all that’s ahead for my next year. Celebrating life every day. Love, Keli