What’s on your bucket list?

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about my fitness bucket list. When I first started on my journey toward improved physical fitness and overall wellness, I had a long list of things that I never thought I’d be able to do. I had let my history of injuries and my lack of fitness dominate my mind, and I believed the voice inside my head that whispered, “You can’t do that. There’s no way. Don’t even think about trying that.”

I felt that way about a lot of things. I’d watch the Zumba classes at Studio Poise and think, “Well, that looks like fun, but I could never make it through an hour class… I’d be winded after two songs.” I would listen to my cousin talk about her running group and would long to join her for a race, but a history of knee problems kept me from lacing up my sneakers and giving it a shot.

My favorite example, though, is overcoming my fear of the ski slopes. After college, my group of friends would get together once a year for a ski trip. The first time, they congregated at Lake Placid for a long weekend. I had never skied in my life, and I still remembered the words of my orthopedic surgeon following my knee reconstruction, five years earlier: “You’ll eventually be able to resume most activities, but you should probably avoid things like skiing.” My friends managed to convince me to make the journey out to their cabin, and while I loved reuniting with them and had a great time laughing over beers every night, I hated every second of sitting around during the day while they hit the slopes. There are only so many ways to entertain yourself in a ski lodge, and trust me, it gets old fast. When we decided on Denver for the following year’s trip, I vowed that I would learn to ski before the trip, and I never turned back.

skiing collage

It hasn’t always been a smooth ride. It took me three seasons before I really felt like I had control when I was on the slopes. It was only last year that I was able to ski from the very top of the mountain to the bottom, and even then I stuck to mostly green trails, with only a few blues thrown in when absolutely necessary. I still have moments of panic on trickier sections of the mountain, and without fail, I feel like I might throw up my first time on a chair lift every season. Despite all that, I’ve found a sport that I absolutely adore. I love the feeling of whooshing down a mountain. There’s nothing better than ditching work for a day in the middle of the week and catching a quiet day, so you can find yourself alone on the trails and enjoy the peace and the solitude. Skiing – that sport that so terrified me, that I was convinced would never be an activity I could pursue – has become a highlight of every winter for me, and I’m so glad I didn’t listen to that annoying little voice in my head telling me not to try.

Skiing became the gateway drug to my fitness bucket list. It was the Goliath to my David, and I conquered it – and so why shouldn’t I try any of the other things that once seemed like they would never be possible for unfit, clumsy me? As I progressed in my fitness journey, I became increasingly confident in my body’s ability to handle the challenges I threw at it.

Here’s what my fitness bucket list currently looks like, though it’s constantly evolving:

Run a 10K in 2014. I ran my first 5K in 2013, and I’ve participated in four additional 5K races since then. I want to push myself further, which is why I signed up for the Firefighters’ Memorial 10K on October 19, 2014. I’m also a sucker for a good charity and couldn’t say no to this fundraising opportunity.

Run a half marathon in 2015. This goal feels a little bit insane right now, but if I put it in writing, I’ll have to hold myself accountable. I really want to be able to say I finished a half marathon, and I turn 30 in 2015 – it feels like the right time. I am definitely planning on the RunDisney Wine & Dine half marathon in November of 2015, accompanied by my favorite “What in the hell were we thinking?!” sidekick, Miss Dheerja. However, I recently discovered that the Providence Marathon is the day after my 30th birthday, and it offers a half marathon course as well. What better way to kick off my 30s than by accomplishing something that once seemed impossible? I’m waiting until after the October 10K to register, because if the 10K is an unmitigated disaster I should probably work on more training before trying a half, but this feels like a good fit for me.

Run the Boston Marathon in 2017 as a charity runner. I’m a Boston native. Patriots Day, Marathon Monday, is my favorite day of the year – there’s an atmosphere in my city that is truly special and unique. I started seriously thinking about running the marathon this past spring, while tracking some friends on the app. Watching them progress and celebrating with them at the finish made me realize that I wanted to run this marathon at some point in my life. I don’t see myself ever qualifying – understatement of the year – but I would love to run for charity. I plan to raise money for the Cotting School, and I’m aiming for 2017 as I plan to run in memory of the 15th anniversary of my brother’s death. This gives me plenty of time to train, and also to come up with a fundraising plan to tackle the hefty commitment that Boston entails!

Participate in a triathlon. I certainly don’t plan to go out and run an ironman anytime soon, but I would love to complete a triathlon. I’ve always been a strong swimmer, and cycling has long been a favorite way to stay fit. As I build more confidence in my running abilities and feel more secure in my all-around fitness, I’d love to find a triathlon that appeals to me and train for it. I might start as part of a relay team to get a feel for the whole tri experience, but I really want to achieve this in the next decade.

Get certified to teach a fitness class. This one is still a ways off, I suspect, but I’d love to eventually be able to teach a fitness class. I have always loved teaching, and I so value the relationships I have with the instructors who have made a difference in my wellness journey. I would love to be able to inspire others in the same way. I’m not yet at a point in my journey where I would feel comfortable in front of a class, but this is something I’m always thinking about for some point in the future.

What’s on your personal bucket list?
How do you stay accountable and continue progressing toward your goals?