I drove to Florida on Saturday to work a little with my aunt. She’s a photographer and is in the middle of a really big move to a new house. When I got here, we caught up with one another, and went straight to work on Sunday.
My aunt has always been one of my heroes. She’s successful, gorgeous, healthy, and fit. When I was younger, she was literally everything I aspired to be. I went to stay with her one summer when I was probably around 10 years old. I was a McDonald’s raised kid and she was a fruit and vegetable kind of adult. I remember not loving the food she was feeding me. All I wanted was junk food. I was probably a rather difficult visitor for that reason alone, but I don’t remember it all too well. I do remember going to a triathlon with her. She has always been a competitive athlete. She’s been in a couple of Olympic trials, I think she competed in the iron man competition. She runs marathons, she swims, she bikes. And I was always in awe of her.
Fast forward 30+ years and she is still very much an athlete. And I still very much look up to her and aspire to be as active and healthy (and successful) as she is. I may never get to her level because she’s been working towards success every day since she was 18 and I feel like I’m really just getting started at 45, but that’s neither here nor there.
I started running near the end of last year. I’ve talked about it here. I want to run a marathon before I turn 46. Or at least a half marathon. My aunt says she will run it with me. Over the years, as I’ve tried to get healthy and change my nutrition, my aunt has always been the driving force in the back of my mind. I’ve always secretly told myself that one day I would get in shape enough to run with my aunt. It’s a small little goal, but in my very unhealthy mind and body, it was an almost unattainable dream.
Until yesterday. As I’ve worked out and switched my nutrition and changed the way I think about things, I’ve gotten stronger. I’ve lost the “quit” I’ve always had in me. It didn’t happen over night, but it did eventually happen. I still have lots of work to do, but I am in a pretty good mental space these days. And I am healthier than I have probably been my whole adult life. So yesterday morning, my aunt and I went to the beach. She put on a short run that she does regularly and I kept up. I KEPT UP.
It was one of those bucket list moments that even though it was something small and it was never out of the realm of possibility, I really never thought I’d actually do it. I never thought I would ever be able to run with my aunt and keep up. I don’t want you to think we ran 26.1 miles or anything. We just did a short interval run and some stairs, lunges, and squats. But it was one of those childhood dreams that finally happened. I was in shape enough to run with my aunt…on the beach.
And I didn’t even realize it was something I was holding inside myself until after we got done with the run. Of course, I didn’t tell my aunt that, because I’m an adult now, and adults are always told we need to give up our childhood dreams, but I guess I have a hard time with that one. And she will know today when she reads this. Plus, she’s already emotional enough about moving, I wasn’t going to add to it by bursting into tears and thanking her for inspiring me to be better my whole life even if it took me to 45 to actually act on it.
So, anyway, I crossed another thing off my bucket list this week. A run with my aunt. We still have plans for a half marathon and a marathon. So I will keep pushing myself every day to work hard until I get up to those 26 miles, but yesterday’s 3 was a good start.