as my Aussie pal Peta used to say, back in the days when we were Primary Shool Sports Coordinators in Inverness, responsible for cajoling volunteers into coaching a variety of sports to eager kids, who were grateful to participate in anything that meant running around, and basically getting them out of the confines of a stuffy classroom. It wasn't easy of course, good volunteers are always hard to find, but we were a pretty good team back then, and if any opportunity arose to give kids a sporting experience, we took it.
There were five of us; Peta, Carolyn, Kirsten, Susie and, of course me. I was the mummy of the group, as at the ripe old age of fourty-something, I envied their twenty-something youthful enthusiasm, their energy and their freedom, as I was the only one with kids. We had a fantastic three years together, all bringing different strengths, experience and expertise in a variety of sports. Peta was fabulous; a teacher and true gritty Aussie, her mantra was always, "We can do that!" even though sometimes, it was blatantly obvious that we couldn't. If we couldn't, then "God loves a tryer," always kicked in, and always backed up by Carolyn, who used to do marathons in the the frozen wastelands for fun, we were a Dream Team. We had fun, the kids and volunteers we worked with had fun and I still miss them. They kept me young, they inspired me with the personal challenges that they undertook and still continue to take, and I'm richer for knowing them.
And so I would like to think, that they would be pretty proud of me right now, as more than ten years later, I embark on another adventure. For somehow, I seem to have found myself in another Dream Team, spookily another team of five, who have already inspired me to challenge myself, forget about age and generally just have a blast.
They do say, of course, that one thing leads to another, and it appears to have all started with the sea swimming. If you had asked me a year ago if I’d have been swimming in the North Sea at -2 Celsius, I would have laughed hysterically, but it has simply turned a fear into an incredible experience and an experience into an exhilerating habit. And it appears that when you face one challenge, the universe conspires to send another one along, just to keep the momentum going. For the sea swimming, or sea floating about in my case, seems to have coincided with crazy friend Milly, having triathletes staying at her hotel, and inspired, and as usual up for anything, she sends me a message.
Her: "I'm starting a triathlon team and you're going to be in it."
Me: "Are you mad? No I'm not, I can't swim."
Her: "Yes you can, you sea swim, thanks to me of course."
Me: "That's not swimming and I can only do breast stroke."
Her: Lots of people do breast stroke, I’ve looked it up and it doesn’t matter because you're not going to win anyway. It'll just be for fun."
Me: Thanks, but I dont like running either, I was a sprinter at school, I don't like running."
Her: But you can do the super sprint, I’ve done my research, it’s only 16 lengths of a pool, a 12k cycle and it’s only a 3km run, you could do that now. And you’d be a super vet, because you’re getting on a bit."
Me: "I'm not doing a triathlon."
Her: "This is your last chance, you won’t be the oldest, Betty's older than you, you'll both be Super Vet’s, and its called the ‘TRY’ team as in Try, it'll be great fun, we'll raise lots of money for charity, come on be in the team, you know you want to. I've ordered team kit."
Me: "I’m not sure I do."
Her: "See, you said 'not sure', which means you do, you know you do, come on, it’ll be amazing, we’ll be amazing, it’s an adventure."
Me: Big sigh. "Ok then, but why I'm signing up to this, I have no idea."
I had, of course to look that up, and for those of you who don't know, it means 'fear of missing out'. And she was right, because even when she suggested it the first time, and I refused point blank, there was a little bit of me that was shouting yes, just do it, you know you want to. Life’s too short.
And so here we are. I'm in the Invernairne Try Team. Team kit has been purchased and she’s even bought a camper van which sleeps 6, for , god help us, when we “do the circuit” next year. But it doesn’t end there, because we might not have entered any triathlons yet, but unbelievably we seem to have entered the Loch Ness Etap; a baptism of fire if ever there was one. A 66 mile cycle with a torturous 4.8 mile climb. I only got my bike last year and the furthest I’ve cycled so far is 25 miles. But we're up for it. We've set ourselves up for indoor winter training, bought our bike trainers and downloaded apps. We’ve been to workshops with Bikes of Inverness where we've learnt to change a tyre, clean our bikes and try to ignore our Captain’s comments about lubrication, as well as set up a winter training program. We've dragged each other to circuit classes, and with the help of gorgeous dog Roxy who pulls me along, I've started running my 3 km. Some training sessions have gone a little better than others of course, but we’ve surprised ourselves with what we’re already capable of. So far it’s been fun, exciting and we’re all looking forward to world domination in 2019 and raising lots of money for charity.
The best bit for me though, has been to be back with a dream team of fabulous women, who aren’t afraid to challenge themselves; who have each other’s backs, who make me laugh and who genuinely inspire me to be a better person. It's also given Jim, my personal trainer, a valid excuse to push me even harder, so 2019 should be very interesting and I can guarentee that no amount of whinging will make the slightest bit of difference.
So Happy New year everyone, when it comes. If you've set challenges of your own, please give it your best shot. You'll feel so good if you achieve it. And if you think you're too old, or it's too late, you need to give yourself a stiff talking to. There are women at my circuit class in their seventies, I'm regularly thrashed by eighty year old golfers and my hubby's aunty Jane is still getting world records for swimming at 85. In short, life is for living and age is only a barrier if you allow it to be.
My book Trust Me I'm a Personal Trainer will definitly be out in January by the way. Im sorry it's taken so long, but sometimes that's just the way it is. I promise to give you the heads up as soon as Thor Thorogood is ready to be unleashed.
Thank you for all your support and encouragement.
Here's to 2019!