The Great Mousetrap Puzzle

Folks! It’s almost the weekend. Whoohoooooo! I was digging back through old content, after taking a well-deserved week off from my blog to celebrate three years, and stumbled upon this great graphic. I used to own fancy rats, yes, they’re fancy and that’s what they’re called, and returning home to their enthusiastic shenanigans was always the highlight of my day. This picture not only reminds me of them but also brought fresh ideas about great things coming to those who wait (or simply outsmart the mousetrap puzzle). image Life is a grand puzzle, one of those 5000 piece monstrosities where the mountains are reflected in a crystal clear lake – you know what I’m talking about. The puzzle that causes you to pull out your hair, jump up and down, and lock yourself in your log cabin for a long weekend just so you can conquer the taunting pieces and chant your battle cry up and down the campground while pounding your chest. Sigh… There’s nothing more rewarding than getting all the pieces placed precisely. It’s not so much the excitement and thrill of being able to hang the puzzle (if you choose) on your wall in permanent, glued glory, but it’s the process and the experience of tackling that obstacles with friends/family while drinking hot chocolate, telling stories, and developing an experience around something as simple and rudimentary as a puzzle.

I think of the most rewarding moments in my life, and not only has every single one of them zipped by in a blur, but I’ve always been either A) surrounded by the people who actually matter or B) spent the majority of the journey getting ready for that big moment surrounded by the people who actually matter… see the trend? Yes, we all know life is about the journey not the finish line, it’s a marathon not a sprint, blah blah blah, please people! The joys of life are sculpted from the experiences within the minutia, not necessarily the grand moments we hold so dear. Those moments absolutely impact us, like my journey to 20 Lakes Basin, but there are times even in something so epic as that scenery when the thing I enjoyed the most was sharing a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with my dog, taking in the natural beauty of Yosemite. Oh, and getting a kick of Lucy trying to get the PB off the roof of her mouth! Bahaha!

Triathlon season is upon us yet again – big number eight for me – that’s a long time to be invested in a (multi)sport. I like to think I’m decent at what I do, but really I’m in it for the thrill of the competition, the rigorous training and grind as I push myself to new limits, and of course, the satisfaction of streaking across the finish line. Last year was my first foray into the world of IRONMAN, this year brings two 70.3’s and one of the world’s most difficult 140.6’s up at Lake Tahoe, and I’ve got my sights set on Kona. I don’t have plans to beat everyone in my age group or spend 30 hours a week training, but I want to go to the World Championships. This year or next, or sometime before I’m 50, I want to go toe-to-toe on Kona with the triathlon big boys and girls. There, it’s in writing, now I’m accountable. Like the mouse outsmarting the trap, I’ve got a journey ahead of me and it’s paved with successes in the work place, wonderful friends, road trips, races, lots of eating, and adventures with my furry friend.

I have found that the horrible, awful, brutal times are really the moments where we are required to rise above the situation, digging deep within the self to just hang on for one second longer, and to endure well beyond our perceived point of breaking. Only after being scrapped and dragged through the bottom of a barrel can we truly grow and stretch as a person as we continue down a path of self-improvement. Between miles 126 and 134 of an IRONMAN is where you really experience the bruises of being crushed by the bottom. I thought my race was over before I even reached the 19th mile of the marathon, and yet miles 20 – 26.2 were some of my best that I ran the whole day. I can’t explain it away; I just know that when you are left with your thoughts, your aching body, and the results of months and years’ worth of training, you are faced with two choices: get across the finish line safely or give up. Iron_Man_flight I would not dare to suggest that people who aren’t ultra-endurance athletes don’t experience failure first hand; I am only speaking from experience, and triathlon is my experience. An eleven hour race is bound to bring you face to face with failure, poised like a cobra ready to strike with deadly and ferocious force but a moment that provides the opportunity for empowerment to meet the challenge or fall back broken into the mud… Happy Friday! Tackle those puzzles this weekend.

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