Starting off strong

It’s easy to put a lot of pressure on the first days of the New Year – but with the help of my friends and family, I took my first steps towards making the most of 2016.

First up was an New Year’s Day reverse triathlon proposed by my friend and teammate, Alex. While the first two legs, a 3.5 mile run and fat bike ride, seemed completely sane to me, we upped the ante with the final stage – a polar plunge.

While Alex was an experienced cold water plunger, Nancy and I were newbies, and the idea of getting in the water had me nervous and a bit nauseous. But as is the case with these women, they both inspire me and encourage me to go beyond my comfort zone (even if for just a few seconds).

Scenes from a polar plunge

As is also the case, getting over my fears leaves me feeling strong and fulfilled (if, this time, a wee bit chilly).

Saturday morning started off early as I headed into Boston with a friend and neighbor to raise money for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute as part of The Resolution by PMC. Having successfully hit my fundraising goal of $250 (big thanks to my parents and my friend Heather), I rode for one hour with PMC founder Billy Starr, local newscaster Lisa Hughes and other PMC riders.

Despite my improved fitness, the workout led by Everybody Fights instructor David J. Bergeron, Jr kicked my ass – and as you can see in the photo below, it showed!

Photo credit: The Resolution

But the reason I’m in the photo at all is the real success story – with rows of empty bikes near the front, my friend and I decided to do something completely unprecedented for either of us. We moved to the front row.

There is comfort to staying in center. To be protected. To hide in plain site. To avoid criticism and praise.

But this is the year to do epic shit. To go big or go home. So there I was. Front row. Center. In clear view of our instructor who had no qualms about telling me to push it, or to crank up the tension on my bike.

In clear view of the photographer who caught this moment where what I look like on the outside matches how I feel on the inside. Strong. Badass. Beautiful.

Photo credit: 13 Photography

In addition to inspiring me to complete the “real” thing (the Pan-Mass Challenge), it was an amazing opportunity to catch up with a friend I don’t get to see often enough, and with whom I hope I’ll be riding with more this year.

Back at the house before my kids were out of pajamas, I had time for one more outing – a fat bike ride with our daughter while Steve worked and our son went to a birthday party.


Today I’m embracing the mundane – taking down the tree, doing all the laundry, cleaning the mud room, and getting ready for the week ahead – but as I look back on the last few days, I can say we’ve kicked off 2016 perfectly.