Last weekend I found myself on Culebra Peak looking like this:
It was about 11:00 am and I was headed off of a windy, cold summit about a hundred yards behind Chris. We were walking down a large grassy hill and as I closed one of my five hoods around my head to gaurd against the wind I tried to ignore my knee that screamed with every step. I looked ahead and saw Chris and Turbo walking gleefully down the slope without a care in the world.
Eventually the "ow, ow, ow" in my head was interrupted by an interesting thought "how did I get here?"
Not here in the theological sense, but rather, how did I (a person who appreciates nature's beauty but has never been one to engulf myself in it) end up on a cold and windy 14er on a random weekend in the middle of the busiest part of the school year -- my 7th in less than three months?
Even more than simply being there, how did I end up loving being there? How could I find being wind-burned, tired, 5 hours from home, and having a screaming knee fun? How could I make it through a whole trip like this without complaining? I've never been the "adventurous" one in the family. No one would look at me or meet me and think "hard core." Pretty soon I looked ahead and saw this:
I realized I have one person to thank, or to blame, for all of this: Chris.
Then I got quite nostalgic. And here it will spew into a pre-Moab tribute to my wonderful husband:
Chris, you challenge me like no one else in my life.
From the day we met, you have pushed me to do things that I would normally shy away from. Even the way we met was a challenge to my personality. My brother invited me to a triathlon team party where I wouldn't know anyone but my brother and his girlfriend, and there would be "this Chris guy who you might like." Luckily my roommate was out of town and I, in very un-marni-like fashion, said I would go. Even now, I don't think I'd go. I'm not sure what got into me. Once there I "danced" to Nelly with that strange Chris guy (I don't dance, and I REALLY don't dance to hip-hop, especially with some random guy I just met) and as the evening progressed, I snuck away from the cops. Obviously, from day 1, you challenged me to push the limits that I had unknowlingly set on my personality.
You've gotten me to work on and drive race cars. You've given me the opportunity to learn to drive and ride on a sport bike. You taught me to run and somewhat enjoy it. You've even showed me how to slide in a car in the snow and not think I'm going to immediately die. Most recently we've learned to hike 14ers together... I've learned that I can lose footing and not slide off the mountain... I've learned the wind can blow and I won't blow away... I've learned that I'm actually not too bad at peeing above treeline. You've introduced me to the great world of biking... I've learned that I can fall and not break things... I've learned that I can go downhill above 5 mph and the bike won't spontaneously combust... I've learned that I can race other girls and not totally suck.
Without you in my life I never would've experienced these adventures and I never would've learned those lessons. While I feel good about my accomplishments... I see what you attempt, what you accomplish, what you aspire to do with your life, and
it humbles me.
Many people call you "crazy." Hey, I've even called you crazy (even my blog header hints at such). Most people see what you do and think that there's something wrong with you.
What I don't tell you often enough, is that I admire what you do. I wish we all had the attitude that you have when looking at challenges. You see an adventure, no matter how outrageous, and think "I can do that" while I look at the same adventure and tend to think "I could never do that".
Luckily for me, you tend to believe in me much more than I ever believe in myself.
Luckily for you, I tend to believe in you even more than you believe in yourself.
I know that a few rides have brought down your bike confidence this year. I also know that you can do anything you put your mind to.
I can't wait to be your crew at 24 hours of Moab again this year. Every race you enter or ride you attempt, I look at you with such admiration and pride. To me, despite what I may sometimes say, you aren't crazy. You are wonderful, smart, talented, and ambitious. Without your "craziness," I wouldn't be half the person I am today and you wouldn't be half the person you are either. I love you because of what you have accomplished and dream to accomplish, not in spite of it.
You are, and will always be, my puzzle piece. Our personalities may be quite different but it's our differences that make us fit together perfectly. Thank you for making me a better person.
Good luck this weekend in your big race. I can't wait to be there to push you out on your bike and cheer the loudest for you as you finish. I'm your biggest fan and I'm proud of you for even attempting such great things.
P.S. Remember during the race that I may be mean at 2:00 am, but it's for your own good :)