It only took me 33 years to follow my dad’s advice on setting and achieving goals.
It’s not that I hadn’t accomplished some spectacular things up to this point. It’s just that, from childhood until now, none of them have been achieved solely by my own desire, hard work and follow-through.
I was a four-sport athlete in high school and then focused exclusively on softball in college. Throughout those years, I formed some pretty terrific friendships with coaches and teammates and took home countless trophies. As I grew older, I came to better appreciate the former over the latter.
A combined academic and athletic scholarship coupled with unwavering support from my parents allowed me to do what no one else in my immediate family had done. I graduated summa cum laude with the help of teachers and advisors who selflessly guided me every step of the way.
I secured a gratifying job at a promising company and got married the same year. That company and spouse have stuck with me for the past 11 years.
I became a mom to three beautiful children, all healthy and hearty (8 lbs, 14.5 oz; 8 lbs, 11 oz; and 9 lbs) and have watched them transform from helpless babies to independent thinkers and doers. I developed a new kind of appreciation for my parents and my in-laws and experienced a stronger love for my husband.
After completing a boot camp earlier this year with my dear friend and fellow Thursday blogger, Melissa, the instructor handed me a note card and asked me to write down my next life goal. It was that day I decided I would train for and complete my first-ever triathlon.
As a triathlon virgin, did I know what this commitment entailed? Absolutely not. It was not until someone pointed out that they thought it was awesome I was entering an Olympic-distance triathlon as my first ever event did I realize there were actually four different distance categories: Sprint, Olympic, Half Ironman and Ironman.
An Olympic-distance triathlon consists of 32 miles of swimming, cycling and running. Sounds awesome, right? If you think so, you’re nuts. But I wanted to prove it was possible for inexperienced endurance types like me to complete the unthinkable. If Team Hoyt can do it, then surely so could I.
So last Sunday, I logged a time of 3 hours, 38 minutes and 28 seconds in Omaha’s inaugural event at Glenn Cunningam Lake. I felt on top of the world as I crossed the finish line in under four hours, which was my goal time. I knew this was the first time I could honestly say that I did something entirely motivated by my own desire to improve myself.
You have all joined me on my journey, whether you realized it or not. I even documented what it was like to get to know me again. People have come up to me and said, “What you did was amazing.” But what is really amazing is the level of support and encouragement I received from the moment I announced I was taking on this challenge.
Everyone has cheerleaders in their life, whether or not they realize it. Below is a list of mine. The Academy Award-winning actress trapped inside of me now hears the orchestra music breaking in to interrupt me. If you choose to go to commercial break, I will understand, but I need to thank these people for what they have done for me.
And, most importantly, I hope my kids don’t wait until they turn 33 to start writing down their goals.
Dan and Judy Geier
Joe and Mindy Skoff
Marty and Amy Wolff
Aaron and Jess Woodard
Doug and Lori Woodard
Kristi and Kelsey Woodard
Dan and Carrie Zoucha
Heidi Woodard is married with three children. She works full-time.