A few weeks ago I released a Facebook status.
I don't know why I didn't write a blog post the minute my feet once again touched solid ground but it's taken me almost a month to figure out exactly what that first half hour back on a horse meant to me. My first thought as I approached this beast of a horse was that he was absolutely massive. Of course he is, he (his name's Max btw and he is my new BFF-don't tell my cat) has to lift a (then) 16 stone unsure human as she tries to remember how to rise in trot without damaging her crotch. I took to the mounting block and then freaked out. I haven't told any one this so you're all the first to know. He's so tall, what if I fall off? What if I can't do this? What if I can't even swing my leg over his saddle? He kept moving about, wasn't close enough, was too close. All the excuses. I was once again the girl I was when I first went running back in July 2013. And then it happened. I threw my leg over, was sat on and we moved together. The tears happened almost instantly. Pure, unadulterated joy. When the half hour was up and I'd figured out how to get off of this enormous creature- I cannot stress enough just how large Max is- I stroked his face and thanked him for the most amazing gift. In that half hour, and every subsequent half hour, he has given me a part of life that I'd only ever really dreamed of getting. For months I'd thought that getting back on a horse was just so far off, and yet here I am with my booked in weekly 8am Sunday lessons (I am NOT a morning person, so you can work out for yourself how much this means to me) and loving every moment of the connection and every moment that I can feel my body getting stronger, more capable and increasingly up to the challenge that is horse riding.
I was thinking to myself on my way back from ballet this evening that a couple of weeks ago I would have said ballet and horse riding were my main joys. And they are. I clearly love that damn horse and I love rediscovering the awesome- actually kind of ridiculous- things I can do with my body that made me good at ballet in the first place. I was telling myself that the slog in the gym and running was remedied by the treat of ballet and my time with Max. Until today. I'd had a hell of a yoga class (this hot yoga is like on steroids or something, I have never sweated so much) and left with such a sense of achievement. With every run, I grow stronger and fitter, my endurance and stamina continue to grow and I get to think freely and just be with myself. In the gym I love competing with my own personal best, I love how competent I feel. Everything I do, activity wise, feeds into something else and my enjoyment and achievement of each activity enables a greater commitment to the others. When people say that I must be so proud of all I've achieved over the last 2 and a bit years I comment that it's not just a pride of the achievement. I have such an overwhelming sense of competency, of capability and that is not something I think I can truthfully say I've felt before.
There are 99 days left until I do Tough Mudder. One of my managers at work made a comment upon discovering that I was doing it that I must really hate myself to go through such an ordeal. I know that there are countless people out there that see obstacle runs and marathons and triathlons as some kind of punishment that only we masochistic individuals sign up for. Maybe that's true. But what I can tell you for certain is that, for me, completing Tough Mudder will be the culmination of 2 and a half year's hard work. Hard work that has shown me that I can do amazing things, if I only step out of my comfort zone.