Last week, my daughter Georgia, completed her first adventure race. The race took 6 ½ hours, was a combination of running, canoeing and mounting biking. When she decided to do the race, I was proud of her willingness to try something new and do it for a good cause. After the race I was even prouder of her ability to stick it out and finish the race. Even better than that though, was how proud she was of herself.
She didn’t do the race alone, but as a team with her father. While she was racing our two youngest children and I planned to stop in along the way to cheer them on. At two hours however, I could already tell she was extremely tired, and I quickly began worrying about her ability to finish the race. We saw her again at three hours, and decided to follow them the rest of the race, in case she decided she couldn’t make it.
The last 3 ½ hours were nothing but mountain biking, so I took a photo of their map and stopped along the route after every extreme bit of terrain, in case she decided at the end that was enough, but she never quit. When I stopped at the top of a hill, she would decide she just wanted to see if she could make it down. Then at the bottom she felt rejuvenated and ready to at least give one more hill a shot.
The last large hill was more than 2 miles up very steep terrain. Coming around one corner I could see she was ready to quit, and that she had nothing left. One step at a time, she made it up, and nearly 45 minutes after starting up the hill she made it to the top. The last time I saw her on the route, she was flying down the other side of the mountain, screaming with joy. The look on her face when she knew she had made it was priceless.
Georgia had to leave the next day for summer camp, and we spent the night driving to get back to the airport. She was tired and sore, the whole drive, but the smile never left her face. When we finally got to the gate for her flight, early the next morning, still tired she told me how proud she was of herself. She said that she didn’t think that she was going to make it and that she had no idea of just how much she could do.
Georgia already continues to amaze me, but now I couldn’t be in more awe. Few people ever really push themselves hard enough to realize that their limits are self-imagined. Now, for her, nothing is impossible.