Physically painful activities:
- Birth of Emma and recovery - painful labor was on and off from Thursday - birth on Monday. Birth was a c-section after 3.5 hours of pushing, so recovery was not as fun. Plus it was the first time so that wasn't fun, either. Prize at the end: My wonderful and lovable first daughter!
- Birth of Katie and recovery - less long, only from Sunday night - Tuesday morning. She was born semi-naturally, so the recovery was different and heinous in a different way. Prize at the end: My unique and sweet second daughter!
- Writing my honors thesis my senior year. This was physically painful because I had so much doubt in myself during this time period that I was horrid during winter training that year - each practice was total physical and emotional misery. Prize at the end: an A- (after I rewrote the entire 40 pages the weekend before it was due because my adviser became suddenly totally crazy and I realized I shouldn't trust her...she never read it, so an A- at U of M for my honors thesis written with no adviser's help was probably pretty good)
- A crazy hike Bill and I did in Glacier National Park. We took a wrong turn and ended up walking 19 miles with packs on, at elevation, with no training, on the sides of crazy cliffs in high winds, in one day. Prize at the end: shower and a bed
- Pregnancies - nausea, giantness at the end, and whatever else there was. I can barely remember it now. (prizes mentioned above, but also Nathan)
- Sports in general. I only picked sports that involved endurance, misery, and mental toughness over any sport that required natural talent and on-the-go brains (ran cross country and track in high school and rowed in college) Plus I was too big to be a good runner and not big enough to be a fantastic rower, but still wanted to be one of the best on the team. All of them involved nothing but months of hard, long practices and just a few fun races at the end. Prize at the end: boxes of medals/awards, 2 teeny scholarships for college, good memories, inspiring and wonderful friends
Emotionally painful activites:
- Mom's death
- Nathan in the ICU for 9 days after birth (so hard, I didn't even realize I was recovering from a c-section and pregnancy, I don't even remember physical pain)
- Honors Thesis - the writing, the horrible adviser who turned at the last minute, and presenting it at graduation, and the terrible, crippling self-doubt that crept into every part of my life. Prize at the end: Better self esteem after I actually pulled it off by myself. I wonder why I was so worked up in the first place? I guess I never thought I would be able to do a good enough job, and I didn't think I could take a bad grade on something I'd worked so hard on. So dumb.
- First pregnancy and deciding to be a mom instead of going to vet school as planned
- Lonely summer in France. I was an intern at a small company, I'm not good at making friends, I'm so not French (didn't look it, didn't dress it, I can't sit still during 4 hour meals, I just did not fit in, didn't know how to even try, was just so awkward). So lonely. Prize: I learned how to be by myself a lot and be happy, plus Bill came to visit at the end.
I should say, parents, make your children do at least one endurance sport in their lives! If they have some sort of crazy challenge ahead they will have some practice in at least thinking they are tough...(even if it turns out not to be true) Plus the good news is, you don't have to be an amazing runner to be on a cross country team, and you don't have to even have any experience (so far) to try rowing in college. I'm going to have to use psychological trickery to convince the 4 members of my little family that the kids need to at least try one of these sports, but I hope I will win.