"For an occurrence to become an adventure, it is necessary and sufficient for one to recount it." ~ Jean-Paul Sartre

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Who Is?: Super Kate

I actually tried to write a post like this a few years ago and failed miserably. Back then pretty much everything about me was defined in terms of others…my roles in life and the things I did. Jeff’s wife, Daniel/Nathan/Jacob’s mother, my students’ teacher. If you asked me what I did outside of those roles, I’d tell you, “Um….I read a lot.” I didn’t have my own “thing”. We watched a lot of sports and movies. We camped. While I liked to do all of those things, I was just fitting myself into what my husband enjoyed. I can’t blame him; when he’d ask me what I wanted to do I didn’t know. I wasn’t so much an individual as a mirror.

We subscribed to National Geographic Adventure and Outside magazines. I read them cover to cover, dreaming of a life of adventure that seemed as out of reach as a date with Brad Pitt. Back then, I saw life mostly in terms of what I couldn’t do. I was afraid to try new things. Without someone to lead the way I hung back, bored but comfortable with the familiar. And then, at 35, I fell in love. Yes, I was already married, but it’s ok because I fell in love with bicycling.

Thanks to a lousy sense of direction I accidentally rode my new bike 15 miles, a distance that seemed astonishing to me at the time. That ride – to another town! – was the first time I ever understood the sense of accomplishment that comes with the journey. 15 miles turned into 30, then 60 and later 100. Later came the decision to train for a 5K with my sister-in-law. I didn’t even like running; it took almost a year before I’d call myself a runner, but I did love the challenge. Running friendships led me to adventure racing and a whole host of new things: orienteering, mountain biking, paddling, bushwhacking, racing through the night.

Somewhere in all of this, I made a shift that has truly changed me life. Instead of saying “I can’t”, I started wondering, “Can I?” And for me, the process of answering that question matters infinitely more than the actual answer.

Can I run a marathon? Yes.
Can I race for 24 hours straight? Yes.
Can I rappel for the first time ever at night? Yes.
Can I ascend a 100-foot rock wall? Eventually.
Can I ride my bike 200 miles in a day? Not yet.

I don’t like to fail, but I’m no longer so afraid of failure that I refuse to try things that call to me. My circumstances haven’t changed, but my world is much bigger. I’m still a wife and a mother and a teacher and a reader…and a runner and mountain biker and adventure racer. I like a good challenge, can often be found jumping in over my head, and can probably be talked into joining your hairbrained scheme. I’m living the same basic life, but now it’s filled with adventure and adventurous people, and when I say “I can’t”, it’s most often to tell you “I can’t wait!”

I’m Kate. Who are you?
You can read more about Super Kate on her blog by clicking here.


  1. Replies
    1. I think it speaks to a lot of people. Common themes that many have experienced, capped off with a little light at the end of the tunnel. I glad Kate agreed to participate.

  2. You rock Kate. So glad I met you randomly through Tom W. I love your adventurous spirit and view on life.

    You might not want me to drive with your bike on the back of my car anymore, but if I were to total it, you would get a new bike. :-)

    1. I forgot about that incident.

    2. I'm glad we met, too, Mike! Even if you did try to smush my bike. ;-)

  3. Great Post! I love how 'I Can't' turned into 'Can I?'