The first big idea came to me while I was watching the Biggest Loser.  These people, ordinary people, set an unthinkable goal and went for it. They didn't give up, they didn't give in (not even to Jillian)... they gave it all they had. And they did it. They all did it. Each won, prize or not, was a winner.

I wanted that. I wanted to set a goal beyond my reach and reach it anyway. And so the big idea came to me when Allison, the show's host announced a program offered in conjunction with the Presential Fitness Challenge. People could support their favorite player by joining that person's team and working toward a certificate earned by getting 30 minutes of exercies 5 times a week, adding new healthy eating habits each week, and keeping this all up for the duration of the challenge. A certificate. I wanted to do that.

And so I joined the team of my favorite player. Later I decided he was kind of a jerk for stalling the show because he didn't like a twist in the game and joined another team instead, but that's probably another story. But anyway, I earned my certificate. I was a winner. It said so. But I wanted more.

And that's when I got the next big idea. Why not aim high? Very high. Like mountain kind of high.

That was it. I would climb Mount Washington. I used my new health habits to train every day. I lived, breathed, dreamed Mount Washington. I read stories about the weather - the worst in the world - and the many people who set off alive and came back otherwise. I watched survival shows and planned strategies for fighting bears, dodging lightning bolts, and making snow caves. And on one glorious summer day, I left my hike plans, and packed everything I needed including identification for my remains, and set off for the top of the world. And I got there. I also got back down, arriving with an awkward walk, part pain and part swagger. I was, after all, the woman who had climbed one of the most dangerous mountains without eating a single bug or fellow hiker.

I soon needed the next big idea. And I found it. Or them. 47 big ideas, to be exact. I decided to climb all of the other the mountains on the Appachain Mountain Club's 48 4000 footer list. Mount Washington, it turns out, is only of 48 mountains on a list kept by the AMC. People who climb then all submit an application for an award. I had a certificate, so why not an award? Climbing 48 mountains, it turns out, takes a lot of gear, time, planning, and actual survival skills, especially if you climb in winter, too, which I did. But it's doable. The certificate on my wall is proof of that.

Certificates are nice, but they get one to thinking. Why not a medal, too? 

And so I signed up for an off road challenge held at a Spartan race. I didn't have to do all of the obstacles, but if I did, I would earn the medal for the challenge AND a Spartan medal. Why not two medals? I had my answer to that question at the first obstacle I reached but I had already face planted in mud and wanted revenge on that course. I got revenge, my medals, and mud so deep in my ears I was still cleaning it out days later. That, too, is another story.

Medals are nice. And so I got to thinking again. What about a really big medal? I could finish a Spartan Trifecta, get all three medals and pieces that assemble into one big Trifecta medal. That means I would need to finish in one calandar year all three kinds of Spartan races: a sprint (don't let the name fool you), a super (what you need to be to get through), and a beast (as bad as it sounds). 

That part I didn't plan on was running alone. My partner in life, hikes, and races had a surgery on his rotator cuff that involved repairing the tendon, filing bone, and reposition his bicep tendon. He won't be back climbing mountains for another couple of months and as for races... fugettaboutit. One year. 

But I'm not injured and I'm already entered. And so the unthinkable is ahead of me: a Spartan Trifecta, solo. 

I'm afraid. But not afraid of failure. I know I can do this. It will hurt. I will cry, sweat, and bleed, but I will make it through on my own steam. No, failure doesn't scare me. What does? Only one thing...

The next big idea.