Most of all, I've always wanted to cross the majestic Golden Gate Bridge, by foot--and I thought that doing it as part of a group would solemnize it.
You would think that two novices would create a plan about how to meet this kind of challenge, but summer came and and the one thing we had done was meet every Sunday morning for a comfortable jog. The majority of Sunday mornings we ran 10 minutes and walked 2 minutes, for about as long as it took us to run four miles.
Meanwhile, in the few weeks leading up to the race, my friend Brette sent the link to Jane McGonigal's most recent TED talk, in which she tells the story of how she created a game to help herself heal from a concussion. I found the talk so compelling that I ended up reading her book, Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us better and How They Can Change the World. Many things about the book have stuck with me, but one of them was her description of fiero:
"it's possibly the most primal emotional rush we can experience. Fiero is the Italian word for, 'pride,' and it's been adopted by game designers to describe an emotional high we don't have a good word for in English. Fiero is what we feel after we triumph over adversity. You know it when you feel it--and when you see it. That's because we almost all express fiero in exactly the same way: we throw our arms over our head and yell. The fact that virtually all humans physically express fiero in the same way is a sure sign that it's related to some of our most primal emotions."
From her description, I knew exactly what she was talking about. And I realized, I actually had not had that many experiences of that feeling in my life, I was curious if, now at the age of 40 as a mom, if I was likely to encounter fiero in my path. It seemed unlikely. Life was about to set me up for something interesting.
Fast forward to the week before our race. To manage some pre-race jitters, Laurel fell into a an effective longtime coping strategy, which is to read, voraciously read about our race. She mined the following important nugget: