Turning 30 was a dark day for this girl.

I will never forget the great sense of I despair felt. I was inconsolable.

My melancholy had little to do with the textbook worries of any female leaving their 20’s behind. There were no thoughts of my single girl status, entry-level job, asset-less lifestyle. No!

The God honest truth is that one thought, and one thought alone dominated my mind, “I may never make it to the Olympics!”.

Entering my thirties [6 years ago] without having reached any kind of substantial athletic peak was similar to having one foot in what I was convinced was my ‘grave of athletic dreams’. Not to mention, I hadn’t even chosen my discipline yet!

I am a tomboy by nature and played most team sports offered at my high school. I thought of myself as a contender and never once did I consider time as a limiting factor.

Call me naïve but I was devastated and not having any of it!

Fast-forward 6 years – with much needed perspective gained – and my dreams of Olympic athletic glories are subsiding. The years have taught me to be a bit more realistic with my goals. I also feel much more focused mentally and perhaps even a little stubborn, which doesn’t hurt when your body is screaming at you to give up.

I may never represent my country in the great games, but when I train, I’m an Olympian in my mind and I’m proud of it! I’m the every day Olympian and there are lots of us around!

I have committed myself to a few races this year. It’s a big year of firsts.

In May I’ll be running the Blue Nose half marathon as part of Team in Training Atlantic. This is the second year for the team and if you were a part of the Blue Nose last year, you might remember their runners in bright purple shirts.

You’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t been affected by cancer in some way.

Two of my girlfriends fought various forms of the disease and as a friend, it was hard to not feel powerless. Setting this goal helped me feel like I was doing something to help them and I have to say, it’s been incredibly motivating. I’ve challenged myself to raise $5000 for cancer research and as a bonus, I get to run 13.1 miles! So far, it’s been a blast meeting and getting to know my teammates.

For more information, http://www.teamintraining.ca/hal.

In June, I’ll be racing the Mont Tremblant half Iron Man competition. I’ve never done a triathlon in my life and this goal is by far, the craziest thing I’ve ever set out to accomplish. Most of my training to date is triathlon based. Hours of swimming, biking and running with amazing strength training added to the mix to keep me tough.

I’ve really thrown myself into our amazing sport community here in Halifax.

On any given day, you will find me working hard at the Dartmouth Sportsplex, Canada Games Centre, The Tower at Saint Mary’s University, Core Essentials spin classes or running the many streets and paths who dare challenge me.

There are many everyday Olympians with much knowledge and resources behind them who make this city awesome.

Then on July 1st, Nova Scotia will host its first ever Iron Man distance race called EPIC DARTMOUTH. Athletes from all over the world are coming here, to swim, bike and run our little Dartmouth. How cool is that?! It’s going to be an incredible day. Who knows, with a year’s worth of crazy training under my belt, you may see me in EPIC DARTMOUTH 2013. Only time will tell.

What I do know is that I’m going to give this Mont Tremblant half Iron Man my all and won’t let Nova Scotia down.

I’ll be bringing home the gold! (In my mind).

Tara MacDonald is originally from Toronto and now resides in Dartmouth, NS. Tara is co-owner of Two If By Sea Cafe where she’s become famous for her “massively” delicious croissants. You can even follow Tara’s journey on her blog Lucky Number 31.1. She’s a business women by day; workout freak by night.

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