Wednesday, November 30, 2011

peace at the beach...

I'm a mountain girl at heart - growing up in Colorado seems to make that a given. I love nothing more than hitting a trail at the break of dawn, with each step bringing me closer to discovering a hidden jewel of a place. There is something special about each of those places; it's as if I was the one to discover them for the very first time.

But my love of the mountains has always had some competition... the ocean. I love it; love the smell, the sounds, the power of the crashing waves, the soothing affect it has on me. When I imagine the perfect vacation I see myself at a bungalow by the ocean, with a huge deck that wraps around the house and allows me to sit outside and take in every site and sound around me.

I saw this video and immediately felt a connection - it captures how I feel about the ocean so much better than any words I could write. Which means no more writing for me, check out this awesome video. (which has also inspired me to add another item to my bucket list)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

the circle...

Dad at the tulip festival in Washington state, one of many trips him and mom took.

It was four years ago that we lost my dad. A day doesn't go by that I don't think about him and his influence on not only myself, but so many others. He was just one of those guys that accepted you where you were at, and so many people were impacted by this amazing trait of his.

Dad doing one of his favorite things
Dad always worked with youth, many of them troubled. Here he was, this middle-aged, middle-class, white guy from Arkansas who was able to relate and connect to hard core gang members. He didn't know their culture, their language or their background, but that didn't seem to matter. What did matter was he looked at each of those kids and never saw the trouble they caused or their crazy past, he only saw the future and what they COULD be. And these kids knew that, knew how much he believed in them.

But what I most remember about dad was his quiet commitment to civil rights - this goes back to having grown up in Arkansas, a place that was segregated everywhere but the place he spent the most time: the local Boys Club. Dad grew up not knowing that he was supposed to believe that a different skin color made you less of a human being. I think this has a lot to do with his trait I mentioned above - he learned early on that you don't judge people by the way they look or what you may have heard about them.

Dad and mom on their wedding day
Dad went on to work in Boy's Clubs most of his adult life. I remember him telling me about his work at a Boy's Club in New Mexico in the 60's - he would travel for hours with the basketball team to make their evening games, then turn back around and drive those hours back home in the middle of the night... all because hotels would not allow blacks to stay there. Or the restaurants that would not serve the team because some of the players were black. He never let it stop him, but kept plowing through and doing the right thing.

I grew up as one of the only girls allowed in the "boy's only" club. (which I must admit, I loved. I was a tomboy and loved hanging with boys - dolls, and girls, were so boring). Dad's belief that everyone deserved a chance also went for his daughter. I was never told I couldn't do something cause "I was just a girl." If I wanted to try something, I could. It was a nice way to grow up.

There's been a big hole since dad died - life does go on, but there is always the thought "I wish he could be here." There were my adventure races that I wished he had been able to be at - he loved not only watching his kids compete, but he loved people. And by the time I would have ended the race, he would have met every single person involved in the race and know their "life story." (I get my love of stories from my dad).  I climbed my first 14'er the weekend before he died - I remember wishing he had been able to see my pictures, see that I had succeeded in my goal and wanting to hear the story behind each of the pics. I have to believe that he does know and is smiling at the way my life has turned out.

I have been thinking about dad more lately - some dear friends are having to deal with their father's diagnosis of terminal brain cancer and I spent the weekend with them as they process the news. This family is like my own, I love them and hate to see them suffer. They have hard decisions ahead of them and the grief that they will experience as they walk this road is never easy. I remember how hard it was to watch dad suffer, knowing that he hated being in the hospital all those months and not being able to do anything about it.

There is a helpless feeling when someone you know is dying - our natural response is to want to make everyone feel better, to help make their grief easier. I'm trying to figure out how I can be there for them, all the while knowing that this grief is what they have to experience - it's a part of life.

Watching them deal with their dad's illness has been hard, it's bringing back many feelings from dad's death 4 years ago. But I also know I have a perspective that other's may not have and I'm not going to let my feelings get in the way of my being there for them.

It's exactly what dad would have done, and I can't imagine a better example of how to do it right.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


5 months.

It's been 5 months since I had surgery. 5 MONTHS!

And what have I been doing? working. a lot. a lot, a lot.

I've also been hiking, and traveling (California baby!), and kayaking, and, oh did I mention it, working?

It's been kind of hard trying to keep up with all my extra curricular activities due to that oh so annoying thing called a job.

Don't get me wrong, I still love my job, absolutely love it. But I'm beginning to realize how easy I had it before, when I had all this leisure time to train and play. It was such a luxury.

Sigh, I miss those days.

Now I'm trying to find some sort of balance, all while trying to figure out how I can go back to school for my masters, and train for racing season next year, and fit in my family and friends, and oh yeah, actually get some work done.

Did I forget to mention I love my new hip?  No pain, no problems: love it, love it, love it.

Does this seem like a rather abstract post?

Yeah, I thought so.

It's a perfect illustration of my brain right now - abstract and scattered.

I think it's time for me to get some sleep - it doesn't happen often, but I do sleep... sometimes.

Monday, June 20, 2011

i now get to set off the airport scanners...

It has been just about 2 weeks since I had surgery and I am now spending my time laying around and watching lots of tv, aka recovery. I've got to admit, I'm enjoying the whole 'being lazy' portion of this adventure; it has been quite wonderful and I'm getting a bit spoiled with being waiting on hand and foot. Unfortunately it won't last forever, I am already moving around pretty well and can't keep getting away with the "mom, will you get such and such for me?" She is only going to buy my helpless act for so long.

Overall, I'm pretty happy that I did this. Within a few days I could see a huge difference in the pain coming from my hip, as in there is none! The pain I'm feeling is from the muscles they had to cut to get to the hip, and that is already starting to be minimal.

And another plus? I CAN REACH MY TOES!!! I know this sounds silly, but you have no idea how hard it is to not be able to bend down to put on socks, or shoes, or nail polish. Putting on clothes was even difficult. I'm over the moon on how easy it all is now!

And now a little lesson on hips, or in particular my hip.

The illustration below shows what my hip looked like BEFORE the surgery. The hip joint was pretty much completely worn, the Dr. said the joint had worn down to the point that the bones were crushing each other. And yes, I think I felt all those lovely crushed bones in every step I took.

The image below is my new and improved hip, officially named Hippolyta ( I LOVE this name!) See how pretty it is?! It looks like one big metal implant, but in reality it is 4-parts pieced together like legos. Amazing what medicine can do, I look at that and think whoa, that's inside of me???!!!

I've got lots of recovery time before I can hit the trails again and I am on certain restrictions while the implant grafts to my bone. But I am looking forward to, once again, being able to come up here to blog about the latest mountain I climbed or the trail I rode or the race I ran! 

Oh yeah, I'm back.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

moab, here I come...

How do I describe the past month?

Exhausting? Hellish? Overwhelming? Draining? Devastating?

I think all of the above pretty much fits.

The thing is, I've never had 'this' happen before. There are always those bad weeks where maybe work was tough, or relationship issues, personal issues, and so on. But usually they don't happen all at once... at the same time... and in an extremely intense manner.

That was my month; you could almost call it my 'bermuda triangle' of months.

And in the midst of all of this, in the midst of the craziness and heartache and exhaustion, something pretty exciting happened.

I found out I'm getting a new hip.

I started noticing pain in my hip during my trip to Alaska in the fall of 2009. I thought it was from a bike accident earlier that year, but low and behold it wasn't. I have osteoarthritis, a condition that runs in my family. My mom has it, my aunt, my grandmother, etc. I had kind of hoped I would be the one generation it would skip but I wasn't that lucky.

And so here I am, getting ready to embark on another adventure, (June 7th to be exact!) one that I didn't plan for or really want. It means I can't run again, which I admit is very disappointing. But I will be able to hike and bike and climb and do all sorts of stuff that I can't do right now. And, I'll be able to get back to running adventure races!

Which brings me to Moab - I WILL be running a 12 hour adventure race next March in Moab. That's my goal - I plan on hitting the ground 'running' after surgery and I'm not going to look back.

And all that other crap? Someday I'll forget all about it. Until then, I'll just concentrate on my new adventure and hope all the other stuff will fade away or at the very least, get better.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

a list, a list, a lovely list

In honor of one of my favorite blogs, (and because I'm feeling too lazy to actually write a coherent post) I'm going to write a "what's been happening to me lately" list. Here it goes...

1.  Sweet, sweet relief: Gertrude (aka my right hip) is doing much better since I got a cortisone shot. The best part... NO PAIN AT NIGHT!! I'm sleeping again, which is making Pam a happy (and less grumpy) gal.

2. I've been at my new job for 2 months and still love it! It's a perfect fit for me, I love the people, and I've been challenged in every way possible. I'm feeling pretty grateful for the opportunity.

3. And because of the new job, I'm moving to Denver in 3 weeks! I found a wonderful place to live that is close to work and close to just about every bike trail/park/lake that Denver has to offer. And the mountains! I'm just minutes away from some great snowshoeing, can't wait!

4. The disadvantage to moving? Leaving my bestie friend and mom (and all my other friends as well). I have a feeling most of my weekends will be spent in Colorado Springs, just not willing to miss out on spending time with any of them!

5. I get the week off between Christmas and New Year! Just a perk of working in higher ed. I haven't had Christmas or New Years off in over 14 years - I can't tell you how excited I am!

6. And most importantly, I am grateful for my amazing friends and family - thanks to all of you for your support and love and friendship.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

the perfect man...

I remember years ago watching some tv show (can't remember which one) where the main character was scheduled to have some sort of surgery. A week before the surgery, she goes shopping for lingerie... not for her husband, but to wear for her surgery. It seems that her surgeon was a gorgeous hunk of a man and she wanted to look her best while laying on the table. I remember being amused with the whole thing, but not fully understanding the whole hoopla....

Until today.

I understand now. I had an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon today - it was a follow-up on what to do about my hip (which was actually pretty encouraging - I'll save that for later). I've seen him once before and I remember thinking "he's pretty cute," but that's about it. Nothing spectacular.

But today? That all changed. Let's just say that he has gone from "that cute Dr." to "the man of my dreams." Here I was, sitting on the examination table, wearing the ugliest hospital gown ever, thinking about all I had to do for work that day; then 'he' walked in, smiling and shaking my hand in the most lovely way possible. Not only was I smitten, but I was horrified at how absolutely horrible I looked. Vanity, thy name is Pam.

My crush might be chalked up to how compassionate and kind he is. A Dr. who listens? There's nothing better. A Dr. that grasps my hands when talking to me? Sigh. A Dr. that draws diagrams with a crayon to explain the more complex aspects of how a hip works? Sigh... again.

I'm going to have fun with this little crush of mine - it's been a while since anyone has been able to render me speechless (which, you can imagine, has seldom happened). It's so much better than having a flesh and bones boyfriend - no worries about getting hurt or dumped.

Oh, and next week you can find me at Victoria Secret. I have a lot of shopping to do.

I almost forgot - the reason I went to see this lovely man? Gertrude, also known as my right hip, has been yelling out for more attention. It was decided to go with the cortisone shot, which he said should get me back to almost normal in no time at all. It's a good solution for now  - I'll be back out there before you know it. I'm already planning lots of snowshoeing weekends this winter, and I can't wait!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

the hospital and me...

"Last night I lay in bed looking up at the stars in the sky and I thought to myself, where the heck is the ceiling?"
I'm sure you are all wondering why I started with this quote, right? I really have no idea, it just caught my fancy... and made me laugh. And after the past few weeks, I need to laugh.

Well, maybe there is some correlation to the quote and my title above. It's a stretch but I'll try to explain (eventually).

It's been a few weeks since my stay in the hospital and that time has been spent, well, just trying to survive. While I'm eternally grateful to the hospital and dr's for saving my life (really, really, really grateful!) they beat me up pretty good. The trail of needle marks up and down my arms left bruises that make the strongest stomach squirm. And the drugs they prescribed me? They have wrecked havoc with my sleeping (insomnia anyone?), I've gained way too much weight in a way too short of time (steroids really suck), and my stomach has decided to reject most conventional food (it doesn't seem fair that I gain weight due to the drugs and not to the partaking of all sorts of delectable and delightful treats - it would be nice to blame it on enjoying all the amazing Italian food I want to eat and not those little pills I take each day, but alas my stomach will not allow any Italian at this point). All this to say that, while I am happy to be breathing and living with the rest of you, I'm also tired, beaten up and frustrated with how slow I'm healing. (patience and me? not the best of friends)

I just read that last paragraph and thought "damn girl, stop whining!"  I mean honestly, not too many people can say they have survived the rare and dreaded epiglottitis without having to be intubated or endure a medically induced coma - I'm pretty lucky! But I'll admit it here; I suck at being a sick person. Really suck. I hate it and it's not so fond of me either.And thus the whining. (all done in the most grateful way!)

And what does all this have to do with the quote I mentioned at the beginning of this post? Per the Princess Bride "Let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up." (this is the night for random quotes, isn't it?)

That first night, as I lay in my hospital room, I remember looking around me and feeling completely at peace. It's strange to be saying that, considering I could barely breath and had been through a pretty traumatic experience. Yet there I was, looking out the window, watching the snow fall and feeling awed and grateful for my life. It's similar to the feeling I have when I'm hiking - knowing that the trail could take me to a place that will most likely surprise and challenge me. Whether it's the scenery or wildlife or the accomplishment, it's always a surprise and brings on a feeling of total peace and contentment. And that is exactly how I felt - I had survived all the ups and downs of this crazy 'hike' and was alive and on the way to the 'well' part. And as a result, I was looking out my hospital window in awe of, well, everything.

I wish I could say I have continued on with this peaceful way of being, but sadly no. Life has a way of creeping back in and I easily forget what's important. But I'm working on it.I actually think that should be my life mantra - "I'm working on it" - it's just all too true.

Wouldn't you say life would be pretty boring if we didn't have to "work on it" - being perfect is so overrated. Thank god I don't have to worry about that!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

bike routes on google...

Two posts in one day - that doesn't happen often! But this was too cool not to post.

Google has finally added bike routes to it's maps. Can I just say it - yeah! I have always hated the whole "search for a path" that happens when I want to try a new route or trail. An awesome resource that I am definitely going to utilize.

There's a great article on this new addition at the outside blog -
Commuters will dig this tool because it suggests routes around--rather than over--hills. But if you’re looking for more of a workout, you can drag and drop the route over steeper terrain. You can also suggest changes or corrections to the suggested routes—or, if you’re so inclined, send in your favorite secret stash of singletrack—by using the “report a problem” feature on Google Maps.

Now, if summer would finally get here and allow me more riding, I would be a very happy woman.

i swear, this is my last "aha moment" post

I know, I've said it before. But this is it, no more mention ever again. 

That being said, Tuesday night was the first night my commercial aired and despite the fact that I have seen it many times on the computer, it was a little weird watching myself on tv. And I admit, I got a little teary-eyed. There is still a part of me that doesn't comprehend that I have done this, it sometimes feels like I'm watching someone elses life, not my own.  Just a little surreal. I invited some friends over to watch it - it was nice being able to share it with them. Last August when I taped this I never imagined it would come this far - it's been a great experience!

I did get an updated schedule for the commercial, they had to change a few things - I've posted it below.

Tuesday, March 9 - Biggest Loser
Wednesday, March 17 - Old Christine
Tuesday, April 13 - Dancing with the Stars
Monday, May 3 – Dancing with the Stars
Sunday, May 9 - 60 Minutes
Wednesday, May 16 - Extreme Home Makeover
Friday, May 28 - Ghost Whisperer
Monday, June 7 - Castle
Wednesday, June 16 - Old Christine
Tuesday, June 18 - 20/20
Friday, July 16 - Ghost Whisperer

And if you didn't get to see it, here's a link to the commercial -

Ok, that's it - you won't hear anything else about "aha's" or "moments" from me :-)