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 hiting a trail at the break of dawn, with each step bringing my 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 :-)  )

dagdraumar from Allan Wilson on Vimeo.

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. There isn't a day that doesn't go by that I don't think about him and his influence on not only myself, but others as well. He was just one of those guys that accepted you where you were at and so many people were influenced by this trait of his. (I wish I had inherited that trait, but sadly no. I have to work at it every day and it is never easy for me.)

Dad doing one of his favorite things
Dad 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.

What I most remember about dad was his quiet commitment to civil rights - this goes back to growing up in Arkansas, a place that was segregated everywhere but the place he spent the most time: 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 many stories of him taking one of his teams to compete somewhere and having to find hotels that would allow blacks to stay there. Or restaurants that would turn them away. But he never let it stop him. He just 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 many adventure races that I wished he had been able to watch, he would have loved it. My first 14er I climbed was the weekend before he died - I remember wishing he had been able to see my pictures, see that I had succeeded in my goal. I have to believe that he does know and is smiling at the way my life has turned out.

While I do think about dad everyday, tonight I am probably more melancholy than usual. I spent the weekend in Colorado Springs, and today was spent with some friends who are dealing with their father being diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. This family is like my own, I love them and hate to see them suffer through the hard decisions that need to be made and the grief that is already a part of their daily life. 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 dieing - our natural response is to want to make everything and everyone feel better, to help make their grief easier. I'm trying to figure that out myself, how I can be there for them, all the while knowing that grief is what they have to experience, it's just a part of life.

I have to admit, 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 damn 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.

Monday, May 2, 2011

the countdown begins...

Today was my yearly checkup. It was also my appointment where my primary dr gets to say "yay" or "nay" to my surgery. In other words, she says whether I'm healthy enough to have surgery. I'm happy to say that, despite my lack of workouts or much of a balanced diet the past few months, I got a clean bill of health. June 7th can't get here soon enough!

In the midst of waiting for surgery, I've been doing some planning for after surgery, and I'm getting excited! It actually started last weekend when I watched  127 Hours (AMAZING movie!) and despite the threat of my arm being amputated, it reminded me how much I love being outside; it was my way of leaving all the stresses behind (plus I have always wanted to do some canyoneering - who needs a damn arm!)

So I have decided to make a list of everything I'm going to do next year, with my new hip in tow:

  • Go showshoeing (YEAH!)
  • Canoe the Platte through Denver with Glenny
  • Run my first race, a 12-hour adventure race in Moab - Wandering Soles is back!
  • Climb a few 14'ers
  • Run a few more adventure races
  • Hike the Grand Canyon with Project Athena
  • Spend a weekend doing some canyoneering in Moab
  • Take a kayaking course  (using my brand new kayak!)
  • Do more climbing (inside and out!)
  • Canoe/Kayak down the Colorado in Moab
  • Do lots of Yoga!
  • Spend many days riding my bike around Denver - so many trails to explore!
  • Ride Slick Rock Trail in, you guessed it, Moab
  • Take Mountaineering Training Courses at Colorado Mountain Club (I've ALWAYS wanted to take these classes!)
  • Hike whenever I damn well please :-)
This all just sounds heavenly and I'm ready to dive into it all. I truly hate sitting around, I'm ready to get moving!

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've got to admit is the main thing I'm upset about. But I will be able to hike and bike and climb and 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.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

eat, pray, and that other thing...

It's been a year since I read the book "Eat, Pray, Love." I immersed myself in Liz's story and related to the journey she had embarked on. It was, in many ways, a life-changing book for me. I understood her need (need doesn't seem like the right word; maybe passion or zeal or fervor - something more action oriented seems appropriate) to do something different with her life, or better yet to feel different about her life. Her journey became my journey, or at least the desire for something similar to happen to myself.

However, no matter how much I loved the book (and I did) I will admit that when I finished reading it, I was pissed. Her journey as a single woman resonated with me, I could understand every emotion she went through with such clarity and empathy. Then she had the gale to do the unthinkable... fall in love! How could she betray me like that?! This was suppose to be a book about empowerment to the single woman and she goes and blows it with that final act. In my mind, it was inexcusable and a crappy way to end the book.

Yes, I knew the story was based on her life and had actually happened. Yes, I know it was an irrational response to a BOOK. And yes, I felt kind of stupid.

But something happens when you are 45 and haven't been able to find that one person; or, in my case, you think you have found that person and they don't give a crap about you. You get cynical about love; the thought that someone else has found that 'one person' seems far fetched and more like a fable than real life.

I know I'm being irrational, but broken hearts kind of bring out the crazy. Someday I'll watch the movie and sigh at how romantic it all is. But not today.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Reverb10 - rethink...

This "Reverb10" thing has been fun, it really has. But as I was reading the next writing assignments (for example, where did you travel (um, no where), choose a photo that you loved (I didn't take any, nadda), there is one glaring issue that is jumping out at me... I didn't do much of anything this past year. Ok, I'll be blunt: this year sucked. I could list all the crap that happened, but I think it's been mentioned before. And trying to write about any of the above items in lieu of all that... well, I just can't. Nothing happened for me to write about, it was a matter of just making it day to day.

So I'm done with Reverb10 - I'm tired of thinking and reflecting on this past year and just want to move on to 2011. And there is lots to look forward to:

1. Hip surgery - I'm ready to get that done and get back to a life without pain or limping.

2. Adventure races - I don't know how many I'll be able to race due to my hip, but I sure as hell am going to be there to volunteer or be support. I know of one definitely in California in September and I'm sure there will be many more!

3. New Job - I know how lucky I am to have not only found a job, but one I love. Looking forward to the next year and all the new strategies and plans we are going to be implementing.

4. Living in Denver - I loved living in Denver before and can't wait to explore the city again.

5. Having money - It's nice being able to pay bills, that hasn't happened in a few years!

6. Traveling - already planning a few trips, something i haven't been able to do for a while (see #5)

And so I'm going to say goodbye to 2010 and move on to 2011. It's not even a fond farewell, more like a "get the fuck out of here" kind of farewell. It's time to move on and start fresh.

Happy New Year Everyone and may you have amazing start to this new year!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Reverb10 - Day 4

Body Integration. This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present? 

Ironically this happened when I was in the hospital. It was the first night; I was laying in my bed, looking outside at the snow falling, and thinking how amazing it was that I was alive. I put aside all my worries of being unable to breathe and fell into the deepest sleep I can remember in years. I was just completely at peace with all that had happened and was pretty grateful that I was even alive.

5 Minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

This is a fun one. Here it goes:

1. Night at Copperhead Road with HS friends.
2. Quitting my job
3. Getting my current job
4. Long talks with many amazing friends
5. Getting an email from my hero, Robin Benincasa
6. Getting back in touch with so many old friends from my childhood/teen years
7. Moving back to Denver
8. Trip to Waco, TX
9. Trip to Moab
10. My job with CVAE
11. 24 Hours of E-Rock
12. Having Kim help me move to Denver
13. Many drinks at OC

Friday, December 24, 2010

Reverb10 - Day 3

Beautifully Different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful.

Here's another tough one, but fitting in a strange way. I've always felt different... the odd ball, the weird one, etc. Never quite fit in anywhere and felt like the outcast. Over the years I've come to embrace my differences and realize that everyone else feels pretty much the same way. Haven't we all, at one time or another, felt like the outcast?

So, what's different about me? I'd have to say my persistence; I will work my ass off to finish a project or make a relationship work, I do not give up easily. You know that when you are my friend, I will be there no matter what and at times push you in ways you may not like. And I think that can be translated to the "what lights people up" portion of this - I make sure and tell my friends and family that I love them as much as I can. When dad got sick and in ICU, he knew I loved him; I constantly told him that long before he couldn't hear it. And now it's even more important to me - if I love you, I will tell you and mean it. And what I have found is that people like to hear that... who wouldn't?  I prefer to do this then die and know i never told a single soul that I loved them, how sad that would be.I don't know if this is what necessarily makes me different, but it's what this topic brought to mind.

Other things I think of about me and my "difference," maybe I'll try a list...

1. I smile all the time, even when I'm upset. Which makes me dangerous when I'm mad, I guess that's a good thing? :-)

2. this is kind of cool, but my mom thinks this is what sets me apart. When I was a day old, I actually flipped from my back to my stomach. Mom said she knew I would be a strong child when she saw this! I'm told this is super rare, so that is definitely different. And set the tone for my later stubbornness :-)

3. One moment I am the most confident person in the world, the next I feel like the biggest loser in the world - this can be extreme for me and drives me crazy. The upside - I try to be honest about it and tell people. Amazing how it develops these great relationships and helps me overcome this crazy trait.

4. I'm probably the most non-athletic adventure racer out there. Seriously, I suck. But I keep doing it and somehow people admire my tenacity (again, stubbornness!) and great relationships have been formed because of it.

5. And lastly... I have really weird looking toes. I know, not a big one, but I have never seen anyone with the same toes as me (except my brother). I don't know if there is anything good about this, but it's kind of funny.

While writing this I thought about all my friends who are just as different as me and infinitely more beautiful. Thanks for the beauty you have brought into my life - you all just make me that more beautiful!