Seizing life's joys and challenges physically, mentally, and emotionally.


Einstein and Iron

To say this year has been a challenging year for me would be a bit of an understatement. In reflection, I am reminded of a quote by Albert Einstein –

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.”

Lessons From Yesterday
Since the middle of February I have faced one thing after another as far as my health goes. In total I think I have had four weeks with no issues. For the most part I knew what the ailments were, sometimes how it would be resolved was a mystery, but there was no guessing what was going on. Until now. From mid July through the end of August I dealt with a rather painful issue that thankfully resolved itself. For a week I was cautiously hopeful the tide had changed and I was back to normal. Not so quick – I started feeling pain again and I thought my issue had resurfaced. Nope – this is something else. What it is, is the question. I know a few things that it is not as I have been through several tests and procedures including a few ending in “omy” and “opy”. My medical vocabulary has greatly expanded this year for sure. Beyond that, I have learned much about myself – what matters most, what I am able to tolerate, who truly has my back, and just how much patience I really have. (Learning a lot on how to work on patience…)

Living for Today
As for my fitness, I am able to swim, cycle, and run again. In fact, that is when I feel the least amount of pain. Because of the set backs I have been through, my endurance is greatly reduced – especially on the bike and on the run. I am gradually building back my strength and endurance though. I am able to swim 3,000 meters or run 60 minutes before work and still be alert all day – progress. The idea of two a days makes me want to take a nap, but I am hoping to build up to it in a few weeks.

I have done my fair share of questioning. Not only to healthcare professionals, but also the “why me’s”. What is, is. What it is – well, that will come in time. This is when I have to truly live one day at a time and seize each moment, not just the day. World and local news have shown us how life can change, or end, in the blink of an eye. The little annoyances that once irked me are becoming even smaller. Time is short, I don’t want to waist it on trivial matters. So I am choosing to prioritize what matters most. My training is a huge part of my life and brings me great joy. Being able to train along side my fabulous friends makes the moments priceless. Taking time to share a meal and wonderful conversations with family members and friends – far better than eating on a snack tray and watching TV. Taking a moment to be thankful for the multitude of blessings that have been bestowed on me. Even spending my quiet down time with my furry friends adds seasonings to life.

My Hope For My Tomorrow
Being a planner, I have registered for two races next year.  Just two.  One in June and one in September.  June 1, 2014 is Ironman Raleigh 70.3 – IowaTriBob challenged me to do a race with him and I gladly took on the challenge. It is halfway for both of us as I am in Cleveland and he is in Tampa. I look forward to the experience and meeting Bob and his family in person. On September 28, 2014 – one year from today – I will tackle a challenge I have questioned if I ever could complete – a full Ironman. I have completed four half iron distance triathlons, yet the full 140.6 has seemed so daunting to me. That will change, I am registered for Ironman Chattanooga. Fortunately at least three of my friends will also be taking on the challenge. The training, travel and actual race will be an experience of a lifetime. My goals? Enjoy, apply my abilities, and finish!

I also have many hopes that are out of my control – good health, all my loved ones are with me a year from now, and all that the heart desires. I am going to continue to seeks answers to what could be ailing me, but I will not be brought down by it. As long as I am able to maintain my active lifestyle, I will push on.


More in The Land of Enchantment

Along with many miles of hiking, my friends and I also took in a few sites and dined at many good restaurants. After we hiked both The Petroglyph National Monument and Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument we headed on the Low Road to Taos. We certainly worked up a good appetite so we headed to town in Taos and had dinner at Doc Martin’s Restaurant at the Historic Taos Inn for tasty New Mexican food and of course drinks.

The next morning before heading to Taos Mountain Village we has breakfast at a diner that locals frequent as well as travelers – Michael’s Kitchen. Along with hearty breakfasts they also offer cinnamon rolls the size of dinner plates.

When we headed to Santa Fe we took the High Road and stopped at a small town named Chimayó. Tucked into the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo mountains, tens of thousands of pilgrims make their way to see the tiny church there – El Santuario de Chimayó. There are many stories of miracles that have taken place there. The architecture itself is beautiful to behold.

A few steps away is Santo Niño Chapel which now has been dedicated in honor of children.

Once we were back on the High Road to Santa Fe we stopped to see a vineyard and taste the local wine.


The city of Santa Fe is the state capital and also an artists mecca. The patron saint of Santa Fe is Saint Francis of Assisi, in the center of town is a church dedicated to him.

After we visited the church we headed up to see the galleries. Streets and streets filled with all types of art – paintings, sculptures, textiles – a sensory overload! One gallery had a garden of sculptures and my favorite was the dancing elephants in the center.

On our return drive to Albuquerque we took a route called the Turquoise Trial.

Along the Trail we stopped at a former mining town to visit the shops and see the colorful buildings. I purchased a pendant made of Cerrillos Turquoise which is mined near by in New Mexico. Most turquoise today is mined in Nevada and all but one mine in New Mexico is in the southern part of the state. I was pleased to find a piece of this very green turquoise that was mined locally.

Our last evening in New Mexico we enjoyed cocktails at the roof top bar in our hotel before dinner.

Two of the greatest pleasures in life for me are seeing the beauty of this world through travel and enjoying each day with those most dear to me. My vacation to New Mexico offered the best of both.


Hiking the Land of Enchantment

Travel is one of my passions in life.  A goal I have is to travel to all seven continents (I have traveled to three) and visit all 50 states (I have been to 28). One state I have wanted to see for a while is New Mexico and this summer I was fortunate to be able to meet up with two friends in Albuquerque. From their we headed to Taos and Santa Fe.

Called The Land of Enchantment because of its scenic beauty and rich history, New Mexico is exactly that. We went at the end of June into the first week of July – with elevations over 5,300 feet in Albuquerque, 7,000 feet starting in Taos, and 7,200 feet in Santa Fe – it was relatively cool for summer. From Albuquerque we headed to Taos and along the way we went on a few hikes. First we hiked the Petroglyph National Monument in the Boca Negro Canyon which was once a volcano that erupted and is now a canyon with many petroglyphs etched into the lava rock.

A petroglyph etched in a lava boulder.

A petroglyph etched in a lava boulder.

Next we headed to Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument. I have never experienced a hike this beautiful. The pictures do not fully capture the grandeur of it all. We meandered through nooks and up (and then down) sharp ascents.

The base of the climb.

The base of the climb.

Along the way

Along the way

At the summit.

At the summit.

View from the top.

View from the top.

Once we reached Taos, which is a ski village in the winter, we went up to Taos Mountain Village to hike up to Williams Lake. Starting at an elevation of 10,223 feet and summiting at 11,229 feet, we climbed through the tree line and thin air.

Along the trail.

Along the trail.

Along the way up.

Along the way up.

Williams Lake at the top of the hike.

Williams Lake at the top of the hike.

On our way back to town we took a detour to see the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge which crosses the Rio Grande. While I do not have a fear of heights, I do have a fear of falling. Standing on a windy bridge that is the seventh highest bridge in the US at 565 feet, I was a bit nervous for this photo op:

Holding the rail tightly...

Holding the rail tightly…

In Santa Fe we went out to Bandelier National Monument for another hike. The area was originally settled by ancestors to the Puebloan peoples dating back to 1150 AD. Yet another hike to see the great beauty of the state so aptly called The Land of Enchantment.


At Bandelier

In all we hiked 16.4 miles including a few other trails along the way. Now it would not be a complete vacation without good food and seeing the sites, which I plan on sharing in my next post about this enchanting land.


Find a Way

My favorite type of motivation comes from overcoming trials. All major accomplishments are motivating, but when it is achieved after enduring difficulty makes it all the more sweeter. Diana Nyad’s successful swim from Cuba to Florida is just the kind of motivation that gives me hope all things are possible.

Consider these facts – she is a she – a woman attempting to swim without a shark cage 110 miles in shark and jelly fish infested waters. She is 64! This was her fifth attempt. Her first attempt was in 1978 – seven years before Michael Phelps was born. Despite her failed attempts, her age, the distance, and the risks – she didn’t give up and she did it. This morning when she was interviewed on “CBS This Morning” she said her mantra through the swim was “find a way.” She had a mantra! No wonder I am so impressed by her.

Also, yesterday she was quoted saying:

“I have three messages. One is, we should never, ever give up. Two is, you’re never too old to chase your dream. Three is, it looks like a solitary sport, but it is a team” – Diana Nyad

How often do we hear people complain that they tried something and it didn’t “work out” so they gave up? Or that they think they are too old to do something? And of course there is also the complaint that “it” could never could be done alone. Nyad didn’t give up, age just was not an issue to her, and although she did the swimming she admits her success was possible because of her team. Despite the odds she found a way.

After all I have dealt with this year (and still dealing…) this success story gave me motivation to keep on. So much is possible to over come. The secret? Don’t give up, age is not an issue when dreams are at stake, and be surrounded by a team that shares the dream. And above all else find a way.