Moving through the middle of things. (written aug 17th)

“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is what we make of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”  Nelson Mandela in Long Walk to Freedom

My top two favorite consumer activities are eating delicious food and  acquiring new knowledge.  I have spent the last week celebrating my birthday and indulging my consumer. I have eaten well, and read four books.

Today, being the 17th, is officially the last day of my birthday week, time to blog, re-focus on contribution and compassion and basically re-enter the mundane world. I am easing myself back into my routines physically, psychologically and spiritually.

This past week, I have eaten without respect to calorie count but only in relation to joy and taste; I have not maintained any regular triathlon training schedule but was hardly a couch potato either; and I have spent a lot of time writing in a journal not just reading paper books

So, what have I actually consumed and what have I learned this week….

First what I consumed….

My week of food began Wednesday morning, my actual birthday, with coffee and a vegan fudge cupcake at The Coffee Shop, this was as close to an actual birthday cake as I would get, no candles or singing this birthday, but the moist cocoa flavor and the rich buttery feel of the frosting in my mouth (how they do this vegan I do not know) is a whole party in itself.  I then had fried pickles and rhubarb pie in Black Canyon on our way to Sedona which was also a tasty food highlight. The next and final great gastronomic highlight of Birthday week was brunch at Shugrue’s Hillside Grill just before heading down the mountains to the valley. The service, the vegetarian options and the view were the awesome sauce on an already awesome meal. In between all the eating out and refined sugar intake were some lovely salads and protein and nutrient rich grains prepared in the room by my friends.

My mouth and tummy were well taken care of this birthday week and what I learned from my fuel intake was that I do still love my frosting and I still truly love eating the rainbow,  that fresh fruits and vegetables provide me. I did however gain three pounds while studying.

However, I also dropped nine pounds of actual body fat, due to building all new muscle groups through hiking. It wasn’t just about reading. No couch potato here, I hiked the Brewer trail three mornings in a row.

Each time up and down the trail I learned and saw something new and different.  It was like rereading a book. The first time through it is all about getting to the end, but the second or third time I slow down and appreciate the poetry of the words, the intricacies of the character development, I savor nuances that tell me this story was written by say Mr. Vonnegut instead Ms. Atwood.  The first hike was all about getting to the top and the grand vistas, the second and third although they included the meditation and exultation at the top they were  also chances to notice the flowers and the trees and a hundred little details along the path.

The middles of the second and third hikes were about the beauty of the details but they were also about continuing to put one muscle tired foot in front of the next, over and over and over again. Like every single journey, each hike was also about stamina and persistence.

I have always had a problem with middles, from what I observe maybe we all do, but what I know for sure is that I do. I often want to quit in the middle.

Once in the middle of labor, during the actual delivery of my son Wil (who, for the record, was over 11 pounds), I officially quit. I lay back on the delivery table and told my husband I wasn’t pushing anymore, that I was tired, and since he seemed to know what I should be doing, HE could just get up there and have this baby. I was done pushing.

Luckily my husband didn’t argue with me, he just said, “Okay honey, you can quit. You are tired, but before you do you, just give it one more push like the doctor asked and then I will get up there on the table and do it.”

“OK,” I said in tearful exhaustion, “One more push.” On the next contraction I bent forward and pushed really hard one more time and finally after ten and a half months of pregnancy, 46 hours of labor followed by six hours of what seemed fruitless pushing the head of our son emerged. I will never forget that moment.

Bill and I both were crying as the rest of the baby emerged and he kept patting my hand and saying, “See, you just needed one more push.”

I have no talent for these physical things I love to eat and I love to read, I am talented with words and food and sedentary mind-based activities. I do mostly like running, hiking, swimming and soon I hope I will like biking, but I have no natural talent nor the build for these things. That is why I call myself a SOFT athlete. Slow Old Fat Try Athlete, because for me its not about talent it is about continuing to try.

I understand about middles, but these hikes helped remind me. So that is why today, even though I am exhausted and discouraged and still can’t ride a bike. I am not about to quit my triathlon just before the miracle happens.

P.S. I forgot this blog in drafts where I left it for edits one day and I am finally publishing two weeks later after the miracle happened and I finally rode my bike. Still have a bit of the case of the “middles”, you know, that place where motivation is slim and discipline needs to pick up the slack.  Beginnings have a thrill all their own, endings are triumph or relief, middles are and always will be about showing up and allowing for the miracle to finally happen.


I Rode My Bike…..

I am incredibly happy this morning.

Nothing has changed in the externals. My back still hurts at about a 5/10 (had two full hours of relief after my visit to Backfit Chiropractic yesterday thanks to Jacquie’s massage and Dr. Vogel’s adjustment). My ends still won’t speak to each other, let alone meet. I have no medical insurance at this point, nor any hope of getting anymore due to actually really needing the coverage and so have absolutely no idea of what my bloodwork looks like or if anything is growing again, and yet, I am totally and competely, Happy.

Because today, anything seems possible.

Today, for the first time in my long, coordinationally challenged, plus-size life, I rode a bicycle.

I rode it for a mile.

I am still giggling about it.

I did this after swimming two laps (thats four lengths or 100 meters), twice plus a few lengths to equal 14 lengths or 7 laps. (So swam a total 350 meters)

This was accomplishing the impossible for me.

The other stuff will come in time.

I can ride a bike.

I am happy.

Thank you to all who have helped me get this far, I didn’t quit before the miracle happened because of your support.

It is good for me to have goals that rest on the things I can control like how I use my time, what I eat, how I dream, and how I apply my discipline; because the things I cannot control (like the economy and politics and other people and some portions of my physical vessel) somehow become small and insignificant when I amaze myself. The irony is that the blog I will edit and post later on about  middles will actually be posted after the breakthrough.

Also BTW, my DIL is kicking butt on this training thing. As far as Athena novices go she is the Goddess!

A small video of me swimming…<iframe width=”420″ height=”345″ src=”″ frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

A small stretch…..

Running exacerbated the back, hip and knee pain yesterday and I have 17 mosquito bites, for these reasons I did not run this morning. Instead I doubled my yoga and added a guided meditation from the Meditation Oasis on Body Balance to my morning routine. Plan to run tomorrow. Also my goal is to get out and play with my bike until I can ride it this week. Like a kid does.

That is one piece of news that happened during my birthday radio silence. My friends from Tucson brought me a wonderful Mountain Bike for the race for my birthday and my baby gave me the basic, no speeds beach cruiser I kept fondling at Tempe Bike. This is perfect because I have a bike at my son and DIL’s and I have one out here in the badlands. Of course, I am just finally balancing a bit and still haven’t mastered the pedals, yet.  But I am amazed at the magic that shows up when I (or anyone else) set a goal and then work for it with all my (or their) might. The universe makes magic.

Anyway, these are my goals this week, to get my run groove back. I had a 12 minute mile, I can again.  To actually swim 75 meters without break (3 lengths) and to pedal my bike for at least a block.

Now I must get ready for work. My kiddos greeting yesterday was all the reward any pediatric home nurse needs. (AND Today I am not forgetting my lunch again!)

A fast note

Working on a real blog but the Haboobs last night meant not having internet when I had the time to edit the blog, and pretty much staying off my laptop as well. Did get a double rainbow during the storm, much better than a blog I think. Even shot a pic from my phone and shared it over on Facebook.

I am still training.  Managed two laps in the pool yesterday (my first and last laps) the rest were lengths with breaks adding to a total of 16 lengths or 350 meters. This morning was more walk than run, proving as slow as I am I really do run faster than I walk. Have been having lumbar and knee pain last couple days so walking was more prudent. Some pain is meant to be worked through…

Anyway it is a great morning. Started at 4 with meditation, then yoga for 20 minutes, then the dogs and my walk, now it is off to work….vacation officially over.

Side note, this morning was literally swarmed by mosquitoes while walking. NEVER seen so many at one time. Almost went home, but it is not about the little adversities that life throws our ways, it is about how we face them. My calves, upper back and upper arms are just a bit itchy….still I finished my thirty minutes.

Attitude of gratitude

Woke up in abed, made myself some coffee with the running water I have easy access to in my house, ate breakfast and then cleaned myself, dressed myself because I have access to clean clothing, cleaning products and a shower AND all my parts move. Now I am going to a job because I have a paying job, actually doing something I love.  Whatever blips there are in my day, may I not forget how far I have come and how lucky and blessed I am.



Sometimes I am speechless

Shocking I know, but two amazing blogs in a day from my son and my DIL both referencing me has rendered me speechless so go on over and check them out at and I will go sleep so I can be back to work at 0700.

Will write again Monday night, between now and then my priorities are sleep, nutrition, training and of course most importantly, my patients.


PS. Pushing myself to run a whole mile (doubled my distance this morning) means REALLY sore quads today, and I get to bend, squat and otherwise keep them talking to me ALL day. On the other hand, I need stronger quads so I can gracefully leap into jeeps like a coordinated human, or better yet, a superhero.

The amazing 12 minute mile…


The title says it all.

And it’s 90 degrees here before the sun is up, so that is when I run.

And now to work my eighth day in a row.

My day began with an hour of gratitude meditation because that is the fuel I will need to safely navigate this day.

Namaste to all other SOFT and able athletes, may you train well today!


I dun chevvied…

So have tried unsuccessfully to load my swim video of today. Swam 300 meters just not all at once and my form could use a bit of work. I am frustrated by much of life today so gonna go eat and sleep and get up and work again tomorrow. Sorry for minimal blogs but I have not had a day off now in 7 with four more to go thanks to an unusual anset of dunning circumstances.

Also means many social internet obligations undone as well.

I breathe and keep swimming….one length at a time

Speed doesn’t matter.

Confucious said “It doesn’t matter how slow you go, as long as you keep going.” This mantra is tattoed somewhere in my karmic weaving, I am quite sure, but there are days even I start to forget this.  I really don’t like whining and in the typical “judge others you judge yourself” self awareness I love/hate I realize my irritation with it is because I am sounding whiny and annoying in my head these days and certainly a bit on the outside as well.  If I went into the reasons here it would just feed the wrong wolf so trust me on this fact, I am frequently meandering off the gratitude path.

Luckily I am surrounded by happy, grateful people, two of whom are my son and his wife. Yesterday, after my extra day one of three of work, I went to their house for my second bike riding lesson. Rick did a bunch of online research about how to teach an old dog (mature person like me) new tricks (riding a bike). I managed to actually lift my feet a few times and let the bike coast a few squares before dropping my feet to stop, and did my first minor freak out and fall.  I have incredibly patient teachers and my fear has dropped to healthier levels than my original intense panic.

After the bike lesson, Dawn and I went to the pool. It was very hot, murky and full of bugs and children. I am being all Negative Nancy and Dawn is “Well, I will say I like swimming better in the morning”. She rocks. We did swim for an hour but I only got a couple laps in and only two full lengths. I showed up, almost phoned it in actually, but showed up for both.

Funny thing is that even as some part of my brain is having a little temper tantrum that I really have bitten off more than I can chew and I should just admit defeat and quit, another part is looking at two months of progress and saying…”hey, OK so we show up in October and finish,  that’s all, no big deal.  No point quitting now, look how far you’ve come.” I am choosing to listen to that voice.

Other realization this morning is that I get whiny and complainishy (yea, made a word up, we can all get over it now) when I feel guilty about “not being enough”. I have an awesome friend who has had surgery and I still haven’t gotten across town to see him, many of my bills have been late and I have new obligations I am still unsure how I will meet, there are numerous tasks around the house that are undone or half done due to my exhaustion when I do get home from my extra hours, and therefore I feel bad about myself and begin to make excuses!

There I said it, sometimes I am the kind who makes excuses. There are two kinds of people, those who make dreams come true and those who make excuses. I am both. Except throughout the annoying excuses I still keep showing up to life. I would love to say I am doing my best but the very fact I am whining again tells me that deep inside I know I am not doing my best. I need once again to re-examine, re-prioritize and make yet another list of what I need to do, want to do, and what I think I should be doing and then re-configure my actual life to coincide with the plan.

Often all this does for me is help me see how close I am to my real plan, but frequently it also helps me find creative ways to do more and expect less, giving me back a grateful approach to myself and my life which makes everything better.

Anyway, my alarm went off and I so I must get ready for work. My money tree failed to flower this year do to drought I think so have to earn it the old fashioned way which means picking up shifts where ever I can, although this weeks extra three days has more to do with friendship and doing the right thing than it does with them money.

Apologize for the roughness. Will edit and improve this blog entry tomorrow morning. For now may I wish that we all travel safely, that we may find such health and prosperity as may bring us physical happiness; such gratitude and compassion as may bring us spiritual happiness and that we may live with ease.