I am an adventure seeking wife and mother first! Travel, and endorphins are my best friends. I will try anything once, unless I know
I would be in danger. I have a crazy love of God, running, triathlon, the outdoors, dirt, wine, friends, good Vegan food, Yoga,
animals, happiness, and life! I truly believe the only limits in life are the ones set by ourselves. So get out there and expand the limits!!
~~Only she who attempts the absurd can achieve the impossible.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Just a Girl and her Baggage

It is interesting to me, that through our traveling, and our life, we have pared down so much stuff. Once traveling with too many suitcases, over-packed with tons of things, to duffels, to backpacks.

This time on our trip to Costa Rica we decided we were going to go minimalist. Just backpacks, on our backs. The last time we were there, 2 years ago, I thought we were going that way. We packed hockey duffels. HAHA yes, those huge hockey bags that you could pretty much fit an entire bedroom and half a kitchen into. This was a great plan until we had to come home. Greg was there with us 8 days. My 3 kids and I stayed a month. When we left the country, not only were we running late on our drive over the mountains, from the coast, to the airport, we got pulled over for speeding, got a ticket, (which is a whole other story) missed our turn to the capital of San Jose, BUT the hardest thing…those bags. Heavy. Huge. Over-stuffed.

Our youngest daughter was crying, dragging hers on the ground, all the while, I am trying to pay our exit tax, and get through lines of tourists, guards, etc. Our oldest two kids were trying their hardest to help me out. We were late. Late enough to be close to missing our flight. Tired. Stressed. I felt like a Sherpa, hiking with an expedition up Everest. Minimalist last time…NO.

Funny thing is, that while traveling, I have learned a lot about myself. Something I have known for along time. I just don’t need all the “stuff”. Once we were in Costa Rica, we used about ¼ of the stuff we packed. Truly. If that even. This has happened every time we have traveled. Always, way too much stuff. So why bother?

I try to live this type of lifestyle. Get rid of the baggage. Let go, and let God. Get rid of the “stuff”. And I have. I no longer care what society says about what we need. What we look like. What we wear, etc. I think living a clean, healthy, happy, joyous life, makes me look gorgeous. Makes me feel beautiful. I don’t sweat the small stuff. I have learned the meaning of, “ to live a happy life, want what I have.” Realizing this about myself over the last few years, has allowed me to breath. To let go of any stress, made me a better wife, not so uptight, made me a better mother, laughing at things that I once would have been “prickly” about with my kids. It has also freed up time. I honestly, stop and smell the roses. Unrushed in my day. I allow myself time to run, train, do Yoga, pray and meditate daily. I just let it go.

While packing, I put a lot of thought into baggage. What is REALLY needed in life? Traveling, you see so many tired, weary, people, dragging their baggage behind them. What a metaphor of so many people’s lives. Let it go. Give it up. Is it worth it? Is it necessary? Does that hectic life, bring you joy? Trying to keep up with everyone, everyday, does it make you happy? Make you smile?

I packed this time, consciously thinking exactly what I would need. What purpose would each item serve? Being that on my entire trip, everything I take will be on my back, made me very picky about what went in.

And although the first ½ of our trip, we will be in our little beloved village of Esterillos Oeste, in a nice comfortable, humble, house on the beach, the second ½ of our trip is up in the air. Packs on, going wherever the wind blows us throughout the country. What do I REALLY need? What is imperative to my happiness? My comfort? What is TRULY important? As it turns out, not a whole lot. This made me feel great! Put a huge smile on my face. Made me laugh. Made me joyous knowing that everything I need, I have. My family, my health, my friends, my God!

Simplicity is making the journey of this life with just baggage enough.

~~ Anonymous

Thursday, February 18, 2010

With a bark and a leap, "Let's Go!"

This has been one of those weeks! I am unsure if it is the fact that we are getting ready to leave the country, and I am trying to concentrate on packing, or because my daughter has a HUGE gymnastics meet this weekend hosted by our gym, which is requiring a lot of work, or if it’s just one of those weeks that seem upside down to me.

Don’t get me wrong; I know that everyone has his or her days…but ALL week??

Everything has been a little off. My eating, my fluid intake, my workouts. Especially my workouts. Everyday, I seem to be having a hard time getting out and getting them done. It is a huge effort. Barely getting each one in, by the skin on my teeth. I am sorry, motivation….but where have you been hiding this week?

I think on these days, I need to take a cue from our Golden Retriever, Tucker. EVERYDAY and EVERYTIME he has the opportunity to head out on a run, he is excited. Enthusiastic. You can tell by the look on his face, and behavior, that, right in that moment, as I grab his leash, and he knows he “get’s to go” that this is the best moment in his life. He smiles, he dances, twists and turns, yippy barks, and actually chatters his teeth in anticipation. Chatters his teeth!!

I looked at him the other night, when my day had gotten too busy, and I was dreading heading out on a run, and thought, “I need to have that attitude” It was late and I was cozy, and was ready to skip my run. To nestle down on my big comfy couch with my extra-thick quilt, and a good book. But I looked at Tucker. He was curled up in our family room, warm, sleepy, and comfy too, but the second I grabbed my shoes, he was UP! Ready to go! Excited! It took him no time, to ease himself up. To talk himself into going. To motivate or guilt himself. He just jumped up, ready to go!

I need to be leaping in the air every time I lace up my running shoes. I need to look forward to that run, bike, or swim with great expectations, every single day. Every chance I can get to be out there, I need to be thankful. Beside myself, blissful! I need to leap in the air, and know that when I “get to go” this is the best moment of my day. And I am going to feel GREAT afterwards. I am happy that Tucker reminds me of how great it is to get outside, in the fresh air and push my strong body. To have fun, just running. Doesn’t matter what time of day, what’s going on in life, how dark it is and how comfy I am. Lace up the shoes, grab the leash, leap in the air, and get out there! "Let's Go!"

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wish I would've landed in Chamois Butt'r and not Snow

I always say, what is life, without a little adventure? Trying something new. Out of the comfort zone. Off the couch, out into the world!

What a day, yesterday!

My whole life I have wanted to train for, one, a marathon (done), Ironman (currently) an Ultra marathon, and an Adventure Race. Sitting pregnant with our last child, I remember watching Eco-Challenge, and then Primal Quest, and having the desire in my heart to push my body beyond my comfort zone, and do an adventure race. Only, I never thought adventure racing would come knocking on my door the SAME year I am training for an Ironman Triathlon. That, in itself, a full time job.

I am never one to walk away from a challenge, or a fabulous opportunity, so when the call came to join team ASW for an adventure race in Montana in April, although I contemplated hard, for about 3 seconds, I knew I was in!!!

We started training together as a team, all the while I continue to train for Ironman in June. Eat, swim, eat, bike, eat, run, eat, sleep, repeat. Did I mention, eat? The training has taken me to a new level of discipline, determination, and athleticism. Hard, hilly trail running. Long, arduous, steep, muddy climbs on the mountain bike, hiking mountains, carrying my bike on my shoulders, navigation, and orienteering, and kayaking. Along with long road runs, miles of swimming each week, and 40-50 mile rides on my road bike (in one day) Which brings me to yesterday.

It was our first truly all day, long training. Eight hours. Usually our training is about 4-5 hours. We got up, had a good breakfast, and met up with the rest of the team at about 9am. We drove to our starting point, unloaded gear, food, kayak, helmets, trekking poles, shoes, and hydration. You name it, it was on our backs, which is where everything for your hours, days or weeks remains. Dave & I lost the bet with Greg and Jeni, and jumped into the kayak first. You will see later why this was a bad bet to lose. We kayaked the beautiful water of Lake Pend Orielle, to Buttonhook Bay, for about 2 miles, portaged the kayak up a hill, which is called "Big Nasty". That, I think, is a nice name for it. Needless to say, I had several other names for it by the end. We took the kayak up and down, and met the rest of our team. We then embarked on a 10-mile trail run, up, up, up the Highpoint Trail, to the Lake View Point (the view was worth the torture, believe me. As you can see above) and back down. Ruts, snow, mud, rocks, roots. My trekking poles, my new Inov-8 trail shoes, and legs were getting a great punishing! After the run, team #2 jumped into the kayak, and got the luxury of paddling back to the start, while team # 1 (this is where Dave & I lost the bet) had to run the 3-4 miles back to the start. Team #2, good leg rest, while paddling. Team # 1 kept pounding the trail. Back to the start, to meet some more friends, and fellow adventurers, change out of our gear, on to the bikes. Twenty-some miles of biking up Cape Horn. The uphill on the mountain bike was killing my legs. I started getting crampy, even though all day I had been sucking down Heed electrolyte drink. My teammate hooked me onto the tow on the bike, thank God. This is a slick system used by adventure racers in the biking and running to help along teammates who are tiring out. Stronger person tows from the front. So on the tow, I went, for a much needed rest on my legs. It’s amazing, while you are still climbing and working on the tow, it really allows you to save some energy. Only thing is it can start to get hard when you are on rugged, rocky, uphill, terrain. We were hitting some good slushy snow in the climb, and I was fairing quite well, and then BAM, tire comes out from under me into the slush. I didn’t have the time to clip out of my bike, and down I went into the hard-packed ice, rock, mud, and slush. Only then to be drug a few yards by my teammate. He felt awful. The rest of the biking, I was off tow with a bruised elbow, hip, and ego.

We stopped for a while to refuel, which was much needed. Some of us were getting hungry, and cranky…..ok me….and work on our navigation, and orienteering skills. This is something all new to me. Never done it. I was taught, handed a map, and was off to find the designated checkpoints. This went well, and I really needed the break off of the bike. Our teams all ran scattered around finding the various checkpoints. Six in all. We had some good laughs during this time. Every reading we were getting, we were off by several degrees, but we somehow managed to all find the checkpoint, and fall back together. We navigated back to our starting point, and back onto the bike. This time now, well after dark. Headlamps on, freezing cold, hungry. I have never ridden a mountain bike, or any bike for that matter, in the dark. Probably since I was a crazy kid. This was fun, a little scary, and very exhilarating. My inner-child soured, as we flew through the night, with the glow of our headlamps, back to base camp.

We were spent. Utterly used up. Bodies, sore, tight and aggravated. Hungry, cold, somewhat delirious, but totally excited, happy, and feeling like we had conquered a giant. I knew in that moment when we were standing, and congratulating one another on a job well done, and deciding what was for dinner (Ha-Ha) and how good the hot-tub was going to feel, that I was ready for my first adventure race!! Grizzlyman Montana, here we come!!!