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.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

This is such a wonderful time of year.  Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays.  Its the time of year that we share our "gifts" with our family and friends.  We come together for a meal, each of us remembering the past year, telling what we are thankful for.  Sharing our time, our laughter, the non-material things that make our life so special.  This time of year makes me feel so peaceful and adored.  I love cooking, and having everyone gathered at our table.  I have times that I will just sit back and study the faces of those in my home.  Their smiles are all the thanks I need.

These are the things I give thanks for:

My relationship with God.  Without Him, my life would be an utter mess.
My husband.  He is my best friend, the 2nd beat of my heart.  He is a wonderful Dad to our kids.  The best.  I cannot say enough about this man.  Our souls are so connected, we would wither and die without one another.
Our kids.  Oh man our kids, Rock!!  They make me proud, and laugh like no one else can.  They challenge me, and adore me.  I love their individuality.  They bring so much happiness to this house and to this Mama.
Our extended family.  Grandparents, cousins, bothers, sister-in laws, uncles, aunts.  It is so good and so real with them all.  Blessed.
Our puppies. Golden Retriever hair aside, I could never imagine our home without dogs in it.
Sunshine and the beach.
To be able to travel.
Our friends.  We have such a great group of friends. And my girlfriends...you don't get any better than them.
The 1st cup of coffee every morning, that my husband brings to me in bed EVERY SINGLE DAY!!  (Yes, every single day)
The many books I love to devour.
Running....long runs.
The snow
The ocean
Our bed and soft fluffy comforter, and the mornings I get to sleep in and cuddle up under it.
A warm sauna
Our community and being able to live in Coeur d'Alene
Authentic people
The peacefulness of our house
My RM Mafia ;))
A hot shower
Dancing and music
Red wine
That my hubs rubs my back every night until I fall asleep
My freedom in this country
Giggling with Greg until the wee hours of the night
Snuggling on the couch watching movies
Memories.... the Good and the Bad

It feels great to have gratitude.  To think about how blessed this life is that I am in.
I wish you all a Very Happy Blessed day of Giving Thanks!!

~“If you concentrate on finding whatever is good in every situation, you will discover that your life will suddenly be filled with gratitude, a feeling that nurtures the soul.” — Rabbi Harold Kushner

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

A little biking. A little running!

Watching the Kona IM bike is fast and furious!  We were lucky to see the pro's leave out of T1 and out onto the course.  We were also privileged to see our friends that were racing whizz by us so quickly we were barely able to yell out a cheer for them.  We had driven part of the course on our way to Hapuna Beach, but didn't catch the whole thing.  The climb to Hawi, we hear is hard, and windy.  I can only imagine the heat hitting you, and the wind that can literally whip you across the road.
Right smack dab in the middle of the afternoon we had our volunteer positions.  The "Hot Corner" they call it.  Bikes coming in, runners heading out to their 1st ten-mile turnaround, and back again heading out towards the Energy Lab.  This was amazing!  It was hot, alright!  Standing on that blazing pavement.  As we stood and controlled human traffic trying to cross the course, I could only imagine what these athletes were feeling.  I was only directing people.  They had just finished a HOT and WINDY 112 miles on the bike, only to hop off and take on a 26.2 mile run on this hot, sticky, windless day.

Palani Hill

We loved this volunteer spot.  We had timed it perfectly.  Knowing when our favorite pro's would be coming through off of their bikes, and right past us onto the run!  It was an exciting volunteer posistion.
After our shift, we were free to roam around, cheering on racers, meeting people, and waiting anxiously at the finish for the speedy's.  It seemed almost impossible that in such a short amount of time, the pro's were coming in finishing their run.  Their Ironman day was coming to an end.  We cheered loudly and got teary-eyed as they came in.  Craig Alexander.  Breaking records, and sobbing as he met his family at the finish.  And Chrissie Wellington.  The woman with the hugest smile!  Gracefully making her way to her Ironman World Championship win.  She was all smiles, of course.

Craig Alexander

Crazy Fans!

Crazy Volunteers!

Chrissie Wellington

Finishing up for the Win!!

As the day continued, we watched racers, wandered around, cheered, stood in awe of the people we saw finishing. It was a remarkable day.
Towards the midnight cutoff, the party downtown was incredible.  It was inspiring to see these athletes finish.  These men and women coming in after the hardest race of their lives.  This is the "meat" of Ironman.  Not to put off the pros and their hard work, but listening to the stories spill out about these late finishers was astounding.  Cancer survivors, current cancer patients, amputees, people who had overcome so many health issues, weigh loss, loss of spouses, children, parents,  people defying the odds.  The tears rolled from my eyes, seeing them literally battling everything within them, to cross that finish line.
And after the midnight clock ran out.  That 17 hour cutoff.  The ceremony that followed was incredible. Hula dancers, fire dancers, closing prayers, and the traditional blowing of the Hawaiian Pu horn.  We loved hearing them talk about the race, and bring to a close of the 2011 Ironman World Championships!!
Along the course ~beautiful!!


Mike Reilly pumping up the crowd!!

Our last day on the island was all for Greg and I.  We set off for a little adventure.  Just the two of us.  We spent the day exploring the lava flow in Volcanoes National Park.  We did some hiking through rain forests, went and walked through the stinky sulfur beds, walked through a lava tube (which was really cool) and stood to feel the steam from the huge steam vents or cracks in the Earth.  We visited the extraordinarily beautiful Painted Church.  The rest of the afternoon we spent laying in the Hawaiian sun on a black sand beach at Punalu'u.  That night, we met the besties for our "last supper" and had an amazing sunset dinner!  It was a great finish to our incredible Kona experience.

Punalu'u Beach

Volcanoes National Park

Steam Vents

Stinky sulfur

Greg heading through the forest to the lava tube

Heading into the tube

The Painted Church

Coming home was hard.  Hard to leave the warm sand, the beaches, the clear waters of the Pacific and the excitement of Ironman.  Hard to come back after being kissed by Kona, Hawaii.