Monday, March 20, 2017

A New Kind Of Race

My mother has Alzheimer's.  We got the diagnosis three weeks ago.

I typed that out just now and had to let that sink in before I could type more.

My memories of my mom consist mainly of her being the outgoing, energetic, creative mom of six, grandma to 24, and great grandmother of one.  She excels in crafts, handiwork, decorating the home for every holiday, and preparing Sunday dinners for her entire family each week.  Her quilts are intricate, beautiful pieces of art.  She walks miles everyday with her best friends and neighbors.  And she has lived an independent life since my father's death in 2008.

But things have started to change.  We noticed an anxiousness that overtook her when she had to step out of her routine.  She had extreme anxiety when it was time to get to an event, like my daughter's wedding.  She'd stress over who was going to take her there and pick her up.  The mom who never stopped talking, over time, was the first to hang up in a phone call.  "Chow! Chow!" would signal the end of the conversation.

We saw the family practice doctor and he performed some simple tests.  "Table, apple, penny, remember those three words," the doctor would say.  Then he'd ask her to do a series of simple math problem and then went back to ask her to recall the words.  She could not say all three.  Ever. Cognitive Memory Impairment was her first diagnosis.

She was referred to a neurologist who did the similar line-up of tests.  But she struggled.  Perhaps most shocking was to draw the face of a clock and put the big hand and little hand at ten minutes to two.  She was confused and embarrassed when she couldn't draw the answer onto the white board. Through a series of more tests, doctors and scans, her neurologists eliminated the other possible outcomes of CMI and diagnosed her with Alzheimer's Disease.

So today, my focus turns to a different type of race.  The race for time.  For memories.  For interaction and conversations with my mom.   For the ability to tell her that I love her and let her know she was the perfect mom for me.  You see, our family has been down this road before.  We lost my father-in-law to the ravaging effects of Alzheimer's on January 2, 2016.  

This disease will steal your loved ones from you.  It will leave you heartbroken and devastated.  It lingers around and gives you glimpses of hope.  And then slaps you back to the reality that IT is in charge.

I turn my focus now in her direction.  There will always be another triathlon. My training plan, my nutrition, my race schedule will always be under my control.  But I can't escape the overwhelming cloud called Alzheimer's that is rolling again onto our horizon to rain down it's sadness and despair onto all of US.  She's starting to slip.  And I need to catch her.

This race is different. 

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Fast After 50, by Joe Friel

Yep, 50.  I'm here.  And yet in my mind, I'm 20 and can walk the halls of my college campus and fit right in....right?  Okay, not so much.  My KIDS are now in college.  

Everything ever written says the forecast for aging athletes is grim: metabolism slows, race times drop and that little layer of fat begins to increase around the middle.  Ugh.  Not fun, especially when that mind I was talking about still wants to add in classes for Fall Semester.

Leave it to author Joe Friel to make us feel better about life after 50.  Friel's book, Fast after 50 is a must-read for any athlete who wants to get inspiration to keep going.  There's a lot to live for and train for in the later stages of being an athlete.  He says it best "If you decide you have some degree of control over your destiny as a senior athlete, then you are taking the first step toward improved race performances.  AGING IS FIRST AND FOREMOST AN ATTITUDE.  WHETHER YOU DECIDE YOU'RE OVER THE HILL OR NOT, YOU'RE RIGHT. "

Friel, who is now over 70 years old, advocates acquiring a great aerobic base first, then mixing some high-intensity training with a good dose of quality sleep and balanced nutrition.  It's a good recipe for a well rounded athlete, whether you are in your 20's or 80's.  He researched this stuff because he wanted to keep going.  I know I do too.

So here's to the next 50 years of triathlon training.  I'm in!  My times may drop, but my belief is that there's more to gain in my triathlon journey than PRs and fast times .   I enjoy getting on my bike for an epic ride.  Outside is the place for me.  I'm not taking this aging thing in a rocking chair.  It will have to chase me down on a dirt trail -- 'cause there's a lot out there for me to see!


Thursday, January 12, 2017

I'm Still Waiting

This post is dedicated to those who have ever been through divorce.  To those who have ever uttered "I'm going through a divorce." "My parents are divorced."  "I am divorced."  "My child/grandchild is getting divorced."  It's a word that, unless you have ever been through it, does not convey the elaborateness of experience.  For anyone who has ever let that word define their situation: I apologize.  I am sorry that I did not recognize what you've been through on any level.

Until you have felt the heavy burden of such this short, two-syllable word, you cannot know the meaning of it's message.  In short, two people have dealt with sadness, betrayal, chaos, heartbreak, tears, rumors, gossip, anger, shame, distrust, blame, envy  -- the list of negative verbs is endless.  It's a word that strips a person of all the happiness in their lives and rips their world into tiny pieces.  And we sum it all up in one.  little. word.  When that couple drops their announcement into the big pool of family and friends, the ripple effect begins to dissipate into the lives of all who they love and who have loved them.  Sadness envelops more lives than that couple will ever realize.

Divorce was not a word ever uttered in my family.  Sure it has happened.  But not within my immediate six siblings.  We are a proud family of married-forever believers,  We endure to the end. Then it struck one of my own and we were forced to look divorce square  into it's heavy ugly face and watch it affect grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings and in-laws.

The heartbreak is overwhelming and as a mother, there is nothing you want more than to take every burden of your child and heave it onto your own shoulders. You want to pronounce to the world "You are wrong!  She is good.  He is good!  It just didn't work." If only I could do that.  Because I have seen the poison of malicious gossip seep into the cracks of a broken person and burn their soul.  I have heard the cries of agony and have felt the heaviness in the air of sadness that seems unrelenting. I have watched as lives can be destroyed by a simple whisper of deceit.

Through it all I try to give advice, to look for the bright light at the end of the tunnel.  Because there is an end.  It comes when new relationships form and old ones fade away.  That word divorce will soften, I'm sure.  It's abrasiveness will heal with time.  Rumors will become non-issues because we..."move on."  Forgive and forget, they say.  But like the Dixie Chick sing, I'm still waiting.

Today I will mourn the loss of a once-happy love story.  I will force myself to smile as I watch new relationships blossom.  And I will empathize with anyone who shoes have walked this same path of despair with grace and elegance.  I applaud those who come out on the other end as a better person.

My Apple watch reminds me daily to ....breathe.  Take a minute, focus, slowly inhale, then...exhale. For now, that's enough.

Thursday, December 29, 2016


Twenty sixteen.  A year like no other in my life.  It started and ended in the worst way possible, but had so much good in between.  Here are the highlights:

January:  My sweet father-in-law passes away.
January:  We sell our beloved mountain home in Deer Valley, Utah the same day.

February:  We welcome our first grandchild, who becomes the light of our lives.
February:  We move out of our home for an extensive remodel on it.

April:  Our second daughter graduates from Culinary School and begins her chef life.

May:  Our only son graduates from high school.
May:  Our third daughter marries the love of her life and we celebrate with a beautiful wedding and reception.
May:  We move out of the rental home we are staying in because it gets sold and move into another temporary home.

July:  Our son heads off to college for a summer semester to get in a quick bit of school in before he leaves on his LDS  mission.

October:  Number One Son (and only) leaves on his two-year mission to Cuernavaca, Mexico and my husband and I officially become empty nesters.
October: I turn 50, and have an awesome friends party.
October:  My daughter separates from her husband and my life seems devoid of happiness.

December:  Divorce is signed.
December:  Let's end this year QUICK!

Not even my worst enemy should begin and end their year with the two d's - death and divorce  (I actually can't say I have any enemies).  At times it's been heart wrenching, eclipsing all the good that 2016 brought to our family.  I spent time in the fetal position unable to cope with a distressed daughter and loss of a son-in-law.   I refused to send out Christmas cards - a tradition that I have had for 28 years.  I was in a deep, dark place.

But friends and family helped me out of the quagmire.  They told me to press on, to get up and to get moving.  Exercise was my Xanax.  And that house remodel became the project that brought my husband and I closer as a couple.  My #2 is surviving.  She's catering to the most exclusive clientele in Park City, Utah.  Daughter #1 has become an amazing mom and the daily photo feed  of her daughter is the silver lining of my day.  Daughter #3 is so happy with her husband and is finishing her final semester of college.  And Number #1 Son smiled brighter than I've ever seen him as we Skyped on Christmas Day.  He exudes the light of Christ.

What have I learned this year?  So many things.

Don't judge others.
Don't fear change.
Empathize with friends/family who are going through hard times.
Look for the good in daily living.
A good book can make you escape reality even for an afternoon.
Pray, more often and more intensely.
Make and plan hard goals.
Dream Big.

I've tried in the past to not be too person on this blog.  But I wanted to share my heart with my tiny group of readers.  I find an outlet in writing that soothes my soul.  Twenty seventeen will be a much better year, I can already feel it.  Let's cheer each other on and share in the joys of life.  Because life is good.  And through the darkness emerges the sunrise -- every.  day.


Monday, September 26, 2016

The Skinny on Skinny & Co.

Here's the down and dirty secret of training in Arizona: you sweat.  And not just a little sweat, it's a LOT. It's the kind of sweat that demands you to immediately strip off those soaking clothes as you walk in from the heat kinda sweat.  Over the past few years, this has been the cause of dry, itchy skin or Excema -- especially on my lower back and right above my elbows, where I rest my arms in my tri bars.  I end up feeling like a lizard with a tough skaley exterior.

When I first noticed these patches of dry skin, I tried to soothe them with lotion -- ouch!  There was way too many chemicals to apply to the abrasions.  Then I tried Vaseline and Aquaphor, which helped but left me kinda goopy and oily.  And then I was given a prescription that worked, but the allowable amount my health insurance covered was the size of a mini tube of toothpaste.  I used it up way too fast and it was a hassle to refill the prescription.

Then I was introduced to this amazing product:  Skinny Coconut Oil.

I love this stuff.  It's 100 percent natural coconut oil and is very different than the coconut oil you can buy at your local grocer. I have been applying it on my "trouble spots" and it works!  It gently soothes my Excema and it doesn't leave any oily residue on my body.  It feels like it just soaks into my skin and heals it.  It's so healthy and non toxic that I can even cook with it or throw a drop or two into my morning smoothie.

Here is the skinny on Skinny direct from the manufacturer: Our coconuts are WILD HARVESTED from the jungles of Vietnam.  The coconuts are hand-picked and transported directly to our plant; a controlled environment ensuring quality.  Once cracked open, the coconut meat is put into the closed-loop, dehumidifying Nutralock System™. This extracts the moisture without heat, leaving all of the raw nutrients of the coconut intact.  Raw is better. The majority of coconut oils on the market claim to be "cold pressed," but are actually heated prior to the pressing process.  This extracts more oil from each individual coconut, yet raises the temperature over 120˚ F and destroys nutritional value. We believe our Nutralock System™ is superior to any other pressing method. Each jar takes about three times longer than other processes and uses 12 coconuts. This is why you can see, smell and feel the difference between our oil and virtually any other oil on the market.

I'm very interested in trying the sugar scrub and lip balm when I place my next order for Skinny Coconut oil, but surprisingly that may be awhile.  My first two ounce bottle has lasted me about three months, even when I use it daily.

So thanks for making me a believer Skinny & Co.  You have a dedicated user for life.

Que lindo es sonar despierto.
How lovely it is to dream while you are awake.