Wednesday, December 24, 2014

TEDxSeattle Audition - Coming Soon!

I'm petrified. And yet I'm thrilled.

About a month ago my sister told me that TEDx is coming to Seattle. She sent me a link to their application and on a whim I filled it out. I want to share with the world my experience with sudden death as a gift and my desire to shift the paradigm around death and dying.

Grief is a gift.

So I filled out their extensive questionnaire. What is it that you want to share? Why do you feel the audience needs to know this? What is it that you hope to change in the world? How does your presentation fit into Seattle's TEDx brand, Dive In? Where have you dove into something before? Have you been coached? Are you open to being coached?

I answered all of their questions truthfully and openly. And in a way, I didn't expect to hear anything back.

But I did.

Within a week I received an invite to audition in Seattle. Except there was one minor glitch - they wanted me to audition on 12/13/14 - our wedding day. I responded immediately and the curator told me not to fear - they were going to hold a second audition for people unable to make the first one. My audition is now on 1/23/15.

And I'm petrified and thrilled.

A platform. A way to get my word out there beyond my local community. An opportunity!

Time is ticking.

Being the book worm I am, I perused Boulder's library - looking for books on presenting and on grieving. To my surprise, there are more books on grief and dying then when I first looked back in 2008. And yet none of the titles at first glance focus on the light in the darkness. None of the books jump out and appear to throw a life line during a troubling time when most people are searching for hope.

I grabbed a few titles published after 2008 to see if the main theme remained the same. It's hard to revisit the darkest time in my life, yet it's inspiring to go back there and be reminded of what I can bring to the world: my own perspective on the subject.

I also found a book titled, "Talk Like TED." Nailed it. And as I read about the hours and hours of practice, the need to connect to the audience through narrative and showing them something new, something that inspires, something that they can learn from - I panicked.

How on earth is my story about Ryan's death going to inspire complete strangers?

On the other hand, how is it not?

My self-doubt flooded my mind as I read this morning and I was answered with the following:

"Some speakers take a defeatist attitude. They don't think they have anything new to teach people. Sure they do. We all do. We all have unique stories to tell. You might not have the same experiences as the speakers in this chapter, but you have stories just as interesting and valuable in your journey of discovery. Pay attention to the stories of your life. If they teach you something new and valuable, there's a good chance other people will want to hear about it."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Something worth celebrating!

We're getting married in three days. I repeat: WE'RE GETTING MARRIED IN THREE DAYS!!!

This isn't my first rodeo. It's actually my second. And for those who don't know my story - I am a widow. Ryan died in September of 2008 in a rock climbing accident. Life as I knew it was thrown upside down. Yet I made a choice early on in my grieving process to look at loss as a gift. To make the most of it. And it opened my eyes and heart to possibilities I didn't know existed.

On our first date I asked Benjamin, "Who are you?" He read my blog and knew all about my story, my loss, my resolve to live on.

"Your love for Ryan was so apparent. That's the kind of love I want. I've never settled for anything less," he admitted to me on our first date.

As I looked across the table I made a resolve right then and there to love him. I barely knew him. But I knew, just knew, we shared something special.

And now in just a few short days, I'm marrying to my best friend.

My eyes fill with tears to have found love again and to be loved back. And I thank Ryan for showing me how to love and live and to Benjamin for making it all possible.

Monday, November 10, 2014

"Training doesn't tickle"

This morning I had a list of excuses before I even woke up...

It's windy.
I'm tired.
I'm sore.
I didn't sleep well.
It's going to snow this morning.
My heart rate is high and my oxygen saturation is low.

And according to my new RestWise program, training today will be severely compromised. Wait, what? Suddenly a program is telling me how I feel? 

We all have days where we feel less than rested. Where our muscles and minds are sore from  weekend beatings. Where getting back in the saddle sounds unbearable.

I text a few of my excuses to Ben to which he responded, "Training doesn't tickle." 

But the wind... and snow... and my legs....

He would have none of it. And thank goodness he didn't. Training requires dedication, hard work, effort and above all, a good attitude.

It's an interesting position being coaching by your lover and best friend. He has to be willing to call me on my nonsense. He's a great coach - holding me accountable for my actions. Especially if my actions are not in line with my goals. He wants me to rise to my potential and take full advantage of my opportunities - to be my best. It is an incredible feeling to have someone in my corner who is not only rooting me on but encouraging, guiding and cheering for me.

And even though sometimes he tells me things I don't want to hear or admit, I am thankful for the trust, honesty and respect we share with one another. It's a two way street and we help each other grow.

So when I ask what makes a great coach - I know exactly what kind of coach I adore and love. How lucky am I that I get to marry him?

Monday, November 03, 2014

My mom, the fisherman.

I come from a long line of fishermen. My Hawaiian/Chinese/Scottish lineage ingrained a deep-seated wisdom to put a line with a hook on it in the sea and survive. But they did more than just survive, my family thrived. Despite adversity, despite the odds, despite any challenges. Despite being outnumbered, lacking fancy equipment or special bait. Moments after putting a line in the water, they would pull out the biggest, fattest fish in the sea.

And then laugh about it.

My mom always had the gift. When she was a little girl, she would go out in a boat with her dad and brother. Off the coast of Hawaii, near the bay where our family had their piece of land, they would rock back and forth in an outboard motor boat in the warm Pacific ocean. Her brother would cast his line in the sea and get a little nibble, only to find a fish stole his bait.

She'd flash a quick grin, cast her line in the sea and within minutes pull in fish after fish after fish.

And then laugh about it.

Over the years, men would try to out fish her. They would create tournaments and fishing vacations, put trophies on the wall for the biggest halibut, the largest of king salmons, boasting of their bounties. Not many women dared set foot in this hunting ground. It was intimidating. She would see men lined up ready to go out for the day on the ocean and she would walk past them get into a boat and head out to the same fishing grounds. Time after time she would limit out hours before they even hooked one fish.

It goes beyond fishing. She went to college in LA, majoring in Business Management in 1968. She was the only woman in her class. Her dad tried to convince her to be a secretary, something more traditional. Despite his wishes, she picked management. She didn't want to be a secretary. She wanted to have her own secretary.

In the 90s she would find herself the only woman in the real estate business world in Seattle and have men try to persuade her she should let a man do what she was doing. She should just give someone else the power she had earned. So she'd out fish them.

And now, I find my sister and I are in a current full of men in our separate professions. She's in tech and I'm in cycling coaching. And guess what we're going to do?

Out fish them.
"It's not about working harder - just smarter."

Monday, October 20, 2014

Fall Resolutions

His description of the incident was easy to picture. As much as I try to avoid it, I ride Highway 36 several times a week. It links Boulder to one of the mountain canyons through Lyons, leading up to Rocky Mountain National Park, the Peak to Peak Highway and beyond. It's two lanes with a wide shoulder. Boulder county cyclists use it all the time even though traffic cruises by at 50+mph. I wince every time a big truck zooms by - a breezy and loud reminder that my spandex offers no protection should something happen. But you can't think that way. You'd be paralyzed and never leave the house.

So when I read the recollection of Adelaide's t-bone encounter with a turning vehicle, I winced. That could be me. That could be Benjamin. That could be any one of my friends. It happened to someone in our community. To someone I met sitting on the sidelines cheering Kennett on at the Superior Morgul crit.

There are reminders big and small that echo how short life is. That life is precious, brief and surreal. Our job is to live life to the fullest and make sure those you love know it and tell them often.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Go Out For Adventure... Come Home For Love

Speaking of adventure... we're headed to Moab this week. The car is packed with hard tails, dual suspension, fork mounts, enough food to feed a small army, Moscow Mule makings, more food and some spandex. What we hope to find: single track on red dirt, smiles on everyone's face and giggles had by all. Oh, and good eating.

My mom visited Boulder this past week and we ran around to Beaver Creek, Pearl Street, the Farm Stand, Salt, Peppercorn and different grocery stores. We ate well, laughed hard and almost cried. I take that back - I'm crying now. I miss her. To go from seeing her everyday to only twice or so a year is hard. She fills such a large place in my heart. I am so lucky.

We've lived here four and a half months now - long enough to see two seasons. Makiah is aging - I catch her with her little tongue hanging out while she sleeps. Moonli has grey around his eyes now, complimenting his grey muzzle. My hair is midway down my back. All signs that time is marching on. What an incredible summer. One that I could put on repeat for the rest of my life.

And we're getting closer to 12.13.14....

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

I felt you today. You know when. And tonight, I pictured your smile clearer than I can remember in quite some time.

"When someone great is gone...."

Summertime and the living's easy.

We're getting married!!!

Colorado rules.
Master Track Nationals in Seattle. Team Sharp!
Pumpkin patch just down the street from our house.
Crazy colors at Kenosha Pass. Some great single track too!

Kenosha Pass colors and crowds.

Cruising up Left Hand on the first day of Autumn.

The Hero Project in Santa Monica, CA. Three hours on a spin bike. What?!?

What my cleats looked like after a miraculous tripod save from a massive crash in the master nationals crit. Thankful that my cleats and bike took the brunt of the crash and not my face or body!

Slightly used cleats on Ben's shoe for comparison.

Broken carbon! And three spokes on a rear zipp wheel. That means road season is a wrap!

Moonli the wonder dog. I don't know why he keeps frowning.

Early fall colors in Odgen, Utah.

Late August and all of September was filled with several national championship jerseys, the last races of the season, anniversaries, hospital visits, single track through the changing aspens and pumpkin patches. Where to start? It's all a blur but we sure had fun!

First things first: Master Track Nationals in Redmond, WA. Four titles for our household in the individual pursuit, scratch, points race, and team pursuit. The weather was perfect and we had a great time suffering on the track. Afterward, Ben headed straight to Eurobike in Germany where they decked out 13 (thirteen!!!) airplane hangers full of biking industry gear. I headed back to Colorado and took Moonli and Makiah on multiple walks through the field behind out house. I also prepped for master road nationals held in Ogden, Utah.

Had a great time hanging with teammates in Utah as they competed in the time trial and road races. I saved myself for the crit and long story short - a massive crash in the last lap had me thanking my lucky stars I didn't go down. I managed to come out with a strange handlebar bruise on my hip, worn off cleats, a hosed rear Zipp wheel, and a broken carbon seat stay. Yikes! It put a prompt end to my road season.

While the bike is in the shop, I'm pedaling around on my cross and mountain bikes. It's been rough. Really, really rough as you can tell by the photos.

A quick trip to California to visit Ryan's dad, Gary in the hospital, I found myself at a three hour spin fundraiser on Santa Monica Pier.  Random, strange but super fun! Life is short. Let those you love know it and show them often.

What's next? Rocky Mountain National Park visits, applesauce making, long miles on the cross bike (extra resistance training) and possibly some crossfit. Yep, you read that right. Crossfit. Because someone has to survive the zombie apocalypse.