Dan's Down Dog & Dash

Showing up

Tomorrow I will wake up “ready” to swim, bike and run. I have spent the past seven months training for and competing in various triathlons. I was moved deeply by my friends battle with cancer and I wanted to do something to honor him. For whatever reason, competing in triathlons was how it manifested. As I put on my goggles and race gear tomorrow I will be thinking of Dan and all of the other people who have been affected by cancer. I will move through the race with the awareness that I am blessed to be able to wake up and do this. While I will not be crossing the finish line first, or even close, it will be a win for me in that I set a goal, trained and showed up. Sometimes that is all it takes; just showing up.

I am practiced in showing up for yoga and meditation. That is my daily practice. But swimming, cycling, running is a whole different story for me.  In setting out to honor Dan through this very physical training, that was way outside of my comfort zone, I found something deeper within myself. I found my strength in a way that I had forgotten.  Thanks Dan Schultz for being such an inspiration!

Crossing The Finish Line

“There are bold captains and old captains, but no bold old captains.” For some reason this is the quote I was thinking about after being pulled into a pontoon boat a mere few minutes into the swim portion of the race.

The previous day I had spent a lot of energy contemplating the cycling portion of the race. It was a hilly 18 mile ride in the Pocono Mountains and it had been raining for the past 24 hours. The roads were slick and there were a lot of fast riders in this group. I was completely freaked out about the ride. I never even considered the swim portion. I am a swimmer that’s what I was bringing to the race. As we entered the water, I found my way to the front for a few minutes of treading before it officially began. I felt pretty good, pretty confident. I took off at the start and pretty soon after something happened to my body. It started in my chest and made its way up to my neck and I couldn’t breathe. I rolled onto my back to try to mitigate what was happening. I thought I got myself together enough to move on, so I began to breast stroke very slowly, I must have gotten kicked or pushed under or who knows, but next thing I know I was being pulled into the boat. I began to cry from relief and joy that I could breath and from frustration about what had happened. I can not remember a time in recent history that I felt so defeated and alive all at once. They started asking me questions like what day is today, who is the president. I couldn’t figure out why the hell they wanted to know this when I had a race to finish. Obviously I was not  coherent! As they plucked a few more people out, I realized, oh- today is Sunday and Obama is president. Yes, I was pretty out of it I guess. It’s hard even now to explain this and have any  perspective. When you are right in it, right in the moment, at the edge of it all, there is no thinking mind.

Since I was only doing the sprint distance, I was low man on the totem pole of race participants. In other words, once they saw I could walk and talk, I was released to do whatever I wanted. So, I made my way to the transition, got on my cycling gear and took off for the ride from hell. But a crazy thing happened along the way. The ride I had stressed so much about, the ride that had me tasting fear throughout the previous evening was no big deal. Yes, it was hard as hell and the hills were a bear and the rain was scary, but I could breath and I had a new appreciation for breathing! Once I transitioned for the run I felt alive and well and so grateful for my family being there, for my breath and most importantly I was grateful the race was almost over.

As I turned the corner and headed for the finish line my 3 boys ran along side cheering me on. Under normal circumstances they are an incredibly loud and boisterous bunch. It is not unusual for me to tell them to quiet down,  but in that moment I was in heaven and their voices sounded like angels. Hearing their voices, feeling their energy, seeing their smiles and crossing the finish line was a moment I will never forget.

What I learned from this journey and from the experience I had in the water will take time for me to understand fully. On the surface levels I am reminded, yet again, the things we stress about usually do not ever come to fruition, while the things we don’t even consider can knock us under. This is a lesson I have been learning and re-learning for a while now. Perhaps this time it will be assimilated.

I embarked on this adventure to honor my friend Dan Schultz for all he and his family went through and for all of the courage and dignity they displayed and continue to display. An amazing group of people helped raise over $3200 for the awesome organization For Pete’s Sake. Isn’t that So COOL! I also hoped to inspire my kids to know that they can do anything they put their minds to.  While I wasn’t smooth or dignified in this race by any measure, I survived it, crossed the finish line and feel stronger than ever before. I am planning on doing another one soon, however, I may choose one with warmer water next time so I can be bold and old!

namaste y’all!

Tri it With a Smile In Honor of Dan Schultz….For Pete’s Sake!

It has been a couple of months since I posted about the May 19th Triathlon I am doing to honor Dan Schultz . A lot can happen in a couple of months! All of the physical training has pushed me to my edge physically and mentally.  I have learned so much about how I tell myself “stories” about what I can and can not do. I have learned that  most of the “can not do” is based in fear. I set out to do this tri to honor Dan and to show my kids anything is possible. Every single time I am pushed to my edge (which is pretty much every training session) I think about Dan and all of the other brave beings who have fought cancer or are fighting cancer. This has been such an inspiration to me to move forward with my training and to live my life to the fullest.

When I set out to do this Triathlon, I thought about raising money through a donation based yoga class. After chatting with many friends about this, I have come to the conclusion that we are all so darn busy and while people want to be a part of this, they may not be able to make it to a yoga class. So, I have decided to set up a page for donations. All of the money will go to For Petes Sake. For Petes Sake is an awesome organization that gives cancer patients and their family’s a respite from cancer. This organization is near and dear to the Schultz family as many happy memories were created on a trip to Florida in the midst of Dan’s battle. For Pete’s Sake took care of everything so Dan, Sue, Maddie, Avery, Quinn and Sadie could just be together and create cherished memories. Check out this video the Schultz kids made (all on their own!) about the annual For Pete’s Sake walk. Aren’t they so cool and creative!

Write here.Last summer, my son and his friend set up a Lemonade stand and raised some money For Pete’s sake.

I am hoping we can raise some money too! If you are interested, please click here to make your donation.

Team Verge…..Tri it with a Smile

Many years ago, almost a life time ago, I was a competitive swimmer. I only mention this because I am clinging onto the hope that my body, mind and spirit will have some sort of “memory” of this and be able to kick in to gear and move through water without sinking to the bottom. I am doing my first triathlon on May 19th. I have registered and everything. By everything, I mean I am two weeks into training, I have told people that I am doing this, and I even bought a seriously ugly tri suit that makes me look like a short bald man. Oh, I also retrofitted my (taller) husbands racing bike to fit me. Well, it sort-of fits me.

I was inspired to do a triathlon last spring after watching my friend Dan fight a courageous battle against cancer. After almost 2 years of fighting this disease, Dan passed away in June 2012. I became friends with Dan and his AMAZING wife Sue after we realized we shared a babysitter. Truth be told, the child whisperer known as Katie Fitton was their babysitter. We were merely borrowing Katie from time to time. Like everyone who knows Dan and Sue, we became fast friends. When Dan was diagnosed with cancer, we had so much hope that he would survive it, but that was not God’s plan. Dan fought such a courageous battle with Sue, his four beautiful children and his extended family at his side. They demonstrated such grace and guts throughout Dan’s journey. They were and continue to be a major inspiration in my life.

Soon after Dan passed away I had an idea that I would honor him by doing a triathlon. I mentioned this to Sue one day as I was riding around our neighborhood on my beach cruiser (more on this later). I came home, told my husband and then thought HOLY SH&%.

As time went by, my desire to honor Dan was clear and a desire to show my children that anything is possible emerged. However, I couldn’t figure out how to JUST DO IT. I heard about CNN Fit Nation and Dr. Sanjay Gupta selecting a group of people to help them train for a triathlon. I submitted a video and crossed my fingers. I was hoping I would be selected because then I would be accountable. I never got selected. Soon after, I heard that my friend and fellow yoga instructor Carlyn was training for a tri in May.  One thing led to another and TEAM VERGE emerged. Along with five other yogis,  I will be doing the Black Bear Tri on May 19th. OMG! We all have our own reasons and inspirations for embarking on this journey. My intention for this triathlon is to honor the way Dan Schultz lived his life to the fullest and to hopefully inspire my children. Dan lived his life to the fullest and has inspired me to do the same. Dan did everything with a smile, that’s why I am calling it TEAM VERGE….Tri it with a smile.

From time to time I will update this blog about how my training is going. What I have learned from only two short weeks of training is that I am really hungry after I swim and I am not a very good runner. Actually, I have always know I was not a good runner, now I am faced with it again and again and again.

I will be offering a couple of donation based yoga classes before May 19th to raise money and awareness to be donated in Dan’s honor. The cause is TBD. Stay tuned!