Bluebird skies

I run outdoors almost all year ’round save for the time or two that I’m traveling and can’t get out.  Winters make it tough with the cold and the lack of light but I try my best. 

Springtime is my favorite time to run.  The temps are just right, there is a newness in the air and everything just seems to feed my energy.

On weekends I make it a point to get out for a trail run.  We have amazing trails in the Grand Junction area and I take advantage.  Today I was out running and thinking about how fortunate I am to live in this beautiful area.  So incredibly fortunate.  

Don’t get me wrong, I have found beauty in every place I’ve lived.  Port Huron, MI had the amazing seaway.  North Dakota’s west portion of the state is a rugged beauty.  The eastern portion of South Dakota has a serenity to it.

But there is something about Western Colorado…


Time marches on

15 years. Sounds like a long time, doesn’t it? It is and isn’t all at the same time.

I remember it so clearly. 15 years ago I was finishing up my last class at the University of Sioux Falls. I had just moved into an apartment off campus with two of my friends. Our phone had yet to be hooked up and it was before cell phones were in everyone’s pockets.

I headed to the campus, parked and went inside Jeschke Hall, where my art class was.  I was almost finished with college.  A great feeling!  Then I saw my pastor, Steve Miller, in the hallway.  Steve wasn’t typically at the campus, we had a weekly group that met at church but I was always happy to see him.  His face was grim as he delivered the news:  my cousin, Jay, had been killed in a car accident.

When news like that is delivered, it’s hard to take in.  You want to ask if the person is joking but you know they aren’t.  Jay was young, just 18.  It was his first year in college, he had a girlfriend and his adult life was just beginning.  He was a ornery guy, always playing jokes, always a smile on his face.    There were five cousins on our side at the time so we all were more like siblings than cousins.

All I could think was that I had to tell my brother.  My parents hadn’t been able to get a hold of him so I was the one who went to the campus radio station, where I was manager, picked up the phone and delivered the news.  Not news that you want to deliver to anyone, much less your brother.

So you go through the stages of grief and try to heal but there are still things that bring Jay to mind.  I took pictures of a senior guy a few years ago and he reminded me of Jay.  Frogs remind me of Jay (yes, there is a story there).  Hunting reminds me of Jay and his love of the outdoors.

And every year at this time I have a feeling of sadness wash over me as the anniversary approaches.  The thing that consoles me is that I have happy memories of our time on earth, fond memories of Christmases and family gatherings.  Most of all, I cherish the fact that someday I will see his mischievous grin again.

By the way, the photo below was taken at my high school graduation.  I am in the back with my brother, Scott, and our cousins (from L-R) are Sara, Lisa and Jay.  RIP Jay, you are always missed.


As time goes by…

Nine years ago a wide eyed North Dakota girl arrived in Fruita, CO, ready to start a new life.  (Imagine cheers and the clinking of wine glasses)  I grew up in the midwest and, besides a short three month stint in Michigan and one year of school in Minnesota, I hadn’t left North or South Dakota.  When I lost my job in South Dakota, and after a few months, I called my parents up and asked if they would like a houseguest.  Dad came out and moved me to CO and today is my anniversary of arriving in CO.

I’ve never lived anywhere nearly a decade and it’s surprising how quickly it’s gone.  I’ve been reflecting a lot this week.  I’m no longer a shy, scared, “don’t take chances” person.  I’ve started a few businesses, started a gluten free support group, worked in media, sales and insurance, have become active in Lions Club, and have met a ton of great people.  People that have stuck by me through good times and bad.    I’ve become an outdoors person, even doing 5K races and obstacle course races.  I have become very outspoken about Celiac Disease and what it means to me and to others.  I almost forget who that other person is.

Through it all I’ve become a stronger person.  I know what I stand for and when to be outspoken about it.  I know who I can count on and who I can’t.  I know that when the rubber meets the road what my strengths are and how to use them and who will be by my side.

And I know I love where I’m at:  physically, spiritually, mentally.  I’m ready for another year and more adventures.

2014: The Year of No Excuses

Where did 2013 go?  It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming in the New Year and now it’s just a few days from being over.

With a new year typically come those pesky resolutions.  Many people will make the resolution and within a month will have forgotten about it.  That’s why I challenge you to make a goal, not a resolution, for the entire year and make 2014 the year of “No Excuses”.

I can’t claim that this idea is mine; it actually came from the company I work for.  They challenged us to not make excuses for things we “couldn’t” do and make them happen.  They weren’t just talking professionally; they were talking mostly about personal goals and this all stemmed from Team Hoyt.

If you’ve never heard of Team Hoyt, Google them, it’s an inspirational story for all.  The story goes like this:  Rick Hoyt was born with his umbilical cord around his neck which resulted in him having cerebral palsy and being a quadriplegic.  When Rick was younger, his friend, who was recently wheelchair bound was having a fundraiser race and Rick told his Dad, Dick, that he wanted to race.  Dick agreed to push Rick in his wheelchair through the race but Dick had never run more than just a few blocks.  They did the race, and another, and another and to this day they have finished Iron Man Competitions (a triathlon where you swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles) as well as marathons and many other races.  Dick does all of this WITH his son: pushing him in the wheelchair, pulling him in a raft and biking with him.  Oh, and by the way, they have come in ½ an hour short of a marathon record.

No excuses.  Dick just gets out there and does it because his son loves it.  Dick didn’t know how to swim and learned to swim.  He hadn’t rode a bike in years and got back on a bike.  He couldn’t run any distance and got out there and DID it.

I had a “no excuse” moment about three years ago.  I was having a rough time that fall and decided that I wasn’t getting any younger: it was time to run a 5k.  My friend, Cheryl, had been telling me for years that I should run a 5k.  I kept making excuses:  I couldn’t run far, my knees are bad, etc., etc.  But that fall something changed and I knew that it was now or never.  I asked her when the next 5k was and there was one in eight weeks, the Turkey Trot.  Upon the advice of my friend Gabe, I followed the training program of Hal Higdon, which was a good, slow start training program.  I trained.  I followed the program and even on days when running was the last thing I wanted to do, I ran.  Cheryl took me under her wing and took me running hills with her running friends.  She called and texted asking how training was going.  And when money ran short and I couldn’t afford to pay for the race, my parents stepped in and paid for the race.  They even bought me running pants so I would actually look like a runner!

So, when it came to the day of the race, I had no excuses.  I was trained, looked like a runner and Cheryl even came and picked me up.  My parents were there to cheer me on.  Now, all I had to do was run.  Was I fast?  Not really.  Did I finish?  Yes.  Was I proud, excited and sore the next day?  Yes.  I put all of the excuses behind me, had friends and family to push me and take away anything that could be an excuse and just did it.  The best part is that running is addictive and I have brought another friend (Shawna) in to run with me too and I keep running races.  My most recent Turkey Trot was my fastest time ever for a race and I plan on keeping on.  No excuses.

So, make this your year of no excuses.  What is something you’ve always wanted to do but “couldn’t”?  What is something that you “didn’t have time for”?  What is something you’ve been scared to do because it was new?  Take the words “can’t”, “couldn’t”, “don’t have time” and other negatives out of your vocabulary.  Make 2014 a year where you can say “I did all of these new things and I’m a better person for it.”  Happy New Year!

Warrior Dash 2012

Warrior Dash 2012

Children With Hope Race 2011

Children With Hope Race 2011

Sweetheart Race 2011

Sweetheart Race 2011

Warrior Dash 2013

Warrior Dash 2013