Sunday, December 18, 2011

Fitness Insanity

On Tuesday, I drove to Vail to have my final check out with Dr. Corenman of Stedman Hawkins. They were really pleased and told me I am fully released, strong and fit for duty!

This meant that I could call Erik at Aspen Crossfit and tell him YES I'M READY!! (Oh, Lord, help...)

The Elements class had started on Monday, but they let me jump in the next day. I went slightly intimidated, because I've heard my friend Monique talk about doing huge Olympic Lifts and squats and all kinds of insane things that super strong, fit people do.

Elements Class getting after it!
I am not a super strong, fit person since my surgery for sure. And I was nervous after my experience carying the 8lb backpack to Highlands and laying on the couch for the whole next day about what lifting weights would be like for me.

We talked a bit about my limitations. Erik is able to modify ANY workout to be suitable, and so in I went.

We spent the evening learning the proper position for some very serious looking exercises, but we did it using PVC pipes. Erik is really specific about how our form is, and I was grateful for that, I have been known to get after it and hurt myslef. So my job is to make sure I'm paying attention and learn good form, and always use it.

I do feel like I'm being set up for success in so many ways, from being protected from injury through the very specfic graduated steps in which we are learning the exercises, to the community feel of the place.

Our first workout was about 10 minutes long, and I was quite sore the next day, surprisingly so.

Scott working hard and loving it.
I am combining Bikram Yoga daily with Crossfit three times a week to see if I can't get my strength and flexibility back heading into tryouts (should I be invited). I'm training like I'm going, regardless.

(**Update: There are four words you are not allowed to say in the crossfit gym: Can't, Should, Try and Never (I think the last one is never...) anyhow, Erik totally busted me for the above sentence and I gave him a Burpee for it. 

Unreal. Burpee punishment by remote. I LOVE IT. Now if he could only follow me in the bumps and make me do a Burpee for every less than excellent turn, I'd be motivated!**)

The Aspen Crossfit gym is full of all kinds of inspirational quotes, and Erik himself is absurdly positive, a strong, fit force of positivity. You almost can't help but feel like through sheer force of will, you too will get strong, ripped, fit and happy.

I left feeling like "I can do this." and then I couldn't sleep because I was so jacked up.

I hit yoga the next day, after finding myself wishing that it was Crossfit day several times. Friday morning I woke up and thought "Crossfit today! Yay!"

Friday turned out to be one of those days that you can't believe you live through. Kurt and I skied Ruthies all morning, ripping huge turns and working on my wonkiness in my turn to the left. My legs and abs were gassed, and we tuned skis.

Sometimes I'm not so smart...
In the midst of tuning skis, my file slipped and I ripped a big gash in my wrist, all the way to the tendon. But not through it. Patrol was called, I felt like a dumbass, and he told me it was going to need stitches. Bleh! I begged him to super glue it shut, I had to go take a birthday cake to Ethan at his school and I couldn't be late.

We bandaged it up, I grabbed the cake, ran it to school, and we all celebrated Ethans DOUBLE DIGITS! Then Tom and I stopped by Bodhi's class for their holiday party, and then I headed to the Aspen Medical Center where I got four stitches, one over the tendon and three to close the gash. I finished JUST in time to head to yoga.

Kate Giampapa guides us through the Bikram series.
Got there and realized it was hot vinyassa, which means weight bearing postures on the arms. Ow. Sweated my band aid off. Packed up, showered and jumped into less soaking clothes, and headed to Crossfit. There was no way I was going to miss this.

We were learning a press, which requires you to have your wrists bent back, and burpies, which require you to fall to the floor on your hands. Great.

My legs were already toast from training in the morning with Kurt and then standing in Horse stance for about ten minutes in yoga. So the Med Ball Squat Press that we learned was BRUTAL. And awesome.

Another ten minute workout and I got in my car feeling like an athlete again. That only took a week. I came home and at a HUGE piece of fish and almost an entire tub of lettuce and then fell asleep by about 8:30.

If I feel this good, this strong, this sore, this challenged and this excited and happy after a WEEK being back in the swing of things, I can only imagine what four solid months of this will do to my body, mind and spirit.

Thank you Aspen Crossfit and Arjuna Yoga for being so amazing!!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Curate Skiing in the Shower!

Curating can be FUN!
Hey, Tweeps and peeps, I'm putting a tab up just for the PSIA National Alpine Team Selection Committee on my blog of the BEST OF Was there a post that inspired YOU?

Help me curate the BEST OF and your name will go on the curator list! 

Thanks for your help! 

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Sunday, December 11, 2011

From Full-Contact Commuting to Elbows-Out Mountain Biking

Guest Post by Amy DaRosa

Amy and Kurt post ride.
Amy was kind enough to write this guest post for Skiing in the Shower this summer after adventuring all over Snowmass Mountain with Kurt and I. Sorry for the long delay, but I'm excited to be sharing it with you now!

I've never considered myself a kick-ass, aggressive kind of girl, even though I have skied moguls, black diamonds and expert trails in the east and west, have lived and worked in NYC for the better part of 17 years, have worked my way up the corporate ladder and have thrown my share of elbows on the subway. So I guess my recent summertime visit to Snowmass, CO was as good a time as any to find my inner assertiveness and bring it out -- for something positive.

In advance of this house-hunting trip, my husband and I had made plans with several friends, including Kate and Kurt who I would be meeting in person for the first time. I should really call them super friends though, because I discovered that these two are up-for-almost-anything, high-achiever, technically superior, adrenaline-junkie, endurance machines of the highest order. When meeting up with them Sunday I even joked with Kate asking if she had a cape on under all that body armor.

A-hem, what??? Body armor, you ask? Yup, that's right. We were about to learn how to downhill mountain bike, which calls for body armor, helmet, gloves and a pretty awesome, fat-tired mountain bike. Safety first, folks!

So there we stood at the base of our favorite ski area, looking up at her multiple peaks donning their lush, green summer coat. I was wearing bike clothes -- the first set I had ever owned, purchased the day before -- but I felt almost naked. I usually tackled these hills when they were blanketed with snow in my very own layers of long underwear, ski pants, North Face jacket, Smart Wool socks, ski boots, glove liners, you name it.

But, the good news was we had our super friends on our side. After getting outfitted with bikes and gear, we suited up and were ready to learn the basics on flat ground. Have I mentioned I hadn't been on a bike since 1988?

Kurt talked us through and demonstrated the important stuff then had us practice and play, making corrections and encouraging us, all of which went pretty well. The bike was fun and fairly cushy with massive shock absorbers. We learned how to stand up on the pedals, lean the bike to turn and brake the right way. We were ready for our first mini-course.

Up the gondola we went. We got out at the mid-station to practice the mini-course, which was scratched out of a faintly sloped patch of dirt and grass. We pedaled and turned and stopped. Proving we were ready, we headed downhill with Kurt in the lead and Kate bringing up the rear. I shed a few tears during a scared moment, as I'm known to do, but then we kept going. They successfully coached us down our first descent -- high-fives all around! Now for the next challenge: taking the gondola to the top.

We laughed during the ride up, but I was a bit nervous. I'm not the keen bike handler that Erik (my avid road-biking husband) is, but I was still planning to go for it as best as I could. We got off the gondola, enjoyed the view, talked about the beginner trail ahead then started down. At one point Kurt suggested I brake more aggressively, which I tried to do. Feeling a bit unsure, I told him I hadn't found my inner aggression so he instead tried to get me to channel my assertiveness.

Before taking on terrain that might prove too challenging, we put our bikes down to preview a tricky portion of the course on Kurt's advice. I decided I wasn't ready for that so Kurt led me down a slightly easier path, while Erik and Kate pressed on. I was trailing behind Kurt pretty well for a little while then got spooked by a slightly more difficult turn. Many people might not have gotten spooked by this, but what can I say? As is my normal process when encountering anxiety in advance of a break-through, I shed a few more tears. Kurt was patient and supportive, helping me regain my confidence and get started again.

We met up with Erik and Kate lower down the mountain and finished up the end of the trail together. Victory! We reached the bottom with hugs and smiles -- Erik's bigger than anyone's. He was hooked and went back up for several more laps of the course with Kate. Kurt met up with another client to start his next lesson. I stopped for the day feeling proud of Erik and of myself, and thankful for our friends who now appeared more super and talented than ever! I can give myself credit for being brave, assertive and maybe even a little bit aggressive and kick-ass after all. I think I could learn to like this :)

Saturday, December 10, 2011

On Fear, Choice, and Community

Okay, here's the truth. I haven't been writing much lately, not because I don't have a lot to write about, but because I'm not sure what to put up here! As I get closer to the selection process, I feel like I should share less, just in case someone finds a wart on my nose or something...

But isn't that silly? I mean, the whole point of this was to really share what the PROCESS of heading to the tryout was like, to sort of look at it from a journalistic standpoint.

So, part of the process is that over time, you realize that you are kind of in a job interview all the time. And that everything you post, to a blog, to Facebook, to Twitter, is part of that interview. Our employers have so much more access to our "non-work" faces now than they ever did.

Ethan and I explore Tiehack Terrain on opening day at Buttermilk
But I like transparency. I mean, we are all people. We all go through tough stuff. And I hope that being authentic and true and really going through this self and life examination process, and being willing to do it in a way that is NOT whitewashed, but real, is helpful for others to know that they don't have to be perfect to persue their dreams.

Martha Stewart, while she has a great banana bread recipe, is not real life. Real life is messy, and that is part of its beauty.

Its true that over the years, I've learned that some things, while interesting to write about and really difficult and scary (and therefore interesting to share; facing that moment and choosing to be honest forces a deeper introspection and more careful decision making) aren't really appropriate to share while I'm on this path. This was the irony of this choice. Part of the decision making here (and it was one of the tougher decisions) was chosing whether to stay true to the intention of the blog and share all, or to stay true to the path and begin to edit.

It took some long walks with some smart people to make the choice. So far, in every instance, over time, the path has won.

I wrote a lot about my personal relationships over the years, because my decision to go down this road affects them. I really wanted other people who were trying to examine their lives to know that they aren't alone in that issue; going to grad school puts stress on the other parent. Training for the Olympics puts stress on everyone around you because you live that training as your job 24/7 for years. This feels similar to both, but there had to be some balance that felt honest to the path, but in service of my family, who I love, and whom, without, this would all really be pointless.

I was curious about what would happen, to me, to my kids, to my romantic relationships, to my family in general. How would changing careers and then dedicating myself completely to becoming a viable candidate affect my life and my relationships? Would it be worth it? Would I find a choice that would take me off the path?

I think this was really the thing that has helped me most in my personal growth along the way, looking carefully at those decisions. And you guys have been there when I've asked "at what cost?".

When I first started this, I didn't think there really would be a large personal cost. I assumed that I'd be able to balance it all, kids, working out, skiing, relationships. After all, we had kids when we owned the rock climbing gym, and it was fine. But our paths were the same then, and we were more well financed.

Looking back over the last six years, this journey has forced me to examine my wants and desires, my personal accountability, my integrity, my will, my love and make choices all the way. And I got tired of learning lessons and making choices. I wanted sometimes to have learned the lesson and be done. But another beautiful nugget I get to take away from this journey is that really, that never stops.

It doesn't matter if you reach the goal or not. The lessons, the choices, the difficulties don't stop just because you reach your career goal. The more you listen, the more opportunities for growth are presenting them in every choice you make, every day.

And leaning into that, accepting it, welcoming it, is part of the gift. Its like that annoying friend who always speaks her mind. You can either stop being friends, or be grateful for the honesty and get something out of it. Make a positive change for good. When you live with that annoying friend, and you are tapped on the shoulder all day long, it gets tiring. But if you want to strive for excellence, shouldn't you want to be excellent in your person first, and in your career second?

This journey has seen the loss of my marriage, and then has aided us coming back together as supportive friends co parents and even housemates. Having talked extensively since Tom moved here in July, we have realized that our paths, our decisions, were the best, healthiest, and hardest things we ever did. We are better people, better parents, and better friends for what we went through. Turns out we made good decisions. I do think there is more than one right decision at most turning points. But making the hard, best decision you can make is the point.

This journey saw the uprooting of my kids, my mother quitting her life for a year to help out, near total poverty, the collapse of another relationship, the total destruction of my truck, spine surgery...

So many times, I have called my mentors, who have been in this game longer, are waaaayyyy wiser than I, in tears, asking, "Am I insane? I mean, do I really have a shot at doing this? Am I ruining my life and the life of everyone around me? Or am I creating a better life for myself and my kids because I'm being true to myself?"

This is why, I think, we need to have a really good, personal motivation that comes from a really true place, and a group of people you trust to help you out. When things got confusing, and they did, many times along the way, I needed a guiding light out of that cloud of confusion.

Bodhi, stoic, ready to drop in.
Because this journey has given me a life that is more beautiful and true than any one I could have dreamed up. It has led me to Aspen, to a group of people that feel like family. It has given me hope, and joy, and friendships that are so deep.  It has challenged me to be more, to be better. It pokes at my deepest fears and begs me to let go of them. It has given my kids freedom and joy to grown and expand and learn in a way I never thought possible.

In the end, you have to make a choice. I think lots of times we miss opportunity for happiness or growth because we are afraid that growth will be uncomfortable to other people in our lives. So we chose familiarity over integrity to our souls.

And while we absolutely need to take the people in our lives into consideration, and make these choices with them, and in consideration of them, we also have to be true to ourselves. Sometimes, we have to be brave and make the hard choice.

Sometimes I wasn't sure if the hard choice was leaving the path that was shaping me, or continuing along it.

During these six years, that balance, holding that polarity, has been the biggest, hardest challenge of all. And as the tryout has gotten closer and closer, I have needed more and more from my family and support group. This is really not something you can do by yourself.

I needed help with my kids, financial support, guidance in my career choices, guidance in how to share on this blog, I needed resources, teaching, history, technical, eyes on the hill. Encouragement to run and lift and cycle and work. I needed to learn when to let go of the goal because I needed to balance family in a way that is nurturing for them, wow, I needed A LOT. (and I got one, Aunt A Lot came back from Argentina, and hugged me and said, GO KATE GO!)

Friday at 5pm was the deadline for uploading applications for consideration for the National Team Selection.

Thursday and Friday, I felt like I was being held inside a giant warm down sleeping bag of friendship. My mom was calling and texting and telling me how proud she was of me for making it this far. My sister was finishing 15 days of brutal boot packing, and she still called and offered her support. My ex husband was reading and editing my material and taking care of our kids. I re shot my video four times in the last week. This took the time and resources of four incredibly dedicated, giving people who went out of their way to help.

This wasn't due to a lack of planning, but due to a desire to really represent accurately myself to the selectors, and what I might bring should they chose to invite me.

And these people, my friends and supporters did it with such ease and grace, that I had to take the lesson about giving. I learned a lot about rallying around someone you care about and helping them achieve their dream from the people who came to my aid.

The video was reshot because one of my support group said, "Its not you. Reshoot it." I agonized over this. I had already had such support from so many, I was loathe to go back and say, "Hey, I need to do it again."

I faced that question again. In service of doing this right, really giving the best that I could, after training for six years and spending every single penny I had or made, moving my family, could I really ask for more? After leaning so hard on them through surgery, through so much...

The answer had to be yes. I respectfully requested help. Again. And here they came. Gladly. I felt lifted up, and we got it done. If I had a gazillion bucks, I'd throw the worlds greatest party for the people who have carried me here. I hope to hell I can carry many many more on their journeys. It is an amazing thing to have your team of friends rally around you.

Bodhi and Dad sharing the dream.
It came down to the wire (and I'll share that story shortly), literally to 5:00pm on the day of the deadline. But it all went up, and we all looked at each other laughing. It was over. It was up. It was in. I had actually applied for consideration for the team in 2012. But it turns out that I hadn't. We had. We did it together.

And I hope they call me in February and I get to go to the tryout. But right now, I feel like I've already met my goal. I got here. Looking back at the choices, the stresses on family and relationships, I'm grateful for the choices I made. The good and the bad. Each one taught me a lesson in balance, respect, perseverance. I learned to stand on my own to feet. I learned that I'm stronger than I thought. I learned that no one can do it alone, no matter how much they want to. I learned that its not about me at all. Its about all of us.

We are all connected, as so many before me have said. Our journeys are all the same, I think, we are all just trying to live the fullest, most fulfilling, most connected life that we can.

So in the end, I'm glad I stayed on my path. The life before me is the life I love, and I'm grateful that my kids watched me fight for it. Today, we all skied Buttermilk together on opening day. I felt like it was the culmination of six years of hard work. Yesterday, I taught my first sanctioned on snow clinic at Snowmass, my dream job.

And then, the next day, seeing my kids and their dad and aunt ripping around smiling just five minutes from our house with one clinic behind me and another one coming up tomorrow, I thought, we did it. We all did it. Together. And each of us is happier for the fight that got us here.

So to my readers, who helped me through some of those hard times over the years, thank you. Thanks for being real, honest, for having my back and pushing me hard. Thanks for holding my feet to the fire and asking me to write even when it was hard to come back.

You have been the thing that kept this train on the tracks, more than I could ever tell you.

With deep gratitude,


Saturday, December 3, 2011

Aspen Academy Training News Volume1 Issue 1

I'm SUPER STOKED to share one of the things that has had me spelunking in my house for the last three weeks, the first issue of Aspen Academy training news is out! I am really honored to be editing this newsletter, which will come out bi-weekly. We got special dispensation from the Academy Training Manager to share it with the world, so here goes, enjoy it!  Double click on a photo to enlarge it. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

POC magaine featuring yours truly!

What an Honor! This fall, I got to spend a couple of hours talking with Shelly Jones of POC magazine, and our conversation became this article in the yearly POC magazine. Click here to read the whole magazine on line!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Relief in Laguna, Ski season begins!

Laguna Brothers.
Hello friends! I'm so sorry I haven't written in a while. Things are busy and good. Sooo much has happened, so here's a quick update and we'll get back to it.

I'm, what, 12 weeks out from surgery now? My neck is still sore, the muscles on the left side are achy and jumpy like crazy, and the bones are sore, too. But I'm getting stronger all the time.

"my life does NOT SUCK!"
I went through about four weeks of insomnia and some sort of random daytime narcolepsy like activity... picture driving yourself the to grocery store and suddenly needing to pull over because you have to sleep NOW. Random and weird. But that's gotten way better. And last night I slept about 14 hours which was AWESOME.

Ethan flies for the second time, and loves it.
The boys and I headed out to California to visit my amazing cousins, the Quilters, and to see my cousin Matt get married to his amazing Patty. It was a much needed respite from driving to Vail to all kinds of appointments and stresses, we went to the beach, visited with family, laid around reading Calvin and Hobbes, and the boys got to fly cousin Charlies Cessna 195, a radial engine airplane that feels exactly like you've glued wings to a VW bug and decided it would be a good idea to see how long it will stay in the air.

The season has started, I got cleared to ski the DAY BEFORE the Trainer's Training for RM PSIA in Breckenridge, and it took me five hours to drive from Aspen to Breck because I had to pull over and sleep four times on the way. Embarrassing is not the half of it. Whatever, I made it.

Bodhi finds a hero.
And I got on snow, and looked around and THERE THEY WERE! My PSIA family. A huge group of super nerdy snow geeks, just like me. We all got together and geeked out on our skiing, on each other's skiing... we talked about skiing on the hill and tried to ski in the conference room. Its what we do.

I saw so many people who inspire and excite me, and there were hugs, and there was a pub crawl, and then, more skiing! Biomechanics clinics, Movement Analysis clinics... and I thought, wow, I'm at Trainer's Training... how cool.
Ethan explains everything he understands about planes

I expected the skiing to be terrible... I mean, my skiing in particular, but it was okay. I was waaaay weaker than I expected to be, but my balance was okay. I took it easy, and slept like I'd been hit in the head with a hammer both nights after skiing. The drive home was long, fast, and I couldn't stop to sleep, because Ethan was in the Fourth Grade Play that night.

Laguna frees Bodhi
I only missed the first ten minutes of this nearly two hour production of doom. He's been talking about doing it since first grade. Its a big deal.

And then it was time for Trainer's Training for inhouse trainers in Aspen, and I was sitting in this room with about 50 other people, looking around going... huh... I've been working towards sitting in this room for five years. It was sort of shocking, and fun, and good, to be there, and just get to work. Like that's a normal thing to do, have a dream realized and just sit down and turn the page and keep moving because life is happening now!

A tour of QSC by Cousin Pat. Yes, that's a machine building the amps.
I also was lucky enough to give a presentation at ProFair, which I wrote about building trust with clients to help with repeat business. It was fun to write, and scary to give. I don't get big stage fright, generally. I get some rockin' nerves, which are nice to wake you up and pump you up, but the night before, WOW, I was staring at the ceiling until 4am. Not good! Kurt helped, he had me do a dry run for him, I made some notes and changes and off we went.

The room was full to capacity, and it was really fun. I love this topic, it was so fun to interact with my peeps, this willing audience who let me roundly abuse them with teddy bear props. Kurt sat on the counter in the back, and I let my eyes rest on him, and smiled to think it was nice he was there, part of this, and to know I could do it regardless.

Next up was a couple of newsletters that I'm working on, and my application for the teams selection process. Nine days left until applications close. I'm shooting my video tomorrow.
Ethan and Bodhi enjoy the Long Beach Aquarium

Meanwhile, I've gotten a few days of skiing in, slowly, and over the last two weeks, a lot of healing has happened. My strength is coming back, I'm not falling asleep on the way to the store any more, I've picked up my uniform, moved into my locker, and seen a bunch of old friends from the locker room.

I love this seasonal insanity, the familiarity once the mountain opens and the waiting is over, dress and ski undress and nurse feet, hug kiddos, sleep, dress and ski, undress and nurse feet... wash, rinse, repeat.

One exciting thing is that I get to take a trip to BC this year to ski with my friend Josh, who I haven't seen in years. I'm super stoked. He's a rockstar, and I've never skied up north before! In spite of the over (gulp) $120,000.00 in medical expenses I've incurred because of this car accident, I'm going to be able to take this trip! After not getting to go to Portillo or Ushuia for one reason or another, having a plane ticket in hand for BC is SUPER exciting.

That's the quick update. I hope I can get on here more often now that I'm not swimming through a haze of Dilloted and Hydromorphone and Vallium and Oxycontin... Ya, I'm not kidding, that was intense. I don't remember like four weeks of it after I got home except for some strong memories that I made a point of writing down. SOOooo glad thats over.

Happy 2011/12 ski season! Get out there and rip it up!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Feel like skiing? Here's a GREAT movie by Matt and AJ Hobbs featuring all locals, made by locals. If You Want to Fly by Vital Films! Featuring Colter J. Hinchliffe and sooo much amazing local talent!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Winning Entry: The day I fell in love with my bike

Believe it or not, I got 52 entries for the writing contest: The day I fell in love with my bike.

Everyone had outstanding stories, but there was something really special about this one, and I hope you agree. Congratulations to Ron Shepard for his entry, and thanks for participating, everyone!

Ron has $140 to spend at the POC store!

A letter from an uncle to his nephew:

September 10, 2010

Dear Myles,

Along with this letter, you will find a very special toy; I hope you will enjoy it. You will have many cherished toys in your life, but somehow your bike will always be different.

Your bike is a tool for your imagination; it can be a horse, a motorcycle, a race car, or a fighter plane, and any ole’ place can become a cobblestone path on the Tour de’ France, or the rocky landscape of a distant planet.

Your bike is your first simple independence; it allows you to go places, to explore, and to venture forth. Every bike rider I know has a memorable ride from their childhood, and yours are all just ahead.

You will see that biking begins as a challenge, then an accomplishment, and then an escape. Your bike can become a conduit for un-cluttered thinking, an outlet for pent-up energy, and a form of expression; not quite like dancing, much more like flying. Learn to be your bikes care-giver (it is a wonderful thing to retire a bicycle that you have lovingly maintained), and while you practice mechanical reasoning upon it, it will teach you about physics.

Every bike rider has a moment of clarity when they sense that somehow, they became totally connected with their bicycle. Every rider also has a moment when they crash (really hard), and feel betrayed by their bicycle. You will love your old bike, and you will be inspired with each new one.

I remember teaching my son how to ride his bike, and I welcome every ride with him still. I hope your bike brings you the same opportunity for connection with your parents, and I want to remind you to take them for rides, even when you will have to slow down for them.

It may sound strange, but I think it is sort of a privilege to give a kid their first bicycle, and I hope you will share this one when you outgrow it. I look forward to when you can show me your favorite trail!


Cousin Ron

Congratulations, Shannon!

I found out last week that my awesome and inspirational training partner and really great friend Shannon is now the President of the NRM division of PSIA! Congratulations, Shannon! You are going to hit it out of the park!! I'm excited for you!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Its Real... I took a picture of it

I feel a bit like laying down on the floor and breathing into a paper bag. I'm choosing that instead of breaking out into hysterical laughter (I might wake up the kids). I just registered for Team Selection, like so many people have done all over the country. Each person, I imagine, no matter how many times they do it, pays the fee and hopes that the hard work and love of the sport is going to be enough.

I'm a little shocked that its here, I've been thinking about it hard for over a thousand days. When I first put the countdown up on the blog side bar, it said 1476 days to tryouts.

Now it says 169 days.

During that time, I met people who have gone through this journey over and over and over for years, and those whom they inspire. I got inspired myself, and I got to meet a lot of very interesting, genuine, authentic and passionate people who sacrifice SO much to do what they love.

I am so honored to be a part of the process, I think for me it used to feel absurd, but hopeful. Now I feel just really glad to have gone through the process even just to this point. My journey, and seeing yours, has made me feel like a part of a family.

Good luck, everyone, and no matter what happens, Academy this year is going to be OFF THE HOOK!

Sign up NOW for Alison Gannett's Rippin Chix Camp!

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Stand or Lean: taking your own crisis on.

Its been an interesting couple of weeks. I had surgery on my spine a few weeks ago, which was kind of tough enough. During that time, I had another unrelated traumatic event happen, which was really frightening. It put me on precarious footing while I was trying to heal. I wasn't really sure which way was up, and I found myself confused and isolated, longing for the reality of the situation to be different.

I didn't want to be in this situation, I feel like I've worked hard to get to a place where my life is relatively calm and drama free. I'm finally more financially stable, my kids are for the most part happy and comfortable, and their dad has settled into his new life well. We are all sort of trundling along, and I had found myself thinking, great! We did it!

And then the shit hit the fan. This isn't a post about the particulars of that situation, but what followed; how to wander back out of the wilderness of unexpected trauma or crisis without getting swamped. Or,  if you are swamped, (I did at one point say "I'm out of my depth. This is too much."), how to find the help you need to get back on your own two feet and start walking again.

The Oogie Boogie Man - he's BACK!

There is a fine line between being needy and asking for what you need, between being held captive and defined by the crisis and facing and processing it.

I think so often when something happens, we bury it down deep, knowing that we don't want to send other people into crisis, or upset those around us that we love. Sometimes we get concerned about how our story will impact others, and so we hide it.

There are other impetus for hiding or boxing up something that happens, sometimes we think if we ignore it, it will go away, its impact, its importance, and then we can just get back to normalcy.

But that's not really how it works.

I know that looking right at the thing that happens is terrifying. I also know that its the only way to push through and heal.

When I was younger, I had PTSD from some childhood trauma. As a result, I used to see bogeymen. I was afraid of the dark. Most kids are afraid of the dark, so even if you didn't have PTSD, you can probably relate. Every once in a while our imagination gets away from us, and our anxiety about what MIGHT be, even if its terribly impractical, gets the better of us.

That's called surrendering to the contingency. Fear of what might be takes over and paralysis ensues.

This is where you stare down the thing that scares you.

And sometimes, you have to do that with some help. Sometimes the thing that scares you is just too big to be tackled alone. And I guess the next question would be, can you look for support without dragging others down with you? Can you reach out for contact and connection but still look for your own feet?

Can you own your piece of this, knowing that ultimately, the responsibility for healing is yours alone?

Can you do that without alienating and martyring yourself?

Can you find the friend that can listen and allow yourself space to process what you need to trusting that they are holding space for you? Yes, I'm talking about crying, snotting into your hankie, and making some tea. Can you let a sympathetic ear be an ear and a hug, and move forward from there?

Crisis is like a whirlpool, it wants to drag you in to the bottom, and when you are there, the weight of it can be oppressive. We often want to lay in the bottom of it and have company down there.

I guess I've been working on accepting that its okay to be in the bottom of the whirlpool, sometimes things happen in life that create crisis like that. But can I be there without letting it define me?
Ask for help. Then, try it on your own.

Can I look around and say, well, its appropriate that I'm upset and in a hard place, because I just went through something that was scary, out of the norm, something that shook me. But I don't have to live here. I need to see, with open eyes, that which is real, look right at what happened, and at the same time, let go of my personal indignation, my fear, my pain. I can take this time as an opportunity to practice acceptance instead of another obstacle placed in front of me.

When the bogeymen of my past presented themselves, I had to learn that, in the end, it was my job to dispel the myth of them. They existed because of something real and frightening, but ultimately, I had to decide if I wanted to be stuck in the box of the fact of them, or let go and move on. If I'm not willing to own my own fears and try it on my own, I'm choosing to stay right where I am.

It took a while, but I decided that when I found a place that was full of fear, my job was not to hide, turn on the light, or have someone look behind the shower curtain for me. My job was to take a deep breath, breathe out slowly, look right at the thing that scared me, and walk toward it. Into it. Through it. Out of it.

I took to walking around the house in the pitch dark on purpose, finding the longest, scariest, most circuitous route I could to wherever I was headed in order to prove to myself that my fear, no matter how real it was, no matter how honestly it was come by, should not own me.

One day, I walked to the bathroom in the middle of the night and didn't realize until I was tucking back into bed that it hadn't occurred to me to be scared. Something had shifted.

I didn't do it all alone, I had to lean, but in order to conquer it, ultimately, I had to stand alone and face the demon all by myself. I had to want to heal enough to find courage.

One of the best parts of that adventure was realizing that people who care for us don't always know how to help us best. We often impose on them the idea that they should know what we need, isn't it obvious? Something terrible happened. You should feel and act this way automatically.

I think we often forget that everyone has their own triggers and fears, their own construct defined by the life that they lived. And whatever situation we find ourselves in may very well trigger the fears and concerns of those who care for us.

It takes time, but eventually, you can walk on your own.
And they can't give you what you need unless you ask for it clearly. This is asking for what you need rather than being needy. I think neediness comes when we need help, and impose on those around us some sort of fantastic idea of how people should give to us or support us. Now you are just compounding your issue, you've been through something tough, and you are now looking for your family and friends to come to your aid in the way you most need them, but you aren't asking for what you need. You are choosing to stay in the bottom of the whirlpool, hoping someone will lay down there with you.

What a wonderful opportunity this has been to learn once again to stand on my feet and walk through the dark. Thanks to those who stood on the other side, encouraging me.

There's a way to go, but I can see you, and I'm grateful.

PS Thanks to Russ for jump starting the writing again. 

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Its a helluva day at sea, sir!

Its been an eventful week!
Bodhi off the couch after 8 days with the croup and right back at it.

level 3 drop in "mom, I want to be a pro skateboarder"

I turned 40

Feeling a bit rebellious and bad ass I took myself and my girl Amy out sans any boys of any sort to listen to country punk rock, the "supersuckers" at the Belly Up Aspen.

Third week in Karate, learning to take em and given.

Hiking in to town, my 3rd 5 mile walk, found out that I can't handle an 8lb backpack, whoops, back on the couch watching movies. Dangit.

Buy your DH bike NOW!

Winter Park is selling their old fleet, if you want to get into DH mountain biking, this is the bike to buy. These guys take METICULOUS care of their fleet, and we rode these bikes while we visited WP: sick. Just awesome.

COMES WITH a season pass for summer and you can get full body armor thrown in (including helmet)

If you just need the armor, its $100 for the full kit.

2010 - Kona Stab Deluxe Downhill Mountain Bikes For Sale: 2 meduim and 3 large, excellent condition with all new parts and pieces including – new tires, brake pads, grips , cables, seats & freshly serviced forks, new fork seals, fork fluid, brake fluid, chain and derailer adjustments! These were used by the Trestle Bike Park School Coaches / Guides and were very maintained on a weekly basis.

·       $1,400 or $1,500 with a 2012 Trestle Bike Park Season Pass!
·       Contact – Bob Barnes at X1561 or      

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Buy your copy of Ron Kipp's Alpine Skiing here!

So, this is a wild feeling. What an wonderful three days skiing with Ron Kipp and Ron LeMaster, and Michael Rogan. I got schooled every day ,and it was too much fun and such a huge learning experience!

Thanks, you guys!

Buy your copy here, and my thanks to Tecnica/Blizzard, POC, Leki, Kjus and Icebreaker!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Desire to Win means the Desire to Work. Thoughts on Healing and the Future.

Hardware. Feels good!

Hi, guys! Its been a bit since I've written, there's been lots of drooling and lots of sleeping. I've had a couple of long walks and hikes and my first post op exam.

The surgery was really succesful, as far as we can tell. My motor nerve seems to have come back 100%, but until I regain hand strength, we won't be able to tell. I can't start doing massage until after November 1, when I'm fully fused, and it will take about 6 weeks of massage to get my hand strength back, so by mid December, we'll know if I got my whole motor nerve back or not.

In the meantime, the headache that I've had for the last three years is GONE. WHAT? Yup. Gone. Wow. That is an unreal and awesome sensation.

Most of the time, the pain I've been living with in my neck, spine, back, shoulder and left arm is gone, but I'm still taking a lot of muscle relaxants and pain killers, so again, we'll have to wait and see. But it feels really promising.

I also am not having Fibro symptoms right now, but Fibro can by knocked out by narcotic drugs, so again, as we wean off the drugs, we'll see.

Woke up on night 2 in the hospital to this beautiful gift sleeping
in the Lazy Boy next to me.
I'm weaning off the collar now since the xrays look so good, I'm trying to be patient, but wow it is hard because I feel strong and I want to get after it.

I'm very lucky to have some folks in my life who have been through this themselves and who remind me to take it slow. The most important thing right now is that in the next four weeks, the fusion happens completely. As soon as I am fused, I  can start getting strong.

So I have this mantra running through my head right now, fuse first strong after, fuse first strong after... can't be strong if you aren't fused.

I'm sleeping as much as I can to aid healing, walking twice a day when I feel strong and resting a lot. I'm trying hard to get off the pain killers, but not so hard that I'm suffering.

Today, I realized that to some extent I've been repressing my stoke for skiing this winter, and toning down my internal hope that I will get invited to tryouts and my internal hope that I'll be able to get my feet where they need to be.

I felt as my condition worsened over the summer that this probably meant that it just wasn't meant to be for me. That the journey had been about the journey and that to some extent the surgery meant the end.

All done, and glad for it!
I felt as I was preparing for surgery like I was preparing to give up on this dream, like I was preparing for the end of my life as I knew it. It had never been about "making" the team, although of course that would be lovely, but just about going to tryouts.

Tryouts became an invitation event, making it one step harder to get to (although I think it will get them a nice field of candidates to chose from). But the consiquence of that change is I can't just go and ski my best.

I was pretty sure that I'd end up going through the motions this fall, getting rejected because I would be weak and have missed summer training, and that would be the sort of anti climactic end to this very educational journey.

Well, let the lessons continue.

I came out of surgery feeling so good! State Farm ponied up some money for a down payment on the surgery, and with that cash, I was able to hire my friend Janice to make nutrient dense vegitarian food that I've been living on.

As a result, I haven't gained weight, I haven't lost THAT much muscle, and I feel really healthy and strong. It occurred to me as I walked into town from the ranch last week, about 7 days out of surgery, that I was way stronger than I had expected.

I relized that my friend Andy had been right, I had been wearing fear for a long time about the unknown of the surgery, and it had been slowly pushing me into the ground.

Now that the surgery was over, no one was going to come and get me and say, "okay, we are ready to take you back" and wheel me into the operating room, I was free.

Free to wake back up, to look up at the mountains, and to remove the restrictions of fear. Free to dream again.

 So I'm applying .There's a piece of me that feels like this may be the most fun year I've had training and playing so far. I'm excited to be a trainer for the ski school. I looked up at Aspen Mountain today at the snow on the top and was thrilled to my toes. I could feel the turns coming on, feel the comeraderie of the locker room, of my skiing family, of all the folks who help each other learn and grow every day.

Unexpected family. The best win so far.
Its such an amazing family to be a part of. A big part of me feels like I've let out a huge breath, like I get to let go and just play and ski and the training will be the result. I feel like I've found my home, found my voice, and that it doesn't want or need to be a loud voice.

I feel like I've found a way to help, and that feels good. I feel like my body didn't let me down, and that feels good. I feel like I get to slow down in intensity and focus hard in work, which I love.

I am so grateful for this process, for the path that's taken me through all of these lessons, some of them over and over and over.

Today, I turned 40.

That seems unreal and ridiculous, but appropriate. I'm not worried or concerned about it, the last 10 years were way more fun than the 10 before it, so I'm expecting things to become more interesting, and I'm excited for the lessons that are on the way for me. I like the process of becoming, even though sometimes in the midst of it I really wish I was done.

Today, I spent the day with Tom, my ex, who is now living in Aspen, and who is now my housemate, and our two boys. We had a birthday breakfast, went to the bookstore, walked to the movies and saw Real Steele, an awesomely cheezy underdog movie that the boys loved.

Aspen Mountain promising fun this year!
I looked at how far we had come, Tom and I, to become good friends again, good enough to live together and be supportive of eachother as we hit bumps and dificulties in our other relationships, and I was just, once again, grateful and amazed that life works this way.

We've talked a lot on this blog about the fact that success is often about the wanting. To want it bad, the will to win, and also that wanting is the easy part.

Tonight, I realized, looking at the success of Tom and I, working through divorce, financial hardship and fear, and being able to beceome close, trusting, respectful friends who share a home, that the Will to Win means the will to work hard enough to win. The desire to win means the desire to fight, to train, to learn, to listen, to put in the hours and hours of hard work in order to acomplish something. You have to have the desire. Not for the prize, but for the work that manifests the prize.

Guess what? I have the will to tryout. I really hope I get invited, I'm excited to share that experience. And if I don't, man, the desire to work hard enough to get there will have been worth it.

Thanks for sharing my birthday with me!!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pot surgical thoughts a video blog

*** really, Kate? 12 Minutes?! And I took a walk with Weems? And with Cindy? Good lord, sorry folks, I'm a rambler still... 3 weeks out I'm finally starting to make more sense***

It took an extra day for me to post it... whew! This must be what it feels like to be person who doesn't drink coffee.

Had a wonderful walk with Cindy Lou this morning. Weaning off the drugs slowly today, feeling so much better today.

Miss my KIDS like freaking CRAZY! Man that part sucks like crazy. But I was told NOT TO GET SICK while I'm healing, so damnit, I'm gonna suck it up and just sit here missing them.

Thanks to all the pioneers who did this before me, thanks for all the help and the friends and the love, more soon!

Going out for a walk now. :-)

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Home from Surgery

Alrighty then! Here we are, back home from surgery. I ended up staying in the hospital a day longer than I expected too, my first two days after surgery were great, felt strong an surprised at how good I felt (and I need to apologize to all the people who had to deal with completely unintelligible texts from me while I was trying to give "no really, I'm doing great' updates".

So I'm back in Aspen, ensconced in Kurt's house, where he's helping me keep my insane need to be outside in check.  Kurt slept on the lazy boy in the hospital room for three nights even though he had a friesnds'  house to stay at, an I have to say  waking up to see his face, fuzzy and through the haze, sleeping right there was an incredible comfort to me.

I couldn't believe he was willing to do it, and do it night after night, and I finally slept, knowing that his care was there, and complete, an good. I felt calm and grateful, and I slept.

Dr. Corenman's team at Vail Valley Hospital was incredible, so gracious, even when they were insanely busy, they wanted to know what they could do to help me, to help Kurt, to make things easier, better, they didnt' rush us or try to get us out the door. They encouraged me to heal and helped me along the way. They cared for both of us in a patient and gracious way that was way above and beyond what I expected.

I was so happy to wake up and realize this was it, it was over. They weren't going to take me back and say "okay lets get started" again, because it was over. We'd done it.

I held it together until we checked in. Then I sat down and the tears came. I just really didn't want to be be crippled and bed ridden.

Kurt was there. Right there. His hand was on my shoulder, he let me do as much as I could on my own two feet, and when it got right up against that part where I could have pushed through, he just gently took the reigns and kept it rolling. He knew without asking what I needed, quiet and gentle, up the stairs, into the gown, into the iv, no extra coddling, no fear, no extra concern, just he was there, and so was I and so was this next thing we were going to do together.

And I went back, and he kissed me good bye, and the lights went out. That's the last I remember,

Until thinking, wow, we are done, and my throat doesn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would.

I am so grateful to have gotten this done. Does it hurt? Yup. My neck is sore and the surgery sites are swollen and oogey. But I have my hand back so far. My shoulder doesn't hurt. For the first time since 2008 I don't have a headache.

I'm caring for myself, I'm standing on my feet, but miraculously, when I need someone to do the velcro on the back of my brace, there are his strong hands, holding the back piece in place and pulling the tabs down tight. He takes long enough that I see in his hands and his eyes that he wants it done right, it is important that it heals well.

Today, Tom and Kurt and the boys and I went up Aspen Mountain (we took the gondi, Kurt hiked) and wandered around in the sun. The boys are happy to see me whole, Kurt and Tom visited and my skin drank in the Vitamin D like crazy.

Right now, I feel very blessed, very lucky, and very open. The road to recovery, the other side, has begun. (Right after this nap.)

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


Hi y'all! Apologies for the long, rambley posts below, I dictated them while driving home from Pre op. I'd been wanting to wrote a post before I went im, and normally, I would edit them and make sure they were, you know, readable.

But there just isn't time. So here's the raw material straight out of my brain, and thanks for all your support!

Feeling really good, calm and ready this morning. :-) yay! That's a nice place to have ended up.

See ya!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Ramblings on surgery part three

​I just went and said good night to the kids. They are nervous about the surgery. Ethan said what if they make a wrong turn with the knife and they accidentally kill you and Bodie what if they cut out the wrong part and then Bodie asked again if the doctor would keep all of the pieces that he took out and put them in a bag so that I could keep them in my pocket so that I could have all of my body parts with me all the time. So we had a little conversation about the surgery and the fact that Dr. Carmen has a really excellent record and that I will be able to hold orange juice with my left hand and not drop stuff anymore and I won't be in pain anymore and that I will be strong and they'll be able to hang on my and we'll be able to wrestle and it's going to be great. It was fun to explain it to Ethan and Bodie because it reminded me of all the right reasons why I am doing it. So anyway eventually over this past week I needed to get busy so Curt and I really dove head first into the bike school report which we wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and spent about 30 hours writing and it turned out to be like a 45-page document partially because it was really fun to write and partially because we had a lot of information and partially because the pictures are so cool that you have to make them big and they take up like a half a page. It was really good to just throw myself into that and be so busy that I just couldn't think about anything else and I wished Andy well. He went off to ride bikes in Whistler so I was really excited that he got to go and our friend Piglet is up there and she is writing and so my heart and happiness are with them while they are whooping and hollering and you know what I couldn't be there anyway right now because I can't hold on to the handle bars of my bike because my left hand doesn't work. So I cannot wait to see their pictures and hear their stories and it feels a lot like being so, so happy for Cindy and Portio I am really excited to hear about what the trip is like for Andy and the gang that is up in Whistler and I know that we will get to go on another time.

​So I am headed over to Curt's house. He's going to take care of me for the next one to five, six, seven days and I feel okay. You know I'm a little sad that I'm going to, like I feel really healthy right now aside from my left arm. I took a Percocet earlier so I am not in pain but and so my left arm is really weak but aside from that, like my lungs feel healthy, my heart feels healthy, my mind feels healthy, my legs feel strong and my body feels strong and like I feel like I'm ready to go play but so it's hard to know that and then know that at this time tomorrow I will be in recovery and I will be on the beginning of a six week journey that does not feel healthy and strong but the wonderful thing to really know is that at the end of that six week journey I will be much, much healthier and stronger and when Dr. Carmen asks me do you have any questions for today, I said yeah like I get to ski six weeks from surgery, right? I get to ski and he's like yep, fully fused, your neck muscles will be weak but you can ski and so I was like awesome, that's all I want to hear.

​My friend Ben Roberts sent me a message a couple of weeks ago when I was really freaking out and sometimes when I get these wonderful messages either from my friends Ben and Weems and Megan, these three people have this knack for sending me like these beautifully written emails and Seryl and Peter too, just these wonderful like out of the blue little statements about the positive effects of what's going on and you know often times they come when I am in a really scary place and I read them and my heart reads them and I cannot respond in that moment and then sometimes I forget to express my gratitude like later so I'm going to express it now. Ben sent me an email a little while ago that said that when he fused his neck, he had the opportunity to spend some time working on his low end skiing and it really, really changed his game and the way that he moved on his skis and when he first sent that to me I wanted to be like yeah, I know but I need to work on my own skiing, blah, blah, blah and be really mad but the reality is that I know that this is true. I know that fundamentals are what makes the game strong and I know that maybe this is the discipline that I needed to knock me down all the way to the bottom and start. I totally feel like Indigo in the Princess Bride, right? You told me to go back to the beginning and so here I am at the beginning.

​So tomorrow it is off to Vail and I check in at 11:00 in the morning and then I have a two-level fusion and I don't know how long the surgery will take and I have this awesome secret bike in the back of my car for Curt to go play on while I am being operated on and that will make me smile and my heart tender that he is leaping into the air on these big meaty tires and feeling exhilarated and full and fun and then when I wake up, my neck will be in one strong peace and there will be no pressure on my nerve and my hand will immediately begin its journey back toward recovery. I will spend two nights in the hospital so you probably won't hear much from me. If you do let me apologize ahead of time, if you do hear from me on Facebook, it will probably be like blah, blah, blah, much like this blog post and then it will probably be about four days back at home, I'll be at Curt's house where he will be helping me out before I move back to my home. So, journey on. Good luck to all of you while I am out of touch and thank you so much for all of your support and encouragement. I could not and would not want to take this journey without you and you know what I realized, whether you write a blog or not, nobody is taking this journey alone so I am grateful for the community that is around me and I am part of your community too so thanks for being in the group together. That's corny, but it's true. All right, much love and I will see you on the flip side, bye.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad