My 49th Year

The photo above was taken on the morning of November 14 on one of my typical hikes in Concord: Marjory Swope Park.

While I usually have yearly goals and give updates on them as part of my posts, I’m going to change it up. I’m starting a new timeline for my 49th year. I’m going to set goals for 11/14/2019 to 11/13/202. I have 365 days before my 50th birthday and I’m going to make my 49th year the best ever – live my best life – as so many people like to say. For me, I need to set goals and have a plan or I will sit on my soft and binge watch Netflix shows all day. 

What is new this year from my typical athletic-related goals is reading a book every week. As of right now I have eight books on my table, all in various stages of being read or not read (but wanting to read). 

Last month my friend Jeff invited me to a book club he has been going to. The book they were reading was A Gentleman in Moscow. I haven’t been part of a book club in years so I looked up the book and it sounded pretty good. I started reading it and loved every sentence. However, on November 14, the day of the meeting, I only finished half of it. I wanted to talk about it with other people who read it, though, because, seriously, it was so good. I don’t mind spoilers because I like knowing what’s going to happen (same with Game of Thrones, I watched the final episode before finishing season 5). The book club met at To Share brewery in Manchester. The brewery is in an old garage, well lit and the beer was fantastic. I’ve been into New England IPAs lately. 

I met some awesome men and women who love to read and were so animated about the book: everyone loved it. 

I can’t wait for the next meeting. We are reading The Girl With the Pearl Earring

My other goal is to hike all 48 4,000 footers in my 49th year. I just finished them this year after starting them in 1988 and I want to hike them all in one year. I think it’s possible.

Then, of course, to actually finish a 100 mile race. I’m signed up for Umstead. Training right now is not going well. It’s taking a while to get used to running outside when it’s 30 degrees.

My 49th year will be about reaching goals and having the best life ever.

Dakota, and Home

I’m re-reading Dakota by Kathleen Norris.

Her book makes me think of Granby, Colorado, the place I lived when I read the book for the first time. Her “Dakota” was a place that was barren, isolated and windy, but there was art, magic and spirit in this place. South Dakota came alive for me from her stories about small town life on the prairie.  

Dakota, A Spiritual Geography

Norris brought a spirit to a place with her poetry and story telling. She made a life as a writer there. In a place where most people would think as isolating, she found a life. I felt that way about living in Granby. Granby is a small town (population 2,000) and most people would imagine it to be stifling and not very fulfilling to live there; I thought the opposite. I loved the isolation – being surrounded by wilderness. I found joy in the same walk up the mountain behind my house everyday with my dogs. I loved the quiet and beauty of small town living. It was my home for five years.

Dakota, A Spiritual Geography

This is the landscape where I live these days. 

The trails near my house in Concord NH
Concord NH Population 43,000

Next February I will be living in New Hampshire for three years. Three years is around the time I start looking for a different place; always needing a change. 

The funny thing is – I kind of like living here. I’m happy with my job and the people I have met. The interesting thing is – those two things rarely happen to me at the same time. 

As long as I can remember I’ve always wanted to be out west. Or at least living in the mountains. When I traveled to Colorado this summer every place I spent time in made me want to live there: Littleton, Leadville, Copper Mountain. I started making plans in my head to move back. The mountains of Colorado just seemed to jive with everything about my personality. But then, I’d get home and not think about it again. 

I’ve been thinking about the idea of home lately and what it means to me. I’ve been thinking of staying.

I’ve always said – home is where my dogs are.

Run the Witch Half Marathon Race Report

Kassandra arrived on Saturday from Tucson not only to visit me but to Run the Witch half marathon in Norwich, Vermont. We chose this race because it was a great way for her to see Vermont; a place I believe is so magical and beautiful, especially in the fall. I have always said that as soon as you drive over the Connecticut River from New Hampshire into Vermont it’s a different world. 

On Sunday as we drove in the misting rain, knowing that it was going to downpour at any moment, we were excited for the race and seeing a new place. 

The temperature hovered around 40 and once the race started we warmed up a bit; but not entirely. The course is hilly. The first mile was a warm up and then the hills came. Up and down, up and down, more rain, then the wind. 

Strava data

The first part of the half marathon course is paved and then we turned and ran on packed dirt; it was a nice change. The trees displayed their colors boldly and the scenery took our minds of the pain. 

We finished, got our medal, and changed out of our wet clothes as fast as we could. It was a good day to run and later appreciate the warmth of dry clothes.

Kona, Ironman World Championships

I arrived at the Kona airport greeted by Mark who will be racing on Saturday. He is ready. Note my beautiful lei.

It was a long day flying to Kona from Boston but so worth it. The island was beautiful and we began the island tour and getting to know the bike course. But first, downtown Kona.

Every chance I could I wanted to swim in the ocean. The water was warm !
Lava Fields Forever. So many lava fields.

After touring the island and driving out to the bike turnaround, it was race day. Mark bought the support team fancy hats and Hawaiian shirts so he could easily spot us on the course. We definitely stood out and we look damn good!

The team was captured in an Instagram story by Triathlon Magazine.

Than figured out a way to hire a driver to take us to the bike turnaround point. We waited for him and when he turned to use the aid station, we ran over to him. Our driver took this picture.

Bike turnaround on Race Day!

Mark finished and had a great race; it was a tough course with so much wind on the bike. But he did it! What an experience; what a day! So inspired by all the fast finishers.

What I Know For Sure

My friend Kendra is crazy about the sunrise. A few times a year she makes a concerted effort to see a sunrise in New England because they are part of her family history. Today she posted on her Facebook page a quote from Oprah Winfrey about a sunrise from Oprah’s book about knowing what is true. Here is the quote Kendra used in her post while capturing a most wonderful sunrise while on vacation in South Carolina: “that every sunrise is like a new page, a chance to right ourselves and receive each day in all its glory.

Her post reminds me of an article I clipped from Oprah Magazine in 2012. I remember something about instincts and trusting your intuition but I have to go back to my archives (a.k.a. my notebooks and journals) to find the article I clipped. 

I find it instantly and see that it was written by Winfrey in May 2012, a few years before she published her book, What I Know is True. 

In the article Oprah reflects on a photo of she and Jesse Jackson. She writes about how the photo transports her back in time to her first celebrity interview and, as a news reporter, she was covering Jackson’s speaking engagement at a local high school.

She goes on to write in the article, what I feel is something true about me that gets lost in daily work and living, 
“I had a fondness for telling other people’s stories, extracting the truth of their experience into digestible nuggets that could inform, inspire, or benefit someone else. Still I was uncertain about what to say or how to say it. The truth is, I was just moving on instinct.

I love this story and I love re-reading it often, and being reminded about it. Oprah was moving on instinct at an early stage in her career but didn’t know it was working for her until much later. How many times have I done something on instinct, hoping it works out, not knowing? A lot! 

So when Kendra writes about something that she knows is true, I remember what is true for me: trust my instincts and going with it. Use that intuition without knowing the outcomes. Sometimes following my instinct has led me down a path of fear and anguish, and other times I’ve had experiences that have changed my life for the better when I trusted my intuition. [moving to Tucson, moving back to Colorado, moving back to New Hampshire]

“Trust your instincts. Intuition doesn’t lie.”

Some days I complain to the ones I love about how hard everything has been lately for me but a little quote I see, briefly, this morning, reminds me how lucky and fulfilled I really am. Life is challenging almost every second of it but I’m so happy with the people in my life, the ones who stay in my life. If only I could keep this thought when my brain takes a downward dive into doubt and despair. What I know for sure …….