Friday, January 31, 2014

Thunder-Makers

By Christine Martin


“Who created thunder, does not fear it.”

-Bahunde proverb

Somewhere among labeled boxes collecting dust inside garages or stuck within pages of forgotten photo albums. Someplace where scribbled words are losing their identity, and smartphones have taken over time and imaginations. Underneath flat conversations about the economy and award shows and weather speculations. Masked behind the rage against bumper-to-bumper traffic and storytelling with Instagram filters. Lost since the moment it was decided that there was no space for it.
There it is. Rumbling, crescendo-ing, deafening, roaring, echoing, rumbling again. The voice to truths. The jolt toward goals. The sound of fearless creation.
We are all thunder-makers; let’s make some noise.


Shared with love from Christine Martin at Happy Impermanence
You can also like/love her interior design work at Somebody's Home and Decorilla

Thursday, January 2, 2014

13 for 13

Hello Folks! I have decided to reload the blog with some photos to recap 2013. They're a mix of people, places and moments that made 2013 unique.

1.  Emerald Lake Lodge, Canada
I decided to take a trip home (to Canada) at the end of 2012/beginning of 2013.  This picture was taken just a few days into the new year.  What I loved most about this trip (aside from the amazing company) was that it taught me that I could actually survive cold temperatures, and enjoy it.  Thanks Rayna and family!


2.  Distrito Federal, Amsterdam 199, dep. 5, Mexico
You might not know it, but I am kind of a big deal.  At the beginning of the year, Ricardo mentioned that a friend was coming over to ask some questions about tritahlon for an Ap.  Well, the crew came in and I was put under the spotlight. Literally. The best part?  I had to do the interview in Spanish.  Talk about sweaty palms and bad socks.


3.  Estado de Mexico, Mexico
This little place is an abandoned old bard that Ricky P. and I found on a ride.  We were training for Los Cabos Ironman and decided to ride Ajusco several times so get some hills in.  We stumbled upon this place down the back side (tee hee hee) of the mountain and I made him stop to take some pictures.  Of course there is a whole series of us jumping in and out of the windows, but i love this picture for the simplicity factor.  When traveling, I often think, could I live here? I don't need much.
4. Los Cabos, Mexico
I love this shot. Ricky P. and I arrived in Los Cabos, checked in to our hotel and made our way to the host hotel for the Ironman.  We are race rivals and the best training buddies on the planet.  The Ironman sombrero was inaugurated in Cozumel back in 2011.  We kept the tradition alive and brought them to Cabos.  By the end of the week, we were known by our head pieces. 




5.  Sayulita, Mexico
Some of you might recognize this shot.  Later in March, I made my way to Sayulita where I met up with Imily and again, with Rayna and the family.  Imily stayed in the cutest little hotel called Petit Hotel Hafa.  There were hearts everywhere.  I love this little walkway as it's a reminder, wherever you go, go with love.



6. Sayulita, Mexico
This is Rayna.  Long time friend and wonderful person.  Rayna and her family rented this house overlooking the bay in Sayulita.  The house was amazing.  Space for plenty, an infinity pool, margaritas made by Sarah (Rayna's mom) and then she even cracked out a puzzle.  What more can a gal ask for.  Friends, beauty, fun. And great tan lines.




7. Veracruz, Mexico
Fuga de Saccrificios 1/2 Ironman relay - List/Clement
I have raced almost 100 times and only stood on the 1st place podium once before this shot.  The problem with the last one, was that there was a timing error and my first place wasn't actually a first place.  I did end up finding and becoming great friends with the real first place winner, but still.  This shot is my first ever true first place. I got to share it with a great friend, Bekah, who since ran an olympic distance, and then another 1/2 Ironman, finishing 2nd in her category.  Podiums feel good, not because you are "better than" but because you worked damn hard.  Expect to see more of these people, I am on a mission.


8. Distrito Federal, Amsterdam 199, dep. 5, Mexico
This little stinker is the best addition to our little family.  Aero has grown into a respectful, responsible teenager and she continues to shower us with love and affection.  I have learned more than a few things from this little fluffball. First, it feels good to take care of others, second, that stinky farts are really funny when they come from puppies, and that you can say a whole hell of a lot without saying anything at all.


 9.  I used to have dreams where I cut my hair off.
They were nightmares actually.  So cutting 13 inches off to donate was no small feat.  I rolled up to Jenn's house and asked if she would do it.  Not wanting to take responsibility to make my nightmares come true, she respectfully declined.  "I know someone who will!"  She said with a giddy (holy shit this is going to go down) giggle.  Within 15 minutes, her neighbor Dee was over and we were scrolling cuts.  An hour later, I had chopped 13 inches off.  It's been six months and I finally went to a proper salon over the holiday.  Do I want my longhair back, yer damn right.


10.  Meaford, Canada
Meet Arthur.  Arthur is a little fellow who was taken early from his nest by my my sisters dogs.  Uno (a 70kg black Lab) ran around with him in his jowls for a while until my sister coerced him to drop the bird by offering up a dog biscuit.  Arthur was gradefully put to rest in the trash bin.  By sunrise, a little chirping sound was heard.  Sure enough, under the lid to the garbage can was little Arthur, begging for food.  Sharon fed and cared for Arthur until he was taken to a bird refuge in the area and nursed back to health.

 11.  Tapalpa, Mexico
Meet Shonny.  It's not every day that you get to meet a role model and then have lunch, cheer them on, have a tequilla, and then get a photo.  Back in 2010 when I came back to triathlon, I did so because I wanted to race the Xterra; a cross country triathlon.  Well, Shonny won the world championships in 2010 and continues to race strong today.  We're Facebook friends now and she invited me to visit in Durango, New Mexico.  True story.

12. Tulum, Mexico
The idea to host a retreat was something that had been lurking in my mind for some time.  So when Laine and I agreed to book a place back in July, I was so excited.  Let me be fully honest. Right from the start, I questioned my level of expertise.  If I had listened to the doubts and "not good enoughs" though, this retreat never would have happened.  I thoroughly enjoyed the entire process and can't wait to host the next.


13. Puerto Escondido, Mexico
Here we have a handstand on the beach.  It's the last day of the year, I am with the love of my life and my pup, the weather is beautiful and an elderly lady is just about to ask me to teach her some arm balances.  Everything is going well, and I get to do handstands. On the beach.  I held this bad boy for what seemed like an eternity ... at least for this wave to have gone from nothing, to what is it in the picture.  Just about to crash.




This is life folks.  Enjoy the calm inbetweens.  And when it comes crashing down, which it inevitably will, just remember, enjoy the calm inbetweens.

Happiest of horizons to you all.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Today is Full of Opportunity


I came across this sign about a year ago when disembarking in Mexico City.  It called out to me for the use of the one little/big word.


Tomorrow.

Tomorrow is full of Opportunity.”

While it’s very true indeed that tomorrow is full of possible opportunity, it is most-definitely, uncertain. 

My friend used to sing the words to “Annie” with what I always thought a little glitch.  She used to sing, “… tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow, you’re ALWAYS a day away.” 

For years, I had been singing, (and really singing, like in the shower, belting it out on the street and not even knowing I was singing it-singing it)“..tomorrow, tomorrow, I love you, tomorrow, you’re ONLY a day away.”

Until today, when I double-checked to see that I was in fact right. 

I was wrong. 

My friend had been singing it right.  She was singing the HSBC version of Annie, one of hope in the future, and I was singing the, “get there and make tomorrow your today” version.

So here’s to today: TODAY IS FULL OF OPPORTUNITY

Today is the only day that you can wake up and choose what to be, what to do who and how to manage your energy.  I read a very inspiring article today regarding the upcoming Yoga Journal Conference.  Although Pacman and I (the name I have chosen for my new prosthetic disc) will not be able to attend the conference this time, Brooke shared some bits of pieces of what she will be up to later in the month.  She doesn’t describe the details, but she asks the questions as if to offer a choose-your-own adventure experience.  And she offers to be your guide.

She describes the process of planning, and she shares her passion for the plan. 

The plan.

I don’t remember when I was introduced to this concept. But I do remember when I actually applied it. 

A similar quote has been attributed to both Winston Churchill and Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Winston Churchill said that “Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential.” and Dwight Eisenhower said that “In preparing for battle, I have always found that plans are useless but planning is indispensable.”

So while our dreams and ambitions and “opportunities” may look like they are in the distant future (sometimes so far out of reach that we stop believing their ours), the real work happens only one day of the year.

That’s today.

Make today awesome, people, and remember:

TODAY IS FULL OF OPPORTUNITY




Monday, July 15, 2013

Diggin' My Grav.


This past Saturday, I raced Multisport Canada’s Gravenhurst Triathlon.  It wasn’t my first time, and it won’t be my last.  This triathlon has become a family affair.  Four years ago, I raced the duathlon as I was still resisting my fear of the water.  Three years ago, I convinced my sister to race the try-a-tri, and my brother to race the Olympic with me.  And that was the birth of a family duel.  I would race my brother again last year, and again this year.  

My sister Caroline pre-try-tri
Triathlon is not always a race against an opponent.  Most often, I would argue, it’s a race against yourself.  Your last year self, your ten-year ago self, and your day-of-race self.  On Saturday, I was not feeling race-ready.

Excuse #1: After racing the Welland ½ Ironman distance on June 29, I have had a massive kink in my back.  (Shout out to John Salt, race director, who personally congratulates everyone after the race). That race killed me. (Or was it the heels I wore the night before?)

Excuse #2: It’s summer, and I am a teacher who lives in Mexico.  I come home and kind-of party like a 36 year old gal with no kids does.

Excuse #3: I have a nerve issue that I have self-diagnosed as trigeminal neuralgia.  When it flares up, I am rendered a teary mess that can’t even take off my shoes.  True story.

So Friday night rolls around and I decide to assemble my bike that has been disassembled since the ½ (3 weeks ago).  I hadn’t ridden since. I have a massive internal dialogue going on that ping-pongs from, you don’t have to do it Diane, to, face your fear Diane, to, discover your edge Diane, to, the pain in your ear will be gone tomorrow to it’s never been bad on race day.

And then I read in Baron Baptiste’s Being of Power: The ninePractices to Ignite and Empower Life:

If what you resist persists, then learn to say yes! To every experience, as resisting nothing is the real secret to accessing ease and flow.”  (51% on Kindly version of the book).

I mull over the phrase as if it ‘s the first time I have been exposed.  But the truth.  I have heard this again and read it again, and spoken about it again, but this is life.  It’s the he practice of applying nuggets again and again, and maybe again, until the practice becomes a habit. 

So while I am habit forming, my sleep is rustled.  I toss and turn because I can’t sleep on my left ear, I can’t sleep on my right, and I can’t sleep with my forehead propped on a pillow. And I can’t sleep on my back.  I try every combination possible to a person in drift, and at 4:00am the alarm sings out as if I had actually been sleeping and needed waking up.  The best dreams happen when we are awake.

My sister wakes up and hasn’t yet decided whether she wants to come.  4:00 is early, and the drive is long.  At 4:25 she still hasn’t decided (but is fully dressed) and at 4:30, I see that it’s her who starts the car. That's dedication.

***
(I am experimenting with these little asterisks … kind of flash forward/back kind of asterisks)

We get to Gravenhurst and I check in with a lot of time to spare.  I meet up with a high school friend who says she’s not so nervous, but I see myself in her, so I know better.  And we ferry out to the jump.  I think I will keep my cap over my ear so that the water doesn’t aggravate it, but when I put it on, it pulls my skin, and the invisible needle (of ten years) jabs me hard.  I can’t do that. And I voice my dilemma so that everyone I am with knows.  Because speaking about it makes me feel like just in case I get pulled out of the water, they will know that I had a reason. An excuse. 


And up until this point.  I am unconvinced, that I could race this race.  Sound familiar?

But I had decided the night before that I was going to embrace this problem; and oh it has caused me strife. This ear whatever-it-is.

And I jump.  Come to the surface (my least favorite place to be in open water) and tilt my head from side to side.

Gone.  The pain is gone.  Completely.  I take a few practice strokes to confirm, and it is gone!

So the steam engine blows and that’s that.  Race anxiety dissipates.  It’s not anxiety anymore, it’s determination.  I was able to get behind someone my pace early on and as we rounded the first buoy, I feel good.  We are a pack of about six girls swimming together … completely off course.  So when I realize this, I go on my own and sight for the buoys ahead.  Shortly after, I am passed by a yellow cap. 

***

In Gravenhurst there are four heats.  Each has a different colored cap.  So first went the white caps, then red (my brother’s heat), then pink (my heat) then yellow. 

***

Revelling in the fact that I don’t have pain in my ear, I enjoy the swim, feel no panic, and finish in a reasonable time.  I even pass two red caps.

As we exit the water (I come out with a yellow cap), the crowd cheers and we run (or leap) our way up to T1 (transition one).  

I rip my wetsuit off, put my glasses on (as per Chrissie wellington’s race tips), put my helmet on (if you unrack your bike before you put your helmet on, you get a penalty), put my race belt and shoes on and run for the mount line.


***

The bike in Gravenhust is amazing.  You work you way out of town and then climb and roll, climb and roll.  It’s an out and back, so you get to see everyone ahead of you, and everyone behind you.  This matters.  You get to cheer people on face to face.  Words of encouragement are precious gifts that you can give and receive along the way (race or not).

***

I take my feet out of my shoes and run my way in and out of transition in 1:04 flat (my fastest transition ever).  As I stride onto the run course, I ask my sister who was marshalling at an intersection, “How far ahead is he?” 

“About 10 minutes,”  she responds.  And I know I have to run hard.  Ron, my brother started the race in the wave before me.  He had a five-minute advantage, which means that he was five race minutes ahead.  

That is definitely me yelling ...
 
***
Last year, Ron started five minutes in front of me as well.  When we finished the race, and eagerly awaited the results, I sat and reflected on the race itself.  During T2 I gave myself 30 seconds to find an Advil.  When I couldn’t find it, I gave up and set on my way.  Now, below are the results from last year. 

I am sure people thought we were a married couple racing together.  Nope.  Totally in it to win it.

Ron beat me by 22 seconds.  And although I don’t race against others in all races, I definitely do in some.  This was one of them. 

***
Hense, the 1:04 transition. 

I work my way to the first water stand and feel pretty good.  There is a bounce in my step and I am not cramping like I do in Mexico.  I start to pick up my pace and when I hit the 3km mark, I begin to do the math.  If Ron is 10 minutes ahead of me and we were running at a pace of about 5:30/km, I would see him at about 750m before the turn around.  So when I approach that point, I am happy not to have seen him yet.  This means I am gaining on him.  About 200m before, I sight him (like a hunter would it’s prey) and yell, “How far ahead are you?”

His reply, “You’re probably going to beat me.”

We take this race seriously.  He can’t even answer my question.  So I speed up. At about 7km I can see him walking up ahead in the distance (insert Hotel California Lyrics here).  I speed up even more, and at around 8km I make the pass grinning, and singing, “This magic moment …”  It’s all I have, and it seems perfect for the occasion of brotherly-sisterly combat.

He gives it one last burst, but that was it.  

Pretty rockin' attitude for a loser. :)
 Feeling elated again, I slow up to get some water from the last water stand.  Instead of making a clean break, I trip on my foot and start lunging for the ground, shit, I am going to break my wrists, don’t break with your hands.  I quickly (like Matrix mid air kind-of-quickly) twist my body and manage to pull off a stunt-woman worthy shoulder roll.  I pop up and assured the volunteers, “I’m ok!”  And I truly was.

A gal behind yells out, “Don’t worry, your brother didn’t see that!” 

“He would have loved it.” I holler back. 

With a scratch on my knee and a laugh in my belly, I set off for the finish line.

The race clock is always a mystery in heated waves because you don’t know when it was actually started.  As I made my way into the chute, I saw my other brother and my niece.  It’s always great to be cheered in.

***

Gravenhurst is am amazing triathlon and Multisport Canada does a fantastic job of organizing.  From the steamship jump, to the swim in.  The hilly and scenic bike, and challenging run, the course is designed to challenge and inspire. 

I questioned whether I could do this race right up until I took the plunge (literally).  And what a lesson it was.  I took myself to my edge (of the boat) and I jumped.  And that was all I needed to do. 

We'll be back!