Courage, Discipline, Wisdom, Integrity, Compassion

Happy Valentine's Day!
For quite a while I taught snowboarding at Keystone working with a group of "at risk" kids. The program is called Snowsports Outreach Society (SOS) and is an amazing program! In fact I can't wait to get back to teaching. I taught the Learn to Ride program, it's a 5 week long program where we have a lesson once a week. Each week we focus on a different word, courage, discipline, wisdom, integrity and compassion. We have to give definitions of the word and then discuss how we used that word during the day or where we saw it. It was a great way to teach not just snowboarding, but life lessons as well. This week I've been thinking quite a bit about these words, as I've totally missed teaching, and how they are so intimitely entwined in my life.

Courage: Without courage I never would have toed the starting line at Leadville in 2012 and I certainly would not be counting the days until I get to do it again! Courage guides us all through life. It keeps you pushing yourself and without it nothing great would ever be accomplished. Courage is something I hope James learns from Dan and I. That he faces all the challenges I know will one day come his way and meets them head on with a heart full of courage.

Discipline: Seriously couldn't even begin to think of running an ultra without discipline. The time it takes for both Dan and I to train means we have to really make a plan and stick to it. It means early, early morning runs, it means probably not going to too many concerts, or parties and not as many days riding so we can get our runs in. It also means being disciplined about making sure we still get in all of James' PT and speech exercises.

Wisdom: All I can say is I've got a load to learn. You learn a load from a DNF, but mostly I learned I need to learn more!

Integrity: Regardless of what I do in life, whether I finish Leadville or not, if I stay true to myself than I have succeeded. I want James to see that in me and to always stay true to himself. One of my SOS grommies once defined integrity as "what you do when no one else is looking". Pretty smart for an 8 year old. The bottom line is without integrity who are you really?

Compassion: One of the things I fell in love with most about ultras is the sense of compassion. You don't leave someone on the side of the trail. Even if it costs you the race. You always reach out your hand to fellow competitors because you never know when it might be you on the side of the trail. This was something I never really saw in the road marathon world. In fact I distinctly remember running the 2007 Chicago "heat wave" marathon. People were dropping all over the place and I remember one person going down right in front of me and what did I do. I stepped over them and kept going. I mean at the aid station another 1/2 mile down the road I told one of the volunteers someone went down, but I never stopped. I never want to be that person that just steps over someone during a race again. James has also taught me compassion in a way I never thought possible. He has taught me compassion does not equal pity. When I take James to his cardiology appointments at Children's I always get this look of pity. I feel like people look at me like "oh you have to go there, you poor thing", but I don't see it that way. But then there are those who get it and give you a look of compassion instead. I can't explain the difference, but its there and you know it when you see it.

I got in some good miles this week and am slowly working up my weekend mileage to be able to handle back to back runs. Saturday I got in 10.6 miles, half of which I managed while James napped. If I'm going to get the miles I have to multitask and take advantage of the time I get. Sunday I got in 16 miles in Buffalo Creek. After I got off the main Buck Gulch loop the trail was pretty icy and the snow was covered in sun crust which made for slow going, but still managed a decent time. My legs were definitely feeling a bit tired by Sunday night, but if I can keep building from here things will be looking good come August.

Tickles from Daddy!
This week we also finally saw a dietician at Children's about James' weight gain, or lack thereof. So now all three of us are on protein shakes! Okay so for James its more of a add some extra calories and nutrients to his bottles in the form of formula added to the breastmilk, but that's a lot like a protein shake in my mind.

I've also been in discussions with RDS about some new ways to bring awareness and funding for Down syndrome research. I'm really excited about the projects we will be working on and I really hope to be able to change the picture of current funding. Funding for Down syndrome research is so ridiculously low compared to many other disabilities (or capabilities). If I can do a little bit to help change that statistic I'll be stoked!

Week February 11 - 17

Miles Running: 43.1
Hours Running and Hiking: 8


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