Kokohead, Battle Buddies, and Facing Fears!

So after hiking Diamondhead a couple of weeks ago, Katy and I decide that we are rockstars and we are gonna do Kokohead. It’s only 1,048 railroad ties or “steps” to the top – can’t be that bad! And we swam over a mile yesterday – lets climb a volcano today! Yippee!!
My rockstar battle buddy Katy!!!
These pictures of course aren’t going to do it justice, but here is where we start. Way off straight into the distance you can see the path that leads STRAIGHT UP!
A few steps in we see some people (and one crazy guy) RUNNING down the ties. Katy’s husband says there is some 70 year old that does this multiple times a day!


There are stretches where you can’t see the whole trail because of the incline. It’s INSANE!! Just keep climbing, just keep climbing, just keep climbing…
This was my view when I had to sit down for a bit….
Had to let my stomach calm down….


Katy had to lean in cause I physically could not make myself stand up  and look down simultaneously!
This was the AMAZING view from the top!


Way off in the distance you can see the last mountain we climbed! Diamondhead!


And this is Hanauma Bay from the top looking down!!! Never thought I would see that view!!
And from this view, it dawned on me just how far I ran during the marathon. Diaomndhead crater is there in the upper left corner and I ran all the way from the front of the mountain (actually where the Waikiki skyline is) to where the first little water inlet is on the bottom right corner of the picture. And back.
Seeing it from this vantage point really brought the accomplishment home in a remarkable way. And if I hadn’t faced my fear of heights, I would have never seen it.


Yeah, all I can do to stand there and not hug the mountain on all fours!


Battle Buddies Baby!!! We did it!!!




I am so glad I was able to do this. The crazy guy we saw running down the mountain (and a couple of others who did it twice in the time it took us to do it once!) made a comment as we passed him that stuck with me….
Us: “Can’t believe you can RUN down this thing! That’s awesome. Aren’t you afraid you are going to fall?”
Crazy Guy: Big smile, “No. We have different minds. I don’t think about falling.”
Hmm. Got me to thinking. Our main focus is what will be brought to fruition. If my main focus is fear, then I will be incapacitated. All the way up that mountain I had to keep telling myself some things…
No fear
All the way up – and all the way out! (What is chanted at us in spin class!)
Don’t feed the fears
Keep climbing
One step at a time
Baby steps
Look only in front and where your feet are going
Stand up and be proud of what you are accomplishing
Finish Strong
Victorious not Nauseous
And we did.
And on the way back down when my stomach stopped flipping around, we ran a few of those last stairs too!



Climbing Mountains

I don’t know why, but climbing Diamondhead seemed like such a daunting feat. We have lived here now for almost 3 years but with the excuse of the kids, being too busy, and just life in general it was something we never got around to checking off of the list…

…..until today!!!!







 My Battle Buddy!!!!













We made it!! The view was absolutely BREATHTAKING! The signs all said to allow for about an hour and a half.
Yeah, we did it in 17 minutes!
So many things can be built up in my mind as difficult or impossible. But really when broken down into manageable pieces, it IS possible.
Next….Kokohead – and I’ve heard it’s REALLY hard!!


Christmas Lights!

Eric has attempted to get us all down to see the Christmas Lights display in Honolulu and we finally made it! They have huge scene displays, a Christmas train and more lights than we could count!
 Jake and Daddy on the the ride!
 Mele Kalikimaka!!! Merry Christmas!
 Hannah was enthralled by the lights!!
 Jacob, Hannah and Daddy all holding hands!!



So much to see!!!





 There is just something odd about a Santa and Mrs. Clause in a Hawaiian shirt with his feet in a pool and palm trees in the background!!
 Attempting to get us all looking at the camera simultaneously!




 Dad, Jacob and Hannah on the carousel!
We had a great evening out and about with the kiddos!! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Hau oli Makahiki Hou!! (That’s Happy New Year in Hawaiian!)

As 2011 ends, I’m feeling a bit reflective as I usually do when the holidays draw to a close and a new year’s possibilities are just around the corner.

I’ve had two crazy “pinch me” moments recently. The first was in line at Subway. The girl behind me in line struck up a conversation about my shoes (Vibram) and then asked if I was a marathoner. With a wide grin, it dawns on me. “Yes, I am in fact a marathoner!” And while that short conversation lasted only a moment – it was so significant. The look of awe on her face was amazing. And then she said, “I could never do that.”

I remember thinking the same way. I don’t think that way anymore. Now I ask, “Why not?”

And the other moment came when we took the kiddos to see the Christmas lights downtown. They have wonderful displays and a couple of small little rides. Eric did a ride with Jake while Hannah and I watched. Then afterwards I asked Eric if he thought the ride would hold my weight so I could ride with him also. He just looked at me funny. Then it dawns on me that I don’t weigh more than him anymore!! And when I looked at the pictures – it was awesome -just a mom riding a ride with her son!

 Daddy and his mini-me!


Ever the safety mom, checking the seatbelt!
A bit blurry as it was pretty dark and my camera is smarter than me!

This has been such an incredible year both physically and emotionally. I still can’t believe the things of which I am capable; the things I once thought impossible have become reality, and the confidence that it has brought. I no longer sit on the sidelines of my life. I live.

I have been more open to new people, made some incredible friends, and grown in my role as a mother.

I’m extremely proud of the accomplishments made this year and look forward to new and exciting adventures in our new location!

Happy Happy New Year!!

Michael Phelps and a Grumpy Curmudgeon!

So while preparing for my biathlon next month, I decided to swim at Hickam beach. It’s gorgeous out there and not a whole heck of a lot of people because, well let’s face it – it is the day after Christmas and only CRAZY people like me are training for biathlons instead of shopping!

So as I am swimming what I think is a 1k (when actually it was 1250 meters! More of my mad addition skills hard at work!) I notice an older gentlemen doing some water walking laps. I am swimming up by him and catch his eye. Now the old me would have just smiled and kept on my merry way keeping to myself and doing my thing assuming he doesn’t need to be bothered.

But no, I smile all big (while simultaneously trying not to swallow the ocean that keeps biffing me upside the head) and say, “Is it just me, or do they keep moving these buoys farther away?!” Basically just making light small talk and acknowledging that we are both CRAZIES out here working out the day after Christmas. Yes, I am taking lessons from my hubby Neighbor Ned, and trying to become more Neighbor Nan-like!

So he hesitates for a minute, looks at me, and says, “No. It’s you.”

No smile.

No funny wink.

Dead pan serious. This dude apparently did not want to talk to Neighbor Nan today. So dumbfounded me – I keep swimming and lap him a time or two (yeah, it was twice. I counted!) thinking as I passed him each time, “You grumpy old fart! It wouldn’t have killed you to just smile and just say ‘Yeah!”

So as I’m nearing my 10th and final lap, I notice a lady walking along the beach with a walker. And then I realize its probably his wife. He slowly comes out of the water to retrieve the walker and make the uneven  journey up the sandy beach.

Yeah, ok. I suppose if I had to walk with a walker and get exercise in the water and some flippant little squirt came swimming by me, I’d probably want to not make chit chat either.

My big lessons of the day? Well, you never know what’s underneath the surface. He may have just had a bad day, or maybe he was in pain. Perhaps missing his family over the holidays. Whatever the reason – I’m still gonna be me and chat people up, even if they don’t respond. Secondly – to never take my health and abilities for granted.  I can swim well enough to save my own life. I look like a complete idiot doing it, but physically – I CAN swim. I CAN run. I  CAN bike. My body is young and strong. I will not take it for granted.

And finally – I am never gonna be Michael Phelps!

Have you ever felt foolish while trying to engage a stranger to make small talk?

So often we focus on what we aren’t able to do. What CAN you do?

Ever been on the other side of the coin and known that you’d made someone feel like an idiot when they tried to engage you?

More From the Marathon….

They finally made the professional photos available for download from the Honolulu Marathon!


Some of the pictures included in the package were various shots in and around Waikiki and the areas where we ran……

The early morning ceremonies were spectacular!

This truly is a stunning place to live. There is much I am going to miss about living here.

The downtown Christmas lights were on full display as we ran!

And there were various photographers along the run capturing us in all our glory…

….and in tougher moments….this was taken about mile 22-24.

Smiling pretty for the camera….

And the finish line!!! I was in so much pain and I was so relieved that it was finally over! Almost 7 hours of running/walking was INSANE!!!




Unforgettable moments and an unbelievable experience! So glad I pushed through and did it!



You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.

Same thing goes for 3 year old boys and food.
I’ve been thinking a lot about my attitude and how it’s pretty much stunk up the place lately. We I am having (ha, ha!) trouble at times with my son and food, among other things, and how to handle transitioning out of diapers, and other “power struggles” etc. Lately I feel negative and focused on what he isn’t doing yet, instead of what he has done and the progress he has made. And I get frustrated with myself when I’m in a cycle like that. Just like running – the highs are great, and those lows are tough!
But after gaining some new insights and reading a couple of other parenting blogs, I think I’m headed back to a good direction. The common thread through this little epiphany is MY attitude. As soon as my attitude shifted, so did his. My demeanor changed, and so did his. As soon as I stopped being a harpee about food – it stopped being an issue. (This is not to say that I throw my hands up in the air, say I give up and let him eat chocolate all day. Although he would very much like to do just that!) But I’m working hard on not being such a nag. And I’m noticing that he is responding way better than if I hen peck the poor kid to death.
I know he’ll probably not want to try my latest and greatest kitchen concoctions anytime soon, but at least for now we are learning to give and take and not sweat the small stuff.

Parenting Gunk

Ugh. I seem to go in cycles with being a Mom. I feel like somedays I have my kids figured out. Life is good. I have the proverbial “key” that seems to work for the specific stage they are in.

Then they go and change the lock on me.

I’m currently locked out.  And it’s not my favorite.

I guess I have to look at it like I look at hitting the wall in running. You just put your head down and keep going until you get to another sweet spot.

I love parenting sweet spots. When the kids eat well, feel well and are getting along with each other. They say thank you without prompting. Then one of them comes up to you and puts their head on your lap and says, “Mama. I love you.” Doesn’t get much sweeter than that!

For me its as if there is a parenting style “sliding scale” based on parenting that I have been around, grew up with, or have read about. On one end there are what I call the “Free Spirits”. Those are the easy going folk who don’t ever seem to be bothered by anything their kid ever does. They can handle high levels of chaos, go with the flow, but also don’t follow convention. On the opposite end of the spectrum is the traditional authoritarian “kids should be seen and not heard” and “just make them do it” etc. No judgement on any of these styles because in my limited experience it seems what works for one child may or may not work for another.

I think my issue is trying to find my footing some where in the middle of this “scale” and finding what will work for my kids. And realizing that where I am on this scale may be different for each of my kids. My son had always been a kid who will NOT be rushed, won’t be cajoled into anything, and definitely knows his own mind. I think we are a lot alike in someways, which is probably why we can butt heads sometimes. And the fact that he is a 3 year old cave man doesn’t help either!

It’s just amazing to me that in the space of an hour I can go from having my heart go pitter patter from some ridiculously cute thing they say or do, to being completely frustrated by something else. Somedays I wonder if I’m bipolar! I like parenting theory books since I don’t have all the answers and neither does any other parent! It’s nice to have fresh ideas. Some of them I’ve thrown across the room or laughed out loud knowing that “that” would never work for me or my family.

I also love veteran parents when they advise to “cherish” these moments because they go so fast. And it is true. I’m trying to cherish as much as I can through each phase. I love being a mom and can’t imagine being anything else. I know why I was put on Earth. But, as a friend recently put it – “My kid has stretched me farther than I ever thought possible or I ever wanted!” No joke! Mentally, emotionally, and of course physically. Being a parent is definitely not for the timid!

Here’s to trying out some “keys” to get back into a sweet spot. And hoping the lock out ends sooner rather than later! As Martina McBride put it in her song “Teenage Daughters” –  I think I need a drink!


Over the past 6 months I have done things I never thought I would. Things I never thought I could. in addition to losing almost 45 pounds, 20+ inches, and seemingly shedding sizes weekly, I’ve gained an incredible amount of confidence. And it’s not just confidence in appearance, although there is that too.

It’s more about little stuff. Like when a friend visited this fall and we decided to go paddle boarding. I’d never done that before. Previously, that would be something I would have not done out of fear. Fear of failing, looking stupid, or not knowing what I am doing. That and fear of falling. Ha! Now it’s, “Great! Let’s go try that! Who cares what we look like?! If we fall in – no big deal. We get wet, we get back up on the board!”

Or little stuff like chatting up another mom at the playground. Before I would have waited until she said hello first. Not anymore. I’ll chat with her. No fear.

I like not being afraid.

And if I fall on my face? Yeah, well, it’s happened. And it will happen again.

I’ll just have to get up again.

And now as I look forward to my next event, I’m a little unsure of myself. I signed up for a biathlon. No, I signed up for TWO biathlons! One in January and one in February. They are both 5k races followed by a 1k swim.

Um, have I mentioned that I don’t even own a swim cap? Or a one piece competitive bathing suit yet? I think I may have goggles around here somewhere. And do they make swim caps large enough for my big hair?!!! Ha!

No fear.

Will I look like I don’t know what I’m doing? Yeah, probably. Am I going to have fun and learn to do something new? (And step out of my comfort zone yet again?)

You bet! And I can’t wait!

My First Half

Today I ran a half marathon. I just need to breathe that in for a moment. Wow.

I woke up this morning full of adrenaline and anticipation (having slept very lightly as my mind was racing all night long!) I have been looking forward to this race for sometime - even before I had actually signed up. It has been a goal of mine for awhile, but even as I got dressed at o'dark thirty and ate some breakfast, I still thought to myself, "Can I actually do this?!" Today that answer was a resounding YES!

I have ran distances like this before, but there is something inspiring about being in an event with 1000+ other runners of all different athletic abilities. The other runners inspire me. The faster ones whom I hope to one day be like, and the slower pacers whom I was just a few short months ago. That is one thing I love about the running community. We are out there encouraging each other whether we realize it or not. Whether its deliberate or not. And there is room for all fitness levels. We walk before we jog, we jog before we run, we run before we sprint. Bill Murray was right - Baby steps!!!

On the run itself there were moments of euphoria and moments where I was asking myself why the hell am I doing this?! The euphoric moments cannot be beat! When I look up and see Diamondhead crater to my right and never ending ocean on my left. No - you can't beat that. I feel powerful in those moments. I can do this. I can do anything I set my mind to. The, shall we say, "less than euphoric" moments were hard. Some runners call that hitting the wall. I feel like 75% of this is mental. The whole "if you think you can or you can't - you're right" definitely applies. I try to learn from the hard moments too. Focus on breathing. In and out. I repeat my weightloss goals...I listen to music. Whatever it takes to push the focus from pain and negativity to whatever thought will get me to another one of those euphoric moments! They just can't be beat!

I love running with music. So much so that I really doubt I would run as far or as fast without it. I love the shuffle feature on the iPod...it never fails to have THE most perfect song come up just when I need it!

But all of these thoughts aside, this run for me means so much more. I crossed the finish line (SPRINTING) with my battle buddy who has been on this fitness journey with me. We have cried and laughed and achieved goals together that neither of us thought were possible.

I had given up. I was just going to be a mom. Just a mom. I am learning that while I strive to be the best mom I can be, I do also need other things in my life, some that are just for me. Running is that "just for me" thing. I crave it. When I get that time to work on me. It makes me a better mom, a better wife, and a better friend. It is possible. It can be done. I can dream big. Without holding back. I did it.

Now - time to take a nap!
 Me and my battle buddy Katy!
 We’re almost to the finish line!


 …and this is where I start becoming emotional 🙂
 Sprinting to the finish line!!
 Relief! It’s over!


And it hits me that we actually did this!
 Very emotional!
 I am so grateful for these two ladies! They inspire and teach me everyday!!
%d bloggers like this: