Thursday, May 15, 2014

Conquering the Grand Canyon

I feel like I’ve been pushing my mental strength to all types of different extremes to test it out.  I think as a competitive person in some distorted way I like the challenge within these different mind “toughness” adventures I keep thinking are good ideas.  Now given, I still think they are good ideas, they just become nervous ideas the closer they comeJ


I’ve blogged about this before, but I take for granted the attitude of “If you want to do it, make it happen!”  An attitude I realize I have my parents, close friends, and family who have influenced to me and provided the support and encouragement to do so.  I’ve discovered some people can never see the ability to dream of something happening because there are multiple reasons why it isn’t a good idea.  I mean; is this something we learn in school?  I’m lucky to have teachers who just so happen to be parents, coaches,  grandparents, aunts, and uncles etc, who are to thank for a lot of children’s goals and dreams in life, so I guess with the double impact from being a family of teachers, coaches, that serve parents as well I just got lucky.  I find myself too quick to answer sometimes when I go off onto an idea, dream of some sort when someone quickly says “WHY?”….. I’m as quick to answer back…. “Why Not?”  I think self development is pushing yourself outside of what you once felt you were comfortable at.


It’s funny the reflections that come upon you about certain things when you are “training” for the marathons…for the hikes….for anything where you are able to allow yourself to escape maybe the hustle and bustle of everyday hectic “to do list’ life and go off into a different thought process.  I was always a nervous child (now that certainly hasn’t changed), I thought too much for whatever given age I was at for the time.  I was scared to leave my parents or spend the night a lot of times when I was younger because I always had this constant fear something would happen while I was gone.  I usually always had an exit strategy to anything that was going on at a given moment just in case.  I really didn’t like the thought of separation from my parents and I believe I was 5 or 6 years old before I ever slept by myself and didn’t sleep in my parents bed, or in the middle of the night create a make shift camp out bed on the floor next to them.  I’m certain there were mornings my parents stepped on me because upon hoping I’d slept through the night alone I had made my way into their room in the darkness and stayed there.  I am even still in possession of a childhood blanket that during the cleaning cycle of the washing machine I would be perched on top waiting, probably crying waiting for it to be clean.  (This blankets name was pinky by the way, and just to put it on record, it is no longer pink) 


It’s funny now, because through growing up and being nervous about so many “new” adventures…..I’m ready to just hop on a plane and see where the next place I can go is.  Now I’m still a planner and all that sorts, but looking back some I’m proud of myself for “letting go” a little bit and opening myself up to so many adventures that has allowed to change my perspective and understanding of things so much. 


“Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and there’s got to be a way through it” 

-Michael J Fox


Sometimes not knowing how to get through something leads you to do something amazing…to challenge yourself…and to do great things that you never thought you’d be able to do before.  I still struggle daily at the acceptance that so many things I still wanted to have my dad around for won’t happen.  I still struggle at him not physically being here to experience some of these things with. 2014 will begin the first year I have to conquer without my dad.  I was that little girl who sat on top of his foot when he had to leave to go somewhere screeching that I was going with him.  I was that little girl standing alongside the sidelines of sport practices/games repeating everything he was yelling at his players.  I was that girl who had the basketball shooting form just like her dad.  I was that girl that went to college and played sports…just like her dad.  I was that girl who was inducted into the Mid-Ohio Valley Hall of Fame…….just like her dad.  I’ve followed in my dad’s footsteps for so long; I’m not sure where to go now that he’s gone.


I do know one path to follow though…it is to continue to find a way to make a difference.  For every future daughter who has to fight this fight….. I will fight to make a difference in the development of a cure for Parkinson’s.  For every other person now I have come to adore, idolize, and cherish the friendships and family bond through Team Fox…I will fight for a cure for Parkinson’s.  I will continue the path to be a positive role model for kids, because that is how dad changed so many lives along his journey.  I will follow a path to carry on this legacy of his because I have seen firsthand just how much of an influence he was to so many which truly made a difference. 


I will keep finding a way “through this”, and part of this journey will start on our next challenge.  We will be leaving tomorrow to fly to Phoenix, AZ and meet up with 18 other Team Fox challengers to make a difference.  As a group we have raised around $36,000 for the Michael J Fox Foundation.  We will be tackling the entire Rim to Rim challenge in one day (24 mile and 6,000 vertical feet).  I would have never thought hiking Rim to Rim of the Grand Canyon would be part of this journey, but sometimes things just happen at the right time and you realize this is just how it was meant to be.  After dad’s passing I wanted to do something outside the box of what I’d done before, and when Team Fox announced they were going to try this new event this year it just seemed fitting.  Dad had always wanted to go to the Grand Canyon, I’m certain to hunt or fish would have been part of the trip, but it was something fitting for him.  He may not physically be there, but I know he’ll be there with me.


A few things I have discovered upon prepare for this.  1)  Hiking is slower than running (obviously)…but it’s been a bit of a mental approach change up.  When we went out for our long hikes a part of my just wanted to run to run and get the miles in and over with…..and not really taking in what was actually happening.  I haven’t really allowed myself to run a lot while training for this just for the mental block of accepting it’s ok to not be running.  2)  Do not “Google” Things that could go wrong while hiking the Grand Canyon.  There are no good answers to that search.  It’s like “Googling” a medial aliment, it’s bad….really bad….  3) Brock was a sprinter in high school…..  Reminding him over and over that we don’t have to sprint this or that at mile 3… it will pay off not to 18 miles in.  4)  Hydration Back-Packs….. who knew how fun a backpack with a water reservoir would make you feel so outdoorsy and rugged?   5) Unlike the NYC Marathon…if I drop out of the hike because of injury or etc ….. there will not be a subway station to hop on to take me to my final spot…..  So… once you’re in….we better get out.  Does anyone have the phone number for the donkey service?


I’m a bit nervous about this trip.  It’s just out of my typical comfort zone, but like I’ve been discovering…every new challenge has brought a better acceptance of many things, and the final result is going to be worth it.  We will be 24 rugged miles closer to a cure for Parkinson’s and my dad will get to visit the Grand Canyon.



Thank you all for continuing to follow this journey and for your continued motivation and support…..I’ll see you on the South Rim

1 comment:

  1. Such a great post! I agree, I'm not sure when we - as a society - learned to find a single "thing" and just keep doing that the rest of our lives. I think "Why not?" is a perfect response to all the questions! I can't wait to hear about your Grand Canyon adventure! I'm sure your dad would be so excited for you and proud of you and would be telling everybody about the amazing work you're doing for Team Fox! I'm sure he probably used to tell you to channel your emotions (anger, nervousness, anticipation) into whatever competition you were about to start, and I think you're doing a great job of that in this uncharted 2014! You'll do great!