Denali. Twenty. Thirteen. Committed.

Most of last Autumn, as the holidays approached and I braced myself for the floodgates of grief to open, I felt lost. I was utterly confused. The mercury retrograde in November spanked my hind quarters. I had no idea where I was going or what the next right thing to do was. So, I trudged through daily life, tried my best to show up & be present for whatever presented itself.

I had notions of opening a yoga studio, or going back to school for an advanced yoga training or maybe massage therapy or something. But, nothing jumped out at me. Doors of opportunity that opened seemed to close again within a week or two. Nothing seemed to “click” for me. I had no idea what to do, except keep exploring.

Then on New Year’s Eve day, I get an email from my dear friend and fellow outdoor bad-ass lady, Emilie Cortes. She wrote that she’s putting together a team for Denali, and would I like to be on it?

Uh, whoa.

Really? Me? Denali? THIS year??

It was too overwhelming a prospect to entertain. I was literally driving out of Avon, CO after visiting a different Emily, Hekkinen that is (whom you should all take skiing lessons with at Beaver Creek), when I read the Denali email. I was filling up for gas, and on my way to see Mickey’s wife & kids in Evergreen. So, I just let it go.

Fast forward 3 days, and it’s now January 2nd. I’m back in the Chicago suburbs, and on my first run of the year. I love running in the flatlands right after being in high altitude. It’s like rocket boosters are strapped to my heels. It feels like I could run all the way around the globe. It feels like my lungs can capture twice as much air, which they kind of are.

Anyways, while on this glorious run, I contemplated Emilie Cortes’ blog on setting New Year’s resolutions. I liked her philosophy about setting a goal or accomplishment instead, and allowing the natural result be the bonus. Her example was setting the goal for Denali, and the bonus result would be looking better in a bikini.

While musing on this cute notion, the thoughts struck me, “I’m not getting any younger. I’m pushing 40. When will I ever have this chance again?”.

That was it. I pushed my chips all in to the poker pot. I was “in”. Committed.

Now what?

Since this decision, many amazing things have happened. By creating more space in my schedule, and not focussing so much on yoga, I had more students show up in my classes, I had a freelance copyediting gig come my way, and an opportunity to build an “online” or “virtual” studio using a high quality video chat platform. Wow!

I’ve also been so busy seeing friends & family before leaving that I’ve barely had any time to take care of things like writing this blog, or enjoying my Chicago Punchlist (which includes the Polish Museum of America & the Swap-O-Rama flea market among other things).

But, I’m doing the things I’m supposed to, primarily around training. I’m swaping private yoga for private personal training. The results are phenomenal! I’m stronger than I’ve ever been, but also improved my posture by leaps & bounds! I learned certain leg muscles were tight, impeding good posture. The trainer taught me easy stretches that take care of the tightness, release my entire spine into better alignment. It’s truly a miracle.

So, if you need a personal trainer in the Chicago area, don’t hesitate to contact Roy Alfonso. He has a delightful personality, and really knows his $h!t.

Having a purpose & a direction had brought tremendous emotional & mental relief. I don’t feel so unanchored anymore, just floating in the cosmic soup waiting to be jostled someplace. And, honestly, amongst all my musings before the calendar flipped to 2013, in my heart of hearts, when I _truly_ got honest with myself, I really want to pick this project back up & continue on. Owning a yoga studio will only anchor me down.

It’s a testament that truly everything happens for a reason. The studio opportunities that came my way were simply there to learn from. Going forward, I’ll recognize a great business opportunity when I see it, because now I have the experience of what to look for. Meanwhile, I can prance on up to the 20,320 feet summit of Denali unencumbered.

Now til Summit

To properly train for the largest peak in North America, I need to get out of the flatlands, and fast. I’m moving to Western Colorado, the Montrose area, to get plenty of high altitude practice hikes, and backcountry trips in. Until then, it’s Roy Alfonso’ whip cracking training, plus cardio, plus climbing gym when I can.

All the exercising is changing my body, and not just physically. My food craving & intake has doubled, and I struggle to sleep at night because the endorphins keep me so amped. I can’t wait to get out to the mountains, to a less hectic schedule, and create more time & space for the training. I’ll be staying at my dad’s house, which I’m _truly_ grateful for.

Next I have to figure out gear needs, then food needs. The food issue will be quite interesting given all my dietary restrictions. Since the reiki classes, however, my digestion has improved a thousand fold! Maybe I can tolerate certain foods now. It may not be as difficult as it seems. Still, mountain climbing while maintaining an IBS-symptom free gut will be quite the experiment.

All in all, I’m super excited about this trip. I’m also super scared. There’s a lot of money involved. The team will likely fundraise, and maybe even make the team The SpokenCoast Project focussed. We’ll see.

Thanks to all so far who have wished me well. It means so much to have loving support from the Chicago community formed in the little time I was here. Stay tuned for more!


Posted in Peaks | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

6 Responses to Denali. Twenty. Thirteen. Committed.

  1. Todd says:

    Wow! I’m really happy for you! I find lots of inspiration from you now I just need to find the energy to make things happen. Best of luck on your quest for Denali!

  2. mariQ says:

    So psyched for you!

  3. Liesl says:

    Yay! So inspiring! Go you!!

    If you want to chat about allergy friendly travel food give me a ring. I have some experience there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

nineteen − three =