Step outside your comfort zone. Do scary stuff.

I had good intention of getting this post up early in the week.  And, like many good intentions, it’s now Friday…but I’m still within a week of doing something a little scary (for me) so it’s still sort-of news.

In July and August I took part in a fitness challenge that encouraged us to try activities that were new or different from our “usual.” I’ll confess that new things I have now tried include mixed martial arts workouts (hard and fun!) and ballroom dance workouts (harder than you expect! and good grief I’m not a dancer!). Most importantly, this challenge got me into the pool a few times and reminded me that I’m actually a reasonably competent swimmer.  And, interestingly, when I’m not swimming because it’s all I can do with an injury, I kind of like it.

Since I have a history with both cycling and running, some of you might see where this swimming revelation is leading. I haven’t totally pushed myself outside of my comfort zone since my first half marathon (December, 2014, for those who are keeping score), and I’ve been trying to figure out what I could take on that would challenge me.  Semi-logical answer?  Triathlon!

So, with only about four weeks to get swim training under my belt I signed up for the Brineman, sprint distance.  I put a few bricks- riding followed by some running- into my workout schedule. I stayed up late deciding if I needed a wetsuit for the race or not (decision was yes, and with the 45 degree temps that morning I was grateful!).  I ordered the cutest (and most functional) tri kit ever to wear and tested it out during my brick workouts. I practiced open water swimming in the Willamette River when I visited Portland over Labor Day weekend because that was the truly intimidating part of this whole crazy idea for me.

And last Saturday, I got up really early so I could swim, bike, and run. I was incredibly fortunate to have three friends who signed up to do the Sprint as a relay so I had an awesome cheering section.  And… another of our friends who has been on “injured reserve” from running magically appeared at the swim start and helped to sherpa gear, take great pictures, and cheer for all of us.  I know some of y’all have heard me say, “Find you tribe, love them hard” before, and Saturday morning they were there full-force.

Here’s the before.  And yes, I’m thinking, “I don’t have to do this…it’s not too late to chicken out!” when I’m standing there contemplating it all.

The tribe. I may be a little jealous of the two who have dry land legs for their relay. Also jealous that J has done a full Ironman so this swim is just a little thing for him.



Once I was out of the water (I just don’t want to discuss it other than my celebratory phrase being,
“I didn’t drown!”; in truth my performance in the water was Very Respectable), it was on to the bike.  Confession: this is my favorite leg.  Shh…don’t tell the people who think of me as a runner. Also, I love the dryland segments because of all of the cheering one another that goes on between athletes.  If you’ve run or ridden with me, you KNOW how I am about encouraging people!

Game face coming out of the Transition.

Then, the run.  The part that I know I can do and can do without trouble (3 miles is NO problem!). And I can’t tell you how much I loved the folks who commented, “Looking strong!”  That’s such a powerful reminder that yes, I’m strong, and I’m rocking this.

Coming out of Transition 2. Legs feeling a little weird. But I’m running and that’s my joyous place.
And…scene. I’m a triathlete!

If you’re wondering, yep, I’ll do this again, and with more than a month to train for swimming I’ll even look at a longer distance. I mostly loved it. I learned a lot about myself and my ability to be brave.  And I was totally outside my comfort zone (swimming, people, swimming) and did a Really Good Job with my first triathlon.

What’s my hope in sharing this story with you? Don’t be stagnant! What’s something that you can do that will challenge you, maybe even make you uncomfortable? Set a goal.  Go for it. That’s how we change ourselves.

Coeur Sports logo, which is pretty much my life mantra.

Heart and courage, as the logo on my tri kit says.  Heart and courage.


Brave enough



Dear one,

Before I get too immersed in all of the other things that make up my crazy life, I wanted to write you a letter.  It was important to me that you know what you meant to me, what I believe you meant to our team, and how the last 4 1/2 months of your life changed all of us.

I first learned about you the day after you landed in our care.  I remember thinking that whatever your outcome from your injury that it was going to be hard-fought- and that was before I got to know you and know your family.  That was before I learned that just as we gave 110% for you every day (and I hope we do for all of our patients!), you gave 110% every day too- even on the days that it hurt and it was hard and scary.  That was before I got to see a very sweet smile, before I learned about your gift of silliness, before we knew about your love of Dirty Dr. Pepper.  That was before I got to know your parents, who are some of the most grace-filled people I have had the privilege of meeting in my life.  In short, it was before we fell in love with all of you.

I told your parents this week that while I will never be comfortable with the reason that we all came into each other’s lives, I will always be grateful for knowing you and knowing them.  I also often say that I have a collection of angels watching over me when I am doing my work- I believe our whole team does- and I now count you among them.  In our world, we are given the gift of taking care of people who make us all better people.  You were one of those people, and your family is some of those people too.

Our team started the week with a group hug in your honor, and I’ve lost track of how many hugs have been given among our team this week because of you.  We miss you.  We miss your parents.  We miss your brothers (though Natalie’s cell phone may not).

And I am so, so grateful for what you gave us this summer and fall as we loved you and cared for you and tried to put you back together.  While your light isn’t here on this Earth with us any more, I know that it brightened each of ours just a bit.  That is a gift that will have an impact for years to come.

Wishing you peace, dear one.  Thank you for being part of us and for being so brave.  You will not be forgotten.

Taking chances

Well, I have either stepped into it big or I’m going to be a hero.  The outcome remains to be seen.

Why, you ask?  Yesterday afternoon I convened a group of individuals to initiate our process of rediscovering what professionalism means in our perioperative environment- what it means for this delivering care, for those receiving care, and for the process of that care.  In short, I’ve convinced an amazing group of people that we should tilt at the windmill of culture change.

As we all filed out of the meeting, I was filled with gratitude for this group coming together.  I was filled with humility that we have a group of people who are willing to commit time and energy to this project.  And then…well, honestly, I was filled with a little bit of fear because I realized that I’ve just taken on a project that is the equivalent of a balance beam routine with maximum possible points for difficulty.  Big risk, big rewards.  Or big risk, big crash.

Now that I’ve had 24 hours to reflect, I realize that by swinging for the fences with an amazing team that we will be positioned to generate amazing amounts of good.  As I told them, I have no expectations that this will be easy.  I have no expectations that this will be seamless (“My entire life is constantly in beta testing, and this is no exception.”).  What I do expect is that we will have a powerful voice from a group of thoughtful, visionary individuals who can make a real difference.

For our Council, and for anyone else embarking upon a new adventure this week, I offer you some of my favorite wisdom from Teddy Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

Courage, friends, and onward.