Saturday, June 30, 2007

Proud mothers.

Tough night, hard to talk myself into walking this morning. But I did get in nearly 4 miles before I remembered to take my break. At which point, my blackberry told me I had an appointment with Belinda at Starbucks, which is good because otherwise I would have kept walking. We don't get together often enough anymore.

We've known eachother since childbirth classes at Swedish. Her sons Claiborne and Cameron were born same day as my son James, and also spent their first days in the special care unit at Swedish. Until the boys were 13 or so, we co-celebrated their birthdays with all their friends. Belinda could think up more innovative kinds of birthday parties than anyone else I've ever met: a magician one year, a trip to the fire station another year; and a Garfield pool party another year. She even found a guy one year who could teach all those boys (and me) how to break boards with a karate chop.

We agree on so many things and have many shared experiences that make us laugh. And we are both from Iowa! Today we agreed that raising kids who are thoughtful human beings, fully present in the world, is more important than grades (though they all have those), fame (they will have that) or good fortune (and we think that they grew up with that).

Like us, their paths are wide open.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Our nation's capitol...

I got to airport in plenty of time yesterday to catch my 1pm flight...problem was a fuel pump on the plane, which delayed us seven hours. I had expected to be in DC by 9:30pm, but our plane arrived at 4:15am, so I crawled in to bed around 4:50am. I went late to the meeting in order to catch a few hours of sleep before making my presentation.

I had a relaxing hour later in the day to catch up with my friend Clarissa, whom I've known since my undergraduate days at the University of Iowa. Good friends like this are hard to find, and I love it that she and I stay in touch rather closely. We had planned to walk at the Mall today, but it is 96 degrees out there with 90%+ humidity. This is truly a southern town. I will try to go out later this evening when it has cooled off.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Infinity or the Appearance of It...

Last evening, Leroy came to walk with me, which was very pleasant. We never seem to run out of things to talk about. I took this photo, and a couple of others, as potential covers for briefing books we created my managers' offsite. I am hoping to inspire out of the box thinking...endless possibilities.

I'm packing this evening for an executive retreat, from which I'll leave a few hours early to fly to DC for meetings and a presentation on pandemic flu readiness. I'll be back home on Thursday afternoon.

Maybe I can fit the photo in there as well...

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Warrior Women.

As I was finishing my morning walk (6 miles) at Green Lake today, I came upon three women and a man with children. One of the women spotted my blue hat and said it was like the one her husband wears. (She was wearing the pink hat, which is for survivors.) As we finished our walks, we chatted a bit. Her name is Anna and the folks she was with today are part of a 30 person group called Warrior Women, of which about ten are recent survivors. Anna said they have already raised over $50,000 -- and so I checked out their website when I got home.

Checking out their team website, I see that while Anna had finished her chemotherapy in early April, she was still undergoing radiation. So when she said "recent survivor," that is exactly what she meant. I hope to see Anna again at Green Lake.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Meet the Risk Bustiers...

On the left, meet Mary Gardner, team captain and WaMu retail technology business partner. Me in the center, shortest of all. And on the right, Lisa Coleman, member of WaMu's corporate information security team. The three of us have worked together for a number of years. Had we thought carefully about it, we probably would have set ourselves a more modest goal this first time out, and signed up for the 5k walk held last weekend at Qwest Field. At this point we are all wondering how we will translate what we can do now, 12 weeks before the event, into roughly 33k each day for three days. Best we can say right now is that we are keepin' after it. Including matches not yet showing, we've raised about $15,000 as a team.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

"Walking is man's best medicine." -- Hippocrates

Early yesterday morning in heavy rain, while walking 4 miles at Green Lake, I wondered if Hipppocrates knew what he was talking about. There are aches and pains enough to go around without adding the rain factor. But the most amazing things happened, probably since there were so few of us out at that hour. Everyone smiled and said "good morning." Five shells moved silently and elegantly across the lake. An older gentleman stopped to point out a bald eagle sitting on the top of the diving platform. While I was stretching at the end of my walk, I ran through my Chi Gong while six or so folks at lake's edge performed perfect Tai Chi at 7am in the driving rain.

Chairman Mao introduced both Tai Chi and Chi Gong in every factory, school and university in China. Chi Gong is eight exercises each performed eight times, thus "eight pieces of brocade" or "eight secrets of life." Daily practice brings flexibility, grace and energy. I learned it three years ago at Canyon Ranch, along with a host of other stretching and kinesthesiological exercises.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A very special evening...

Last night my friend Susan hosted a trunk show at her home. A dozen or so women showed up to nosh and to buy clothes. Susan's proceeds from the event are being donated to this walk. When Lauren and I walked into the event, we knew Susan and one other person. By the end of the evening, I think we had spoken with everyone -- each had their own unique perspective on how breast cancer had affected them or someone they knew. Many had told Susan in advance that they would be taking the money they would have spent on clothes and donating it to my walk.

Though I thought I had been prepared in orientation sessions for the extremely emotional connections that are made through this event, I found myself overwhelmed by the generosity of women I had just met. When I walk at Green Lake wearing my 3 Day hat, I have gotten used to passers-by giving me a thumbs up or a smile of support. But this was helpful on a whole new level.

There's a large poster that everyone signed, with good wishes, that will be mine. It means every bit as much to me as the dollars that are raised from the event.

I was asked to say why I was doing the walk, and I talked too much around the question. What I should remember to say each time is that walking is nothing compared to round after round of chemotherapy or radiation. I am an extremely fortunate person, to have good health and excellent medical care myself. So I will do what I can to ensure that the money is there for medical research...including figuring out how to walk 60 miles in three days.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Meet Amy, my trainer....

Here's Amy, my trainer looking pleasant and harmless in this morning's gym photo because she has not yet begun to put me through 30 minutes of work...if you were to credit my stamina, lack of joint stiffness, replacement of fat with muscle, it would be to Amy, who has put up with me since last fall. On Saturday, she and her mother and her sister and her neice will all participate at Qwest Field in the Susan Koman shorter walk.

There has to be a special form of trust between client and trainer for the client to keep coming back. In Amy's case, she has made the work hard enough for me -- and because I can now see the progress I am making, I want more. She's encourages me with advice on building up my endurance for walking. She doesn't say "of course you can do it!" Rather, she helps me take it a step at a time, monitoring diet and the training walks as well as what we accomplish in the gym. She's my ace-in-the-hole.

Monday, June 11, 2007

"Things do not change; we change." -- Henry David Thoreau

The picture was shot after Christmas, in Philadelphia, where my sister's family and mine gathered for a leisurely lunch. My sister Mary is kneeling down in front, looking younger than all the rest of us. To her right is my son James, and to his right is Dr. Hal Schedl, Mary's father-in-law and friend to Leroy and myself for nearly 40 years. In the back row, Naomi Kark Schedl, artist extraordinare and also our friend for those years, then her granddaughter, Jess. Behind Jess is her father, Paul Schedl, a microbiologist at Princeton, for some reason here waving a hat. That's me in the middle, with Leroy at my side, and our other niece, Elizabeth, on Leroy's left. When we meet, we just pick up the conversation where it left off last time we spoke.
The cousins are close. The first time Jess met James was when I sat him down on the floor in front of her. She was about three, and he about 13 months. She spent several minutes chatting at him, then stood up and said to me: "Well, what good is he? He can't talk."

That story is a nice metaphor for the literate, verbal set of families that we are, and how we've evolved over the years. We've changed, but there is still plenty to talk about. My sister is a 5.5 year survivor of breast cancer, finally off tamoxifen. Though she and I, like James and Jess, will change more in the coming years, I suspect we'll be chatting still when we are in our 90s....

Thursday, June 7, 2007

"By the time I get done with you, eleven miles will be nothing..." -- Amy, my trainer

Yesterday and today both blurs of back to back meetings at work. This morning I worked with Amy in the gym. She is quoted above, and I believe she meant it. I am finding the work with machines and weights to be energizing. My form improves steadily.

I saw my podiatrist this afternoon. He was able to reshape my new orthodics somewhat to fit better in the shoe, and carved a bit on my soles. Now I have no excuses, eh? At least I am walking now every day, even on those days I am in the gym.

I'm thinking about trying a 13 mile walk that precedes the opening of the 3 Day Expo on Saturday morning.....the Expo will feature workshops, vendors and talks focused around preparedness for both the camping and the walk itself.

I just mailed in another $2,900 of checks and in kind matches for this walk. What a great feeling!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

"We are what we repeatedly do." -- Aristotle

Aristotle is talking about how one moves from individual acts to making a habit. I do hope he is right on this score, since he is talking about achieving excellence.

Overwhelmed today with stories from old friends and spouses of colleagues, who are survivors of breast cancer, one for one year; another for 15 years.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Walking in the Rain...

Neither Mary nor Lisa could walk today, so I set off myself. Ran into a couple of 3 Day Walkers from WaMu's capital markets team, who went back for umbrellas when it started to pour. I kept going and did the full 3.24 miles in a little over an hour. I did not use the sticks which allowed me to focus on good speed and rhythm. Got a very nice note with advice from Vicky, who led the training walk last Saturday. Will get orthodics adjusted later this week since I appear to be sitting too high in my shoes, which are already a half size larger than usual.

Tomorrow a session in the gym with Amy, then I'm going to add a walk around Green Lake after work. This photo is from a trip last summer to the Bloedel Reserve, and reminds me to keep things in perspective.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

"Reality is the leading cause of stress amongst those in touch with it." -- Lily Tomlin

Good walk on Friday with Mary on the waterfront again, down to Myrtle Edwards Park and back, including the incline and steps at the Olympic Sculpture Park. I felt like I was walking slower and had some soreness that, unfortunately, I did not pay much attention that night.

Up early on Saturday, carefully checking new fanny pack to be sure I had everything for an 11 mile walk that started at Seward Park. Beautiful location, beautiful trails, but ran out of steam about two hours out on the four hour walk. The stretching was great, but I got behind after we started, leaving my poles behind and then having to go back and then catch back up. My friend Jenny was waiting for me, everyone else having disappeared around the bend a quarter of a mile ahead. I huffed and puffed my way around the park's circle trail, then we headed up along the west side of Lake Washington. But I did not make it all the way up to the I-90 bridge. My rhythm was off, and I had forgotten to put my phone into my fanny pack -- I began to worry that I would not be able to make it back if I did not turn around.

Going into the fourteenth week before the walk, I seem to be caught significantly under the ten mile level that I should be at by now. While the methodology is very clear, the execution sucks. My friend Susan -- who is doing a fundraiser to support my walk on the 15th -- suggested that I try walking without the sticks, that they introduce a note of complexity when I try to synchronize steps with pushes.

I hope also to not to be so hard on myself when I can't hit the training mark, to maintain the courage to be less than excellent.