Marathon Mom (Part 1 – The Inspiration)

Many call it the bucket list.  That list of things you want to accomplish before you die.  I call mine “list of personal accomplishments.”  Once again my birthday is approaching.  Each year I search for challenges to celebrate a new year of life.

I have never been one to give myself birthday parties.  For example, I made sure to tell my parents that under no circumstances were they to give me a Quinceañera party.  A tradition in many Latin American countries symbolic of a girl transitioning from childhood to young womanhood or a Sweet “16” party.  Thankfully they listened.

I love to have parties for my children, but not for myself.  There is nothing wrong with having a party for yourself it’s just that I prefer a trip or an adventure instead.  The quest for searching mountains to climb or steep hills to fly down on roller blades with are representative of my spirit.  Challenges put a skip in my step.

If I had to think about where this need for adventure came from, I can say it was my grand imagination coupled with the admiration I felt for certain sports and sports figures.

As a young child in the 1970’s, the game of tennis won me over.  Memories of Billie Jean King win grand slam after grand slam was inspiring.  I remember asking my father for a tennis racket and practicing by myself sometimes using the wall as my partner in our apartment.  We didn’t have tennis courts available where I lived so this was as good as it got.  Unfortunately, it did not bode over well with my parents or the next door neighbor.

In the 1980’s Florence Griffith Joyner (Flo Jo) captured my attention.  Fascinated by her speed she reminded me of a gazelle on two legs.  I watched intently when she won her silver and gold medals in 1984 and 1988.  She inspired me to be a runner and I joined my school’s track team.  I could be like her one day I thought.



My interest then turned to gymnastics.  For example, I was glued to the television when Mary Lou Retton won America‘s first Olympic gymnastic gold medal.  At this time, I declared to my parents that I knew I wanted to be an Olympic gymnast.  I just knew!  I begged them to find me a gym to train because I was going be in the Olympics someday.  Moreover, I explained to them that this was very serious and that they would be sorry if they didn’t help me build my dream.

After many wind-knocked-out-of-me practices in my room using pillows as cushions, I quickly became discouraged.  Falling flat on my back for the umpteenth time attempting to master the back flip was no longer fun.

Then came my biggest passion of all… ICE SKATING!  It was instant love, and once again I approached my parents and professed that I wanted to be a famous ice skater.  My favorites were Dorothy HamillKatarina Witt, and Irina Slutskaya to name a few.

So serious was I to become a professional figure skater that my father believed me.  For a year, he would take me every single Sunday to my beloved roller skating rink in downtown New York City.  What was different this time?  I guess since I was older they believed me.





As you can imagine, I did not become a professional ice skater.  However, I became pretty good at it and was able to build fond memories with my father too.  Based on the pattern of my childhood memories, I was very much into sports and athleticism.

More importantly, all of these women taught me the power of believing in yourself and preparing mentally and physically for challenges above and beyond the norm.  Thinking back this is probably why I admired them.  The strength, agility, and determination was enough to inspire me to be all that I can be.

“Every moment and every event of every man’s life on earth plants something in his soul.” – Thomas Merton
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