Good Natured Mom

We are all just walking each other home. -Ram Dass

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Races, races and more races

2016 racing season is complete

It was a good season. But I’m tired and I’m ready to spend time away from the pool, bike and running shoes.


Half marathons, cycle/run relay, a duathlon, sprint, Olympic and 70.3 distance triathlons, training camps, volunteering ,10ks, 5 milers, 5ks, and my favorite 14k to finish – from March through September. The photos tell the story. Accomplishment, goals met, heartbreak, pain, friendship, conversation, silliness, relief, joy and peace. Its all there. Thank you friends, for training and racing with me this year! Enjoy.

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Photo credits to Tim Kane, Pat Hendrick Photography, Jodie Kapes, Annemarie Ambrose, Beth Lancer, Kellie Nassif, and Nikki Garofalo.


My races :
America’s Greatest Heart Run, Utica, NY, March 2016

Fort To Fort, Rome NY, April 2016
Seneca 7, Geneva, NY, April 2016
Du the Lakes, Syracuse, NY
Migonis Team Training Camp, Lake Placid, June 2016
Tupper Lake Tinman 70.3, Tupper Lake , NY, June 2016
Saratoga Dprings Half Marathon, Saratoga, NY, July 2016
Delta Olympic Tri, Rome, NY, July 2016
Sherrill 5k, Sherrill, NY, July 2016
Bolder Inspiration, Trenton Falls, NY, August 2016
Old Forge Triathlon, Old Forge, NY, August 2016
Falling Leaves 14k, Utica, NY, September 2016






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Inspired by NPR’s This American Life (episode 52 :Transformers), I thought I’d go down a very narrow rabbit hole on life changes brought on by parenting. Some transformations are abrupt and startling, others are subtle transitions. All make life unique and interesting and make us who we are.

The most obvious transformation, for me, was becoming a mother. I had nine months to ponder the situation, and perhaps even prepare for the big unknown. But honestly and truly, when they hand you that little tiny human being and you hold it for the first time…there is a shocking, I mean earth quaking realization that your world is forever changed. Knowing that this person will not survive if you are not totally on your A game, at all times, is an incredibly transformational experience.

Subtle transformation takes place as you learn to parent. Think about it this way; you vowed to make sure you never sounded like your own parents, in terms of their unbearably unfair set of rules or outdated dress code or whatever. (This, I believe is some sort of throw back to teen age angst.) But then, of course, you hear yourself say certain phrases that your mother would say. Or you apply your father’s style of discipline to your naughty child. And you begin to understand the wisdom of the ages. Old school parenting begins to makes sense and you realize that “doing this for your own good” actually means “I love you and I want you to learn something from this situation.” And you transform again.

Over and over again, the cycle repeats. Change and growth occur alongside every joy and sorrow; every proud moment and every moment that brings pain or hurt. Every situation brings you more experience. Every experience brings you more change.

This life time of experience, little by little, produces a new creation. Like a work of art…transformed by life.


Mom’s always on call

A long weekend…
An extra day off to wander in the woods and climb over boulders and rock-hop through streams…
A day to forget about everything…work, to-do lists, schedules…

And then, in the middle of the densest part of the forest, you have a cell signal (the first one in hours) and your phone responds wildly…lighting up and chiming with some important message…

One of your children needs you…needs to talk…needs to unload, to vent, to share…

All that work you did to stay present, aware, mindful, as you step each step on loose rocks and over half hidden roots in these lush woods, is nothing like the awareness you have when your child is falling and needs a soft place to land. So you listen and comment and ask and listen some more. And hope the landing is soft.

Moms are always on call.

Mom’s always on call.

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Thinking out loud

Triathlon training requires lots of time.
Lots of alone time.
And when I’m alone, I think about stuff.

“I can’t believe I’m doing this.” I say that before every race.

…about how selfish I become with my time
during triathlon training and racing season…

…about how much I talk about triathlon…

Stop talking, Joan!

Stop talking, Joan!

…about the fact that not many people care about triathlon…
…and that I probably bore them with my random musings…

…about how many times I used the words,
never, can’t, or won’t
because I was afraid to try something
and most certainly fail…

And then I rode up this nasty hill.

And then I rode up this nasty hill.

…about the fact that I do not use those words any longer…

…about my kids
and what they are doing with their lives
and how proud I am to be their mom…

kids with melissa and eddie 2013

Kids plus Eddie and Melissa…I consider them all my kids.

 …about turning hours of lap swimming
into hours of  prayer time…

Photo by Michael Verostek

Photo by Michael Verostek

…about what a cool guy my husband is
for supporting me in my triathlon adventures…

This was how we spent our anniversary...on a 10 mile trail run.

This was how we spent our anniversary…on a 10 mile trail run.

…about some of the inspirational folks I’ve met
in workouts, races and through fundraising events…

Team Isaac

Team Isaac 2013

…about the positive way this 56 year old body
has responded
to more exercise
than it has ever
experienced before…

Old Forge 2015

… and mostly about how
grateful and blessed
I am to be able to participate in triathlon.

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Midlife Transformation

A friend referred to me as her fitness guru last week. The week before that someone else asked me to mentor her through her first triathlon.

I’m no expert…on fitness, especially. But I think I’ve figured out why people think I am the expert, the guru. It has to do with who I was and who they have seen me become.

My foray into fitness began about 5 years ago. I was 51, out of shape and lacking motivation. After some subtle changes, the occasional walks around the neighborhood turned into short bike rides, which turned into a century, charity bike ride. I began walk/ running, then running. I added swimming and began to imagine that I might possibly be able to complete a sprint triathlon. That was 4 years ago and I’ve completed 13 triathlons since then. The transformation was gradual, and for those who knew me in the beginning, it was significant.

They say the best exercise is the one you will do and the sport of triathlon offered me three options; swim, bike and run. Training for three sports provided variety and the ability to recover from one discipline while working out for another. Balancing and organizing the workouts kept me focused and interested. I wasn’t doing the same sport every day, so I never got bored. Plus, I loved the way I felt when I exercised. I was, and continue to be, grateful to be able to have a body that can swim, bike and run. I never lose sight of the fact that I have not completely succumbed to the aging process, illness or some other circumstance. I love the mental boost endorphins give me. They elevate my mood and keep me feeling positive and optimistic. Finally, my body responded to exercise and training in the best possible way. Body fat decreased, muscle tone improved and overall fitness increased. Triathlon training became a regular part of my life and was profoundly impacting my whole being.

Beyond the obvious physical changes, I was learning to live beyond limits. I was shedding the excuse driven mentality that was holding me back from….experiencing …life! Because I tried something difficult, new and out of reach, I learned about goal setting and that the process it takes to move toward the goal is probably more important than goal achievement.  My perspective shifted dramatically and I began to see challenges as opportunities instead of obstacles. My attitude changed as I became a possibility thinker. And I liked that.

So, when my friend refers to me as her fitness guru…I think she means this: I knew you before you had this amazing physical and spiritual transformation. I want what that kind of change in my life. Show me the steps you took to get there…because if you can do it… then, I think I can do it too.

Yeah - I finished...hardest race to date.

Yeah – I finished…hardest race to date.