Category Archives: family

“Do I look like the type of person who has a heart attack?”

February is national Heart Health month, dedicated to spreading awareness and educating both men and women on the risk factors for heart disease.


It’s in my genes, and the routine cholesterol checks have begun – so far, my numbers are “amazing”. Whew. At a recent routine physical, the NP called me a “poster-child for exercise” and realized her 2-minute nutrition talk probably wasn’t necessary to give to a dietitian. For now, I breathe easy and happily keep on doin’ what I’m doin’.

But I know full well what notes could eventually fill up my medical chart if I weren’t active, didn’t passionately eat healthy foods and ignored the importance of stress relief. When I provide a family medical history, there is one recurring theme – heart disease.


I will never ever forget an April evening in 2011 when I realized I had missed calls from my mom and sister, voicemails and texts. Something’s wrong…

I still vividly remember the words, the shock and the (horribly anxious) waiting on the couch for hours for more news; the reel of thoughts, what-ifs, memories and pure panic that ensued before I finally got another call. He’ll be okay. Tomorrow will just be another day.  Our family is still complete.


It can happen to anyone, at any age on any day of the week. I was recently introduced to this video by Elizabeth Banks & the American Heart Association, “Just a Little Heart Attack”.

It perfectly represents the situation that none of us deem possible…until it is, and it’s real and it happens to someone you love:


Do you know your numbers (cholesterol, triglycerides, blood glucose, blood pressure)?

If you could ask one question related to heart-health and how to improve any one thing, what would it be? (Follow-up post to come.)


Filed under Dietitians, family, health

Durango Mountain Resort: Purgatory’s Slopes

We’re finally back to reality after 10 disconnected holiday days. 2012 went out with Southwestern style….

One of the best things about where I grew up is the town’s proximity to the Colorado border – something I didn’t appreciate until I left, and can’t get enough of now when I’m home.

hasta la vista
Photo source: sagebrushgis

Let’s just say it’s been years since I’ve been there with skis buckled to my feet* and this visit was long over-due. With my brother behind the wheel, sister sitting shot-gun and the two of us cramped in the back with skis, boards, boots & gear it was all-systems-GO.

CO Road 1 DMR Sis

*We occasionally visit in the summer, when it looks just a little bit different.

This resort is know to us “locals” and veterans as Purgatory – the name change won’t ever stick, no matter how many logos and signs they put up. The slopes hold true to their roots with names like “Paradise”, “Demon”, “El Diablo” and the restaurant deemed “Dante’s”.

DMR 1 DMR 3.1
DMR Lift group

{Top-right: yes I’m the only one out of the three of us who stuck with skis. The poles & forward facing motion is way better than falling on my ass sideways.}

We lucked out as the slopes had very recently been dusted with a few inches of fresh snow and the whole mountain (front and back) was open! We ventured to and from, up and down, for five hours in the perfect ski conditions (imo).

Sunny – 20-25* (up or down the mountain) – Fresh snow

DMR View 2

DMR View 1

Top: Front-side, mid-mountain restaurant “Powderhouse”
Bottom: Back-side, the view that stops you in your tracks

DMR ski 3 DMR Animas CityDMR ski 1

I’m far from being a top-notch skier, preferring to stick with steep blues and mogul-free zones, but it came back to me quickly. I like to go fast (hence the squat & “aero” pose…) and have my favorite runs that I’ll go down all day. I almost forgot how amazing it is to fly down a mountain with the Rockies all around you and a chair that smoothly takes you right back to the top over and over again.

DMR View 4

If you ever find yourself in NW New Mexico or SW Colorado, a stop in Durango is a must. If you have the desire to leave your fate to the mountains, Durango Mountain Resort (DMR) – ahem, Purgatory – is right there for you.


Filed under Exploring Colorado, family, holidays, home, sweat once a day, travel

Five Faves from the Four Corners

Our trip home to New Mexico was just what the Wanderlust ordered. In seven days we took two road trips, saw three states and finally stopped at the Four Corners. In between it all was a wedding date, a lot of family time (my fave), a little bit of running and a lot of relaxation – the kind that can only come from a cool southwestern morning coffee on the deck.

These five frozen moments  depict a few of my favorite things:

1. What “relaxing at home” means to me:

Home Deck Collage

2. Road-tripping out West – nothing but open roads, a lot of space, and a mountain, or desert, backdrop:

CO Drive 2

Four Corners 2

GC Drive 9

GC Drive - Flagstaff

Top to bottom: en route to Durango; border of NM and AZ; middle-of-nowhere northern Arizona; entering Flagstaff, AZ.

3. Climbing, playing and enjoying the mountain view:

Purgatory Hike Jump - LPurg Jump Run
Purg SisHike Headstand

Purgatory Hike 17

4. Checking things off the Bucket List! ALL four corners:

Four Corners - Us 2
Four Corners Flags

5. Revisiting one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World:

Grand Canyon Group 1

Welcome to the Grand Canyon!

(It looks almost-fake in person, too.)

GC View 5
GC View 7
Grand Canyon Bright Angel Trailhead
Bright Angel Hike - us 2


Our brains are still readjusting to the sea level real-world, so for now, the pictures will speak for themselves!

What’s topping your list of favorite things this week?


Filed under family, home, pictures, things that make me Happy, travel

Cross-Country Weekend: San Diego Days

Over the long holiday {Memorial} weekend, my little Sister and I executed a plan that was eloquently made months ago, after a few fruity umbrella-topped drinks in Hawaii. It was time to take a weekend trip, together, to wherever we felt like going! Or, to a destination in which the airfare from Albuquerque & DCA were comparable.

After some searching, it turned out that would be the California coast.

Downtown San Diego water view

We spent four days exploring the city streets and beaches of San Diego. Immediately after landing I felt refreshed to be out  West – the strong southern sun will always hit the spot. Open spaces, water-front views, palm trees and that true Mexican cuisine? This combination woes me in every way.

Ferry to Coronado
Coronado Beachbeach buddies
On the ferry from downtown San Diego over to Coronado Island. We walked straight to Hotel Del Coronado, where we’ve stayed before with the parents, and onto the beach.

Hotel Del Coronado signHotel Del CoronadoHotel Del Coronado front

Below – our favorite eats: fish tacos at Rockin’ Baja (Gaslamp District), one of the best iced coffees I’ve had to date (saying a lot, from a non-coffee snob) and the “Health Nut” omelet at Zanzibar cafe, and dinner at The Linkery (too dark for photos, but well worth the cab drive to North Park!).

San Diego fish tacosChips n' Salsa bar
Zanzibar Cafe Omelet
Zanzibar Cafe iced coffeeZanzibar Cafe San Diego

The trip consisted mostly of rest and relaxation, with a lot of walking miles and a few miles on the run. We explored the mercado  in Old Town and the trails of Balboa Park, and dined only on the recommendations of the locals.

Balboa Park gardenBalboa Park Run


California, you’re a dream. Thanks for a weekend get-away and some much-needed sunshine!

Next time I head west, it’ll be with D & the whole fam, in the state we call home.
July, hurry up!

What’s on deck for your next trip? If I could spend my life traveling, I would! Until then, I’ll settle for these types of long-weekend getaways and also live vicariously through you.


Filed under family, things that make me Happy, travel, weather love, weekends

An Early Mother Runner

One of the 400 level writing classes I took in college focused on Sports Psychology, breaking the layers away from not only childhood sport experiences but also how athletes and everyday exercisers mentally develop from their surroundings. This field of thought was entirely new to me; as a 20 year old, my memories simply held onto the teams I was a part of and how to kick a ball up the field from defense.

The streets around the neighborhood that we still call “home” are familiar with my Mom’s running shoes. She never trained for a 10K or a marathon, instead running off of her own self-motivation (and likely a need for pure escape from 3 young children!). From what I can remember, she ran almost every day, solo. Sometimes my Dad would join her for a walk, and on a blue moon we’d join her on a bike for a little while. Either way, she got her run on.

6.30 204

As Sports Psychology chapters argued nature vs. nurture, I had to give my votes to the latter. Suburban New Mexico was safe enough, and we had plenty of sandstone to climb for ‘backyard’ adventures; the “Outdoorsy” types are aplenty, but sports aren’t competitive and a true “natural” runner wouldn’t bloom out of pure luck.

The three of us grew up playing a variety of sports; I stuck to dance, soccer and tennis, strictly avoiding anything that revolved solely around running (ugh, how exhausting). My siblings’ stories are similar -we played what we wanted to (Soccer is the one common thread), our parents supported us in every way possible and encouragement was dished out generously.

{Insert an embarrassingly cute old-school photo of the three of us, decked out in our respectively ill-fitting jerseys, large socks and cleats.}

We never thought about not doing anything; of course our time should be spent on a team, running around, exerting our energy with some sort of direction and purpose. We may not have realized it then, but the examples had been set; every day involves physical activity, whether that’s coached, in the backyard or around the neighborhood.

I like to think of it this way – my Mom ran before it was “cool”, in her cotton t-shirts, aging shorts and whatever shoes happened to be by the front door. There were no local “5Ks” or Turkey Trots or group runs to meet up with. She ran to stay healthy, in shape, and sane. I don’t remember ever asking her why she did this; really, I don’t remember questioning it at all. Of course she ran, and of course I would, too.

All three of us have maintained a level of physical activity, in every year of our lives. My brother & sister played intramural sports in college, went on hikes outside of their southern desert campus and live for the first snowfall of the season so they can dust off the snowboards. Now, we all run, too.

dukecityhalf 011 ExcitedtoRun
PlatteRiverHalf 020 the trio 100_1544

Mom, we did all of these things because you (and Dad!) set the example. You showed us it was okay to sweat, take 30 minutes of the day for yourself, and spend a few extra dollars on running/soccer shoes, ski gear, hiking boots, and eventually a race fee. You keep yourself healthy, and we never questioned why someone would make an effort to do so. You do something for you, and we’re better for it.

Happy {early} Mother’s Day, to my favorite Mother Runner!
Love you, Mom.


Luckily, these days, there are quite a few Mother Runners! Thanks to Dimity McDowell & Sarah Bowen Shea, a community has formed and these mother runners are encouraged and supported by each other every day. Kudos to you all, and happy Mother’s day to you, too! Enjoy the miles.


Filed under family, home, running