Not How I Thought Things Would Go

But how they were meant to be. I had a plan for this year. And anyone who knows me knows that my life always has a plan. Without a plan, how will you get that thing or do that awesome adventure, or stop that annoying habit? Often without a plan, you end up stuck where you are, without momentum, and bitter. Or you’re super happy because you just followed whatever came your way. That’s just not my style. img_0171

I used to suffer from serious anxiety in my late teens, early 20s. I worked SUPER hard to figure out how to counter it, without relying on medication, cuz I just can’t remember to take pills on a regular basis. So, I got a lot of counseling, set exercise, good sleep, and diet as pillars of life. I also used to set big goals that often included doing things that scared the crap out of me just so I wouldn’t be afraid to try new things. It’s been so long that I’ve sort of forgotten what that was like, being afraid of things, that is.

Here was my grand plan for this year:

  • Spend time reflecting on the decades past (i.e. formative years, teen years, 20s in California, grad school, post-grad, and married life)
  • Revisit a lot of my “firsts” (which for triathlon, I kind of did)
  • Pay my respects of things that came before that have made me who I am now

Here’s how things actually have gone:

  • Do lots of fitness between January and June (and lose weight)
  • Lose focus after June and slide backward on all things me. (gain the weight all back)
  • Deal with a parent who has an incurable memory disease, figure out how to keep her safe, and relatively happy.
  • Upend her life of 40 years in a house with her beloved dogs.
  • Think it will be easier than it really is.
  • Feel the familiar anxiety of not being able to control all the unpleasant things in life and forget how you used to cope with said anxiety.
  • Try to maintain a semblance of life, work, family balance and always feel like you’re failing.

I may be embellishing a bit but even though there are lots of books, support groups, and information out there to help guide people through supporting someone with Alzheimer’s, it’s never enough. I thought if I educated myself on what I didn’t know, I’d magically be able to avoid the emotional toll of watching my mother fade away in front of me. I didn’t anticipate the stress of caring for her to impact my marriage the way it has. I’ve lost the wonderful achievements from the first half of the year but I did it once so there’s hope I can do it again. My next decade of existence is just a number, not a death sentence.

The past few months have made me consider how I want to live, assuming that in 20 years, I’ll be in the same boat as my mom is now. I have no desire to put my husband in the same situation I’m in. No children mean that he or someone else needs to make difficult decision on my behalf if I chose to ignore the inevitable. I’m very fortunate to enjoy excellent health but so did my mother and fate dealt her a genetic and incurable disease that impacts more and more people each day.

And then there’s the guilt. The guilt for taking her away from her familiar and comfortable home, separating her from her beloved and treasured dogs, putting her into a very nice but unfamiliar place and expect her to adapt, and then consider moving across the country to ensure that if and when I’m in the same scenario, I have made the most of the years I have.

I think in the grand scheme of life, things can always be worse than they are. People say I’m doing a great job, that I’m a good daughter, and that mom is lucky to have me in her support network. I believe them because I have dedicated the bulk of my energy for the last several years to ensuring her safety, well being, and care.

So instead of lamenting how this year didn’t result in a reflection of the past decades I’ve experienced, I’ll accept what has transpired and appreciate that while I do not have a crystal ball to see how the next 15 years will go, they will unfold exactly as they are meant to. I will also be grateful and appreciative of all who have provided counsel, support, and wisdom along the way.


Mid-Way Through My 49th Trip Around the Sun

The year started well with a successful completion of a round of the Whole 30. I lost between 15 and 20 lbs depending on the day and when you count my start and end date. However, I’ve since slid back into old habits of stress eating and sugar fixes.

Since February, I’ve:

  • Trained for and raced my first trail half marathon (great fun, painful but lovely)
  • Completed 2/3 of a 1/2 Ironman (swim and bike) and got 3rd place female relay (yea Mira!!)
  • Took first Athena at the General Smallwood event, Oly distance tri, raining nearly the entire time.
  • Competed at Eagleman 70.3 and had a PR in the swim (39 min) and bike (2:55) and finished in under 7 hrs.
  • Swam more than 2 miles at the Luray Swimfest.

I also reached out to the people with whom I’d like to spend my 50th birthday and got momentum going for our epic adventure to go to surf camp and relax, recreate, and soak up as much beach life as possible. We’re heading to Nosara, Costa Rica in January to celebrate my fifth decade.

Professionally, I’ve taken a few training classes (I’m now Prosci Change Management certified) and launched a major project to wide aclaim. Who knew I’d become so comfortable in an Information Technology setting.

This year, I picked my races by my “firsts”; first race (a previous version of General Smallwood); first Half Ironman (Eagleman 70.3); first trail half marathon (North Face Challenge, great swag). I wanted to challenge myself, see if I could push myself to hit my best times or do better than I had originally. It was a good time to set high goals and push myself to achieve them.


Finally Embarking on Project Cory

I’m not at all surprised that it’s been over a year since I last posted. I feel as though 2017 was just a haze of frustration and anxiety, mixed in with a few vacations and endurance events. 2011-11-11 22.26.17

In 2017, I found my triathlon mo-jo again and had fun doing races. My first race was in mid-May, the same day as my 96 yr old grandmother passed away. She was a tenacious, enduring, and rock solid woman, who outlived her husband by 31 years, alone, never having learned to drive. She had a very full life for sure. I dedicated my first event, a half aqua-bike, to her.

My next race was an Olympic race with the team (District Multisport) in Rock Hall, Md. I got some stupid neck rash from swimming without proper lubrication but all in all, it was fun. I found my fun again. We also had a great time hanging out with our teammates.

I did a swim fest in Luray and felt great, and then did Ironman Canada 70.3, where John was also doing the full. That shit was hard. Choppy swim, windy and hot bike, and gorgeous run. Again, it was fun. I made a fatal error of putting ice in my shorts (oh, no, chaffing in areas that should never experience chaffing). Spent a lovely time with my pal Meghan and her family, again hung out with teammates and generally had a great time. Felt good, but knew there was more I could do to be better.

Did the Luray Oly tri and placed 1st “master” Athena. Again, I felt good, could always do better, but it was a start back on track to finding my happy place.

In 2018, it’s my 49th year and I made a plan to dedicate this year to be the best Me ever. In January, I completed a round of Whole 30, successfully breaking my sugar habit and losing about 12-15 lbs in the process. No dairy, no sugar, alcohol, no grains and I don’t feel deprived in the least.

Next challenge is transitioning to a more sustainable version of what I did in January and planning what to eat during 3+ hr endurance events, that aren’t packed with sugar and empty carbohydrates.

The next hurdle to conquer is my propensity for clutter and chaos in the house. Clothes everywhere, papers that I can’t identify, just too much stuff. I will not be doing the Japanese “do you love it” exercise. I have done a similar exercise in the past and it usually helps to have a “buddy” who just asks you “keep or toss” and there’s no going back. Moving out of my former house was like this. Moving into the house in the first place was like that too.

Life is here for the taking. All you need to do is decide how you want to live and then get to it. Or as the late Warren Miller said, “if you don’t do it this year, you will be one year older when you do.” 

Finding a Balance Point

I wonder how history will recall this past election. It’s hard to see 10 years into the future to see what will be remembered as important, significant, and worthy of recounting. In the swirl of the chaos, it’s tough to take in.


This is a beautiful family. They frighten many. I don’t understand why. 


I admittedly have not been all that engaged in the cluster fuck that has been the two-year ordeal of the presidential election in the United States. The entire thing frankly disgusts me.  Continue reading

Lessons Learned by Looking Back

I’m a backward looking individual. I’m always re-examining things past to see where I could have done better, said something more appropriate, paid more attention to signs that were later revealed.

Recently my first love, Toby (my first golden retriever) floated into my mind, as he often does. I used to have conversations with him. Now I revisited his last days and wondered how I could have been more present, been a bit more engaged and taken a bit more control.

At the time, he was battling pneumonia for the second time, likely had other issues impacting his health and in his lovely 13 years looked healthy even when he wasn’t. I visited him at Southpaws to see how he was doing and during that visit the doctor on duty seemed to indicate that despite two different antibiotics, Toby wasn’t really responding to treatment.

Toby at the beachAlone and very overwhelmed I struggled with what I should do. I now know what I should have done, which wasn’t what I did. I should have asked to take him home, spent quality time with him in a familiar environment surrounded by his familiar things and toys, given me and my husband time to reconcile that he would not be getting better and return to the sweet and lovable dog we often took for granted. And when we were ready, we could have said goodbye in a more family type way, making decisions together rather than me on my own.

I know he was not himself but I also know that everything went much too quickly, I was overcome with pressure to make a decision about his continued life and only saw that his prognosis wasn’t good and didn’t want to prolong his pain. However, taking a day or two to properly say goodbye, take appropriate time off work to grieve, and just being kind is exactly how I would have liked to handle his passing. Four years later, I know how I could have been with Toby, my husband, and support network instead of all alone in a sterile vet room saying goodbye to my beloved ball of fur.

I’ll be better the next time this issue comes up. I like to be prepared even for the most challenging situations and know what my heart wants even when it is breaking and can’t really keep up with the head.

Life is Pain and the Enjoyment of Love is an Anesthetic

Life will disappoint you if you let it. Set goals, aim high, expect great things but always be grateful for your experiences, both good and bad, appreciate those who came before you, made sacrifices so you have opportunities, and upon whose shoulders you stand.

A photo by Maico Amorim.

Life is a race. It’s up to you to set the terms.

Just getting out of bed sometimes is enough. Getting up at 6 a.m., exercising, walking the dog, making breakfast and lunch for the family, getting to work on time, contributing in a significant way, getting home, cooking dinner, walking the dog, and enjoying the company of your family is the ultimate day. Emphasis on the spending time with your family, exercise, and walking the dog.  Continue reading

Parents as Teachers of Patience

Just spent several days with my paternal unit and realized several things. I am a combination of my parents and sometimes there are behaviors that we recognize and decide to change. As they have been divorced longer than they were married and likely weren’t a good match at the start, the dichotomy of behavior is often tough to navigate.

parked-bikeI adore my mother but her propensity to allow others to take advantage of her generous spirit is a lesson I’ve learned to modify. I have often encouraged her to set her own boundaries thereby defining exactly how much of herself she is willing and able to give to others and letting her loved ones know how much she has to give. She will take the best care of you for exactly three days. After that, you’re on your own. But for those three days, she cooks, fluffs pillows, and is at your beck and call. A true Florence Nightingale to be sure.  Continue reading

Bicycle as a Prescribed Anxiety Cure

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike! — Queen 

I’m a thinker, in ways that often confuse those around me as I’m hard pressed to explain my full thought process. I once had a friend tell me we couldn’t hang out any more because he had started to think like me. I didn’t see the problem but apparently not everyone likes the random stream of connections I make constantly. lSed5VXIQnOw7PMfB9ht_IMG_1642

I commute to work daily on my bike. This makes my entire day awesome. I have in the past suffered from anxiety to the point that I make myself sick. This goes way back to when my parents would fight and I’d end up with a stomach ache. Many hundreds of hours of therapy, following The Artist’s Way once, and a slew of coping mechanisms, and I am worry free because I’ve worked hard to identify and manage triggers of my anxiety. I need to exercise. I used to call it my cheap form of psychotherapy. I can’t remember to take an anti-depressant or other pill on a regular basis. But I can always remember to ride my bike, walk the dog, go swimming, hiking or any other endorphin producing activity. I’ve found that my mental and physical state depends on me being active. I often experience a seasonal hibernation lull that is tough to crawl out of but I do, I compete, I race, I perform, mostly for the fun, the adventure, the experience but also for the mental benefits.  Continue reading

To Move Ahead, One Must Consider the Path

I rarely consider myself  a writer per se but I was  raised by a pack of English majors, some of their love for words and communicating via language is part of my fabric. I have many trapped thoughts that need a conduit to the outside world so I can be free of them or see them in front of me rather than inside of me. Ironically my current job title is Senior Editor, I was a past magazine editor and consider myself a communications consultant. I cannot diagram a sentence and often write in passive voice.

In perspective, life is amazing and grand and I have so much that complaining seems petty and small. But we all struggle with what we are asked to bear at any given moment. Without a list, it is difficult to inventory and take stock in just how much is taking place but suffice it to say that family, life, work, and balance are all of the things competing for priority currently. Is this any different from anyone else? No. Is it a bigger weight or challenge than most? Not at all. Yet it is new to me, and in my effort to keep things in control, in check, moving ahead, sometimes I feel I’m not doing enough.  Continue reading

Spring is almost here but winter is not yet ready to go

As I sit here watching snowflakes swirl around outside, gently landing on the 3-4″ of snow already on the ground, it’s hard to imagine that just a few days ago, it was 65 degrees and sunny and that the first day of Spring (March 20, 12:57 p.m. — also our 5th wedding anniversary) is only a few days from now.

I wrote an article, published on the blog for Transformational Acupuncture, and wanted to share here.

Seven Opportunities to Get Outside, Explore DC, and Move Your Body

I love being outside and will ride my bike in nearly all types of weather, rain, cold, sleet, but my favorite type of weather is sunny and warm. I lived for a time in the Los Angeles area and 90% of the time the weather was conducive to being outside, hiking, biking, rollerblading, beach going or just sitting.

I moved to the DC area in 1997 and had a bit of a difficult time transitioning out of my car but now avoid driving at all costs. My husband and I together own more bicycles than necessary but they are tools to explore the city and a testament to a lifestyle we’ve chosen. [Read More]

I’ve been wanting to write more frequently on a variety of topics but haven’t made it enough of a priority on a regular basis.

An early morning commuter walks through snow covered Franklin Park in Washington, Monday, March 17, 2014. (AP Photo/J. David Ake). WASHINGTON

I’ve been writing letters to property tax assessors, to potential volunteers for multisport events, to regional club leaders to inform them of discounts and opportunities for their memberships, to vendors to explain why the design they’ve sent me isn’t meeting my needs, and to energetic and enthusiastic people to engage and empower them to take leadership roles in the administering of work (long story). All of the above is worthwhile and necessary writing but it isn’t terribly creative or soul satisfying.

After the demise of what seemed like a dream job, I’ve been having a difficult time regrouping and putting out feelers and applications for other sorts of work. My acupuncturist tells me that I’m still grieving and maybe that’s true. I am vowing to move on to create my new existence and apply my communication and writing expertise to a variety of potential clients. My part-time work at Ris at Union Market gives me an opportunity to work with the owner and develop a plan to expand the community of Ris-lovers and engage them via social media without too much effort or expense.

As I’m sorting all of this out, I’m also exploring the possibility of becoming a license real estate sales person since I’m constantly eyeballing potential houses for sale and seem to be pretty good at networking and connecting people to services, other people, and things they need. I feel it’s time to spend some of the energy I’ve been extending to others on myself and focusing on reaching my full potential. Stay tuned for more exciting news!