How do we move forward?

My road came to an unexpected halt on November 9, 2010.

That morning, I was bicycling to work when a garbage truck turned across a city bike lane. I was in that bike lane.

I was critically injured in the accident. A team of trauma surgeons saved my life, but they had to amputate my left leg. I had a long road ahead of me, physically and emotionally, yet I was grateful to be alive.

An ending can be a beginning too. I started over.

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.

Gradually I learned to walk again. So I began counting steps. Then miles.

Over time, that journey turned a corner. It became less about my own recovery and more about resilience -- the connection we all share.

Ten years later, I still take one step at a time. Yes, there are bumps in the road, but each step means rising to new challenges, adapting to change, and moving forward with hope.

Are you on your own journey?


Saturday, October 20, 2018

My Favorite Miles - Austria 2018

50 miles in Austria!  

So much fun.  So many adventures.  And OMG, the climbing!

The hills are so alive, it's tough to pare them down.  And apologies to the von Trapp family, but I'm gonna sing it out loud -- 

These are a few of my favorite miles...
Mile Marker 6625:  Welcome to Innsbruck!

The view from the tarmac!

30 hours in my leg?  No problem!  Well, technically, a bit of a problem.  But hey, we're in Austria!

Home sweet home.  Our apartment is behind those big wooden doors -- on the third floor.  Did I learn my lesson back at Mile 5,000?   Yep.  If you want to live where the action is, there will be stairs to climb!

That's ok.  I'm a climber!

Mile Marker 6635:  Med Check

Before the competition, each paraclimber meets with the medical team to make sure we fit in our category.  Some athletes bring paperwork, but I just bring my leg.  The good news:  I qualify for W-AL2 (women's - leg amputees).  Whew!

Celebrating with fellow AL2's!

Mile Marker 6639:  Qualifiers

The Kletterzentrum Innsbruck is the largest climbing facility I've ever seen -- with walls as massive and overhung as tidal waves!

First impression = OMG!

The warm-up area is crowded with water bottles, wheelchairs, crutches, canes, service dogs...

...and backpacks.  Where's Genie??

But any nervousness I feel is soon overpowered by STRENGTH and GOOD VIBES.

Just look around.

These are a few of my favorite views...

Pre-climb with Esha and Dragon

Go Team USA!
With Keith, Jess, Eliana, and Emily

Rock on, Coach Emmett!

Hangin' with Lucie (France)
and Kate (Canada)

And of course,
my companion, Sherpa,
 and all-around BFF, Marla!

And I LOVE the view from above!  I climb at the top of my game.  Use both legs.  Flag my prosthesis.  Save the power moves.  Stay organized.  Stop. Settle. Breathe.  At the end of the night, I place 8th in my category. 

8th in the world? 
I'll take it!
Click here to watch the video!

Mile Marker 6642:  The Bergisel

With qualifiers complete, Marla and I set off for another height of Innsbruck -- the Bergisel Olympic Ski Jump.

Hier springt die Welt
The world jumps here!

And they're still jumping!  With no snow in the forecast, these skiers land on turf!

Favorite question of the day:
"Can that leg do ski jump?"

Mile Marker 6644:  The Nordkette

Next we climb -- by tram and cable car -- to the highest point in Innsbruck, the Nordkette.

And surprise -- we meet our team at the top!

On the way down, we meet another team -- coincidentally, from the prosthetic company, Ossur.

Should I trade my Ottobock Genium
for an Ossur Rheo Knee?
They think so!
(But I'm hard to convince.)

Mile Marker 6647:  "Gluten" Morgen!

Good morning -- and yum!  What begins as an auto-correct mistake seems truer and truer with every mile.  These are a few of our favorite eats...

(pumpkin and spinach)

Waldbeer Sacher Torte...
("forest berries") 

Der Backer Ruetz Pastries...

and coffee...
and coffee...

...and coffee!
(Made this one myself!)

Good thing we keep walking -- and don't sleep much!

Mile Marker 6650:  Finals

At Olympiahalle Stadium, there's big news in my category.  We watch Lucie Jarrige, an "above-knee" amputee climber from France, win the World Championship title, surpassing three "below-knee" climbers.  My new hero!

Allez Lucie!!!

She's joined on the podium by
Kate Sawford (Canada) and
Emily Stephenson (USA)

Mile Marker 6660:  Auf Wiedersehen Innsbruck!

Eventually, we leave sweet Innsbruck for the hills beyond.  In Salzburg, we skip The Sound of Music Tour in favor of Mozart's house, an ancient fortress, goulash soup, and chocolate shops.

With Ben and Kim,
we cover 8 MILES in one day!

Marla and I spend our last two days -- and 6 miles -- together, rolling and strolling through the streets and gardens of Vienna.  I could not have made this journey without her!

Happy birthday to me!

Really, this trip was 50 miles of my favorite things: good health, great friends, and a chance to see the world.  But these things don't come easy.

I'm grateful for every mile. 

And for this team
that helps me reach new heights!

Wir kommen wieder, Austria!

Hope to be back soon!

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