Caren Ware's Blog

November 23, 2014

My Spring as Concierge at SPRING CREEK Ranch in Jackson, Wyoming

Before, during, and after Africa I made sure I had ‘those” resumes out. I heard so often that I ought to get a “real” job. I was chosen to interview for many recreation management positions, but knew three things: I was older than the hiring age they sought, I was an entrepreneur and feared as having too much experience in the private business sector, and I was used to running my own company and working for myself. The job search reminded be of Dallas airport when it got shut down in an electrical storm. It took through the next day to get the thousands of stranded passengers onto other flights and missed connections. People by the hundreds ran from counter to counter trying to get on lists for the few seats left. I had no idea how many people were queuing for jobs…any job despite the education and back ground experience. And trying to interview and be chosen in the pile of hundreds and hundreds of applications was…well, like Dallas Airport after an electrical storm. So while I took the time to soak in what I was going to do with all my projects, I took this coveted job as a concierge at a priceless piece of property with the billion dollar view, Spring Creek Ranch. I would be designing and booking people’s grandest experiences; a ‘to do’ list while vacationing in the Tetons and Yellowstone. I would do so while pulling together the scripts, journals, pictures, and projects of “FINDING FIT”, starting up an event production company, an adventure travel company, and putting in motion the non profit agency to help the needs I saw in my travels. Now, there is a lot of “to do’s”!!!

My good appetite for adventure was perfect for devoting to finding out what super things one could discover DOING in this Wyoming region. I found many fascinating things. Paragliding for one. Since the Tetons are a slip fault mountain range, there are no foothills. This is what makes them so awe posing and dynamic. They stand erect from the valley floor. They are perfect for thermal updrafts and perfect for paragliding. The guides take the guests by tram to the top of Jackson Hole Ski Resort at near 11,000 feet. They tether tandem for a jump, fluff out the chutes, run a short distance until the wind just lift all three, the guide, the guest, and the paraglide kite.

I ordered a girlfriend from So California to come test out these activities with me. Her great response.  In a heartbeat.  She arrived a few days later. If she could do these in her high heeled boots and tiny physique, than any of our guests could. Thank you, girlfriend, for being so game. Paragliding ended up being a surreal and pleasant surprise. It is not one hundred mile an hour winds in your face and terrifying free falls of parachute jumping. It is placid swirling and ebbing high in the sky with the sound of the flapping strings and the ruffling ballooning of the kite. Soaring! Peaceful. Until the pilot thinks to thrill you with an upside down 360 degrees. I was impressed with the athleticism and caliber of the guides that loved this sport of kiting. They seemed fit, enthused, very knowledgeable  , yet easy going. Patient to wait out the proper weather and winds. http://www.jhparagliding.com/IMAG0447 - Copy IMAG0449 - Copy IMAG0453 - Copy IMAG0455 IMAG0461 IMAG0463 IMAG0467 IMAG0468 Paragliding requires pretty much the same training as being a pilot of an airplane. They call them ‘pilots’ and the ‘pilots’ I met in Jackson impressed me as masters of their craft.

March 17, 2014

The FACES of the Porter’s of Kilimanjaro

Filed under: A Runner's Story,fitness,hiking,Marathon Running,trail running,traveling — Caren Ware @ 10:24 am

I would rather you read the faces of the porter’s before we climbed the mountain than read my feeble words to describe them. These faces had no names. Just men lined up to do a job. Men hopeful they would not be cut because they did not have the required clothing or equipment. Men that knew what they were getting into. Men that knew they were about to go into a battle with physical demands. Men that knew this was their one way to be fed.
They were my Hispanic boys orphaned in Southern Mexico, who would run half the night collecting cows just to get a sip of milk and chunk of cheese. I was determined to get to know these faces. Trek with me and let these faces became names, and stories, and laughter and sharing. They will become people who have to do what they can do to eat, to bring something home. They have children, and wives, and elder parents. They have determination. They are strong. They, right now, have no other opportunity, but what Kilimanjaro treks bring. IMG_4479

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March 7, 2014

A flight, a landing, and a drive from Arusha to Moshi

Filed under: A Runner's Story,fitness,Marathon Running,traveling — Caren Ware @ 7:03 am

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IMG_4354A flight, a landing. Grabbed the bags right out of the side compartment from the airplane. I was looking out the windows, listening to the pilots speak easy in Swahili, and reading a few pages over the shoulder of the gal next to me. She was reading, Second Chance, a book about a gal in mid life who ran a marathon on every continent. I read with her the first few pages how she missed the start of her first international marathon with her boyfriend. They thought they had casually given themselves enough time, but had the wrong start time. They jumped in as the runners ran past. My third continent marathon was quite the same way. I flew to Japan to find that my registration had not been processed. After half a day of trying to request my way in, I got escorted to a military building and got a military answer. “NO” was stamped on my request. In a land where there are more people than opportunities, people queued a often having to accept they did not get into…the movie, or get the latest game after waiting in line, or even get into the marathon. There were 335,000 Japanese that applied to run in the Tokyo marathon that could only host 30,000. But for us foreigners, they allowed 3,000 entrants. My registration had been FEDEX in time, but reached the desk of the processor on a Japanese holiday thus coming to the headquarters a day after the deadline. I will have to confess someday what only any race timer would do to run after coming all that way. To be honest, my only interest in running any marathon is its a means to get to a place and look around from the inside out. I have to admit I felt overwhelmed in Toyota in that endless ,spotless, tidy, very populated maze of cement. It was a very foreign place to me. I would feel less lost in the jungle of the Amazon or the vast Alaska range than standing on the Landing seeing an ocean of endless man made. I was awed and eeried. I never thought I would find a casting of lots in Japan . Such, to me, all the people seemed so uniform. But Japan ended up being a surprise chapter in itself as I home stayed a few days with what we would term a ‘hoarder” .
Bounce, air pocket, and I was jarred back to where I was. I WAS flying over the Serengeti into the clouds of a volcanic looking region. All of a sudden I was interested in what was below me. This land had character I was interested to meet.
After we landed and grabbed luggage, Kathy Loper Events had a van arranged to escort us to Moshi, via Arusha. A picture is worth a thousand words so I snapped so your eyes can see.IMG_4356

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March 5, 2014

What’s for lunch?

Filed under: A Runner's Story,fitness,Marathon Running,traveling — Caren Ware @ 9:21 pm

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January 25, 2014

Talk about GO GIRLS

Filed under: A Runner's Story,fitness,hiking,mountain biking — Caren Ware @ 9:21 am

Laying foundations for your girls. The Whitley’s literally bounced into our lives. They moved in our mountain side, built a studio in their basement, and started dancing, and dancing, and dancing. They were gymnast, ice skaters, acrobats. And Miss Bobbie was an unrelenting, passionate, and intuiative- all about their welfare- instructor… and we benefited. We had an active, determined young gal and they had a perfect place for her to pour that into. And it layered a friendship for a lifetime. Laying foundations for my girl, inside and out! A gift that keeps giving. The “Girls” are all grown up! One of my treasures, to be friends with… Miss Bobbie and the Whitley’s. Love it that they lived outside the box, that they instructed with fervor and intensity, and that they never gave up the dream or theme, knowing it would pay off as phenomenal. I like sharing that kind of out of the box with you. They made “FITNESS” a family home, a family lifestyle, and a living.
Fitness has been a huge part of the journey. God has been the other. Zeal the fuel. I will celebrate our boys and the.1

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IMAG3479 great men they are becoming, but here’s a tribute to our girls. This is life’s most blessed journey. I am about to go run unrelenting miles in Africa and trek to the top of a 19,000 mountain, but parenting the inner heart and the moments of growth in our kids are the treasures. And,watching who they have become is summiting its own kind of mountain top. My hands are held high and I peer over the vast expanse below that will be their futures. It IS one of life’s greatest PEAK experiences.

January 24, 2014

Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes…

Filed under: A Runner's Story,fitness,hiking,Marathon Running — Caren Ware @ 8:12 am

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Hyped out today. I drove carts for the pros this morning at the PGA Farmer’s open, Torrey Pines, La Jolla. And than I ran for one hour and a half with girlfriends along the beach in Dana Point. I jabbered the entire way… down the stairs, Salt Creek beach, up the stairs, across the bluff, down to Dana point harbor, up PCH, back up the bike path, back along the sandy shoreline. They probably wanted to PUNCH me instead of the clock. Thanks, gals, for putting up with me, my adrenaline, and the hills. Kilimanjaro or bust. The project is probably going to do both to me!! Things are taking a financial and logistical toll…a book’s worth.

One of the gals I ran with is a producer and has a new start up show. Check out her http://www.OUR2ndACT.com. It is where reality meets talk show for Boomer Babies. Main topic…thriving at 50 and menopause. Now, there’s something to talk about!

And, Okay. I’ve learned something about a sport I had no idea. Golf gawkers walk an average of 6 to 9 miles to watch one round of an 18 hole golf course. Wonder what the caddies do? Keegan’s caddie Pepsi has calves. When I asked him what workouts and sports he does, he cocked his head, flashed a sun tanned smile and said, “I walk. I carry clubs”. Said as he sipped off his water bottle containing, you guessed it, Pepsi. The PGA Humana Challenge in Palm Springs did a superb job offering opportunities to learn about ‘FIT’ choices and offered ‘FIT’ things to do. https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=vrhRI5HgeJk

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April 29, 2013

The seas were man, the weather was woman. The DRAKE PASSAGE.

Filed under: A Runner's Story,fitness,Marathon Running,traveling — Caren Ware @ 10:19 pm

IMG_0766IMG_0772We were ushered to the boat where they took our passports….hmmm, wonder why?  But they quickly assigned bunks, and allowed us to ‘move on and move in’.  IMG_1404To my delight, it wasn’t a rusty, old Russian cargo ship. The Akademik VAVILOU was a white, well-built vessel suited for scientific research.  A Russian captain and his crew sailed the ship.  One Ocean Expeditions ,www.oneoceanexpeditions.com, operates the ship, and One Ocean crew enlightened us through lectures and film, tending the bar, bridge, and reception. They would be the faithful leaders on kayak and Zodiac excursions for the 100 marathoners. 41 Russian crew members lived in the belly of this ship, manning the engines, unlashing the moorings, hoisting the gang way, and serving in the galley. To my other delight, we were given cuisine meals by meticulous chefs and attentive servers despite the weather.  It was almost routine to hear glass breaking when hit by a rogue wave, but atmospheric to the care they were giving to cruise in style despite the demanding elements beating against the ship’s thick metal sides. In due time, we would pit our legs, lungs, and determination against those elements. But for now, we were learning to make ship life cozy.  The life vest drill on deck and seeing that the life boats were covered craft were reminders of where we were going and that it and the temperatures were to be respected. But we felt safe nestled in our solid, cozy, floating cocoon.IMG_0791

Runners and expedition crew from all walks of life and ages engaged in sharing; snatching nuggets of what the whole world is in need of… acceptance, allowance of immerging personalities, human love, mutual respect, and pure fun and friendship. Within days we were family.  We were the ship. And THIS became the priceless point of the journey.  The expedition company One Ocean Expeditions sums it.  It’s all one ocean.  Even the human race.  The journey would be about the people. It would be about the place and the animal life and the weathers.  And the sunsets, and the hues, and the sometimes angry seas, but other times moody, and at times sexy.  The seas seemed man, but the weather seemed woman.  We were out of the bay and into the DRAKE PASSAGE.IMG_0798

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April 1, 2013

Now this is talking English

Filed under: A Runner's Story,Marathon Running,traveling — Caren Ware @ 9:07 pm

It took 8 straight hours on the phone to get South American Lan airlines and Expedia to respond to changing airline tickets and it still did not happen.  Round and round I went in the system that sent me to India to talk to someone in trained English, but not trained to change my situation.  I’d appeal and get transferred to the same non comprehending, accented voice.  Until, finally, I got a gal in the Philippines.  For some horrible reason as I was trying this trying experience, Sprint decided to have a bout with dropped calls.  I would get hours into the process than get dropped on my cell phone.  If I did not change these flights by midnight I would have to eat the cost of the entire South American tickets and buy a new one at, now, twice the cost.  Ouch.

So minutes before midnight, I get this sweet voice. I gave her my cell number first up in case we got dropped.  She said she would freeze the ticket to not lose it since we only had two minutes before it expired.  She got all my anguish on what I needed to do…and then a recording by Sprint service came on to apologize for the technical difficulties they were experiencing and the sweet voice and my ticket were gone. I do not give up easy.  I had not given up.  I just ran out of time trying to resolve it.  I crawled onto the couch and pulled a blanket over my head.  Now, what was I going to do.  At 2pm, my cell phone rang. “ I wrote your number down and WE decided to help you,” said the sweet voice. I heard a bunch of giggling in the background. “ We are phone workers in the Philipines and I knew if I did not hold your ticket you would lose it.  I had to wait until we were off our shift.  We are calling on our cell phone.  I set up new flights for you.  Write these confirmation numbers down.”  Wow.  Thank you, sweet voice. I can’t tell you how much I appreciated her going that needed extra step for some unknown person who hadn’t been the most patient with accents that day.  After done with the confirmations, she asked in a giggle.  “Can you tell me and my friends what Hollywood is like.  You are from Los Angeles?”  And, so I did…all about the vast juggle it is.  They were thrilled to get to have an extended conversation with a real person about a real place.  She giggled, “now, this is talking English.”

February 16, 2013

Antarctica or BUST.

Filed under: A Runner's Story,Marathon Running,traveling,Women Running — Caren Ware @ 11:03 pm

It’s expensive to travel to Antarctica. There is no cheap, easy way.  You fly to Buenos Aires, take a commuter plane to Ushuala, take a Russian Crew ship across the Drake Passage and back.  My permit to go was upssubmitted 4 years ago and, luckily, required a deposit and periodic payments.  But inflation has made this trip increase by $2800 from its original cost.  I had to get creative with this unexpected increase.  I put applications in for seasonal help.  When I saw UPS trucks with driver helpers I went to the UPS office to inquire as to why I had not heard anything on my application.  They sheepishly said,” ummm, hemmmm, hawwww…um, your app says you are a 50 year old female that weights 132 pounds.  You would have to be able to lift boxes sometimes weighing over 100 lbs and you would have to be running from door step to door step. ”  I returned,” and the point is?”.  I have been paying to work out and train and do crossfit.  I welcomed the challenge and chance to do something that physical and that outdoors.  As we were discussing this, a worker came in with a twisted ankle.  The manager looked at his mounting pile of constant Christmas boxes and said, “You are on.  Starting now.”  And I was.  I, and a young guy from Jackson, got the reputation for being the first truck back…despite the co workers loading the load with labels upside down and purposely not filling the gas tank just to slow us down. He would roll through the ranch roads and I would sprint down the long driveways, dodging the chasing dogs biting at my heels,  and toss that pile of ordered Santa on each porch for miles and miles…in the snow, sleet, ice, and fog.  Now, there’s a story to tell your grandkids.  My short career in the brown suit was cut shorter when I slipped on ice running through a parking lot while not on duty.  I broke my pinkie and ring finger…and only than, could I not pick up the 50 plus pound boxes.  All this shared to let you know that adventuring goes beyond fortitude.  It takes planning, and just plain hard work.

February 7, 2013

Watch both videos. And really, no excuses. Stallone (Rocky) my inspiration since 16.

Filed under: A Runner's Story,Marathon Running,traveling,Women Running — Caren Ware @ 9:34 pm
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