Float Your Boat

Roberta knows how to bounce back. A decade after thyroid disease left her with a “grocery list” of health problems and an out-of-whack metabolism, she made a New Year’s resolution to turn things around.

We all know the poor success rate of such resolutions, but Roberta was determined. She started with a “healthy workplace” plan at her job. “I decided I was going to do it no matter what,” she says.  “It helped that there were about 20 of us doing some sort of program.” She wanted to take things further, but how does a 44-year-old mom with a demanding career as a network engineer squeeze an exercise regime into her busy life?

As Roberta puts it, “I can be a little obsessive about things… I like to troubleshoot and problem solve.” Evenings were family time. Lunch breaks weren’t dependable. That left early mornings…VERY early mornings. She started rising at 3:00am, six days a week, and hitting her rowing machine for two hours. She does 100,000 meters weekly, with at least one row being the equivalent of a half marathon. Once a season, she rows a full marathon.

It’s taken a bit of sacrifice. She’s given up long morning baths and watching TV at night (but records her favorite shows to watch while rowing). Sleeping in your workout clothes seems to help. And using two alarm clocks. “I keep telling myself that it’s not a destination, but a journey.”

And it’s worth the trip. “I have more energy to interact with my children,” she says. “If I am feeling stressed or upset with other aspects of my life, exercise helps bring me back in focus.” And the physical changes are pretty cool too: “I love how it is re-shaping my body with some incredible muscles in my arms, quads, back, shoulders. Now, I love showing off those new muscles.”

She also loves sharing the love. “I have convinced 2 co-workers to get a rowing machine and have given training tips to about 5 other co-workers.  I get a natural high from being an inspiration to others and sharing my story.  I never thought I could be come a role-model for other people.”


Home: Dublin, CA
Occupation: Network engineer (former scientist)
Education: BS Cum Laude Biology Tulane University & University of Bristol, England
Partner: Glenn
Children: Henry 7 and Etta 4
Age: 44
Height: 5’2”
Weight: 128 (approx. 16% body fat).  I have lost about 65 lbs since I started keeping track.
Sports, past and present: Swimming, running, Shotokan Karate, American kickboxing, Muy Thai kickboxing, Concept2 rowing, aerobics, weight training, bike riding, hiking, sailing
Athletic accomplishments: My first 10 K race in college. Completing my first marathon on the rowing machine, completing 5MM lifetime on the rower.  And being in the top 100 people (in terms of meters rowed for people who log them) this season on the Concept2 online Logbook. Last I checked, I was #59.
Little known fact about you: Once, when I was hosting a party, a professional photographer saw my photographs hanging in my house and complimented me.  He wanted me to enter some of them in the photography show he was hosting.
Environmentally incorrect preference: Pre-packaged treats that are in the correct or small or single serving size so I am not tempted to eat more. And, I admit I like some frozen pre-packaged meals.
Guilty pleasure: Eating free cookie and cake samples at the local bakery café while I wait to order my healthy lunch/breakfast (fully leaded, if you know what I mean).  I love Skinny Cow ice cream, but does that really count as a guilty pleasure?
Most embarrassing moment: Do I really have to share one?
Greatest triumph: Completing my first marathon on the rower.  And going from a BMI of obese to athletic.
Favorite thing to do when not working or working out: Photography – taking pictures and editing them on Photoshop. And reading. And of course, spending time with my family.
Moment of Inspiration: I don’t know if I have a moment of inspiration, other than what I have already said.  I did have a moment of disgust with myself in December 2009, when I finally said, “Enough!”
Favorite Quote: “Just do it!”

6 days a week, shooting for 13,000-15,000 meters/day on weekdays (3:30 am) and 21,000M on weekends (starting 5 am).   Trying for a total of 100,000 M/week and 5Million Meters this season which ends April, 30 2011.



We have arrived safely in Seville after a long trip. The first thing I did was to throw my ticket in the trash at the Seattle Airport 10 minutes before departure. Oops! It was in a slot my hand would not fit through, but lucky for me the garbage can was not locked. I am an experienced traveler! Our first Camino miracle occurred when we actually made our flight from Madrid to Seville even thought we arrived over 2 hours late. Then our walking sticks, which we had checked through, made it too.

We walked around the bustle of old town Seville in 80* sunshine, the palm trees swaying in the breeze. The sweet, strong scent of orange blossoms is everywhere and the bitter oranges brightly decorate every plaza. Tonight we walked through the tiny streets of the Santa Cruz district with hundreds of people out for a warm evening stroll. We had an excellent glass of Rioja wine, Croquettas and a beautiful salat crusted in sea salt with avocados. Open air dining in March!

Abrazos y Besos

About Marcia Shaver


Meet Karen and Hear Her Intentions

I would like to introduce you to my good friend of 15 years, Karen, who will be walking the Via de la Plata with me. When asked her reasons for making this journey, she states, “Like a compass with it 4 main directions, I too have four main intentions for walking the Camino. First, I want to challenge myself on many levels. Second, I wish to slow down, simplify and see the day without the modern contraptions of my life. Next, I am ready to Walk the Talk of the million words that I have read, for over 45 years, about spirituality. Lastly, it is my intent to do something really different, and be open to it all! Surrounding these main points is experiencing the priceless friendship of one dear friend and opening the door to new ones. I know as we walk, and I write and draw, there will be surprises for me. Like an unopened package, I do not know how to name them right now.”

Click here to read more and see Karen’s work.


Where There’s a Will, There’s a (Long) Way

Many of us have extraordinary tales of travel. From right here in the United States to the far corners of the world, ordinary women are doing extraordinary things and we at Title Nine want to hear about it! Tell us your tall tales of adventure, the trials and tribulations of moving your own mountain, how you’re influencing others and inspiring us all to get up off the couch and get active either near or far. If your story is picked, we’ll shout it from the mountain top or really, we’ll publish it here on Timeout. So drop us a line at timeout@titlenine.com and tell us your extraordinary tale.

For our next Extraordinary Adventure, we’ll be getting medieval in northern Spain. The Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James in English) is a 1,200-year-old pilgrimage route that stretches 500 miles across mountains and other rugged terrain to end up in the town of Santiago de Compostela. Marcia Shaver, an artist from Redmond Washington, made the trek in 2008—all 1,299,851 steps of it—and is planning a second, longer, and more arduous trip in a few days.

“When I was 54 years old and my family was raised, I was at a crossroads in my life and wanted to have an epic adventure,” says Marcia. She and a friend decided to tackle the Camino, a route that few Americans have travelled. “Religion had virtually no part in my decision to go, but once immersed in the Camino, no one was more surprised than I was at how great a role spirituality and reflection played in our journey.”

But before her spirit can soar, Marcia has to make sure her body can handle it. “Training on the trail is a bad idea,” she notes, which is why she’s been heading to the gym at least three times a week in preparation for this trip. Her training routine includes 20 or 30 minutes on the elliptical or the climber, followed by a cocktail of weights, lunges, and step-ups. “The better shape you are in, the more fun you will have. You will be able to appreciate the wildflowers and the sunrises, and somewhere along the way you realize that you should have done this years ago because you feel so good.”

And that sort of inspiration feeds nicely into her artistic work and the many drawings she does during her hikes. “As an artist, the landscape is what really moves me. And when you’re out there walking in it day after day, you’re so immersed.” That sort of focus and serenity seems to carry a number of deeper lessons with it as well. “On the Camino, we learned that want and need are two vastly different things. We took joy in the simple things and felt immensely grateful for everything we received, however humble. It was one of the most compelling experiences of my life… and it enables me to view my life forever differently.”

We at Title Nine were pretty damn impressed by Marcia, and we expect another helping of intensity and insight from her upcoming adventure. So check back here often: Marcia will be tracking down whatever Internet cafes she can find in the towns she passes through so she can blog all about it. While you wait for her first post, you might want to check out the amazing book of texts and images that resulted from her last trip, The Artist’s Journey: The Perfumed Pilgrim Tackles the Camino de Santiago.



Into the unknown.
To conclusions
Leapfrog over doubt
Leap at the chance
Leap ahead.
Leap of faith
Leap in the dark
But DON’T look before you leap.
Just leap.

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Missy Park, Founder