Category Archives: Sports

My Cajun Roots run Deep

My Cajun background

I travel quite a bit and it’s inevitable that someone will ask me where I am from. When I say “Louisiana”, it never fails, people always say “but you don’t have an accent”. While it is true that certain areas of Louisiana come with a heavy Cajun accent, the last 2 generations of my immediate family have lived in the Metro New Orleans area, which softened the accent.

However, our family Cajun Roots run deep. My great grandparents (and yes, I do remember them) did not speak English. My Grandparents learned English, but continued speaking the Cajun language with their parents and their children (my generation’s parents). My dad spoke both Cajun and English, but the buck stopped there. After my Grandparents passed on, the language died off in our family. We do have family that still live in the Bayou areas. Cajun is still their primary language but, we, the city family rarely see them. Over the years the language died off and the accent softened up a lot.

Growing up Cajun

I like to think I had the best of both worlds; country girl and city girl. My grandparents had a farm when I was a child, which resulted in spending many weekends and summers on the farm. My father loved the water and always owned a boat. We spent a great deal of time in the water as well:

  • trawling for shrimp
  • fishing for salt water fish (our favorites were Red fish and Trout)

Trawling Trips

Trawling was hard work but I enjoyed everything about it. The first drag was the boring part. Trawling in a small vessel goes at a slow pace and not much to do but anticipate what we were going to yield from the 1st drag; it always set the pace for the rest of the day. If our 1st drag came up with a full net, the excitement would build as we jumped into action. After we pulled the net up we emptied it into the pick box, prepped the net and drag boards and dropped it back into the water. After the 1st catch came in, it created timely work picking the shrimp out, tossing them into the ice chests. Sometimes we would get lucky and catch some soft shelled crabs in the net, which always contributed to the celebration. That meant we would have fried, soft shelled crabs as a result.

When we pulled the boat out of the water, we were calling home from a payphone at the dock, so my mom would know what to expect. If we were coming home with ice chests full of shrimp, she would make some phone calls to everyone on standby to come help us pop heads and package the shrimp for the freezer. It became a big party. There would be music playing, and an outdoor burner and pot to boil some of the catch from the day. We would sit there for hours popping heads, eating and talking about our tales from our day on the water. Time well spent as a family.

Fishing Trips

My favorite activity on the water was the fishing trips. There is something so exciting about seeing that cork go under the water line, pulling that pole up and setting the hook. When you set that hook on a good catch you can feel it. The Adrenalin starts pumping and the fight to real it in ensues. I can recall the excitement and the team work that would happen. My dad was a great coach.

Get the net! Oh, it’s a big one! Coming along the side to keep from losing him. He is running!

Me

Let some drag out so he doesn’t pop the line. Don’t let him get around the back of the boat and wrap the line around the motor. You will lose him. Keep the line tight. Get him closer so I can get the net under him.

My Dad

Growing up Cajun was fun, energetic and a great deal of hard work. Not to mention the sunburns we would suffer with after being on a boat all day. Back in those days you needed a prescription to purchase sunscreen. Things have changed a great deal since I was a child. Some for the good.

There are many charter boat fishing captains in our area if you ever want to experience the excitement of catching a big Red fish or Trout. I have included a personal friend’s link, Fry’n Pan Fishing, for your convenience but you can also search google in the specific areas you want to try.

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Stepping out of my Comfort Zone

New adventures

Trying new adventures is exciting for me.  I look forward to stepping out of my comfort zone and experiencing new adventures, new food, and meeting new people. My experience was amazing and I hope you enjoy reading about my stay at Travaasa Spa and Resort, Austin, TX (now Miraval, Austin).

Stand-up paddle boarding

I remember relaxing at the edge of the infinity pool, looking out over Lake Travis. The water was beautiful and inviting sitting at the bottom of the valley the pool overlooked. After closing my eyes I visualized a memory that I had while relaxing (click to read that story). Upon opening my eyes, I decided to figure out what the rest of my day was going to include.

Stand up Paddle Boarding was my choice for the day.  The water in Lake Travis was beautiful.  The view from the top of the hill at the resort’s infinity pool enticed and called me to participate in the excursion that I noticed on the event board for the day. It would be an adventure that I could write about.

Launch time

We launched our boards and I started in a kneeling position to paddle into a nearby cove.  I followed my coach’s instructions on proper feet and body placement on the board, to make the transition from kneeling to standing.  What happened next was a huge surprise to me.

Fear stepping out of my comfort zone

“Fear” set in; I stepped out of my comfort zone.  Balance in my PiYo class is completely different than balancing on a board in the water.  I was always comfortable on the water boating, skiing, fishing, trawling, and swimming. The fear surprised me.

Running all of my Coach’s instructions through my thoughts, I worked towards connecting on a physical and cognitive level. Going back to my boating days, I kept Imitating the body shifts that I would make to keep my balance. I struggled with the technique as my Coach kept walking me through it and encouraging me.  He inspired me to let go of the fear and relax through the motions.  Enjoy the scenery” he said, and “if you feel like you are going to fall, just fall into the water, don’t try to catch yourself.” -I am happy to report that I did not fall.

Soaking in the scenery-creating new memories

Upon exiting the cove and heading to our destination spot, I was able to work through the challenges and really connect my body to the movements of bending my knees, leaning forward and pulling the paddle board across the water. I found the most challenging part was the steering. As my balance improved, the steering kicked in.

Along the way, I soaked in the scenery.  The aquamarine colored water was clear as day. In amazement, I watched Garfish swim up to the surface only to dart back down after seeing me.   I watched water plants as my board glided over them.  The hillside that we were heading towards grew larger with each stroke moving me towards it.  Curious bystanders were everywhere.  I paddled my way past some anchored boats. Their passengers were enjoying the cool water with their friends and family, on big floating islands.  I saw Jet skis zipping around the middle of the lake, causing wakes that we had to maneuver our boards across. Pulling out of the marina, there were tour boats filled with adventurers wanting to share and enjoy the environment. I could hear screams from a nearby Zipline excursion that were exploding, and echoing off the hills which traveled across the water.

Precious resource returned to its glory

It occurred to me that on my first trip to Travaasa, this very lake that we were all enjoying, was completely dried up due to a 5-year drought.  The thought of this beautiful, precious resource completely dried up and gone saddened me.  It reminded me, once again, how delicate life and nature truly are.  So, that day, I lived in the moment, appreciated the experience, felt empowered by my success, enjoyed the company of my fellow adventurers and thanked God for every moment and for restoring this precious resource. 

Catherine Bares

Add another to my Been There Done That List!

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#Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone at #Travaasa

Trying new adventures is exciting for me.  I look forward to stepping out of my comfort zone and experiencing new adventures, new food, and meeting new people.  I wanted to share an experience that I had during my stay #Travaasa Spa and Resort.

Stand up Paddle Boarding was my choice for the day.  The water in #Lake Travis was beautiful.  The view from the top of the hill at the resort’s infinity pool, enticed and called me to participate in the excursion.

We launched our boards and I started in a kneeling position to paddle into a nearby cove.  Once in the cove, I followed my coach’s instructions on proper feet and body placement on the board, to make the transition from kneeling to standing.  What happened next was a huge surprise to me.  “Fear” set in.  It was then that I realized, I stood up and stepped out of my comfort zone.  Even though I perform and teach a great deal of balance work in my PiYo classes, it was completely different balancing on a board in the water.  I grew up on the water in boats, skiing, fishing, trawling, and swimming so, the fear was a huge and unexpected surprise to me.

I ran all of my Coach’s instructions through my thoughts and worked towards connecting on a physical and cognitive level.  I remembered the body shifts that I would make during a boat ride to adjust to the boat rocking over wakes.  I struggled with the technique but, my Coach walked me through it and encouraged me.  He inspired me to let go of the fear and relax through the motions.  Enjoy the scenery” he said, and “if you feel like you are going to fall, just fall into the water, don’t try to catch yourself.” -I am happy to report that I did not fall.

Once we exited the cove and headed to our destination spot, I was able to work through the challenges and really connect my body to the movements of bending my knees, leaning forward and pulling the paddle board across the water.  The steering was the most challenging part but, once the balance empowered me the steering kicked in.

Along the way I soaked in the scenery.  The water was aquamarine colored, and clear.  I  watched gar fish come up to the surface and dart down when they sensed my presence.   I watched water plants as my board glided over them.  The hillside that we were heading towards grew larger with each stroke moving me towards it.  Curious bystanders were everywhere.  Boats were anchored with their passengers enjoying the cool water with their friends and family, making memories.  Jet skis were zipping around the middle of the lake, tour boats were pulling out of the marina filled with adventurers wanting to enjoy the environment. Screams from a nearby Zip line excursion were exploding, echoing off the hills and traveling across the water.

It occurred to me that on my first trip to #Travaasa, this very lake that we were all enjoying, was completely dried up due to a 5 year drought.  The thought of this beautiful, precious resource completely dried up and gone saddened me.  It reminded me, once again, how delicate life and nature truly are.  So, that day, I lived in the moment, appreciated the experience, felt empowered by my success, enjoyed the company of my fellow adventurers and thanked God for every moment.

Catherine Bares

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Triathlon Season; Are you Ready?

The morning of the Triathlon

March 24, 2013.   It had been raining for hours and I was afraid the triathlon would be canceled. Later that day I found myself wishing the race had been canceled. I was not ready for what was about to happen

The swim

The race starts with the swim portion at the pool. There were many swimmers that did not understand how to line up properly, which made it more difficult for swimmers to get around them. It was frustrating but I focused on getting to the wall.

While climbing out of the pool I was excited because I knew that my swim was strong which was going to result in a big improvement from prior season efforts.  I spent a great deal of time training for the swim which was my biggest weakness in prior triathlons.

The weather

When I exited the pool building to head towards transition, the wind hit my wet body and almost took my breath away. After the rain moved out a cold front moved in. The temperature had dropped about 20 degrees and the wind picked up.  

Swim complete; time for the bike portion

I fought a headwind during the first half of the ride. I focused on knowing once I reached the turn around the wind would be at my back and I could then settle into the ride.  That part played out and I was able to drop my energy expenditure and just ride.  Cycling was my strong suit, but I did not prepare myself for the mental side of the “what ifs”.  With the wind at my back, I did not have a good gauge on my speed.  That was my first mistake.  I knew I was in trouble when I started tapping my breaks to slow down for the turn which caused me to panic and resulted in my second mistake. 

Split second decisions

I pictured 2 scenarios: hitting the curb and flying over the handlebars or jamming my breaks and going down.  I made a split second decision and went down.  When I came to a stop I can remember laying face down on the ground afraid to move. A volunteer for the event asked me if I were okay and asked if I wanted to sit up.  When I tried to lift my shoulder to roll over I felt some bones move in my upper back area.  I thought my shoulder blade had shattered.  Turns out that I had a broken collar bone and 7 broken ribs. 

While they were loading me up in the ambulance a 2nd person went down in the same spot and busted her head. I could hear the eyewitnesses talking about how bad she was bleeding. They asked her to wait a moment while they loaded me in the ambulance and then they would take care of her. then I heard her say I’m finishing this race and she took off. From where I sat, that was not a good decision.

Recovery from my injuries

My broken collar bone required surgery to repair. The doctor wanted to wait at least 2 weeks for the surgery to let the soft tissue begin to heal. Once the surgery was complete it was was like starting all over with even more pain to endure. It was a long, painful recovery.  I was unable to lay down for 4 months forcing me to sleep in a recliner. 

Over the first two months, every breath I took, no matter how shallow that breath was, would cause the broken ribs to pop.  I spent every waking moment managing pain and had plenty of time to relive those moments over and over again in my mind. I realized that if I hadn’t panicked I could have overshot the turn, slowed down and turned around.  The accident was my fault and could have been avoided. Admitting that to myself was a tough pill to swallow which has left me dealing with guilt and depression since the accident.

Rehabilitation

I think the rehabilitation was the worst part of the entire process. My mobility diminished in my left arm and shoulder area from being in a sling for a long period of time with little to no movement. The broken ribs complicated the rehab process. Whenever my shoulder blade moved it would get hung up on the broken ribs. The worst parts were laying down and the stretching. The broken ribs were on the back side which made laying down excruciating. The shortened muscles fought every stretch we were trying to work through. I was unable to lift my arm more than 3 to 6 inches from my side at the beginning of treatment. Every step towards improving that distance came with a painful price.

Important lessons learned

  1. The volunteers are great and are a necessary part of the events but, that doesn’t mean they know what is best for the injured.  Instead of asking me to stay still and call for an ambulance, she asked me if I wanted to try to get up. When I told her I didn’t think I could get up, I remember her asking, “what do you want me to do, call an ambulance?”  my reply, “that would be a good idea”.
  2. Focusing too much on the race on the race put me at a greater risk.  All I could think about was improving time and finishing strong which resulted in a terrible mistake that I paid dearly for.

what I learned during my recovery

  • My husband loves me with all of his heart and soul. He slept on the sofa for 3 weeks so he could be in the same room with me at night in case I woke up needing his help. He also gave up the Lazy boy for 4 months. That’s true love. LOL
  • Life goes on without me
  • How many people in my life that I have touched in positive ways. I saved all of my cards and notes that I received from everyone. A year after my accident I pulled them out and read each one with tears rolling down my face. I hung each one on the bulletin board in my office for positive reinforcement.
  • The accidental insurance I invest in with every event is worth it. After my health insurance and the accidental insurance paid my bills, I paid $21.00 out of pocket. That was a big stress reducer.
  • I realized that buying short term disability insurance was a smart investment. During my recovery, I did not worry about bills. I took a week of vacation pay and the started receiving disability insurance checks 2 weeks after my accident.
  • I had no idea how much pain I could learn to live with. Getting addicted to pain pills during the recovery was a major concern of mine. So, I talked to my doctor about this in length and he walked me through my concerns with the reasoning behind relieving the pain. Because I had this discussion with my doctor he reassured me and taught me how to know when I should trust the recovery process and stop taking the pain pills. As a result, I believe it kept me aware of my concerns and lessened my risk of addiction.

After effects

It has now been 6-years since my accident. I became reclusive, withdrawn, unsure, fearful along with a whole bunch of other insecurities. Some of these things I have overcome but some still linger inside of me. I no longer trust myself and I have been struggling to find my confidence and fearlessness again. I finally realized that I may never be that person again but I do need to create a better version of what I am today.

Competition season

No matter what competition you are preparing for, you should be prepared mentally and physically. The most important thing you can do is finish safely!

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