Life Reimagined with Wendy Deacon

How Rachella Kept Climbing to New Heights After 50

March 01, 2023 Wendy Deacon Season 2 Episode 3
Life Reimagined with Wendy Deacon
How Rachella Kept Climbing to New Heights After 50
Show Notes Transcript

Rachella Seeley didn't break a sweat until her late twenties and didn't start running marathons until her thirties, but she found herself increasingly surrounded by incredible women who inspired her to keep moving and to keep setting new goals. 

She and her husband and friends traveled to marathons in many wonderful places and she even qualified for Boston and ran it multiple times.  She continued traveling and adventuring into her fifties and she learned of a group trying to raise money for a hospital at the base of Mount Kilimanjaro and that was IT.  Although it took her a few more years, she made her first trek up the world's 4th tallest mountain at the young age of 55, and absolutely loved it. 

She didn't plan to see Mount Kilimanjaro again, but she was inspired by another wonderful but different cause this time. She repeatedly stated that she would support others but that she was NOT going to trek up the mountain a second time.

The cause and the girls won her over and she ultimately decided she had to hike and summit this incredible mountain again....only this time she would be 69, turning 70!

Hear how Rachella believes putting yourself out there and staying active with a bunch of wonderful and like-minded, goal-setting women are some of the keys to creating incredible and once in a lifetime memories.

She shares her stories and will encourage you to go after your dreams, as she believes these are life changing experiences not to be missed...

Check out additional info and photos on our website ( or the video version on our YouTube Channel - Wendy & DestinationU - Ageless Adventurers Over 40 - YouTube.

00:00:01 Well, I was 54, 55 and my, I was working in a plastic surgery clinic. It's a nursing facility and we worked with a lot of clef lip and cliff lip and palate children and babies. And so when one of the doctors that was in my group, he went to Tanza, Tanzania, where Kilimanjaro and Diane Sawyer was in 60 Minutes at that time,

00:00:26 if anybody remembers who she is. But she was a famous person at that time that they were raising money to get a hospital and Aus show, which is at the base of Kilimanjaro. He then they found it, showed it on 60 minutes and I was hooked. I thought, I have to do this one time. And he, with his experience,

00:00:45 he just, he was, couldn't quit talking about it, of course. And so that was at the top of my list to do it. It took me several years to, I kept passing up thinking, no, I'm not gonna do it cuz I was working and had children. So one night my husband came home and he belonged to an athletic club in,

00:01:02 he put down a brochure and said, there's a group that's going in six weeks and I think you might consider it. So I thought, there's no way I can do it. But I met with a group, it was very small, just two married, two couples. And I was the single person. I really liked the person that was the guide and then the part,

00:01:19 the people that were participating. And I thought they seemed comfortable for me to be around as well. So I did go ahead and my husband, I asked him if he would meet me at the end of the trail, which he did. And my brother had passed. So I did have a mission. I wanted to take his, some of his ashes with me.

00:01:37 So that was a goal and I was thrilled to be able to do that. And then we went on the safari after with the group of these people and it was, oh, the safari is Kilimanjaro and the safari. They're life changing experiences, not to be missed if it's something people want to do. Hi everybody and thanks for joining us today. I am really excited to have with me another Colorado gal.

00:02:13 Rachella Seeley is with me today and she's with me in Denver. And I'm actually out in the mountains today. So otherwise we'd be sitting in the same room. But Rachella and I got connected actually through Cassandra, who keeps us both looking good. And I know, yeah. And just in talking with Cassandra, she opened up my eyes to somebody who had climbed Kilimanjaro.

00:02:39 And if you tuned into last month's podcast, you know, I talked with Melanie and heard about her journey and then Rachella came forward and said, I've done Kilimanjaro. And that is originally what we were gonna speak to today. But the more I started talking with Rachella and understanding her story, there's a lot more here. So we're gonna get into Kilimanjaro in a second.

00:03:00 But first I wanna say welcome officially to Rachella. Thank you Wendy, for having me. I'm excited to share. Thrilled. Yes, thrilled and excited to have you here. So I will say Rachella has confided in me. She's a little bit older than me and we both are active age deniers. And hopefully that will continue for a long, long,

00:03:21 long, long, long time. But once you start hearing some of her adventures and what she enjoys doing and how she's built up this group of women, men's just support group, her husband or family, and how it's helped her go on a number of trips and adventures, you're gonna see why she's looking so young and and gonna be here on many more adventures to come.

00:03:44 So. Great. Thank you Mindy. Okay, so Rachella, before we even go to Kilimanjaro, let's back it up a little bit because one of my favorite statements you made is that you didn't even break a sweat till you were 27, right? So, so what happened at 27 that mde you start to think about doing something a little more active?

00:04:04 And where did you begin? What was the first step? Cause that's always hard for some people. Like where do you even begin? Well, my husband's extremely athletic and his family was, so, he always wanted to, he was on a basketball team in college and and every sport you could play, he knew how to play it. So he signed up for an athletic club and was a member for a while.

00:04:23 And he said, Rochelle, I'm gonna sign you up. It's three months free for the spouse. And I said, please don't waste your time because I'm not gonna go. I could garden and play golf, but, and didn't even know how to swim actually. So I, he signed me up and then one night I thought, well, I'm just gonna go while he's shooting baskets in the gymnasium.

00:04:41 The running track was upstairs and I told myself it, I think it said, I think it's 16 times around for a mile. Okay. But I thought I'll go four times. And so I did it four and I was pretty proud of myself. So I went a couple times a week and I pushed myself to the one mile point without telling him because I just didn't want,

00:05:01 I don't know, I just was challenging myself, but it, I couldn't believe that I broke out a sweat and I just thought, oh, this feels so good. And the breathing. And then I sort of got hooked with, there's a average, a woman's five miler that was about that same year and it was our anniversary. So I thought,

00:05:19 I'm gonna sign up and do it, but I'm not gonna tell him I'm gonna do it just in case I can't finish it. You're right. I even took his basketball socks and his basketball shirts and it was on a Saturday while he was at work and went by myself to the race and I, and I knew I was gonna be the last person to finish.

00:05:34 I started in the back and I was so afraid of what was gonna happen. But then I started in all the other women that were around and it was an all women's event then. And it was, I just was so excited. I couldn't believe it. So I drove where he was working, said, you can't believe it. I did. And then we found a group called the Rocky Mountain Road Runners,

00:05:54 and they had several events each month. So we both started signing up for those and started participating on a monthly  basis. We got hooked. Yeah, got hooked. Like we were saying, it's a good healthy obsession. Like it's a good addiction. Yes. Well, we're meeting people, we were younger and it was nice to talk to other people,

00:06:14 other families, and have a potluck in the parks here in Denver. So it, it was a good thing for our relationship. Yeah. Well, and it also, one of the things I find with running groups, you know, I, I know we have one other group in common, the Colorado Columbine. So I find I meet the most amazing women in that group.

00:06:36 And now, you know, I'm spending time in Durango, met a lot of great people, men and women in the Durango Running Club. And so it really makes a difference on when, on those days where you're really tired, it's so much better than running by yourself or doing whatever by yourself when you know you're gonna meet some people who can just help motivate you,

00:06:56 tell stories, whatever. Yeah. There's several times that I would not have gone out on a day if I, if this, if this group of people, the women, especially at that time on the weekends, it was men as well. But weekly, if I didn't go once or twice after work to just run a mile or two to somebody's house and then we ran another couple miles down the trail and then went home,

00:07:17 it was, it felt great. Yeah. And Everybody, you didn't know that were gonna hurt, Right? But you started, you started easy, you started with four laps and then it felt kind of good. So then you built from there. And I think that's the other discovery I've had is that you really can do more than we think we can.

00:07:37 And sometimes just getting started. Well they, that's a good point because the fir that one that I did was the five miles. And I had gone by myself to the high school track the night before just to make sure I could go three. And then I thought, well, I'm not sure I could do the five. So then with the road runners,

00:07:54 the next weekend they were having a 10 K, which is 6.2 miles. And somebody said, well meet me there and you can do it. I go, no, I can't. I just went five, I can't go six. I thought that's not possible. But when you go and you're right, you're around other people, you're, the motivation is so,

00:08:10 it's incredible the strength that you find in your body to Do. Yep, yep. Okay. So I'm looking at my notes too, because you then, what, how long did it take for you to go from there to Boulder Boulder and make it the family tradition? And you've done it 43 times? I think every year they've had it the first day,

00:08:28 again, because a few of these people, not through the Columbine, but through the Rocky Mountain Road runners, they said there's gonna be the The Boulder. Boulder. And then, so we said, well, it's a 10 K here, let's go up to Boulder and participate in it. And at that time it was Popsicle sticks at the finish line that they gave you with your number to say how you placed and you've,

00:08:49 we actually left our kids in the park. I think they're 12 years old, old enough to be left in the park. But we did, did, and just then the next year the kids wanted to do it and every, sometimes they didn't wanna do it, but at the Boulder, Boulder you can run or walk. So a lot of times they would walk and we'd have somebody take them.

00:09:06 It's okay, we just got to the point where you, they have groups that you, they put you in by your speed, your time. And again, that was a motivation on whether you're gonna be in the front towards the middle and the back, or you're gonna go with your friends on that day. So obviously you're in the back more or you challenge yourself and wanna be in the front more and going through,

00:09:26 gosh, going through Boulder through that holiday. And the, have you ever done the Boulder? Boulder? I Have not. I have not. Steve Bosley and that group have done an incredible job of having everything military for that day. And you finish in the stadium and the music and the, the elite runners now that are there. It's quite an event.

00:09:45 Yeah, it's really Nice. That's what I've heard. So I've not seen it myself, but, but like you, I've participated in other, you know, really well known events and 10 Ks, like I've done Peachtree Road race in Atlanta. And again, tons of people, tons of ceremony and lots of, again, how can you, even if you feel cruddy on that morning,

00:10:05 you're still all this energy and all these great smiling faces around you to help push you up the road. You're Right, you're right. You see people this year, a woman that was, am she, she had two blades for her legs. That's amazing. And I was thinking, I was complaining, I thought I had had surgery in January on my foot and was barely walking through it.

00:10:25 And I thought, but I'm still gonna do it. And, and then I, my husband husband looked at me and he sort of tapped me on the shoulder and he goes, look over here. And she was at the finish line with me. That's what her, she was moving. Yeah, it was Beau it was beautiful to watch her. Yep.

00:10:39 Yeah. Okay, so now you, you and the family now have an annual tradition and you're doing the Boulder. Boulder and then you actually start doing things like New York City Marathon. Okay. So how did you all make the, did you, was it natural that you just started looking at other events or how did you decide to go outside of the,

00:11:02 of Denver and Boulder and what did you get there? Again, probably meeting, being part of the Rocky Mountain Road Runner group and always being dinners with people or preface with people. They'd be talking about, well for sure you wanna try to qualify for Boston. And some people would say, no, there's no way we're gonna ever do it. But we thought about that and everybody always thought about New York City's one to do.

00:11:27 Yeah, you can't miss that. And then a few others that everybody said to go to different countries to do. And so we thought, well, New York is the perfect place for us to go in the fall and cuz we could train here in the fall. Yeah. And then go do New York City. We actually did it five years in a row and then we would always take a vacation to Jamaica after,

00:11:47 for 10 days. So my husband could go scuba diving and I could sit on my, you know what, do nothing, just read a book and relax and watch people and know I didn't have to exercise, but I had already already accomplished something. And New York is so exciting, the city in itself. Our family went a couple times and our children went just to watch.

00:12:05 We went to the, went to do a couple shows and yeah, just had a fab, fabulous time. So it was nice to pick a different, we did a marathon for 20 years, a different one every year so that we would have a goal of, and so that's ended up doing it That way. Well and you also mentioned when we were just talking before we,

00:12:25 the show that you also looked at your, your trip like to Jamaica or if you went somewhere else, you got to eat what you wanted, drink what you wanted, kind of, again, it's, it's a nice little reward. And I think you said one of the races you were in, you were a little chilly and it was a little cold and maybe getting a little rundown or a little tired,

00:12:43 but you were thinking, ah, but I'm going to the warm beach or whatever was Right, Right. Payback and and reward or dessert, I guess. Yes. At about the 16 miles or 23 mile point, you have to have a reason to finish because a lot of people are walking or camp for some, you know, you if people have experienced some situations Yeah.

00:13:04 And they are sitting on the edge of the curb. So you mentally just put in, that's when I did Kilimanjaro to know that it could go on the safari after there's gold goals. That's why I always worked my brain is if I do Pilates this morning, then I'll, I won't have to go out. I'm not gonna do a, a long walk today.

00:13:23 So I've worked my brain to do compliment my body on certain areas And some reward in some way a Reward for sure. Okay. So I wanna hop in, to Kilimanjaro in a second, but I also don't wanna pass up. And the mention that you qualified and ran Boston twice. Right. Because that's something I will never do no matter how fast I run.

00:13:48 It's just, you know, I'm just genetically not built that way. I'll give it my all and I'll try every time and I'll do half IronMans and other things, but I'm just not as fast runners. So that is, for those in who are listening who don't understand, that is a fast, fast time to qualify for. So, you know,

00:14:07 my marathon is like five and a half hours. But your marathon when you qualified and, and did Boston was how long? Like, give me an idea What our time was. I think my husband for sure was, he would want me to know exactly what it was. I'm sure he was under three hours, two fif, two something, three hours.

00:14:27 Mine was three fif three 17 and three 18. I was fortunate with my marathons never to be able to go over the four hour point because I just, we did some speed work and you know, sometimes you're gifted, your body is framed to do certain things. My husband a long swim, like I said, I don't even if you ask me to swim,

00:14:49 I could try, I can now, but it's not pretty. So there's ways, you know, that you, and we had, we have friends that live right outside of Boston had a bed and breakfast. So it was a goal, it was wonderful to go and stay with them and take the train in and they drove, watched us finish and yeah,

00:15:08 so it was always a goal to do it and we wanted, we did it once and then for our anniversary I told you it was the hundredth and my husband wanted to do it together and I did not want to do it with him because you don't do the marathon with someone usually. But he did stay with me the whole time and I was very happy to finish With him.

00:15:26 And so when you qualified the first time, do I remember you were in your forties? I think So. Okay. And then when was the hundredth anniversary? How long ago was that or Yeah, hundredth And position. Yeah. I don't, you probably have the picture there with the date on it, but I think it was probably when I was 50.

00:15:45 Okay. When I did the, when we did it the first time I was in my forties. I know that because my goal to try to do that and did New York and was running quite a bit then and marathons were big. But after a while when my, when we said we we're not doing marathons anymore, the training and family and, and we'd already gone.

00:16:03 I mean we just needed to try something different. So then we started doing half marathons with the women, the group, the six women that I love very much. And we, we'd go to San Francisco, Nashville, new Orleans, and then the husbands of course didn't go, but that was perfect. Which, which we love the husbands. However,

00:16:20 it's really fun to get away with your girls. So I do wanna talk about your girl TRIBE because I love the fact Betty you said was 94 at one point and it was, It Was a group that was, not everyone was 52 and not everyone was like 64. You had a variety of ages. So talk a little bit more about Betty and the girls that really you were traveling with and what,

00:16:42 I guess what you learned most in that, in in that place. Well, Betty, I can talk about Betty first cuz she just passed this last year and she would love the fact that we're doing this podcast and she's, well, she didn't even start training for her marathons until she was in her fifties and she, oh Wait, wait, I wanna pause there.

00:16:59 So women who are listening, Betty didn't even start training for a marathon until her fifties. Okay, thanks Kelly. Thanks. No, it's perfect. And and the reason again, I think it was from that Rocky Mountain Road Runners group that she heard about, and then she, and no, actually I remember the first time it was Wheat Ridge Colorado and my husband was working at,

00:17:21 at a first bank and they were doing a 5k, a race there, and Betty heard about it and she decided to try it. So she did that and she won her age group and went into the bank where my husband worked and got her award. So we became close that way. And then she, she just started joining our training group weekly.

00:17:41 And we, again, were all different levels. And Betsy that moved to Boston, she, her, her marathon times were more around the five hour point. And Barb, who is in the, one of those pictures she used to race with mules don in the mountains and did a lot of that. And then she started doing her marathons when she was a little bit older as well.

00:18:03 Maybe her late thirties, forties. But Betty's the one that really, she never stopped. She even, she did Pike's Peak a couple times with us and she never really trained very hard for it. And when we went down to Pikes Peak or down to Colorado Spring, the Manitou, she said to me before we went into our to get our packet,

00:18:23 she goes, now Rachella, what's, where is that Pike's Peak? So she was just a positive go get, let's try it. Yeah. Then when she was finished with that, pike Speaks, she said, that's a really, that is a way to wreck a hike. I'll never do it again. But she did it once. Yeah. She still did it.

00:18:41 She gave it a try. Yeah. Yeah. And that's the thing, you don't, if you try something, you don't love it, you don't have to do it again. But Right. Giving, you know, going in with an open mind and a can-do attitude, I think makes a huge difference. Right, right. Yeah. In our TRIBE,

00:18:54 she's, Betty always did the Boulder. Boulder and all her marathons. A lot of times when she did actually New York, they would have to almost close the course down and she'd have to go onto the side of the road and people, but there's always some that would escort her and be with her. She never, she never stopped. She always got her medal.

00:19:13 And when she passed at her service, her life celebration, there's a picture of her with all her, most of her medals that she was holding, that's what she wanted. That it was. And her quilts that people do. Have you seen quilts that are made in people's t shirts and things? T-shirts, yep. The t-shirts. She had several quilts in her home of every event that she was in.

00:19:34 She had those all over. And she, again, she didn't start until she was well into her fifties, any of it. What a legacy. What a legacy. Yes. Yeah. And so did you also get a chance to know more about her family? Did, did her family, anyone, I guess, follow in her footsteps or pick up more either traveling or activities because of what she was modeling?

00:19:56 No, they, they did not. She was single and did not have children. But we did, when we went to did the LA marathon, we did stay with her family at the ho at their home. And they were extremely appreciative with her. But she, she actually gave, she lived right across a school from a Catholic school and she,

00:20:12 she was very, participated with all the youth there and was responsible for getting a playground before she passed a lot, before Covid had them donated enough money to have them put in a, a good playground so the girls and boys could have a place to go play and be physical. That was her important to her. So those were her children. Those were her children for sure.

00:20:33 She'd be very proud that you asked about her. No, well, again, I, I am of a similar mindset that, again, I like to swim and I like to do other things, but I don't get there a lot of times on my own. I have to have my, my support network and my significant other group with me, men,

00:20:51 females, whatever the people that are, we agree we're meeting weekly or however we're connecting. And if it's not somebody who lives close to me, then are we meeting, like you said in San Francisco or am I gonna meet you in Chicago for, I know that Chicago Marathon just happened, so Yeah. So some of the other cities that you've been to,

00:21:10 and then I wanna see how do you got the heck to Kilimanjaro. So you mentioned Boston, New York, Boulder, San Francisco. Some Of the We did, we did LA and that we were in Nashville and New Orleans and the, one of the nicer or different places, we had an exchange student from Sweden lived with us one year. And so about four years after that,

00:21:31 we went over to Sweden and in Stockholm and did the Stockholm Marathon. We took our children with us and spent two weeks with her family touring all around. But that experience was incredible as well. They didn't start it until three in the afternoon. Oh. And, and then you, and then you looped around the city several times and then it was so humid.

00:21:52 I, I didn't anticipate how swollen my feet would be with humidity there. So when I put on my shoes at three or to go to the race, they, I couldn't even get them tied. Really? Oh yeah. I couldn't, and I, I hate to share this, my toes were so bloody at the end of the, I lost my toenails,

00:22:14 but I couldn't, I mean, it was still wonderful to be there. And all the people, no one spoke English except for me. A few times you'd see your name on the board of participants from different parts of the world and they put V from the United States from Colorado. And, but I thought I have to finish this one. But it was,

00:22:30 oh, I lost every toenail for That. Oh my gosh. Well, I know, is it, is it the time of year where they, they have light later because starting at three o'clock in the afternoon it gets, so was it still light when you finished? Yes, it was. But it was in, I'm trying things in August or September.

00:22:45 Okay. I think August. Okay. And in it was, you're just like, oh my gosh. It's Just A, again, the family was there watching you yet you had to do it. Totally different experience. Yes. A totally Different one. Okay. So I'm going to also shortcut an ending here that you've done Kilimanjaro, not once, but twice.

00:23:05 So let's go back now. You've been doing these marathons, you're doing other things. How did you get to Kilimanjaro even as a goal? Like what sparked that first and how old were you for the first time? Well, I was 54. 55. 55. And my, I was working in a plastic surgery clinic as a nursing facility. And we worked with a lot of clef,

00:23:27 lip and clef. Lip and palate. Okay. And babies. And so when one of the doctors that was in my group, he went to  Tanzania where Kilimanjaro and Diane Sawyer was in 60 Minutes at that time. If anybody remembers who she is, she was a famous person at that time that they were raising money to get a hospitalwhich is at the base of Kilimanjaro. He then they found it, showed it on 60 minutes and I was hooked. I thought, I have to do this one time. And he, with his experience, he just, he was, didn't quit talking about it. Of course. And so that was at the top of my list to do it.

00:24:07 It took me several years to, I kept passing up thinking, no, I'm not gonna do it. Cause I was working and had children. Right. Right. So one night my husband came home and he belonged to an athletic club and he put down a brochure and said, there's a group that's going in six weeks and I think you might consider it.

00:24:23 So I thought, there's no way I can do it. But I met with a group, it was very small, just two married, two couples. And I was a single person. I really liked the person that was the guide and then the part, the people that were participating, I thought they seemed comfortable for me to be around as well.

00:24:40 Right. So I did go ahead and my husband, I asked him if he would meet me at the end of the trail, which he did. And my brother had passed. So I did have a mission. I wanted to take his, some of his ashes with me. So that was a goal and I was thrilled to be able to do that.

00:24:57 And then we went on the safari after with the group of these people and it was, oh, the safari is Kilimanjaro and the safari, they're life-changing experiences not to be missed if it's something people want to do. Yep. And that's, I've had several people in our community already share that they went on a type of safari and absolutely have the, the same statement that it's life-changing.

00:25:23 And that is on my list. So that's one of the things I've not been able to do yet. But when I paused and thought about, oh my goodness, what if tomorrow doesn't come, what would I miss? Right. That's one of the first things I thought of. So, right. Yeah. And it's, I thought I would never do it again.

00:25:39 I thought, well who would ever do, who Would do this again? Right. You're so cold and miserable. Cuz I was by myself and the, the other people had their spouse, so I'm sure they Right. So than you could possibly imagine. But it, then you get over that after a bit too. Yeah. And so then, okay,

00:25:58 so now a few years pass and you're going, you see something in the local paper I saw? Yes. Sorry. There is, it's called The Hub in Denver Paper. And that was the Rotary Club in Evergreen, Colorado, where a man had done, on the front of the paper it said he's climbed Kilimanjaro six times and planning to go back.

00:26:19 And I thought, who again? Why would you do it six times? Right. And then it was a, it was for a program which caught my attention for young women in Tanzania area that the government was allowing for them to go ahead and make the climb with these, this particular group, I think it's called the, it's called the  Program through Africa Aid.

00:26:40 But, so I called, I thought, well, we'll go ahead and sponsor one of these. It said in the paper it said, you could either join us or if you couldn't join us, you could sponsor one of the girls. So I thought, well we could, we should sponsor one of the girls. It's something that my husband and I agreed to do.

00:26:55 And then when we found, when I called the man, Kurt, Kurt about this, he just started talking about the young women and the chances that they get to go on this, the fact that they can't train. And he was very grateful for the money that we would give to train one. And he said, you might wanna join us, would you think about it?

00:27:12 And I said, no, I'm not gonna think about it. Thank you for asking me. I said, no, it's not possible. But then he said, well, why don't you come, we're having a, we're having a barbecue one day, come to the barbecue. I said, no, but thank you. I'll send you the check.

00:27:25 And then one night he was having dinner at his house in Evergreen and my husband said, we should go meet, at least meet the group, see, you know, see about what's going on. And then again, once I sat down with the group, and it was during Covid, so half of the group ended up not going, it was during Covid.

00:27:41 Oh, okay. So once you're there, half of the group that said they were going, decided not to go. And so they said, well we have all this, the permits all set up if anybody really would like to go. And so I asked my husband again, would you support me with this and join me at the end of the trail,

00:27:59 which he did. So I went along then I, And you were, you were not in your forties, so how old were you this time? I actually turned 70 on this trip. You turned 70 on this. Yes. Which is amazing. Rashella. Thank you. Just amazing. Thank you. But I wanna share with you that one of the reasons too that,

00:28:20 that I took this young woman, Carmen Rossi, that you've seen in the book. Yeah. Her, her mother was an incredible athlete and a dear friend of our family. We went to high school with all of her, her husband's family. And she was a strong athlete. More than anybody I had ever seen in any group. Hiked everything could do.

00:28:42 You asked her to do anything, she did it and she got this rooted cancer and it took her very in her sixties. So I just, everybody of course is crushed in those situations. Then I met her daughter Carmen, who had met her, but she lived in Wyoming and only saw her a few times. So the service, before the service,

00:29:02 I was sitting talking to Carmen and she was very interested about Kilimanjaro because her mom would've been, wanted to go to Kilimanjaro. Yeah. And so when, after the service, I thought once I found out, I called Carmen and said, would you ever consider, I said, I'm thinking of doing this. And she goes, oh, that's wonderful.

00:29:21 And sort of indicated she had a tone, you know, excitement in her about, oh gosh, I wish I could do that in my life. But she's, she's younger, much younger and has a job in the family. And so finally I asked her father Paul, that we went to high school with, do you think I could ask her?

00:29:36 And he said, yes, but she'd be nuts to do it. But I stilled her. She came down from Wyoming with her daughter and I spelled it out to her. I said, you know, your mother's gone, so why don't you go if, if possible at all, why don't you go and climb with these other people? And she go,

00:29:51 she goes, really? Do you think I could do it? And I said, I think you for sure could try to do it. So she went along with me on the trip and it was wonderful to have her with me. There's, and again, that's another reason that I knew that her mother, her name was Kathy and her dad is Paul.

00:30:09 I knew that I had Kathy, her daughter with me. What a gift was that for me. Right, right. If me at my age, and she's my age and my daughter. Yeah. And I was able to spend ti six days with her. Yep. I flew with her again. Had to had the covid testing. Cause we didn't all travel together.

00:30:25 We were tested before we left. Tested at the airport there at the Hillman Jaw airport. Tested constantly. But it was wonderful to have her with me. Well it Was extremely helpful And inspiring. You know, again, you're, you're advising, mentoring, inspiring others at a younger age. And so it'd be wonderful to see what, what she chooses to do with that memory as well and go forward.

00:30:50 Okay. So you also had an honor because you had the first female porter. Is that, did I say that correct? Oh Yes. I'm not, go ahead. No, just tell me a little bit because if they've, if my community has listened to Melanie talk about the borderers, I know this is a critical role cuz they not not only service the guide,

00:31:13 but they're carrying all the gear, they're setting up tents, breaking them down, making the food and everything. But you had the pleasure of either working with or being with the first female porter. Okay. I'm not sure quite how I got so lucky, but it, it was meant to be, I think maybe be because maybe cuz they looked at my age,

00:31:32 they never really said, maybe she'll be the weak link to the group and will put, make her more comfortable to have Anna Anna, what's her name? And she's, oh she was, she's twice my size and strength and she could pick me up and put her me on my back with her pack with my pack and everything. We were on the trail going over boulders and rocks and we would be scrambling with our poles not to fall.

00:32:00 And everybody was falling and she would just sort of, they just jump over. They just jump over everything. They've got their packs on their back and they're happy. No one's ever complaining. Yeah. And they're just, the people are phenomenal there. They're just, and I don't have the answer to you why they gave her to me, but I know she's the only female porter that's working in this particular area there.

00:32:23 And she is, I do have her, I told you earlier, her WhatsApp Yes. To connect with Lily. But, and then I, I did have, I fell the second day into the climb and I really hurt my elbow and I couldn't, I couldn't, I couldn't tie my shoe. I couldn't take my, my shoes on or off.

00:32:40 So on this, this other porter second Day. Pardon? On the second day of the, of the client. Yes. Okay. It was going down and I slipped on some rocks and really hurt my left arm and they were gonna send me home and I said, now we're going to clean it up and just deal with it when, when we get home.

00:32:58 Yeah. And again, Carmen was so helpful cuz she'd come to my tent cuz she had her own tent and she would do a dressing change and help me do whatever. But literally they, Jackson would, the young porter would come in the morning, had my shoes, I took 'em cuz you put 'em inside your tent so it's not freezing so cold.

00:33:18 And then he'd always put my shoes on in the morning, take 'em off after dinner. And they are these people incredible with they, how they hard, how hard they work and how little they get Yeah. For a living. But you wouldn't know cuz there's no complaining. Yeah. Just happiness. And that's No happiness As well. Yeah, yeah.

00:33:39 And a joy, which is a, they're Very joyful. Yep. Very joyful. So, okay, so you were a coach for, in high school for eight years. You've had a very active family life and, and act, I guess really active passions. So other than surrounding yourself with the right people, what else is that either a fire in you or a mantra or statement or something that really drives you forward?

00:34:11 Like what makes you the person that reads this article in the paper and says, I wanna sponsor a young girl in this, you know, in Kilimanjaro. And then after you meeting them, oh, I wanna go back and what, what do you think is, is part of what drives you forward and still doing all these things at 70 plus? Yeah,

00:34:32 it's a good, good reason. But I'm not, I like to read, but I'm not a fast reader. And a lot of my friends, the women, especially when we meet for dinner once a month or so, the, they've read several books and, and I get through a book in three months or it takes me a long, I'm not a good reader,

00:34:48 but I like to read. So my, my thing is to, I like to be around people a lot. It is a, a new cultures a lot. I love that. I love new physical challenges even at this point because now I can't, I don't go, I don't run at all. I don't, I go to Pilates a couple times a week.

00:35:08 Yeah. I'll do my walk around the park or get on the treadmill cuz that's comfortable to watch my cooking channel that I love to learn things like that. And so I'll, I'll that I like the, it's a new level of self-awareness. What at this point, what my body is telling me. No, we're not, we can't do that anymore.

00:35:27 You know, I have bad arthritis in my foot, which I had surgery in January, but I got it fixed as much as I could. Yeah. Now I know I have these limitations of when they say po point your toe in class, I can't do that. But those things, I can still do a lot of other things. Right. And It's just like,

00:35:42 you know, like you said, having the right, getting the right group of people. And once those other people, like my friends that have passed, you just are, I'm lucky to have an incredible husband and family that we like to do things together. Yeah. A lot. And he'll, he's always encouraging me. Like when Cassandra said, do this podcast with Wendy,

00:36:03 I said, I'm not sure because I don't usually like to talk about my family knows what I do. And a lot of people don't even know that I fell on Kilimanjaro. They don't know that I had to have surgery when I got home. I don't usually share, I don't go around saying, oh, I'm 70 some years old and I'm proud of it and I want all these lines on my face because I don't want all these lines on my Face There.

00:36:24 And then you have to be, you're just either a happy person, especially with the covid and stuff. Poor people have been locked in. I've been able to have my husband here and when I had my surgery in January and crutches, which I hated. I mean, who in the hell would have to do something like that? No. But he was there to take care of me.

00:36:43 And I think if people have, can get someone in their life, a couple people in their life that they can count on, those are important things. Agree. Agree. And, and I, I also love the fact that not only in speaking with you, but as I am reaching out in new groups and clubs, right? A rung club or a cycling club,

00:37:07 it's very humbling when, you know, you go into a group and you see somebody in their sixties and seventies and you're like, oh dear, I don't know if I'll be the fastest or the slowest. I might be the last one who come across this, you know, wherever we're finishing today. But I will tell you that I am really humbled by a lot of people in their sixties and seventies who are fast,

00:37:28 strong and now they're retired and they're playing. And so they're out on their bike all the time or they're out hiking or they're out. And so it's been nice to see that, you know, this maybe when I was probably in my twenties and thirties, first of all, you're not very smart then anyways. But Preconceived Idea that as you got older that,

00:37:47 you know, we'd be reading more or for sure settling more. Right. And, and actually as we were growing up, again, our moms and grandmothers in their fifties and sixties weren't doing these things. They weren't hiking Kilimanjaro most of us. And so it's really wonderful to see women, especially forging new paths going forward and making more of their everyday,

00:38:09 whether it's goal setting and activities or taking trips with, with friends like Betty, you know, and, and really expanding your horizon. So I just, I guess I, I I say that also just say thank you for sharing not only your story. Again, we started, you and I started this down this road just talking about Kilimanjaro, which was like this little bit.

00:38:29 Yeah. And, But hearing more about, again, New York Marathon, Boston, 43 years with your family doing, you know, the Boulder, Boulder and all the places you've seen, the people that you've met and those who inspired you and likewise who you've inspired is just really wonderful to share your story. So Thank you Wendy. Thank you So well,

00:38:52 and the only thing I would say is I will, we'll be posting pictures and I'll have links to my website to have more information about Rochelle's story there. And if you have questions or wanna connect with Rachella, please don't hesitate to reach out to me, Wendy at DestinationU dot net. And is there anything else, Rachella, that we missed that I,

00:39:12 we wanted to include in what We, well I think there is, there is a picture in the book of me with the girls in Kilimanjaro, the girls that were from Tanzania. And the story of that, which again, learning things daily or teaching something you don't realize you're teaching, but it's exciting. You know, our water bottles that I was carrying before I left our,

00:39:37 my two grandchildren, one of them put, wrote on it, turned on, good luck, love you. And the other one put, I know you're okay, good luck n as well, foster. And so the girls at the end of the climb one day at the table, my bottles are sitting there cuz they sterilize and put your water in it for you all the porters.

00:39:56 And one of the kiza women that is a mentor to all these other schools, she said to me, I've been wondering what, what is written on your bottle? What, what is that? And I go, well these are my grandchildren that I had dinner with before we left. And nana in Italian, which my family, my dad is from Italy,

00:40:14 it means grandmother. And they were oh, that we loved that We didn't know. Thank you for telling us. So the very last morning these girls had my water bottles and they, I think were they, oh, can we, can we have these? And I said, and one condition, if you take 'em to your skulls and you tell people what nana means and you tell them that our grandson Foster was adopted from Guatemala.

00:40:39 And, and I said, but you need, you can teach these to your community what these, what my grandchildren are. Yeah. And they go, okay, we promised it. I I just love the fact that they didn't know something like that. And they can share this part of the United States blended family Yep. Story and your Italian heritage. Yeah.

00:40:59 Bringing four stories of your children and grandchildren and Yeah. And connecting again with others and that's what makes it all worthwhile. Yeah, it was. So thank you honey. Thank you Ella. And thanks everybody for joining us today and like I said, tune back in or check out some of the resources that we'll post with the podcast 
and hopefully we will see ro either up on the trail or at next Pilates class.

00:41:25 Alright. Pilates. Pilates. Okay. Pilates. Thanks everybody. Have a good day. If You dig Rochelle's story today, I encourage you to listen to more of my video podcasts or audio podcasts or also check out our community at DestinationU where we're sharing more stories just like this of women over the age of 40 doing amazing things and then sharing the kind of key how-to steps and how they not only planning steps,

00:41:52 but the other factors they had to consider, right. So that they could take this adventure on or this new experience or new activity and kind of your homework or your shortcut to what will get you there if you get so inspired.