by John Pinder
A very beautiful woman approaches me at the Lake George Triathlon, and she catches me checking her out. If she wasn’t already my wife and the mother of our two boys, I’d feel embarrassed. Instead, I am the luckiest man alive. We are there to support one of her latest athletic endeavors, and her prowess is just one of many things that make her awesome.
She collects her good luck kisses and heads straight to the beach. The only people in the lake this early are athletes, but our kids beg to go swimming. Amidst the morning chill, I feel warm with pride. My wife jumps into the cold water as the sun breaks over the Adirondacks. Every single picture of her thereafter is gleaming.
I fell in love with that captivating smile more than twenty years ago. For someone who still looks like a college student, she sure has a lot of impressive achievements on her resume.
I am married to Wonder Woman.
She finishes her first Olympic distance triathlon with confidence. As if rekindling her love affair with fitness, earning a Ph.D. in ecology, becoming a tenured college professor, and keeping up with the demands of motherhood are only par for the course, she becomes an ultra-marathon runner to keep things interesting.
Wonder Woman is always moving forward.
Her accomplishments represent the pinnacle of health and happiness, while only her closest friends and family know her ongoing struggles with Crohn’s disease and the often-insurmountable stresses involved with being an overachiever. In fact, a couple years ago she lost 25 pounds just to get back into the game. With plenty of reasons to slow down throughout the years, she does the opposite.
Wonder Woman’s superpower is perseverance.
Counting our many blessings, we make a lot of sudden changes to our lives when a pandemic sweeps across the nation. After signing up to run the Many on the Genny 40-miler scheduled on her 40th birthday, she is forced to come up with alternate plans to stay healthy and motivated. With respect for the new public health guidelines for COVID-19, her trail race is obviously canceled —but running 40 miles to celebrate her birthday elsewhere remains non-negotiable. Albeit briefly, she even entertains the idea of running on a treadmill.
Wonder Woman is also stubborn.
Fortunately, the great outdoors remains open. We spend the next few months seeking remote trails on which to train. From the Catskills to the Adirondacks, we coax our kids up local mountains as Super Mom tackles solitary miles on surrounding single-track. Every weekend is filled with hours of exploration, until the perfect location to host her birthday extravaganza is rediscovered right under our noses.
It’s June 20th, 2020 and my wife wakes up as a fresh 40 year old with pure ambition in her eyes. We head to the Edmund Niles Huyck Preserve, where she completed a great deal of research leading up to her Ph.D. The trails are also home to one of her favorite 8-milers, named the Rensselaerville Ramble. Despite the circumstances, it seems fate is on our side after all. It’s the perfect location for a unique celebration.
Wonder Woman hits the trails running.
Of course, she is smiling.
Other than a small group of our closest friends and family, we are the only people there to explore the park with repeating loops around Lake Myosotis, Lincoln Pond, and the surrounding forest. My wife and her best friend from college traverse the route as one unit for the duration, pushing themselves to greet us at different checkpoints along the way. They even run to the local brewery down the road to share a pint before heading back into the woods.
Every mile counts.
A mutual friend of ours joins them on the trails about halfway through the excursion. From homemade cupcakes to words of encouragement, her loyal team offers support the entire afternoon. I relinquish command of the aid station to my sister-in-law and finally join the ambitious runners for the last twelve miles. All four of us finish in the dark amidst the flicker of a thousand fireflies. A brief celebration ensues in a remote parking lot, and our small party of large enthusiasm finally hits the road.
Whereas some people enter their 40th decade with reluctance, my wife greets this new era with exuberance. It’s just one more thing to add to an already impressive personal resume.
Wonder Woman is an inspiration.
My wife is often recognized as “the runner’s wife,” even though she runs more miles per week than everyone in our house combined – the pets included. Although she claims to enjoy flying under the radar, she deserves far more recognition.
Wonder Woman is amazing for many reasons.
She is a loyal friend, a loving wife and mother, a caring teacher and researcher, and one impressive human. I call her Wonder Woman for obvious reasons. Our kids know her as Super Mom. Her real name is Rebecca Pinder, and the best part about her ongoing story is that she proves nothing is out of reach with a little help from loved ones.
Rebecca and John
John Pinder is a freelance writer and health educator living in upstate New York. He teaches emotionally troubled youth at a residential facility in Rhinebeck and is known for his successes as a musician and singer-songwriter. Visit his social media pages here: facebook.com/pindermusic and facebook.com/pinderwriter