DAVID BROWER: transcript Thanks, Allan. This is David Brower, and today we have a special guest podcast. This is part one of the Positive Forward Motion Podcast, as my friend Denise Scattergood interviews the 88 year old Ironman, the oldest person to ever finish an Ironman Triathlon, Sister Madonna Buder.
DENISE S: This is a dream come true for me. So, for my audience out there, really quick, we are here today with Sister Madonna Buder, and to share how I came across even knowing who you are, Sister, was about eight years ago. I was training to be a triathlete, and I thought to myself, gosh, I wonder who is the oldest woman to have ever completed an Ironman, and that’s when I came-
SISTER MADONNA: Now, what would put that in your mind?
DENISE S: Because I-
SISTER MADONNA: [crosstalk 00:01:03]
DENISE S: Well, yes, because I was starting at such a … what I saw [crosstalk 00:01:07]
SISTER MADONNA: Well, how old were you?
DENISE S: I was 47.
SISTER MADONNA: Oh, I was just started running then.
DENISE S: [crosstalk 00:01:15] gosh.
SISTER MADONNA: [crosstalk 00:01:16]
DENISE S: I know.
SISTER MADONNA: I didn’t start running until then. Oh, well-
DENISE S: And when I found your-
SISTER MADONNA: … you’ve got 20 years ahead.
DENISE S: Yeah, oh, thank you, and I read your book, The Grace to Race. I read it so many times, and highlighted so many areas, and it’s so much more than just about racing and running. Your spirit, and your mindset, and your attitude caught my attention immediately, and eight years ago I thought to myself, some day it is my goal to meet Sister Madonna. So, today I am so excited, and honored to have you with me today, and with the audience is going to learn so many great things. I’m so excited.
DENISE S: So, before I continue, just say hello and tell the audience a little bit about you.
SISTER MADONNA: Well, you know, what you have just said, one of your key words was you have dreams. Now, that’s the beginning, and I just got back from doing two two-hour presentations, plus an hour each of book signings, in Philadelphia.
SISTER MADONNA: And one of the things I remember saying is because a lot of people want to have the urge to do the Ironman Distance Triathlon, which, of course, maybe you know, but not everybody does. It’s a 2.4-mile swim, 112 miles of biking, and 26.2 miles marathon, all together, back-
DENISE S: Back, to back, to back, yes, yes.
SISTER MADONNA: So, I said, you know, just practice the seven Ds, and the first is you have to have the dream, is what you mentioned, and your dream came true. So, with the dream comes the desire. With the desire comes the dedication. With the dedication comes the discipline. With the discipline comes the determination. With the determination, you do it, and it gets done, with or without your realizing it.
SISTER MADONNA: And it’s better if we don’t really realize it. If we just concentrate on going through the motions, which is a healthy lifestyle, when you think about it. They are worthwhile motions, not wasted, even if you have a bike crash, you at least tried.
SISTER MADONNA: And the worst … You know, I think there is no such thing as a failure, because your best ways to learn is through making your mistakes. The only failure is not to try, and you cancel yourself out. There goes every potential you might have as a human being that was built into you if you don’t get out and try, but you’ve got to dream it, so you have the desire to do it, so you want to put the discipline and dedication into it, to get enough determination to get you going to do it.
DENISE S: Oh, my goodness, I love that. And it ties in too, just this morning. You know, you and I spoke, and you shared with me that it’s snowing outside. Now, and I hope it’s okay with you to share with the audience, that in this July you’re going to be 89 years old.
SISTER MADONNA: Oh [crosstalk 00:05:12]
DENISE S: So, I love your spirit [inaudible 00:05:14] we spoke earlier today, you go, “Well, you know it’s snowing here,” and I thought oh, well, you know, what I’ve read about you, I know that that might drive you crazy to be stir crazy in the house, so I teased and said, “Did you put your bicycle on a train?”
DENISE S: You’re like, “Oh, no, after mass I went to the Y and I completed an hour of workout, and if I didn’t have this call this afternoon I’d probably be out snowshoeing.”
SISTER MADONNA: Yeah.
DENISE S: I love that. I love that. And with your background in all of the … you’ve competed in over 300 triathlons. I believe over 40 of them-
SISTER MADONNA: [crosstalk 00:05:52] 400 now.
DENISE S: 400 now, oh, my goodness.
SISTER MADONNA: Well, it’s 45 Ironman Triathlons, that what you were leading into.
DENISE S: Yes, and then over 45 Ironman, and that’s just phenomenal. And I know you have so many trophies, and as we were talking about our podcast, and Positive Forward Motion, you mentioned something the other day that was so profound. You said, “You know, I have a lot of trophies, but there’s a trophy that’s out there that I believe is a trophy, that not everybody believes is a trophy, especially in this day and age.” And so, before I go any further, I’ll let you share and elaborate a little bit on that.
SISTER MADONNA: Well, you know, we in the States try to deny our age. We try to do everything to disguise it, and hey, wait a minute, I earned these wrinkles, and my grandchildren, if I had any, are going to care less. They would be sitting on grandmother’s knee, listening to every word of wisdom that comes from her mouth. It’s the person inside the wrinkled face that matters. And the other countries in Europe and Asia, the ancients are the venerable ones, and they’ve got the right attitude.
SISTER MADONNA: So, here in America, we have to have a change of mindset, and that is to appreciate our aging process. You’ll never get another chance at it, so you might as well appreciate it.
DENISE S: I could not agree more, and oftentimes I’ll laugh, and I find myself saying this quite often, but I say, you know, every day you are older and younger than someone else.
SISTER MADONNA: Well, that’s an interesting thought. Yeah, and you know, I-
DENISE S: And thank goodness.
SISTER MADONNA: When I go to jail, I oftentimes remind them that you are not the same person today that you were yesterday. After you wake up, you have a new beginning, a new start, so make the [inaudible 00:08:29] best of yourself.
SISTER MADONNA: Which also reminds me that the reason we get so hung up with anxiety is because we’re looking at the future, and the what ifs, and my grandmother bless her whole heart, was really a woman of wisdom. I was about nine years old, sitting at the top of our staircase with my hands on my knees, on my elbows, staring down the staircase, pondering.
SISTER MADONNA: She comes in the front door, looks up between the banisters, and sees me, very perceptively says, “What’s the matter, darling?” I said, “Well, I’m just trying to figure out what I’m going to do when I grow up.”
SISTER MADONNA: Well, she could have laughed, but she didn’t. She said, “Darling, you have to look at it this way, the past is dead and gone, never to return, the future is not the future until it gets here, and then it becomes the present moments, and that’s all your responsible for is living the present moment, which will lead you into the future.”
SISTER MADONNA: Now, that made so much sense to me, it just took the burden off my back, and if we live each day moment by moment, making the best of it, the future that we imagined may never be the same as we imagined whatsoever. Things can change within that time gap. So, but that’s not under our control in the first place, so why bother about it?
DENISE S: Absolutely. Oh, that’s a phenomenal message, and you share with that that, you know, and when I was reading your book about the triple A of the attitude, activity, and aging, and living in the moment, and moving forward one, as I call it, positive forward motion step at a time, taking that little step and keep moving forward, even if you move forward, like you mentioned earlier, and, well, it didn’t work out so well. It doesn’t mean you took 10 steps back. You just learned how something didn’t work, or why you won’t do it this way, and then continue on your path moving forward, because then you’re going to get to that future that you’re so worried about, but just keep moving.
SISTER MADONNA: Well, you know, what I really worry about is the possibility of our selves dehumanizing ourselves, because we are becoming so dependent on these gadgets that we seek answers even the AI, artificial intelligence, telling you what to do? Wait a minute, let’s hold on here. When do I cease to become a human being if I can’t even do my own thinking, and my own feeling?
SISTER MADONNA: And I want to give you an example how important it is to listen to your body, and to follow the natural instincts that we receive. God’s lesser creatures do a much better job of it than we do. So, they don’t worry about their wrinkles.
SISTER MADONNA: Anyway, this happened at the end of … last Sunday in October this year, and in Spokane it was a gray day, just tolerable enough, temperature wise, for me to get out on my bike, probably for the last time before the season of this snowy stuff started.
SISTER MADONNA: For some reason, I can bike all the way to the Centennial Trail from where I live, and nobody, absolutely nobody, was on that trail. And I’m [inaudible 00:12:49] you know, this was Sunday, oh, well it’s not pleasant weather exactly, but it may be the beginning of a football season, so they’re all in watching football.
SISTER MADONNA: I get to the turnaround of my 20 plus bike ride, and I don’t think I’ve gone more than three miles. I have at least seven yet to go, and my nose runs faster than I do, so I was fiddling with my Kleenex, and this bike veered over to the opposite side.
SISTER MADONNA: Oh, my God. All of a sudden somebody is barreling straight at me. He said he was going 22 miles an hour. There was no way I could have consulted a little gadget to tell me what to do.
SISTER MADONNA: So, came the instinctive thought, he started to … neither one of us knew what to do. He shifted a little bit to one side. I shift a little bit to another side, but we didn’t have time to clear, and I knew that. And this little instinctive thought said, “If you sideswipe you’re in danger. Just go head on.” All right, and as I was going head on came the second one, “Drop your head.” Yeah, I want to protect my face for this head on.
SISTER MADONNA: So [inaudible 00:14:22] spread eagle on my back and hearing him moaning on my left side from the other detached cyclist. And I thought, oh, he’s probably really hurt. And I don’t know about myself, but, you know, when you have a sudden fall like that, it kind of … it’s a shock. It puts you in shock, and you need a little time to gather your wits about you.
SISTER MADONNA: In the meantime, two other figures gathered at the site, and one guy said, “Oh, we better call 911.” I said, “No, no, please, please wait.” The other one, on the other side, says, “Oh, I think we better call the police.” I said, “No, will you just please wait. I’m not ready yet.” And he said, “Well, you’ve been down three minutes.” And I’m saying to myself, so what?
ALLAN BLACKWELL: You’ve been listening to part one of the Positive Forward Motion Podcast with Denise Scattergood and the 88-year-old Iron nun, Sister Madonna Buder. Listen to the Positive Forward Motion Podcast wherever podcasts can be found. Listen to your 20-minute podcast with David Brower on the go, downloads are available on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook, iTunes, iHeartRadio, Spotify, any podcast app, and on our website at DavidBrowerVO.com/Your20MinutePodcast. Until next time, thank you for listening.