The Powerful Connection of Nature, Movement & Grief (Lisa Hallett)

Jump To section

If you’ve listened to this podcast or followed me on Instagram, you’ve surely noticed that I love to run. It’s where I find my best therapy. But that’s not always been the case. I started running because of one person — Lisa Hallett — and the organization she cofounded, wear blue: run to remember. Lisa and I share the unbreakable bond of not just being Army wives whose husbands were in the same unit, but of trauma and loss experienced when that unit lost so many soldiers in combat, including her husband Capt. John Hallett.

In this episode Lisa shares the role spending time outside has had in her healing and helping her family move through that loss.

Some of the good stuff:

[1:29] Lisa’s favorite outdoor space
[2:00] About wear blue: run to remember
[3:10] How wear blue: run to remember was born
[9:40] Why wear blue: run to remember is important to Amy
[10:35] What wear blue: run to remember means to others
[14:35] Amy’s running with wear blue: run to remember
[14:52] Lisa’s outdoor story
[15:30] Why Lisa tackles hard challenges and what it has to do with grief
[18:15] Lisa’s favorite challenges
[23:15] What Lisa is doing with her kids
[26:10] Hiking the Grand Canyon with kids
[29:30] The secret to hiking with kids
[31:08] How to learn to do hard things
[32:45] Why being outside matters for helping children of the fallen
[34:20] Lisa’s most essential gear
[34:38] Lisa’s favorite outdoor gear
[32:40] Lisa’s favorite outdoor moment

Connect with this episode:

Things mentioned in the show:
Washington State 
Staircase Rapids
Hood Canal, Oregon 
Joint Base Lewis McChord, Washington
Wear blue: run to remember
Capt. John Hallett
Capt. Franky Kim
Gen. Jim Matthis 
Marine Corps Marathon
Military TDY
Military PCS
Bryce Canyon
Miwok 100K
Marin Headlands
Stinson Beach
Harry Potter
Grand Canyon
South Kaibab
Ooh Ahh Point, Grand Canyon
Wear blue: run to remember Gold Star programs
West Point, NY

Lisa’s favorite piece of outdoor gear:

Snacks (all of them)

Lisa’s most essential outdoor gear: 

Cheap gloves from Target 

Affiliate links included above.

Register for our newsletter for a chance to win a free Humans Outside decal: 

Don’t forget to follow @HumansOutside on Instagram:

Share your own outdoor life with the hashtag #humansoutside365

Connect with us on Facebook:

How are you spending your outdoor time? Leave us a message and we might feature you on our weekly Outdoor Diary episode. Call ‪(360) 362-5317‬.


Here’s an edited transcript of our conversation on The Humans Outside Podcast. Listen to the episode on iTunes, Google Podcasts, or wherever you find your favorite podcasts.

AB: Ultra runner, marathoner, Ironman and mom, Lisa Hallett is also the co-founder of wear blue: run to remember, an organization which honors the service and sacrifice of the American military. She helped found it after her husband, Captain John Hallett, was killed in action in Afghanistan in 2009. Lisa, welcome to the Humans Outside Podcast.

LH:  Hi, how are you today? 

AB: Good. Thanks so much for joining us. 

LH: I am super excited to be here. It is a snowy day in Washington, so it seems very fitting for us to be having this call while you are up in Alaska. It feels like we’re a little bit more connected. 

AB: Yeah, and it’s really cold here, so, many jackets are required. I’m rocking a vest indoors today, kicking it super Northwest. So before anything else, we like to imagine that we are chatting with our guests in one of their favorite outdoor spaces. So tell me, where are we talking to you today?

LH: Oh, we are hiking the trails of Staircase Rapids. It’s my favorite little two mile hike that I do with the kids up in the Hood Canal of the Pacific Northwest. So it’s about an hour and a half outside of Joint Base Lewis McChord, and it is just a rolling hill along a beautiful set of rapids.

AB: Sounds very peaceful and wonderful. So why don’t you start by telling us what wear blue: run to remember is and how it was founded. Give us the lowdown. 

LH: Well, wear blue: run to remember is a national community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American military. We have six vibrant programs that are really designed to empower families of the fallen, to support our military and their families, and to remember the service members who’ve made the ultimate sacrifice. 

Wear blue: run to remember is grounded in our Saturday run. And so in over 50 communities across the country, we have groups of military, their families, veterans, families of the fallen, and civilians who gather on a regular basis. They circle, speak the names of our nation’s fallen military, and then take purposeful steps forward. And it’s a place, because of and despite the challenges of military life, that we’re able to build meaningful community that really is becoming a powerful support mechanism for military and their families, and a place for families of the fallen to stay engaged with their military families and community. 


Wear blue: run to remember was born out of 5th Stryker Brigade’s deployment to southern Afghanistan. And so this is where the story gets very personal for me. My husband John [Hallett] was in company command of an infantry stryker group, and he deployed to southern Afghanistan in July of 2009. And we knew this was coming and we were very proud of his service and you know, full of trepidation, which I think any military family is before deployment. And so John left in July, we had Jackson, he was our oldest and he was three at the time. Our middle child Bryce was one and a half, and our daughter, Heidi, was on the way. And here’s how we do it in the Army: we send them, send our loved ones to combat and then we try to juggle as many balls in the air as possible.

So three weeks after John left, our daughter Heidi was born. And then three weeks after John left, I went to our first military family meeting of the deployment. And I remember at that point, it was really the first time that I had been out of the house since I had Heidi. I was feeling pretty good about myself, but it was also very new in the deployment. Communication wasn’t set up downrange, so we weren’t hearing a lot of information. We had experienced a tragic loss a week before that. And so we were ready for more information. And so I went to the military family meeting and I sat next to Brandy, her husband was in John’s unit, and I was pulled out of the meeting by a rear detachment commander.

It was Captain Franky Kim and he’s one of John’s soldiers. And Frankie took me to the battalion classroom where we learned that John had been killed on his way home from a goodwill mission. And they’re reading a script, essentially and telling me that — the Secretary of Defense regrets to inform you that your husband, Captain John L. Hallett is believed to have perished in the fires. And I remember just stopping listening. It said believed. And I just knew they were wrong. I had a three year old, a one year old, and a baby who my husband had never met. There’s no way that this story was to be my truth. Later that night, General Mathis, who was the garrison commander, called me, “Lisa, what can I do for you?” And I said, “They said believed? Tell me John’s okay.” And he said, “I’m so sorry.” 

And for my family, I was devastated and heartbroken and overwhelmed. But for our unit, I would become just one story of forty-one. We lost 41 service members that year in our brigade in that deployment to southern Afghanistan. And as a community, we were heartbroken, we were overwhelmed, and we were terrified. And so we were truly looking for a way to work through this very, very challenging time in our lives. 

For me, three young children, grief was very scary for them. Life felt very overwhelming and abstract. And at the urging of fellow military spouses, Erin Connor, Alice Pope, Charlene Lewis, I began to take purposeful steps forward. And it was in the steps, the run that I was able to have the space and the true vulnerability that I needed to grieve, to confront loss, to escape the chaos of having three young children, and to really be honest with myself about what our family was facing, and how we were going to move from that. And all these complicated emotions that I was navigating were not unique to my family story. And at the urging of Erin O’Connor, the spouses involved in that deployment began to gather for weekly runs. And there was nothing formal. It was not a grand strategic plan. We met for the first time in the Burger King parking lot. And we casually looked at each other, there were probably 18 of us, and then we went for a run around the airfield. But that first run really triggered something and there was a connection that was made with the steps, with the movement, with each other, and it became our thing. And each week, we continued to gather, we ran, we evolved, we spoke the names of our guys who had been killed downrange, we set goals and worked toward them, we achieved them. We supported one another. And before that point, we were acquaintances, we knew of each other. But through the runs, through the gathering, through the community, through the shared experience, we didn’t know of each other, we knew each other. And we really built a community of support, strength, and love. And that was where wear blue: run to remember began.

AB: Wear Blue is, of course, deeply personal to me, which our listeners don’t know. Because my husband Luke was your husband John’s executive officer. So you and I are linked forever through that community, and that commonality, and your loss, and the loss of our unit. So I just want to first of all say thank you for sharing that story. I know that has to be hard to repeat over and over again. This is not the first time you’ve shared it at my request. And I do really appreciate you being vulnerable for us today with that, so thank you.

LH: I like having those moments and thinking about John. There was a space in that rawness where John was so close and so real. Now 10 years after that loss, I am so proud and grateful for where my family is, but I miss even those dark moments of grief because it was the time when I could still smell, taste, and you know, hear John around me and the memories that were so fresh. So I appreciate a moment to walk back to that time.

AB: We were involved in Wear Blue from the beginning, at least on the periphery, if not, you know, actively involved in the runs. And I want you to know that I am – actually, I don’t know if I’ve ever said this to you, but I am who I am today because of you and Wear Blue. Now I had toyed with running before Wear Blue; mostly I thought of it as like torture. If torture is something that, you know, you get to do with cute shorts and feel sporty, right?

LH: Sporty is very important.

AB: It is the most important facet, as we know. But because of Wear Blue, I started to see running, and specifically running outside – because you know, there’s always the treadmill, as an extra form of torture. Doing so outside as therapy, and really not just therapy, but like, life.

Am I the only person who Wear Blue has done that for that you’ve talked to?

LH: No, I mean, Wear Blue I think has really become a pulse in a lot of people’s lives and really transformed how they interact with the community, how they navigate challenges, how they connect to loss, and I think most importantly, how they connect to life. And I think some of that is the power of community. Just the people who come together are the very best and have very unique experiences in their relationship with the military, and so that really drives support, meaningful change, and others. But Wear Blue is all about celebrating the lives lived before sacrifice and really honoring and celebrating our call to live in the aftermath of sacrifice. And it’s been a very humble privilege to witness transformations and other people’s healing, grieving, surviving, and ultimately, thriving in the aftermath of navigating our nation’s longest war.

AB: If listeners have followed me on Instagram at all at Humans Outside, they’ve seen my posts from the Marine Corps Marathon, which I did with Wear Blue now three times, twice in the marathon –


AB: Trying to be like a boss, but sometimes the marathon is the boss. Sometimes I am the boss, but mostly the marathon, I find. 

That experience doing that, you know, has included carrying a flag once, doing a 50K once, and once, you know, quote unquote, just doing the marathon. So I highly recommend to anybody who is looking for a marathon, the Marine Corps marathon is incredible. And doing so with Wear Blue adds an extra purpose, plus a whole cheering squad across an entire mile of that race of Wear Blue supporters out there on the Wear Blue mile, honoring the fallen, but also cheering on the runners, which is just this incredibly life-affirming experience. You Lisa, of course, helped me through that mile this year when soaking wet in a monsoon, I traversed it.

LH: I wish I had had a raft for you. It could really have helped things, but we will have to settle with soggy footprints. You have been a force on that course – really intentional, purposeful, and have had some very powerful successful race experiences at the Marine Corps marathon. 

AB: I appreciate that. It was very, very rainy this year, guys. It rained, it rained more, I could not have been any more wet than I was. And when it stopped raining and I stopped getting wet through the rain, I was dumping water on myself because, as an Alaskan, it’s very hot in Washington DC. Let me tell you.

Anyway, the Humans Outside Podcast is all about connections to the outside. So you’ve spent time living in Hawaii and in Washington State, among other beautiful places where the outdoors are just a part of life. And of course, running, being outside is just a part of life. Was spending time outside specifically an important part of your story before John’s death?

LH: Absolutely. Outside has always been a driving force in my decision making processes. You know, looking at colleges – was I going to go to school in Los Angeles or Santa Barbara? The beach and the trails made the decision and I went to school in Santa Barbara. And then living in Hawaii was such a gift for John and I, because we really craved that connection with the outdoors. Running, hiking, and exploring has been the predominant way I’ve navigated John’s loss, but long before John made the ultimate sacrifice, the outdoors, running, hiking was how I navigated the challenges of military life. And so when John deployed the first time, we were three weeks married, and he went to Iraq. I found running groups and I was running with the Mid Pacific Road Runners, I was hiking on the mountains. When we moved to Georgia, I immediately found Callaway Gardens and we were exploring those trails. But it’s always been a bookend to our moves and navigating TDYs, PCS, and deployments as a way to be healthy, connected, and active.

AB: Since founding Wear Blue you’ve done way, way more than just run. You’ve become an Iron Man, you now run trail ultras, you’re an overall badass, okay? Well, what draws you to those different challenges?

LH: Oh, gosh, bigger is better. I want to say something, something really trite. I remember just after John was killed, I’m driving Jackson to preschool. He’s my oldest, but he’s only three at the time. And I started crying as we’re passing through the Nisqually Wildlife Refuge. I distinctly remember some sad U2 song comes on, and I’m crying and then Jackson starts crying, and he says, “Mommy, stop crying. You’re scaring me.” And it was this very distinct moment that gave me pause and then I realized that my children had already lost a parent to war, and that it was not fair for them to lose me to grief. 

But the problem was, I was a newly-made single parent to three very young children – and 3, 1, 3 weeks old is challenging enough in a normal home. So I’m juggling these young children, I’m a single parent, and I’m grieving. And so the chaos of that life, you know, a one mile run really wasn’t enough. Because the first mile, all I can think is that the baby won’t stop crying. Well, two miles, I realize I’m out of diapers and I need to find new bottles. The third mile, the house is a mess, right? See, there’s so much chaos on my heart and in my mind, the simplicity of a short run was not adequate for what I needed. I found that the distance of endurance running, getting beyond the one-two-three miles, was what I needed to be raw and vulnerable and to connect with what I was truly feeling and experiencing. It became a calling to me as a way to deal with my emotions, but as I became more and more invested, it became a manifest of what I was capable of. And I’ve been so graced with incredible people in my life, and incredible support mechanisms, and really an incredible journey in the aftermath of losing John. But running in the outdoors has always been a celebration of who I am and what I’m capable of. And so I was driven to those deeper distances because it gave me the vulnerability to be raw and real and to experience all that I needed to experience and then to return back and beyond. But pushing beyond the average distance was this celebration of accomplishment that I, Lisa Hallett, was able to achieve.

AB: That’s incredible. Of those, what has been your favorite and why?

LH: Oh, man, I love it all. I love doing Iron Man because it scares the poop out of me every single time. The last Iron Man I did was Iron Man Arizona, and it’s my seventh Iron Man, and so I am seasoned, I’ve competed in the Ironman World Championships, so this should be old hat. And I get to the swim, and I am terrified. And I jump into this water where you can see the edge the entire time, and I can’t catch my breath. And I swim to the very first kayak and I hold on to this side and there’s a gentleman there and he holds my hand, and he says, “Are you okay?” And I said, “I don’t think I can do this.” And he looks at me and he says, “You can do this.” 

And I love the Ironman because it continues to scare me every time I do it. But it’s bold people who believe in me and support me and push me to get outside of my comfort zone. I think that’s so important that we constantly stretch what is reasonable or what we think is possible in our lives. And the Iron Man does that for me. Plus, I’m healthier when I’m swimming, biking and running. I think it is a more balanced approach to my body.

But this last year, I returned to my trail running roots, if you will, and I ran a 50 miler in Bryce Canyon and then I ran my first 100 mile race. I think that is where my heart is happiest and it is pure and it is simple. And it is such a unique way to see the world, I think, as it was intended. I live very happily in the suburbs of the Pacific Northwest and I love raising my kids with sidewalks and a library and, you know, a Starbucks around the corner, whatever it is that makes the suburbs, the suburbs. But it is, gosh, it’s diluted with, you know, touches of modern life and I love getting on the trails because it is how it was created. I mean, there are so few opportunities for us where we’re able to reconnect with our baser nature and who we are. I just feel this primal connection to the past, to the present, into the future and it makes me want to be a better person. I feel like, you know, with all the changes happening in our environment today, that the world as it is, is so fleeting and I’m just desperate to touch it, smell it, breathe it, run it, and I love it. I love that 100 miler, that 50 miler, being lost in the trail. 

AB: What’s next?

LH: I’m going to do a 100K, the Miwok 100K in May and I haven’t done that distance yet. So it’ll be a fun little challenge.

AB:  Where is that?

LH: I think it is in the Marin Headlands outside San Francisco. And so it’ll start at Stinson Beach and then 62 miles of sweeping scenery, climbing trails, and hopefully some new friends on the way.

AB: Awesome. You and your three kids, the youngest of whom is 10, have started spending a lifetime hiking together. So why is that something that you guys are drawn to do? Well, that you’re drawn to doing with them, whether they’re drawn to it or not, I cannot say.

LH: They love it. Don’t let their complaining or whining tell you otherwise! 

Yes, it is my favorite time with my kids – on the trails. And I love it too, because I’m a single mom and I’m a working mom. And just like every other working mom or parents in America, I’m juggling the demands of constant availability via our phones, our computers, and our life. And it is an incredibly difficult balance and cord to strike today to be present with our kids and to follow up and meet the demands of our work. And on the trails, we don’t have reception and so I’m not arguing with my kids to get off of their technology, they’re not competing with me to respond to just one more email. We are present as a family. I love it. 

Usually they’re complaining the first mile or two and it’s I’m rah rah rah-ing everyone. But then halfway through the hike, one of them will grab my hand, and the other two will be up ahead whispering about something, and then they’ll be joking. And then they’ll laugh. And three quarters through, we usually start into our Harry Potter trivia, a very important part of any hike experience. 

But it’s a space where we’re us. I don’t have to share them with anyone or anything and they don’t have to share me with anyone or anything. And I think one of the hardest parts of being a single parent is it’s really hard to put boundaries on anything. There’s no one giving me a check and balance, for better or worse. I think I’ve been able to really drive and achieve some great things because I can keep pushing, but there’s also no one that says — hey, we need you, or slow down, your family needs you. And it’s hard to be a kid and to have that voice with your parent. I think it’s really easy, you know, something I really struggle with — how do I make sure I achieve what I meant to achieve and the impact I’m supposed to make, but really being present for my children so that they can achieve what they need to achieve and have the impact they’re meant to make. 

And in nature, we strip away all the excesses of the modern world and are able to be purely present with one another in God’s creation. And it is such a gift. And we are so connected as a family. And we tell stories and we laugh, and we make up stories. and – On the final leg of the Grand Canyon, we sang every verse of 99 bottles of beer on the wall. But at the end of the hike, my oldest will tell me — Mom, I’m glad you made us do it. Bryce will hold my hand and Heidi will once again prove that she is a scrappy girl who’s going to take on the world.

AB: You guys recently did the Grand Canyon. Tell us about that.

LH: Yes, we did. 2019 marks the 10 year passing of when John was killed in combat. And again, back to life is chaos. It was really important to me that we paused and were intentional in remembering John, and taking the space to mark his passing, mark his life, mark his sacrifice, and mark our potential with a very deliberate challenge and victory. And so we trained to hike the Grand Canyon. We did the South Rim. My beautiful aunt passed away in March, my mom’s sister, and so my mom joined us in this endeavor. I was so proud of everyone. They would get weekly updates with the hiking clan and Heidi would go up and down the hills in our neighborhood preparing for this endeavor. 

We started at sunrise at the top of South Kaibab and we hiked to Ooh Aah Point and watched the sun cross over the Grand Canyon and really descended into beautiful trails of one of my favorite national parks in the country. We crossed over the Colorado River, we sent postcards from the base camp down at the bottom, and then we ascended back to the top. And it was hard with children. We did 20 miles of hiking, and they were champs. They were able to see such a beautiful piece of the earth raw and untouched and we were very thoughtful in remembering John, with receiving celebrations and support from friends who were part of our journey on the way. As the International Space Station crossed the Grand Canyon and the moon is up in the sky, we climbed to the top and finished the 20.85 miles of South Kaibab to Bright Angel in the Grand Canyon, and really honoring John and our journeys as well.

AB: What an incredible experience for your kids to have and for you to have with them. Just a trip of a lifetime. 

LH: It was. I can’t wait to figure out what our endeavor is this year. 

AB: Well, it’s crazy to me the level to which we go to remove ourselves from connectivity. I mean, the option to pick up my phone and put it on airplane mode exists all the time. Right? But I don’t do that. I have to go to these heroic lengths to get away from it all, to a place where no one can contact me instead of executing some level of self control myself. 

So, you described how the kids change their attitude over the hike. But I have a kid here who, Huck, he’s seven right now. And sometimes he hikes so slowly that I swear to you, he’s hiking backwards. Is there a specific secret to success here?

LH: I believe very firmly in the power of snack motivation. So I mean, this is all relative. Each team has a different motivator. I’ve taken the kids on the hikes since they were babies. I put Heidi in her pack and I remember that the first hike I took them on all by myself was Staircase Rapids, and it’s a two mile loop. Okay, so right now I look at it and I laugh because it is so simple. And the first time I made it, probably two thirds of a mile, and I thought — this is way too dangerous. And we stopped and had a snack and we turned around. It is a rolling hike that is incredibly safe and not dangerous at all. But it’s been a journey and they’re conditioned to it. There’s been some ugly hikes, but we’ve battled our way through. But on the good hikes, I bring two thermoses, one of chicken noodle soup and one of hot chocolate. For the long hikes, they each pick a candy of choice. And so I’m undoing half of any health benefit by our nutrition choices. But it’s worth it.

AB: I think you’re probably building a muscle in there that cannot be impacted by candy. You know, a muscle for doing hard things and a muscle for, you know, seizing the moment and all of that good stuff, right? I think that that is something we have to develop in ourselves and in our kids. I mean, you don’t just wake up and do an Iron Man, right? You build up to it. And part of that’s, a huge part of that’s mental, right? Hey, if you can get there by candy, awesome.

LH: At the beginning of every rainy season, which is long and reliable in the Pacific Northwest, the rule is that we have to go for a hike. And it’s just this reminder for us that we’re setting the foundation that it’s not if we hike, it’s when we hike and that we will hike. And that has been a really — what is our habit as a family and what is our pattern. My oldest just took his high school entrance exam and I feel like my time with my children – I know, it breaks my heart – but my time with my children is so fleeting. It’s almost the time where he will be, you know, off in college and not in my arms’ reach. When my kids think about their childhood and their formative years, I want them to know that it was spent meaningfully, connecting with their family, celebrating, appreciating, understanding, learning the natural world around them, and moving and challenging themselves physically, emotionally, and intellectually. And I think that the outdoors is the stage for all of those stories.

AB: Wear Blue has a mentorship program that pairs Gold Star kids – that’s the term, for those who don’t know, for children whose parents have died in service to our country – with active duty service members for mentorship, but also for running as a part of that. All of that running is done outside. How do you see the outside specifically as being an important part of that? If it is, and why does being outside doors matter for that relationship?

LH: Oh, that’s a great question. So the program is harnessed in the physical activity of movement and running, right? All the research and the health benefits that come with that physical movement is also paired with physical accomplishment, right? And so being able to take them on an endeavor that feels intimidating and impossible and then overcoming it creates the foreshadowing and the example that these future challenges that our children will face in high school, college, and beyond, are surmountable. They’ll be able to look back on the success of those first 5Ks and the first run that they did with Where Blue: Run to Remember and know that they can and will do hard things. And I think the outdoors is the framework of it because it gives us the space, right? Our lives are confined to cubicles and rooms and cars, and it is limited. And the power of the outdoors is that it is limitless, like our dreams, our potential, and our lives. And we have to touch, be, live in that space to know that space and to know that potential.

AB: That’s so great. Thank you. Okay, we’ve come to the part of our podcast where we do a lightning round which is in no way lightning fast, but it’s questions that I have to know and they don’t necessarily fit anywhere else in the podcast. So we’re going to go for it. 

What is your most essential piece of outdoor gear? Like the most essential thing you have?

LH: Snacks.

AB: Yes. Snacks, behind this 100%. What is your favorite outdoor gear? So it may not be the most essential, but it is your favorite. Also snacks?

LH: Well, snacks are very important. But I love my gloves. I love my gloves.

AB: Tell us about them.

LH: I have $3 gloves from Target. I like to get them after Christmas when they’re 50% off and only $1.50. I like to purchase 5-10 of them because they will be eaten by my children’s backpacks. But I have such cold hands and so I stash them everywhere. And on really cold days, I can just throw in a little hand warmer. But I need to keep my hands warm. So it is actually my $1.50 gloves from Target.

AB: We often, in the outdoor gear department, try to make things more complicated than it has to be. And the magic of $1.50 gloves is perhaps equal to or greater than the magic of more expensive gloves. 

Talk to me about your favorite outdoor moment. Something that really sticks out in your mind as being just, you know, a moment you come back to.

LH: I would say it’s twice. It’s standing on the edge of Ooh Aah Point. When you go down South Kaibab Trail and the Grand Canyon, the idea is that you want to start before sunrise and beat the donkeys going down because that can make for a cumbersome, cumbersome journey. But the first time I went to the Grand Canyon, I ran it. My friends, Lisa, Lisa, Lisa and Denny.

AB: I’m sorry, is it three Lisas?

LH: Three Lisas and a Denny is really the only way to tackle the Grand Canyon. 

AB: I’m sorry, continue, you went down with three Lisas and a Denny.

LH: Three Lisas and a Denny. We stopped at Ooh Aah Point and watched the sunrise over the Grand Canyon. And the vastness of the sun and the canyon and how small I was, was such a powerful moment to find a sense of place in the enormity of this beauty. And it’s very humbling, but it fed me in a way that just wanted to make me continue to connect and be a part of this earth. It’s so basic, but it’s just sometimes you just keep doing and going, but it doesn’t give you place. It’s movement and we need a foundation to push off from, right? When you’re jumping or you’re moving forward, you’ve got to propel yourself, but you have to push off from something. And I think sometimes I’m in such a momentum forward that I lose my footing, and a sense of self, and who I am, and the why. And so to have this moment watching the sunrise in one of the most grand places in the world, gave me my footing and this sense of place in a very grand way. And then to return a couple years later with my children, honoring the sacrifice of their dad, of my husband, with my mom, remembering my aunt. It was a renewal, it was a renewal. So it was a celebration of Earth and really a gift of life. You know, a baptism to live in nature.

AB: I know exactly what you mean. I had an experience in the summer here, standing on top of a mountain, and it’s just this moment where you are both everything in the world and nothing at the same time.

LH: I feel very transcendentalist talking like that, but it’s true. And I think we need those moments, or we’re just moving without meaning.

AB: What is one thing you thought you’d never do outside that you’ve totally done anyway? For me it’s running a marathon, so now we know.

LH: Yeah, yeah, I like that. I like that. Very good. A hundred miler seemed pretty impractical. I remember when John and I were stationed in Hawaii my husband John was a swimmer. He played water polo at West Point, and so he was very good at it. And I remember he’s teaching me to swim. And so I had done the prerequisite two weeks of swimming lessons a year growing up and was no champion swimmer. But swimming was terrible. I mean, I was choking on water and it was probably not our finest moment in our marriage, when John was teaching me to swim. So the fact that I swam 2.4 miles and the World Championships at Kona, I’m really proud of that. It was really scary. But I think that swimming component of the Iron Man – there’s no way I ever thought that was going to be a part of who I was or what I did. And I did it.

AB: Congratulations, by the way on that. That’s just an incredible accomplishment.

LH: Well, somebody has to bring up the back of the pack and I take it very seriously.

AB: Thank you so much for being on the Humans Outside Podcast today. It’s been such a pleasure to hear from you and to hear your story and, you know, share in our outdoor journey together.

LH: I love it. I love what you’re doing, the story you’re telling, and this energy to get people to exalt in the gorgeous nature that surrounds us. So thanks for all your work, Amy.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Jump To section



Humans Outside Instagram

How does spending at least 20 consecutive minutes outside every single day since Sept. 1, 2017 change your life? 

We’re on a mission to find out.

[instagram-feed feed=1]

JOIN Us Today


Keep up with the latest podcast episodes, resources and announcements