Sunday, October 11, 2009
Earlier this summer I went down to ride with Bill (BILLALEX70) Anne (AMCG2002), Nancy (ROOKIERIDER) and Bill's buddy Ed (not a sparker). We had a blast and you can read my version in the blog titled 'Sparks flying in Mansfield (Ohio)'.
Bill and I have talked about riding together again, and finally we got together this morning for another ride. This time Anne, Nancy, and Ed were unable to join, but John, some other strong dude Anne and Bill ride with, came along. I think they are trying to find all these strong riders to see if they can leave me in the dust ... and some day it may happen.
Actually I was an easy target today. I ran 12 miles yesterday and I have not been on my bike for about a month - in fact I have not been much on my bike this summer, so I am an easy target.
We had talked about not riding if it was raining, so when we looked at the weather yesterday, it looked pretty decent. Well, I want to say - it was a gorgeous day for a bike ride. Not only was it great weather (some may disagree when I tell we started with a temperature of about 34), but the sun was out, and the fall colors were phenomenal. I live about 90 miles from where the ride started - and it was a gorgeous drive, and then the bike ride was just so pretty.
I could certainly feel that it has been a while since I rode on rolling hills, let alone be on the bike. But we did well. I think most of the time I looked the avg speed was 16.5-17 mph. At the end we did some spinning and the avg came down.
Bill and John - thanks for a great ride.... while I am writing this - I got a txt message from Bill (he went out to do the entire 69 miles (John and I did 37), and in retrospective that was a smart move on our part... I won't steal the thunder from Bill.
Ride on friends...
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Today I ran the Akron half ... I sent out a little report to my friends - I am copying and pasting it to you:
I have had a couple of people ask me for a race report from Akron half marathon, so I am sending out a bulk mail to a bunch of you honorees, friends, runners, and anyone else .. did I forget anyone?
I had not been training a whole lot before the 13.1, but I figured I could do it anyway.
Last night I went for the package pick up (which is where you get your race number). I also spent an hour and a half at the Team in Training booth attempting to recruit new participants to the program. I had a good time doing it, and met some really interesting people. Then drive home - dinner - get everything ready and get to bed, because 4am would be there soon.
I need to back track a little. A couple of days ago I got an email from one of my cycling friends from a previous bike ride that he would be running, and I got an email from one of my team mates from this years Cleveland Marathon who was also running, and we decided to meet and perhaps run together. Around the same time I learned from someone that her best friend of many years - her lymphoma had relapsed for the 4th time. Well, even though I was not running FOR team in training - I decided to dedicate the run to this person.
I got up, did my usual routine, and got in the car and drove to Akron. Parked my car. And found my friends at a preset place. Met some of the other team in training runners and two coaches. (there were 30 fundraising TNT participants).
Well, 7am the bell rang and ~11.000 runners were on their way. About one mile into the run a lady was fiddling with her ipod and slowed down right in front of me, and she went down. I saw her get up again, but I felt really bad about it (and it still bothers me). I did see her get up again, but in that mob-scene there is not really a way to turn around. - I hate to say it - but I was rude and did not stop. The run continued and I did a pretty good speed, until about mile 4 when I had to slow down... I am not sure why. It lasted for about one two miles - not sure .. but then I picked up speed, and kept the speed ... getting me across the finish line at 2:08-2:09 (unofficial) ... which shaves about 7-8 min off my previous personal best. How can you not be happy with that?
I got my medal, got my bag (with change of clothes) ... and made a quick exit to the car, and drove home. The weather forecast yesterday called for rain, but during the time I ran it was perfect. I left - got on the freeway - and there was the rain WOW.
It was a good race - I feel really good - and I hope I transitioned some positive energy to the person who is currently going through chemotherapy. Next weekend is a two day bike ride in Ashtabula county, and then October 18, back on my 'happy feet'... half marathon in Detroit.
- three disciplines - one mission - one goal
Thursday, September 24, 2009
For some reason I started to gain weight last week. The gain was at a rate which made me puzzled. Today I reached approximately (for my eyes only) lbs, and I started looking at what I ate, what I had changed, until I reached an ah - ha moment. I found the culprit. A food which was low in calories (and I should have known better) turned out to have a LOT of salt in it - WOW ....
the morale of the story - read your labels and be very careful with the amount of sodium. This particular item would have given me a total of 420 cal if I ate the whole thing - but at the same time it would also give me a whopping 3000 mg of salt. And I wonder why my weight increased. It is all retention of water.
'Say no to salt"....
Saturday, September 19, 2009
I am going to come with some musings I thought of after todays bike ride.
I realize not everyone have the luxury of having health insurance, but that is for a different blog entry.
A couple of years ago I was friendly with one of our environmental services employees. We were talking health, and she shared with me that she was hypertensive but had not seen her doctor for - I can't remember how long. I suggested she saw her PCP, and she did. When he saw her - he had her schedule a physical. That possibly saved her life. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. Subsequently she had surgery but no chemo or radiation.
About a year ago I had a conversation with one of our MD's. We talked cycling, and health. Well, I finally succeeded in having him go and have a physical done. We then talked about bike riding ... after 1 year he had a physical and today we went bike riding for 25 miles (I added some miles to the meeting place and home). Of course the MD found his cholesterol numbers were in need of correcting.
I am sure all of us have someone who inspire us in our journey. I certainly do. I have set goals. Those goals are mostly not in lbs, but in healthier behavior, and to brag - my second (preventive) stress test was better than my first.
Look at yourself in the mirror. Look at what this journey have done for you. Then take it and apply it to something you care about and make them healthier, and because of that feel better. We can - each one of us - make a major non-partisan contribution to the health care reform - live a healthier life - feel better ... and if you like bike riding ... well then it is about the bike.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
In my previous blog - I talked about the bike ride 'spokes of hope'. The first spokes of hope is currently taking place. Because of my planned vacation to Europe I cold not be part of it. However, next year I will be.
Spokes of hope was conceived by my friend, cyclists extraordinaire (national champion and state champion) and breast cancer survivor. It is a bike ride which will start from different parts of the country and end at the National Cancer Institute - and then with the participants proceed to Capitol Hill with the purpose of advocate for cancer care and survivorship.
Below is a very emotional (warning) account of why we are riding for spokes of hope, and trust me - I will be there next year to meet the Michelle's out there and to say 'fight like hell'. By the way the author is a 20 year survivor of brain cancer.
livestrong & ride2live
Rather than tell you about the entire day I want to share the one piece that shook me to my core. Our group had ridden to the third stop of the day. We were visiting the cancer center in a west side hospital. We had the SoH banner out for all to sign, Livestrong bracelets ready to handout and our "army" ready to go into action.
It was here that I met a beautiful 22 year old woman named Michelle. She slowly walked into the room wearing PJ's and socks. Only a few strings of blond hair stuck out from her blue bandana. Her face was pale and blood was visible in the whites of her eyes. Her hands and body could not stop shaking. She was so quiet and soft spoken. It was difficult to hear her when she spoke but when she did I hung on every word.
Michelle is battling Leukemia and recovering from a bone marrow transplant. After talking for a while I gave her one of the bracelets and then asked if she would like to sign the banner so she could "go with us to DC." She agreed and we walked slowly over to the banner where she got to meet Cindi.
The three of us sat in front of the banner and we all talked. Michelle is the mother of a three year old boy, David. She has not seen him for months. The doctors have not allowed the visit due to the possible passing of germs. She was so sad. Her heart was broken, her body was broken and almost to the point that her spirit was broken. As a parent, I hate to be away from Aneshka when I go out of town. This trip alone is for more than a week and I miss her so much. I cannot imagine being denied the hugs, kisses and whispers of, "I love you, Daddy." Especially during a time of struggle, when you need those the most.
Cindi was talking about cycling and I asked Michelle what she did for physical activity. She said, "nothing." I told her that just getting up and walking was going to help her heal and feel better. She told me that she was not walking much. It clicked for me and I told her that if she started to walk more, the quicker she would heal and thus the sooner she would have David in her arms again. She smiled. As I teared up I told that you have to find your reason to fight and for her it was her son, David. You have to get up everyday and " Fight like hell" I told her. Her way of fighting could be as simple as walking often.
Before she got up to make a visit to her room Cindi offered her one of the SoH cycling caps. Michelle quickly pulled of her bandana and let Cindi slide on her new fashion piece. Michelle smiled.
As she walked out I started to talk with another group. I had just gotten into a conversation with this group when Michelle slowly made her way back into the room. Both Cindi and I were talking elsewhere so Michelle sat down alone. I watched from the corner of my eye and could see she was sad. We were just finishing our conversation when I saw Michelle making her way to the door. I was blessed with hugs and handshakes from my new friends and then bolted for the door. Michelle seemed to be slowly dragging herself down the hall.
I walked up to her and told that it was pleasure meeting her and that she would be in my heart and mind this entire trip to DC. She put her weak arms around me and gave my a tremendous hug. Almost like a death grip. She didn't let go and started to cry on my chest. As tears started to flow from my eyes I spoke softly into her left ear. "Fight for David. Fight for yourself. Fight like hell!" Every care, problem or issue in my life disappeared at that moment. All I could think of was the pain Michelle was going through and how much I wanted her to beat the cancer, feel better and be with her son.
We said our goodbyes and I went back into the room with the banner. Our time was winding down so we moved chairs back into place rolled up the banner and made our way out the door. I was not ready to get on the elevator. I so wanted to find Michelle and say something profound, motivate her or just be there for her. I looked down the hallway wondering which room was hers. As bodies moved through doors and adjacent hallways I saw the yellow and black cycling cap at the end of the hall. She looked weak and exhausted. She looked sad and scared. But none of that mattered because she was walking. I waved and she did not see me so I moved and waved again. She lifted up her right hand just a little bit and nodded her head softly. She was up and fighting.
I have been an emotional wreck since meeting Michelle. Jay, one of the great people on this SoH tour, told me why I feel this way. "Because everyone we have met so far has been a person. Michelle was a patient.". He is right. I also believe the her pain reminds me of my past and makes me look deep inside myself as I step into this new battle with the two new tumors. Meeting Michelle is another reminder for me to "Fight like hell!"
The Spokes of Hope Tour started out for me as a celebration of my 20th anniversary as a survivor. It is so much more than that. Along with taking the advocacy and awareness issue to DC we have the opportunity to touch the lives of others going through this battle. We can help them by listening to their concerns, sharing or experiences and just simply showing that we care. We can help them by showing everyone that cancer doesn't have to be a death sentence. We can help them by giving them hope. Hope is contagious (as proudly displayed on our banner). We can help them by leading by example. That means each one of us is out there "Fighting like hell!"
Thank you for letting me spill my thoughts and emotions. I know this was long but I needed to share it. Today really hit me hard and writing this has helped me find some balance again. Tomorrow, as I struggle up hills on my bike I will be thinking of Michelle walking down that hallway and being few steps closer to hugging her son. That's the motivation for me to pedal my way to DC.
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