Pain is temporary.

January 4, 2013

It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place.  If I quit, however, it lasts forever.

– Lance Armstrong

I know he’s no longer considered the “golden boy” by many.  But despite what he did or did not do (honestly, I’m very eh about that whole thing), what he said is true.  Yes my legs may hurt from doing lunges or squats and the simple act of sitting down leaves me whimpering.  Yes my arms may hurt and I keep forgetting to not do this, or that and let them rest.  But if I didn’t have that pain, it would mean I’m not doing something good for my body.  And it would mean I’m not doing what I can to counter the MS and make sureI stay as mobile as possible if that’s a situation I face in the future. 

With that being said, remind me of this when I have to face a long run this weekend and I don’t want to because my feet still hurt from the blisters I have developing after the last couple of runs.  Don’t worry, I’m going to do it.  I already plan on making a trip to get moleskin, or whatever it is that is needed for blisters.  And new shoes are in the plan for the weekend.

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Man, what a weekend!

April 23, 2012

It was the 25th anniversary of the National MS Society Mid-Florida Chapters Bike MS. And my 5th year of participation! The last 3 years I’ve volunteered, the first two years were as a SAG (Support and Gear) driver and this year I coordinated the SAG Drivers along with Dad. Going into the weekend everyone was performing an anti-rain dance, sun dances, doing anything they could in hopes that the rain would hold off until AFTER the ride. The weather forecast was calling for rain at the least and we were hoping that was all we would get. Thankfully on Saturday we didn’t get any rain. It was overcast and then breezy, which helped a lot at keeping the heat down. We also didn’t have any medical emergencies this year; part of that was due to the cooler temperatures. The century route was closed as a precaution, although we did have a rider get confused and end up on the century route, even though he meant to take the 50 mile route. Oops 🙂

Because the century route was closed, Saturday was the earliest the ride as finished in years. Dad and I were in Orlando by 3pm! It was a little too breezy to go swimming, plus I was the only one who brought a suit in hopes of possibly making it into the beautiful pool at the Caribe Royale. Sunday was forecast for more rain, a 60% chance by noon. But the morning was decent, we didn’t have to delay the start of the ride this year thankfully. My SAG drivers got out on the course and I headed back to Lake Wales to direct them all. The first riders made it back to Bok Tower at 9:15, a mere 2 hours after the start of the ride!!! We did get some brief rain showers late morning, but they were thankfully very brief. I would say that the ride this year was a definite success. Sadly we had less volunteers this year than in years past, but we were able to make the ride go as smoothly as possible for all participants. I’m already looking forward to next year.


Hotpads for Hope – Currently Available

March 4, 2012

The following are currently available for $5 each plus shipping. Remember, proceeds are going to the National MS Society Mid-Florida Chapter. If you see one you would like or would like one in a different color, email me at ridetoerasems@gmail.com.

            


Step by step

January 18, 2012

On March 24th I’m participating in the National MS Society Mid-Florida Chapters Walk MS that is being held at Lowry Park Zoo.  The funds raised via the Walk (and Bike event) are used to help those living with Multiple Sclerosis here in the Mid-Florida area.  Funds raised help people afford durable medical equipment to make living their lives easier, it helps people afford disease modifying medications that they may not otherwise be able to afford.  Funds go to research to help find better medications, why MS happens and hopefully, one day soon, a cure. 

MS is something that has been a part of my life since the late ’80s when my dad was diagnosed.  In 2006 I received my own diagnosis.  The symptoms vary greatly and it affects each person differently.  I walk so I can help people who are affected worse than I am, I walk so that one day someone does not have to hear “You have MS”; and I walk so that my own version of this stays just as it is and does not get any worse.  Please help me. You can help by donating here.  Every dollar helps, so even if all you can do is $1, that’s ok. It helps.  Thank you.


It’s Started!

July 26, 2008

Last year while fundraising and preparing for the bike MS 150 I had noticed the name of a lady that seemed to rock at the fundraising.  Sadly, she didn’t end up being the highest individual fundraiser.  But she still did very very well. 

One day at work I got an email from someone named Meghan who was asking me about the interview I did for our company paper during disability month.  She mentioned that her mom was recently diagnosed and that she, her husband and other family members were doing the bike MS 150 also.  And it clicked for me!  This Meghan at work was the same Meghan whose name I was seeing for so long as the top fundraiser. 

Meghan and I met in person on the second day of the ride.  When the ride was done and we were settled back into our regular routines we started email to see how it went, how we liked it, etc.  We’re both undecided about riding next year thanks to the hills.  If we don’t ride, we do plan on volunteering.  But, that’s not stopping us from trying to create a team.

To borrow and adjust Julie’sphrase, Meghan and I work for a HAC (huge ass company).  Our office in Tampa consists of five buildings and over 3000 employees.  And I’m pretty sure those employees include temps, and I don’t think that number includes the contractor companies we have – Aramark, our security and maintenance.  So with that number of people, Meghan and I connecting feels a little like finding a needle in a haystack!  But Meghan isn’t the only one I connected with that weekend.

During the course of the ride I noticed a gentleman wearing a jersey with HAC’s logo on it.  I went up to him and commented that I didn’t know HAC had a sponsored team.  I learned that the Tampa campus, which he works at, doesn’t.  But the Jacksonville campus (JAX) which his daughter works at does.  And he joined that team and would be riding with them in September. 

Thursday Meghan and I met with one of our HR reps to discuss what steps we need to take to start a team.  Sadly, and understandably, the MS Society is not a corporate sponsored charity, therefore the HR rep’s hands are somewhat tied in what he can do.  And we have to be very careful and walk a very fine line while recruiting people.  But, remember the JAX team I mentioned?  I found the captain of that team and sent him an email.  Meghan and I are going to be talking with him Monday to see how they got set up, how they were able to advertise for riders and volunteers for an event that solicits money and potentially may even become an offshoot of their team!  He said that HAC has 15 teams that participate in the walk and bike events around the country!  Last year his team of 226!! raised over $110,000!  Needless to say, Meghan and I are very very excited to get all of this started!

So, anyone in Florida or interested in heading to Florida next spring for the bike MS, wanna join our team?  If you do, go to my about page and send me a message!  We’d love to have you!


Clarification

May 5, 2008

I need to clarify Mom’s role in my decision to ride in the MS 150. When I wrote posts one and two it was pretty much right as I had gotten home Sunday after the ride. I was very tired and it’s been brought to my attention that some things can be and were taken in a way I totally didn’t intend and never occurred to me that it could be taken that way.

Mom is one of my best friends. She is someone that I can go to with any problem, any story or any time I need her. When I first told her I planned on doing the MS 150 she told me she was concerned about my ability to actually do the ride and finish. NOT that this was something I couldn’t do. But something she was concerned about my ability to do and not have my body get wore out or give up on me.

Mom’s concern was actually a good thing for me. It made me more determined to do what I could to complete the entire 150 miles. Her concern made me want to “prove Mom wrong” and, in a sense, prove me wrong. Although I can go to Mom anytime I have a problem or concern, this was something I didn’t share with her. I didn’t share with John, or anyone else. It’s not even something I really admitted to myself. After all, I was the one who’s legs felt like they were wrapped with saran wrap after getting off the stationary bike, the one who can no longer do a simple cardio class because my legs get too tired. The one who occasionally gives in and cries in the shower because my body won’t let me do those things anymore.

I didn’t want to admit to anyone that maybe this was going to be too much for me. So I clung to Mom’s concern. I let it drive my determination. And no matter how concerned Mom was, she still was behind me every step of the way. She has supported me through everything in my life. And I’m very very thankful that she’s not only my mom, but also my friend.


bike MS 150 – Day 2

April 27, 2008

Welcome to day 2 of the bike MS 150!

Day 2 started almost as early as day 1. The four of us (John, me, Mom and Dad) stayed at the host hotel, The Rosen Center, in Orlando rather than make the sometimes hour drive back to Lakeland. Breakfast started at 5:30, so today we got to sleep in to 5. Yes, again this is AM, while it’s still dark out. I did get a lot of sleep last night. I think I was asleep by 8:30, but try telling that to my body, it doesn’t like mornings. Especially when it’s still dark out.

John and I tossed around the idea of just hopping SAGs all the way to Cypress Gardens. And since I forgot to mention it, SAG is Support and Gear, it’s the people driving the route to pass out water/gatorade, minor first aid supplies and to pick up riders when needed. Some riders were just wore out, some were a little sore and needed a little rest, some blew out their tires and needed a ride to the next stop and the bike mechanics. I have a hybrid bike, so unlike all those very skinny bike tire peoples, I had no tire problems at all.

While we were at breakfast Mom and Dad started talking to one of the other volunteers. She said her name was Shannon and that she had ridden twice previously. Her husband and a friend were riding while she was a SAG driver. As we were talking, her husband mentioned being dropped last year when they had stopped at a gas station to get more water because the last SAG had gone buy and not looked in the parking lot of the store to see if any bikes were there. This clicked something for me (forgive the side trip here).

Last year after the ride I was on the Weight Watcher messenger boards and was a little bored. I headed to the 30 year old board, since I’m soon going to be in that category, to see what people were saying. I noticed one poster had listed in her signature line almost completing the 2007 MS 150 ride. I had gotten in contact with her to get an idea of what the ride was like, what to expect (guess I should have asked about the course!), and she had also told me about being dropped on the ride. So when Shannon’s husband mentioned this, I asked her if she had been on the WW message boards. Imagine our very pleasant surprise!

Anyway, John and I decided to head out and go as far as we could. When I woke up this morning the muscles behind my left knee were very sore, and the joint area on my right knee hurt. My legs other wise felt pretty good. That helped us decide to keep going. I pulled on my bike shorts (uh, bike store people, those of us with wider loads need wider padding!) and we headed to our bikes, and headed out with everyone. No, my butt wasn’t happy to be back on my bike again so soon after so many miles. Like yesterday we did pretty good. Our average to the first two rest stops was 14.4 miles. I even passed people today! On my bike without being in a SAG. Although I did start to develop a hatred for the “Uber Bikers” (Shannon’s very apt phrase), the bikers who average 20-25 miles an hour and who finished the century (100 mile ride) on Saturday in about 4, 4 1/2 hours!

When we got to rest stop two, my left knee was doing better, but my right was still hurting a little when I bent my knee. That was livable and no big deal. But getting off my bike I noticed that the muscles in my thighs felt a little weak. I walked around a little bit to try and keep those muscles loose, then joined the line at the porta-pottys. We did get a good laugh while waiting. One lady in front of John mentioned the handicap one being open since the indicator was green. So John went and opened the door, on some poor lady using the toilet! No, the lady in front of John was not aware someone was in there.

Heading back out, I made sure to tell John about my thigh muscles so he would know how I was doing, and we agreed to continue on. He said we’ll take it slow and get your muscles warmed up again. As we continued on I actually started to slow down and it was getting harder to push on. At stop three, I got off my bike (after climbing a small hill biking into the rest stop!) and headed to the snack table. My legs were weaker this time and I don’t know if I could have crossed the street back to my bike without support. I truly felt like my thighs were going to give out on me. So back onto the SAG wagon for me. John headed off into the hills (literally) on bike and I got to rest and relax in AC.

We got back together at the lunch stop and we both hopped Shannon’s SAG to rest stop seven (final rest stop). John’s back was very sore heading into the lunch, so we decided to bypass the rest of the ride. John did ride the last leg into Cypress Gardens and I hopped another SAG (this is starting to sound like bus or metro transfers). The driver let me out into the parking lot. He would have taken me to John’s truck, but I told him that I said I was going to cross the finish line on my bike. I did end the tour riding about 2 blocks, my thigh muscles were still feeling very weak while on my bike. But I said if I was dragging my feet or if John was pushing me, I was going to cross that finish line on my bike.

I don’t know if it was being so tired (remember, we were up while it was still dark out both days), or just the fact I managed to do as much as I did. But crossing that finish line was, and still is, a very emotional moment for me. I collected my medal while on my bike and with tears coming out of my eyes. Yes, I proved Mom right and my legs were not able to do the entire ride, but dammit, I did half of it. I did about 80 miles in all and I hauled my body, wide load and poor tired legs and all, up all those damn hills. I DID IT!

Day 1 I did about 53 miles and today I did about 26-27 miles. John did around 116 miles total. And while I did develope a slight hatred (ok, resentment?) towards the Uber Bikers, I have the utmost respect for everyone involved, from the organizers, to the bikers and all the way to the volunteers. Trust me, those volunteers worked just as hard as we bikers did. Check this poor tired volunteer out. I know that I’ve said I can pretty much sleep anywhere, but this person takes the cake, sleeping the way s/he is in the DJ tent with the speakers right there.

And I thank everyone for supporting me, both with financial support as a donation to the MS Society and emotional support. It means so much to me and Dad that so many believed I could do this. However, next year, John and I think we’ll be one of the SAG vehicles instead. I think I’ll stick to the MS walk, it’s only 3 miles.


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