Friday, April 9, 2010

I am ready for a change.

It is time. I know everyone is talking about the constant change out there in the market, in business, in employment and in our personal lives. My world has been no different. However, I do feel the time has come to make a decision either for change or status quo.

I don't know about you but while change can be scary, I am ready for change. I think we have all been manipulated in to thinking that wherever we are headed it has to be somewhere worse than where we are, but what if it isn't? I mean what if the unimaginable happened? What if magic was real or even better, miracles happened? What could be the worse thing that could happen if we opened up ourselves to the future, to miracles, to taking risks? Could it be we might actually reach some of the goals we set for ourselves years ago? What if we created the next ingenious invention ever?? What things are we keeping from ourselves because we refuse to believe in the possibilities? I want more miracles to happen not fewer, I want to be in better shape than I am in now not worse, I want cures for Muscular Dystrophy and Diabetes, I want a strike of ingenuity to hit me out of no where and it makes my life or the lives of others better. I want change to happen, I want to grow and learn and become a better person. I want to see what the future holds...surely there has to be some magic just waiting to happen. Do you believe???

Friday, March 5, 2010

The Tucson Tour de Cure is this Sunday, March 7, 2010. Sponsor me here

Why I ride and Why the Tour de Cure.

I ride for my life, literally. I am a type 1 diabetic and I have 21 year old son with Muscular Dystrophy who can't ride, who has endured incredible odds every day of his life without complaint. It wasn’t until after his surgery a few years ago that put metal bars in his chest I realized; I had let diabetes define me. As I approached some of the best years of my life, I found I was lost and scared. I didn’t know what I wanted, I felt like I lost my identify, my independence, my confidence and my passion to experience life. I was doing what was safe and what was known. How, could I expect my kids to get out there and go for it when I had retreated? I then realized there is so much I was taking for granted and I wanted to be the change that I wanted to see in my kids.

It took me about a year or so to actually get on a bike, not because I didn't know how, but because I knew as a diabetic it was never a good idea to ride alone and I didn't have a bike. Then one day when I was at a spinning class, Roger, a man I had spoken to about cycling and spinning over the past year, overheard me talk about wanting to get out and ride, but I didn’t have a bike. The next week he gave me a Trek Elance Road Bike (1985, Reynolds Steel) with one condition, if I decided not to ride, I return it when I am done.

Well, last year I rode my bikes over 2000 miles including the 21 mile round trips to work. I am still planning to ride across America, but when is yet to be determined. A few of us cyclist have goals to do this and our hope is to coordinate our efforts for one big ride around the country.

There is one thing for sure the more I ride the more I find the ‘me’ I was looking for. I have not redefined myself, I have rediscovered who I was and who I wanted to be before the pressures of health, family and work took over. I loan my bike to women who want to learn how to ride because I want others to feel the freedom you get when riding out on a road miles from the familiar.

Now I ride for the freedom, for the friendships, for the environment, for my health, for the incredible support you get from being a part of the biking community and to use my abilities to raise funds for Diabetes and Muscular Dystrophy. I ride because others can't and for those who can but are afraid, I ride to encourage them to try. I ride because I feel a part of something bigger than just me on a bike. I ride to live and needless to say, I still have Roger’s bike…

Make your voice heard, support me in ridding our communities of diabetes.

Help Make a Difference!

Pedal power works!

Each mile I ride is my testament to live a life worry free and the
funds I raise will be used in the fight to prevent and cure diabetes.

No matter how small or large, your generous gift will help improve the
lives of more than 23 million Americans who suffer from diabetes.
Together, we can all make a difference!

Thank you for making a generous contribution to this cause that is so
important to me!

Sponsor me here

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Unexpected turns in Life's rollercoaster

Life's roller coaster has been wild and full of the unexpected. This years calendar is full with an 18th birthday, college& high school graduations, school graduation trip to Europe for Sedona, New York trip and Pectus bar removal surgery for Justin. It feels like the year is sooo jammed full, we barely have enough time for work or school.

Like always, Justin's surgery went perfect and his recovery was fast, fast, fast. Our trip to New York was great fun and we documented the traveling on the subway and train on Facebook. Then the news started coming in: Corey Carrier, past Muscular Dystrophy patient died of Swine Flu, My friends husband battling Hepatitis for 7 years was deteriorating fast and then the news that knocked my family off their feet, my dear friend of 20 years oldest son was killed on Monday morning driving home from who knows where. Morgan was my sons first friend, our boys loved to be together as evident in all the birthday celebration pictures we have from over the years. All this in 3 weeks!

The good news is Steve received a liver transplant a week ago, but that's about where the good news stops. Morgan's death has stopped us all in our tracks with our inability to stop the tears from rolling at will. Justin, my son, is also great friends with Morgan's younger brother, Orson. Their house was considered my kids "other home". As soon as I heard the news from my family on my return home from work, I turned around and headed out the door to Mary's. As information came in about the accident, we all sat in disbelief and bewilderment. What could have happened and then the infamous... Why?

Morgan was a 4th year engineering student with the world in his hands. Is that what haunted him, did he pick the wrong major, was he worried about getting a job? Not sure any of us can say for sure, but the Morgan we knew was a happy go lucky bright kid with a heart. What is so special about Morgan? Well, He was Justin's first real friend. He watched over Justin and sheltered him in some ways. Justin is our son who has Muscular Dystrophy and he couldn't keep up with all the really active fast moving kids, but Morgan didn't see that part of Justin. They connected around pretend branch guns, mud pies, legos and birthdays.

Morgan recently, in his college years, picked up a habit or possibly even an addiction. None of us are quite sure which but he loved to drink and at times drive. This is what killed our young friend full of life and a promising future. Many times his friends, some even in tears, would ask Morgan how he got home and unfortunately he couldn't remember the drive the route or if there were any issues along the way. Morgan had friends who cared, but there was something that made him feel alone. He is not the only person who has this experience, surrounded by love unable to see it. All of us have our moments, our doubts, our fear of being alone without a rope to climb, but we snap out of it or something happens that reminds us, we are okay. The question is, as a friend who is drowning, how many times do you throw the rope down, how many times do you give a hand only to find anger and hate in that moment? I guess the answer is until they see what you see in them, if you can take it.

Loving someone, means you love them with all their faults, all their anger, all their mistakes. It is finding the essence, holding on to that image until they see it themselves. The challenge is it takes a very very strong, confident, loving, compassionate person with a ton of courage to be this. You have to be willing to lose your friend in the short term to possibly have a friend for life in the long run.

I don't wish this experience on anyone, losing a friend is devastating to those left behind, wondering what they could have done differently, if they could have made a difference or changed the circumstances. All of us are left wondering if we should have reached out, let him know how much we loved him, that we thought the world of him and were willing to help him if he needed it, but you know what they say... hindsight and all...

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

What has kept Redcyclist away from blogging?


It has been a really long while since I have posted. Work took a turn to become extraordinarily busy. That means long days and by the way I work it means I work all week long as late as I can to get it all done so I can have my weekends to ride and relax. It also means that with longer hours comes added stress which seems to knock me out. When I have stress, riding doesn't always release it, it enhances the effects of exhaustion and frustrations so I get somewhat of a double whammy. Even still, I have been riding 3 - 4x a week in rain and high heat.

I have been taking longer rests in between weeks of riding which have been induced by family illness, surgeries and some bad weather. My fitness feels as though it is on a roller coaster so I signed up for Boot Camp at the end of July in the middle of summer and temperatures of 105 degrees. What was I thinking!!! I know, I was thinking I would be in great shape for training and preparation for the El Tour de Tucson to raise funds for JDRF, Ha! I had my sights set on a high performance ride in Nov, but summer issues are delaying my progress. I don't seem to have the fire burning that normally drives me to push my limits and train harder. Yup it could be classic symptoms of burn out, but mostly I can't wait to get up and going on my bike. There was one reprieve from the heat but not from the rain...

I just returned from a weekend ride in flagstaff with 85 degree weather intermingled with raging thunderstorms. A group of us headed to Mormon Lake from Flagstaff, about 60 miles, on 4th of July. The weather was overcast and nice enough to wear summer gear. We had a great SAG driver, Kyra (daughter of one of the riders) who supported us with food, drinks and rain gear. The road for the most part was pleasant to ride with one exception for a 4 mile block of construction. Other than that the route was full of rolling hills with some steep grades here and there.

We arrived at Mormon Lake in the middle of all the towns 4th of July preparations. There was traffic everywhere in this small town with a rodeo in full blown progress. Folks stopped us to ask us where we came from and how far we had rode. We were invited to stay around for the 4th of July parade, but declined as it would delay us 2 hours (a decision we later on were were glad we made).

We had a decent lunch then hit the road. Within the first 45 minutes we hit rain and out came the rain jackets. It rained just enough to cool us off and get my shorts soaked from the water that was thrown up from the wheels of my bike as I maneuvered through the running water that was now covering the road. Eventually it all stopped and the road slowly dried up. We returned back to the hotel by 2:45. We Brought our bikes inside to clean as it felt like a few drops were starting up again and within 5 minutes we had hail the size of almost almonds falling from the sky. The storm was crazy and we were all thankful we didn't spend one more minute at lunch or at our last rest stop. Thank you Dennis for mentioning we should get going and to Colleen for heading out ahead of us.

The rest of the trip, we headed to amazing fireworks, woke up and toured NAU on bikes, then headed to Sedona, Arizona for lunch. We had a small incident on the freeway, but no one was hurt except the suburban pulling 6 people, 5 bikes and 1 tandem. We made it home safe and sound. All I can say is it is always good to be home.

Now work is back on and I am finding it hard to get in gear and focus. Looking forward to this weekend's rides!

Happy Safe Riding Everyone

May you find your independence on a bike :)

Freedom is found where possibilities are realized

2 Living Life

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Climbing Hills and Riding 70 miles

I had been looking forward to this ride since late January. A friend of mine and I missed the Jan ride and wanted to organize another one so we could get the miles in. Leading up to this ride, I had my situation with my teeth happen (earlier blog) where I actually postponed taking care of the situation until after the Nogales ride so I could not only do this ride but log some miles in the 2 weeks prior.

In fact after the attack of the allergies, I regrouped, rode in the Bike to Work event and headed out on a 45 mile group ride the next day. I had done this particular group ride before so I was comfortable I could participate and return safely. Well, the ride took a detour due to road construction and became a high intensity hill climb, hill after hill after hill. I was having trouble keeping up and mid way through my GCM said my BS was dropping and under 100 but my glucometer said 177. So I ate a little more and finished my Perpetuem drink and headed back. I thought I was in good shape. Then we had a long hill climb on the way back which I think took it all out of me. By the time we hit my turn off to head back home, which was about 4 - 5 miles away, I lost my legs. There was nothing I could do. I was doing the motion but couldn't go any faster. I felt like I was on a crawl. When I got home my BS were below 65 and I was seeing black and white dots, it was all I could do to sit down. My husband who was on the ride with me, quickly made the TT1 bonk proof shake which has over 100 grams of carbs, not counting some of the additional stuff we added. I showered and laid down. I was out for a few hours. When I woke up my BS were just tipping 75.

I have never bonked before but this told me I needed to take the Nogales ride very seriously. In fact I was glad when my husband offered to SAG for us during the 70 miles.

The night before the ride to Nogales I headed to Performance, I was determined to find the highest carb goo or chewies I could find. I was going to ride the whole 70 miles without any mishaps.

The day of the ride started early, up at 5 am, ate my regular breakfast of 3 rice pancakes and a scoop of peanut butter, dosed 3 units instead of 4 and loaded up the car. I had prepared bags the night before with 2 bottles of perpetuem, juice, and coconut water. These puppies were fully loaded.

My husband also made us both PB and banana with honey sandwiches and I packed up the gels and Sharkies. We headed to meet the gang at the Manning House. There were 10 of us and we loaded up and headed South.

We arrived at Mariposa Road and stopped at the Wendy's there. Got our bikes out, filled up any last minute water bottles, took pictures and headed out. It was clear at the draw the leads were traveling quite a bit faster then I had in mind. A few of us hung back at our comfort pace but we were quickly brought back together as we were going to head on the freeway for a short jaunt. I have to say the freeway was a fast and smooth ride. We had a lot of room and I did not worry about cars much. Wish we could have done the whole ride there but I know it is not the safest way to ride. We continued North to our first stop, but I couldn't find my husband. A quick call and he turned around and met us 10 minutes later. I panicked a bit as he had our food and I knew I had to eat within the first 30 miles of the ride in order to use the nutrition for the last half of the ride. If I can keep my BS above 150, I know I am in good shape. I was around 160 so I ate 1/2 of my sandwich and drank a lot of my Perptuem bottle and then exchanged it for a refresh in the car. I wanted my BS to trend up but it was trending downward which meant I had to take in more then I would use before the next rest stop ~15 miles up the road. It worked and I kept my sugars a little high during the ride because I didn't want to worry about it.

The only issue I had during this ride was around mile marker 50 - 55, my neck hurt, my back was beginning to spasm and my knees were going as well. Tabot, my husband, was off to the side of the road a head which was perfect timing ( he took this picture as we arrived). We all stopped for a quick refresh. I was able to down a very cold G2 and some ibuprofen. I felt much better and it was just what I needed to finish the ride, although it did feel very long and there were times I felt like I wanted to jump into one of the SAG vehicles, but we finished. We finished 72 miles in less then 4 hours, including two sag stops.

We celebrated at the Manning House ( see pic) for a great spread of burritos, fresh fruit and drink. We had great company and a great ride. I love days like this. Can't wait for more...

The ups and downs of staying healthy

Sometimes it seems no matter how hard you try, how good you eat, how much you exercise and take the right supplements, sometimes your body just sends you a message. Mine is always through my teeth. My teeth are what told me I had diabetes, my teeth are what tell me something isn't right almost 99% of the time.

Well this time is no different. Over the last few months, I had been feeling tired and just plain exhausted. I took two weeks or more off just because I didn't have the energy to get on the bike.
Then I started having sinus headaches and ear aches in my right ear. Lastly, I went on a bike ride to participate in the Bike to Work week here in Tucson and participated in a difficult hill climb for 45 miles the next day. I struggled with energy and ability to keep up. The next day, Sunday, I had a bridge that came loose and then by Monday morning I lost the whole thing. Diagnosis: two cracked teeth appear to be the root cause. However, now that I have had that all fixed, a rather painful procedure that will extend up to 6 months, it was discovered I had a chronic infection in one of the teeth, which I had complained about for years but it was undetectable by I guess most xrays or other pieces of dental machinery.

So during my recovery, I have had a massive ear ache and incredible sinus pressure which appeared to be reacting to the fact that when the tooth was removed and the infection treated the antibiotics appear to be clearing up all the areas impacted or so I am hoping. However, the recovery has been less than ideal. I react to almost all pain killers with nausea, which means I am either in pain or feel severe nausea until it is all over. Yesterday I went to lay down at 2 pm got up at 5pm for 45 minutes and went back to bed until 6:30 am this morning. I had my first real food in 48 hours and it was nice to sleep in but it all gets worse by 6 pm every night. I am hopeful tonight may be different.

Either way I have been surviving on fresh fruit smoothies, protein shakes and soy ice cream. I am hoping to come out of this with renewed energy and hoping for a clean bill of health. My teeth for some reason, since I was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic have become my one health weakness, even though I brush 2 - 3x a day and floss.

Anyone else have interesting issues like this?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Are allergies affecting your cycling too?

Have you ever had a day where your legs don't seem to work, your breathing seems labored and your strength seems zapped? That has been my day, this whole month. I keep getting out on my bike but every time seems worse then the time before. I started back to spinning classes thinking I needed the aerobic workout to improve my endurance. I also took the fitness heart rate stress test, which looks excellent. However, I keep waiting for riding to get easier with big gains.

Spring in the desert is killer for me, allergies are the worst and everything related to oxygen is restricted. I now realize if I want to train, it may not be ideal in Tucson. Given this is where I live and work, not sure how to get around this. I am already on the decongestants, antihistamines, nasal spray and allergy eye drops. Oh yeah also on the asthma medication for the breathing part. Now is when I can't help but wonder if riding is going to be something I can do through the summer.

The hard part for me is I never know if I am over-training or if I just need to ride through it all no matter what the pace or cadence. I look forward to riding, but sometimes there are blocks of days I just can't move. I would really like to have fewer days like this and move back into the days where I raced to beat the lights or other cyclists who are testing their own speed and capabilities.

Now, I am hoping my riding buddies are going to keep me on my bike. The more folks who ride into work or on the group rides, the more likely I will stay on my bike and keep plugging along.
I hope this passes soon, I hate feeling soo tired...