Sunday, February 23, 2014

Goals


Good intentions
On the mind
Although I sit on the couch
Listening to the same old noise
So now to make some goals...

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Introducing Team We're 'A Mess'

Updated 5/28/2014 to update fundraising goals. If you are interested in donating, pay special attention to the individuals highlighted in yellow below, as they could still use some assistance in reaching their goals.

As you all know, I very publicly announced on my blog that I have Multiple Sclerosis. You can read that post here.

MS is a sliver of my life that will probably shrink and grow and shrink and grow throughout my lifetime. It will not take over my life by any stretch of the imagination as it is only part of me, not all of me. With that said, I appreciate every person who has supported me over the last eight months since I was diagnosed.

In true Sarah fashion, I am doing the MS ride, Pedal to the Point, as many of you already know. I want to acknowledge every person who has joined my team, We're 'A MESS', as they are committing to this ride in an effort to raise money to fund MS research and supports. Take the time to read a very short blurb about every 'current' member of our team. You, too, are welcome on our team!!! Simply click this link and click join on the right hand side of the screen. Or, if you prefer, donate to one of the amazing people who are riding this summer by clicking on their name below, and then clicking donate now!!! If you are unable to donate, your well wishes are just as needed and appreciated!!!

Introducing Team: We're 'A Mess'!!!


My Mom
Angie Brady - My mother, what can I say about my mother that many of you don't already know. Some words to describe her: Selfless, loving, full of grit, loyal, caring, compassionate. Best mom EVER!!! She needs $45 to reach her goal. *Update - Only $15 to her goal!!!







Bern
Bernie B. - My amazing brother!!! He would give everything he has to save a stranger's life. He saved a man while hiking the Grand Canyon, and many people don't even know the story. Honorable and loving man that I am proud to call my brother! He has reached his fundraising goal, but could always accept more donations. *Update - Goal exceeded





Christina (On the right)

Christina B. - My oldest sister, who used to be named the family exercise bully, but I have happily usurped her role. I have some of the most hilarious workout stories from my days in Colorado with Christina. She is the reason I have turned into a workout maniac! She met her goal.






David
David H. - OMG, I did my first metric century ride with this joker, and attempted to ride Vail Pass, and rode the Buffalo Classic, oh and Bike the Drive. Not only my cousin but friend. Not only a riding buddy but loving man! I'm so lucky he is my family. He still needs $300 to reach his goal. *Update - He needs $290 to reach his goal.








Elaine - A friend of my sister Janell will be riding with us in the fall!!! She decided to join the ride when Janell first solicited donations! I am so glad that she is part of our team as any friend of my sister's is a great person and a friend of mine!!! She needs $865 to reach her goal.

Janell
Janell E. - The first on our team to meet her fundraising goal!!! She is my sister, closest in age. I spent my life looking up to her, wanting to be just like her because of the kindness she extended to me on a daily basis (minus the fake pop she once gave me to drink when I was grounded, or when she vacuumed my back, or put boogers on my shirt, or had me stick my tongue on a 9v battery). She is an awesome mother, wife, daughter, sister, and friend! I still look up to her!!! *Update - Far exceeded her goal





John
John - My sister Janell's awesome husband. Anyone who's chosen by my sister must be special. He is quite possibly the kindest man I know and such an awesome daddy! I'm luck to have him in my family and am extremely honored that he would ride his bike on our team! Needs $50 to reach his goal. *Update - $30 to goal.








Me and Aunt Mary
Mary D. - My red headed aunt who made my life interesting from the moment she laid eyes on me. We have shared many adventures from St. Louis (my first plan ride) to riding around in her trunk. A very special lady indeed!!! She still needs $265 to meet her goal.




Meredith
Meredith B. - The newest addition to the Brady clan. She puts this smile on my brother's face, that lights up the world and that is enough to make her very special to me. Every time I hear the song Soul Sister by Train, it reminds me of the love my brother and Meredith share. She has reached her fundraising goal and can always take more donations. *Update - Way surpassed her goal!



RJ
RJ. W. - It is so funny how your brother in law's family can become so infused with your life. I have had the pleasure of competing in triathlons and other races with RJ. He is an avid cyclist and someone to be admired! I very much appreciate his kindness and encouragement and look forward to exploring the Ohio countryside with him! He still needs $235 to meet his goal.








Me and Sue
Sue H. - The person I am most honored to call my friend. Accidental 60 mile bike rides are common with Sue, along with random house projects, cat towers, yoga, running, adventures, story telling, tears, hearty laughter, etc. There is never a dull moment with this very dear friend and I'm so lucky to get to share so many adventures with her, including this ride!!! She still needs $235 to reach her goal. *She met her goal




Me and Tina
Tina H. - Like a sister to me, Tina and I spent summers mowing the lawn and cleaning the swimming pool after work. She lived at our house and she became like part of the family. I'm so delighted to get to spend a couple days with her on this ride. Goal met!
AND if you want to join our team, we are glad to have you... Join HERE!!!!!!!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Tucker's Tower

Piper and Dukie
It was four weeks ago yesterday that I filled out the paperwork to adopt Piper. I went to the Pet Smart with Sue and Piper proudly followed me, on the other side of the glass wall, from one side of the cage to the other. I fell in extremely like with this cat, not wanting to fall in love because the adoption wasn't yet approved. After picking out Piper and filling out the paperwork, in true Sarah and Sue fashion, we walked around the store talking about the things we loved while picking up items for the pets we both already had at home. We came upon the cat towers to which Sue announced that Tucker (Sue's cat) would LOVE one of those. We checked out the prices and in true SARAH fashion I announced that we could easily make one of those for a fraction of the cost!!! Two hours is all it would take!!! We took a couple of pictures and headed to Home Depot.

I started building the tower that, or the next day... Can't remember which. I made a number of errors in the first cuts and construction, and ultimately had to start over.

So how does Tucker's Tower relate to my athleticism? Well, some would say that it doesn't relate at all, but in comes the metaphorical side of me...

This year, half marathon training has been a little slow going. The long runs seem REALLY long, and the short runs seem extremely difficult. This all has me reflecting on the first time I trained for a half marathon. I was kind of training alone and every run felt like the first run of my life. I made it through the training and proudly finished that race, but every time I took the first step in front of the other I felt like I was starting over. You probably know that feeling of defeat when you feel like the work that was already put in, just the day before, doesn't seem to pan out to making the next day better. But then you amazingly have the ultimate success of the finish line or completing the cat tower, proving that every ounce of work/effort put into it was worth it...

Tucker's Tower
Better picture coming soon.
Well this training cycle is proving to be the Tucker Tower and very similar to the first time I trained for a half marathon. The two hours (wink wink) that were put into the cat tower project seemed to be met with one step forward and two steps back. The short term successes were often lost on the long term planned success. And here I sit, super proud of each and every step, regardless of the direction, that led to the success of a tower, that was ultimately ignored by the cat that I made it for!

So, what is the lesson learned in all of this? I need to remember that even the short term steps backward have a purpose and are ultimately steps toward the larger accomplishment. 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Olympics


The last time the Olympics were taking place, I was participating in my first Olympic Distance triathlon. Since then I have had other significant athletic accomplishments. I love the Olympics and will probably spend more time watching TV than I'd like to admit, over the next several weeks. I am partial to a few sports, and there are a few sports I wish they didn't televise because I find them painfully boring, but that doesn't discredit the athleticism that goes into each sport, even the sports I don't quite understand. 

The last time the Winter Olympics were on, there were a few gems that inspired me and motivated me in my training efforts. One gem that I still think about from time to time is this quote by Apolo Ohno:

"Before every day you go to sleep, ask yourself one question; Did you do every single thing you could today to make sure that you did your best? It's hard to answer yes, every single day. I don't want to look at in terms of me outworking the other competition; I like to look at it as me conquering myself. Me being able to face my own fears and distractions and weaknesses and say that I overcame them." 

It is interesting, if you have been around me lately, you know that I have been in a bit of a funk. Nothing to get too worried about for now, but enough for me to notice. When I'm funky I get insecure, exceptionally needy, road rage filled and generally not as pleasant and care free as I like to live my life. I started pondering this funk of mine and when evaluating what I have going this year I realized that although I am super excited about all of the activities I have planned this year, I still feel something is missing. Before anyone reads what they want to read between the lines, I want to point out the following:
  • I am training for a half marathon in Canada this summer.
  • I am training for a two day one hundred and fifty mile bike ride in August.
  • I'm trying to convince my friend to bike the Smokey Mountain loop with me in Tennessee.
  • I am doing a ten miler with my sister and company in May.
  • I'm doing a triathlon relay this summer. 
Non athletically:
  • I have the most solid person I know, as a friend, and thank my lucky stars for that daily.
  • I have a job that I love and excites me most days.
  • My family rocks, including my lovely pets (all 7 of them).
  • I have shelter, transportation, food and people who love me.
So what is the problem? Why the funk? Well I really don't know especially since I just identified some awesome stuff in my life, so I'm guessing that some stuff has caught up with me that I never finished dealing with and my diet has been less than desirable over the last several weeks (that is what a broken refrigerator does to you)? I NEVER want to discredit anything, or anyone, which is why I encourage people to NOT read between the lines of this post, because I have some very special things, people and pets, but sometimes, regardless of the awesome, a funk sneaks in.

Which leads me to an entirely bigger discussion of the difference between happiness and joy, which I will of course compare to athletic events... But I'm going to save that post for next week.

So for now, what am I going to do to conquer this funk? I am going to sign up for a triathlon... Oh, and watch the Olympics; that will surely help. 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Controlling the Crankies

I've had quite the couple of weeks, don't want to say they have been bad, because they haven't, they have just been...

I found myself exceptionally cranky yesterday. Things that typically don't bother me, lines at the grocery store or my neighbor parking outside of the parking lines or the mess in my house, annoyed the crap out of me. I walked around with my grumpy face, while not being very nice to anyone. Short answers are all that came out of me when anyone texted or called. It is funny, because my mom often hangs up with me when I am short, it is like she knows the fuse on my internal grenade is slowly shortening. Smart woman I say...

I could say that certain events over the past couple of weeks created my mood yesterday, but that wouldn't be fair. After all, we all have control over our reactions to things, even if we lose that control from time to time; so to blame my frustrations on other people, would be to say I lost control.

Anyway, the secret has been out for a couple of weeks, I've been 'trying' yoga. The imbalances of your life are reflected on the yoga mat, so they say. Not sure I believe that, but if you were a fly in the room, watching me fall off balance when in mountain pose, you might question my inner balance. Well, since yoga has been more frustrating to me than anything, and someone highly recommended restorative yoga, I found myself trying it out on Friday night. I'm almost scared to talk about the experiences because it was probably exactly what I needed to round out my week, even if it just confirmed for me that yoga instructors are their own breed. I'm scared to talk about it because I want it to be my little secret (ok so one that I share with my yoga partner in crime).

After ONE restorative yoga class, I can tell you I learned more about how to destress than I learned in four weeks of my beginner class. Yesterday, as I was downward spiraling in cranky land, I found myself focusing on my breath (and here I thought the instructors were all nuts), and then I found myself laying with my feet up a wall. I did that more because my legs hurt from my run in the morning, but damn did it feel good. Every time I thought of the narrative used by the instructor on Friday night to explain the benefits of this pose, I belly laughed, and slowly the cranky began to lift.

I certainly wasn't in my favorite place mentally when I went to bed, probably because my annoyance over some events were still on the mind AND Dukie decided to sleep diagonally in my bed, which left me a mere corner to curl up in a ball (role reversal at its best), but I can honestly say a moment of taking care of myself through one little yoga pose allowed me to begin taking control of the crankies.