Sunday, August 28, 2016

Ridin for Myelin!!!

In 27 days, we ride again!

Janell, Christina, Sue and I will be riding through Michigan in an effort to support Multiple Sclerosis research. Why do we ride? Here are some of the reasons I ride...
  • I ride because... I can! Having multiple sclerosis is a journey that requires continuous adjustments. I acknowledge that every person, regardless of whether they have a chronic disease or not, has to make continuous adjustments in life, and those adjustments are hard. I can truly empathize with every person because my adjustments are often bring with them more laughter, more tears, more medicine, some depression, and even some regression. But like any steps backwards, there are more steps forward you can take...
  • I ride because... I know a lot of people with MS. Cousins, a neighbor, a friend from years ago, new friends, family friends, my siblings' friends. All of these people have struggles, but they also have amazing lives and a quality of life they wish to withhold long term. If I can raise money for research, for this purpose, I'm in!
  • I ride because... It gives me joy, most of the time. You may hear me say something different in the middle of a very long ride, but I can promise you the experiences and memories I create every time I just on my bike are ones that will be carried through my entire life.
  • I ride because... It keeps me healthy and mobile. As Newton's Law of Motion states, an object in motion tends to stay in motion. So, when you watch me stretch myself thin for the sake of exercise, it is with the intentions of keeping me in motion long term.
That is a very short list of why I ride. I have been reading my sister's posts about why they ride, and here are some of their words:
  •  I'm riding with a team in September to raise awareness and money for MS research. But you may not know that Multiple Sclerosis is the most common neurological disease in young adults, and afflicts more than 350,000 people in the US - including close members of my family. 
  • Curious about all the cycling posts? The mile markers, bike pics, random trail check-ins? It's all part of our family cause - MS (Multiple Sclerosis) research - and the long bike ride I'll be doing with my siblings and our team 'Ridin' for Myelin', in September.
  • I have a sibling, friends, and relatives who live with MS and would like to do my part to fund research for a cure.
I'm very lucky to have family and friends that will not only come out and spend a weekend with me, riding bikes through Michigan, but also willing to devote so much time to the training and energy it takes to prepare for such a ride. This weekend I saw that our team has logged over 300 miles in preparation for this ride... 

As I have in the past, I want to pay tribute to my riding buddies. They include:

Janell: My big sister... She has been looking out for me fiercely since I was little... Always the life of the party, always willing to help. Consider donating to my big protector: click here. 

Christina: My big sister... She has always wanted me to be healthy and is always throwing her words of wisdom my way. A big sister that has braided my hair, made me go for bike rides, and has always watched out for my (and everyone's) health. I wouldn't be riding if it wasn't for her. Consider donating to my exercise jump starter: click here. 

Sue: Well, this is the one who puts up with my antics, wakes up early on weekends to go for bike rides, and deals with my incessant need to talk. Always by my side, always willing to listen to my brain doctor for what he REALLY says, rather than what I like to hear. A true, best friend. Consider donating to my best pal: click here. 

And Me... Always being a little too goofy, making my friends exercise, and laughing at the jokes a bit too late. Consider donating: click here. 

There you have it folks, our small but mighty team... As we go out 'Ridin for Myelin'... Learn more about our supporters in a future post!

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Everyone Has A Story

I spent a couple of hours watching the Ironman 70.3 Ohio this afternoon and I found myself reflecting. So after a few months break from blogging I decided it was time to reflect through some writing...

I spectated near the run out (where the triathletes transition from cycling to running) for about a half an hour, and cheered on the runners as they embarked on their half marathon journey. I then went and sat in the stadium at Ohio Wesleyan University watching people cross the finish line of their 70.3 mile journey and suddenly noticed my face was wet. Why the wet cheeks? Well, of course because I was crying. I was crying because I understood the satisfaction, the pain, the elation of those people who were crossing the finish line of their race. I also found myself tearful because I knew every person who crossed that finish line had a story, a story worth telling, a story worth hearing...

While thinking about people's stories, it made me think about my story, and how there are so many things that make me who I am, and define my quality of life... And it is frightening when some, or all of those things are off balance. Why was I thinking about the lack of balance? Well because I finished a half ironman about 2 1/2 months ago, and just one week ago I decided it would be in my best interest to change my Olympic distance triathlon coming up in September, to an aquabike because I have accepted that running this summer was tainted by the extreme heat and humidity. To me, that is lack of balance. I think it is fair to say that my athleticism/health are a big part of my life story, at this juncture.

The other things that help me feel settled in life include the job I love, comfort at home, and my family/friends. If one or all of those things are off balance, the ideal situation would be that the other things come in and compensates. Perhaps you recall blog posts where I talk about each party in a relationship is only responsible for 100% of their 50%, but those percentages may need to fluctuate from time to time? Similarly, I feel that the four most important things that make me, me, are like quadrants that all need to be in balance. And that is a big part of my story because there are always external forces that can come in and upset the balance, for instance, the heat... makes running sometimes prohibitive. Other things that upsets the balance? A lot of travel, family emergencies, head aches, lack of energy, storms, money (or lack there of), drop foot, disagreements, inability to focus, etc.

Everyone in this life has points in time where everything feels off balance, and that is when this good ole extrovert thrives on sharing. Sharing the stories, the frustration, the pain, the experiences... The sharing is not to diminish anyone else's STORY, but hopefully a reminder that an ear is there if every you want to share your story. It also isn't meant to diminish anyone else's EXPERIENCE, or make it seem as though your own personal story is more important, but rather to learn about how other people have coped with their struggles.

With that being said, take a moment, listen to someone else's story, or share your own... After all, everyone has a story...