For many years I have thought about running but, I didn’t know how or when. I would watch the Boston Marathon with amazement and see the stories of people accomplishing a full marathon despite various disabilities that society tells them they can’t do. Since 2011 I have been one to show MS and the naysayers the middle finger and defy what my body tells me I shouldn’t be able to do. That’s where the next journey is about to begin I have signed up for the Cowtown half Marathon that’s 13.1 miles on May 8th. Don’t get me wrong cycling will always be my first love because it saved my life but, I need to run! With the use of the what is called a Racerunner made by RAD I will accomplish this goal with looking forward to finishing a full marathon and hopefully running in Boston one day! Let the journey begin! Watch this space!
My journey as a Ultra-Cyclist didn’t start with cycling. Sure, I had to have the bike to actually do the riding but, my mindset had to be retrained that I could actually ride a bike.
The process of retraining the way I thought began the moment I meet the man behind Mindset Fitness and yoga Travis Earnhardt in 2004. One on the many things he told me the average human only uses 10% of the brain can you imagine what your body could do if you only use 10% more? That question has been the foundation of every step of my Multiple Sclerosis journey, handcycling and now my Ultra-cycling journey.
His commitment to helping not just me but 100’s of people with MS moving again is a true testament to a man that is on a mission to help people live a better quality of life through fitness and yoga. He truly changed mine and countless other Mindset about Fitness and Multiple Sclerosis.
If I would not have meet Travis in 2004 I can honestly say I would not be cycling let alone riding in Ultra-cycling races.
The word loneliness is a unpleasant feeling of isolation that have been living with for some years know. Despite having the most loving family and friends that someone could ask for. I sometimes find myself sitting in my room lights out wondering where life I am and why I made the choices in life that got me where I am today. My only escape from this cycle is my bike and training. When I’m riding 24-48 races I have a light that I can see my way at night. I don’t have that light in every day life I’m just a lifeless body going with the motions. In the process of trying to go back to work I had a psychological evaluation to help DARS with placement. What that evaluation came up with was that I might have ADHD and that’s probably the reason for my learning slowly growing up. I don’t know way this has made me slip more into the state of darkness but, it has. I will break out of this endless cycle of Sleep,eat,train,eat and sleep. What will it take? Going back to work or meeting someone that we can share our ups and downs are a few things that could get me across this finish line.
Don’t get me wrong I have a lot to be thankful for. I have Mom and dad that have supported me through life. My little brother that married to give me the little sister I never had. The best Niece I could ask for. My four wonderful children. The best things come last my beautiful grandchildren.
When I started this blog I said I would give you the real me with the good, bad and ugly. I will fight,keep moving forward and win like I always do.
I love ultra-cycling. It gives me a escape from my everyday life. That life that I’m still trying to figure out where I’m going. At times it’s like staring into a long dark tunnel not knowing where I’m headed. In this tunnel I don’t have me Oculus light to guide me through the darkness. I’m taking steps to make things better like looking for a job to help the bills and pay for this hobby Of Ultra-Cycling.
I haven’t worked in 15 plus years so I’m a little nervous. It’s a different world out there then when I was working. Like everything else I will give it my all to be has successful as I can be.
For now I don’t know how this will impact my training and races I do. I’m hoping to get with a company that will allow me the time for racing three or more times a year. If not the most important thing is getting me to the point I can take care of everything I need in life and later build the nonprofit organization that will promote and help disabled endurance athletes in the local DFW area!
Pace Bend started out like none of my other races have stress free! When I have a race I’m usually on the phone messaging the crew a month before checking to see if we have this or that not, this year. I have full confidence in Mike and crew . So, I just put everything together a week before. Just the easy going chill environment that I placed myself around made a world of difference.
I had been dealing with stomach issues in past races. I’ll spare you the nasty details because,they are documented on past blogs. So, I decided to go simple on my nutrition this time around. A simple ham sandwich on a Potato slider with mustard and a pickle slice. That’s it. Just like magic no bloating etc.
With no stress or stomach issues a was free to just ride my race and leave everything on the road. I started out pushing a Little harder then I should have but, as the sunset I settled into my pace so, the heart rate stayed low. being able to keep my heart rate somewhat under control my body was able to Digest the food I was consuming. I can’t say it enough not having the bloated stomach changed how I rode.
Going into race weekend I had wanted to do 62 laps but, on Saturday morning I made a personal decision that I just wanted to improve on last year’s results and if 62 happened then great! I knew by 7am that I was going to best last year. I came around the corner on lap 40 which was two laps over last year with 30ish minutes on the clock so, I was going to leave it at 40 laps. Has I veered into the finish I hear my hero and RAAM legend Dex Tooke say one more lap. In my mind I start doing the math and kept going. I knew I needed to push it harder then I had all night. Funny thing is beyond the soreness and the aches you find the little energy that is left to push through. Has I made the last left turn I glanced at my Garmin with only ten minutes on the clock. I switch to the big gears to a full out sprint to the end. When I took last curve I saw my good friends Chris Potter and Melissa Wheeler in costume! So, I kicked up another gear. Finishing that 6.2 mile lap in around 25 min with 5 mins to spare on the clock.
In that lap I learn more about myself and what my body could do then any of my races!
In closing I learned that despite the set backs I had in December and early January with Various health issues that with the help of my coach Brant Speed I have built up my strength over the pass 1 year plus that a little speed pump won’t stop me.
What’s next? I can’t answer that right now. The reason I need to work on issues such as going back to work so, I can afford this ultracycling life I have grown to love.
After. The Texas Time Trials I rode into November with high hopes and feeling really strong. Other then a few set backs in that race I was riding my race strong and felt better then I had. In November had no stomach issue trained everyday and finished with a total of 1,000 miles and my legs were really filling fresh,strong and unstoppable. Then December hit some stomach issues hit in a big way so. after talking with Coach Speed we cut back on the training in December.
NOW THE REST OF THE STORY!!!
I’m going on the limb and saying my stomach has to do with over stressing and nutrition. Why am I stressing you ask? I’m stressing over where I am financially in life and where I want to be. In order to do the training and races I do I have to be able to afford my fuel and still pay the bills.
What ARE MY PLANS TO FIX THIS!
I began the process of going back to work in late December with the Texas Workforce Commision. Like every government process it’s hasn’t gone as fast as I like. The good news it is moving forward. You know my saying “KEEP MOVING FORWARD”! The next step in that process is happening today with a psychological and IQ evaluation. I can save them sometime and tell them yes I’m nuts! We all know this already! I have also got back to focusing on my needs for fueling my body. For good measure I also have seen a GI doctor to make sure there are physical reasons and also a chiropractor.
HOW WILL THIS EFFECT MY RACING!!
Honestly, I don’t know at this time. I hope I can get with a company that I can have the time to train and still do a few races a year.
Right now I’m taking everyday for what it is. Keep practicing my yoga and focus on what will get me where I want to be in life.
If I gave learned anything in the journey with MS and endurance cycling we can’t control everything. We just need to roll with the punches and keep rolling down the road!
Stay tuned for the best things to come.
The last few years have taught me a lot in this sport of ultraCycling. It’s not about winning it’s pushing yourself to do what you can. This community of cyclist have welcomed me and supported me after my first attempt last year at the Texas Time Trials in 2017. I want more endurance athletes or aspiring athletes in my local community to have those opportunities to push their bodies to the limits. With saying that I will be talking with people in the near future about starting a new nonprofit to help with cost of these events no matter the disability there shouldn’t be boundaries that I struggle with just to get to these events.
The name of this nonprofit when I can make it come true will be
The True Grit Foundation
I haven’t written here in awhile so, I thought this was a good time after the epic weekend. Before, I start I’m keeping it real in this post so, there will be cussing and so on.
I decided early that I would make the mistake of not having a hotel room available for the whole race also that I would arrive a day early this year. That was one of my better decisions. That gave a place where the crew could take naps so, they had there rest.
We started racing on Thursday at 6 PM. I felt strong with averaging 12. 5 MPH if I kept the pace I would have finished the 503 miles. With any outdoor event you have to deal with a bitchy Bipolar Mother Nature . As you see in the title we good rained on and even had a monsoon. I was on a sleep break during the big storm because, Friday during the crazy humidity I became dehydrated and had a dry throat that made it definitely to drink. We took a ride up the road and got two bags of IV fluids then went down for the night. Feeling good Saturday morning I ate got back on the bike to finish it out.
Sometimes during racing it isn’t pretty and your crew has to clean things up when you shit your pants not only once but, twice so you can keep in racing. I owe those guys some drinks big time. Note: keep working on the nutrition. I’m on the right track because my stomach didn’t hurt like in the past. We will tweak the smoothie recipe a little.
I finished with 344.5 miles in 46 hours, 17,421 ft of climbing and 9,245 cal burned.
I know in my mind that without the set backs I would have finished it but, that’s not the important thing. The important thing is I’m inspiring people to keep pushing through!
It all in your Mindset!
I’m gonna side step off of the main topic of my blog of MS and ultra-cycling. The reason for doing so I can shine light on the fact that I went deaf for a whole year and because, of the good people at the Dallas Hearing Foundation a gift back when I couldn’t hear my young children. I became depressed when I couldn’t hear them laughing and playing. I missed those sounds desperately. I was asked what I want in life when lying in the hospital bed when we were trying to figure out why I was falling. My reply was to get out of here so, I can have my Cochlear implant surgery so, I could hear my kids. The nurse and doctor may have shed a tear or two.
You see my kids are the love of my life and I couldn’t imagine not being able to hear them again. I received my first implant in June of 2004 and my second February 2008. I’ve been through three upgrade and the hearing gets better every-time.
I’m hoping to change gears in fundraising so, in September I can raise funds for a organization that gave me the gift of hearing those laughs then and now I can hear I love you Pape from my two year old granddaughter.
#Ultracycling #Cochlear #DallasHearingFoundation #OculusLights #ScratchLabs #TexasTimeTrails
The night before the bike ride it a tradition that Mindset Bike Team have a team dinner and I make everyone cry telling them what this ride means to me. I didn’t let that tradition down.
What does BikeMS mean to me? It brought me to cycling that saved my life literally. With MS there is depression, anxiety and feeling that you are alone. Even with a loving family I had all of those and was lost and at on time had the thought of ending it all so I wasn’t a burden on anyone anymore. What I learned from that first ride is there is a community that is encouraging,loving and willing to help you in anyway that they can. I now have lifetime friends that I didn’t have before I decided to take on that challenge of riding a bike.
To the person that is reading this and are having those thoughts send me a message I’m here for you. After looking back I can’t imagine not being able to see my kids growing up, holding my granddaughter and seeing my grandson born in August of this year. There so much to life that I would have missed If I wouldn’t have rode that bike so many years ago.
To my family I love you from the bottom of my heart and I’m sorry I had those feelings back then but, it was something I had to work through and am damn,happy it turned out the way it did. Andrew,Kaitlyn,Cassie and James you four bring the light in my life and I hope I have taught you that you can overcome any challenge in your life. If you need me I’m here! Charlie Rose I know you’re two years old so, you won’t see this your energy and happiness bring joy to my heart and seeing you at the finish line was the greatest feeling a grandparent can have. I hope we find a cure soon so you and Jaxson will never know what MS is.
To the I Ride with MS riders in 2011 there were only a few of us and now there were 100. This is first awesome and second bring me to tears of joy that so many of you went out and gave MS the big middle finger. Keep being badass and keep riding.
#FUMS #BikeMS_DFW #CureMS