Tuesday, January 29, 2008

On Working and Racing

Juggling a full class schedule in high school while racing on the varsity cross country team always seemed like a tough act back then. Practice would go until 6 or 6:30 and by the time I got home and ate dinner I'd have just enough time to squeeze in a little homework before heading to bed.

Then college. I took a full load at Duke each semester so that I could graduate early (why didn't someone talk me out of that?) while also trying to race competitively in road races. It seemed like a lot then too, but I realize now how I didn't appreciate the flexibility of school work. I could go for a run in the middle of the afternoon, or whenever I felt like if for that matter. It was great.

Maybe the grass is just greener when I look back on the good ol' days. Now I work 9-5 and am happy if I get to the gym before 6:00 on most days. Squeezing in the workout isn't nearly as easy as it used to be, but training is progressive so I force myself to go. And usually once I get to the gym and start my workout I can muster up a little more energy than I thought I had and put in a good, solid workout. So I train 4 weekdays every week and do my long workouts on the weekend. The only way to do it though is to commit the time to training and put in every workout that you or your coach lays out. It's possible, I promise...although it might not always be easy.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Another ride...another run

There is something about riding with numb hands and feet that really makes you respect the outdoors, the winter, and all of the slightly crazy triathletes who are out there training anyways. I ran into at least 12 other riders on Saturday while on a 35 mile ride near my home. Most of them may have had on one more layer than me, but I don't know how much that would have helped. Cold is cold and it manages to penetrate every layer when riding downhill at 35 mph. The more cyclists I passed though, the easier it was to accept my situation, suck it up, and gut it out. Even if I couldn't feel my fingers to change gears. Training must go on...and you'll see us all out there anyways!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Back to Reality

It's been a week since soldier ride and I honestly feel like it's been at least year since I've seen warm weather. My hands feel like pin cushions when I walk outside and my hair turns to icicles if I don't dry it before going out. I'm excited to be working on getting sponsors for racing this season, but I don't really know where to fit that in - between my 9-5 job and and my 6-9 mcat class or between my mcat class and my workouts. Right now I usually get to it about 10 PM, but I got to bed at 11 PM so that doesn't really leave much time to spend on it. I'm doing what I can and then crossing my fingers and hoping that everything falls into place.

As for workouts...well, do you remember the part about how cold it's been. Well, I barely want to walk out to my car to go get coffee during the work day let alone go out for a 2 hour bike ride on the weekend. Can I go back to Florida...and stay? Okay, another treadmill run it is...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Soldier Ride - Sunshine State Challenge

Last ride through Key West

I headed down to Florida on Thursday evening for another Soldier Ride event sponsored by the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP). And it was another incredible weekend with some very cool people. Not to mention that it was in Florida, which was awesome since it was practically snowing in North Carolina when I left!

We started out in Miami and then drove rode/drove down to finish the ride in Key West. I was honored with a high quality, fancy schmancy Raleigh rental to use during the ride. I think my pedals cost more than the bike! But I didn't care that it only had 3 gears. Thank God we were in Florida and the biggest hill we hit was going over a bridge.

The most memorable experience was probably riding over the 7 mile bridge. The police shut down all traffic crossing the bridge while about 30 wounded soldiers and some volunteers rode across. I was expecting glares and honks (and possibly inappropriate finger gestures) from the stopped motorists, but instead just about all of them got out of their vehicles to cheer us on. It was very cool.

The turnout for the Soldier Ride included about 30 soldiers and 30 volunteers/special guests (I was one of the (or maybe the only) special guest) so there were a lot of new people to meet. And the events were packed in. I think we stopped to eat just about every 2 hours because so many groups were interested in sponsoring a meal. Again, there was just such incredible support for the whole event.

Two of the guys who joined us are working on a documentary that they hope to air on A&E or HBO. They filmed and interviewed the soldiers for 3 days to capture footage of these men and women who sacrificed a lot to protect our country. I will certainly post more when I know when it might be aired.

I am just thankful that I was given another opportunity to show my support for these men and women. Having been an amputee my entire life I have a lot of experiences to draw from and have a lot of resources to share with others.