Sunday, December 4, 2011

Training Camp and my Full Cup

This past week I was supposed to train for a week in San Diego with two members of the National team.  Unfortunately, on Saturday I woke up sick.  I thought I was better on Monday and headed down to San Diego.  Not so much.  The ride on Tuesday was not so good.  I'm not good at climbing - we know this.  I probably carry a few extra pounds for a climber and my legs just don't have the gusto (yet) to climb for very long.  I wasn't holding down any calories and even water wasn't staying down.  But I finished the four hour ride.  On Wednesday, we were supposed to ride with a large group of "normal" people. I made it to the start point, barely.  Then on the first hill coach told me that I was done and needed to go home.

Now, for those of you who know me in "real life," I don't handle being told that I can't or shouldn't do something.  So I cried for the next ten miles, then started to push it a little bit and started throwing up again.  At the end of the ride, Coach told me again that I needed to go home and get better.  In my mind, I was being a quitter. I don't quit. If I said I was going to do something - then for the love of all that is good and Holy - I am going to do it.  I was mad, disappointed and my feelings were hurt that he didn't think I could do it.

But I headed home and slept for most of Thursday and Friday.  I rode a little on Friday and then I did a three hour ride today.  I guess I was a little sick and it probably was the best decision to rest.  I'm still not happy about that decision.  I wanted to learn from the people I was riding with.  Just in the two days that I rode with them, I learned so much - just by watching what gears they rode in, what they ate; mostly stuff that is common sense to people who have been racing for years.  But not to me.

Today, in mass, Msgr told a story about a professor and a master.  The professor asked the master how he could be happy in life.  The master got up and made some tea.  He brought the tea pot over and began to pour the tea into the professor's cup.  He kept pouring and pouring and pouring and pouring.  The cup began to overflow.  Then the tea began to cascade down the table.  At some point, the professor asked the master what on earth he was doing!  The master replied that we are all like the cup - we are filled with "stuff."  We are filled with our opinions and thoughts and judgments.  Until we learn to empty ourselves of all of that, we can't be filled with the knowledge of others.

This story meant a lot to me because I was really mad that I got sent home. I COULD have trained all week.  I know I could have pushed through. And in my mind, that was the right thing to do.  But I didn't stop to think that maybe Coach knows more than I do - and he does. I was so full of my own thoughts and ideas about the week I wasn't able to see what was happening to my own body, listen to someone else and do the right thing.  Thankfully, I trust my coach enough to realize that he does more than me and I listened.  Not before I made a big fool of myself by throwing a temper tantrum and being all grumpy for a few days.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

On the road to being a Bike Racer

Last Wednesday was my last real day of my day job.  Trying to train properly isn't happening while I am working 40 hours a week. It was a hard decision to take a leave of absence from the job that utilizes the degree I just invested in, but in the long run, I can always be a data monkey.  This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

World Championships

On Tuesday, they announced the World Championships team.  I guess since it's published they can't take my name off the list!

This is a big opportunity for me.  I had six weeks to prepare for Nationals (after getting sick). I have a little more than 16 weeks to get ready for Worlds.  There are four camps in Carson in January to prepare for the competition.

Here is the information for the World Championships:

Monday, October 10, 2011

Wise Words

“I don't want to drive up to the pearly gates in a shiny sports car, wearing beautifully, tailored clothes, my hair expertly coiffed, and with long, perfectly manicured fingernails. I want to drive up in a station wagon that has mud on the wheels from taking kids to scout camp. I want to be there with a smudge of peanut butter on my shirt from making sandwiches for a sick neighbors children. I want to be there with a little dirt under my fingernails from helping to weed someone's garden. I want to be there with children's sticky kisses on my cheeks and the tears of a friend on my shoulder. I want the Lord to know I was really here and that I really lived.”  
 Marjorie Pay Hinckley

Things have gotten real really quickly. I am starting to worry about money and health insurance and whether at almost 32 years old I want to start this endeavor. This seems like an incredibly selfish endeavor and one that I am risking a lot to pursue. This quote caught my attention at first because I don't feel like I am giving back what God has given me.

But then I remind myself that very few people in the world get to compete in the World Championships, even the National Championships, and maybe the Paralypmics. How can I pass up that opportunity? If I truly believe that God will take care of me and he created this world for us to seize and experience, then how can I say no? How can I do anything but put on my shoes and try my hardest? And who is to say that, despite my constant protests that I AM not an inspiration, there isn't someone that will not listen to the can'ts of having physical limitations and instead see the blessings and experiences that those limitations can bring?

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Track Nats

Track Nationals...I can't say that I am 100% happy with my performance, but it is what it is and I have to move on.

My track bike, Zoey, looking pretty in her race wheels

On Thursday, I raced with the elites in a 500m time trial.  I rode a 50.1.  I needed to get under 50 seconds to have a shot at being on the worlds team.  I was disappointed, but knew I had another time trial on Sunday.

 On Friday morning, I woke up and I felt good.  The first song that played on the radio was Coldplay's "Para-dise."  Ha!

I was freaking out a little bit when I got to ADT, so I took Pink Bike outside for a little spin in the parking lot.  I am very superstitious about seeing Notre Dame things.  If I lived in Chicago, the superstition would be useless because ND stuff is EVERYWHERE, but you don't see a lot of cars with Notre Dame stickers in SoCal. This was in the parking lot:

Must mean good things are coming!

On Friday I raced a 3k pursuit in the morning.  We hadn't focused on the pursuit at all, so there was no pressure. I just needed to do as well as I could.  This was my best race of the weekend.  When I was finished, I collapsed - always a good sign of a good race. The emerging time standard for the 3k is 5:09.  I got 5:10. I was the only C3 competing, so I won the National Championship jersey.  Oh well, Sunday was the most important day. 

Official results 

Gold medal in 3k pursuit

Yeah, we need to work on my podium efforts.

I woke up Sunday morning and pus was dripping out of my right ear.  I went to the track and had the EMTs clean it out.  I warmed up. I did a couple of good starts and efforts.  Right before the races started the officials came over and told me that I was being reclassed as a C4.  First of all, this meant that I was racing someone and I was the lower seed, so I would start on the backside.  We already know that I don't start well on the backside. In addition, this meant that I was racing against a much lower (lower meaner faster) time standard. I didn't do a good of preparing for the race.  There were a lot of people there that I knew (my family, etc.) and so I tried to play it cool. As a result, I was unfocused at the start line.  I false started once.  That threw me off.  The race itself was pathetic.  I knew I needed to do well, but I didn't.  I finished with a 51.15 (or something like that).  Emerging for C3, but nowhere near emerging for C4 and clearly not under 50 seconds.

But all is not lost.  In the conversations about my class preceding my race from Sunday, my attendance at the World Championships was discussed.  I don't want to jinx it, so I am not going to say anything.  Fingers crossed.

Every time I see this photo I am reminded of how stupid we all look.

Chris and Pax - Chris deserves his own medal for putting up with Pax and I for an entire weekend!

Pax warming up on my pink road bike.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Do you See Three?

If you read about road nats (but I don't care because I am over it! Repeat three times!), then you know that my classification is all up in the air.  "Most" people seem to think I am a C3, which would be awesome because there are no other women C3s on the National Team or in the US and there are very few in the world.

Coach was in Colorado Springs last week and had a chance to talk to the National Team coaches.  Instead of racing as a C4 at Track Nats, they acknowledged that the classification at road nats was a little screwy and they allowed me to change my classification to C3.  Although it isn't an official classification, that means that the standards I am racing towards are higher (that's good).  We moved from 98% improbable to 97% improbable. I'll take it.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

My Favorite Words

Most of the time, I'm unsure if I'm making the "right" decisions. I remind myself daily that I am blessed to have the world open to me and have the option of making so many decisions.

I try to make decisions based upon these words:

If you work really hard and you're kind. Amazing things will happen.

I figure if I make decisions based upon love for others and not being afraid to work hard, I can't go wrong. Thanks Conan!

The Gospel of the Honey Badger

This is my FAVORITE video EVER!!!!!

"Oh look it runs backwards!"
"The honey badger doesn't give a sh*t"


It occurred to me (after someone emailed me), that if you haven't heard the saga of the last few months you have no idea what's going on here. I started a blog a little over a year ago to communicate about a trip to Europe.  That was a great trip and now I'm on another adventure.

Road Nationals

(don't mind my finger!)

I never really wrote after the Road Nationals because it was a complete debacle.  But I think I need to get it all out and move on.  I need stop thinking about it.  The overall experience - of being with J1 and J2 and Super Blind was incredible! I miss them every day of my life. See post below The Clique. But the racing side, not so hot.

First of all, let's get this straight that we AREN'T talking about the Special Olympics. In my own special way, I might some day qualify for the Special Olympics. Perhaps most likely in the finding where you are and where you are going competition. But this is the Paralympics, the branch of the actual Olympics in which those of us with disabilities are allowed to compete against one another. In an attempt to level the field, the classify us by our disabilities.  There are handcyclists, tricyclists and those of that ride upright bikes.  People who are visually impaired ride tandem bikes - with a sighted "Pilot" (the person in the front) and a blind stoker.  I fit into the upright category, which is called C. There are five different rankings for C, C1 (most disabled) to C5 (least disabled, in most cases there is nothing wrong with her lower body, but she may have an arm amputation, etc.).  You race against people that are "like" you.

The day before the time trial four of us went to go get classified.  I was the second to last person of the day two classifying event. The classifiers were not suited for cycling.  One was from Canada and were not sure what she does and the other was a PT (we all know how I feel about PT) that had done classifying in swimming.  So J1 and J2 go in and come out. They are classified as C5 (most abled), neither of them thinks he fits this class. I go in, the nationals coach hopes I'm a C3 and I do too. They barely talked to me and told me I was a C4, one point away from a C5.  Well....shoot, really?  I am one point away from having normal legs?!  Why didn't someone tell me that?!?!?!?!? That pair of legs would have been a lot more helpful along the way in my life!!!!!

Sign from the basketball kids camp

So suddenly I was racing for a much faster time, against a much faster girl.  I had trained to hit a certain time.  My mind was a disaster - the day before this huge race.  On Thursday, was the time trial. It was 8,000,000 degrees in Augusta at the Strom Thurmmond Damn.  But thankfully, near the para start time it started to rain and cooled things down.  It wasn't a good race. I ran off the road once. I got passed by everyone and their mothers.  I threw up on myself.  It was all over disgusting.

Then I got pulled by the US Anti-Doping agency to be tested.  So this small little woman followed me around until I could pee in a cup in front of her!  Hooray!  Thankfully, so many hospitalizations have made peeing in some small receptacle nearly acceptable for me.

Hooray! My pee!  (and for those who wondered, I was cleared from doping!)

I had a day of rest because I didn't compete in the crit, but Saturday was the road race and that darned thing is hilly.  I got dropped right off the get go on the first steep hill. I hung the whole race with a C2. She claims we "worked together" but I think I did the majority of the pulling there.  In the final 500m we sprinted and I technically "won," even though we weren't really racing against one another because we are from different classes.

 I got second place in both the time trial and the road race.  And some people may say I should stop there.  But I think it's important to say, I got second out of two!  So I got second and last place all at the same time.

Here's a picture on the podium after the road race:

Next year, I'm going to show up to road nats and I'll know what's coming. And I'm going to make sure if I get second, I earn that freaking place - I don't get it out of default!

Friday, September 23, 2011

The Little Black Box

Throughout my entire life, I've been sad/angry about things. But you're not supposed to let those things eat at you - so I've learned to let them go.  Or most of them.  This past week has been torturous for me. I have too much time at work to stalk the paracycling world.  I've got excel spreadsheets listing all of the possible people in possibly classes I could compete against.  I know who's going to what games.  There *might* be a regression equation somewhere listing all the variables I need to pay attention to in order to get the time I need. It all gets me in a huff puff.  I'm working my ass over here - giving up being with friends, family and Notre Dame football. And then random shit happens and it's all blown out of the water.

I want to preface my black box statement with the fact that this is hard for me to write. I try to let things go....move on, be nice and kind and only control what I can control.

There are a few things that still really make me angry.  I keep my last full leg brace in a cabinet in my house. Every so often, I bring it out and a rush of bad memories floods through my body.  So, next week, for Lucas Factor (I'm sure I could look him up on Facebook), who called me Peg Legs in the third grade, this race is for you. For the times I wanted to play soccer and baseball and I wasn't allowed; this ones for you.  For times they made me run the mile in Junior High PE and I came in dead last EVERY week because I can't run!  For every single dance that I said no to because I didn't want to disgrace a boy having to take a girl who couldn't wear high heels and  for every, every event in the future where'll I'll be the only woman in flats.  For all of the times I wanted to play soccer with the kids, but I was stuck in adapated PE.  For all the boys I didn't feel I was good enough to say yes to a date because I am a liability, not an asset.  For Sister Pat who didn't understand a damned thing about me and nearly ruined my time at Notre Dame.  Few people have ever told me I can't do what I want.  This time, just like every other time, I will say I can. I will be a winner.  I will earn what I deserve.

I have a tiny tiny scar on my right upper arm.  It's hard to see and sometimes I worry because it's getting harder to see. But I know it's there  The scar is from my PICC line.  I hate that stupid thing. I hate that it ruined my chances to go to University of Chicago - the best school in my graduate field and specialization; on a full-ride. It makes me angry that it hurt so god-damn badly and there was nothing they could do. It makes me mad that I was so sick for so long or why there was a hole in my leg that went to the bone  and no one knew what to do. But it also reminds me that I trained for a century while connected to an IV for 24-hours a days for 8-weeks.  Just take off the pump, connect it to a saline syringe and you've got a good hour ride before you need to reconnect to antibiotics.

Above all, I don't like to lose to someone I clearly should beat.  So that race at Nationals is for that. For "losing" to any one who wasn't good enough.  You'll be sorry.  You'll see me up on the podium at some international competition and your fat ass will be sitting watching some lame reality show.  You and sister Pat can sit together and think about just how wrong you were about me.  And I'll be the best in the world.  I will have no regrets and you will only have regrets. So f* you too.

I don't want to be angry, but when I started looking inside for those things that make me angry...they're still there. I know the combination and when the time comes to unlock it - I'll know the code.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A lot of things "happened" on the way to Nationals

Road Nationals - June 2011

I was reading the book, Outliers, and there is a chapter about how people like to believe that a certain few people have exceptional talent, etc that help them rise to the top (like Bill Gates or Steve Jobs).  The point of the chapter was that 10,000 hours seems to be the magic number that people practice something to be really really really "good" at it.   But the other point of the chapter is that all of those people had "random" things happen to them along the way that helped them get to where they are.  For example, Gates lived near UW that was one of the only universities to have a reprogrammable computer and his parents moved him to a school (without knowing)where the parents raised money specifically to support time for HS students at UW and someone he worked with there happened to know someone at Northrup G that needed a cheap summer intern.

Next week is a long shot...and I'm far from 10,000 hours....BUT I happened to randomly get picked to be the only athlete that Super Blind has ever roomed with and she happened to have just put her guide dog to sleep which gave us an extra bond. She has been a real source of encouragement and friendship. And I picked Coach because I liked him and he happens to actually specialize in track.  And I happen to live super close to ADT.  And I happened to find that track bike in my size that I could use my gimpy charm to get at a good price.  .....that's a lot of "happened"s!!!!!!!

       My new track bike, Zoey

I am trying to remind myself that next week doesn't define who I am or my self-worth (reminded daily by Gramps), but I do want to do well.  I've trained hard.  I could be a few pounds lighter.  I could have lifted a little harder.  But overall, I don't think there is much I could have done, at this point in the game, to make myself go any faster.

Monday, July 11, 2011

It's the first step

Today was the first day in my "new" training with a real coach!

His selling point on why he thinks he's good working with female athletes: "I'm not a creeper, I won't try to pick up on you!"

We need to work on that selling point Daggs!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Clique

Camp at the National Championships was much different from the development camp.  First of all, the stakes were high.  We weren't doing some hokey time trial at Fiesta Island.  This was for the National Championship and we were racing against the national team.

I'll write about racing later.  But the most important part of camp this time was my friends.  At the last camp, I roomed with the camp director, also known as Super Blind. We bonded over the mouse incident in our room and that is when we sucked in The J's (J1 and J2 for security reasons).   Since San Diego, we have emailed and talked, solidifying our friendships. At this camp, we became the people I despise.  We were always together.  We let others jump in but the four of us were always together.

A producer is making a documentary about J1.  She asked him how we had become so close in such a short period of time. If you took people you have spent some time with, threw you in a highly emotional and physically draining situation, you'd have the seeds.  Then discard all clothes and be completely naked for a week.  That is how close we are.  I can't answer that question other than that we get each other.  Between the four us, we have one complete and functioning body.  We've been through pain and heartbreak and much more.  In the real world, we work hard to disguise our weaknesses because others don't understand.  But together, you don't need to explain.  You don't need to explain why you beat your feet on the floor to go to sleep in the van on the way home from a race. It's OK to laugh if someone accidentally puts Icy Hot on his balls, instead of chamois cream (well, we shouldn't laugh, but we did!).  You dont need to explain why you sometimes taking medicine is the only way to escape from reality.  No one needs to explain away when someone can't get out a complete sentence.  There is no need to apologize for not being able to get off your bike at the end of the race and when you finally do, no response (except laughter) is needed when you fall over.  You don't need to explain how biking is the one thing that we can all do that opens some door for us.  For me, it's a chance to use legs.  For the J's, it's a chance to reclaim the mythical men they once thought they would be.  For Super Blind, well, she won a gold medal and it's a chance for her to change people's lives.

These two men and one Super Blind woman mean the world to me.  I've never had friends that understand for real.  If I never pedaled another mile in my life, it would all be worth it because I met them.  I love you guys.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

How Did I End Up Here?

About a week ago, I had a freak out about going to Nationals.  I've only really raced my bike one time.  My goal was to make the Talent Pool time at Nationals.  But since I made it at the State Time Trial, I now felt the pressure to make the National Team time (I need to drop 5 seconds per kilometer, a rough sell).  I couldn't sleep.  My stomach felt queasy (that didn't keep me from eating!).  People have invested time and resources and support into this endeavor.  I'm racing against The National Team. What if I fail?

But someone pointed out to me (making her $45,000 investment in that graduate degree SO worth it!), that not many people rise up so quickly.  In two months, I've gone from being nowhere on the Paralympic radar, to racing (if that is what we are going to call it) at Nationals.

Most of the time, and correctly, people don't think of me as a "disabled person" (or whatever the politically correct term is for "us people."  And the truth is, I don't think of myself as being disabled either.  Sure, I have friends in LA because of my blue placard that allows me to find parking or park in meters for free.  But most of the time I never think about having some limitations.  Some things are always going to be impossible (running, jumping, etc.), but for the most part, I get to "do what I want."  

At camp a few months ago, it was eye-opening to me to be around other people that have disabilities.  I was one of the only athletes who doesn't know any different.  In some ways, I feel incredibly blessed to have no idea what it feels like to be "normal."  This is the way I am.  

But the flip of side of never feeling disabled is that I often don't give myself credit for the things that I've accomplished and how far I've come.  A little more than a month ago, it was my 29th anniversary of getting sick.  Some wise person told my parents to keep a scrapbook of my four months in the hospital. At the time, I'm sure it seemed outrageous that anyone would ever want to remember that time in my life.  But now that book is very important to me. It is the only recollection I have of how sick I really was.

And so....a trip back to 1982 when I became "acquainted" with Guillain Barre Syndrome:

On the other flip side, my disability has given me this incredible opportunity.  It takes athletes years and years and years to get where I am now.  The field is small and I work really hard.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


Any one know how to train for this differential?

F* you South!!!!

New shoes, new pedals, new helmet

Aren't they pretty?

I redacted the photo of me in my new helmet due to ridiculosity.  If you want an idea:

Told ya! No one wants to see THAT on the internet.

Last Training Ride

Yesterday afternoon I went on my last training ride in California.  I felt strong.  My legs felt good. Let's hope I packed those legs and not the lame legs I had last week!

The past week has been filled with anxiety.  A few months ago, I rode my down PCH a few times a week.  Two months ago, I spent $100 and 8 days at the Olympic Training Center.  I raced in the State Championships three weeks ago.  And suddenly, I'm traveling to Georgia to race in Nationals.  I could be busting a move (yup...I'm white!) on the international scene soon.  It all happened really quickly.  I've been filled with "What ifs."  What if I don't make that time?  What if my bike isn't good enough? What if the real National team runs me over and laughs?  What if...what if...what if....

But as I was riding down PCH one more time, I stopped looking at my computer and took in the beautiful place in which I live and remembered....

"Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus."

Phil (4:6-7)

Someone bigger has my back. I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Above all trust in the Lord

This hangs above my stove:

Above all trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of progress that is made by passing through some stages of instability - and some that may take a very long time.

And so I think it with you.
Your ideas mature gradually - let them grow, let them shape themselves without undue haste.
Don't try to force them on, as though you could be today what time (that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will) will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say whit this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing tha His hand is leading you, and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
Pierre Tielhard de Chardin SJ

Monday, May 30, 2011

First "Real" Race

Today was my first real race.  My previous qualifying time was a special time trial at camp.  Today I raced Pink Bike in the CA/NV State Time Trial Race.

I was very nervous. I am very grateful that my uncle (referred to as Ding), was able to go with me. He was disappointed in my lack of bike knowledge. Gonna have to work on that!  He spent all of last night working with me on what equipment I need and talked me through the race.

The time trial was 40K - double the distance I did previously.   I was nervous because I've never raced and I was racing with able bodied bikers.  At the start line, some of the other women were very encouraging.  I'm pretty sure that my lack of time trial bike, aero helmet and the like assured them that I was no competition

When we got to Palmdale, it was WINDY.  We checked the wind advisory and it was blowing at 25 mph. I warmed up.  My standing start was pretty bad.  Need to remember to work on that.  On the first leg of the race, the wind was a tailwind. Awesome! I set up my Garmin so I new exactly my splits for each kilometer. Then I turned the corner and immediately hit the crosswind.  The second corner sent me in to the headwind.  It was blowing really hard.  I had to lean in to the wind not to fall over.  In addition to the headwind, there was a slight climb on this leg of the route.  I tried to keep my speed about 15 mph, but at times that was a struggle.

The good thing about people racing with disc wheels (not me) is that you can hear them coming up from behind. I was passed a lot.  But it didn't bother me.  I knew that all of those people were racing for a different reason and with a different set of body components.  I just concentrated on my computer, making sure I was keeping my heart rate in a range that I could hold.  Other than that, I looked at the ground.  I tried to tape a picture to my bike to inspire angry riding, but that strategy doesn't work for me. I ended up ripping the picture off and looking at the quote in Italian that is written on the top tube of my bike. I have NO idea what it says, but I like to make up things that it says.  Sometimes it says, "Just keep pedaling." Other times it says, "I know you're not trying hard enough."  When I needed other encouragement, I looked on my right arm to find the scar from Peter the PICC line.  Knowing that I survived that debacle always reminds me that I can do anything.  I kept pedaling. I just did my best.

After the final turn, we had to do the first part of the course again to finish.  Again, the tailwind was there. I was able to keep my speed in the range I wanted.  I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:10:58.  That put me at 1:53/k. The standard for Talent Pool is 1:54.  It felt good to accomplish that goal.

I wasn't sure whether I was going to like cycling after racing.  But I like it even more. I was able to use Pink Bike for what she is intended to do - race fast.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

On the track

I am not dead. FaceFace guessed Wednesday. My official time trial is on Thursday, I'd bet that is the day I die. I've only vomitted twice. But it may very well be the perfect life: eat, ride, eat, ride, eat, team meeting (ok, that's not so fun) and then sleep. I'm having a hard time because although this is the Paralympics I'm probably the most disabled of the athletes. Most of the athletes have upper limb impairment, blind or PTSD. I get dropped on nearly every ride. I was getting frustrated because I get smoked on the road and then on the track.

On a velodrome you ride fixed gear bikes. Not the lame hipster fixes (OK they are...but we don't ride at night while drunk). The track is a totally different experience from the road. The San Diego track is in pretty poor condition but it was perfect for learning. On a fixed bike you can't stop pedaling. Literally. You can try, but the stupid bike pedals keep rotating. For people who have a hard time clipping in and clipping out, stopping can prove to be difficult.

On the second round of pace lines (20 laps), I dropped after my pull. I had an awful cramp in my calf. Or so I thought. When we went to sports med, they think (as all medical personnel do) that because of my low muscle capacity I am prematurely going anaerobic. Take that all of you who told me to spin faster! I was born (OK was medically transformed) to be a masher. So there. The coaches originally categorized me as a C5 (pretty much no impairment - arm amputation , etc.). But I got "downgraded to a C4 yesterday and today I got downgraded to a C3. But actuallly that is better, the lower I am classified the slower the qualifying standards are. I have to be officially classified by a doctor and there is only one in the US - Dr. Bob. So they are encouraging me to race in Nationals in Augusta, GA in June because Dr. Bob will be there.

Tomorrow we will go back to the velodrome in the morning for unofficial time trials. Then the afternoon recovery ride. We are going on a field trip at night, back to the track, to watch real people race.

I. Am. Tired.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

If they kill me at camp

I would like to be buried with Pink Bike, Beary and all of my Brady Quinn jerseys.

Other than that, I award my prize possessions to these people:

Face Face has requested my iPad.

I will also bequeath my apartment to her so that she can live by the beach for a few months when she moves back (instead of with her parents)

* To N.W. - all of my other Apple possessions, because I know deep down she loves Apple.  She also inherits my Apple Whore status

E Train - my vagina - E needs a real one, he already acts like he owns "he" might as well have a real one! (not pictured)

Aunt Jewbutt - the four 12-packs of Diet Coke (plus the extra ones that are rolling around) in the back of my car

Snatch Hatch - my Prius because no self-respecting liberal should drive an Oldsmobile

T^3 - all of my shmoop inspired nonsense, esp my book of quotes for when you propose to your future wife!

"My heart is and always will be yours." (Sense and Sensibility, Jane Austen)

* Lucia - you can have my hedgehog, Mr. Grumpy Pants. I know you will take care of him!

Ding - My new Garmin 500 bundle - you're welcome

*  Ky - you can have all of my books, pretty sure you're the only other family member that reads!

I have two other book cases full of books!

Officer Chupadogra - my clothes

You're SO lucky! This is one of my three closets!  Congratulations!

*  Cesar - all of my guide dog stuff

Mrs. Pike - my drama, because no one else can handle it!

* The Lovely LAS - I give you my Penis mold because I know you will put it to good use in the future!

Mom and Dad (my OTHER mom and dad that live in BFE) - ummm...all of my Notre Dame stuff, because I know that you will treat it respectfully

* My real mom and dad - I'm pretty sure you've dealt with enough of my crap over the years, so as your parting gift, you don't have to anymore!

Anything else is up for grabs!

I wasn't sure who was worthy of my leg lamp!  Any takers?!?!

Now where is that bike?????? Time to get riding!!!!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

If you try anything, if you try to lose weight, or to improve yourself, or to love, or to make the world a better place, you have already achieved something wonderful, before you even begin. Forget failure. If things don't work out the way you want, hold your head up high and be proud. And try again. And again. And again!

The Long Bag We Drag Behind Us

What's in your bag and should it be there?

The Long Bad We Drag Behind Us
By Robert Bly

Let’s talk about the personal shadow first. When we were one or two years old we had what we might visualize as a 360-degree personality. Energy radiated out from all parts of our body and all parts of our psyche. A child running is a living globe of energy. We had a ball of energy, all right; but one day we noticed that our parents didn’t like certain parts of that ball. They said things like: “Can’t you be still?” Or “It isn’t nice to try and kill your brother.” Behind us we have an invisible bag, and the part of us our parents don’t like, we, to keep our parents’ love, put in the bag. By the time we go to school our bag is quite large.

Then our teachers have their say: “Good children don’t get angry over such little things.” So we take our anger and put it in the bag. By the time my brother and I were twelve in Madison, Minnesota we were known as “the nice Bly boys.” Our bags were already a mile long. Then we do a lot of bag-stuffing in high school. This time it’s no longer the evil grownups that pressure us, but people our own age. So the student’s paranoia about grownups can be misplaced. I lied all through high school automatically to try to be more like the basketball players. Any part of myself that was a little slow went into the bag.

My sons are going through the process now; I watched my daughters, who were older, experience it. I noticed with dismay how much they put into the bag, but there was nothing their mother or I could do about it. Often my daughters seemed to make their decision on the issue of fashion and collective ideas of beauty, and they suffered as much damage from other girls as they did from men.
So I maintain that out of a round globe of energy the twenty-year-old ends up with a slice.

We’ll imagine a man who has a thin slice left-the rest is in the bag-and we’ll imagine that he meets a woman; let’s say they are both twenty-four. She has a thin, elegant slice left. They join each other in a ceremony, and this union of two slices is called marriage. Even together the two do not make up one person! Marriage when the bag is large entails loneliness during the honeymoon for that very reason. Of course we all lie about it. “How is your honeymoon?” “Wonderful, how’s yours?”

Different cultures fill the bag with different contents. In Christian culture sexuality usually goes into the bag. With it goes much spontaneity. Marie Louise von Franz warns us, on the other hand, not to sentimentalize primitive cultures by assuming that they have no bag at all. She says in effect that they have a different but sometimes even larger bag. They may put individuality into the bag, or inventiveness. What anthropologists know as “participation mystique,” or “a mysterious communal mind,” sounds lovely, but it can mean that tribal members all know exactly the same thing and no one knows anything else. It’s possible that bags for all human beings are about the same size.

We spend our life until we’re twenty deciding what parts of ourselves to put into the bag, and we spend the rest of our lives trying to get them out again.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Today's Correspondence

From today's SM correspondence:

On Princess Di and Mother Theresa:
"I suppose. But I am still pissed on Mother Theresa's behalf.  Message to world: help others for your entire life and give your life to The Lord (even though you don't feel His presence) --> no acknowledgement.  On the other hand, dress pretty, give some of your time to charity, get caught doing something shady with a hotel mogul ---> insane amounts of coverage.  Enough already!  I'm pretty sure even Jesus is pissed about this insane lack of fairness in media coverage. 

I did stay up all night to watch JPII's funeral.  Man that guy was awesome. AND Polish.  He rose above all Polish jokes and showed the Catholic heathens who is boss - the Poles!

On the ridiculosity that is the royal wedding:
I admit that it does give the masses something to distract themselves with. And I have heard ridiculous undertones of "a prince turning a normal girl into a princess."  Great, just what we need.  As if we don't have enough girls running around thinking they are going to be/are princesses.  Then they are all disappointed because they are forced with the current production-possibility frontier curve of current day men in which we must choose between toolness and pussiness. Fabulous.  Just great UK.  Disney is probably paying them.

True.  Harry is much hotter. He also possesses my signature attraction of red-hair. I'd do Harry. I'd wear costumes if he wanted. Sign me up!!!!  William - balding and already looks 35.  Kate. Eh, she's no beauty, but she's not fugly."

Monday, April 25, 2011

Conan arrives on a bike to take me away!

Don't wait for Prince Charming, because he's too lazy to leave his castle.  Wait for your Knight in Shining Armor who will fight for you.
"Love is not an affectionate feeling, but a steady wish for the loved person's ultimate good as far it can be obtained."

-- C.S. Lewis

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Golden Egg Tournament

 My grandmother's teeth

My family is unique. I fit right in...and that says a lot.

Today was the Golden Egg Tournament, held every Easter. My family meets to play mini-golf. I was the Biggest Loser with a score of 70. I would like to qualify that pathetic score with the fact that I rode my bike 80 miles yesterday and 55 miles this morning. My body could not perform another physical feat if I really wanted to. I am pleased that I gave Aunt Jewbutt the honor of best improved and her first year not being the Biggest Loser!
My team - no idea why my body is contorted

The Biggest Loser

The Winner (for the second time...I smell a cheater!).  A new tradition was added this year and the winner of The Golden Egg Tournament must wear his (or her) crown to all family functions.  Kenny is getting married this year.....hahahaha...

To some this may just be a silly tradition in my crazy family. But when we all gather together for events like this I am reminded of how blessed I am to have a family that is loving (although we don't always express it in the most loving ways) and will be there for one another no matter what. We are all different in our own ways, but we have lots of fun together and make each other laugh. On days like today, I am proud to be a Nelson. And even though my grandmother is rolling over in her grave as her teeth appeared in the form of an Easter basket andmy grandfather is laughing along with us; I know that they can be proud of fostering a loving family.

I am truly blessed to be a Nelson.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

As we meditate on the Passion of Our Lord this Good Friday, we are struck by the incredible suffering Jesus humbly and obediently endured for our sake. After surviving hours of cruelty and torture, Christ hung in agony for three hours upon the cross. Nailed as He was, Jesus endured unspeakable pain each time He lifted His body up to speak. Yet He persevered until the end, teaching and reaching out with love.
Let us reflect upon the words spoken in today’s Gospel according to St. John:

“Woman, behold, your son…Behold, your mother.”
In perhaps one of the most moving displays of love, Jesus continues to think of others even as He is jeered by the crowd as he is slowly dying on the cross. Jesus looks out for the needs of His mother, making sure she is cared for after His death, and Our Lord looks out for our needs as well. Jesus makes His mother Our Blessed Mother, too. At that moment, we truly became her children and like any tender mother, Mary wants what is best for us. She knows what’s best is to tirelessly lead her children to her Son. If we accept her as our mother, Our Lady will do just that. She is our quickest path to Jesus! According to Saint Louis Marie de Montfort in his Total Consecration : “To go to Jesus, we must go to Mary; she is our Mediatrix of Intercession. To go to God the Father, we must go to Jesus; for he is our Mediator of Redemption.” (T.D. #86)

“I thirst.”
It can be assumed Jesus was parched from the hours of mistreatment. “Thirst is one of the great agonies of crucifixion,” writes Fr. Christopher Rengers, OFM Cap., in The Seven Last Words of Christ. (TAN Books and Publishers, 2002) “It was caused by the loss of blood, by fever and by general exhaustion. Thirst accompanies any long, drawn-out pain. It can become worse than the original pain that causes it.”
Yet Jesus thirsts for much more than water. St. Augustine says these words showed not only the Savior’s desire for drink, but even more a desire that his enemies might believe in Him and be saved. (The Seven Last Words, p. 50) As suggested by Fr. Rengers, each of us will have many opportunities to help save souls for Christ.

“If we really love Christ,” writes Fr. Rengers, “we will want the things that He wants. With our whole soul, we will seek to help in whatever way we can so that souls may be saved.” We can do this by our simple witness to faith, by showing the love of Christ to others in our words and actions. We do this quietly and without fanfare as we go about our everyday lives. Let us ponder the ways Our Lord might be calling us to witness and to help quench His undying thirst for souls.

“It is finished.”
As Jesus gave up His Spirit, He finished the mission given to Him by the Father. But for us, the mission is just beginning. It is up to us to ask the Holy Spirit to help us discern God’s will for us, and to do it.
“Each day we ought to pray with Christ,” continues Fr. Rengers. “‘Not my will, but thine be done.’ (Lk 22:42). We must be convinced that we are here to do God’s Will, to accomplish some special job. Our job may be easy or hard, but whatever it is, God will see us through.” (p. 71)
At the end of each day, and at the end of our earthly life, let us be able to look back on a job well done. As Fr. Rengers concludes, “Like Christ on the Cross we will be able to say: ‘It is consummated. I have done the work You gave me to do.’”

Diane Freeby, SMC ’88


Red heads can succeed at anything....except enduring pain.  This would confirm my theory that a quarterback can be good only if he is also cute (negated by Big Ben and others....)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Welcome to the NEW LAUP!

This post should be read while listening to ET by Katy Perry.  You can imagine me singing and appropriately biting my bottom lip as all officially white people should.  I am obsessed with that song.

I have been at my job now for six months.  Slowly, my "true" personality is starting to emerge.  I used to be the quiet data monkey in the corner.  Now I'm the CRAZY lady in that they keep locked up in the corner.

Our boss wasn't coming in until 1pm things were a little unruly in our office.

These kinds of things happen often - people taking pictures of themselves in outfits that are deemed cute! 

I suggested that we have a dance party/contest and I could be the judge.  But I wasn't allowed to take photos of this event.

 One of our coworkers is leaving to go to First 5 LA.  We had her going away lunch yesterday and we were all signing a card for her today. I decided that each of us should pick a dog from the card that represented us.

The scrappy one is me, the "Adios" one is Jeanette.  Our boss chose the mutt (?).

But these were contestants, as well...

 Finally the boss arrived and we had to do some "work."  But that couldn't really commence until we had scavenged chocolate from various members of the office:

Indeed, unlike men, chocolate will NEVER let you down. Especially chocolate with caramel!  

True dat!  Word to your motha!

 I sit in a corner, by myself.  This was done randomly, as we were assigned numbers in our old office and then they were assigned in linear order to offices when we moved.  Now that all the dust has settled, and I often venture to "visit" (read bother and annoy and mock) others, people have started to come visit me.  They are horrified by the status of my desk.

Here is a typical day on my desk:
Highlights:  Notre Dame license plate, Nalgene bottle, lotion, Mac Book (because work won't put Stata on my computer and I refuse to use the inferior SPSS).  Please note that I try to keep my papers organized.  SOMEONE comes in the night and messes up my desk!

See! I work!  Open open, phone off hook, empty Diet Coke bottle, my favorite PINK calculator. The post-it note on the corner of my computer screen says:
1.  Be Loving
2.  Be Faithful
3.  Be Patient

On the other side there is a note that says:  "Nothing is hard, you just don't wanna do it. --Gramps"

My inspiration to keep working!  Hooray! 
1. A picture of my last class
2. A note from one of my favorite students (although at the time I almost killed her!) telling me I am her favorite teacher, all on the background of an interlocking ND (they knew me well!).
3. Picture of my cousins in Las Vegas
4. Sun Bowl photo
5.  Quote: "People see God everday; they just don't recognize Him."
(from The Observer, back in the day)
6.  Random other inspirational quotes

And of course:  hair mousse, my LAUP coffee cup that I never use, the scarecrow from the Halloween cake pops (that I made in October, haven't taken the scarecrow home yet), Pink unicorn/horse from a Happy Meal.

And so there it is...slowly I will revolutionize the culture of LAUP.  There hasn't been any banging on windows....yet.....