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