Friday, December 4, 2009

A Good Cause

Those of you that know me are familiar with my attempts at athletic prowess. There was the mountain climbing phase which saw me undertake Mt. Hood, Mt. Humphrey and Mt. Rainier (twice thank you). There were others, but I have blocked them That lasted about 2 years then one day while slugging in crampons up a mountain carrying a 35 lb pack I couldn't find the motivation to go on. I just lost it.

Then there was running. I have tried to train for a marathon twice. Both times with HoustonFit, a group that takes non-runners and turns them into runners. Or is supposed to. Both years I got stress fractures in the same ankle. One year at 7 mile training point and the next at 8 mile. I have been to a bunch of doctors for my knee and ankle, they all tell me not to run. "Bike!" they say.

So I did. I moved to Sedona and mountain biked for the two years I was there. I loved it. It became a passion to go out for 3 or 4 hours on the trails, scare the crap out of myself, sustain a few injuries then come home and stand in a hot shower with a cold beer. I love that feeling of exertion after a long ride.

Then I went to Thailand and broke my leg (love me some Ko Phi Phi)and tore a bunch of crap up, got a blood clot on the 32 hour trip back (Phukette - Bangkok (10 hour layover)- Soel, Korea - Atlanta - Houston) and was on crutches for 12 weeks due to the broken bone, cartilage and ligament repair. After that it was for sure; no running. My doc and rehab people also said that mountain biking was too intense at first so to try road biking. I had moved back to Houston to have help (read Mom and Aunt Mary driving me everywhere because it was the right leg) with the leg so giving up mountain biking, though sad, was easier to do here because the red rocks weren't calling me everyday. Only Memorial Park.

My physical therapist said I should sign up for the MS150. So I did. I also dragged my friend Lori B. along the training rides and met some great friends like Cheri. Cheri's boyfriend was the lead of a team for the ride so I joined up and did it. I loved the biking, but the real motivation became what I learned about MS.

For those of you that don't know, the BP MS150 is the largest fund raising event in the United States. In 2009 the Lone Star (that would be Texas folks) Chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Foundation raised 17 Million, yes MILLION, for MS research and services for people living with MS. This is a staggering number and truly makes a difference in research and assistance in our state.

I also found out that I knew a lot more people that were affected by MS that I thought. A friend and co-worker told me her mother had MS. I sent an email to her mom and we started talking and I learned her story (which I will publish if she is ok with it). She told me about how she could see progress in MS but she knew she probably wouldn't see a cure in her lifetime. I took Doris as a Pedal Partner, which is like dedicating your ride to someone with MS. I wrote her and told her about my training progress and wore a bandanna with her name on it during the ride. I also had a friend diagnosed with the disease that year. She had numbness in her fingers, was dizzy and had other health problems. Come to find out, it was MS. She's doing well right now after adjusting her diet, exercise and medications. But it was a lot of work to get her up and running again where she felt she had the energy and confidence to do everyday things.

Oh, I guess I should tell you WHAT the MS 150 actually is eh? It's a two day bike ride from Houston to Austin that will take place April 17-18, 2010. It's actually a little further than 150 miles, I clocked in between 160 and 170 the two times I have done it before. The first day you ride from Houston to La Grange, TX where you spend the night. I think this day is about 80 miles from what I remember, then the next day at 8am you take off again for the rest of the ride to Austin. They limit the ride to 13,000 participants, and yes, it fills up. I felt lucky to get a spot when I did today. They only have 8,000 spots left open but I logged on today at the exact time, had two laptops running and got both Cyr and I spots. Whew!

A lot of people do the ride, you probably know folks that are doing it other than me. We all pay to ride, then we have to raise money in order to be able to ride. My goal is only $1,000, which I hope to hit before the ride in April, though we have until May to get it in I think. Any way...I will probably use this blog to tell you all about my training rides and how things go leading up to the event.

I'm thinking about putting a link on my blog so you can donate, but I'm leery about putting my last name out there so right now I'm undecided. If you would like to donate just email me and I can send you my link!!

Here are some photos of the last ride I did:

This is me at the start line. It was really foggy! Cyr and I had been dating about a month but he drove me there and took pictures to see me off!!

Here is a group shot...crazy eh?

You can see how foggy it was. The start was a little delayed, but not too bad.

Here is me finishing with some teammates including Cheri!!

Here are my sexy tan lines after the two days. Check out the little circle on my wrist. Interesting choice of gloves I guess...

I spend the entire summer trying to get ride of those short lines. Fancy pants for sure!

So...there you go. I have a quest. Stay tuned for updates along the way!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Baccarat or Waterford? DONT'T have to decide. I love Waterford. My family is Irish and it's a bit of a tradition to register for it when you get married. I only registered for champagne flutes, Lismore Nouveau, but I love them. I love, love, love them. Even if I only have 4. :-/ Gimme a break...I got married in France, people don't carry that stuff over seas people!

Back to Baccarat though. It was beautiful! I don't just mean the crystal either. Cyr and I parked and walked around since we had time before going to the museum. We had time because it (of course) was closed for lunch from 11:30-2. We walked down by a little river and I took this of the town hall.

Across from the town hall was the most modern church I have ever seen in France. A plaque on the door said St. Remy.

The inside was, as you might guess, colored by the light that spilled in through Baccarat crystals that made up the stained glass windows of the church. Here is a shot from behind the font, which was also made in Baccarat though I am not sure it was actual Baccarat crystal.

I really liked it. Cyr spent a while taking some really good photos that he will probably post on his photography site.

So there you go...I finally posted some more pictures!