Wednesday, October 30, 2013

My "best" just got "better"


   One thing I have never been known to be is a quitter.  It doesn't matter what curve balls life throws me I always manage to find a way to adjust and find a new "normal".  MS threw a curve ball and it wasn't long before I figured out how to juggle my life so the challenges became just a way of life.

     Sure, back in the day I ran and roller bladed and walked for miles on end.  Now my footdrop only makes me work harder to keep active with what I have.  I won't lie, I sometimes feel like crawling after only a mile of walking but that's why I force myself to do almost two miles everyday on the treadmill  and then I throw in a dose of strength training just for good measure.  This became my new "normal", day by day I had a strategy.  I wasn't about to give up on my body or my life.

     However, sometimes we need to step outside our comfort zone before we're forced to see that our "best" could be "better".  I had a valid excuse for not running a marathon but what was my excuse for not riding my bike?  No toes needed for that...

     It took a nudge to get me convinced but it wasn't long before I discovered I was capable of riding in the Bike-To-The-Bay.  To think I could have gone through the rest of my life convincing myself and others that my "best" was good enough.  Everything happens for a reason and thanks to that vote of confidence my "best" just got better!

Have a great day!


Monday, October 28, 2013

No more excuses

     After my last ride on the bike trail with my "tractor" tires I really started second guessing my decision to ride those thirty five miles. It seemed like it took two days to go just ten miles. However, when I got my "road" tires I crossed my fingers and hoped my mind would soon change.

     What I needed more than anything was to prove to myself that I could make it to fifteen miles and regain my confidence again. I asked my Son Matt to humor me and keep me company on the ride. That's probably the last thing a 23 year old wants to do is go on a bike ride with his mom, but to my surprise he said he would.

    Of course I kind of mentioned I just wanted to try my new tires out and it may only be five miles or so. That "or so" could really mean anything, in my case it was fifteen:) Our journey took us on a hilly trail, back along a rock quarry, and just our luck, it happened to be a windy day again.

    The one thing I learned was, by powering through a few times with the dreaded "monster truck" tires, it made the new ones feel like I was hang gliding in the clouds. When we hit the five mile mark I confessed to Matt that I was really hoping to make it ten miles "or so", (there's that "or so" again, sneaky!) But it got even funnier (for me) when we hit that ten mile mark and I said guess what... But he was a trooper, I think he was just going along with it because he wanted to see how long it would take until I keeled over and admitted defeat.

     My will power however, was stronger than he believed,  because we finally made it to my actual goal of fifteen miles...  Oh, and one more humorous tidbit... we still had two and a half miles to go before we were home:) I'll bet he was aching the next day, and I won't lie, my crazy leg was begging to quit about seven miles back, though my bossy leg wouldn't have it, but did you really think Matt was going to let his old mom show him up?!?!

And of course, I'm not using a calculator but if my math is right, seventeen and a half miles is... Yes! Half way there! We've got this!! 

Have a great day!

Christine ☺

Friday, October 25, 2013

Angels are watching over me


      I truly believe there are angels all around us because no sooner did I commit to this Bike-to-the-Bay  journey, and kind people were coming out of the woodwork to get involved.  one of the first soldiers in my army was my friend Michael, who I met before the Bike-to-the-Bay last year.

     Michael has health challenges of his own, but when he heard I was going on a leap of faith that I could complete the ride he immediately wanted to be a part of it.  After hearing me mention my tires were all wrong for the ride, causing total exhaustion,  he gave me a very generous gift of new tires to make sure I made it over the finish line safely.  Talk about a heart of gold.  Then my friend Robert put them on. Soldier number two!

     If there was one tiny  moment that I  thought about backing out, now there is no way I can quit. I have my guardian angel looking out for me.

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Denim and diamonds


  Mark Wuertz, Board chairman, National MS Society,Northwestern Ohio Chapter

  The Denim and Diamonds charity/fundraiser event put on by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is one that is right up my alley.  My days of wearing that little black dress and stilettos are long gone.  It's like a circus clown on stilts;  entertaining to watch but the outcome could be disastrous.

     Now denim I can do!  Anyone who knows me will agree that I am totally obsessed with pink, so accented with pink diamonds would be perfect!  I have hundreds of carats of genuine fake diamonds, and then of course I would have to pull out the pink pearls and we know those are "real"(or are they?). I'm just curious where they come from; all I can picture are these tiny little oysters swimming around in pink tutus... okay maybe that's a stretch.

      Real or faux, to each his own, at the end of the day the only thing that really mattered was seeing all of the amazing people in this community who came out in support of this great cause.

Have a great day!


Monday, October 21, 2013

Tires do matter

So the first time I was outside on my bike it was a piece of cake, but what I didn't stop to consider was a friend had given me a set of slimmer tires to try out.  At the time I didn't think anything of it, I just thought it was a normal ride.
     However, I went back to my wide tires like it was suggested for training purposes, and I couldn't believe the difference.  First of all it was a very windy day and extremely humid outside, then throw on the wide tires and it felt like I was peddling through a tsunami on a tractor.

     I was only able to go about 9 miles an hour tops, which was very discouraging.  Heck with the training on wide tires, I think I'll keep building strength indoors, I need those thin tires back.  In a perfect world I'll also take less humidity and no wind... but I guess it's not a perfect world:) At least I got my ten miles in even if it did take me twenty minutes longer to do it.  That twenty minutes would have just been spent trying to recuperate anyway. I'm sure it'll get easier☺

Have a great day!


Friday, October 18, 2013

Everyone knows someone

Kurt and Kari Schell

     The Bike-to-the-Bay is one event that seems to draw a lot of attention, but it's also great to see all of the support from the community in many other ways.  Peggy and Denny Spencer co-chaired a golf outing at Highland Meadows Golf Club as one more way to fund raise as well as raise awareness for Multiple Sclerosis. They even got me to wear orange for the day!

     The turnout was amazing, with over 90 golfers all in support of this great cause; it seemed like everyone knew someone who's life has been touched by MS.

      Carla Brady from the local chapter of the national MS Society was a guest speaker at the event educating the crowd on what exactly MS is and how it effects over 3,500 people in this community alone.  Peggy Spencer has also been living with MS for over ten years as well.

Peggy and Denny Spencer

     This event raised almost 3200 dollars which was donated to the "Denim and Diamonds" Fundraiser put on by the local National MS Society.  Little by little we'll win this battle!!

Have a great weekend!


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

So many gadgets


     Now that I have my bike in good working order it's time to focus on all of the gadgets needed to make this ride complete. The first must have item would be a helmet, which is something I should have had way back when. I guess I wasn't using the one thing I'm now trying to protect. That was my initial purchase, safety first!

      Then I would also need a saddle bag to carry all of my stuff (pink of course!), but sadly the pink bag I ordered on line as you see below was way too small. I could barely fit a pack of gum in it. There was no way I could chew gum and ride a bike at the same time, so that would be going back. I really need something to hold my nerve zapper on the ride because it's cumbersome to wear while I'm peddling but  get me off my bike and the "turbo leg" takes over.

    Another thing I thought of is a cell phone holder for emergency phone calls (and maybe a picture or two...).  A good working odometer is extremely important to gauge the distance, and don't forget the very important water bottle holder, lucky for me I already had one!

      A spare inner tube is something I also never imagined I would need, until I got a flat after my first ride on the street. My guardian angel must have been looking out for me because it wasn't discovered until I was taking my bike out of my car. Maybe I should learn how to fix a flat... Note to self...

     I'm sure other things will come up down the road but at least this gets me moving in the right direction.  In the mean time I'll just keep riding...

Have a great day!

Christine ☺

Monday, October 14, 2013

Taking it to the streets


      As time went on I realized I could ride longer and longer. I was soon up to ten miles, however I was still indoors in a climate controlled environment.  And it was still on a stationary bike.  Now I needed to see what would happen when I took it to the streets, humidity and all.

      My bike was finally back from The Bike Route and first thing the next morning I headed to the trail.  I didn't want to be stranded far from home so I decided to ride the same one mile trek back and forth for an hour and ten minutes which was some where close to fifteen miles I'm guessing!  Now when I was finished my  body felt like lead and there was no way I was ready to run a marathon, then again I haven't ran one before my ride, so I wasn't missing anything...

     Riding that long distance outside gave me all the confidence I needed to truly  believe I had this.   It was by no means thirty five miles, but that slight fear in me was suddenly gone.  I could only get stronger so bring it on!

Have a great day!

Christine ☺

Friday, October 11, 2013

Finding a balance


     With summer still here and winter around the corner it made sense to try to get a mix of indoor and outdoor riding in, making sure I was prepared for the ride next spring. Of course my first concern was balance. On a stationary bike that wasn't a problem, but put me on two wheels on the road for a long distance and who knows will happen, I could end up kissing the pavement. If I could just get that figured out then next I would need to have a balance between the stationary bike for endurance and my outdoor bike for the true riding experience. 

    If I could ride two or three days inside and a day or two outdoors each week then I could transition my training as the snow would begin to fly.

     My strength training and treadmill walks would still continue and by next spring I will have given my body every fighting chance, and that's when I will pull out my soap box to plea for as many others to help me on this journey!  I know WE can do this!!

Have a great weekend!

Christine ☺

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Working smarter, not harder

   If there's one thing I've learned in life, it's to do the things you're capable of, and rely on the kindness of others to help you with the things that are beyond your reach.  Of course, I always try to help others in need when possible, and the "pay it forward" method seems to be a great way to live.

     The day I planned to take my bike in for a tune up my son Matt happened to be around.  I've tried loading my bike in the hatch of my car before and it put up quite a fight.  This time I decided to ask my son for help.  When I got to the shop a kind man also helped me unload it.  This system really seemed to be working.

     A few days later my bike was ready so I headed back to the shop.  As Terry from The Bike Route was wheeling my bike out to my car I asked him "Out of curiosity, is there a  secret to loading a bike without a struggle?"  He told me the best way was to load the back tire in first and the rest would follow, this way unloading it would be a breeze  (Who knew!) Of course once more I was fortunate to have it loaded in for me again.

     When I got home I thought to myself, I could continue to rely on the kindness of others but there will come a day when I'll be on my own and be forced to do it myself.  I may as well give his trick a try.   I grabbed the handlebars and low and behold, I pulled that baby out and I never even broke a sweat!  The next time it needed to be transported I loaded it in myself as well.

     I'll still continue to rely on the kindness of others when I have to and help them out when I can, but that day I learned a good lesson, and that is how to work smarter, not harder.

Have a great day!

Christine ☺ 

Monday, October 7, 2013

Testing the waters

     Now that I made the announcement that I would ride in the Bike-to-the-Bay I figured I better see if I actually stood a chance. My bike was in the shop but I was anxious to test the waters. For all I knew 35 miles could be a breeze, on the other hand 35 miles might feel like a million. Maybe seeing what just five feels like first would be a good place to start.  I walk on a tread mill and strength train but riding a bike is totally different.

   The company I work for, DMC Technology Group, has a workout room which comes equipped with a stationary bike. If I was able to train on that first then I could at least test my strength before heading out on the road.

   I set the timer, and low and behold, I actually made it to 8 miles! And my heart was still ticking. My poor leg (the crazy one) was another story. When I walked It felt like rubber. Maybe I need to start using a bike as my form of transportation and leave the walking to the rest of the world.


 With several months to go, I know I’ll figure out how to make it over the finish line. I have faith that it can be done! 

Have a great day!

Christine ☺

Friday, October 4, 2013

From comfort bike to endurance bike


The first thing I had to do if I was going to ride in the Bike-to-the-Bay was brush the cob webs off my bike.  It had been sitting on the back burner the past couple of years and it was time to bring it back to a boil with a professional tune-up.

     It really wasn’t that long ago that I bought my bike and at the time the salesman assured me this bike would serve all of my needs.  He called it a “comfort bike”, and it was meant to make my ride very comfortable while tooling around the neighborhood.  However, this event was a whole different ball of wax. The ride would test the endurance of my legs more than anything else.

      As is, my bike has a comfortable seat, big and cushy, and thick heavily treaded tires that make riding over bumps and pot holes seem almost like riding on cotton candy. Now riding a long distance is something entirely different.  It’s not about a cushy behind, but focusing on the core part of the ride, and that can be extremely taxing on my already crazy legs.

      The first thing I learned when I took my bike to The Bike Route for a tune up was though my tires were great at absorbing the shock, they took up more space on the road and would force me to work harder to go the same distance as if I had more narrow tires.  But it was also suggested that I wait and train on the wider tires and then trade them out closer to the ride, allowing me to build as much strength as possible.

     The Second thing I discovered was that the seat, however cushy, would make my legs work harder as well because the width would take away from the straight up and down motion and put more strain on the muscles, so I would also need to replace it with a slimmer style.

     I went in for a simple tune-up but came out armed with an abundance of information needed to turn my “comfort bike” into an “endurance bike”.

Stay tuned to see what else I needed to get started on my journey…

Have a great weekend!

Christine ☺

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I'll just keep talking

     While I was at  my appointment with my neurologist, Dr. Mohamed, I Started talking with Barb Meyer from his office, who happens to be on Reeves Northrup's team,"Team Sitting Bull" In the Bike-to-the-Bay.  I told her I planned to ride this year as well and I was also forming a committee to get sponsorships.  Once again,  she too,  was excited  to help.  I'm sure she sees a lot of the devastation caused by MS on a daily basis and it has to hit very close to home.

     Incidentally, I also told Dr. Mohamad about my plans for my bike riding adventure and expected to hear him say "good luck with that..." He actually said "Good for you! I think you should do it!"

     Then I was at Hanger Clinic and I  went on and on to my Orthotist Mike Bursztynski about my crazy idea and immediately he said "I'll ride!"  REALLY?!?! He also plans to ask his wife to join him!  At this rate, if I just keep talking I'll have the entire community in my corner!  Anything to keep me quiet.

Have a great day!