Sunday, June 29, 2008
2. Sunscreen is most definitely your friend.
3. It doesn't matter how much you sweat, no one can smell you anyway :)
4. You can eat as much as you want, drink as much as you want but your muscles still need electrolytes. Gels and electrolyte block bites quickly became one of my friends.
5. Carry ibprofen, your muscles will thank you.
6. Camelbaks have to be one of the most amazing inventions ever.
7. Colorado is beautiful. She is rough and challenging but man is she beautiful. God definitely spent a little more time making her ;)
8. God can get you through the pain. No amount of self will-power or endurance or motivation could have made me get through that race. That was reliance and faith alone in God.
9. MS is a terrible disease that often leaves those diagnosed without the use of limbs and movement. No matter how much biking up that hill stunk, the thought of knowing I could even get on the bike made me thankful to be in that spot.
10. God is amazing, plain and simple. He really is. Like our jerseys said "God's love can move mountains." Well and plain ol' people to do crazy bike rides! hehehehehe
Pictures still to come....
Two days, 150 miles and a ride to raise money and awareness for a fantastic cause.
Saturday started at 4:00amin the morning with quick showers, grabbing breakfast and making sure our bikes had enough air in the tires, seats were high enough, water bottles filled, helmets in cheque, etc. We loaded the bikes in the truck and headed to Front Range Community College in Westminster for the start of the race. By 6:30am we had unloaded the bikes, gone to the bathroom, readied ourselves and left at the start of the general shoot (Highrollers....those who raised tons of money....were first out of the chutes in a series of two different times depending upon time raised). The most touching part of the whole race was the start. As we left, a woman whose MS has left her wheelchair-bound without the use of her limbs was there saying thank you to every single one of us. Being a woman I choked up and got teary-eyed but how could you not?!?! We are riding for THAT reason; so one day no one will ever have MS and have to sit in a chair thanking people who are riding a bike for two days for them.
The first day was pretty good. It was hard, it was crazy. I fell behind my team really quickly as I'm not used to biking, I'm not a guy and I don't hardly ever work out. My endurance, stamina, and leg strength are not up to far. Not to mention my knowledge of the technique of riding (yes there is technique) wasn't quite there yet. I rode for 34 before my dad called saying they were already at the lunch stop (there were rest stops about every 10-15 miles) and my legs were shaking so I caught a SAG wagon to take me 9 miles to the lunch stop. The SAG wagons are vans that take riders who are injured, tired or just don't want to do that part of the ride onto the next stop side or wherever they would like to be let out.
That took forever so my team was actually leavning just as I got there. I took the time to talk to God, savor my lunch, and try to rid my bladder of the already more than a liter of water I had been gulping on. After lunch it started off tough. Gravely road, hot sun and up-hill. I was almost ready to give up before God just put the image of that woman in my head. By garn if I had to walk the rest of the way I was doing it! People with MS are affected in a variety of ways but it's progressive and eventually the nerve funtioning of their muscles almost stops leaving them with so many problems and disabilities. So I pushed through the pain and oddly enough after I got over the couple of rough hills (walking up and riding down them of course) it was an amazing 13 miles. I put on my tunes, rocked out, prayed to God, and enjoyed the Colorado scenery. We were being led through a series of county roads that are less traveled and the view was incredibly.
The last rest stop came and I grabbed a sno cone and chatted with some friends I had made along the way and was determined to keep up with "Little Old Guy". By that time I was one of the stragglers and this guy was old and going strong and kept getting ahead of me! So I made it my goal to keep up with him. I grabbed some organic peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, checked my water (thank the Lord for Scott's Camelbak!!) and set out. For those that don't know Fort Collins that well, Horsetooth Reservoir was the last leg and it's steep!! We even went up/down the more mild side. I, of course, was last on our team to finish and as I was pushing my bike up to the last part of the hill, Dad and Kevan called to inform me the rest of the team was done and waiting for me. At the top I got on my bike and literally cruised the last eight miles into town. I've never been so happy in my life to hear "5 miles left." We finished the day at CSU with a grand total of 73 miles. Because I SAGed 9 miles, I finished 64 personally. Not bad for a first time rider!! It was a GREAT feeling though :)
Once we hit CSU, it felt good to go through the day's finish line. I met up with my team, we changed and then went to my house so they could store up bike's and get the camping gear. They went and set up their tents and I napped and kept emptying my bladder of the now over 2 liters of water I had drinken in the last ten hours and then we got some dinner at D.P. Dough sharing stories of the day. Kevan had tried to see if it was possible to be done before noon so he had finished first for the day. Dad, Marsh, Tan and Mark were exclaiming stories about things that had gone on and I learned of all the cool things at rest stops that they had obviously taken down before I got there (being a straggler and all...). We got some dessert, called it an early night and crashed.
This morning started out at 5:30 with getting bikes ready and out the chute by 6:30 again. This morning was a little bit more frustrating starting out. Everyone was sore and tired but my legs felt worse than they had at even the worst point yesterday. Everyone's goal was to finish the whole race without getting off the bike. Mine simply was to make it to 100 miles total. I rode to the start of the bottom of Horsetooth and then decided to SAG my way up as I had the whole day to go; I wasn't going to exhaust myself from the get-go, I wanted to finish the finish line feeling halfway decent. The point is to ride, not to kill oneself. So I SAGed and was unable to be let out at the top so I had to go onto the next rest stop which put me at the front of the team (highly unusual) but made me unable to do 10 miles of the route that would have been easy, fun and fast and one step further to my goal. I rode 22 miles straight into lunch and waited for my team to catch up so we could eat together as we hadn't been able to yesterday. My dad rode in and informed me Marshall, Tan and Mark were a ways behind him.....and then informed me Kevan had been hit by a car. Hit by a car!!!
Apparently some a-hole had been literally antagonizing bikers for a-ways by honking and swerving and not getting over like he is supposed to. We ride on the shoulders of real roads, two at the most side-by-side, always staying on the shoulder. Marshall was on the outside of the right shoulder on the right side of the solid white line. Kevan was just on the inside, about where the groove is for where the right tire of a car goes. Any car passing by should slow down and either get over or if there is a car coming wait until that car has passed to get over to pass us. Well this a-hole clipped Kevan and Kevan went flying into the middle of the street. Thankfully there were no cars behind as Kevan would have been run over. God blessed us in that. But his shoulder and knee and hip got pretty bruised up and rashed, about 1/2" gash is in his right elbow and the foam on the inside of his helmet cracked. Thankfully he is ok, but the damage could have been a lot worse. Other bikers reported the a-hole, a report was made and they are looking for the guy. However, Kevan couldn't finished the race. We SAGed from lunch to two more reststops. The second one after lunch is also the last and marks the beginning of the last leg of the ride. As much as we didn't want to do it without Kevan, we really wanted to finish.
And I was eight miles under my goal.
Kev told us to go ahead so we hopped on our bikes and cruised to the end. Ok cruised is the wrong term as the last little jaunt was ALL uphill. We finished though and we finished together as a team with me leading the way. All of us, including Kev got finisher's medals.
I finished personally clocking 106.5 miles, my Dad, Mark and Marshall clocking 129.5 miles and Kevo clocking ~110 miles. Not bad if you ask me. Not bad especially for not training.
The ride is absolutely spectacular and I would recommend it to anyone. It doesn't matter how old you are, how fit you are or how good of a bike you have. We had people ranging from ten years to I'm sure 80 years old on the course. Like I said, the first day all I wanted to do was keep up with "Little Old Guy"! Anyone can do this race, if there is a part you can't do or can't go on, you simply SAG. One team even had jerseys saying "Aint2Prd 2 SAG". It's ok if you can't do all 150 miles. It doesn't matter how long it takes you to do it or how well you do it. Many of us were pushing our bikes up hills, I personally was one of the last people in for the day yesterday finishing at 3:45 (to put it in perspective they "sweep" the course at 5pm). Most of the 3500+ riders were done by then! It doesn't matter what you look like in bike shorts, what kind of gear you have, nothing. It only matters that you ride. That's all. You ride for MS.
The Staff is also completely amazing. At every turn it seems there are people clapping and saying "Thank You" and "Keep Going" and "Great Job". At every rest stop is cow bells and clapping and streamers and food and water and everything to take care of you. State patrol is constantly parked everywhere guiding traffic, cruising to make sure everyone is doing ok and helping the Support Groups. Support rides back and forth ALL the time making sure every one is ok. Mechanical support drives back and forth. SAG vans. There are bicycle medics and Marshalls, tons of them. Their goal is to keep YOU the biker safe and doing well and that's exactly what they do. Everyone is encouraging and non-judgmental. Most the time when bikers were passing me, which is basically everyone, they say "Good Morning" and "Way to Go". Those of us that seemed to go the same speed encouraged each other up hills and down hills and across flats, exchanging conversation, water and food. It's just ABSOLUTELY amazing!!
This is definitely going to be one of my traditions. The course always changes and even if it's harder next year my goal is 115 miles :) Or more. We'll see though.
It was rewarding, God pulled us through and blessed us, He blessed all the riders and the staff and brought it out to be a great ride and a wonderful weekend.
Alright this dirty sweaty girl needs to go get a hot bath in the worst possible way. More about the MS ride and pictures coming later :)
Thursday, June 26, 2008
My brothers Marshall and Kevan are working for a tent company this summer that puts up and takes down the huge events tents. I get a text from Marsh around 1:00 asking if I'm on campus because they are there setting up and then it dawned on me!! The MS150 is this weekend and THAT'S what all the tents are for.
No I did not forget that I was riding in the MS150, I simply spaced that we are starting at Front Range in Westminster and ending at CSU on the first day and that just so happens to be saturday and today is thursday. Thinking to myself "Duh Dummy, do the math!! You ARE in algebra..."
But yes the MS150 is this weekend. For those who don't know it's a bike ride to raise money and awareness for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. Each state has runs, walks and bikes for MS. Right now is Colorado's bike ride event. Our walk event was the very beginning of May. On saturday I will ride 75 miles from Front Range Community College Westminster to Colorado State University on saturday (and yes we ride over Horsetooth Reservoir...YIKES that is going to be a test of will) and back down to Westminster on Sunday. 150 miles with the road, the wind, nature and my butt glued to my bike seat. I'm excited :D
Speaking of bike rides, runs and walks: I'm organizing a team that will consist of my aunt, mother, my aunt's friend (and pretty much a part of our family) Tori, and myself...and whoever else should want to join that will walk a bunch of charity races. We love to do this sort of thing and we love to walk so it works!! I need to come up with a schnazzy team name and then I'm going to design and order us some t-shirts and then I'm going to start signing us up for things. Relay for Life, Race for the Cure, March of Dimes, Turkey Trot, Reindeer Stroll, etc. Know of any?! Let me know. Want to participate?! Let me know. Want to sponsor us?! Let me know!
Alright, because I'm spending my weekend on a bike I won't do homework. So that means I need to do it now. Signing off :D
Monday, June 23, 2008
All I know is with the combination of everything right now, I'm bogged down. I have a headache, my heart is heavy, I want to seclude myself and I want all the stress to alleviate. I can't keep handling the pressure of everything, it's not healthy. It's not healthy to worry and stress as much as I do. I've really contemplated seeking professional therapy to help me through some things. If only I could afford it.
I can't ever relax. I have no one to lean on. And I don't burden anyone with anything that has to do with me. I refuse. The world and everyone in it has enough problems. "No man is an island." But I can't help but feel like I have to be.
On a lighter note, I'm going to the Arbonne Retreat in Oklahoma City in the middle of July for a weekend. It's the manager's retreat and since my membership under my team can't happen until then (my old membership has to expire under the team I'm on right now), it will be right after I join the team. They want me to start planning parties then!! I'm excited but honestly can I handle another thing on my plate?! I think I can. I really do. I think I can do this and I can be good at it. It's my time to shine for something, to be successful at something, to be recognized for something and this will be it. If not I fail only myself, which honestly is the hardest thing for me to bare. I fail all the time, in so many ways. I want to shine in just one way for once in my life.
So any ladies, if anyone actually reads this ever, I will be starting to sell Arbonne in July. It's a great product, you should try it. And you should try it by me :)
Well I'm going home to go to bed, after studying all night, though I didn't actually get much accomplished. The tension in my neck and back is killing me. A massage would be great right about now....
Sunday, June 22, 2008
I should have been more productive but I wanted to be lazy....so lazy I was. And it felt wonderful!! Now tomorrow I will work work work all day with no play....and I'll actually take a shower :)
Stinky Nicole = No Bueno
Ok honestly for tomorrow I need to make a to do list and here it is:
1) Artist Perception discussion and artist perception for the week
2) Biochem chapter reading and begin study guide for first exam
3) Three chapters of algebra homework
4) Bike ride :)
5) Work (not even going into THAT to do list)
6) Sweep my room....it totally needs it, those hard wood floors are killer
7) Actually make myself some dinner!!! (due to no money and being lazy, this rarely happens....unless continual cereal and pb&j's count....)
Saturday, June 21, 2008
I have a TON of homework to do today and tomorrow. As in a bunch A BUNCH and here I am dinking around on here....delaying getting a shower after getting distracted twice already by phone calls and people knocking on the door and then Kevan asking me to look up info. Where oh where are the days of summer I used to know?! Here is what summer is all about to me....
Bright colors, painted toes, family, beach, sunshine, carefree, pampering oneself in one sort or another, laughing, etc. Oh how I wish I was on a beach sipping a pina colada or mano daquiri right now....
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
21...This summer I will be 21. And I don't get to celebrate my birthday. It's not like I want to go out and drink and get "smashed" and whatnot. A simple glass of wine with anyone special would do the trick. I simply would like to celebrate my birthday without being in a wedding in Kansas or family forgetting or working on my birthday. Ok nix that, I have school, work AND I'm studying for a final on my birthday this year. And no time to celebrate. You're supposed to have fun on 21...I'll celebrate with ice cream and maybe a cheap bottle of Boone's Farm Strawberry wine on my birthday.
I'm studying for a discussion for my online art appreciation class. I'm looking at real photos of Frida Kahlo. She painted herself mostly....torturous painful biographical pictures obviously displaying what she felt inside. She never smiles in any of the real-life photos of her. It's quite sad to see in her eyes so much sadness. It makes me want to give her a hug.
I have figured out I'm always the last to know anything. I found out my boss is bisexual. Apparently I'm the ONLY one at work who didn't know that....unbeknownst to me I found out during a private conversation with her yesterday. Took me off guard. It never ceases to amaze me that people never cease to amaze me and blow me from left field with something I don't expect them to tell me! It must be that people feel as though they can confide in me without judgment as I usually find out these things in pretty personal detail....however why am I always the last to know?! I need to get out more....that's all there is to it.
Alright, quick break in the studying....back to Biochem, Algebra and Art Appreciation. Oi va.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Last night babysitting the kids turned out to be a gratifying adventure. I took them to the pool despite being exhausted from the mornings events and being a tad sunburnt. They had so much fun though not to mention it helped to thoroughly wear them out as much as it did me. I had to push them home, with Ashlynn and Joslynn sitting the double stroller stacked high with three bags of goodies and towels and clothes, etc. hanging off the back. What a day for cardio!!
Watching them is absolutely wonderful as they are so well-behaved and the greatest kids but it serves as a wonderful form of birth control...hahaha. I love kids but know that I'm not ready for ANY of my own ANY time soon. But at the end of the day getting to tuck them in "as snug as a a bug in a rug" and giving kisses on their foreheads is so rewarding.
I have such an urge to bust out my manual camera and resume my photography. Only obstacle: I don't have a darkrom and hate sending my pictures to Wal-Mart for them to crop and mess with as their general machines see fit. Oh how I want a darkroom!!! One day, one day...just not any day soon. Until then I would settle for having a better digital camera than my crappy general kodak bottom-of-the-line one I have right now. But for now it serves my purpose, to capture moments that mean so much to me. Maybe for my birthday my whole family will pitch in for Nicole's "I need a new camera fund!" Hehehehe I could only hope though.
This week in between algebra tests, art appreciation discussions online, biochemistry reading and working I'm determined to find time to bike up Horsetooth. Think I can do it?! Tell me no and I'll prove you wrong ;)
Saturday, June 14, 2008
This year I am biking the MS150....for those who don't know it's a bike ride to raise awareness and money for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. 150 miles in two days. We'll see if I can do. Ok not IF I can do it, how LONG it takes me to do it over those two days.
Anywho for a training ride we rode in the Greenwood Village Goose Chase (we being my father, my uncle Mark and I....half our six-man team for the MS150). We originally signed up for the 42-mile ride. However, we only did the 30 (which ended up being a little over 30 miles). It took us 2 1/2 hours to finish but we did it!!
Later on I will post some pictures. I only have pre-race pictures on my camera but on Monday the professional pictures will be available online and I hope to copy and post the proofs from the website. So pictures to come. It kicked my ass but it was fun :)
Tonight I'm babysitting so I'm going to go rest up for that. It was a good day. My butt hurts, my face and legs are burnt and my thighs are killing me but at least I did it!!
MS150 here I come!!!
(June 15th) Here are a few pictures I pulled off my camera and edited a little bit from before the race:
Before the race.....we had to unload our bikes and get everything prepped...including the obligatory number pinning on the jersey (my favorite part)!
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
A group of FABULOUS ladies has brought me into their family and are going to help me slowly but surely build up my business of selling this beautiful product.
First thing anyone should know...it's a Christian-based company that believes God comes first, family comes second and business (or whatever else) comes third!! No wonder this company is so darn successful!!
Second their product it AMAZING and it's made with botanicals, which are healthy for your skin. I have been using Arbonne for a year and I have only found one other product line that compares to it, and I'm an avid fan of both. Arbonne and Aveda (not Aveeda...what they sell in Wal-Mart) but Aveda, as in what you find in a lot of spa/salons now-a-days. Honestly, their product really IS amazing!! Otherwise I wouldn't be gushing over it.
It's going to take a lot of hard work and dedication on my part but I really want to start this up and have a supplemental income and I think I can do it!! It's a God-driven company with fabulous women who will stand behind me the whole way. The product is great and can be used by ANYONE...yes there are even products for men, babies...everyone!!
Ok I'm done gushing. I have to get back to work. I'm just so excited :D
Friday, June 06, 2008
Sometimes I feel like life is living me and me not living life. Isn't that horrible?! For the most part I'm happy but I feel like I don't get a chance to just be or do something out of pure enjoyment for myself.
But I suppose that's how it goes.
I am almost finished with my first degree, only roughly $16,000 in debt for schooling. I will graduate with my bachelor's in Nutrition & Fitness next year and I have NO idea what I want to do. I want to finish nursing school but that will be another long adventure. The real world is coming up soon....and I have no idea what I'm doing.
I'm working as Personnel Manager here at the IBOX (Information Desk & Box Office) at Colorado State University for $1 more than minimum wage. I love it but man do college students get ripped off or what?! I'm also planning on jumpstarting a little bit of business as an Arbonne Consultant, for pocket money and whatnot. I think I can do it!! I really do think I can do it :) We'll see though.
Wow, almost 21 in two months. I never thought I'd be 21. But here it is. Crazy. Now I really am an "adult" and that is just scary in itself.
I can't complain though. God is continually blessing me with opportunities; opportunities to grow and depend on Him. God loves that, me depending on Him, and He makes me do it so often. Right now I'm working on listening to God, to what God really wants. And I can say as being someone who is usually non-observant and oblivious to most of the world, it's difficult.
But I am thankful; thankful for His strength and love and grace. Because I would not be where I am and I would not be who I am without it.
Thank you Lord, for everything. For Your grace and love, for Your strength and forgiveness. Thank You.