Archive for June, 2014


Party Pooper…

 Normally I do not post just random forwards or funny things… that is what Facebook is for lol I try to keep my blog for stuff that has a bit more meaning. Well I can not help myself, watching this made me laugh.

Funny how words we can use often and know the meaning too without a thought can be missundersttod by those who are not part of our culture.

 Enjoy 🙂

 

 

 

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Four points of view that change how we see ourselves…

 

First word is an excuse used by many people to justify why they do not do something… It is a way to promote failure before you ever try, a way to beat yourself into believing a lie… oh I just can’t possibly to that… I can’t do math… I can’t play basketball…

 

The next word is something society and people around us slowly filter into our heads until we believe it as truth, School books, doctors, parents and even friends will sometimes think they are helping by telling you that a dream or a goal is impossible… sometimes they can be right and I would never ever tell anyone to go against anything a doctor tells them. But what I would say is that if you can afford it and it is possible, to get a second opinion on anything you feel strongly about. Many times we see things that we think are impossible for our self, and we tell others that it must be for them too. Some people lack the will power or the fortitude to push or go forward, then without even knowing it projecting that inability on to others. Sometimes we want to protect those we know and love from failure so we try to encourage them to not even try feats that for most seem impossible. This is not done out of malice or hate, it is sometimes done out of love or kindness and with the best of intentions. But the problem is if we never fail we never grow… and what might be impossible for you might just be possible for them. We have all been given a different measure of ability and gumption… it is what makes us diverse and amazing creatures.

 

Then we have *unable*… I am unable to do that… you will now not be unable to run or walk or play normally. I understand that these words are close and can be interchanged. I am writing this with the mind set of how I hear them the most in my life and in what way I have seen them used. Most doctors do not say… “You can’t do this or that…” they are more technical… “Because of your blah blah blah, your body is unable to handle… unable to bend… unable to move that way ever again.” Now I must repeat I would never tell anyone to ignore anything that a doctor says. Please do not get me wrong here… I feel all doctors have to go on is what they see… x-rays, and numbers from tests… what they cannot see spirit and drive… is sometimes what allows us to do thing we normally could not. Doctors do not want you to hurt yourself and do not want you to make an injury worse. So they will 99% of the time speak on the side of caution. The way the world is, if a doctor says you can do something and you get hurt they will be blamed and many times in this day and age might get taken to court… so I do not blame them for wanting to limit their patients so as to make sure they are not hurt. And if you are able to do more than expected… well it’s a miracle. Normally a doctor can only go on what is “normal” for your injury and your test results, from there they make educated guesses… it is not an exact science because we are not all the same, each one of us are different in one way or another… part of the reason why I like how they call it “Practicing” medicine…

 

And finally… Chicken Shit, It’s used to help grow veggies, and fruits… to make flowers beautiful… and grass greener when used properly. But when there is too much… it can kill all plant life and leave everything withering and dying and burnt… Chicken shit… Can’t… impossible… unable… all of these things when used to much can leave us withering and dying… but if used as fuel, to help fertilize our motivation and push us to grow… these words can make us stronger so we can blossom into maybe not what the world would see as perfect, but maybe if we work hard enough we can become extra ordinary. Being chicken shit is not always a bad thing… you just have to decide what it is you are scared of… pain?… failure?… ridicule… and sometimes we are scared of none of those things. Sometimes we are scared we may succeed, because once we do, no one will cut us a break anymore. No one will look at us and be easy and give us pity. Whether we like to admit it or not we all sometimes just want to lay back and do nothing and have people look at us and tell us that it is ok. To use what others would call a weakness be it our injury, birth defect, and mental limitations as an excuse to not do or be 100% of what we can. To lay back and say I can’t do that because it is impossible. I am unable to move/think that way and because I am chicken shit. To have people look at us and say, “Oh, it is ok… really we understand, and do not blame you on bit… we could not do it either and we don’t have your limitations.” Sometimes we just want to hear that it is ok not to try… that is Chicken Shit.

 

I’m blessed… I may have had a ton of work between meniscus tears and a blown ACL, collar bone broken in two places, double hernia in my lower abdomen, spent a good deal of time in the hospital as a baby with pneumonia, had the Forest Gump braces because of severe bowing and pigeon toed as my legs were developing, fractures to my skull, concussions, and a couple broken noses… there is more but cry me a river all of that was a blessing and I’m tired of thinking about all the negative stuff, each of these things made me stronger in other ways… but forget about all of that… I am blessed… I can walk upright without any disfigurement, I have all of my arms and my legs, all of my digits, and all 5 of my senses work well. My brain although scrambled at times and can get me in trouble is what I consider one of my best attributes and my heart, though over worked at times, helps me care about almost everyone around me. (Let’s not debate feelings being a chemical reaction in your brain this is figurative) I am blessed to be healthy enough to do the things I do… I have been told I am not allowed to run because I need at least one knee replacement and the other is close… I have been told that swimming and cycling are pretty much the only things I can do but even then I should take it easy *snicker*. But then they messed up, after I was told to take it easy they followed it up by saying, “You can really do as much as you want… it just depends on how much pain you’re willing to live with. You are too young to get a knee replacement at this time so your best bet is to just take it easy and hope science can catch up to you… and of course lose some weight to relieve a lot of the pressure on your joints.” Wait what? I can do anything? That was all I heard… ok it’s going to hurt… but I can do anything? Hahaha GAME ON!

 

So I have done a couple things here and there… a few really tough things to be honest although this is not about me or about what I have done. I have other blessings in the form of the amazing support system I have in my friends and family. I also think back to the very first MS150 that I had ever done… I was dying it felt like, and thinking how stupid it was… that I raised the money and there was no point in putting myself through this, it was hot and everything hurt and is was tired… I was just done; I had hit the wall (figuratively). Then I heard a voice say… “On your left!” someone was going to pass me but the voice was a bit low… it must be a recumbent bike I thought to myself… and then I saw him as he cruised by me with a strained smile and a nod… peddling his bike with his hands because he had no legs. I had never seen that before! I was new to cycling for the most part, but I had to stop myself from staring like a fool. As I watched him truck along by me and put more distance between us, it hit me like a wall of ice water and I teared up a little to be honest. What in God’s name did I have to complain about, I just got passed by a guy who had no legs, and he did it with a smile and a nod. Not a grouchy get out of my way… but an “on your left…” and a good job… keep it up… nod and smile. I got a little angry at myself, not at letting someone with no legs pass me, but at being “healthy” and complaining that I tired. It was not out loud and I was only complaining to myself, but really, what did I have to complain about? I finished that day, it was not easy, and I am sure that man has no idea the affect and inspiration he was to me that day. I had an obligation to do it for those who could not. MS strips people’s ability to do things for themselves… I had no reason to complain.

 

I won’t go into why I do so many of the things I do now and the inspiration behind it. I want this to be about the people I think of when I start feeling tired and I start feeling like I have nothing left to give… I will just give you 3 examples but there are so many others…

 

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First is a girl I started following on facebook, Amanda Sullivan I will let you read her back story in the links I have posted at the end of the blog. She is an amazing person, upbeat and the true meaning of inspiration. She does not let anything stop her, and if it does she just trains harder. Amanda is someone I have followed on facebook for a while, when I was attempting my last few challenges she came to mind. A couple times I was thinking about what she is able to do, and thinking about all the people she promotes on her facebook the men and women who have lost limbs or senses and are pushing forward to do extraordinary things. But not only that, they are so supportive of not only those who are like themselves in many ways, but of anyone who are trying. She is without a doubt one of the most amazing people I follow and she has a true warrior’s heart, with the kindness of an angel. I was blessed to have found her and to be able to just read about her adventures and use that to help me drive my own. I wanted to share her spirit with anyone who reads this… follow her on Facebook and help support her in what she does. If anyone deserves it, she does.

 

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The next person I met online and because friends with through a blog sight, she has an amazing heart and well for a long time I never knew she had a disability lol… and I laugh here because well there is nothing about her that says disability. She is one of the most able people I know. I would say she is normal, but she is not… in this day in age normal has become the people begging for money or assistance because they have a disability and should be taken care of. I have followed her blogs, and her life across the US and back again… shared in her heart break as well as some of my own… she has never, not one time, in my years of knowing her used what happened to her to gain an advantage and use it as a crutch.

 

She told me,

 

“Yeah, I really dislike for people to categorize me as “Ashley, the girl that lost her leg. Or battled cancer.” I want them to see me as much more than that. As just myself. Not what has happened to me. So, for that reason I don’t bring it up or let or “control” my life. Which I have seen a lot of”

 

When she was a teen she had a cancer that lead to surgery that led to complications and her loss of a leg. Can you imagine… a teenage girl going through all of that on top of all the stuff teenage girls already go through? (I have a 17 year old daughter I can’t imagine that) But she beat the cancer… and now has such a great attitude, rides horses, has recently become a gym rat… dances… I really have not seen anything physical hold her back. There are some restrictions she says, but most of it would come from the material the leg is made out of more so than her own physical issues. As someone I have gotten to know over the years who is a dear dear friend and someone I hold in the highest regard, she is kind and has not let any of the words above limit her life.

 

The third person is famous in his own right his name is Nick Vujicic and I do not know him personaly (so I have not added any photos) and have never spoken to him in email or otherwise, but I watch his YouTube videos often when I need a lift. This guy was born with more issues than anyone deserves, no arms and no legs. But I do not think you would ever hear him mutter any of those words I listed above. I will put a link here to one of his videos and a link to his channel and we pages bellow. He is a motivational speaker, trying to show people that even when life gives you a bad hand there is always hope.

 

I think I have went on enough… but before you think about using the 4 things in the title, think about the people I have listed and the thousands of others just like them… the wounded warriors… special Olympians… Paralympians… think off all these people before you look anyone in the eye and say… “I can’t…” “I’m unable…” “It’s impossible…” and then stop to think about exactly why it is that your “chicken shit”! Are you afraid to fail? Or are you really afraid you will succeed!

 

Nick:

 

You tube: https://www.youtube.com/user/NickVujicicAIA/featured

Web: http://www.lifewithoutlimbs.org/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NickVujicic

 

Ashley:

 

Blog: http://southerngrl85.blogspot.com/

 

Amanda:

 

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1gdHTIGISHwCWa38ADaqnw

Blog: http://blog.spartanrace.com/overcoming-obstacles-amanda-sullivan/

Instagram: http://instagram.com/Crutching_Tigress/#

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AmandaSullivanSmiles/timeline

 

   My first ever double century, only 12 short days after I complete the assault on Mt. Mitchell…

 

The alarm goes off and I roll out of bed really doubting myself and why I agreed to this ride. I mean I had already proven all I had to prove this month… and I slept like crud as I normally do before a big ride. But a commitment is a commitment so my feet hit the floor and I start moving before I have a chance to waiver and change my mind.

 

 I get dropped off, pack my stuff in Carole’s car and we were off, just a touch later than we had planned but that was ok… this was not an “official” ride of any kind so a few min here or there was not going to hurt us or keep us from riding.

 

The humidity was around 97%, the fog was thick in some places but after we said our hellos and got everything together the 4 of us headed on our way.

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It was Carole and Scott with me to do the full double, and Marcus joined us to only ride the first 100 miles. It would be his first century for they year! Later that day he had a date with some chickens that he had to cook for friends and family. It was not until after we got started I realized just how foggy it was. It was kind of cool in some places, made some of the trees almost look like creatures… and don’t laugh at me! You have to occupy yourself when you need to take your mind off exactly how long you’re going to be on your bike.

 

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For the most part in the early morning we had the roads to ourselves that made this small town look a bit like a ghost town… I almost wanted to stop and scavenge for food and resources, but then I came back down to earth… I’m on my bike not in one of my books.

 

 

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As the day went on it showed us just how beautiful the day was going to be, we passed a good deal of farm land and some gently rolling hills. I got to see a lot of cows and some realy beautiful horses as well as a ton of goats. We even fervently road past some dogs that were not so happy to see us.

 

 

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Carole was loving the low wind and the spotty sunshine we had early on… while Marcus… well I am not sure exactly if he was pretending to be an airplane or a big condor… maybe singing that song in his head from that cartoon movie Space Jam…

“ I believe I can Fly… I believe I can touch the sky…”

hahaha and yes I know your cursing me cause now that song is stuck in your head.

 

 

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As for me it was a rough start, my lower back starting hurting early and my left knee was acting up… so I stayed pretty quiet and kept my head in the clouds and my thoughts somewhere else the best I could.

 

 

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Then we came across our first of 2 “closed “ roads… did you know that “detour” and “road closed ahead” signs really mean something much different in the world of cycling? Oh yes… they mean “Cyclocross”, (insert evil laugh here) at least for us.

 

 

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My lower back was really getting the best of me so I got a lesson from Carole about cycling and muscles… evidently your hamstrings are attached to your lower back… well I am sure not directly but in a round about way… anyway… after crossing the “bridge” we stretched the hamstrings and poof my back felt much better… It was like magic… ok ok I am sure like 90% of anyone who is actually reading this is rolling their eyes because they knew this… but I really had no clue. I have never really had back issues… well except for sitting on a really thick wallet and having my doc say, “take that out of your pocket and you will be fine…” and I was, in less than a day. Oh it is the simple things sometimes…  

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Well slowly my knee started to feel a little better even though I was still getting a bit winded going up some of the small rollers. I started to feel like such a wimp with these guys doing most of the work pulling, but I worked in 2-3-4 mile pulls in here and there. I just felt super drained. Maybe my body was still recovering from the shock that Mt. Mitchell put on it.

 

Now we are back at Scott’s for a short break as we say our good buys to Marcus and we fill up water and drinks and get some food in us… 100 down… 100 to go… *sigh*

 

Carole is all changed and looks as fresh as she started, Scott is chipper and in good spirits, and I tell Carole that I am lucky she drove because if I had a vehicle there I would probably be done….

Do you know what she did?? She just smiled… and said… “You don’t think for a min I am going to let you quit do you…?”

hahahaha oh hell not even if I wanted to I guess… so I said with my best brave face. “Hey I never said I was quitting… just that I am lucky you drove so I do not have that option…” *another sigh*

 

Scott said to get lined up for another picture… thumbs up…. and off we go…

 

 

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Well honestly I feel a little better after the food and rest… it is just the three of us now so I am trying not to wimp and pull a little here and there. Well that is when Carole decides to get off the front… I think she likes it up there sometimes.

 

Now after some time passes and we get on in our journey we come across our second “detour” Carole was not so sure about this one but Scott was not even hesitating he went right up to it… Just as Carole says, “I don’t think we can get across this one guys.” I notice this little walkway that I assume the workers use… I point it out and it was quite the trip lol climbing down small dirt and gravel hills with a bike in your hand and cycling shoes on, with bad knees at that, is not fun but it was an adventure hahah… besides we could not let it stop us… and heck it’s my first double century! I might as well make it as interesting as I can right?

 

 

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So I go down first and then turn and get Scott’s bike so no one else has to try and carry their bike while walking down dirt paths… respect for my elders and all.

 

 

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After helping Scott get his bike past me on this narrow walkway I turn to then help Carole who is still not so sure this is a good Idea… so instead of waiting and letting her talk herself out of it, I decided to just take both our bikes across… I mean my family did teach me some manners after all…

 

 

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   With Carole across the walkway we find a few more challenges ahead… but there was no point in putting the bikes down now so I just kept going lol…

 

 

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Finally to the other side I reunite Carole with her bike and I get my bike and finish helping Scott across… he lagged back on the second part because he was having too much fun watching Carole tip toe through the obstacles and me playing the gentleman while he took pictures… With one last picture and the bridge about to be far behind us… we leave our last “detour” literally in the dust.

 

 

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Somewhere on that 65 mile loops I just ran out of mojo… the music did not help and putting my head somewhere else did not help. I just had no energy. I only wanted to lie down on the side of the road and close my eyes and go to sleep. This is a strange toss up… I am feeling like this was tougher than Mitchell at this point.

 

So because I was getting so far behind, Carole had Scott pull over in the shade so I could catch up and she gave me an extra goo that she had… for those that do not know it’s a flavored gel, with caffeine and electrolytes and other good stuff to help you get moving or keep moving.

 

 

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Well we make it back and fill up on drink again and we have someone join us for our last 35 miles… 35 more miles… what??? Oh how I just want to stop and sleep… and eat… and eat… and eat…. The smell of all the people cooking out on that trip was nothing short of torture.

 

Brian was all smiles and telling stories from the race he was just in earlier that day… that was a great distraction for me for a little while. He is a strong rider though and they had to keep reining him in because I was really struggling at this point to keep up.

 

 

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We make one final pit stop and one last group photo of the 3 double century folks…

 

 

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Man we are getting close now… Carole had some Garmin issues after she charged it and was lagging about 2 miles behind everyone else… so here we are behind Scott’s “hood” making some loops as the sun starts to fall. Just trying to make sure everyone gets their miles.

 

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And we are done!!! Cheers!!!

 

 

 

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As we leave Scott and his lovely wife behind I am reassured by one thought I have had in the past… that no one can ever tell me that a bike is not the fountain of youth or even a time machine… I mean look… here we find big Scott… and little Scott… lol (Scott’s grandson… same head shape and everything lol like a mini me of Scott) it’s almost like he has found his youth again… great thing to find in retirement if you ask me.

 

 

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Oh and one last thought… this is mainly for my pack… ya know Goldsboro might just be our Vegas… I mean… I felt beat up… and it’s like we woke up and poof… there was this baby… almost like our own Hangover movie… and I swear we passed some houses that had crystal meth tweekers in them somewhere… I would bet money it… I’m just glad my friends are much better than the ones in the movie… No one lost Me!  

 

 

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    Here is my Garmin Data for the adventure!!! and a Special song that my friend Marcy like to share with us from time to time.

     http://connect.garmin.com/activity/511108552

 

 

 Special thank you to Scott for letting me use some of the pictures he took… to Carole and Scott for being so patient when I was struggling…. To Marcus and David for hanging with us for what time you could… and To Scott’s awesome wife for all the encouragement and hospitality!! All of you guys are awesome!!!

   yours truely…. Dougie Doug Doug