Why Do I?

I may not entirely love being an unemployed college graduate right now, but if there’s anything I do love about it, it’d be all this free time I have to think up, and write, more blog posts!! What wisdom do I have to share today you ask? Well, it’s not really wisdom at all I don’t think. Instead, I thought I’d give my readers a little glimpse into my brain and what makes me tick. Lately, I feel like my life has solidified, more so than ever, around three interests–passions if you want to call them that (I do!).

These three passions are: Cycling and Spinning, Lance Armstrong and his LIVESTRONG campaign, and 5k races.

For the past 20 days, I’ve been getting up at ungodly hours (okay, maybe not, but they are for a college grad!) to watch the 2010 Tour de France. Now, my first motivation for doing this was to watch Lance Armstrong in his second year of a retirement comeback and his-really now-last official Tour. More on that later though. I’ve been a follower of the sport for many years now, since Lance Armstrong’s original comeback in 1999 after his battle with cancer, and I often get asked if I stopped watching the tour when he retired, or if I’ll keep watching now that he’ll really be done. My answer is always yes. Cycling is not just a sport that you can check yourself out of when your favorite rider is gone as you might with some other sport. I don’t just familiarize myself with the top riders in the peloton (big group on the road), I know them all. I make it a point. I’ve learned a lot about the tactics of this intense endurance sport, and see the benefits of cycling being both a team and individual sport. Cycling has truly become one of my passions.

It is because of that passion that I took up spinning-indoor cycling-in the summer of 2007. I knew that I probably could not ride a true road bike, for reasons I talked about in this post, but eventually Spinning became my road biking. It became my release of negativity that life can sometimes bring, and my hour of “me time”. I cherished, and still do cherish, my ability to spin at least once a week. I know this is not something that not everyone can make the time for and I know that many people with CP or other disabilities might have difficulty doing. I thank God that I was blessed to believe that I could take part in such a class and go out and do it. Thanks to my beginning interests in cycling, spinning is now a passion that I can’t live without.
Lately, I’ve developed an interest in another interesting endurance sport: running. Okay, so maybe I don’t exactly run, but still. It all started last October. A friend of mine called me asked me if I wanted to do a 5k with her that Sunday that was going to benefit Camp Care, the free camp for children with special needs, run by Crossroads Physical Therapy which I’ve talked about here. I could not turn down the opportunity, but 3.2 miles? Continuously? Was I nuts? Yes! Not only was this a continuous 3.2 miles, but it was ALL uphill!! Except for the last .2 miles. Either way though, I walked the entire race and finished it in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 33 seconds! It was the most amazing feeling to cross that finish line on my own and take pride in such an accomplishment. After taking part in that 5k, I realized that you don’t need to be running to have the “runner’s high”. It’s simply chasing a dream, feeling on top of the world, and in control. Run or walk. I’ve done another 5k since-the George Washington Bridge Challenge 5k across the GWB. It was an American Cancer Society event I did with my friend from college who has a cousin diagnosed with Leukemia shortly after birth. He is now 6 and in remission!! Again, it was an amazing experience. I completed that race in 1 hour, 18 minutes, and 12 seconds! I think the major time difference had a lot to do with the GWB being completely flat, but it was also the attitude. I’m doing my next 5k 2 weeks from today. The Hope is Coming 5k to benefit the Smillow Cancer Hospital. My goal is to get my time down to an hour or less (slightly irrational I know).

Okay, I’ve shared two of my passions. By now I probably just sound like a crazed “wannabe athlete”. Some of you might even be saying, “But this can’t be safe/healthy/whatever you’d like to call it, because you have CP” So, WHY DO I do this?! Well, that’s where passion #3, and the strongest passion of all comes in.

It started as an idol, moved into a hobby, and has now transformed into a mantra and a way of life. LIVESTRONG. The one word motto from Lance Armstrong after he launched his foundation to raise money and awareness for cancer research. I’ve always looked up to Lance for his courage, strength, and overall ability to fight, and beat, the odds. When he launched LIVESTRONG, I just looked up to him that much more. Whether he ever enters the pro-peloton again. Or any sporting event for that matter, he has taught me what it really means to fight, to triumph, to believe in a cause, and to make a change. THAT is why I do this. Because it’s not a matter of just living, but living strong. With every pedal stroke and every step I take on a course, I am putting the LIVESTRONG way of life into action.

If I ever doubt my abilities, or whether it’s safe for “someone with CP” to be doing these things, I look down to my left wrist where my yellow LIVESTRONG wristband sits, and am reminded that this is my life, and I will hold the same attitude I have since I began following Lance Armstrong in 1999.

I know I have a wide variety of readers to this blog, but I encourage you (and your children!) to find your own ways to live the LIVESTRONG way of life. 🙂

Photo Credits:

Peloton Photo: http://www.photosfan.com/images/2009-tour-de-france1.jpg

Livestrong Photos: Twitter.com/lancearmstrong

Inspiration Friday

For my readers, here at home and in my special needs community, check out this article my friend Katie sent me.

The article is about 8 Year Old Abby who created lemonade stand kits and the slogan “When Life Gives You Lemons, COLOR” in order to raise money for donations to a hospital where her 6 year old brother Cameron, who was diagnosed with CP, attends many for many PT treatments and different procedures.

This little girl is truly inspirational and exemplifies what life is all about…


First of all, this post was inspired by Ellen over at Love That Max. I’m not sure if I’ve talked about Ellen before, but she’s mom to Max, a wonderful 7 year old with CP. She is an amazing mom and all she does for her children definitely shows through her writing! Ellen’s blog was the first I followed and I’m simply addicted to it! Check it out and I’m sure you will be too! Her blog really inspired me to put everything out there in each of my posts, because you just never know who might stumble upon it one day. THANK YOU ELLEN! 🙂

This week is Babies Week on Discovery Health Channel, and they are premiering a new show called NICU following 3 top Neonatal Intensive Care units in the country. This show is pretty exciting for those of us in the special needs community, because it showcases the beginnings of life which so many of us have experience with (preemies, trauma at birth, etc.) I invite you all to read Ellen’s post about the NICU experience and the connection we all share before continuing on with my post here, because I can’t do it justice…

Did you finish reading yet??

Really, I meant it, go read the post.

Okay, you should be done now! This post really touched me, for the obvious reasons, and because everything that Ellen talked about knowing as a mother of a child with special needs, I can say I have also felt or known growing up with CP. This is what I said in response to Ellen’s post. I don’t think I could say it this way if I tried it again, so I’m just going to paste it in.

I know that a lot of parents read this blog, so on a post that touches so many of you, I thought maybe I’d share a “child’s” perspective…I’m not a parent of a child with special needs. I am a child with special needs. Well, more an adult now, but every one of those things you mentioned that you know as a parent of a child with CP, I can honestly say I know each of those too, having CP. It’s obviously very different for a parent than it is for a child. I don’t remember a lot of what would have probably been the “tougher” times for my parents, but I do remember my own thoughts of doctors visits, surgeries, etc. They are tough, they effect a child’s life, but I’m here to assure you…your child is strong and will make it through each of them as they are meant to.I know what you mean about always feeling that empathy for preemies even though Max was not a preemie. I was a preemie (born at 24 weeks), so I too have that connection. For me, that empathy comes more from seeing my own experiences possibly play out in the life of another child, experiences that I have no recollection of and that I will probably never have the courage to ask my parents honest questions about. Now that I am an adult, that empathetic connection comes in the form of thinking about preemies now, the technology that medicine has to give them such a great shot at high quality of life. And it also comes in the form of thinking about my own children I someday hope to have. Will I have a preemie child myself, will I watch them struggle in some of the same ways I have, or–perhaps even more strongly weighing on my heart–will I be upset and even slightly jealous if my child learns to walk within their first year of life, while I am still trying at age 22, will they surpass their own mom in milestones?I don’t know what so many of you face daily as parents of children with special needs, but I do know we are all connected–parent and child alike, and you can bet I’ll be DVRing and watching along with all of you in my community tonight!

I hope you all tune in, or DVR the premeire tonight on Discovery Health at 10 PM ET and PT.
Oh, and, Ellen said I should be a guest poster on her blog, which is pretty darn exciting!! 🙂