Thursday, February 28, 2008

Yeah for Today!

We will be taking a break from story time today to bring you this breaking news updates.

*I suck at Guitar Hero. With my musical talents, this news is shocking indeed. This game is fun fun fun though and a big shout out to Em for bringing it over.

*I left the house yesterday and today ... wait for it ... I transported myself to an external location through motorized means. I drove myself to the library to return a book that was costing me $1 a day (have these federally funded establishments gone up or what?). Brake left, gas right, easy peasy, look at spot run.

*I have had big improvements in the past 48 hours in mobility and strength. I still have the deep calf/ankle swelling weird ache thing going on, but the knee is doing great. It seems very bend-e this time also.

*I have started the two arms, one stomach and one leg floor workout routine. It is going well.

*Tomorrow will be a tough day as I must call into meetings all morning for work, am forced to go to class in the afternoon to take two tests, and am capping off the day with a friends wedding in the evening. Luckily I am getting a two wheeled chair to help me out.

Exciting news I know. You may now go back to slacking at work/school and earning your degree in google reader and interweb browsing.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

And continued during my teenie years.

Yesterday I told you how my bad injury karma started at a young age. Today I will tell you how it continued during my preenie years (aka pre-teen) and on to my teenage years at of course no fault of my own.

I think I had a relatively mild elementary school once I got past kindergarten. Since I started school with the whole arm being strapped to my chest thing, I wasn't instantly the coolest kid on the block. But once I had four working extremities again, my natural American Gladiator tendencies returned and I quickly joined in with the group that chased boys at recess. I had a crush you see. Actually I was pretty sure that I was in L.O.V.E with Nick. He rode my bus, had a cute little boy face and always had the coolest packed lunches. So we chased the boys and I chased Nick. One fine day, while sitting down on the magic reading carpets, I received my first kiss from a boy right before nap time from ... Nick.

Happy happy joy joy until another fine day shortly after when while chasing the boys at recess, we cornered them into the tire house and surrounded it. Nick did what any young man does when surrounded by women, use any force possible to escape and somehow I got popped in the nose and my glasses (see previous photo) got broken. It was the beginning of the end of our love and I had to go to the nurse for the bloody nose.

Once I learned to read in first grade, I became a "reader" so this may be the explanation as to why I don't remember any real injuries for quite some time. I did have an amazing talent for getting stung in strange places by several hornets a summer. And I am a sweller. I remember not being able to swallow for awhile when one flew in my mouth. But overall, pretty injury free. I did contract a strange disease in third grade in which I had to live in a bubble for a month, but otherwise, a-ok.*

By the time middle school rolled along though, the biggest injuries faced on daily basis were to our young bratty girl psyche. This was the time of the daily girl group on group wars and subsequent visits to the guidance counselor. It wasn't pretty and I would never want to be a 13-year-old girl again.

Then in sixth grade, my bad luck returned with a vengeance. I was part of a science club (but it was coooooool, I promise) and we would stay after school to practice for the Science Olympiad. One day while creating suspension bridges out of wood to hang weights off of, I literally cut off the tip of my thumb. Not like the whole thumb tip, but just the epidermis layer + a little dermis for good measure. Enough blood that the mom was called and I was taken to the ER. No stitches were given because I didn't really have the "flap", but to this day I have a really unusual thumb print on my right hand (imagine a smooth spot) and I think I would make a terrible robber because of it.

Also, I got my first real boyfriend** in sixth grade and shockingly right after I decided I wanted to dump him, he fell off a water slide and was put into a body cast for four months and I had to wait to dump him until after he healed so I wouldn't look like a be-otch. Plus I had to bike to his house and visit him and all I wanted to do was go flirt with someone else. So I waited until the day he got back to school and BAM, see ya charley. But karma got me in the end in a very appropriate way that summer by my very own water accident.

That summer, I went for a couple of days to this lake with my best friend to water ski & tube and probably giggle also as I am sure we were excellent at. I had never water skied before, but what I lacked in skill, I made up for in determination that I would figure it out. I think I wiped out no less than 30 times before finally getting up that first time, so I recall being quite sore the whole week. We also spent a good part of the time water tubing which in and of itself is a sadistic and painful activity invented by masochists. In a moment that would forever cure me of my need to water tube, my friend and I were on a single tube each holding onto one handle for dear life trying to stay on the bucking bronco of a tube when we saw the rope go slack...way slack...bad slack. The kind of slack that rips your arms out of your socket when it becomes unslacked slack.

So I do the smart thing, I let go immediately. My friend waits a millisecond later till her arm is almost decapitated (is that word just for heads?) before letting going and somehow in the pileup that followed I obtained a kick to the face that knocked me out for a couple of seconds. I remember coming to in the water, bathing suit all askew and seeing blood on my hand when I touched my face. I thought I broke my nose and was spitting out blood, but when the boat pulled up they were all like, oh your eye. My eye... really? Apparently I had split my eyelid open and they could see things behind it. So off we went to the ER and I got five stitches in my eye. There must not be many nerves in your eyelid because it never really hurt, but it was a weird experience watching a needle that close to your eye. Everything else healed, but that was the end of my tubing days. I just punch myself in the face if I feel the urge and the memories squelch it.

Well this is longer than I thought it was going to be so I will save high school for another day. But off the top of my head, I can think of three ER visits and several other exciting stories for then.

*Just kidding! My friend did though for reals.
**Oh and in case you were wondering, those bangs are what got me those boyfriends peeps. They were hotttt.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

How my bad injury karma started at a young age.

So I told you I would tell some stories of my youth and not spend every blog complaining about some sort of knee whine. I am here to follow through on that promise. This is a story of an innocent little blond girl with a love for grape bubblegum.

It all started one warm summer day. I was four and a half and my older sister was five almost six. My grandparents were visiting from Connecticut and we loved it when they came because my grandpie would always spoil us by buying us a little thing of candy or gum at the check out of stores when we were with him. My mother and grandmother were picking strawberries and weeding corn while us girls played outside on the swing set and in the sandbox and yes we lived in the peaceful country exactly as you are picturing it. So my father needed to get some paint from the store and so when we heard that grandpa and dad were going to the store, my little intelligent brain put 2 and 2 together to equate candy at checkout and my sister and I begged to tag along.

We jumped into our super rad gold station wagon which had a open trailer for hauling attached to the back and off we went to Farm Fleet. We bought the paint and upon checkout, after careful deliberation I chose purple bubble yum (in the five pack, you remember). That gum was an explosion of flavour for all of five minutes before becoming blah, but in those five minutes, delicious. We hopped back in the back of the car, us girls put our seat belts on and slammed our doors and off we went. Or so my father thought. I think I did put my seatbelt on, at first, but then for whatever reason, I took it off, maybe to get a better looks at the corn field we were passing. And apparently, I didn't really slam my door, so much as shut it without really clicking the close knotch. So when I leaned against it to get that good look at that combine...

"...little girl prattle...where is Hannah?" Screeeeeeeeeeeech. Car slams on brakes and father runs up the road looking for his missing daughter. I am sure it wasn't funny at the time, but it sounds funny now right? So it has always been a black hole in my mind, but apparently I fell out going around a curve at about 40 mph (centrifugal force and all science peeps). They picked me up, I was bleeding heavily out of my head with an obvious broken arm but apparently was crying although not really lucid. They drove me a couple of miles to the ER while poor little six-year-old Sj sat sitting in the back seat crying.

I guess I came to for a moment in the emergency room (I do vaguely remember this) and asked about my purple gum that I lost out of the road during the flight. I was very sad to have lost it. My mom got the call, came to the hospital in a panic, I am sure yelled at my poor father, and then freaked out when she saw me. I guess while I was in the operating/emergency room, they stuck my freaked out older sister in the waiting room by herself and told her to sit there and not to move while she cried not knowing what was going on. I awoke sometime later lying in a hospital bed with a broken arm strapped to my chest, 69 stitches in my chin and head which had to be partially shaved and numerous other bandages from head to toe.

I remember staying in this hospital for three days, of which my father spent every night sleepign in a chair by my side. I remember being sooooo excited the first time I was able to go #2 for the nurses that I wouldn't leave the little kid toilet until my mother returned from the cafeteria where she was buying lunch. I remember getting tons of visitors who gave me money and presents and thinking "hey this isn't so bad". And mostly I remember my sister generously bringing her packet of strawberry bubble gum to the hospital and offering me half of it since I had lost mine.

I had to keep my arm strapped to my chest for a couple of months (do they still do that) and learn how to use it all over again. I remember hating to have to take the horse pills that I was forced to swallow several times a day and using vitamin E on my scars. Luckily my hair grew back and covered the dent in my head, and the chin scar is aligned with the fold in your chin and hardly noticeable anymore. And of course my brilliance wasn't tarnished either obviously...

Now for the good part...photographic evidence.

This is a photo of me being wheeled out of the the hospital after three days.

Still no arm but back at it. What a belly!

My cousin and I on our first day of kindergarten. If you look close, you will see that I have no arm in my left sleeve.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Not yet.

I know I promised the story of how I fell out of the car going 45 mph when I was four, but...

I am going to save that for later because I hope to have some photos to go with it. Right now, I am sitting on the couch with elephantiasis (also known as leg as large as an elephants) in the form of calf/ankle swellage. Apparently all the knee swelling is draining into my lower leg. I vaguely remember it doing this last time too, but it seems worse this time. It is preventing my calf muscle from contraction which is keeping my mobility down and my pain level up. So I am unfortunately still feeling the need for meds which is making me feel like a big wimp. Four days of meds should be enough damnit so I decided that today I will just cold turkey change to aspirin and see how it goes. These addictions form quickly people. I am already a ice addict, can't afford to be a pill junkie too.

My nursemanhunk had to go out of town for work for a couple of days and therefore I have had to ask for help from my friends. Luckily I have the best friends a girl can buy. There have been homemade pizzas cooked in my kitchen, countless illegally downloaded movies watched and plenty of drink and snack fetching going on. Seriously love my friends. AB is as we speak, picking up lunch at Thai Basil for us to nibble on. Crazy Rower #2 is even bringing over enchiladas tonight that she prepared from scratch. I should be injured more often. I eat better.
Anyway, a large 29th Happy Birthday shout out to my hubby who is hard at work out of town today! Love ya!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Here is the knee.

Things got a little crazy last night. Some friends stopped by and Tom baked birthday cake for his and my birthday and we had our cake and ate it too. He is turning the big 29 this Monday and loves it when I remind him that he is almost 30. Then we all fell asleep watching the Suns beat the Celtics. It was a night to remember.

So wanna see the knee? Looks pretty good huh? I took the dressing off today and removed the local anesthetic pump which was just a wire sticking out of my upper leg. As the numbing wore off and my leg came back alive, I wished it would go back to being dead. It has slowly gotten better as the day went on and I was able to take a bath and sit outside on a chair for five minutes. So I am starting to feel alive again and starting to get really tired of sitting on the couch. Tom is the best nursemaid a woman could ask for and I am really lucky to have such a great man as my better half. I love ya honey!

So you may have noticed that I seem to break things a lot. Electronics, bikes, cars, they need to be tough to survive. But as I sit here recovering from my latest surgery, I have had plenty of contemplation time to think. I think I also break myself a bit more than the average person. I don't think I am unsafe, I just think I live an adventurous life and maybe throw myself in front of a runaway train too often. But this started way before I was old enough to be held accountable. In fact, my first major hospital visit occurred when I was four years old. See, not my fault.

But I can't give up to much entertainment for one days, so I will wait till tomorrow to tell you the tale of how "I fell out of a moving car at 45 mph at age four." It's a good one.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Post-Op Day 2

Hello friends. Day two post op is winding down. It was a veritable cornucopia of excitement.

Here is the rundown. Try to keep your squeals of delight to a small roar.

1. Watched Mandy Moore's "A Walk to Remember" on TNT. Cried when she got cancer and died. Oops hope I didn't ruin it for you.
2. Watched Mandy Moore's "Saved" on you tube. It was MM day. What can I say? She is in so many feel good chick flick which seem sooo good while on pain meds. This movie is pretty damn funny too. "I am filled with Christ's love," MM yells while throwing a Bible at supporting cast. Pure comedy gold.
3. Chat on the phone to half my contact list. It went something like "I am bored...".
4. Ate a fish burrito from Rubios. Thank you to my coworker/tenant Eric who brought it over for me.
5. Nap. It has been an exhausting day.
6. Fixed ice machine by getting a free replacement part. Yeah!
7. Fixed pain drip which had pulled out and was dripping anesthetic on me. Yeah!
8. Kiss Tom for accomplishing both 6 and 7. He is quite the nursemaid man and I love him dearly plus he is grocery shopping right now for yummy food.
9. Watch "Malcolm In The Middle". It is one of my biggest shames, but I love MITM.
10. Compile this amazing list for you. Your welcome.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

New ACL. Check.

Hello ladies and gents. Alive. Pain. Yeah.

I am alive and kicken. Okay not quite kicken yet but definitely alive. Feeling surprisingly good though. My whole right leg is numb due to a spinal block (loving the epidural) and I was even sent home with a local anesthetic pain pump drip thingy. I have been very light on the pain meds as a result so I don't really feel all that loopy and haven't seen even one penguin or fairy in my living room...damn it.

The surgery went iffy okay depending on perspective. ACL reconstruction = good & successful. Unpredicted meniscus repair = bad & disappointing. The doc found my old ACL to be very stretched out (real shocker) and he removed a screw in my knee. Unfort, he also found both my medial and lateral meniscus to be torn. I can see the pics, it's not a little tear. So since last time I did the same thing and it was repaired by stitching, he just removed the offending flaps. I am sort of bummed by this because of the whole "future knee pain thing", but realistically, that is going to happen anyway so I am over it.

The doc said my knee was "tore up" and that I should "quit running and stick to biking". Well I say "fix it up doc and lalalalala I can't hear you". It is not that I really like running (on a road), but seriously, I am not an old woman who can just give up on moving at faster than a walk. Why are orthopedic docs such weanies? Probably because they are rich and fake bake. Okay maybe just mine. I don't know, he is just really tan and it is the winter time.

One last bummer. MY. ICE. MACHINE. IS. NOT. WORKING. Waaaaa. It is from my last surgery and I may or may not have used it for 3 months straight 24 hours a day. So the fact that the moter died isn't surprising but my Cigna insurance won't give me another one so I may have to buy one from the Elite Care people who are like the crack dealers of the hospital. The chick called me offering liquid frozen crack and I just can't say no.

Well I am super busy with all my important activities so I gotta run. I may have to get up to use the restroom within the next hour and I must mentally prepare.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Ready? No? Too bad.

So surgery is on tap for tomorrow morning. The cadaver ACL is marinating in the freezer as we speak. I can't wait to sign the release that says, "I realize that anything can happen and I won't sue if I wake up with one leg".

Am I ready? Mentally... not really. It's hard to prepare for something that takes you back a year and a half of progress since my last surgery. I tend to forget how bad things are once I am past them, so I have been trying to remember what the days following the surgery were like. I am sure it will come back to me on Thursday evening with blazing speed. Now physically, I am ready. I think. If you can call feeling like a million bucks and being able to ride 51 miles off road with little soreness great. Psychologically, I am not really ready either though. I am a bit stressed at work and with life right now, and wasting a week lying on the couch in pain is not a de-stressor, contrary to what you may think.

Wah wah, enough whining. I am sick of myself already. So what will I do while laid up? I am excited to watch Weeds Season 3 which I downloaded awhile ago and if I get really bored, I can always read blogs. YEAH! Of course I will be reading blogs. I may even blog while on pain meds if you are lucky. Wouldn't that be fun for everyone? I have to learn the bones of the body for anatomy class and since there are 206 of them, that will be as hard for me as memorizing my husband's phone number. It has no pattern and he can't remember mine either.

Oh and don't worry about my blog people. I intend to tell stories about my wild youth to keep you all entertained while my adventurous life rots. Imagine hearing about how I used to spend hours kicking a ball over the telephone line and catching it on the other side. It is going to be so exciting. Pop some popcorn.

So I bid you adieu and I will see you on the other side (hopefully not of the light). I will try to stay awake and focus enough tomorrow night to blog the words..."Ouch. Done. Success."

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Pics from the race.

Some pics from the 24 HOP race. Didn't really get that many good pics, but I am sure you are dying to see some. Okay maybe not, but I am going quickly run out of topics to blog about while sitting on my couch for the next month so I have to drag this race out. Be prepared for lots of daytime tv rants and hearing about my obsession with ice and its magical powers.

We had to fit 3 bikes, camping gear, multiple clothing changes, and coolers into a small jeep for the drive to the race. It was like a jigsaw puzzle of extreme efficiency. It is a good thing that Angel is small because she got exactly a 1/4 of the back seat.

The wet and cold drive in. This was the "good" part of the road. Brrr, we watched the outside temps drop from 50 degrees F in Phoenix to 31 at the race venue.

Sarah in the blue with the white stripe starting us off in the run. She has been back on dry land for a whole three weeks now, so naturally she was the perfect choice for the run.

My cuz Steph in blue was on site at the race working at the massage tent while her hubby BJ captained my team. Steph might have been the toughest of all of us as she gave massages to hurting bikers for 17 straight hours without a break.

Jeremy, BJ, and Steph are enjoying the balmy 30 degree day weather.

Watching the lead riders take on the rock at the end of the route.

Sarah coming down over the ridge on her first lap. She was the only person on our team who consistently came in after each lap screeching "it was soooo awesome". I will add that she did not get the privilege of riding a full on night lap though so the jury is still up whether it would have broken her. I am guessing not. She did take a mere 51 days to row across the Atlantic Ocean and still talks about how awesome it was.

Our campsite is the blue tent on the left. Doesn't it look like nice warm balmy camping weather? Let me assure you that it wasn't. But truly, it was beautiful there.

A shot of 24 HR town in front of Mt Lemon. I think those with campers might have been slightly smarter than us. Just a thought.

Awww whitey wrecker. Even though I may have cursed you at 4am, I still love ya.

Monday, February 18, 2008

24 Hours of Old Pueblo Race

So I survived the 24 Hour of Old Pueblo. It was [choose one: amazing/ cold/ awesome/ painful/ tiring/ make your own adjective].

Our team rode 13 laps of a 17 mile loop and always had someone on the course, so that was a victory for us. We actually podiumed (5th place) in the five person ages 100-150 category in 5th place which was good for us seeing how none of us had ever really done a real mtb race and definitely never a 24 hr one. Woohoo! But I must point out that there weren't that many teams in our category since I guess we are young (although not really that young) and most of the 5 person coed teams were in the 150-200 age division. And when we saw solo women accepting their awards for also doing 13 laps BY THEMSELVES, it was a bit humbling. But oh well, 9 months ago, I had just went for my first mountain biking ride and I didn't know there was a different brake for the back and front tires so I guess "I have come a long way".

I rode three laps for a total of 51 miles with times of 1:36, 1:55 (night lap, boo), and 1:44. Can't complain because three months ago when I tore my ACL, I didn't think I would be riding at all, so I must do a little shout out. Thank you knee for overcoming your obvious deficiencies (like not having an ACL) and persevering enough that my back hurt more than you this weekend. It was a perfect way to go out before my surgery this Thursday, and my knee isn't really that sore (nothing a little beer and ice can't fix).

Now for the actual race report. Skip if you don't want to hear about snow, cactus and the inner workings of my twisted mind.

We checked the forcast Friday and with 2 inches of snow and temps in the 20s predicted for Oracle that day, we wisely decided to wait until Saturday morning to head down instead of Friday night. Just getting to the camp was an adventure. The snow was starting to melt when we showed up at 8am and turned the 20 mile dirt road leading to the 24 Hour town into a mudpit. There was soupy mud everywhere, snow on the ground, and little rivers running across the low parts of the road. Plus it just looked cold. Cactus apparently turn dark with cold snow...who knew.

We arrived and met our two other teammates who had showed up Friday night and spent the night freezing. By the time we got camp set up, it was time for the captains meeting and bam the race was off. Sarah, our fearless token tough girl, started out for us (since the rest of us were scared of the lemonds start and the crowd. She had a great first lap battling off the rat pack and finished with a good time in very wet soupy conditions. BJ was next and he had a killer time for us newbs as the crowds broke up and the course dried. Angel "I am a runner not a biker" went third to take advantage of the light since she had never preridden the course, and really killed herself to finish with a good time in her first bike race ever. I had the privilege of going fourth starting at about 5pm which meant I had to try to get as much of the lap done before dark.

Here's my spiel. I have learned how to ride a mtb on desert single track. That is all I ride in my little ride radius of Phoenix and have learned how to corner around cactus and hit the right lines. I only started biking last June and haven't really had the opportunity to ride in things like rain, snow, on real mountains, or even up steep hills that last more than 3 seconds. See the desert is usually pretty flat. But this course is more involved, not really technically, but mentally. Towards the beginning of the course is a portion called the bitches. They should really be calling me their bitches, cause they own me. They are these huge rolling hills under a powerline that go straight up and then come straight down before going straight back up again, repeat 6 times. The problem is, that its not pack dirt, there is a lot of rocks and sandy parts and it is hard to get any real speed from the downhill that isn't gobbled up by the sand at the bottom. And one thing I need to learn is how to stand while I go up a hill. I really don't know how to do that. I usually just granny gear everything, but honestly, that takes forever and I watched everyone pass me standing up and it is soooo tiring to get passed while granny gearing, so really I just wanted to lay on the ground in fetal position by the last one. Once I got through that part of the course, I always feel so much better, cause the next long portion is just what I like, desert singletrack. On my first lap, I killed on the next part. I actually passed about 10 girls and a number of guys. Granted, they were probably on their fourth or fifth lap, but I was feeling good. There are a number of ways to wreck into a cactus on this part, but I just love how the ups and downs with plenty of fast rest time in between. The final portion of the lap is a long climb up to a mountain ridge and then a fast decent to the finish. Although I found this part tiring (long extended climbing always is) I liked it because I could just granny gear all the way to the top. In the words of Nemo, just keep swimming. It only got dark right at the end of my lap as I was descending the ridge and I came into the TA feeling good and happy with a 1:36, my best time ever. I passed the baton to Jeremy who got ran off the road into a tree (better than a cactus I suppose) and had to fix his bike and change a flat as a reward.

After getting warm and eating some food, I got to sit around the campfire for the next 5 hours and think about how much it was going to suck that I got to do the twilight zone lap from 3 to 5. That is how the cookie crumbles though and we stuck to our ordering. I went down to the TA at 2am because I was cold and wanted to get the show on the road. The track had turned crappy as the night got colder and a lot of condensation was causing hard packed dirt to turn into sticky mud. Angel said she saw the conditions deteriorate as her lap went on so they were especially nice by 3am when I got started. I immediate could tell that it was much much harder than my first lap. Things that were fast last time, felt slow and bogged down. There was ice and frost covering all of the cactus and there was ice cold water drops flying up from my front tire and hitting me in the face. And for whatever reason, my ear band was wet and kept slipping down over my eyes, so I finally just pushed it down and went hatless. The bitches sucked once again, and this time, my favorite single track also sucked and I felt like I was in granny gear way too much. The uphill climb surprisingly was also painful. Okay maybe not surprising. The other MAJOR problem was that my bike wasn't working right. I was experiencing phantom gear changes the whole time and by the end, I just got accustomed to having to change my pedal stroke to whatever gear the bike decided to jump into. Let me tell you, that was fun. The only good news was that I had brought my cell that plays out loud and jammed out to tunes the whole lap. Everyone that passed me (there was a lot) liked my tunes also. Towards the end of the lap, it seemed like everyone was hurting quite a bit and I had a lot of time to talk to people about how much the last climb sucked. Unfortunately, right at the end my music stopped but I was close to the ridge and figured the battery died and just kept going to the end. It wasn't till I went to check the time after handing off the baton that I realized I had lost my cell phone out of my pocket. Damn it, not again! I was super drained mentally, bummed about my cell phone, pissed because my new bike wasn't working properly, and annoyed and tired that the sun was coming up and I hadn't slept yet. I felt like I was on the trail for 3 hours, so I was actually quite surprised that I was still wasn't that slow (for me) at 1:55.

I was too tired to eat or drink (bad idea) and soooo cold that the though of preparing food or crawling into my frigid tent was abhorrent. I dropped off my bike at a mechanic on site and did the only thing I could find energy to do, strip down and sleep in the running car for an hour. An hour later, I got up and went to find out if my bike was fixed. The mechanic was like, "I can't believe you road a whole lap like that". Apparently something was wrong with my brakes (dragging really bad) and the derailor was all messed up. He claimed if I didn't drop 10 minutes off my time, then I should tip him. "Okay buddy, hope you are right" I said as I secretly thought that I didn't want to even ride another lap, let alone drop time. Then I went to the lost and found tent and like magic, there was my cell phone. I am sure some delusional solo rider thought they were losing their mind and hearing music before realizing it was my cell phone on speakers cranking tunes. Thank you nameless tired person who must have been pulled over for a rest for bring my cellphone to the lost and found.

So each team must ride for 24 hours, which basically means you must ride to begin at 12pm the first day and that you must ride over the finish line for your last lap after 12pm the next day. So as the cookie crumbles, I got to ride one more lap and cross the finish line after the 12 mark. I was not so quietly dreading another lap as I was crabby from lack of sleep and so stuck in the terrible mental state of that previous lap and its pain. Finally my super tough teammate Sarah, declared she would ride it with me to make it more fun (even though she had just finished her third lap earlier that morning). We knew we didn't really have time pressure, just needed to finish it, so we figured we would take it easy and enjoy the sudden sun and warm weather that showed up finally. Well after the bitches, which still sucked, suddenly the trail was very very nice and I had all sorts of energy that came out of nowhere. I really enjoyed the last lap, and ever though it wasn't as fast as my first one, was only about 8 minutes off at 1:44. Plus I didn't lose my cell phone and my bike ran like butter. So I guess I paid up my mechanic friend the tip because I took 10 minutes off my time. Then we collected our little plaque for fifth place and some swag (yeah!) and complained about how hot it was all of the sudden and how the sun was burning our faces. The weather was variable to say the least.

Overall, it was amazing. I have a new respect for 24 hour solo racers and a tiny little seed of "maybe I could..." planted in my soul. I came home last night and slept for 12 hours straight and it was everything I ever thought it could be.

Now today is my 27th birthday and I am putting on my shorts and going to drink a beer on a patio in the warm February sunshine and enjoy my last free day before they cut me open.

And congratulations to you for reading the longest post ever. Are you simply slacking at work today or really enjoying the day we set aside for the big guy in the White House? Doesn't matter, Happy Prez Day to you.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Happy VDAY Ya'll.

[read this message using your best Britney Spears voice ya'll]

Oh yeah. almost forgot. Happy VTineDay to all the playas out there who don't get no love. My man and I be kicken it tonight at Boston Market. It's where the real romancers go. Don't let those shitty Jared's commercials fool you. Give me an extra side of meatloaf and macaroni over diamonds anyday. Now, where my baby at?

My cutie hubby in his scruffy "Not The Commitment Type" tee-shirt just dropped these off at my work. Awwww. What a man. Isn't my cube great? Notice the picture of my bike on my wall. This is to serve as a reminder of why I work, while the scenic shots give me good jumping off points for daydreams and trip planning googling.

Snow & Bike. YEAH.

It's here. Twenty Four Hours in Oh My God Pueblo. I am super pumped/nervous/ready/notready/hopeful/ and excited! Although I am definitely worried about my physical abilities on later laps, I am more interested in how I will handle it mentally. Will I be able to dig deep and head out for 16 hours with a smile on my face when I would rather be sleeping? I think the fact that my knee surgery is glaring at me from around the corner will motivate me to keep going. Knowing that in less than 5 days, I will be unable to do things like this for no less than 6 months has to be motivating to keep going. Pain of exertion has to be better than pain felt while sitting motionless on the couch right? As an update, my knee is feeling really good right now: no swelling anymore and regaining of lost strength. I have been riding a lot and I think that has helped. So while I am physically as ready to go as I can be with one good knee and coming off the flu...

There is one big problem though.

Current weather reports are forecasting Friday's weather in Oracle as 20s to 40s with 1 inch of snow accumulation. Now I know people bike across the Alaskan tundra, but really this isn't going to work for me. There needs to be no snow falling at any point while I am camping. I am a delicate flower. Saturday is supposed to be cold but no precipitation so hopefully the snow will be gone before the race starts. I guess sun and dry would be too much to hope for in the desert. Sigh.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

This and that.

I am busy. Really really busy. Sigh.

Big test this week that I must study for. Tons to do at work since I was sick last week and will be out part of next week due to knee cutting. Big race this weekend to get ready for. Is my bike ready? Not really, I don't even have slime in my new tires for the cacti wars that I will be participating in. Must prepare the mind, body, soul, house and work & homework queue for the big upcoming surgery next week. It's hard to think "Okay, what requires two working legs to do that I should get done this week?" Um, everything? Cleaning the ceiling fan for sure and hair cuts. Plus my birthday is on Monday, so must be prepared to have fun this weekend and get outside for one last day of sunshine on our vacayday. I am not getting any younger and I have to be prepared for the day in which I officially turn from mid 20s to upper 20s. Sigh.

Oh yeah and there is that Hallmark holiday which I have to make time for. I am suggesting we go to fast food Chinese-Mexican for dinner. Seriously, Chino Bandinos is fast, cheap and delicious. Perfect for a romantic night, I'll bring the candles. Boo on expensive trendy VDay restaurants. But I do need to get a little gift so that the man feels appreciated. Probably in edible form because I am smart and know these things. Maybe I can buy it at the bike shop when I go to buy my extra tubes so I can kill two birds with one stone. But honey, goo is tasty! See, it's chocolate! I don't think he will buy it.

Also, I am pretty sure If I had two working legs, I could kick ass as a contender on American Gladiator. Just saying.

I leave you with a photo of "Watkins Rd In Sun", Gomer, Ohio.

*Photo taken by my mama.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Sunny weekend of green.

I have kicked the flu and am left now with merely a raging cold. I am so used to colds from my days in Ohio that I can play the trumpet while running a marathon with a cold. On to bigger and better things.

I was able to get out for about 2.5 hours of riding this Saturday with my hubby. I found soaking up the 80 degree sun would benefit my health better than sleeping. After riding through the initial post flu weakness haze, I felt pretty good. And it was beautiful. Almost as beautiful as Whitey Wrecker, but not quite. Here is her maiden South Mountain voyage. The green blanket covering SM right now is so amazing. In my four winters here in Phoenix, I have seen only one other time when this mountain turned semi green. We rode from a different trail head and got to climb and descend some little ridges that I haven't experienced before. Overall, I was a happy girl by the end. I got several "nice bike" compliments from poser licra clad guys that flock to these trails before leaving them in the dust.

The grass is greeeeeeen, but my skin is white.

On Sunday, I tried to take advantage of my last free weekend day pre- "cut my knee open and sit on the couch for a month". Next weekend is the big bike race so that will be a busy one. I went hiking with friends at Superstition Mountains, up to the top of Flat Iron. It is a 3K foot vertical trail in 3 miles to the top of a flat area of the mountain that is on top of the world. Great day in the mid 70s with plenty of sunshine and got a little pink shade on the arms. Don't hate me because my climate is beautiful.

I will let the pictures speak for itself. This is the #1 hike in Phoenix and the #1 most beautiful place that I can see from my house. Later in spring, this valley will also be full of beautiful wild flowers. There was even a wee bit of snow at the top, but it was melting fast.

From this angle, Flat Iron looks low, but believe me, it is as the top of the world.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


He gets sick with flu and fever. Takes over the couch for a week. I make rude joking comments about being stronger than him and go ride my bike. He gets better while I promptly fall sick. I take over the couch for the following week while he whistles around the house. I curse him and he laughs.

Is this the part about "in sickness and in health"? Must we share everything now that we are married? We really don't need any more reasons to become more lame and make no Friday or Saturday night rock star plans.

I guess this is warm up for my surgery, this lying about all day on the couch nonsense.

And Shaq? Really? Playing for the Suns? I was blown away by the news that we traded Marion for Shaq and really don't know how to feel. While I love Marion, I wasn't feeling the chemistry this year with him whining about not being a star all of the time so I guess I am conservatively optimistic. But I have always stated that I hate Shaq ball, so we better not turn into a boring Detroit type of team that scores 80 points a game. Nah, we have Nash, it won't happen. Think of the roster: Nash, Grant Hill, and Shaq. It is like the 1995 dream team. If we win a championship, it will all be worth it. I guess the good news is, that I won't have to watch Marion take the world's ugliest three pointers any more.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

We need change.


Our election system is completely broken. I am disgusted and pissed off right now. I am a dedicated voter and believe that you suck if you are too lazy or apathetic to vote. I have been registered to vote in the state of Arizona for awhile now, but due to recent name and address change, I re-registered to vote a couple of months ago. I also converted from an independent ticket to Democratic so that I could vote in the big important primary on Super Tuesday. I then sent an email out to most of my entire contact list as a friendly reminder, urging them to register for a specific party if they wanted to vote in the primary. I am sure most of them hit delete, but hopefully it reminded some people that they needed to register to vote and gave them the links to where they could do it at. I got my official voter card as well as my polling location in the mail awhile ago and therefore I felt confident that all was in place.

So I get all excited to go vote today. I woke up feeling sick (thanks Tom) but still dragged myself to the polling place. Ancient woman #1 takes my id and voter card and starts looking through some printed list for my name. Can't find it. I check myself because her glaucoma might be acting up. I then tell her that I changed my name a couple of months ago and maybe it is under the old name. Nope not there either. She sends me over to ancient man #1 and he starts mumbling about how the polling precincts all changed and how I might be at the wrong one. But he can't find my precinct number that is printed clearly on my official card anywhere on his list. He also tells me that any changes made online in the past three months may not be ready for this election. So he tells me just to fill out a provisional ballet with ancient woman #2 and it might be counted.

Excuse me, might? I ask him why it wouldn't be, and he says there is a 50% chance it will be counted. Did you pull that number out of the sky old man? So I voted for my choice and dropped my useless ballot in their useless box and tried not to punch any senior citizens in the face. What a retarded system. Seriously, get out of the 1920s and someone please put into place an election system that is not fraught with serious issues/corruption. This is why I am voting for change people. Because I am tired of living in a joke.

Change. Yes We Can.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Whitey Wrecker

She arrived on Friday evening, and I persuaded my buddy Jacko to help me build her until midnight. She got fine tuned Saturday morning just in time to make her first trip down to pre-ride the 24 Hours of Pueblo (HOP) course with my entire team.

She is fast. She is sick looking. She screams down mountains trails on her skinny but grippy tires. She jumps rocks like a pogo stick on speed, friction has nothing on her. She tears around corners so fast that the cactus are jealous and try to jump out and join her. She is a lean mean fighting machine churning up the hills, laughing at the loose rock trying unsuccessfully to slow her down. And when she comes to a bone charing rock decent meant for big travel bikes, she giggles with excitement as her rear suspension compresses to gobble up the impact. If only this crappy human wouldn't keep slowing her down with the damn braking already.

She is the Whitey Wrecker and she is mine.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Movie and such.

Since television is crap these days and I survive mostly on The Office and 30 Rock reruns, let's talk about movies.

Do you enjoy adventure and excitement? Have you ever thought of taking a crazy trip across the country or continent or world and just hitting the road? Did you enjoy the fictional movie Motorcycle Diaries by a sensational director Walter Salles who (is also responsible for personal favorites Central Station, City of God, and Lower City)? Seriously, this man is a directing/producing genius.

But back to the topic at hand. Then I highly recommend the tv mini-series Long Way Round starring Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman as themselves. It is really a documentary about these two best friends who both happen to be actors (Ewan more famous than Charley) and their love for motorcycles adventures. They decide to that they want to challenge themselves, and they plan to ride their bikes around the world. It is over 20,000 miles and 12 weeks and takes them through some of the most remote places in the world: Siberia, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, and Alaska. They ride across a region of the old Soviet union on the "Road of Bones", where nothing but gigantic trucks with 10 foot tires can travel. They see the most amazing places, and for once, it is not Hollywood version of these countries. Once this 8 hour special is started, you can't stop watching it. You will fall in love with Ewan and Charley as the coolest celebrities to ever live. This mini series received almost a 9.5 out of 10 on IMDB, which is a site that is notoriously hard to get good ratings on. Anyway, just rent the movie from Blockbuster or Netflix and you won't be sorry. Unless you think Pirates of the Caribbean is a good movie... then you should probably skip it and check out Glitter instead.

Since I watch a lot of documentaries/independent/foreign films, I see my far share of good and really bad. Another must rent is The Devil's Miner. It is the real tear jerker version of Blood Diamond that follows the life of a 10-year-old who works in a silver mine in Bulgaria. I dare you to rent this and not feel like crap about your own easy life that you were born into. Also good: Born into Brothels (kids born in Calcutta's red light district), Once Were Warriors (movie about violence in the New Zealand Maori culture), Bandit Queen (based on legendary female warrior Phoolan Devi from India), Y Tu Mama Tambien, Tsosti (six days in the violent life of a young Johannesburg gang leader), The Terrorist (story of a female suicide bomber from Sri Lanka trained to kill the Indian prime minister) just to name a few. I find that foreign films tend to push the envelope and are more explosive and real which is why I gravitate to them. But I can still get a little humor and enjoyment out of some Hollywood blockbusters, such as Superbad, Juno, and Office Space.

Have a happy weekend! I will be ride ride riding this weekend as it is the last hard training weekend before the big race. Knee is doing much better with less swellage, and I might be receiving into my own hands my new bizike. Aiiiieeee! Hopefully my poor hubby starts to feel better before the big game on Sunday. Go commercials! I don't really want to cheer for either team so I am cheering for good commercials.