Sunday, February 21, 2010

Missed Connections

A biker from PA and one from New Jersey wait in Maryland for a girl from Philly who is lost in Delaware. Talk about a missed connection!

Flashback: Early January 2010. The dawn of a new day.

I had been looking forward to getting on an actual bike, as I have stated multiple times in my previous entries. I have no idea what is in store for me for the next year or so, and when the day came to get started, I was stoked!!! I had a date with ‘Nikki’ and ‘Kristen’; two ladies who I have briefly emailed and no nothing about, other than that they are going to train me.

That morning I woke up and was stoked to meet the ladies and get schooled in the art of falling off a mountain. Or at least I was excited to get on the bike and get my first lesson.

I brushed my teeth while bouncing along to the song ‘Sun shiny day’ and combed my hair 100 times, and I skipped out the door. What a lovely day.

First stop: Human Zoom; the bike store that will be supplying Team CF with bikes and the likes. I had been there once before to get fitted for shoes and had met the people who will be helping me out. Anthony was one of them. He is a red headed laid back kind of guy.
On this fine day where my story begins, I found my way back to Human Zoom to pick up my beautiful lady bike. (For whom, by the way, I am looking for a name). I arrived a few minutes late, as usual, but nothing to alarming. I have learned that timing and being ‘on - time’ completely depends on the person/people you are meeting. If you are going to theatre rehearsal, for example, ‘on time’ means arriving 20 minutes early, getting comfortable and being ready to jump on stage 5 minutes before rehearsal begins. In the world of bike shops and river guides being ‘on time’ means 1 o’clock can be anytime between mid-morning and supper. In the world of Mommom’s - there is no ‘on time’; she’ll get there within two days of the expected date you set to have dinner, (but that’s a different story).

Anthony, the bike expert, let me know he was going to get my supplies. He went upstairs. I waited with immense anticipation. I waited in agony. I waited for what seemed like hours! Then suddenly, as if sent from above, Anthony descended the stairs with grace and poise, carrying a glorious vision of what was to become ‘mon velo’! In all of it’s splendor I admired the off white apparatus with delicate golden accents. A glow surrounding its arches seemed to emulate the glory and dignity that only comes from a heavenly halo. Just as I stood in awe, waiting and wondering how the gods could have sent me such a magnificent gift, Anthony stepped away from the backlight.

It was a dude with a bike. But still, a pretty cool bike! MY BABY!
I got to sit on it, ride it in a few circles and do a victory dance as Anthony adjusted the seat and all of the shocks. He explained the mechanics and do-hickeys, and just like that he said I was set. I tried to keep a straight face as he did all the explaining, but I think my utter confusion with his biking jargon showed through. While I was there I picked out some sweet sweet spandex pants with a bicycle seat built in for extra riding comfort. (FYI - walking with a bike seat permanently placed between your legs is not comfortable).
Anthony loaded up my bike into my car, and we talked about which Broadhurst he knew. You see, My Grandfather, William Broadhurst, spawned 11 children. For the most part, all 11 children stayed in the area, and raised families of their own. So, being a Broadhurst in the tri-state area, you come to expect that any new acquaintance will know a relative or two. Turn’s out he went to school with my Aunt Beaner. The ‘7 degrees of separation’ comes in handy when you need a quick fix for an awkward silences. When there is nothing else to say, I mention I am a ‘Broadhurst and the rest of the conversation is smooth sailing.
As I drove away from Human Zoom, I could see my bike sitting proper in the back seat, where it seemed to fit right in. It looked like a little kid gazing outside as the suburban landscape of Ardmore turned to the rolling hills of Delaware. Delaware: a very interesting state that sits just south east of PA yet seems like it’s in its own world. I was on my way to meet the two characters that would be training me; Nikki, and Kristen.

Me and My Baby!



Sitting Pretty


I had set my GPS and was well on my way to Fair Hill Rd, Delaware. Little did I know Nikki and Kristen were waiting in Fair Hill, Maryland. I drove for about an hour. About 45 minutes into the drive, I realized I was going to be late. I called to let the girls know. They said there was only 2 hours left that we could ride, but we decided to keep the date and just do a short ride once I got there. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize my misdirection until I found myself at an intersection with a blinking light and a gas station…that was out of gas. I thought ‘something is not right’. I quickly called Nikki to let her know that I was near, but maybe had missed the entrance to the park.
“Hey Nikki! So, I am here on Fair Hill Road, Delaware and I don’t see anyone, or the entrance to the park.”
“We are in Maryland” She said.
Again, I was in Delaware and they were in Maryland. It felt like one of those ’missed connections’ you read about in the back of the local news paper’ where the guy writes in about this girl who stole his heart, but he never caught her name. Our blurb would look something like “A biker from PA and one from New Jersey wait in Maryland for a girl from Philly who is lost in Delaware. Wish you were here!” So, with our available riding time dwindling and after an hour of driving around the wrong state, we decided to call it quits on the day and meet again the next weekend.

As I turned my car around in the gasless gas station, I realized that the day could be salvaged. I had a bike, and a GPS and it was BEAUTIFUL out! I thought I would explore a Delaware state park. So I found one with my GPS, made a U turn and away I went. Things were looking up! As I turned off a main street, I was surrounded by weeds and wind for about 3 miles. Then, without warning, my GPS ran out of fuel. I was running out of patience! I could not find my way to the unknown state park. What am I going to do?

I turned around once again, and headed home on my own directional skills, and THAT can be scary.
Thinking the day was a waist, I stopped at a cute little barn store for a powder room and directions. The very nice lady informed me that her bathroom was out of commission, and that she uses the neighbor’s business. She cheerfully added, “There is a clean toilet was just up the street at the gas station!”
At that point I was fairly certain I got lost around that area a few weeks before. This was confirmed when I reached the same gas station where a few weeks prior, I had asked directions. Turns out their bathroom was also broken, and would be a 20 min wait to use. So, I wondered about the store, picked up some pick-me-ups staples on a road trip, a Slim Jim, Gatorade, a souvenir and a bag of sunflower seeds. I made my way home. 4 hours and three quarter tank of gas later, I made my way into my house and made coffee in my new ‘Delaware’ mug. Kicked up my shoes. Season of Team CF will have to wait another day.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Flashback

It’s December 2009, and I recently signed on to be a part of Team CF in the New Year.

The whole point of me joining the team is that I have no idea what I am doing on a bike. If I can go from a “What does this ‘clicky’ thing do?” to “Aww hell yeah! I clicked that!”, then, I can show other CFer’s that anyone can do it, right?

The only downfall to that is that I have no idea what I am doing.

I thought a test run on a stationary bike would be a good place to start, and to get a taste of what I was in for.

I have a tiny little Nissan Truck. That’s the model’s name: Truck. It’s a 1995, so naturally, after I bought if from a seemingly honest man who put an add in the paper, I had to practically rebuild it. Still, I love it for its “My Size Barbie” appeal; its tiny size fits my tiny wingspan. While my Truck is at the shop, getting an internal makeover, I have to catch a ride to my classes. They begin at 8 am, and so that is when my cycling adventure began.

One morning, just after being dropped off around 7am, I made my way to the library to do some reading before class. But, the library isn’t even open that early. So, I went to the gym, which was. (?) Neumann has a bran new gym facility called ‘The Center for Sport, Spirituality, and Character development’.

My mind starts ticking and I think: I’m starting a new sport, I need to lift my spirits and see if I can do this cycling thing or not(or at least pray to the spirits for help), and people tell me I’m a character, So I figure it’s the perfect place to get started, right?

I step in, and find my way to the new fancy pants stationary bicycles (ones that you can set up a personalized workout plan). I choose the ‘body test workout’ to test where I stood. It seemed simple enough; keep a steady pace for about 5 minutes. However, after 1 min minutes I was bored. I tried to motivate myself through the monotony by counting my ‘strides’? (The rotations of each foot/peddle). So, quietly I repeated

“1, 2, 3, 4. And repeat.

1, 2, 3, 4. Repeat again

1, 2, 3…"(In my head)

Ok. Boring still.

I let my mind wonder a bit, praying that the actual bike would be more entertaining than staring at a wall, and sweating. The thought of being entertained led to the thought of acting. Acting led to the thought of comedy, and eventually I was acting out what I thought would be hilarious in the current situation.

A southern dance instructor, pushing my trainee to maintain speed and momentum!

I imagined a bright pink leotard, with a sweat band around her head and wrists and a puffy ponytail. She was quite energetic and impassioned.

If you don’t know what that sounds like, repeat after me:

Wuun aend teww aend threey aend fouwr! Alllright!

Wuun aend teww aend threey aend fouwr! Guhhd Job!!

It wasn’t until I had finished my body test, AND my 20 minute long workout that I realized what I was imitating my daydream. Out loud, and enthusiastically. I had completely forgotten my surroundings, and by this point the gym was filled with students. Try that on for size early morning gym goers! (At the time, I was a transfer student who didn’t know many people anyway, so who’s to judge? I could have been dedicated gymnast from North Carolina just trying to get in shape, for all they knew).

This is going to be a wild ride, I thought.

In the Center for Sport, Spirituality and Character development the machines had adjustments that fit me (unlike the local community fitness center)! Now, I’m not technically a ‘little person’, I missed the cut off by 1 inch J . Mom is 5’5’’ and Pops is 5’8’’, so I didn’t have much of a chance to begin with. Also, those who have Cystic Fibrosis tend to be shorter because of the lack of vitamin and fat absorption during childhood. The combination of the two statistics left me standing 5’3/4’’ tall. Not ridiculously short, but still things can get thorny in a world built for those who are at least 5’5’’. For example, when I am at an ordinary gym the machines look like I can use them, they feel like I can use them, but when I get under the lifting machine, and I have to jump to get a hold of the bar; the situation can get a little sticky. If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it might be a Terradactyl. Nonetheless, here at Neumann, I could adjust every curl, weight extension and lifting machine to my dimensions. This is a beautiful thing.

I tried all the leg machines out to see what muscles I need to work on. Answer = a lot. I felt that I had started. I showered and went to class.

So, after the first attempt, I walked away with two Insights:

# 1) Everyone has a little fitness trainer within themselves.

#2) The world might actually be starting to accommodate for the trés petité!

And one conclusion:

I have I lot of physical work to do, as well as mental preparation.


This going to be a good ride! {Bah dat chhhhh}

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Shake it up baby, now! Shake it up...

I remember as a child proudly proclaiming that “I am going to be the longest living person with Cystic Fibrosis”. In hindsight, I had no idea what I was talking about. From my point of view as a 6 year old with no responsibilities or obligation, hospital visits were some what of a vacation. If I was going to be sick, I might as well hang out in a place with no school, games all day (if I was well enough), fun nurses and family to play with me, and all the chicken fingers for lunch if I wanted. Oh, and the best part, I got AS MUCH pudding as I wanted. From what I remember, it was great! The hospital also had an effect on my dreams. I guess you could say that my love of the lime light was sparked on my 5th birthday. I had my picture in the paper with Santa! I was a star of the hospital! That year I had also been stricken with strep to such a degree that my fingers were pealing and I remained in the hospital until Christmas eve. All through High School I was whippin’ butt and taking names! I did my vest 2 times a day religiously, and if I had a lot of homework, I did it 3 times. Beat that, SUCKAS! My vest was the only thing that could keep me sitting for more than 5 minutes. I thought about explaining the details and technicalities of The Vest, but check out the pictures, if their worth a thousand words, I’ll save you some reading time (see bottom of page for a good idea of the aesthetics).

After high school, I went to college.
Merh
Merh
Merh…

I moved to London to study in my first semester. They were some of the most seriously Awesome Awesome Awesome 4 months I've ever had. I kept up with my routine. When I got back to the wonderful nation that I proudly call home (the U.S.A), I started to NOT ‘shake‘. (“Shake”- verb meaning to use ‘The Vest’; Derived from the motion generated by movement of air throughout the Vest that creates a shaking motion). The vest is clearly an attention grabbing treatment. If you were sitting in the room, and someone's ensemble suddenly inflated, you'd notice. :) Although ALL of my roommates I have ever had knew all about my CF, and they were completely comfortable, I still felt like the Hunchback of Notre Dame every time I inflated. I didn’t have any private space, and I always loved to have people at our dorm or apartment. All of this combined led to me skipping treatments. I began to get sluggish, very tired and I just did not feel like myself. I needed to do something about it, but I didn’t know what.

When the second semester of my sophomore year ended, I went home for the summer. I needed a change; I needed to take control of my health. I spent the summer raising my new puppy, Stella. I also started taking classes at Neumann University, and I was getting back into a Vest routine. As it turns out, I loved Neumann, so I transferred universities after the summer session.

Now a days, life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is back on! I love love love Neumann University, and I am getting back into my old 'vest-happy' self. If the pictures didn’t answer your questions: ‘The Vest‘ is a treatment at home that takes measures to clear the lungs. You see, CFers are susceptible to getting colds and virus’ that reek havoc in the lungs. One has to be careful not to get strep throat, the flu, and to stay away from the common cold, because even that could do some damage. To help out with all these invaders, there are many ways to clear the lungs of the bacteria and mucus. (CF is not a disease for the dainty). ‘The Vest’ is my weapon of choice.

Now a days I’m a pretty healthy ‘CFer’. I have had my stays in the
hospital, and ‘picc’ lines at home. For the past decade or so, I’ve been pretty stable. I had a check up with my doctor just before I started training for Cycling and I am in good health. I look forward to comparing my lung functions throughout my training to see what difference this treatment is making.



Here are some friends shakin it up:




(1) Zach : All is good
(2) Me: Getting my shake on
(3) Ali : Shaking the giggles out
(4) Adam : Multi - tasking