Saturday, July 10, 2010

TOMORROW, TOMORROW!

For the last 6months I have been training for my race that is tomorrow and I am soo excited, nervous, anxious, and jumping out of my shoes to get going.

However, a little piece of peace came to me yesterday when I was hanging out in my pool with two of my best friends.

We act like we are 6 the second we see a body of water, naturally, and between the splash contests and handstand stand-outs, our water savvy abilities usually come up pretty even.

Yesterday, however, we had a breath holding competition.



I won.


I was able to hold my breath and swim the length of my pool. Twice. Without coming up for air.

I don’t know the reason exactly. It might be that I have been paying more attention to my vest and aerosol routine or because I exercise more vigorously.

All that I know is that last year was the second year in a row I was not able to swim underwater for two lengths of the pool.

Yesterday I could.

Coming up for that breath fresh air was like coming up for a breath of fresh air. I honestly felt like I was 6 again.

Whatever happens tomorrow will happen, but I know that something has already transpired; I feel like I could do anything I did when I was a kid.

So, I want to extend my deepest and most heartfelt 'Thank You' to anyone who is involved with TEAM CF.

Because there is always Hope, and now, I can feel it.



And a quick note to anyone I’m up against tomorrow. Take a deep breath, ‘cuss it’s on!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Funny Story About a Fanny Pack





Fanny Facts:

Fanny: noun

Synonyms: Derriere. behind. Rear. Budonkadonk. Tush.

Pack: Also a noun

Synonyms: Back pack. Bag. Storage container. Sack.

Fanny Packs became popular in the 1980’s for reasons unknown. Often worn by small children, tourist and over protective parents, these fashionable pieces are now a part of our past.

Why they are not popular today.(see above pictures)

My bike’s fanny pack sits just below…my fanny. Right there under the seat. (see below)

Word to the wise: never keep your fanny pack attached to the bike when you bring it into the shop.

Gather round. This is one you are going to want to tell the grandkids.

One time… I brought my bike in for some routine maintenance. Just as I handed the good people at Human Zoom my treasured possession, I spotted my mistake. My eyes zoomed in on the fanny pack; Velcro-ed and dangling just below my rugged seat. I felt everyone whip their heads around and their eyes were like darts to the fanny back and then back at me. Life was suddenly a slow motion roller coaster. I looked around. I saw the gazes. I heard the front door open. Who was there? A man. A very nice man with children and protective clothing. I felt very close to this man at that moment. For he and I shared one common denominator. The Fanny Pack. He smiled and waved, walking merily toward the 'fix it' station cementing my mortification with every stride. The closer he came, pushing his reflector sporting, gear protector bearing bike, the clearer it became that I was not going to get away with this. I looked back at the young men who once stood in my eyes as modern day bicyclemechanic masters, and knew they would never think of me as the sly mountain killer I once was in their eyes.

It was gruesome. Slurs about saddlebags were thrown around.

eventually I emerged from the shop, vowing never to let myself make such a silly little mistake again.

About a week later Kristen was changing my freshly popped and freshly poo covered tire as Nikki biked away to find someone on the trails that had an extra tube.

That’s right, I kept my vow. I never made that silly little mistake again. I made a decision that actually mattered in its stead. I went on the trail without a tube or patch kit; both of which were in my fanny pack…in the truck.

This here is an extra huge THANK YOU to Nikki and Kristen. I might not have made it back that fateful day.

So… THANKS AGAIN LADIES, because one looks more like a fool with a flat on a mountain than one does with a fanny back on the street. Lesson Learned.


Part 3: True American

Like a true American, I am taking the day off to work.
An awe inspiring good friend once said:
“Don't mass text me"
When asked for an American Loving Sentimental Quote. I guess he fits in; No American Like's Spam :) I guess I will have to think of my own inspirational saying. Give me to the end of my story, I'll come up with something.
You've heard about the my weekend's celebration in two part so far.
Part 1: The American Shore
Part 2: The American Do It Yourselfer.
and for the finally, here is a bit about...drum roll please...:
The American Worker.
Since Saturday’s have been my day-off from training, I spend them at work. Work is doing a bike trip down the beautiful Lehigh Gorge, followed by a hiking adventure up to the top of an old series of water falls (complete with age old tale of Native American’s falling in love the Swedish sailors) and finishing the day with a lazy ride down the river. That’s a ‘Big Day Out’ at Pocono White Water, and I am lucky enough to have scored a job being a guide. It’s one of the best jobs I think I will ever have.
This Saturday's trip was a good ol' American excapade. I went with a small group of adventure seekers consisting of gung hoe nurses from Philly, and a family that was up for anything! On a ‘Big Day Out’ I usually get to spend a lot of one-on-one time with the guests. About 4 hours into the trip, when the sun is at it's peak, I quite enjoy a little water fight. Especially when I come equip with my own water squirted. I must have a look on my face that says, ‘Please, I would LOVE a bucket of water on my head right about now’, and my younger guest’s are never ones to disappoint. After a few defenseless trips, I have learned that although I can’t fit a bucket on my kayak, a water pistol fits perfectly in my dry bag.
This Saturday, the 3rd of July, was a scorcher! Everyone drank plenty of water and we made our way down 25 miles of rail trail. With the Lehigh river on the our left and the rails on our right, some bikers ride along at a leisurely pace, while other speed away, destine to reach our lunch spot along the riverside. Once at the lunch, it is probably the hottest time of the day. We round up the group, pass out the hoagies, chips and waters and head on a hike. The waterfall hike is my favorite activities. I seem to share this interest with every 10 year old boy who comes on the trip. These are the same boys who act like they are on their last life line while biking. They couldn’t POSSIBLY make their legs pedal one more time. Then, 15 minutes after their near death experience, and a good lunch, they are flying up the waterfalls faster than the chipmunks they race. The hike is pretty challenging for anyone. It’s not impossible, but it has a few tough spots. It's definatley worth the view though. We stop along the way at some swim spots, where the waterfall runs cold as ice and pounds down on your head. Again, this is a little boy’s haven. When we reach the top, we find a more leisurely, less dangerous trail down the mountain and make our way back to the buses. Now for the part everyone is waiting for, Rafting! This is where the squirt gun comes into play. By this time, everyone has gotten comfortable with one another and the activity is less physically demanding. We hop on our rafts and naturally the jokes start cracking as we float on. In a conversation on the river I found out that one lady actually lives right up the street from Gloucester County College, where the big race will be on July 11th, just 4 DAY$ AWAY!
Sunday was the much anticipated FORTH OF JULY!!!
The Nations conception more than a birth, I would say.
Either way, it’s an awesome day every year. I took the day off to sit out by my pool as my family filed in. Funny Outfits and funny stories to match, and we always end the day with BINGO.
I love my family, and realized, on the 4th of July in 2010, what the big joke really meant when people say “My Family Is CRAZY”. Everyone says it and I bet 99% of the time, it’s true. People are crazy, people make families; families are crazy. Anyone who doesn’t know that probably doesn’t know their family too well.
I ended the night with a few good friends and I was proud to be an American.
America is and always will be the place where my family lives, where I grew up.
I Love America. Living in America has given me the chance to do all the things I always dreamed of and has lead me to a thousand different opportunities. One of my favorite being, traveling abroad! Through such activities I have learned that other people in different countries are leading similar lives. But, I am here, and chances are if you’re reading my blog, you are too. So, let’s take the rest of the summer to sit back, relax and appreciate this sweet nation and all her beauty.

And as for the all American Quote I think I'll leave it up to Brad Paisley:
"Time Well Wasted"

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Like America, I'm Working on an Uphill Battle (pt. 2)

Recap: I am in America, freshly beached and on a bike:


There I am on the road bike, all decked out with my bike fanny pack (see: Funny Story about a Fanny Pack), equip with an extra tube and a patch repair kit. I was in an area called Rose Valley. Rose Valley is an awesome place for hills. At the very bottom of ‘Rose Valley Road’ is Hedgerow Theatre, my old stomping grounds. I used to do shows there, so I know the area and some of the people.

The training assignment for the day was to do 5 one minute hills and 5 two minute hills. What a better spot than a valley complete with two hills; one shorter and steeper, the other, long and steep? None that I can think of! I had done this road for a hill workout before, and when I ride this section, I start at the top of the short hill, and fly down toward the theatre. That is always cool because they have a speedometer on the side of the road, and I can clock my speed. Max speed reached so far: 31 mph- Speed limit: 25 :)
Fast forward to hill repeat number 8: I got to the top, took my two minute break, and headed back down. I usually slow down to a very near stop at the bottom of the valley, so I can do some damage going up the hill. But this time I had gotten distracted. There was a young man in the otherwise empty parking lot of the theatre. He was greeting a couple in a car and having a conversation. Now that I come to think of it, I don’t know what was so interesting and that, but it grabbed my attention enough to take my eyes off the road. I was on the slight right hand turn, and routinely avoided the pothole in the road, but did not see the sizable stone.
The only drawback I see as far as the road bike goes is that it is not nearly as flexible as a mountain bike. Any sort of bump or hole or stick can send the handle bars all wobbly and off track. I felt a bump in my rear tire and kept on trucking. I was about 1/4th of the way up the hill when I started to notice an unusual shaking. I played with the gears, thinking they got a little funky. Nope. Not the gears. I had popped my back tire, and it’s not a smooth ride when metal is rolling on concrete.
Luckily, I was right by the theatre, so I hopped off my bike and went to the side of the building. I was actually kind of excited because this was the firs time I was going to fix my own flat. (Again, see Funny Story about a Fanny Pack). I whipped out my tire removing tools, took out the tube, and got out my patch repair kit. I couldn’t replace the tube because the tube I was carrying is for the mountain bike. Just as was about to get to work, I realized, I had no way of filling up the tire. After much consideration on alternative methods, I decided to call for assistance. My Pops picked me up and saved the day. While waiting I realized that if this hadn’t happened, I would show up race day just as prepared as I was that day, which is not. If I get a flat on race day, I’m going to need to fix it and quick. I can’t stand there batting my eyelashes and expect to be a competitor in the race all at the same time.

As for the boy in the parking lot, he remained there after the couple he was talking to had left. I don’t know if he was cute, as I had previously stated, because we stood too far to strike a conversation, and too close in an empty lot to pretend we didn’t see each other. Haha perhaps I should have asked him if he had a tire pump.

I went home, fixed my flat, and made up for the lost time with a run.
I love running after a bike ride. Last semester, I would ride my bike to track practice. It warms up your legs and when you get to really running, it’s the closest thing to flying I have ever felt.
That night, as I started jogging, I saw everyone pulling their cars over, and people coming out of their houses; all looking up. I turned around to see fireworks going off not too far away. I felt like Benny from Sandlot. It was a flawlessly clear night, and I could hear every boom as I ran further from the serene celebration. Passing young kids in awe, and adults with the same look in their eyes as their children, I felt at home. It was the perfect American ending to a Philadlephian summer day.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Like America, I'm Still Hangin in There (pt. 1)

It’s 6days before my big race!

6 DAYS!!

That's:
5 GOLDEN Sleeeeeps
4 Training Days
3 french hens
2 Trainers Training
and a
Happy Girl waiting for That Day!


The ‘big ’ anything, usually means the first, the ‘thing’ of importance, the time in which you are sooo excited for. For me, it is now LESS THAN One week before my BIG RACE!

There are soo many things that have happened so far this summer; funny stories too. I will break it down one story at a time if I can contain myself. Starting with…

I love America.

The forth of July, however, was a little unusual this year. My town had the forth of July parade on the 5th of July. How does an entire community get fooled by a board that decides that it is Okay to change the date of a holiday, when the name of the holiday is it’s date?!?!?

However, it ended up working out pretty nicely. We extended the celebration of this sweet country from 24 hours to 96 hours, and quite frankly, our country needs it. How I see it, this year, in a time when everyone is loosing their jobs, and needs to buy SPF 1million to go to a beach whose waters may or may not be able to fuel your car, we need a little more time to step back and realize the beauty.

I am not one to cease celebration because of a little change. So, if the town wants to wait a day to gallivant about in pride, I'll do them one better and start two days early.

Friday, the 2nd, began the festivities.

I had originally planned a bike ride with Kristen, which are always a good time. Usually I pack up my truck, and head to the Wissikickon; forgetting one essential piece of equipment or information like my helmat, for example. On Friday however, I mistakenly double booked myself, again. I had promised an old lady, two crazy ‘twenty some’s and an almost 21 year old with a heart of gold that I would accompany them to the beach on the same day that I had a ride scheduled with Kristen! I often get stuck in situations like this. I am stuck between a stone and a hard mattress. If I choose the stone, I can skip stones. If I choose the mattress I can slide down the stairs on the mattress. Today’s choices were going to result in an awesome day either way, but not without someone being just a little upset. So, I told Big Jude, the Old Lady I like to call my Mom, that I had a commitment and could not go with her.

Well, F.Y.I., Big Jude is a bit of a beach babe, and when she gets her heart set on something she doesn’t let it go easily. She gave me the pitty “That’s fine! I’ll just take my ONE DAY OFF and sit by the pool, all alone. You weren’t alone for the first 18 years of your life were you Kait? No, I was right there. Driving you to the beach and packing some crackers so you didn’t loose salt. Oh and remember all those bags of freshly toasted peanuts (a beach tradition) we shared? No, that’s fine; I will just reminisce by the pool alone. Those were great days. You go ahead and forget all about me”.

The plot thickens. I was unaware that Bernadette (one of the crazy 20-somes) had cancelled just moments before me, and Maggie (the other crazy 20 some) cancelled the day before. To make matters worse, about 5 minutes after I backed out, Franki announced she also had alternate plans. So, I gave Kristen a call, and we rescheduled the morning ride. This particular ride, was suppose to end in ice-cream, but, sometimes we all need to make sacrifices for our mothers. As I have learned, there is very little that makes up for lost time; especially with Family.

This is my family.


So, Friday Morning, around 9am I headed to the Jersey shore with my cousin Franki, who rescheduled her appointments as well, and Big Jude who, with a grin on her face, refused to acknowledge that she indeed was happy to be going. We made PB and J’s, packed some crackers, grapes and I was equipped with my stars and stripes bikini, as no one should be without on such a patriotic weekend. (To make it even more American, I got it at Walmart!:)

There is nothing like driving into Jersey, crossing the bay, and taking a huge whiff of that…ehhem…distinct Jersey smell. Nothing. We played in the water, bathed in the sun and finished the day with a cup full of gelato. (Which was consistently being referred to as 'Gelati'. My argument was backed by the fact that there are next to no instances when an ‘o’ makes an ‘eeee’ sound, no matter how romantic the language may be. Naturally I didn’t win the argument until a stranger supported my point. But, I guess that kind of trust comes with being the youngest).

Franki and I did hear a ‘You girls made an old woman very happy today.'tossed out on the ride home. Since we all had a side splitting good time that day, we weren't too surprised. It was an afternoon well spent. (My Mom and I both like to refer to her as an ‘old lady’ making her sound much older than she actually is. It’s a way to wean her into it actually becoming true).

When we take a day trip to the beach, we always get home around 4 or 5. So, I got home and went to make up the ride I had missed that morning. I have been following a training schedule that Nikki made for me for about two weeks now. It’s pretty rad! The workout for that day was to find hills and kick their butt, before they kicked mine. With hills, Sometimes I win, sometimes I come in 2nd. There is always a point in any given ride that I feel like I am the bee's knees and that nothing can bring me down. It's usually a hill that brings me down. and the hill on the other side of that valley that keeps me there. Very humbling things, those challenging land masses. This day was especially challenging. I was exhausted, there was a theatre and a cute boy involved and as always, my dad saved the day. Read on to learn how these hills in ‘Rose Valley’ showed me their thorns. (Gahgahagaah, get it?)