Saturday, December 21, 2013

The Finish Line to 2013

Another year draws to a close, and I'm reflecting on 2013 while looking ahead to the new year. This was an inspiring year in so many ways, with sad undercurrents mixed in. The bombing at the Boston Marathon, and the tragedy of the Seacoast Century, took the breath out of me. Sometimes it's hard to keep the momentum going, and I'm grateful to the many people who helped me move forward and reach my goals this year.

My health has improved, and although there are some days I'm dragging, it's not even close to how I felt a few years ago. My red cell count is still stupidly low, but I've been able to push through the fatigue without resorting to EPO. (Ha ha... I wouldn't want to be banned from cycling, i.e. Lance Armstrong.)  I credit my increase in energy to the changes I made in my diet this year -- sticking to whole, unprocessed foods and adhering to a Paleo lifestyle. I know there are skeptics to Paleo, but it's working for me. You should always find what works best for you.

This year I took on five different charity rides, including rides for the Vermont Food BankDana Farber Cancer Institute, and the EOD Warrior Foundation -- and raised nearly $10,000 along the way. It wouldn't have been possible without the amazing support I get from all of you. Thank you for that.

Many of you know, after my crash in 2012, I was challenged to ride and raise money for the Wounded EOD Warrior Foundation. I didn't know what EOD was at the time, and I didn't know the ride was on the other side of the country, but I agreed to look into it. When I talked to Mike about the ride in January, he supported my endeavor 100 percent. (More like a thousand percent, but he's a math geek and 1,000 percent wouldn't work for him.) Mike's support set everything else in motion in 2013... the training, the rides, the coaching... all of it. (Thanks, honey!)

The Undefeated EOD Ride wasn't the longest ride I've ever done, but it was the most inspiring -- and a remarkable challenge. I've said it many times, but it bears repeating that I'm grateful to the many people who made it work -- Especially my family and friends; my coach Shayne Gaffney; all of my riding partners; and of course my many sponsors.

I'm also indebted to the amazing warriors and friends I met on the ride; Tim, Jim, Schreck and Julia, Christine and Matt, Jimmy, Brad, Morgan, Shane, Jason and Chelsea, Kathy, Kevin... it's a long list. Thank you.

I don't know what adventures lie ahead, but I'm excited for the New Year! I'm inspired by my fellow Vanderkitten athletes and can't wait to join in on some of the fun. Since my cycling days are somewhat in limbo, (due to snow), I'll have to get my VK action on the slopes. I'm hoping Joe, my favorite snowboard instructor, is back at Nashoba Valley this winter. (I'm determined to graduate from the Nashoba Slope, Joe! Get ready!)

Like last year at this time, I'm hanging on for winter frostbite rides, but the weather hasn't cooperated. I am also working to complete the Tri Inside the Y Ironman Challenge... with a lot of rowing and running to do. (OMG. I can't believe how much running I still have to do...)

But, I can see the finish line to 2013 -- I intend to finish strong.