Sunday, June 30, 2013

Because we can.

Sometimes you just have to step outside yourself and the daily grind you find yourself in, and do things for others to realise what it is you really truly have in your hands. I find when I'm doing something for someone, I am at my most happiest. I feel I'm serving a purpose in my life that conjurs up feelings of self worth, gratitude, happiness and most of all kindness - something which I truly believe this world is really lacking in. It makes me look deep within myself and really analyse my life and not take what I have for granted nor get to bogged down with those things which I dont have. That's not to say I don't slip up and fall back into old ways but I feel that by doing a good deed, it makes me feel like a better person because I know I'm helping someone who is struggling.

So last weekend - myself and a few friends took part in the MS 24hr Megaswim. The feelings I got by accomplishing this goal were on par with what I had accomplished with the Cycling Cerebellums ride to Melbourne. I felt so proud and honoured to know that by doing what I was doing it was helping friends and others who are living with Multiple Sclerosis.

Did you know that "Diagnosis of MS is typically between 20 and 40 years of age, although onset of symptoms may be earlier. Three times more women are affected by MS than men and it is more common in cooler climates. 

In Australia, over 21,000 people currently have MS however this figure is increasing as diagnosis methods become more advanced. 

One in 20 Australians will be touched by MS through a family member, colleague or friend who is living with the disease". ~

So it's with this in mind - knowing full well that I have close friends with this condition that I am spurred on to want to do whatever it is I can to help.

We called ourselves "Team Stay Afloat" - a quirky yet original name - which the team really loved. And we stood by that name for the whole 24hrs. When we first got there we were given a few sheets to check off. These had 100m increment boxes up to every kilometre that you had to check off. The first page went to 53km and when I saw this I remember giggling and thinking "yeah sure, 53km is alot". But then the second page went to 110km or so and I thought "who can get to 110km swimming". Obviously the organisers knew something I didn't, and that's why they are the organisers.
And with that - Clair saw us off into our 24hr Megaswim. I was terribly excited about what lay ahead and as we each took our turn in the water those tiny little 100m boxes got ticked off as did the 1km boxes, time and time and time again. It was then easy to see how that 53km goal box could be ticked off.
The motivation and camaraderie within our team was amazing. We would cheer eachother on through the laps and high five eachother on the cross over from one swimmer to the next and within each of us I think we had such a sense of pride with what we were achieving - not just in a swimming sense but also in a fundraising and compassionate sense. We knew that by every lap we were swimming we were putting another dollar into the fight against MS.
It's hard not to feel driven and compelled to get in that water even when it felt like it was 20 degrees celsius at 3:30 in the morning. Because Janet, Todd, Ante and everyone with MS were our driving force. This sign looked over us whilst we did what we did.
As the hours clicked down and the final minutes were being counted we turned out 30min swim slots turned into a 200m relay to wake us all up - and that it did perfectly. The team voted me in to swim us across the finish line and the magic 24hr mark - what an honour it was. I will post up a video shortly of it -so stay tuned to this space.
It was so much fun doing this and cant wait to do it all again. Team Stay Afloat swam a whopping 78.4km and raised and awesome $2862.70 for people with Multiple Sclerosis. We simply couldn't be prouder if we tried. And whats even better still is that we are going to be back next year with not only 1 Team Stay Afloat but 2 Team Stay Afloats. That means more laps and more fundraising to be had. Yeahhhhh baby.

Team Stay Afloat Rules

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The tide is turning

Sometimes it is so hard to see beyond the fog. Life can become so thick with activity and in my case - injuries - its been hard to see the end goal through the misty haze. You seem to get over one thing, and then you get hit with something else. Not sure why this happens, it's not like I've been asking for it, but somehow and with some gentle coaxing from friends I've come to realise that things are happening for a reason - and that reason is to get every reason out of the way so when I do get into the thick of training, there is nothing reason left to get in my way. 

I've been really focusing on keeping a healthy diet with a few relaxed eating days. And whilst there have been days where I've been missing training, I'm still getting out and doing what I can when I can. I'm still only at 2 x 25min walks but my cycling is definitely getting better. Still nowhere near where I was but I've started to notice that my legs are feeling stronger. I've noticed it more so in my windtrainer sets with Sparta. My cadence is getting better at staying up around 90 during race pace sets, and I've been feeling less fatigued when having to hold the hard slower cadence of 60. It's not to say it doesn't hurt, but it is definitely starting to feel slightly more manageable, much to my delight.

The one thing that my body has been struggling with alot is muscular tightness. Quite badly. I'm stretching and foam rolling but its not feeling any better. Maybe over time, the tightness will subside with regular stretching. I've especially noticed it in my back and had to go and pay yet another visit to my physio for them to work on it as the spasm was so bad I was in an awful lot of pain. So now the foam roller is my best friend with regular backward stretching on it to help alleviate the tightness. You should hear the cracking going on in there - its like listening to a bowl of Rice Bubbles.

But on the up side - my stupid little tough is behaving, and it only hurts when I knock it. I'm still regularly taking my Calcium and Vit D tablets so I'm hoping its all helping to heal it up, not that I'm expecting miracles. But, if there is any improvement, which there is - I'm happy. They still haven't found a reason for my Osteopenia but are in the process of trying to find an answer. And being the ever impatient me, I want the answers now so I know what I'm dealing with. But it doesn't seem I will get answers anytime soon, not going back to see the specialist now for another 5 weeks - ughhhhh. Just have to stay focused on doing my  exercises and time will go past quickly.

I have a fun activity which I am doing with 7 other friends in 10 days. We are doing a 24hr Megaswim in aid of people with Multiple Sclerosis. Can't wait actually - I've never swum in the wee small hours of the morning, and I haven't done it with a bunch of friends either. So to share this experience with them for such a great cause will be absolutely amazing indeed. We are almost at our goal of $1000 - and would love it if you could help our cause and team "Stay Afloat". If you would like to donate click HERE. Every dollar is helpful and I know you will be helping those with MS live an easier life. 

So that's it for this small blog post. Thanks for joining me on my journey to Ironman Port Macquarie 2014. It's going to be a crazy roller coaster of a ride.

Your hard work will be rewarded.

"The path to a dream is paved with sacrifices and lined with determination. And though it has many stumbling blocks along the way, and may go in more than one direction, it is travelled by belief and courage and conquered with a willingness to face challenges and take chances" Barbara Cage