Friday, July 31, 2009
Tim took care of me every step of the way. He was constantly looking out for me during the ride. He would often get ahead of me because he was a stronger hill climber than me, but he would slow once he was on top of the hill and wait for me to catch up. I was very lucky to have such a loving riding partner.
Here is an account of each day:
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Tim and I drove to Burlington, Iowa where we met some of his fellow team BEAST members. We left our car in Burlington and drove with them to Chariton, Iowa. In Chariton we found our group, Bike Burlington, and set up our tent in their camp area. Once our camp was set up we went into Chariton and walked around the town square. The square was full of activity, music, food and people. The atmosphere was a lively one throughout the town. I had a foot long corndog and an ice cream at a local ice cream parlor. Yumm
After eating and a bit of sight seeing we headed back to our tent.. There were bands, music, and lots of excitementt in the area. I was excited to crawl into bed and get a good nights sleep to prepare for the next days ride.
Thursday, July 23, 2009
About 4 AM it started raining! It rained lightly at first and then it rained hard for about an hour, hailing for a short time. We had planned on getting up at 5:15 AM, in order to start by 6:00 AM, but it didn’t stop raining until about 6:15. When it did stop raining, there was a flurry of activity with campers packing up their tents, pumping up tires, and heading out.
When we hit the road the streets were wet and crowded. I was so filled with emotion, happiness, pride, fear, and disbelief. I couldn’t believe that this day had finally arrived. I was riding on RAGBRAI with Tim!
Our breakfast was a breakfast in a bowl complete with a little kitten to keep us company. For lunch I had corn on the cob. Before we entered Ottumwa we had Beekman’s homemade ice cream. I had chocolate!
When we entered Ottumwa there were lots of spectators waving and welcoming us to town. One of the funniest things some one said to us was, “ We are glad that you made it here.” to which I had to reply, “ Not half as happy we are.” I was delighted that I had made it through the first day without getting hurt, wrecking my bike, or giving up.
In Ottumwa we set up our tent and hung out the items that had gotten wet from the morning rain, and then headed for the shower. The showers cost $5 and they were a tractor trailer with 7 shower heads. I was so thankful that the showers were hot, I didn’t mind the lack of privacy.
After we were cleaned up we walked to a local convenient store for a pop. Once we quenched our thirst, we headed for the vendors. We didn’t get in much shopping before it started raining again. We took shelter in our tent and waited out the storm. Fortunately it didn’t rain long and then we were able to head into town.
For supper we had a spaghetti dinner at the catholic church. After supper we went into town to check out the festivities. We walked up and down the strip and sat and people watched for a while before heading back to camp.
Our total miles were 76.9 with 3,388 feet of climbing! The cities that we went through were: Chariton, Millerton, Bethlehem, Confidence, Iconium, Moravia, Unionville, Blackesburg, and Ottumwa.
Friday, July 24, 2009
Friday was the most difficult day. We woke up with our scheduled 5:15 alarm. We had wet laundry and a wet tent to pack from the previous days rain. We headed out bright and early as planned. The day started out with large hills! I love hills!
We stopped in Pekin at the school for breakfast. It was a nice stop with real restrooms, (no port o potties) shade, the school band, baked goods, and a bench inside to rest. We had sausage egg muffins and baked goods for breakfast.
We stopped in Brighton for lunch. Brighton had a cute little town square. It was quiet warm and sunny so we started off with a smoothie and a cool seat in the shade. After our smoothie we had a bbq chicken sandwich.
There were some big hills at the end of the ride. I can remember looking at one and thinking, “ You have got to be kidding me.” I put my bike in granny gear and peddled my heart away. At times I was sure that this spinning feeling must be how a gerbil feels in a running wheel. I refused to give up! There were several people pushing their bikes up these big hills, but I REFUSED to give up. I came to ride, and that was just what I was going to do.
Just before we arrived in Mt. Pleasant I saw what I would have to say was my favorite costumed riders. It was a monkey chasing a banana. I thought that was very clever! A bit later we came upon the monkey standing on the side of the rode. I asked him what happened to his banana. He pointed to the cornfield. Not only were their costumes cute, they were nice guys.
Cornfield stops were common along the route. I wish I would have posed for a picture coming out of one.
We reached Mt. Pleasant a little later than we had planned, but the heat and hills were wearing me down. Our campsite in Mt. Pleasant was in the very back of the campground and we had to take a rough gravel and dirt road to get there. This campsite was packed!
I should mention,the Bike Burlington camp directors had done an amazing job of securing our sites each day and making sure that our luggage was unloaded and that we had cool drinks waiting when we finished each day.
We kept with our usual routine of setting up the wet tent and hanging our laundry. We found showers in the basement of an old church. The showers were cold but the cold water felt good on my aching muscles and warm skin. I took an extra long shower because I didn’t feel the need to share the hot water. Showers also served as a time to wash the stinky clothes from the days ride.
After cleaning up and setting up camp we took the trolley up to the bus stop and then the bus to a local church for a meatloaf dinner. After we ate we went to the center of town check out the local venders. We had heard much talk of severe weather to come, so we were mindful to watch the skies as the evening went on. We headed back to our tents as soon as we thought the dark clouds were upon us.
The forecast was rain and wind, possible from 6pm to 6 am with the possibility of some storms being severe. To prepare for the storm, we checked the ties on the tent and pulled the poles as tight as possible. Each night the tent had leaked just enough to get us and our bedding wet. We were able to give the tent an extra spray of waterproofing the previous day, so I was hopeful that we would stay dry.
We sat around and visited with some fellow riders as the winds blew and lightning flashed. As it started to rain we took shelter in our tent. It was warm and we were unhappy about having to zip up our door and windows. I was worried that our tent was going to blow away or fill up with water. We had been in our tent for about 30 minutes when we heard an announcement. I could tell that the announcement was coming from something moving. I was unable to make out anything that was being said. Tim and I peeked out of the tent windows to see if there was any movement. I was afraid that the announcement was that they were evacuating the campground. I thought that I heard our neighbors say that there was a meeting in the church that said that the weather forecast had been revised to light rain with no winds. This eased my worried mind and I was able to fall asleep. I think it only rained about 15 minutes all night. It wasn’t until the next day that someone told us that the announcement had actually said that the local hospital, police, and fire departments had been put on full alert and they would keep us posted as to weather alerts. I am glad that I did not hear that, as I never would have been able to sleep.
Friday’s ride was 75.5 miles with 2,841 feet of climbing. The towns that we rode through were: Hendrick, Martinsburg, Pekin, packwood, Pleasant Plain, Brighton, Germanville, Lockridge, and Mt. Pleasant.
Saturday, July 25, 2009
5:15 AM brought our RAGBRAI wake up alarm. We folded up our wet tent and gear and headed out. Just as we were heading out someone in the camp played a bugle to get everyone up and going for the final day of riding. In this camp there were several rows of US Air Force tents.
We had Chris Cakes for breakfast. Chris Cakes is a pancake / breakfast catering franchise. They use a batter dropping machine to make mass quantities of pancakes very quickly. The cooks are known for flipping the pancakes to plates. Tim caught his moring breakfast. This was an all you can eat breakfast, and we took full advantage.
We made a few stops for water on the last day, but didn’t eat lunch until we were finished. In Burlington they had a Snake Alley Challenge. The challenge was optional, but I was feeling courageous so I thought I would give it a try. I made it to the last turn, and had to give in. It wasn’t until I was down a block from the alley that I realized that I wasn’t in granny gear going up Snake Alley. I can’t help but wonder if I had been in granny gear would I have made it? I’ll have to rematch the snake some day. Look out Snake, we’ll meet again.
We arrived in Burlington and watched the riders dip their tires into the Mississippi. We had lunch of pork tenderloins and pop. We walked up and down the Port of Burlington for one last look before we mounted our bikes again and headed up to get our car and then to Bickels to get our gear.
Saturdays ride was 46.9 miles with 1,145 feet of climbing. We rode through New London, Lowell, Geode State Park, and Burlington.
This has to be one of the best experiences of my life. It would not have been possible without Tim. Thank you sweetie for encouraging me to continue an active lifestyle and watching over me every step of the way.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Brian is planning on doing a 50 mile solo run on the Great Wall of China this weekend as part of his fundraising efforts.
Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers for a safe and successful run.
Thanks Brian for supporting those of us who live with lupus.
Sunday, May 17, 2009
I'll be doing my first duathlon next weekend. I am very nervous about this event. I can see myself getting lost on the bike course. Yes, I did do something like this once before. I missed a turn and went up the biggest hill that I have ever seen in my life, only to learn once I was at the TOP that I should have turned before the hill. (That just meant that I got in a little extra exercise and got to eat an extra bite of ice cream that evening.)
Earlier this year I applied to be one of the new Trek Women Who Ride. This is a group of 5 women who are given new bikes and gear, and then blog on Trek's site for two years about their biking adventures. They did not select me... maybe I'll try again in two years. Tim and I will have some great bike adventures this summer.
I really love to ride my bike. I find myself freeing my mind of worries and becoming very relaxed. Tim and I also have a tandem bike. I love riding with him! He doesn't know it, but I sit on the back with my legs sticking out and let him do all of the work.
I would like to see a lupus supported bike ride. Chris, this is right up your alley!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
Competing in the Boston Marathon I saw: a double amputee, a single amputee, a blind man, Team Hoyt, numerous wheelchair participants, and a man pulling a cart with oxygen tanks attached! This is only what was visible. I am sure there were many other athletes who had triumphed and were fighting an endless list of physical challenges. Congratulations to every one of them! It brings tears to my eyes to think about how courageous they are.
I wrote in my last blog that I believe one of the gifts of my lupus is the ability to see kindness and strength in others. These athletes inspire me to keep moving. My mother told me to always be sure to make myself get out and do things when I thought that I could because there would likely be days that I just couldn't make myself get motivated to move. I wonder if my mother knew just how powerful her words were. I wonder if these athletes' mothers gave them the same advice?
Sunday, May 3, 2009
Dr Debbie's Plan:
I may be down, but I'm not out. I'm not going to let a little pain stop me. This is nothing compared to the years of pain I have already been through with my ole pal lupus.
I'm resting. Ice is my new best friend. I'm stretching and using the foam roller. I have three sessions left with my trainer, and she is focusing on recovery. The only anti inflammatory drug that I can take is prednisone. I really, really, really don't want to go there again.
I still plan on doing my first duathlon this month.
Disclaimer - Deb is not a doctor, she only thinks she is when she reads articles on the internet. She did actually consult a physician for a second opinion.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
This half was different from any other half I have done for several reasons: 1. I was doing this race alone because Tim was running in The Boston Marathon one week after this race. 2. I was raising money for a RACE rather than a walk event, and 3. This was my first half that involved a full running program. ( I walked my first few half marathons, then switched to a run - walk combo.)
My training program went well until the week after my 9 mile run. I had some kind of a 3 day bug, you know the kind that makes you sick from the time that you get off of work on Friday until it is time to go to work again on Monday. Yeah, fun times. I think in a 24 hour period from Friday night until Saturday night I was asleep for 18 hours, needless to say there was no running that weekend. In addition to missing that run, it took me a few days to gain strength. I'm stubborn enough that I got back on track the next weekend. As luck would have it, along comes illness #2. I missed an entire week of workouts and another long run! After the third rewrite of my training program, I got back on track and finished the program.
Race day morning was rather windy with the temperature in the 30's. Two hours and 26 minutes is a long time to occupy your mind, especially when your body is doing the same repetitive motion. I tend to use my running time to have conversations with myself.
Conversation #1 WHAT ARE YOU DOING? I'm running, me? Wow......Who would have thought?.... I can't believe I'm doing this..... I'm the luckiest person in the world!
Conversation #2 Why am I lucky.... because I have lupus and I CAN do this. Why am I so lucky and others are not? Why do I have this cross ( lupus) to carry throughout my life?.... answer... to make me notice and appreciate what I can do, appreciate the blessings in my life, appreciate the many wonderful people who have touched my life.
Intermission... as each mile marker passes I said thank you to my mile sponsor and thought about what qualities they each possessed that I admired. Things were going well.
Conversation #4 I am passed by a man who is holding the arm of another runner. On the back of his shirt it says “ visually impaired.” This man is blind and running a half marathon - maybe a marathon! Wow, What an amazing man!! Talk about courage, dedication, and inspiration.
Okay... here is where the pain kicked in. I had ran exactly one hour. I think I was near the middle of mile 6. I slowed to a walk to grab a drink. When I started running again the pain was terrible. I had had this pain two weeks before AFTER my long run, but never during my run. I kept going and after a few minutes the pain was gone.
Along comes the next water stop. This time when I started running the pain was so great that I stumbled. I decided that in order to reduce the pain and make it to the end, I would have to keep moving until the end. No more walking to get drinks.
By now I was around mile 10. I knew that I could run a 5 k in about 30 minutes, so 30 minutes of pain and then I would be done. There would be plenty of time to rest when the race was over.
Final conversations: The last few sponsors of my race were going to support me and help me make it to the end. I am a Lupus Runner, not a Lupus Walker. They sponsored a run, they were going to get a run. Oh, how I wanted to stop and walk. There were many people walking around me. Oh how I wanted to join them and walk , but I had a date with the finish line and according to my watch I was already running a little late.
The last few sponsors were : 1. a single mother who was going to give me the courage to finish the race, 2. a sprinter and his wife - from him I would take his speed and from her, dedication. 3. a teacher friend and her ultra athlete husband - from them I took passion and endurance to finish with commitment. 4. a christian family who I knew would carry my crosses ( my lupus and my knee pain) for me.
I kept replaying a conversation with these 4 sponsors over and over. I would remind myself the strengths that I admired in each of these people and hoping I had their strengths to see me through to the end.
The final inspiration. I knew that I would see Tim at the finish.
I pushed and pushed. You know the saying “dig deeper,” well I was digging so deep that I felt the pain of scraping the bottom.
The last three miles were extremely difficult! Looking back I can’t believe that I finished without walking.
When I rounded the corner and went into the stadium, there was a tiny hill. This tiny hill caused me so much knee pain that it brought tears to my eyes. Then, about 30 seconds later I saw Tim. It was like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. I knew it was a matter of yards until I could finish.
Final time 2:26.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
When Deb was diagnosed with lupus that was damaging her kidneys, she was told most people live only about 10 years.
That was more than a decade ago.
Deb’s lupus is in remission and the once 300-pound woman is running a half-marathon — 13.1 miles — today, April, 11 in Champaign, Ill., to raise money for the Lupus Foundation of America.
“I’m in disbelief I can do this,” Deb said of the 2 1/2 hour run. “I can’t believe that it’s me saying it.”
The Lupus Foundation estimates that 1.5 million Americans suffer from the chronic autoimmune disease that causes their bodies’ immune system to attack and destroy their own healthy tissue.
“When I was diagnosed 10 years ago, I was told most people with the extreme to which I had kidney involvement lived about 10 years,” she said.
It has taken chemotherapy and a lot of medicine, but Deb, 38, is living a completely different life. “That was Life A,” she said, “and this is Life B.”
In Life A, the elementary school teacher couldn’t walk her students to art or gym class without losing her breath.
In Life B, she can easily run 12 miles at Smith Park.
“I’ve been just super, super fortunate,” she said. “I’ve gone from one extreme to the other.”
As she runs today in Illinois, Deb said she will be thinking of the people who have sponsored the miles and helped her down the “very long, tough road” battling the disease.
“I’ve always kind of thought that there was some reason for me having this lupus,” she said. “Now I’m feeling that this fundraiser and raising awareness is my reason and what I can give back.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
2. The Illinois Half Marathon
3. Spring Break - a week off !!
4. Trip to Boston - Tim is running in the Boston Marathon. I am so proud of him and all of his accomplishments. He inspires me.
5. Getting a new bike!... I think I see another training plan coming.
HHMMM, I bet I could do more fund raising at other events. I hope to participate in my first duathlon on Memorial day weekend. That should count as running.
I can't believe I am only 5 days away from my half marathon. The time has passed so quickly.
I wonder if I will ever stop being nervous before a race. I know I can do it, so what is there to be afraid of?
Other events I'll take part in this month: 5k MS walk and 5 K run Kidney Foundation ( My nephrologist is the best!)
Sunday, March 15, 2009
That is a very good question, and one that I'm asking myself a lot these days. I'm on the mend, recovering from two different illnesses and missing two long runs, just four weeks before the big race. What's the big race you ask? Well, that's all part of my master plan.
My plan is to run the Illinois Half Marathon on Saturday, April 11, 2008. I'm hoping to use this event to raise money with the Lupus Runners for the Lupus Foundation of America.
My master plan is to use this blog, along with other web related media, to tell my story and to help the Lupus Runners meet our fund raising goal. I'll use this blog to tell my story of my battle with lupus.