Thursday, January 29, 2009

I'm a flip- flopper

Well it's official, I have become a flip- flopper. Not in the political sense as you may be thinking but in what I am wanting to do with my life right now. Originally (and in past blogs) I have written about how I am going to train full time and do speaking engagements when they come up. Sounds glamorous huh. That's what I thought...

I have been doing just that for a few weeks now and it is much different than I was expecting. I was expecting my life at the OTC where I ate, slept and swam. It is much much different at home and it admittedly gets a bit boring and a bit lonely. So you understand what I mean let me tell you a typical day: Wake up at 5am. Swim from 5:30-7:30. Come home. Eat breakfast, watch Regis and Kelly. At approx. 10am I get on my armbike for 1.5 hrs and watch The View. 11:30- shower. 12- lunch. And then it stops. A few times a week I will swim in the afternoon as well and I will leave the house at 4:30, returning at 7:30 to eat dinner watch some TV and in bed by 9:30 to get up and do it all again.

Now this may sound like a great life to many of you and who am I to complain about having nothing to do. After all from 12:30 on I can do whatever I want. Read a book, see a movie, watch TV, sit on the couch, Anything. And I get caught up on my celebrity gossip with all my TV shows. But THAT is exactly the problem. Dick and the friends I have here all work or are in school so I am by myself this whole time and it gets rather lonely. Not to mention it can get a bit boring. I also feel very un- productive in the world. I am getting myself physically fit which is great. But as far as having an impact and doing something meaningful on a day to day basis..not so much.

I have also come to the realization that I'm not too fond of travel. Especially for multiple nights as being away from Dick isn't fun. I am going to be traveling so much for athletic events this summer that if I add speaking engagements in there I will be gone at some point every week. And I really don't want that. So, I have actually made a decision (WooHoo!) in that I am going to limit my speaking to the Chicago area unless something that comes my way that is really appealing. In March and April I will be out of town for speaking engagements I have already committed to but I am going to limit them from now on.

Now, to get to the point. You may want to brace yourself but I am actually going to be starting my prosthetic residency in the near future..gasp...I actually made a decision.
Scheck and Siress is such a great company to both be a patient at and an employee that I would be really stupid to not do my residency with them while we are still living in Chicago. They are willing to be flexible with my schedule, allowing me to do all the events I have already planned on and I will be starting on as a resident as early as next week. I will still be able to swim in the mornings and then other workouts will be pushed until after work. If I have a particularly long one I may take off from work a few hours early. The typical residency is one year long but with all the days I will be gone it will take me up to 18 months to complete. I am very excited for this and happy to have finally made a decision. I have been in to help out in the prosthetic lab the last 2 days I feel so so much more productive. I get to start my residency out under David Rotter and he is my prosthetist as well. He is so passionate about his work and his patients (he even came to Beijing to cheer me on) that working with him will be fantastic. He's the one in the picture. Check out the company at http://www.scheckand
Starting in the end of Feb I will be out of town frequently through the end of June and then a week in July. But Scheck and Siress is so gracious to accommodate my schedule and I feel lucky to be affiliated with them.

I keep thinking that perhaps I made a wrong decision a few months back but had I not made that decision I always would have wondered what this 'so- called' glamorous life was like. I am happy I tried it even if just for a few weeks and that I have the resources that allow me to flip flop. What can I say, I'm a flip- flopper.
So, that's the latest from my end.

Swimming is good but hard, armbike is good but hard, running is plain hard but prosthetics is fun. I can't wait to get started...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Filled with pride

Yesterday history was made. I was so filled with pride as I witnessed on TV the inauguration of our new president, President Obama. Just to thinking about how far we have come as a country and watching him give his speech the parade and all the other coverage, it gave me chills and I was just bursting with pride. What a day.

I have finally started on a training routine. Last week was my first week and I swam 5 times and actually got my handcycle out of the basement and set it up. It was quite the achievement... I am working with Carmichael Training systems ( with Mike Durner as my coach on my training for the Sadlers Alaska Challenge. He puts my workout online and I check it off everyday as I do it. I started with 3 1.5 hr rides last week. When I first saw the schedule I thought he was crazy to start with 1.5 hrs and the first ride was challenging but the others 2 were a little better. I have ridden twice this week and am getting the hang of it. Hopefully by July I'll be all set to not only finish the race but feel as though I had trained well and was ready for it. That and not getting attacked by some sort of wildlife is the goal. This week I am stepping it up to 7 swim practices a week and a little more on the handcycle. I think I even get on the treadmill this week.

I have my race schedule mapped out for the rest of the year. I won't go over all of them but it is with the ultimate goal of completing a full triathlon on my own, any distance, but where I do the running portion as a run instead of on a handcycle. I am doing a few half ironman's but they are all as relays and I am usually the swimmer although one I will be biking as well. The full one I am going for is the Chicago triathlon which is in Aug. Hopefully I will feel comfortable running by then. I plan on starting with a few local 5K's once it gets warmer and seeing how it goes. I did just sign up with 2 others for the Escape from Alcatraz triathlon in June. I am again the swimmer and my two other relay members are those that I did the CAF triathlon with last Oct. We affectionately call ourselves 'the greatest relay ever'. Which we are. This is quite the challenging race starting with the swim which includes getting on a boat at 4:30am, riding out to Alcatraz, jumping off the boat at about 6am into freezing water with a huge current and swimming to 1.5 miles to the mainland all the time praying that you out swim the sharks. It's a blast. Once I successfully Escape from Alcatraz (it IS possible , David Lee will move onto the grueling bike course and then pass on the chip to Malcom will run up sand stairs and all around San Francisco to finish up. So why do we do we put ourselves through this torture you may ask. Because the greatest relay team in the world can do anything. That is why. The picture you see above is of my teammates and I at the CAF race. Alcatraz here we come.

I am excited about this race (Alcatraz) in particular because it is during one of Dick's breaks from school after his 1st board exam. So not only will he be with me in San Francisco but we will leave from there for a Hawaiian vacation. Hawaii is one of the places we may have the opportunity to move for Dicks residency so we are anxious to check it out to see if we would like to live there for 5 years. And it's Hawaii, who wouldn't want to go there for a week.

Aside from training, I was in Lake Tahoe for a speech to some Oklahoma bankers last week. I was only there for one night so I didn't get to explore much but I saw the most beautiful sunset from my hotel room. It is so gorgeous there, mountains and a lake, it can't get much better than that.

I just got done with an exhausting swim practice this morning and it's time for me to make my coffee. Until next time, stay warm.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Our Roman New Year

So much for the once a week post...

The highlights of my past few weeks were the holidays. Duh. I guess that's a given. Mine were especially great since I got to spend time with Dick without his textbooks and we had a great time.

Before I begin with the holidays, I got to go to NY and attend the Heisman awards gala. I ended up leaving my dress on the plane and had to make a quick dash to Macy's to get a new one. But other than that it was a fun time. Getting to spend the evening with some friends was the best part and we got to meet Geraldo Rivera himself, big mustache and all.

We started off the holidays in Colorado for the New Year. His parents just finished their new house and had the whole extended family over. 17 people one day, 13 the next. The house is awesome and spending time with his brother and the rest of his family were the highlights.

From CO we came back to Chicago for a night and then headed off to spend the New Year in Rome. After a few difficulties with Alitalia and our flight there we had such a great time. The Colosseum, the croissants, the wine, piazza's, the pantheon, the weather, Tuscany, and of course the good company made it one of our best New Years ever. We had seven days and got to spend it with our friend's Brian and Jen. My favorite sight was the Colosseum and just hanging out in the piazza's with the markets of fresh vegetables. I love the pizza, gelato, cheese,the good tomatoes. We started out everyday with a cappuccino and a proceeded to snack and eat a number of foods throughout the day ending with a dinner #2 at about 11pm. I had to brace myself before stepping on the scale yesterday.
I have never seen a more rowdy New Year. We spent it in the Piazza de Popolo where there is this big statue in the middle. We stationed ourselves by the statue and as midnight approached mobs of people came but they surrounded the statue leaving a large 'zone' in the middle of empty space. This was where all the fireworks went off, cherry bombs and more. There were all these fireworks that would be illegal in the USA that kept going off. In order to get to the bathroom we had to run through this 'zone' and we would look for a firecracker that had just gone off and go that direction as quick as we could. It was crazy. But a great way to bring in 2009!

On New Years Day we rented a car and drove to one of the hill towns in Tuscany which was awesome. Just to see another part of Italy and experience a small, local town was great.

We are now back in Chicago and Dick has started back up with school. We are busy moving, just a few towns closer to his school and to the city so it's only about 15 min away. We are taking a trip or two every day and will move all our large furniture on Sat and be fully moved in. It is a much smaller place so we are making many trips to Goodwill but the place is great and we can't wait to move in.

I swam for the first time yesterday in a few weeks and boy am I out of shape. I am going to ease myself in lightly by only swimming once a week this week and starting out with a few doubles next week. I am going to be here for most of Jan which I am excited about. I have a number of different things I am doing in the Chicago area and then only one night gone for a speech in lake Tahoe. I am anxious to start in some sort of routine once we are moved.

Right now it's back to continue packing up the boxes. Such fun.