Sunday, April 29, 2012

Guinness Pictures of the Week (29 April 2012)

Guinness absolutely loves to go running and he has not been happy with me lately because we haven't been able to run much in the last 4 months... here he is in his running harness and he is sooooooooo ready to go!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

2012 MS150

First off I want to thank everyone who was so supportive of my venture on the MS150 with well wishes, donations and lending a hand wherever possible. A MASSIVE thank you to Shawn Heth who was our logistics crew - girl you are awesome! And many thank to Tonto for loaning Ken his bike!

I've ridden the MS150 a bunch of times but never with my husband or my bestie. This year I was lucky enough to get to ride with both.... or maybe I should say they were both crazy enough to say they wanted to ride! I was especially emotionally moved to ride this year because of our dear friend's recent MS diagnosis....

All that said I think this year's ride might have been my most difficult ever for me. Not sure if it was the fact that I had been so sick and been having issues just breathing regularly for the better part of the year 2012, the 20mph headwind on Saturday, the fact that I hadn't been to spin class since the year 2011 (and to be honest I can't remember when that actually happened last!) or perhaps the fact that since the time I got off my bike at the end of the 2011 MS150 to the time I got back in the saddle on Saturday for day 1 of the 2012 MS150 I had ridden a whopping total of 20 miles.... Perhaps all of the above!

The orange bandanas (tied around various parts of my bike) are for my pedal partners - my loved ones with MS who I ride with. I sent them to all 3 of them so they've been signed with great sentiments.
We headed to Katy at the crack of dawn (as you do!) to get started. Shawn was kind enough to take all of our stuff for us and Robert was kind enough to let us all use his truck because we sure did end up with a  lot of stuff!

We got ourselves and our bikes ready and we headed out on this adventure together.

The temperature was great for day 1 the head wind was just nasty. However we all pushed through and rode the entire day! There was no sagging for any of the 5 of us! (The 5 of us being myself, Ken, Mel & BJ and Jay.) We hit a lot more rest stops than I usually do but we needed them. In fact a few naps were had I think at some of the rest stops along the way!

The great thing about this ride is that it is NOT a race. Yes you may want to finish in a decent time but that's more just because you want off the bike seat than anything! People are friendly and it's fun to make new friends. It's also fun to banter with some folks a bit. I gave a fair share of grief to people in Michelob Ultra Jerseys asking them when they were going to start drinking real beer.... and when they seemed cool enough sharing my favorite joke with them... "What do Michelob Ultra and making love in a canoe have in common?" Of course you can enter any crappy beer for Michelob Ultra in that joke but hey it amused me and the real beer drinkers within earshot!

We rolled into LaGrange and were super happy to have made it in 1 piece! We were all so amazingly proud of Ken because he'd never even ridden a bike more than 17 miles in one shot - talk about a big mileage change!  The amazing guys from Saint Arnold were just past the "finish" line (I guess you'd call it the finish line even though it was just the finish line for the day) with beer for us! We didn't roll in together but it didn't take long for us to all be there enjoying beer and admiring Shawn's resourcefulness in getting the truck right next to the site where we were staying with our tents and such! SCORE! We grabbed full beers and set up our tents, had some dinner (yummy fajitas), drank some more beer, got a shower, drank some more beer, got some more food (the MS150 food this time instead of our Team Saint Arnold food) including a funnel cake, drank some more beer and laughed and had fun the whole evening.

It wasn't a late evening though because boy were we all tired! (By the way - if you're going to ride the MS150 it is soooooo worth it to ride for a team and there is no better team than Saint Arnold!)

Sunday morning we got up but were in no rush to get to the start line. I figure why wait in the massive line of people to push out... sleep in a little and wait for them to all go and then just roll on out! Ken's knee (not the one he had surgery on) had been bothering him the day before. He was determined to push out and try and ride. Sadly it didn't take long for him to realize his knee simply wasn't going to allow it. I was really proud of him that he recognized this (before he really really hurt himself) and had Shawn retrieve him so the 2 of them could head to Austin to claim our hotel rooms and start drinking some beer! The 4 of us pushed on and rode the 2nd day with MUCH less wind which was really nice. Sadly there were a few accidents along the way that stopped all the bike traffic. Unfortunately not everyone is aware enough of rider etiquette and some people get too antsy to go faster than the crowd allows hence some of the accidents. I don't think there were any hugely major ones this year though so that's good.

Wish I could report more details but in general it was just ride ride ride in the push to get to Austin. I was so excited to roll into Austin and see Ken and Shawn near the finish line cheering us on. Honestly this was the most difficult MS150 I've done and more than once I had to remind myself of Erin, Spicoli and Aunt Janet to keep my legs moving. I'm not too proud to admit that when I turned the 2 lefts to pull into the Saint Arnold tent area (and grab my beer!) when I saw Ken and hugged him I had tears in my eyes because I was so glad to be done but I was so glad I'd done it even though it was incredibly hard.

We drank some more fantastic Saint Arnold beer at the finish line which once again perhaps the best beer ever!!!

We stopped by the Capitol for a couple pictures...

Then went to clean up at the hotel (after hitting the hot tub) and headed out for a nice steak dinner. But prior to that I busted out a bottle of Schramsberg which is our wine of choice for celebratory occasions. I save all the corks and this one is marked MS150 2012!

By the way - the beds at the Intercontinental Hotel in Austin are amazingly comfortable and the food at Eddie V's is fantastic. (Ask for the server Luigi and you are certain to be well taken care of!) We all slept incredibly well that night and then headed to breakfast at Annie's which was where we had eaten after the 2011 MS150 and let me tell you this place makes an awesome breakfast! Ken took Mel and BJ to the airport with their bikes (We were so glad to have them join us for this adventure!) and then he headed back to the hotel and Ken, Jay, Shawn and myself pushed out for home. Driving back looking at the hills I couldn't help but think "What the heck were we thinking? It's clearly uphill to Austin." But then again I think I've had that thought after every MS150 I've done :)

Ken claims he has unfinished business.... who knows... maybe we will be back again next year....

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Am I riding the MS150?

Well some of you have wondered given how crappy I'd been feeling for the better part of 2 months and my lovely sort-of diagnosis of pneumonia/pertussis (I say sort of because they could never nail down exactly which one it was at the tail end of but they think it was one of them!) wether I would actually be riding the MS150.....

What I can tell you is... it may not be pretty but I WILL RIDE! As a very dear friend of mine commented when we were discussing this very subject and I wasn't sure.... "We both know you are riding. I'll be most shocked if you don't." She's right it's just not in me to not ride! As difficult as it might be for me to ride (here's to hoping another 4 days of the latest round of meds will keep improving my breathing abilities!) I know it's nothing in the difficulty scheme compared to living with MS so I WILL RIDE! I will ride for my dear friends and family who I am so honored to ride for and I will ride for all those who I don't know but are battling MS.

So we've established that my butt will be on a bike all weekend... all I'm asking of you guys is to do the easy part - open your wallet and donate the equivalent of a Starbucks. Help me help this cause!
Click here to donate!!

If I can I will try and blog from the road ... we'll see how it goes...

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Guinness Pictures of the Week - 15 April 2012

Guinness loved Dog Whips from Starbucks. In fact I think he is as big a fan of Starbucks as many adults I know! (Luckily his treat there is free!) After his haircut the other day I treated him by heading through Starbucks and then pulled into a parking spot so I could get pictures of it all for you guys!

Then I put it in the cup holder so I could theoretically drive but he was so cute that I had to get pictures of that too!!

I even got some video....
But this picture I think is the best of all.....

Sunday, April 8, 2012

HOPPY Easter!

Guinness wants to wish everyone a Hoppy Easter but more importantly he is wondering where that Bunny is so he can chase him!! :)

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Guinness Pictures of the Week - 1 April 2012

Well apparently Guinness loves coffee shops now? Why you ask... well...
While I was really sick a few weeks ago (meaning when I could hardly get off the couch for more than 20 minutes as opposed to now when I just sound awful still) I got really tired of drinking tea so I headed out to Dunn Brothers Coffee Shop here in Friendswood to pick myself up a latte. (My coffee needs to not taste like coffee.) I took Guinness along for the ride because he really needed to get out of the house too. He had his head out the back window (cracked just enough that he can get his head out but not actually get out in the event of a squirrel sighting) and as I pulled up to the window the guy gave me my cup and Guinness gave a little bark. Not a mean bark mind you but a "Hey look at me" kind of bark. The kid laughed and said "He must know." I asked him what it was he must know and he pulled out dog treats that were on the counter and proceeded to give Guinness one. Needless to say Guinness was a very happy camper. We went back to Dunn over the next week several times (hot drinks just made my throat feel better) and each time Guinness waited patiently for his treat and when they appeared to forget he'd give a little bark to let them know he hadn't forgotten!

Friday I was up WAY WAY too early to see the Cyfarthfa students off to the airport. I was barely coherent so I decided that I needed to go through Starbucks (since it was on the way) to get a latte to wake up. I had brought Guinness with me for the morning because I figured the kids would get a kick out of meeting him and that it probably wouldn't be a big issue for him to be right outside the hotel front entrance or even in the lobby. So we go through the drive through at Starbucks, I get my latte and then Guinness gives out his little "Yo don't forget about me" bark. I started cracking up! I explained to the girl he must be able to smell the coffee and thus associates it with a treat because he gets one when we go to Dunn. Without missing a beat she says - "Oh - I can make him a doggie whip!" Wondering what a doggie whip is? So was I. Turns out it's an espresso cup full of whipped cream. Guinness was in absolute heaven to say the least. He had whipped cream all over his whiskers and face. Now the question is does he like Dunn or Starbucks better? :)