Sunday, October 17, 2010


Hi everyone!! Sad (and happy) to annouce that my blog is going to be moving to a new host site and domain.

I'm pretty much doing this because blogger won't allow be to use my gmail e-mail account as a primary account. The e-mail I use was through school and will be deleting soon. Cue depression about being a graduate! :(

Not to worry, I've moved all my subscriptions over, so I won't lose touch with any of you wonderful bloggers!

Also, Wordpress just seems more fun and user friendly! So, come find me!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Sometimes All It Takes... one simple little statement to inspire you. And to cause you to be completely honest with yourself and your feelings. I've been completely unmotivated to blog lately and, honestly, completely unmotivated to do much of anything. There's no real reason. I think I'm just in a "trying to find my way" stage again, and sometimes when that happens all I want to do is sit in my bed and eat ice cream while looking up various things on the internet; some of which are completely and utterly useless. I have most definitely not been entirely honest with myself or others regarding my emotions either.

I've been trying really hard to stick to my exercises and stretching and I was doing well for about a week and a half, I think because I was noticing even the smallest amount of improvement (aka being HAPPY that I was sticking to it), but then things started to change.

On Sunday afternoon, I finally secured my registration in the Columbia Autumn Classic Road Race to benefit Camp Care. This was the first 5k I did last year, and my first one ever, so there was no way I was not going to race it again. It's been stressing me out a lot though since I registered, and I think that's playing a role in all of this. My loyal readers will notice I never did a true recap of the Hope is Coming 5k in August. That's because it was miserable. To say the least. My leg's cramped within the first mile, it was way hotter than expected, and my time was so far off of my goal. Did I finish? Yes. Was I happy about it or proud of myself? No way in Hell. Here's the thing. The course was an out and back, so as I was approaching Mile 1, I saw people already on their way back--finishing in 22 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes. As each person passed me going the opposite direction and as each foot pounded down on the pavement, it felt like a painful reminder of the differences I face, something I so often, and so effectively, shove out of my mind.

So, you know what, I'll admit it. I'm terrified of this race on the 24th. I'm terrified that I will cramp up again and my body will reject EVERYTHING that my brain is asking it to accomplish. I am terrified that I will go in with a goal to do better that last year, and that belief in myself and mental determination won't be enough. I'm terrified that I am looked at as "the girl with CP" who does these 5k just so I can feel good about myself or so that I can gain some attention in the "able-bodied" world.

But most importantly, I'm terrified that I set myself up for failure by putting myself in these situations. Failure is my comfort zone. Quitting and having people quit on me is my comfort zone. Having to defend myself against labels and the "you can't do thats" is my comfort zone. And I don't want this to be that. I'm terrified that it will.

All this being said, I'm trying so hard to not let it be that compfort zone and when I heard this quote on Grey's Anatomy tonight, it reminded me that I have to keep fighting:
"You don't find something you love that much and let it go. You hold onto it, throw yourself in deeper."
It's not so much the 5ks that I love (even though I do get runner's high and do love them), or the spinning, or the balance exercises or the stretching. It's the happiness I find in them and through them. Happiness when I show signs of improvement. Happiness when I take control of my own life. That happiness is not something I can afford to lose. So, I will continue to run (well, walk), I will continue to spin, I will continue to work on my PT, and I will continue to find my way.

I want that happiness to be my new comfort zone.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

(Nearly) Wordless Weekend: Camp Care 2010

I was going to make this a wordless post completely, but couldn't really do that. I woke up thinking about how to go about writing my Camp Care post and realized writing wouldn't happen at all. There are simply no words. So I figured I'd give you all a glimpse of the amazing piece of my life that is Camp Care through the photos and memories of these wonderful, loving children! I'm sad to say that none of these photos are actually mine. Most days I forget my camera or was having too much fun to worry about pictures, but I have great friends who let me share theirs!
So here's a week in the life of a Camp Care Child: PT (there's no pics of that..sorry!!), Rec Time, Lake Time, and a few from the annual Talent Show!

Enjoy... :)
These children are what make Camp for me. And let me tell you, in 5 days, they heal our bodies, minds, and hearts, much more than we heal theirs. I am sure of it! The looks on there faces, like that of Dominic's, when they get to experience the freedom of water without fear, or like Bella when she got to play basketball, put life into perspective for me. Oh, and another thing, it is rare that we even know a child's diagnosis at Camp, unless a parent tells us or a therapist. That label simply doesn't matter here.

I had my own expereiences at Camp too, of course, much like I blogged about last year in this post. The difference this year was that I was a Camp Care (adult) Kid myself for the morning sessions, then volunteered in the afternoon. This means I went through the 2.5 hour PT session in the morning. It. Was. Amazing. A week of free, intensive PT like I've never gotten before and will be lucky to get again. There were so many changes for me throughout the week, from things like increasing my overall body and mechanics awareness to standing longer, straighter, and more confidently to, on the last day of camp, being able to kneel and almost sit back completely on my heels. Something I don't remember ever being able to do. So, for that, I'll leave you with a few more photos...

Photo Credits: Jennifer Walts and Theresa Kaminsky. Thanks girls!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Exercise, More Than Just Weights and Gyms

Okay, okay, I've been a bad blogger! I'm sorry! I know I have so many posts to write, including a recap of the Hope is Coming 5k and everything about Camp Care 2010. They'll come, I promise! Right now though, when I can't sleep, something else is coming to my mind...exercise.

This has been on my mind a lot lately. I've always loved exercise! Okay, maybe not loved, but it's always interested me at least. Even when it wasn't really something I was good at. And even when it was just annoying stretches, that seemed really pointless, the school PTs I had would give me. I knew there had to be some benefit. As I got older, exercise went from being more of a chore, to really becoming a hobby for me. Whether it was karate, horseback riding, spinning, lifting, and now running, I always have loved the concept of pushing my body to a point where it isn't a body with a neurological condition anymore-it's a body. Period. A body that needs to tap into it's mental strength to get through the workout.

Running, well walking, has been at the forefront of my hobbies lately as most of you know, and I've been toying with the idea of becoming more serious with it. And by serious I mean actually training for prolonged periods of time instead of the week before a race. :) I decided to google CP, exercise, runner, and blog to see what came up and came across two wonderful bloggers and their blogs: Katy over at Teen Cerebral Palsy and Greg over at The Casual Vegan. Both have CP, and both are very much into exercise. On one of Katy's posts, Greg commented with the question of how many of us are into serious exercise, so I thought I'd add my two cents.

Even though my history with exercise has been pretty much on going in some way or another for my whole 21 years, it really has begun to pick up recently and I consider it to be at an even bigger starting point right now than it ever has been.

For the past few months, after my treatments at Crossroads I've been going downstairs to work with Dan in the gym. If you're reading this, hey dude, you're famous. :) The whole concept intimidated me at first. It took me years-literally-to join a gym, and I'm still not fully comfortable doing any form of organized exercise with another person. This was going to be a whole new test for me. Sometimes even the little tasks that you wouldn't even think would be an issue for me if you knew me, like shooting a basketball, are tough. It's not something I really like to make an issue of, so letting someone who I consider my best friend see something like that was not something I was looking forward to.
Painfully long story short, thank God that Dan has this job, because it definitely helps to have someone you trust and who believes in you working with you (Side note to my new special needs parent readers: listen to your child if they tell you they don't like their PT. Chances are it's more than they just don't like the exercise itself. The relationship is THE most important factor in success!!).
Some days are harder than others, just like they would be for the average person in a workout. Some tasks are harder than others. As me to do a push-up? Done. My arms are beasts. Ask me to practice walking using only a giant physio ball as my balancing aid? I'm sweating and exhausted after 3 steps.

No matter what it is I'm working on though, that same feeling of pushing my body comes through. I have goals just like anyone else. And I need to work to make them happen. I think this has really started to hit me between Camp this year and last week's workout.

Phase One: I'll get more into this when I get the time to write a true Camp post, but one night afterward, a bunch of us decided to do a Crossfit workout (read between the lines: INSANE!). I don't really know what pushed me to want to join everyone that night, I still say it was divine intervention, but here I was in a room of people that I look up to immensely for their physical and mental strength and I was about to workout along side them. I was all set to have my own little Molly workout somewhere off to the side while they did their thing, when I was pretty much told that wasn't happening and I was doing the same workout. Okay, so I didn't do the 50 pull-ups, but that was purely for logistical reasons. I did 50 pull-downs instead. :) For the first time, I was completely comfortable and completely in this element. The mental overtook the physical and I was just pushing to get to the goal. Which happened to be girls vs. guys, so clearly I needed to do my part.

Phase Two: This week I was working with Dan and I was walking with the ball. I was getting completely exhausted super quick as usual, but I needed this week to be different. I've been selling myself so short lately with so many things and I needed to push through being tired and scared that I was going to fall any second and just keep working toward my goal literally one step at a time. For me, it's always going to be harder to push through the barrier-physical or mental-in this type of a setting because it's one-on-one. Not to mention that because I'm working on tasks that are meant to push my body and meant to help me get stronger in ways that I greatly lack due to having CP, the chance for struggle and frustration is going to be much higher. But something that I had to do this week made me realize that, that struggle and frustration is okay because it's getting me somewhere. I was standing and holding on to a set of suspended rings for balance. I was pretty nervous and probably having a little harder time than I was letting on. I for sure thought I couldn't hold myself up on my legs any longer, but probably made it at least 30 seconds longer than I was telling myself I could. Afterward I started thinking that it doesn't matter if I'm working my butt off running miles as some would, or if I'm spending that extra 30 seconds working on a balance activity. I'm still pushing my body and I'm still going to get my goals.

Finding the right balance of pushing myself and holding back was hard for me at first, and it still is. I want to treat my body just as anyone else would treat theirs, but I also have to be prepared for it sometimes to physically react differently with more fatigue and recovery time. I'm not too good at this, because it requires patience, a virtue I have yet to fully master, but I'm getting there. I'm constantly learning anytime I do any form of workout, that my body is just like everyone else's in that it's going to change from day to day and I really need to listen to it. That doesn't mean though that I give myself a free pass to just sit on the couch all day because I have CP and need to modify some things or because someone says it might not be the best idea for my body. I know my body. I will make that decision.

No, I don't know how many of us out there are into serious exercise (sorry if you were looking for that statistical answer), but I know I officially can't live without it.

Oh, and one more note to my parent readers: if your child shows any interest at all in any form of physical activity or recreation-or even if they don't-don't hesitate to get them involved!! Even if a doctor, or PT, or protective family member tells you not to. And even if it's not necessarily geared toward kids with special needs. I think sometimes it's better for it to be a more mainstream activity. They will tell you what is right for them. And it just might change their life. It changed mine!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Less Than 48 hours...5k playlist!!

With less than 48 hours until 3.2 miles, I think I've FINALLY finalized my playlist. I thought I'd post it here for anyone who might be interested. Thanks Katie for all the help!! Here it is!

Rocky Balboa Speech-Sylvestre Stalone 2:06
Beautiful Day-U2 4:08
Unstoppable (Olympics Mix)-Rascal Flatts 3:41
We Weren't Born to Follow-Bon Jovi 4:10
Not Afraid-Eminem 4:11
All In-Lifehouse 3:56
Move Along-The All-American Rejects 3:57
Higher-Creed 5:17
Shook Up The World-Puddle Of Mudd 4:49
Stronger (Radio Edit)-Kanye West 4:13
Real-The Goo Goo Dolls 3:26
Whatever It Takes-Lifehouse 3:27
No Boundaries-Adam Lambert 3:48
Don't Stop Believin'-Journey 4:13
Marchin' On-OneRepublic 4:12
Maybe Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow (LIVESTRONG Song)-Wideawake 4:35
Happy-Leona Lewis 4:02
Insomnia-Faithless 7:16
Party In The USA-Miley Cyrus 3:23
'Til I Collapse-Eminem & Nate Dogg 4:58
Feel Alive-Benassi Bros. 4:48
All These Things I've Don e (Short Version)-The Killers 2:23
The Adventure-Angels & Airwaves 5:12

As of right now, this is it. I hope to be finished after the LIVESTRONG Song. Yes, I planned that perfectly to be 59 minutes not including the Rocky Speech. Don't judge me! :) If not, the last 7 are backup. Hope you like it!! If there's anything that youthink MUST be added, comment!

Official timing is being done by Hi-Tek Racing, so if we get our bib numbers early enough I'll post it here so you can follow me. If not, I'll definitely post a post-race report by Monday!

Any and all prayers and positive vibes you can send this way starting at 9am Saturday would be appreciated! :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Why Do I?

I may not entirely love being an unemployed college graduate right now, but if there's anything I do love about it, it'd be all this free time I have to think up, and write, more blog posts!! What wisdom do I have to share today you ask? Well, it's not really wisdom at all I don't think. Instead, I thought I'd give my readers a little glimpse into my brain and what makes me tick. Lately, I feel like my life has solidified, more so than ever, around three interests--passions if you want to call them that (I do!).

These three passions are: Cycling and Spinning, Lance Armstrong and his LIVESTRONG campaign, and 5k races.
For the past 20 days, I've been getting up at ungodly hours (okay, maybe not, but they are for a college grad!) to watch the 2010 Tour de France. Now, my first motivation for doing this was to watch Lance Armstrong in his second year of a retirement comeback and his-really now-last official Tour. More on that later though. I've been a follower of the sport for many years now, since Lance Armstrong's original comeback in 1999 after his battle with cancer, and I often get asked if I stopped watching the tour when he retired, or if I'll keep watching now that he'll really be done. My answer is always yes. Cycling is not just a sport that you can check yourself out of when your favorite rider is gone as you might with some other sport. I don't just familiarize myself with the top riders in the peloton (big group on the road), I know them all. I make it a point. I've learned a lot about the tactics of this intense endurance sport, and see the benefits of cycling being both a team and individual sport. Cycling has truly become one of my passions.

It is because of that passion that I took up spinning-indoor cycling-in the summer of 2007. I knew that I probably could not ride a true road bike, for reasons I talked about in this post, but eventually Spinning became my road biking. It became my release of negativity that life can sometimes bring, and my hour of "me time". I cherished, and still do cherish, my ability to spin at least once a week. I know this is not something that not everyone can make the time for and I know that many people with CP or other disabilities might have difficulty doing. I thank God that I was blessed to believe that I could take part in such a class and go out and do it. Thanks to my beginning interests in cycling, spinning is now a passion that I can't live without.

Lately, I've developed an interest in another interesting endurance sport: running. Okay, so maybe I don't exactly run, but still. It all started last October. A friend of mine called me asked me if I wanted to do a 5k with her that Sunday that was going to benefit Camp Care, the free camp for children with special needs, run by Crossroads Physical Therapy which I've talked about here. I could not turn down the opportunity, but 3.2 miles? Continuously? Was I nuts? Yes! Not only was this a continuous 3.2 miles, but it was ALL uphill!! Except for the last .2 miles. Either way though, I walked the entire race and finished it in 2 hours, 11 minutes and 33 seconds! It was the most amazing feeling to cross that finish line on my own and take pride in such an accomplishment. After taking part in that 5k, I realized that you don't need to be running to have the "runner's high". It's simply chasing a dream, feeling on top of the world, and in control. Run or walk. I've done another 5k since-the George Washington Bridge Challenge 5k across the GWB. It was an American Cancer Society event I did with my friend from college who has a cousin diagnosed with Leukemia shortly after birth. He is now 6 and in remission!! Again, it was an amazing experience. I completed that race in 1 hour, 18 minutes, and 12 seconds! I think the major time difference had a lot to do with the GWB being completely flat, but it was also the attitude. I'm doing my next 5k 2 weeks from today. The Hope is Coming 5k to benefit the Smillow Cancer Hospital. My goal is to get my time down to an hour or less (slightly irrational I know).

Okay, I've shared two of my passions. By now I probably just sound like a crazed "wannabe athlete". Some of you might even be saying, "But this can't be safe/healthy/whatever you'd like to call it, because you have CP" So, WHY DO I do this?! Well, that's where passion #3, and the strongest passion of all comes in.
It started as an idol, moved into a hobby, and has now transformed into a mantra and a way of life. LIVESTRONG. The one word motto from Lance Armstrong after he launched his foundation to raise money and awareness for cancer research. I've always looked up to Lance for his courage, strength, and overall ability to fight, and beat, the odds. When he launched LIVESTRONG, I just looked up to him that much more. Whether he ever enters the pro-peloton again. Or any sporting event for that matter, he has taught me what it really means to fight, to triumph, to believe in a cause, and to make a change. THAT is why I do this. Because it's not a matter of just living, but living strong. With every pedal stroke and every step I take on a course, I am putting the LIVESTRONG way of life into action.

If I ever doubt my abilities, or whether it's safe for "someone with CP" to be doing these things, I look down to my left wrist where my yellow LIVESTRONG wristband sits, and am reminded that this is my life, and I will hold the same attitude I have since I began following Lance Armstrong in 1999.

I know I have a wide variety of readers to this blog, but I encourage you (and your children!) to find your own ways to live the LIVESTRONG way of life. :)

Photo Credits:

Peloton Photo:

Livestrong Photos:

Friday, July 16, 2010

Inspiration Friday

For my readers, here at home and in my special needs community, check out this article my friend Katie sent me.

The article is about 8 Year Old Abby who created lemonade stand kits and the slogan "When Life Gives You Lemons, COLOR" in order to raise money for donations to a hospital where her 6 year old brother Cameron, who was diagnosed with CP, attends many for many PT treatments and different procedures.

This little girl is truly inspirational and exemplifies what life is all about...