Honoring My Mother

May 2017 marked a major milestone in my journey back to me and my fitness. At the end of that month, I took off on my bike ride across America, supporting Bike the US for MS. Along the way I met many teams associated with the  LCC K9 Comfort Dog Ministry and began some wonderful friendships and solidified many more.

In May of 2018, I made my first attempt at an Everesting. While I did not succeed that time, it turns out that the ride counts for what  the Hells 500 crew now call a Basecamp (half way to the summit – 4424 meters). I did another basecamp in May, 2019, and finally completed one in September, 2019.

I don’t think I would have done either of those things had it not been for my Mom. She taught me to challenge myself, not settle for mediocrity, persevere, build character and give back to the community. She was my biggest fan years ago when I cycled from Chicago to/from New York.

In the midst of this super weird 2020, with COVID-19 changing almost all aspects of life, I have been working nearly every day – I am a healthcare worker. Tomorrow is my first day off since New Year’s week. If you know me, I can’t just sit around, so I got to thinking. I haven’t done a 24-hour challenge in a while. And it’s Mother’s Day weekend. So, I decided to honor my mother, who passed away from cancer in 2012, with a 24-hour marathon. I set out to run 1.1 miles every hour for 24.

In the spirit of giving back, this run will support my biggest cycling event organizations: Bike the US for MS and The Great Cycle Challenge (for pediatric cancer research). If you can help, you are welcome to donate here:

https://ride.biketheusforms.org/fundraiser/2759330

https://greatcyclechallenge.com/Riders/MicheleArnold

My thoughts on this run by the hour:

09:00 – Well, let’s go ahead and see how this goes! Nice running weather so far!

10:00 – Feeling pretty good. Nice to see the neighbors.

11:00 – Sun’s out. Warming up. Getting a little glitch in my R lateral quad. Ordered Panera for pick-up after this lap. Will pick up and the eat 1/2 after next lap.

12:00 – Getting hungry. Glad We picked up sandwiches for after this lap! Found my knee strap. Quad feels good.

13:00 – Getting warmer. A little harder breathing to start.

14:00 – It’s hot and windy now. Glad it’s only a mile!

15:00 – The wind is stronger now. Of course it’s a head wind for the last half mile. It’s taking me about a 1/4 mile to get warmed up from having sat/rested.

16:00 – Time to walk the dog! With that, I changed course to his usual path. Mr. SAG walked Scoob while I ran ahead. Looks the the neighbors are getting ready for a socially distanced barbecue. Smells good!

17:00 – Time for dinner when this lap is done! Good thing. Slowing down.

18:00 – Refreshed by dinner. Finally feeling better. Knees are doing OK.

19:00 – Interesting. All of a sudden, that wind turned chilly! I should have worn a jacket. Definitely pulling one out for next lap! Half way there! Passed the 13.1 mark!

20:00 – Yep! Chilly! Need a different jacket next lap. Sun’s going down. Need my headlight and reflective vest now.

21:00 – Neighbors have gone in. Still more traffic out than I’d like. No one else out running or walking, though. Bedtime for others at home.

22:00 – Pretty big party going on down the street. Probably 25 people making a lot of noise whooping it up. Must be a birthday party or something. Other than that, I’m alone on the streets.

23:00 – Party is still going.

24:00 – Getting tired and sluggish. Need caffeine! 🙃😤

01:00 – The cat and dog don’t know what to make of this. Every time I get up to put my gear back on, and come back in the door, they think they are getting fed. 🤣

02:00 – Nobody else is up and about! No one walking, cycling, or running. No lawn parties carrying on. No cars or trucks on the streets. Quiet! Except for the birds.

03:00 – This is the coldest so far. Should have grabbed my gloves. Maybe it will motivate me to run faster.

04:00 – Getting close!

05:00 – Normal wake up time. I’ll have to feed the animals when I get back this time.

06:00 – The sun is coming up. Won’t need my headlight anymore. Mother’s Day gift from my best girl (who’s in Indiana) was waiting in my chair when I got back. 🥰

07:00 – Feeling surprisingly good. Maybe it’s the cool air. Maybe because I see the finish line. Maybe because I just face timed with my best girl!

08:00 – Done!!! Finished!!! Finis!!!

And the ceremonial finisher’s prize…1A42C674-7FE7-4DA8-9CEC-B01228BEBBEE

Thanks Mom! Happy Mother’s Day!

This seemed fitting for the song of the day…

Ride (or run) on!

The Pictures You’ve Missed

Photographer

In my days (and nights) of cycling I have taken hundreds of photographs. I’ve taken selfies, photos of my bike leaning against various backdrops, views from the ride, sun rises, sun sets, moon shots, and friends and family I’ve met up with. You’ve missed seeing lots of photos too. Probably thousands. And you’ve missed them – because I haven’t taken them. I may have been on a hard climb and just not willing to stop to capture the moment. I may have been in my element coming down a fast, long, magical descent. Sometimes the awesomeness of the view changed within a minute because the light changed. Sometimes I just wasn’t quick enough and the moment passed. Sometimes the still photo didn’t exactly capture the exuberance present. And in some cases, I just wasn’t ready to share the experience. So what have you missed?

  • Lighting is so special at times. I remember riding past flowers or trees that have turned colors in the fall and the lighting for a moment at just the right angle makes the colors spectacular. You miss it if you are fumbling for a camera. Barns are the same way. The specialness that calls out to me can change in twenty feet of riding. The right angle with the right reflection or the right background can be gone just like that. I rarely backtrack to take a picture. I either get it or I don’t.
  • I came down a hill in Nebraska on a very hot day and saw a whole herd of cows standing around a pond with one small calf standing right in the middle of the water. They all looked up and stared as I passed. The calf was one of the cutest things I’ve seen.
  • Speaking of calves, as I was riding out my road one day, about a mile from home,  four or five calves were running and jumping and playing around. It absolutely made me smile. Of course they stopped by the time I had my video set.
  • I missed a shot of the full moon salute given to me by a bunch of guys in the back of a pickup truck somewhere out east. You just can’t unsee something like that, though.
  • Clouds look incredible some days. They are especially memorable when a storm is looming. Just watching them move across the sky brings a sense of foreboding. I can always find shapes in them too. Helps pass the miles.
  • You missed the antelope that ran along side me for a couple of miles in Wyoming. They ran in my direction up one side of the road, crossed in front, and ran up the other side for a bit and then crossed back. This continued for a good ten minutes. So fun to experience, but not something to hold in a still frame.
  • You missed the look on Scoobert’s face when he tricked the girl at the ice cream counter into giving him a second doggy cone.
  • I didn’t capture my bike dangling off the back of the RV from a bungee cord when we took off and went to dinner in Fort Collins, CO. I was too shocked – first at the fact that we had left it dangling, and then at the fact that nothing happened to it.
  • I didn’t capture the beauty of all the waterfalls flowing on the way up to Echo Summit, leading to Lake Tahoe. You would miss the mixture of serenity and power, the mist, and the wonderful smells.
  • I also didn’t take a picture when I visited my parents gravesite and left a bike keychain for them (it was a memento that I shared with people as they supported or inquired about my ride). They are buried in my hometown and since I rode through there on my way to the Atlantic Ocean, I stopped to visit. My dad would have been so excited for my big ride. He would have been in the SAG wagon right alongside Mr. and Miss SAG – no doubt. He was always the biggest supporter of any of my athletic endeavors and he would have enjoyed this one.

Suffice it to say that photos are great and I really enjoy taking and sharing them but the best ones are still those that I have only in my memories. Sorry you’ve missed them!

Song of the day:

Ride on!

*Photo Credit: Amy Heathcote