Tuesday, February 13, 2007

My Valentine

We all run through an inventory of "why do I do this?" or at least "what started me doing this?" from time to time. My Valentine is at least one of the motivations that got me going. Those of you who have been hanging in there for a year or so will know where this post is going, and will know what the new link is at the top of the side bar.

I met my Valentine when we were both just kids, age 20 if I recall correctly. We both grew up in Oklahoma, where classical musicians are sparse, knew all the same people, and even played in the same All State Orchestra as high school seniors, but somehow never met. I went off to Wisconsin for school, she went to OU. Finally, during our sophomore year in college, when I was home during Spring Break, we met through a mutual acquaintance during a group lunch when they were all out of class. I was deeply impressed with her in the way that only a male college sophomore can be. Lust at first sight. (I don't think she was impressed with me yet, on any level.) We were both admitted to the Aspen Music Festival that year, so I decided I really (no I mean REALLY) wanted to know her. I'm a biblical person that way.

We did meet at Aspen, and spent two summers growing from what we thought was love into what really was love. May 25th following two summers in Aspen we said all the promises about, "for richer, for poorer" and "sickness and health" etc. etc. etc.Pack Leader Bride

The "richer poorer" stuff has turned out not to be so bad. She married a poor musician with no job and an intent on going to graduate school, she now has a not-so-poor lawyer. The "sickness health" stuff has been more of a challenge.

After Superpounce was born, my Valentine started experiencing tingling and numbness in her feet and her hands. We had it checked out, but the testing was inconclusive and it went away after some steroidal infusions. Pack Leader and Baby Superpounce

When Superpounce was starting to walk around, however, it came back. It came back and progressed. Pretty soon, my valentine was numb in both her hands and arms and from the abdomen down. Her feet would not always obey her, and I had to wake her every morning before I left early for work to make sure she could move--so that she could get up and be a mom when the baby awoke.

This time the testing was not inconclusive. My Valentine has Multiple Sclerosis--a disease in which the immune system of healthy young adults goes haywaire, strikes the central nervous system, and demylenates (or strips the insulation off) the nerve "wires" in the brain and spinal cord. This can cause all sorts of symptoms and difficulties from sensory numbness and pain, motor deficits, spasticity, paralysis and worse. The disease takes many different forms and its course is unpredictable. (Read more here.) Thankfully, the Pack Leader's condition has been relapsing and remitting, and other than managing fatigue or "minor" simptoms, basically has not flared for awhile.

Anyway, what does this have to do with triathlon? Well, before I did any tris, I did the BP MS150, the largest cycling fundrasing event in the nation. 13,000 cyclists will ride from Houston to Austin on two days in April and raise probably 11.5 million dollars this year. The money is responsible, in part, for the development of drugs that did not exist 10 years ago, which help to hold the disease in check. The Pack Leader injects one of those drugs every night, and more and better drugs are in Stage II and Stage III clinical trials right now. That money is also responsible for providing treatment to folks who (unlike us) are not fortunate enough to keep their jobs and health insurance when they become disabled.

The BP MS150 is my one and only athletic fundraiser. I am doing it again this year and hope to do it with a splash. I have set myself a goal to raise $9000. Even more, provided I can wisely ramp my cycling mileage without undue risk, I have set the goal to ride the entire 180 mile distance in one day. I would love for as many of my bloggy friends as possible to team up and play a part.

Obviously, I would love your cheers in the comment section as we ramp up for the event. Even more obviously, I would cherish every donation, large or small, which you can make online by clicking here or on the donation link in my sidebar.

Finally, even though the MS150 is closed to additional registrations, you can ride along and Alley Cat the second half of the ride. Let me know you want to do it, and we can meet outside La Grange, Texas on the appropriate day and time. Then, I will suck on your wheel all the way to Austin with Mrs. Greyhound providing van support. In return for the suckage, I will buy you unlimited quantities of beer and Mexican food. Triboomer is in, I think Mrs. Triboomer and some of the pride are coming along. Y'all come too.

See you out there.


Iron Pol said...

Nice tribute, and a great presentation. I added a bit and made the IMWI distance a part of the contribution. 180+140.6=320.6. I had to wiggle the decimal place a bit, but $32.06 has already been added to your acount.

Amy said...

Throw another 29 loonies, I mean 25 bucks, in there.

Robyn & Rachel said...

What a wonderful tribute to your sweetie, your sport, and your dedication to doing your part in making the world just a little bit better! We're trying to do the same here in NC! Best of luck!

TriBoomer said...


You KNOW I'll be there for the entire 180 big ones with ya.

Stay tuned...

seaducer said...

I am pretty new to all this stuff, basically just found the blogger alliance through GYGO a few weeks back. I too am doing a MS150 this year, it will be my first. I had an aunt who bought a wheelchair the day she was diagnosed. She lived a miserable life until a few years ago when she passed. A friend of my parent's also has MS, and he fights it. And he is still going just as strong as he can.

Like I said I am new to all this but I intend to do as many of these as I can from here on out, plus work in triathlons too. 13,000 cyclists sounds totally awesome, and maybe in a year or two I can sneak down there for a trip.
I'll find a way to hit the donate button a few times between now and your race. Good luck getting it all in one day and best of luck to your wife...Drew

TriSaraTops said...

I credit my MS 150 I did in 2003 with getting me into cycling...and it was the first time an Ironman even crossed my mind. They are great events that raise money for a great cause.

Count on me for a donation, too! :)

TriJack said...

it's people like you that gives people like me our weapons... thanks!
contribution made... dv

Anonymous said...

hey, we'd like to profile you in our charity-o-rama (silly name!) on completerunning.com

should go up next monday.

great goal, wonderful story, praying for happy ending.

Steve S. said...

Good luck on that very important ride!! My spirit is with you!

the Dread Pirate Rackham said...

it's not much but it's something.

No really, it's not much.

I love what you're doing and who you're doing it for.

IM Able said...

Wish I could have sent more, but hopefully my little bit will add in with others and get you all the way to $9000!

Thanks, Greyhound, for taking that extra step and making what we do more meaningful.