Conquering Fears

This weekend I participated in the NYC triathlon. The race consisted of a 1 mile swim, a 40k (24.8 miles) bike and a 10k (6.2 miles) run. Most of you would probably assume that for me, the race got more challenging as it went along . For the most part, you are right. My swim time was 7th in my age group (not going to lie, a slight disappointment), my bike split was 20th and my run split was 102nd. So yes, things got more difficult for my as the race went along — but that’s only speaking about the physical challenges.

Mentally, the swim was the worst. Ever since I was accepted into this race I’ve been panicking. I mean, swimming in the Hudson? Who wouldn’t be nervous?

Getting ready to brave the waters of the Hudson
Getting ready to brave the waters of the Hudson

But I’ve had a fear of open water swimming for years. Swimming in pools, fine. You can see the bottom, most of the time they don’t contain animals and the chlorine keeps out all of the “bad things.” But swimming in open water, that’s another story.

Some of you may remember this post blog I wrote about visit my grandparents in Florida. In it I mentioned my fear of open water swimming:

Abby and I spent a lot of time swimming in the bay in front of our grandparents house. We would blow up rafts and inner tubes, and see who could stand on them the longest without falling in the water. At the end of the bay, there was a mangrove island, no more than 150 yards away. When Abby was 7 years old, she decided she was going to swim out to this island. My dad jumped in the inflatable row-boat and paddled along besides her as she bravely made her way out to the island and back. When she returned, my grandfather gave her a sliver dollar for accomplishing this feat. Year after year, when we returned to their house, my grandfather would ask me if I was ready to make the same swim. Not until I was 21 years old did I actually do it; and I was freaking out the entire time. Sadly, I never received a silver dollar for my feat of bravery…

So for me, taking on the Hudson, which is fill with who knows what, was a feat for me. And it definitely gave me reason to smile the rest of the race, even when I was running/jogging/trudging at the end!

So happy to be out of the water
So happy to be out of the water
Going out for my bike on the West Side Highway
Going out for my bike on the West Side Highway
One mile into the run, pain is starting to set in
One mile into the run, pain is starting to set in
So close to the finish!
So close to the finish!

Thank you Matt for acting as my support crew. It was reassuring to see you running along the path as I swam, frantically swinging your arms around and telling me to go faster. It definitely reminded me of our days on Gators. Plus your hair looked amazing.

photo (28)

 

The weekend forecast

This weekend is the Pan Mass Challenge. My sister, Matt and I will all be riding 191 miles from Sturbridge, MA to Provincetown, MA. Why are we doing this you ask? Here are our top 10 reasons:

1. After getting married just over a month ago, we thought this would be a good bonding experience for me, Matt, and Abby. Matt is so excited about spending more than 48 hours with Abby and me.

2. Lance Armstrong is riding this year. Performance enhancing drugs or not, just to breath the same air as him will be incredible.

3. We look awesome in bike shorts – especially Matt.

4. It is an excuse to wear matching outfits. We don’t have too many of these occasions since retiring our “Gator A” and “Bad to the Bone” swim team shirts.

5. We can eat as many peanut butter and fluff sandwiches as we want and no one will judge.

6. It is a good way to get a dose of “small town America,” something that we lack in NYC.

7. There is free beer at the end of each days’ ride.

8. It is a good way for Abby to meet some guys. And with me and Matt at her side, she is sure to do well. Can someone say wingman?

9. The ride ends in p-town. Enough said.

10. To raise money for cancer research and treatment. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Just as I did last year, I will blog throughout our ride, taking a few minutes every waterstop to update you on our progress. So please follow along as we ride through the towns that line our route and pass by the people who come out to support the PMC. I will try to give you a sense of what it is like to ride for such a worthy cause. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to my ride. You are the true heroes this weekend.

It is not to late to make a donation. Please visit My Fundraising Page

Pan Mass Challenge – UPDATE

I would like to update you all on my progress towards my goals.

  • To date, I have raised $1,025
    Thank you to everyone who has already shown their support. I truly appreciate it! Unfortunately, I still have a long way to go! There is still plenty of time to make a donate – please click HERE to do so! Remember 100% of every dollar donated goes directly to the Jimmy Fund!
  • In 2011, I have ridden approximately 120 miles
    As a result, I am pretty confident I will finish the first day of the Pan Mass (110 miles) – not so sure how that second day is looking!
  • Matt vs. Molly
    Last year, I was able to keep pace with Matt fairly easily during the ride. So far this year, Matt has crushed me during every training ride. Last year Matt has a stress fracture in his leg that kept him on crutches right up until the Pan Mass. Apparently, that impacted his performance… and I thought he was just lazy. At least I will look better in my bike shorts!

As I have done in years past, I created a YouTube video from last year’s ride. Hopefully this helps you experience what it is like to ride 190 miles to fight cancer.

 
Thank you so much for your support! We are closer by the mile!

Pan Mass Challenge – 2011

 

On August 6th and 7th, I will ride 190 miles across the state of Massachusetts to raise money for cancer. This year I will be joined for the two-day ride with my sister Abby and my husband(!) Matt. This will be the fourth year that I have participated in the Pan Mass Challenge and every year I have become more and more passionate about the ride. 100% of the funds that are raised through the Pan Mass are donated directly to the Dana Farber Cancer Research and Treatment Institute.

 If you already want to make a donation, just click here: http://www.pmc.org/profile/MB0342. To be persuaded further, read on!

 Six months ago I began working for a non-profit foundation called Robin Hood. Our mission is to fight poverty in New York City by finding and funding 200 of the most successful poverty fighting organizations in the city. When I was originally offered the job, I remember thinking that the job was going be fantastic, but if nothing else, I was excited to learn the secret to fundraising from Robin Hood and apply it to my own Pan Mass fundraising efforts.

 Well, after working for Robin Hood for more than 6 months I can report that there is no secret to its success; it is straightforward. Have a mission that you believe in and hold to that mission. We believe passionately in the work that we do and our donors trust us to invest their dollars in the best poverty-fighting organizations.

 My passion for the Pan Mass and the work that is being done at Dana Farber stems from my own experiences throughout my life as well as those gained during the ride these past three years.

  •  Being told in high school that my friend had leukemia and not understanding why
  • Hearing the countless “Thank You for Riding” cheers as you ride along the 190 miles.
  • Seeing a sign in someone’s yard that states “Diagnosed with cancer, age 3. Today, thanks to you, living cancer free, age 8.”
  • Seeing the pedal partners, children who are currently undergoing cancer treatment, at the water stops who are cheering US on.
  • Struggling up a hill and being passed by someone riding along with a living proof* badge *given to riders who have been diagnosed with cancer at some point – some are still fighting it
  • Seeing a friend who was battling cancer standing along the road and cheering as loud as possible, while waving her wig around her head.
  • Seeing my mother cross the finish line in Provincetown just one year after being diagnosed with cancer.
  •  Hearing my dad tell me that they had found his skin cancer early. He was going to be fine.

I know many of you have similar stories, some more tragic than mine. Cancer doesn’t discriminate; it affects us all. However, thanks to your support we are making a difference in the fight against this terrible disease. And since 100% of every dollar raised goes directly to the Dana Farber Institute you can be certain that your donation will count.

 Hopefully my passion for this ride and the battle against cancer is contagious. If you have caught the bug, please make a donation here. Thank you so much for your support.

Raise Your Glass

With the new year fast approaching, it is easy to look forward to all of the exciting things that will take place in 2011.

But it is worth mentioning that 2010 was certainly a good year. Matt and I got engaged and many of our friends celebrated their own weddings. Abby took a new job as the head coach for an awesome swim team and has managed to lead them to a top ranking so far this season. Matt, Abby, my mom and I successfully completed the 110 mile bike ride that is the Pan Mass and raised more than 20,000 dollars to fight cancer. Matt and I conquered Half Dome in Yosemite. And although the Red Sox didn’t have their best season, the Yankees weren’t able to defend their World Series title. I started my blog and was featured on Freshly Pressed! All in all, it was a good year.

I already have some good news for 2011 that concerns my employment. Unfortunately, I am not ready to make my announcement official (I know, the suspense is killing me too!). But in the spirit of things, I thought I would post this video that was featured on the Ellen Show earlier this year, celebrating her 1200th episode. Don’t get excited, I am not going to working for Ellen. But watching this made me realize, Ellen has the best job in the world. Not only because she is famous and probably she makes a lot of money (but let’s be honest, compared to Oprah, she is destitute), but because she truly loves what she does. I think we can all be inspired by her passion for life, her infectious laughter, and her killer dance moves.

2010 was a good one, but 2011 is certainly coming in strong…

Sweat It Out

This week has been a little lacking in “the little things.” I am not sure if it is due to my recent 3 week wedding bender, one final fight from fall allergies, or the start of cold and flu season that gets dragged in my the slobbering 4 year olds that I spend my day with. Whatever the case, I have been feeling very run-down all week. Today was really no different.

I returned from work and made some delicious tomato-basil soup (see recipe at the bottom of the post). After finishing the soup, I decided to watch a movie (Letters to Juliette – not a big fan). Not surprisingly I fell asleep midway through the movie and awoke to a phone call from Matt informing me that he was on his way home. Earlier in the day Matt asked me if I wanted to participate in a spin class that evening with him, and I decided that this might be a good way to get me out of my funk.

Well, the first time that Matt asked me to do a spin workout with him, I was psyched. We are fortunate enough to have a gym in our building, and they do offer some group classes but the selection is limited. So when Matt told me that we could do a spin class one evening, I was pleasantly surprised. That is, until I walked into the gym to find out that there was no class… the instructor was going to be Matt and I was going to be his pupil. After a sub-par workout, I decided that from that point on, I needed to take charge. Since that time, I have slowly taken control of the spin class instructing.

Tonight was no different. I took charge for the first 18 minutes of our 30 minute class and quickly worked myself into a full-blown sweat. I can’t even pretend that I was “glistening” like a lady; I was sweating. And while I was hacking up a lung the entire time, it felt good. I was sweating out my funk.

At the end of the night, I ended feeling a lot better with a delicious grilled cheese and tomato soup dinner. Man I love comfort food!

PMC – a final recap

We all made it across the finish line in Provincetown yesterday. The only problem we faced was my dead cell phone battery which prevented my regular blog posting. I had tried to send a final post yesterday just neorealism 12:30 when my mom and Terry crossed the finish line but I was faced with technical difficulties.

The weekend was a huge success with lots of smiles and a big sense of accomplishment. Together the 5 of us raised over 20,000 dollars and received support from over two hundred people.

I feel extremely lucky to have had the opportunity to complete the pmc 3 times. I certainly hope that I can continue to participate in the weekend for years to come.

Thank you to everyone who donated to my ride. A special thanks to my grandparents who supported all 3 of us and followed the ride the entire 191 miles through my blog! You can now sleep easy knowing we are save and sound!