March 28, 2012

MS 150 - Why I Ride

This April, I will be riding in this year’s BP MS 150.  It’s a two day bicycle ride from Houston to Austin.  Despite the name, it’s actually a 180 mile ride.  I’ve ridden a number of times.  I’ve also ridden some of the other MS 150 rides in Texas.  There was the ride from San Antonio to Corpus Christi that was pretty much entirely into a headwind the entire way to the coast.  Then there was the Frisco to Fort Worth ride that included a lap around the track at Texas Motor Speedway.

The Houston to Austin is the biggest of the rides, with 13,000 riders, and something I look forward to every year.  I look forward to it for the personal challenge as well as doing my part to help the National MS Society fund research, advocate for change, and help people with MS and their families lead powerful lives. I believe in the work they do and like being an active part of it.

Multiple sclerosis is a progressive neurological disease that affects people in many different ways. It could be paralysis one day, loss of vision the next or impaired memory the day after that.  There is no cure.  Many people in this country is newly diagnosed with MS every single day.  The research that has been funded through the National MS Society has led to recent breakthroughs in treating the symptoms.  It’s so fulfilling to see results from the fundraising efforts.

The experience is such an empowering one.  The ride itself is fulfilling.  I did my first century on day one of my first MS 150.  The training, preparation, and accomplishment of crossing the finish line after two days and 180 miles is extremely rewarding.  More than all of that, I am honored and humbled to be part of something bigger.  I am humbled to see 13,000 riders with orange bandannas that represent someone with MS that the rider is honoring.  I am humbled by the number of people who cheer all of the riders on.  I am humbled by the people living with MS, thanking us at the breakpoints.  I am humbled every time I see a rider wearing a jersey that reads “I have MS, that’s why I ride!”

The ride is fun, rewarding and extremely fulfilling.  It’s also hard, painful, and tiring.  It’s a reminder of what people who live with MS experience every day.  And that is why I ride.  This year I’ve organized a team at my company, Bazaarvoice. where generosity is one of our core values.  I can use your support, both moral and financial, in this endeavor.  You can send me some words of encouragement or sponsor me here.  

March 6, 2012

What Better Time Than Now? - My Healthful Endeavor

Pre-Juice Fast
As Zack de la Rocha passionately whispered: “It has to start somewhere.  It has to start sometime.  What better place than here?  What better time than now?”  Recently, I've decided to embark on an endeavor and, with some friends, have created Fastest Men Alive.  I’ve decided to make a change, starting with a juice fast.  I’ve been thinking about that line a lot lately.  Especially as my inner voice is suggesting that perhaps we should wait and try starting this maybe sometime later, when we’re good and ready.  Instead, I've started it this week.

Why am I doing this?  A number of reasons.  Essentially I’m in my mid/late 30s and sick and tired of being sick and tired.  I’ve been suffering from acid reflux for over 15 years.  The last couple of years it’s gotten significantly worse.  Insufferable.  It’s really affecting my quality of life.  After trying every OTC medication that I knew of, I had begun  researching some natural treatments.  In that process, I asked Jeremy for his thoughts.  It was then that he suggested that I try doing a juice fast.  Eric followed by sharing his experiences of juicing and the idea was born.  I was going to give it a try in an effort to reset my system and change some habits.

I’ve been a chiropractic patient of Dr. Daniel Gonzalez for a  while and love his philosophy of “Move well, eat well, think well”.  I’ll admit, I never really been the epitome of health though I’ve gone through cycles of being more or less healthy over the years.  Thing is, I don’t eat vegetables.  I’m even allergic to some.  Others, I just don’t like.  I try (read: want but actually don’t) to eat those that I can because I know the more that I consume the better it will be for me.  I just don’t.  I’m really hoping that juicing will be a better, more efficient and consistent way to add a lot of veggies to my diet.

I’m somewhat of a “foodie”.  I like good food and enjoy appreciating the finer culinary arts.  Ultimately, I don’t want to give up food.  I can’t see myself becoming a “food is a fuel only” type person.  I do think I can be more selective; have more moderation.  I can learn to consume less of the “finer foods” and appreciate all the more when I do.

I’ve been “moving well” lately by adding a more structured exercise routine to my life.  I’ve been “thinking well” by focising on my overall outlook, relationships, and working to become a more integrated mane with more of an “outside-in” perspective.  Now I need to “eat well”.  Am I going to become a vegan or vegetarian?  Probably not.  I don’t think that’s for me.  But I am hoping to significantly alter my eating habits.  My standards are going to go up.  I want to eat only the best of the best.  And probably significantly less of it.   I might lose weight while doing this.  I most likely will.  Though that's not my goal or reasoning for doing this.  I'm looking for long term changes along with immediate relief.  I'm looking to shock my system and out of that, create a more healthful lifestyle.

I want to enjoy life!  Where is it written that that translates to eating as much crap as you want?  If I am nearing the second half of my life, I want to make it count.

How about instead of being subject to my condition and just "dealing with it", I control my health and happiness?
"We are the facilitators of our own creative evolution." -- Bill Hicks

How about instead of resigning to the fact that I am reaching middle age and accepting that I just get fatter, slower, more tired, sicker, my body breaks down, I lose motivation, I'm just accepting of the way things are and what everyone else tells me they should be, I take my power back?

How about I (pardon the expression) get my balls back and decide I'm actually going to live?  To borrow from and paraphrase Stephen King, I AM going to make the choice to get busy living instead of getting busy dying!

That is my hope, my wish, my intention for embarking on this endeavor.  I am prepared that I could get a lot more out of.  I could not make it through.  We’ll see.  I plan on documenting my experiences to help hold myself accountable.  I guess we’ll see.  What better place than here?  What better time than now?

"Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso

My shiny new juicer with garden fresh fruits & veggies
You can track my (and the rest of the group's) progress as well as see what we're about here.  We're also on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+.