Wednesday, August 29, 2007

It's Heeeeere

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go..... sort of. The excitement finally hit me today. After the last few weeks of non-stop busy-ness, I'm finally feeling the butterflies of nervousness and anticipation. My plane leaves tomorrow at 5:40am. I'm as ready as I'm going to be. Of course I waited until the last minute to pack everything but at least I had fun doing it.....So, the next few days should be interesting. I'm definitely ready to get on with the adventure and looking forward to coming home to my cozy new living room :)
I'll be sure to post some pictures when I get back - wish me luck!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Oh Crap

The freak out has officially begun. I had my first full-on meltdown tonight while trying on all the layers of gear I'm intending on wearing for the climb. There's been some faint rumbling of a meltdown for the last few weeks but the eruption began tonight. It's really not a gear issue. Or a travel issue. It's a reality issue - as in the reality of this situation is that I am flying from sea level to climb a 14,411' mountain in 10 days. I am so excited for this but all of the doubts have now taken over - doubts about my training, my endurance, my mental stamina, my bravery. I have not been tested in this way before and I've all but convinced myself that the only thing I will do is fail. I know I've trained hard and I know I'm strong. But how can I know if it's enough?? I've been reading all I can about the experiences other people have had and all of them are different. Some say that it's the hardest thing they've ever done and would never do it again. Others say it's no big deal. Some say that training your ass off for months is the only way to have a successful climb. Others say that they hardly trained at all. Agh....

Maybe I should rather focus on this as simply an event - it will be what it will be. No success or failure - just a trip to a beautiful place I've never been to do something I've never done before...

Sorry to vent - sometimes a volcano just needs to blow off some steam.

Thursday, August 16, 2007


After a fun-filled two days of working the Velocity booth at the Fixed Gear Symposium, I spent a relaxing evening with my family at a campground in Ludington - only to come down with the flu two days later. Everyone in my family got it except for my sister-in-law (who is on massive pre-natal vitamins) and my dad (who is on massive amounts of Miller Chill). Luckily, it was a quick flu and I'm feeling about 90% today - definitely well enough to head out and try to make up some ground in my training. I can't believe I only have 14 days until I fly to Seattle. Not that I'm freaking out or anything.....

The symposium was fun - great weather, cool people, even cooler bikes. I was happy for the chance to debut the Peugeot and really happy with all of the admiration it received :) Unfortunately I wasn't able to take part in any of the rides or races because of my booth duties but it was fun nonetheless. I can't say the same for my co-worker Matt, though. He was hit by a car on Thursday during the Alleycat race and broke his leg in two places. Judging by the looks of his bike and the fact that the van that hit him was traveling around 40mph, I'd say he's pretty lucky to have only a broken leg. Dang.
A cluster of beautiful steel fixies outside the bar.....

Matt's destroyed seat stay

On the training front, I plan to take it somewhat easy today. Probably just a few laps on my mountain bike somewhere with no hill climbing. The hills can wait until Saturday. I'm transferring my rice bags - all 35lbs of them - to the pack that I'll actually be using on the climb. Since it's a better pack than the one I've been using, I'm hoping it will make my back feel a little better when I get done. Lately I've had a constant dull tweak in my lower back that I can't get rid of. I think it's because of the pack - the one I've been training with (a Lowe Alpine) doesn't have any rigid stays along the back to support heavy loads. I'm switching to my Gregory which has much better suspension and two aluminum shanks along the back to help distribute the weight more evenly. Other than that, it's time to start piling up my gear for the climb! I'll be sure to post pictures.....

Our house is starting to take shape one little piece at a time. Luckily, we haven't had any more bats in the basement. Now we're just dealing with a leaky water meter and washing machine.... The kitchen has been thoroughly scrubbed and the bedroom ceiling is in the process of being painted. I'm not sure if the previous owner burned a ton of candles or regularly lit other things on fire, but there is so much soot EVERYWHERE in this house! I even found black sooty crap in the freezer! Our official move-in date is next weekend, Aug. 25th. I'm definitely looking forward to having some time to settle in when I get back from my trip. Let the nesting begin :)

So that's all for now. Oh, and wish me luck - I'm going to my 10-year high school reunion on Saturday night....

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

New Pet

Little did we know that our new house also came with a new pet.... Good times trying to figure out how to catch the bat in the basement tonight. It's amazing what you can do with a broom and a trash bag.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

I Won't Soon Forget

So much happening, so little time to write! Let's see....what's happened these past few weeks? Well, we officially closed on our house AND got the keys (!) last Friday. How crazy to go to a house you barely recognize, pull in the driveway, unlock the door and walk inside! We've been packing a little here and there but really didn't expect to get possession so soon. Our current landlord has been showing our apartment nearly every day which means that between school, work, training, and packing, we also have to try to keep our place clean and presentable. I have to keep reminding myself that this craziness will be over soon!

As far as training goes, I have been doing as much as I can. It's been pretty hard lately due to work and school but now that my finals are done, I hope I can squeeze a few more long hikes in before I leave. My pack weight is currently around 42-ish pounds and it's kicking my ass! I'm still hitting the ski hills at least twice a week. I am really hoping that I can keep it under 25 lbs. (30 lbs. max) for the actual climb - I'm sure the altitude will make up the difference but I need an advantage anywhere I can get it. In a conference call I had with one of the guides I found out that there is a ladder crossing over a glacial crevasse somewhere around 12,300ft. It hadn't even dawned on me that we'd be doing ladder crossings! One more thing to freak out about - I've already had several nightmares where I've either forgotten to pack food, pants, boots, or some other crucial piece of equipment or just couldn't make it up the trail to the high camp. I am so excited but I'm also so ready to just get on with it.

My real reason for writing, though, is because I had a pretty good day today. I completed my first 12-hour shift in a hospital as part of a respiratory therapy department. My final assignment for one of my classes this semester was to spend an entire shift observing different therapists in a hospital. I was at the hospital from 6:30 this morning until 7:00 this evening. It truly wasn't a very busy day but what I did get to do and see really makes it clear that I made the right decision to change my career. I got to care for a ventilator patient, a few post-op patients, three patients who were brought into the ER, and several others who are receiving oxygen therapy. I also got to watch an arterial blood gas draw and run the blood sample through the diagnostic machine. I worked with two different therapists during the day and not only were they competent and professional but they were also incredibly kind and caring to the patients we encountered. I am so much looking forward to spending my days in a setting where that actually counts for something. The vent patient was truly heartbreaking, though, and I'm sure I will remember her for a long time. Seeing someone paralyzed by medications and restrained in a hospital bed on a ventilator makes you appreciate your life, no matter how busy and crazy it may be.