2018 was a year full of many challenges both physically and mentally, including bumps and bruises along the way.
Climb MS NYC
The first challenge of 2018 was participating in Climb MS NYC in March. My team and I climbed all 66 stories of the Rockefeller Center. I trained by running stairs in my apartment complex and a lot of time on the stairclimber at the gym. Climbing cement stairs that were more spaced out and got steeper as you went up them was much more challenging. It was motivating to have a cheering crew at every story, and the view at the end was absolutely amazing. I was able to climb the stairs in 16:55 minutes; finishing 293rd of 994 participants, 34th of the women in my age group. Fun with a new activity allowed me to raise $1,500 for the National MS Society NYC chapter.
Challenge of Champions
In June I competed in my second Tiger Schulmann’s Challenge of Champions participating in both the kickboxing and jiu-jitsu events. Training for this event is always extremely challenging both physically and mentally because there are constant hurdles to overcome. And you spend three months straight sore and bruised. I was also focusing on the other challenges for 2018 throughout this training making it even more difficult. The biggest challenge for this tournament was the last minute decision to move up a weight class. I couldn’t drop the last couple pounds so in the end, I decided it wasn’t worth the stress. It would just create a larger challenge being on the very bottom of the weight class. I was able to take home first place in jiu-jitsu and second place in kickboxing.
Bike MS: City to Shore Training
The hardest challenge of the year was my decision to participate in Bike MS; putting myself up to the task of biking 150 miles after not riding a bike since I was 15. After 18 years of not getting on a bike; the saying “it’s like riding a bike” was proven true. I was a little wobbly in the beginning but managed an adventurous 7-mile ride on my first ride. The second ride was equally successful with 16 miles on a tough hilly path. I was starting to feel really good about how this ride was going to go.
The 3rd ride, which was in June only a few months away from the event, was not so successful. Making a rookie mistake, I got on a bike that had sat for a while without getting it checked out. About 4 miles into our ride I had my first biking accident. Losing a fight against a cement wall and got an extreme case of road rash.
This accident set me back pretty dramatically. I couldn’t work out for a month due to my wounds on my hand getting infecting and having to heal. Taking time and slowing down my training at kickboxing, which is my biggest stamina builder, really put me behind. Not letting it deter me though once I was healed up I got back training. I had to push through riding during the hottest months while trying to avoid MS fatigue.
Bike MS: City to Shore Event
Fast forward to September my longest ride had been 30 miles. Determined to complete what I had committed to ready or not I got on that bike . It was my first time riding with more than one person at a time which was intimidating in itself. It wasn’t even a few minutes in before witnessing other’s crashing which made it extra stressful. The first stretch until a rest stop was 15 miles. By that point I was feeling more comfortable with the crowd. However, I was already feeling the ride in my knees and knew it was going to be an extremely long 75 miles. Determined I made each stop very quick, empty my bladder, fill my water pack, eat a few orange slices, and back on the road.
The last rest stop is at 70 miles and you would think only 5 miles left no big deal. That last 5 miles are the absolute hardest of the entire ride, getting over two bridges into Ocean City, NJ. These hills are labeled in the Strava ride app as the hill of death one and two. There is no better way to describe these hills. It took every last ounce of mental toughness to make it up the hills. Thankfully the amazing lady tribe of mine sent me motivational voice clips that helped my mental focus!
Once I got to the top of the second hill I knew my knees would not be able to handle a second day; particularly a day starting with the hills at the beginning of the ride. It was the best feeling to cross that finish line after hours of struggling and pushing through. Knowing I had not put enough miles in during my training time. However, happy with what I had accomplished, but knew I had to listen to my body a skip day two.
As a team with this crazy adventure, we were able to raise $3,200 for the National MS Society.
You will have to stay tuned and find out what crazy challenges I’m going to put myself through this year. And I will be taking you all along for the journey this year. Be prepared for more biking and more martial arts!