Friday, May 18, 2012


When I was a little girl I have always dreamed about being in the Olympics.  I never cared what sport . . . swimming or running.  I would've taken anything.  Every four years I sat glued to the television imagining myself standing on the podium while the American Anthem played and the flags lowered.  It was always emotional.  The world's greatest athletes were assembled together competing against one other.  It was always so inspiring!


When I started racing in off-road triathlons as a professional, I was one step closer to that Olympic dream.  The sport was not yet part of the Olympics was road triathlon just made its debut. It was only a matter of time!


Then I got cancer and told I would never run again.  My dream had been crushed.  Not only would I never compete in the Olympics but I would never compete as a pro again.  It is hard to describe the emotional battle inside of me.  I knew God had a greater plan but I was so sad.


One day Courtney was talking on the phone to Bob Babbit (Challenged Athletes Foundation) and the first thing he said was Paralympics. When Courtney relayed the message to me my eyes lit up.  The dream wasn't over . . . just a little different . . . even better!


10 years ago I won my first pro race on a small island called Saipan.  8 years ago I won my first World Championship.  4 years ago I learned to walk again.  1 year ago I got back on the bike.  This year I am racing to make the Paralympic cycling team to compete in London.  Over the last decade so much has happened.  You never know where you will be at any point in life so enjoy the ride!


One thing has always been abundantly clear . . . God has always been there.  At times I have been hanging on to my faith for dear life because everything else has fallen apart.  Wherever I end up, whether it is Leadville or London, I know I will be where I am supposed to be.  I'm just along for the ride!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Leadville Baby

Yesterday I received the news that I will be racing in the Leadville 100 mountain bike race with Courtney.  It was fitting news on the birthday of my grandfather who passed away 11 years ago.  He was the hardest working man I knew and this will be the toughest race I've ever done.


In the last 3 years I've been on a wild rollercoaster ride that has taken me to some of the highest mountain tops and some of the lowest valleys.  But one thing has been my constant . . . God!


I am where I am today, thriving and full of life because I have had his strength.  There were days I could barely get out of bed and he was there to pick me up.  I live life with pure Joy because of him. 


I remember the day I was told I had cancer.  I remember the day I was told I would never run again.  I remember the day the doctor (not my oncologist) said I might be able to ride a stationary bike when I asked him if I would ever be able to ride a mountain bike.  These were all gut wrenching days.  The kind of days that make or break you! I cried after receiving the news on each of these days.  But then I wiped my tears knowing that if God wanted me to ride or run again I would.


After several years in an out of the hospital and the birth of my twins . . . I started riding again.  It was a glorious day.  I felt freedom for the first time.


As I began rebuilding my life I was blessed with new opportunities.  I started coaching more people.  I run the tri training program for Fleet Feet Sacramento and I have several personal athletes.  I have so much passion for life and racing I had to share it with others. 


At the same time I began riding more and more.  It was difficult at first.  Hills used to be effortless, now I struggled.  It was painful and humbling.  As I climbed, I remembered all the times people would ask me about hills at my Xterra clinics.  Now I knew what they felt as they tackled them at the races. 


I see things differently now.  But my ability to keep forging on is still there.  Life is always challenging and there are always obstacles but I don't let them stop me.  As a dear friend said, "Why do we get excited over fighting obstacles in video games but we fall apart when we reach obstacles in life?"  I view life as I view racing (or video games) . . . every challenge makes me stronger.


Life doesn't stop just because it changes.  We can cry about how hard things are, or what we've lost or we can keep moving forward.  I choose to keep moving forward!


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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Life after the big “C

When I was diagnosed with cancer it was the biggest shock of my life!  I couldn't think straight and I was in so much pain I couldn't comprehend anything.  It's the type of news that takes your breath away.  Fighting cancer is another story.  It is a 24hr 7 days a week battle with no break.  All of your time and energy goes into beating it!

So what happens after cancer?  It is hard to go back to what you thought of as normal.  You've just had a life altering pitch fork thrown into the mix and in my case had dramatic changes because of the cancer.  My paralysis prevented me from returning to racing as a pro athlete.  Then there was the arrival of the twins . . . a huge blessing but life altering again!

For 6 months after their birth I was a walking zombie.  I was lucky to get 2hrs of sleep.  It was very similar to the first year of cancer only I wasn't in any pain.  I didn't have a clue to what I was doing.  Thank goodness for natural instinct that got me through and my sheer tenacity to not crack under the pressure.  There were times I would cry but just like the cancer I picked myself up and carried on.  I didn't have a choice because two little ones were dependent on me.

Being new parents put a natural strain on my marriage.  I'm sure cancer played its part as well.  But thankfully we are blessed with many friends who stepped up and helped us through the difficult time.  Then we lost our beloved chocolate lab Sandy.  We all took her passing hard especially her daughter Rikki.  She still mopes around looking for her.  Sandy was there for me the whole time I was sick.  Losing her was like losing a piece of me.  I still break down every time I think about her and all the fun we had.

This summer Courtney and I were in search of something to do together.  For 10 years we ran, swam and rode bikes.  Without that there seemed to be a void . . . something missing.  With my disability and competitiveness it wasn't going to be easy.  And the winner was . . . WAKEBOARDING!  Believe it or not I actually did pretty well.  After one day of tweaking my stance on the board I was ripping around.  Eventually I was jumping . . . yes JUMPING!! It was only a small jump but I got some air!

Things were going great!  And then I spoke too soon!  On Thanksgiving, God reminded us of what's most important when a stack of towels caught fire in our bathroom.  We were lucky in so many ways.  The first being no one (not even our dog) was home.  The second was that both doors were closed so lack of oxygen smothered the fire before the entire house went up in flames.  Instead we only had smoke damage.  I shouldn't say "only" because it still left us homeless and needing to move into my dad's house until the house is fixed up.  The one good thing that came out of all of this  . . . I finally get my much needed disabled friendly bathroom!  Woo Hoo!!

Living at my dad's meant Christmas at his house instead of ours.  Not a problem until I had to truck all of my Christmas decorations down!  I limited myself to only 3 boxes but it was still a lot!  Just when things seemed to be going well . . . . Rikki went missing for over 18 hours in downtown Sacramento.  Courtney decided to take her to work in the evening on one of his jobs.  She got away from him in the blink of an eye.  This was unlike her but since her mom died she hasn't been herself.  When we finally found her it was apparent she had been hit by a car.  She had a collapsed lung, fluid around the area and an enlarged stomach.  They also thought she might have a fractured leg but we didn't have the money to x-ray so we treated her as if she did!  They kept her overnight and she was on bed rest for the next 4-6 weeks.  I was stressed and devastated!  As if I needed this after everything I was enduring.  I certainly needed to lean on God for even more strength and he delivered!

Before we knew it we were celebrating Ryder and Christian's FIRST birthday!  In light of being a Dr. Seuss fan the theme of the party was Cat in the Hat.  The boys were Thing 1 and Thing 2.  We already had their homemade costumes from Halloween!  Sixty-one people came to celebrate this momentous occasion.  I'm sure there would have been more if we had the room!  It was a joy to finally celebrate something wonderful!  We were grateful to all the family and friends who showed up!

I've had two cancer scans since my last blog and both have been clean!  What a blessing!  We were able to get back to the ICTN camp this year.  My favorite thing to do!  Pastor Dan dedicated the boys in front of the campers!  It was awesome!

While we were gone, Richard from Awake Ministries had a crew at our house installing a new roof.  What an amazing job they did!  I finally have a covered porch to walk under when it rains.  This may not seem like a big deal but when you walk as slow as I do and have two little ones . . . you get the point!

This brings you all up to date. . . But I did forget one thing.  It has been 3 years since the last time I rode a bike outdoors.  A few weeks ago Courtney picked up a tandem from Sherwood at Ventana bikes and took me for a ride.  There were so many things wrong (my brace wasn't stiff enough, bike was too small for both of us, my leg kept hitting the frame and my ankle was hitting the crank) but I didn't care because I was out riding and that is all that mattered!

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Wednesday, June 23, 2010


I just wanted to give a quick update since I realized it has been over a month and people are probably wondering how everything is going!  I just can't seem to find the time to do anything other then take care of the two little rug rats!
I went in for a cancer check-up in April and everything looks good.  No sign of cancer!  Yippee!  Such a relief.  I never used to worry about getting checked until I became a mom. 
The boys are already 5 months old now and growing like weeds.  Ryder is still smaller than Christian even though he is the older one.  He has learned to roll over and I fear crawling is just around the corner.  Every time I set him down he flips over and wiggles like crazy.
Christian is content laying on his back.  He is so mellow he is not in a hurry for anything except food.  He is grabbing his toys and holding them.  he does this mostly with his left hand which is probably from the injury to his right shoulder at birth.  The arm is ok and showing good strength but I think it has forced him to be a lefty!
They both laugh a lot and are pretty good babies.  I still don't sleep much because there are two of them and one always demands my attention.  I have had a little time (and energy) to get on the elliptical trainer and workout.  I really needed this for my leg.  It was getting seriously weak.  I can tell a huge difference after only 3 weeks! 
Today I hoped in the water for the first time and swam 1500yards.  I felt like I bench pressed about 200lbs before jumping in.  My arms were hating me big time.  Hopefully I can get in the water at least twice a week because I really need it!  Eventually I would like to get back on the bike but that will be a challenge.  My lack of balance has me concerned.  I know once I get on I will be fine . . . I just don't want to fall off!
It has been a year since they autotransplanted my kidney and everything is working great.  I haven't had any problems at all!  There was a little concern over whether or not I would be able to bend over or do ab workouts without pain and I am happy to say I can do all of it.  i can't even tell I have a kidney in my pelvic area!
My biggest concern physically these days is finding a plastic surgeon to talk about my lack of a glute muscle.  My back is really starting to be affected by my imbalance.  I am pretty sure holding the boys while sitting isn't helping either.  I have to set them down often because of my tailbone!  I am praying I will be able to get an implant . . . but there is a big concern over whether my body will reject it due to the radiation!  I will just have to pray about it and hope for the best!
I am hoping it won't take me as long the next time to fill you all in . . .
Until next time,

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Where Does the Time Go?

Change diapers, feed babies, and sleep when they sleep, wash clothes, wash bottles, change diapers, feed babies, and try to sleep when babies sleep. That pretty much sums up my days and nights! I honestly don't know where the time goes.

Since I last updated my blog a lot has gone on.  I was audited by the IRS for 2007. I filed late because I was to sick with cancer and kidney infections.  I must say the gentleman that got my case was extremely helpful.  I ended up owing but only to social security but then I was penalized and charged interest for being late.  I am currently fighting the penalty fee since I have a valid excuse and we did try to contact them for an additional extension.

While I was scrambling to get everything together for the audit I was then summoned for Jury Duty!  No I am not joking . . . I was summoned.  Thank goodness I have twins who are nursing and I am the sole care giver so I was able to get out of that.  Then there is the problem of me not being able to sit for long periods of time.  I don't think the court would allow me to lie down in the middle of proceedings!

With those two big things happening I was waiting for my third thing to hit but it didn't seem to . . . at least not yet!  I could be in for something wild to come!

The twins are growing like weeds.  Christian is already 10lbs and 6oz and his older brother Ryder is 10lbs!  I'm still not getting much sleep since Christian likes to stay up late and Ryder likes to get up early. The only time at night they both sleep is from 2-5am.  Thank goodness my Dad is still helping out with the night shift so that I can catch a quick 4hrs! 

Christian saw the specialist again for his shoulder and everything looks great.  The doctor was surprised at how well he was lifting and holding up his head.  This is quite an accomplishment for a preemie since they start out behind the curve.  We don't have to go back to this doctor until September to make sure he is gaining strength in the arm and not favoring it!  I will be praying every day that he continues to make progress.

I decided to have their tongues clipped to prevent future problems like speech and to make it easier for them to nurse.  It was such a quick procedure and they recovered in 5 min.  I was so excited to see them stick their tongues out (I may not like this later on!) It was funny to watch because they were never able to do this before and they just kept sticking their tongues out!

April 6th marked their 3 month birthday.  I was hoping it would mean they would sleep a little longer since that is what everyone keeps telling me but then I realized I probably have to go by their gestational age which means I have another 5 and a half weeks.  With preemies, for the first 2 years, you have to go by their gestational age for all the milestones. (Gestational age is when they were supposed to be born!)

I have been working (in what little spare time I have) with one of my athletes on getting my coaching website up and running.  Right now it is just a home page until I put together all the info for it.  I have to work on package pricing, sponsors, training tips, athlete testimonials and so much more. If you have any suggestions please send them my way.  You can check it out at!

Training has been impossible to do with no sleep.  I haven't had physical therapy or lifted weights since I was hospitalized back in November.  Hopefully I will be able to start doing SOMETHING soon because my leg is incredibly weak and these boys are getting big.  They are going to be crawling and walking before I know it.  I need to get a jump on them so I can catch them if I have to.  Right now they would run circles around me!

I am hoping to get started on my book this summer.  Everyone keeps urging me to write so I figure I better do it while people are still interested in reading it!  I know I have a story here . . . one that I couldn't make up if I wanted to!

Christian is awake and needing my attention (at 12:30am) so I have to go!  As soon as I get a chance I will update again!  In the meantime you can find me on facebook for my daily updates!

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Monday, February 15, 2010


Whether we like it or not change happens.  Three years ago I was racing around the world as one of the top female Xterra athletes and now I find myself surviving parenthood (and I thought battling Cancer was tough!)

Once again, it has been awhile since I last updated my blog . . . the joys of being a mom.  I haven't slept since the boys were born.  They spent two weeks in the NICU.  I was there every day all day long.  I would have stayed in the evenings if I didn't need the rest!  Both boys started out on bubbles but were taken off in less than a day.  They needed feeding tubes for about a week and a half and they had some trouble regulating their temperature.  Besides that, they were doing well. 

Being in the NICU was beneficial to Courtney and me.  The nurses (especially the night nurses) were awesome.  They taught us so much, from bathing to feeding and burping.  I even took a baby basics and Infant CPR class to make sure I was ready.  Many of our friends who were first time parents said it was a little scary being sent home with a newborn and having no clue what to do.  I didn't have that problem because I watched the nurses very carefully and did most of the daily stuff myself.

Once the boys were able to feed on their own they got to come home.  We stayed at my in-laws for a week to be close to the hospital in case something went wrong.  Once we were comfortable we headed home.  This is where we have been for the last two and a half weeks.

The boys were circumcised a little over a week ago.  The boys survived it (and so did I.)  Then Ryder was having trouble gaining weight.  We discovered it was because he (and Christian) are tongue tied.  That is where the front of the tongue is connected to the bottom of your mouth by a piece of skin.  We started bottle feeding him and he quickly put the weight on.  Now I need to decide whether or not to clip the piece of skin or just bottle feed him and see if it stretches down the road.  I'm leaning towards the clipping!

I am happy to say both boys have reached and passed the 6 pound mark so they no longer fit into their preemie clothing.  They are still a little small for some of the newborn clothing but I have a feeling they will outgrow it in a month.

The boys like to be awake at night which means I never sleep . . . thankfully Courtney and my Dad have been a huge help.  My mom and in-laws have also been extremely helpful with things like buying diapers and fixing dinners.

Recently Courtney brought home a cold and passed it on to everyone even though I had him wearing a mask.  I believe it is because I caught him a few times holding Christian without a mask.  Now poor Christian is really congested.  It kills me to hear him breathe.  I try to suck out all the garbage but I can only get so much!

As hard as life has been the last two years I continue to feel blessed.  How often do you become a World Champion, Survive Cancer and then become a parent?  In a million years I would have never seen myself where I am today.  It is a constant reminder that God is in control and I am right where I am supposed to be.

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Sunday, January 10, 2010


First of all Happy New Year!
Ryder and Christian were born on January 6th at 3:47pm and 3:52pm.  Ryder weighed 4lbs 7oz and Christian weighed 4lbs 8oz!
Both are in NICU and doing well.  They were on bubbles for less then a day which is great but they are having trouble feeding on their own from a bottle.  They both have to have feeding tubes to help get the calories in.  They are also having trouble regulating their own temperature.  They were getting cold until I brought in some fleece outfits for them.  They seem to be doing better now.  Ryder did have a big heart rate drop last night but he was able to recover on his own.  They will be watching him closely for the next 7 days.  Christian has some nerve damage in his right shoulder.  The doctors are not sure if it is temporary or permanent. He will have to go through physical therapy no matter what.  We are praying it will correct itself in a few weeks!
I will update again as soon as I get some rest.  I have been spending a lot of time at the hospital visiting the boys.  Some days are really hard for me to see them there after everything I went through and with the news of Christian's shoulder but I am hanging in there and staying strong.  I didn't come this far to fall apart now!
Please pray for both the boys and their quick recovery so they can come home soon!  And please pray God continues to give me strength to keep it together!  It has been a rough road but God has rewarded me and I feel truly blessed!
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