Riding the wave. And Running for Another. 

There’s been a huge wave of Good News up in these parts the past week or so. I feel like I’m surfing an ideal point break. And it feels pretty fantastic. Not for nothing, it’s about time. I was starting to feel like that little depressed pill from the Zoloft commercials. And that’s just not me. Two awesome things happened last week: 

  1. I received The Best News Ever. And was promptly overwhelmed by all of your warm thoughts and well wishes. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You. It moved me to tears. The outpouring of support made my heart overflow. That’s the truth.  XOXO. 
  2. I found out I was named a Janji Corps Ambassador! WOOT! WOOT! 

A while back I blogged about Janjia socially conscious running clothing company that gives back by providing clean water in countries around the world. I discovered them after returning from a life changing trip to Kenya. Gotta admit. I became sort of obsessed with the company. How could I not? Go to Kenya and you’ll see first hand how horrible the water situation is. There is a water crisis in Kenya. I was so struck by that. To discover a company that dovetails what I love to do with helping others, was such a perfect find. I wanted to be a part of it. Sadly, Kenya is just one country with a water crisis. There are many, many more.

I ran full Janji today!



 Janji means “promise” in Malay. Run Janji and promise to Run for Another. I love it. Love everything about it. I am honored to be a part of this AMAZING group of Ambassadors. All runners, all committed to this cause. I’m totally impressed.  I’m even more excited to see the SPRING collection which drops this week. I had a sneak peak and it looks awesome- great bright colors and cool designs! That is, if I even remember what Spring is.  Or shirts. Or t-shirts. Or the sun for that matter…

Are you, like Tina and I, OVER winter? What’s the coldest temperature you’ve run in this winter? Rain or Snow- which would you rather run in? 

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A Decade of Riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge. A Lifetime of Lessons Learned.

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A week ago I rode My Cancer Fighting Bike, in my 10th consecutive Pan-Massachusetts Challenge. Ten years. In a row. I am proud of that. Very proud.

Not proud that I have ridden thousands of miles.

Not proud of the training endured each and every year.

Not proud of hooking up My Bike to the trainer and spinning in the living room because it was too dark to get a decent ride in after a long day at work.

It’s not about the athletic achievement. Strange, but true.

The PMC is not about Me.
And that’s the beauty of it.

In the 10 years I have ridden, I have learned more about the human spirit than I ever thought possible. I have learned that people are at their very best when they’re doing something selfless.

And that is beautiful.

I have learned how riding in the PMC means more to the 100s upon 100s of people lining the streets along the route, than it ever will to me. And that’s saying a lot. Strangers. Clapping and cheering. And thanking me. Thanking ME. Over and over. In the pouring rain. In the extreme heat. Over and over. Thank you. Every year for 10 years. Some of the faces are the same. Some are new. All are grateful.

I am here, because of you.

To hear that. To see the look on their face, as they tell you that. Thanking you. With their whole heart. Sincere. Genuine. Pure. It means everything. Everything all at once. And it continues to overwhelm me. Year after year.

Here’s the thing: I believe them. We are making a difference. A real, life-saving, cancer fighting difference. They are living proof.

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I have learned that the most generous of people are the ones you barely know. But who know you. And believe in what you are doing. They move me to the core.

I have learned that people who volunteer their time at the PMC have a tougher job than any cyclist riding. They are kind, patient individuals who smile with their heart. Angels. All of them.

I have learned that the smallest of gestures, gestures requiring the most minimal of time, are the most profound. A kind word. A ribbon remembering a loved one, honoring their fight. A quick note saying, “I will be thinking of you this weekend” means the world to people. Find the time. You are not that busy. It’s worth it.

I am proud to be a part of the Pan-Mass Community. So proud. It has become a part of who I am. It has woven itself into the very fabric of my being. I feel like for one weekend a year, I am a part of something great. Really great. Impactful. To be surrounded by people doing the same is inspiring beyond words. I am finding, as the years go by, that the PMC feeling stays with me longer and longer each year. It changes your perspective. Your focus becomes on what is truly important in life. And isn’t that wonderful?

The PMC isn’t about me. But by accident, I have become a better human being because of it.

Here’s to the next 10 years.

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31 Reasons

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The race is not to the swift, but to those who keep on running…

In 2 days time, Tina and I will embark on a cancer fighting odyssey across the state of Massachusetts- The Pan-Massachusetts Challenge. I simply can’t wait. It’s my favorite weekend of the year. Always has been. A beautiful, selfless weekend. That’s the best kind of weekend if you ask me.

Tonight, as has become a 10 year tradition, I made ribbons, together with my Mom, honoring those who have lived strong and those who, in the face of cancer, continue to do so every day. They will ride with me this weekend. I will carry them on my back. Each mile, every pedal stroke we’ll ride as one.

Each year my list grows.
And grows.
As the ages get younger.
And younger.

My heart just breaks.
Into 31 pieces.

This is why I ride.

Xoxo,
Colby

And That’s a Wrap!

Who just rode her last two long rides and wrapped up training for her 10th Pan Massachusetts Challenge?

{Cue Running Man}

THIS GIRL!!!

emmawatson

Welp. Nothin’ left to do but pack, obsess about my bike and GET EXCITED for the Pan Massachusetts Challenge!  I can’t believe this is my 10th year riding. I really can’t. I’m getting that PMC-All-Choked-Up feeling every time I think about it. Come this time next week, I’ll be planted firmly on Tina’s Cape Cod Rental House’s Couch, drinking copious amounts of beer and re-capping our 200 mile ride across the great state of Massachusetts all in the name of Kicking Cancer’s Ass! It’s an EPIC experience. One I can’t imagine living without.

I “Officially” wrapped up my training this weekend, a Tour de Sunflower, if you will, with my Zippy Other Half. I told him I wanted to do a long ride this weekend, my last before the PMC. And of course, off we went. He’s good like that. There is nothing better than doing something you love, with someone you love. A perfect, long ride with My Guy. A meandering 73 mile jaunt that took us to Buttonwood Farm which is currently teaming with sunflowers. Oh and I mean TEAMING. Happy, inviting, smiling sunflowers grown for the Make a Wish Foundation of Connecticut. It’s freaking beautiful.

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It was quite the hilly ride. And 73 miles ain’t short. But seeing as how I’m Little Miss Hill Climber lately, it wasn’t all that bad. Tough. But not impossible. Today’s ride was a Race Against the Storm which rounded off two fantastic rides. Just the two of us. Two Peas. My Other Half is so supportive. He’s so great riding with me. Always looking back. Always looking out. Always smiling. He’s been part of my PMC journey for years now. He knows exactly how important the PMC is to me. And I love that about him. It’s nice to ride along with someone by your side. I am lucky.

My Last Long ride is an emotional one for me. It always has been. It’s less about the training and more about why I’m training. I can’t help think about why I am riding. And for whom I am riding for. I can’t help but remember those who have lost their fight with cancer. Each year the list gets longer and longer. My heart just breaks. The ribbons I wear in honor of those who have been impacted by this insidious disease will gently flap behind me. Like wings. Generating lift. Propelling beyond cancer. Towards hope.

And that’s exactly how I see it.

To donate to Colby’s Ride: http://www2.pmc.org/profile/NB0049

To donate to Tina’s Ride:  http://www2.pmc.org/profile/TC0204

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Glass cases of emotion brimming with potato salad.

10101Friday. How in the name of Ron Burgundy did that happen?!? A lovely four day weekend segued into a yucky four day work week peppered with trail runs, road runs and {music swells} The Dreaded Hill Repeats. It was a whole bucket full of same old, same old with a dash of sadness and pinch of disgust thrown in for good measure. As a result, my blogging promptly fell straight into the shitter.

The Week in Numbers:
Miles run: 40
Miles biked: 45
Number of vegetables in this week’s CSA: Bushels upon bushels
Glasses of wine consumed:  Copious amounts
Amount of money raised by some dude on Kickstarter in Ohio to make potato salad: Upwards of $40,000
Amount of money raised by Colby to ride across Massachusetts in the Pan Massachusetts Challenge, a 2 day, 200 mile cancer fighting odyssey to benefit life-saving cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute: $2,842.25

See where the pinches of sadness and disgust came from? Has the whole world gone mad!?!?! Or is the Potato Salad Dude on to something? Are people funding potato salad because it’s quirky and silly and it’s just the lightness they need to balance the BATSHIT CRAIZINESS that has saturated the rest of the goddam place? Perhaps.

This guy wants to make potato salad.
I want to help fund a cure a for cancer by riding my bike 200 miles across the state of Massachusetts.

Who are you funding?

I know, right?!  Tough Call!

I’m being facetious. Perhaps the guy will do something noble and feed the homeless with 1,000,000 pounds of potato salad. Or donate it to potato farmers across the country who can certainly use the influx of cash. Or better yet, start an education campaign alerting parents to the dangers of leaving helpless children alone in sweltering locked cars while they run in and grocery shop for potato salad ingredients.

Just a thought.

Welp. Ohio Dude raised it. Fair and square. At the very least I hope he uses his potato salad for good, not evil.  He with the best shtick wins. Here’s a thought: What if I made potato salad WHILE riding my bike? Or better yet, juggle, peel, yodel and make potato salad while riding A UNICYCLE in support of cancer research!  I think I’m on to something.

Kickstart THIS, Baby!

Tina and Colby, Pan Massachusetts Challenge 2013!

Tina and Colby, Pan Massachusetts Challenge 2013!

Have a dollar to spare? Hate cancer more than potato salad? Then donate to our ride! Any amount will do! We’ll ride, you donate. Together we’ll kick cancer’s ass!  🙂  Many heartfelt thanks in advance!

To donate to Colby’s Ride: http://www2.pmc.org/profile/NB0049

To donate to Tina’s Ride:  http://www2.pmc.org/profile/TC0204

Top 10 Best Moments Riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge

Ready? Ok. Without further ado I present to you the Top 10 Best Moments riding in this year’s Pan Massachusetts Challenge! {Cue drumroll.}

10. Rise and Shine. Waking up in the ‘Bates Motel’ with your best friend, giddy with anticipation, kitting up, and dashing off to meet the shuttle bus to the start. There is nothing like the excitement that surrounds PMC Weekend, a 2-day, 193 mile cancer fighting odyssey across the great state of Massachusetts. Coffee. Bagel. Bike. LET’S DO THIS!

A Sea of Humanity.

A Sea of Humanity.

9. The Start. The Start is something. Truly. Thousands of bikes. Thousands of people. Thousands of reasons to feel like you’re a part of something epic. Such palpable energy. To my left, a rider with one leg mounts his bike, adjusts his helmet and pedals away, smiling. He is Living Proof of why I ride. The tears begin…

And they're off!  PMC2013 is rolling.  A beautiful sea of cyclists, united.

And they’re off! PMC2013 is rolling. A beautiful sea of cyclists, united.

8. Cherry Street. (Which should be named Cheery Street!, complete with the exclamation point.) The entire street is flooded with people. Some in costumes. Some with cowbells. All with huge, open warm hearts, waving signs and clapping. CHERRY STREET LOVES THE PMC! Ribbons on every tree. Bands around every bend. Cherry Street is like no other. And what do you hear? THANK YOU. Thank you for riding. Over and over and over….

Welcome to Cheery Street!  The happiest street on earth!

Welcome to Cheery Street! The happiest street on earth!

Amazing.

Amazing.

7. The Volunteers! The PMC would be nothing without the (seemingly) millions of happy, wonderful volunteers who feed you and help keep you safe. You can’t turn around at a rest stop without bumping into a smiling volunteer, purple Gatorade jug in one hand, peanut butter fluff sangy’s in the other asking you if you need anything. I have said it each of the 9 years I have ridden in the PMC, it is tougher to volunteer than it is to ride. There. I said it again. And I mean it. These people are happy little angels. With Sports Beans.

All lined up and ready to feed you!

All lined up and ready to feed you!

6. The Route. 2 days. 110 miles the first and roughly 83 the second. All well marked, well supported and littered with cheering supporters. Permanent PMC street signs along the whole, rolling, winding, beautiful ride. The towns you ride through along the way couldn’t be nicer or more supportive. They come together beautifully. Like we all should. And not just during PMC weekend.

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5. The Stories. Every rider has a story. And every rider rides for a reason. Ride along and within about a mile, you’ll meet someone alongside you who asks you the most asked question of the weekend: Why are you riding? Your mother. Your daughter. Yourself. This year I heard all three. We wear our stories on our backs, on our bikes and in our hearts. Each story so very personal. Each rider so open to talk. It’s cathartic. To remember. To mourn. To celebrate. To put a face on this insidious disease. Cancer has faces. Lots of them, sadly. It’s not just about the disease itself. It’s about people. People connecting with other people. We become stronger, together with every pedal stroke. Our stories unite us.

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Me. And why I am riding. I dedicated this year’s PMC to my friend and colleague Bret Perry, Superman.

Who I am riding for...

Who I am riding for…

4. The Lunch Stop. Lining the road en route to the lunch stop are photos. Many. Many photos. They’re all of children who are currently fighting cancer at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. These little super heroes are Pedal Partners, many of whom will be at the Lunch Stop to meet up with their Teams who are riding in support of their fight. These little kids are amazing. And I completely fall apart every time I ride into lunch and see their strong, brave, smiling faces. I pedal harder. I become more committed to this cause. All because of them.

Pedal Partners. The strongest, bravest kids on earth.

Pedal Partners. The strongest, bravest kids on earth.

3. Mass Maritime Academy. 110 miles. Day 1 Complete! BRING ON THE BEER! Sit. Chill. Drink and Laugh with friends. Park that bike, grab a Harpoon IPA, and head off to the showers! Off to the Ship I go! And by ship I mean SHIP. Like 3 bunks on top of each other. Like “ALL ABOARD!” Like a huge ship with REAL sailors and shit. It’s something. It’s also where I met my friend Stirling. We were bunkmates. We met 3 years ago while she was battling osteosarcoma. And she rode. While undergoing chemo. Under ‘Fighter’ in the dictionary should be her photo. I’ve never met anyone like her. I liked her immediately. She had this light. This ability to just completely light up a room. That might sound trite, but it’s the truth. Although I didn’t know Stirling long, I didn’t have to. The impact she had on me will stay with me. Forever. Stirling lost her battle with osteosarcoma one week before last year’s PMC. As then, the tears roll down my face as I sit here blogging. I will always ride in her honor. This year I rode in her team kit. It was an honor and a pleasure. I forever will be STIRLINGSTRONG.

Stirling.

My bunkmate, Stirling.

2. Fundraising. Weird that raising the required fundraising minimum is a “best moment” huh? 100% of all donations go directly to the Jimmy Fund at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Since 2007, every dollar raised by PMC cyclists goes straight to the Jimmy Fund. In total? $375 million dollars has been raised by PMC cyclists since 1980. (Wowzah!) PMC seed money allows clinicians and scientists to pursue innovative cancer research and make a difference in the cancer treatment landscape. (Lemme tell ya, as a research scientist, finding funding ain’t easy. Period.) Fundraising itself is NOT easy either. But you wind up figuring it out. Believe me. Commit. And you’ll figure it out. And along the way you will encounter generous, kind, giving, selfless individuals to support you. Kindness. Generosity. Selflessness. Those three words are synonymous with the PMC. They make my whole heart smile.

Living Proof.

Living Proof.

And the BEST MOMENT of riding in this year’s PMC???? This.

I proudly present to you THE NUMBER ONE BEST MOMENT RIDING IN THIS YEAR’S PAN MASSACHUSETTS CHALLENGE:

Photo credits: http://www.pmc.org