Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy Birthday, Amy!

On my 40th birthday, I plan on doing something amazing - something like zorbing in New Zealand or flirting with hot Aussie guys on the beaches of Australia. On my sister Amy's 40th birthday, she is doing something amazing, too. She is fighting cancer, dealing with chemotherapy and doing it all with a positive attitude! Happy Birthday Amy!!

Before the chemo started, Amy cut her hair short in hopes that when it started falling out, it wouldn't be quite so icky.

Despite the short-haired efforts, hair-loss was still pretty icky... especially when her son, while at a birthday party at California Pizza Kitchen, grabbed a clump of it right off her head to show off to the people at the party! After that, she gave in and asked Anne to shave her head. She debutted the cancer-chic look at the Twilight Town Trek.

And here is the best reason for her fight...2 lovely children who love their mama!

To keep you all in the loop as to how she's coping, I am copying in her latest email update. She's due for another one soon since this one is already 3 weeks old (hint, hint Amy!).

Well, hello to all.... Since my 3rd round of chemo was on Thursday July 1st and it is now July 7th, I bet you can figure out I didn't have the greatest reaction with my latest chemotherapy. The nausea is still an everyday battle-the patch I wear on my arm is helping, but it's worse than morning sickness, and now the fatigue has set in. My normal fast paced walk is now just a slow crawl- I actually had to have Aden hold my hand to keep my pace up while at the mall looking for big girl beds for Cerys!

For 4 days I slept probably 18 hours a day- which to many of you hard working people sounds like heaven- but for me, it caused my back to slip out and now I can't walk standing straight up! So I'm BALD, BENT over at the waist and shuffling my feet to walk- I look like a 90 year old man!!! I've been to the chiropractor (keep adding up those medical bills!) the past 3 days in a row, but the back is in alignment. Now i'm just dealing with muscle spasms from being in bed so much....gee, the days that I dreamed of staying in bed for the whole day are no longer - I miss being me.

I did take my kids to the pool- because they were really wanting mommy time (Cerys) and Aden wanted to play with the boys. Even though I kept my bald head covered and was sitting in the full shade with only my legs in the water, I had some British man come up to me and ask me about my cancer treatment, and why with my port and the patch, was I not covered up due to the hypersensitivity issues of the chemotherapy? He also asked me if the man playing with Aden and the other boys was my husband (i wonder now if he was hitting on me-naahhh) which it wasn't, Lane was working. I wanted to tell him to mind his own business, but instead I told him sometimes I have to be a mom first and put the cancer treatments on the back burner.

I only have one more treatment of the nauseous cocktail of cytoxin and adrinomy (spelling is now gone)....that will be on the 17th. On the 29th, I"ll start the taxol chemo treatment of which the side effects include muscle and bone pain, neuropathy (numbness) of fingers and toes and metal like tastes/food. I just hope the nausea really does subside....

Hope you all had fun on the 4th of July- our kids really liked setting off fireworks with Lane and hanging out with the grandparents. I was just so thankful for their help and some awesome Omaha steakburgers from the Hawkins and Mabb families!!! You guys rock!

I am starting to wear my wig a little more- just realized I don't have a picture of me in it yet- I'll add that next time! Love you all- sorry to bitch and moan about me- so please email or call and inform me and distract me with fun things (or even bad things) from your lives to keep me sane!

love again- amy

Keep fighting, Amy. We all love you!! And happy birthday!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

St. Louis Twilight Town Treks

When Christy and I first talked about doing an urban adventure race gig, it was a given that we'd bring the race to St. Louis. My sister, Amy, lives in St. Louis. For a few years I've been telling her that we should do one of the races together. She was interested...but none of the races go to St. Louis! Wtf? So, MY race definitely would! did!

From the very start of Twilight Town Treks, St. Louis was hoppin'. The minute I put our website up, we were getting hits from St. Louis. The only marketing we did was to post the race on various race calendars in our markets. Immediately, St. Louis made up 1/2 of our total webhits every day. We had teams register there before any teams registered here in Phoenix! And we KNOW people in Phoenix!! It was crazy.

I expected St. Louis would be great, and I was not at all surprised that the race was SO SUPER FUN!!

We had 38 teams register and 7 teams sign up at the event - a perfect amount of teams! The weather was really, really hot and really, really humid. There was a thunderstorm threatening at 5:30 when registration started. Luckily, it blew over and the weather behaved for the duration of the race. I was worried about my volunteers being out there in the rain all night. Rain is fun for racers, but not so much for people who have to stand out in it for 4 hours!

Let's talk about the race volunteers. Do these people look familiar to you? Yep, pretty much my whole family came to St. Louis to help! Pat flew in the day after we got there. Anne and my parents drove down from Springfield and Amy, of course, lives there. It was like a slumber party at her house that night! How cute does Amy look with her newly bald head? What a trooper she is...she had chemo on Thursday and on Saturday night she's staffing a checkpoint on my race for me. My family rocks!

And some more sisters:
Yes, I was in a sorority and these are my sorority sisters. The girl on the left is my college roommate, Jill. The girl on the right is Kristen, a friend of Jill's and a DG who came around after I slacked out of the sorority. Luckily Jill forgave me for being a DG flake and we've remained friends for 15 years! These girls are awesome!

More great friends:
There is Christy...and who's that in the background? It's our friend, Wayne, who flew in from Phoenix to take a mini-vacation and help us with the race. So nice!

I am so lucky to have such great friends and family. Without them I know that the St. Louis race would not have been the HUGE success it was. And, a HUGE success it was!! All the racers were enthusiastic about being there. They all had a ton of fun on the race, despite the 95 degree, 95 percent humidity that night. It was so hot and sweaty that at the puzzle challenge, we actually had to pull one of the puzzles out of use because the pieces were so soggy from people's sweat that they were losing their shape. Ew. :)

Pat keeping the sweaty puzzlers in line:
The Animal Protective Association was our charity recipient for the race and working with them was just as awesome as everything else in St. Louis. They were so eager to be a part of everything. They scoped out their location, they brought out their tent (but were asked to take it down by the park people), they even tried to bring their RV out for a better visual, but the parking was too difficult. I love them! The dogs they brought were Cooper and Lula. Lula is the black one. They were both sweet but Lula stole my heart. She did eventually get adopted, but sadly not by one of my racers. Last I checked Cooper was still waiting for a home (breaks my heart!!).

After the race, most of the racers stuck around the bar all night, talking about the race and making friends. It was incredible how good the mood was! Almost all of the teams told us how much fun they had and promised they'd be back next year. The facebook postings from the racers that night and the next day were all positive. One of my favorites: "This ranks up there as the funnest thing we have done as a couple." Some teams were even talking about road-tripping to Las Vegas to do our race there. I would love that! These people were so much fun! I can't wait to go back there again next year.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Harry Potter's Sister

This was me at the beginning of May. A regular Muggle girl.
Then out of nowhere a huge wizarding battle erupted! Lord Voldemort tried to kill me and my brother Harry but the love of our mum protected us and all we were left with was cuts on our foreheads that promised to leave a scar. The scars turn red and hurt really bad when Lord Voldemort is near.

I think he is near:

Ok, I'm not really Harry Potter's sister.

I got hit with a soccer ball. Again. I get hit in the face A LOT at soccer. I have very slow reflexes and thus I never get out of the way in time. There was this incident and there was this incident, too:
This most recent hit was pretty fluky. The guy that kicked it didn't even kick it that hard. I wasn't even really defending him. He was making a lazy pass over my head while I was walking over to the bench to get a drink of water. The game was a forfeit and the score was a zillion to a very few, so no one was playing hard. He tries to pass the ball over my head and since I'm so freakishly tall, he missed and hit my face instead. The ball hit the part of my glasses where they rest on my nose. The ball took my glasses up my face and they effectively worked like a very dull razor (you know those crappy little pink ones we learned to shave our legs with back in the early 80's??) and took all the skin off my forehead.

It hurt like mad.

Jose the ref told me I was bleeding, which didn't surprise me cuz it hurt like mad. But I thought I just got a little cut from the ball. Then Christy said it looked pretty gross. I still thought it was just a little cut. Then I went to put my thankfully-not-broken glasses back on and saw a huge and disgusting piece of skin and good stuck to the lenses. Ew. Really...EWWWW. Yeah...that's gonna leave a scar.

I was really cute for the next week with my big ol' face band-aid. I particularly enjoyed going to work where everyone pretended that they didn't notice the big ol' face band-aid.

Through the magic of Mederma, the scar is going...going...(one month later):

almost gone! (two months later):

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Twilight Town Trek Takes Time

TTTTT....I like alliteration. you know, I don't blog as frequently as I used to. The main reason for this is my new side business, Twilight Town Treks ( Christy and I enjoy doing urban adventure races so much that we decided to produce our own races. Well, it was Christy's idea and she kept asking and asking and asking, so I finally gave in...and Twilight Town Treks was born. (Thanks to Tom for the fun alliterative name. I like alliteration.)

It seems that any time I am at the computer, I am doing TTT work - researching cities, mapping the races, researching event calendars to post the races, working on the website, checking website traffic stats, drafting emails for the racers, tracking expenses, researching/buying flights, marketing the races, compiling results, making clues and mostly...checking the company email to see if any new teams have registered. Okay, I admit I do that last one about 75 times a day (not an exaggeration). And all of that is why I'm not blogging so much.

Ok, just took a break to see if any new Scottsdale or Indianapolis teams registered. They haven't. :( I guess people are out doing other fun things on their 4th of July weekend.

The first race was in Phoenix on May 15. We had 130 teams participate - which is amazing since we are new to the game and since Phoenix is a pretty saturated market for this type of race (Great Urban Race, Urban Dare, CitySolve and Scavenger Dash all come thru Phoenix). I will admit that part (ok, most) of our success was due to Groupon. Groupon is an online community coupon that people get 1/2 price off restaurants, services, stuff and events. Our Groupon sold 89 - which was super! The downfall is that to start we offered the race at 1/2 price, then Groupon takes 1/2 of that! Yikes. With the cost of t-shirts and insurance, plus the amount per team that we committed to donating to the Arizona Humane Society, those 89 teams came at a loss to us.

Plus, when you have so many teams, you need lots and lots of volunteers to make the race go smoothly. Thank goodness we have lots and lots of the greatest friends ever! We managed to find 25 people willing to give up their Saturday night to help us. Seriously - the most wonderful friends EVER! Thank you!!

It took us quite a few trips to set the course. We thought we could do it in one night, but we had to go back another night for more. We came up with about 30 destinations and ideas, but we couldn't use them all - such as this centurion:
After we cut out all the extra destinations and narrowed it down to a race we thought could be done in a reasonable amount of time, we made Pat and Little Tom do a test run. (Thank you!!)
Doing the Criss-Cross Relay:

As I mentioned, part of every team's registration fee goes to the Arizona Humane Society. We also had the AHS onsite at one of the checkpoints. They sent us two volunteers with their AHS-adopted dogs. The teams had to find the checkpoint and get their picture taken with one of the dogs. The goal of this was to show people how great shelter dogs are. And, guess what?! Mia was one of the dogs!!The race went really well! There were a few glitches - the line for the teams to complete puzzles was crazy-long, for example. I definitely underestimated how much time it takes to put together a 45 piece puzzle. I was using mine/Christy's puzzle time as a guideline. I should have averaged our time with Pat's time... it took him longer to put together the puzzle than it did for me to take a shower. 25 piece puzzles would have worked better. Another issue, despite the multiple clue tests we did, there was some drama over the wording and misinterpretation of one of the clues. Bummer. We are determined to not make that mistake again! :)

I got to use a megaphone. Bossy people shouldn't be given megaphones!

This team won the costume contests as Little Old Ladies. They were so cute! She even ran that whole race with that shawl on, and it was pretty hot!!
Overall, most of the teams had a really good time. We got lots of compliments. We were very pleased with our first effort!

Just took another break to see if we have any new registrants. Still no. :(