Since I am still waiting to get my pro pics back, I figured now would be a great time for me to do my “Secret Life of Bees” post and share some insight into what makes me uniquely myself.
1. I ride horses!
I grew up riding horses from the time I was five or six until I was 16, finally stopping because the level I reached made it a very, very expensive hobby and my parents weren’t millionaires. A little over a year ago I decided to get back into it and it has been so amazing.
Mrs. Bicycle riding Meant to Be / Photo by All Seasons Photography
Riding is the thing in life I am most passionate about, and if I am not at work you can usually find me at the barn. I currently ride in hunter classes (judged, collected, etc.), but I am starting to transition to jumper (timed, fast, fun!). (For an explanation of the difference between hunter and jumper, try this.) Riding was such a great release for me during the wedding-planning process. I could go to the barn, hop on a horse, and forget about centerpieces and invitations and RSVPs (or lack thereof). I am fortunate to ride at a great barn with a fabulous group of people.
2. I am terrified of manatees.
Yes, I am actually afraid of manatees. Growing up in Connecticut, I didn’t know a lot (anything?) about manatees. When I moved to Florida and started doing triathlons I swam a lot in the manatee-infested waters of the Indian River Lagoon, where nearly a third of the nation’s manatee population either lives or migrates through. Getting into a river with a bunch of creatures I don’t understand freaked me out.
Want to know the worst part? I am afraid that if I swim into one my arm will go through it like it hit a cake. I know, this makes no sense at all! To be honest, I think it was easy for me to find a silly thing to focus on instead of being nervous about the actual predators that live in the water. I have since moved away from that area, and my open water swims don’t have as high a manatee risk, but I am always on the lookout!
A sign left for me in my work bathroom / Personal photo
3. My cat is potty trained.
Tchoupitoulas, my lovely cat, uses the big girl potty. Mr. Bicycle’s brother’s fiancee potty trained her cat and it inspired me to give it a try. I ordered a training system, Citi Kitty, after reading a lot of mixed reviews. (It takes a special kind of cat!)
Image via Citi Kitty
The entire process took about two months and it was pretty much pain free for us. Tchoup has had a total of three (maybe four?) accidents since training was complete in February. We can even leave her alone for a few nights without any problems. We did have our neighbors come over to flush the toilet and feed her while we were on our honeymoon. That wasn’t at all awkward to ask…
This isn’t for every cat, but I cannot recommend it enough if you’re up to it. Game changer!
Poor Tchouppy is probably embarrassed now. / Personal photo
4. I am an endurance athlete.
I have mentioned my triathlon and marathon training a bit in the past, but I thought I’d go a bit more in depth here. First of all, meet Mrs. Bicycle’s bicycle:
I ride a Quintana Roo Chicqilo. It is a triathlon/time trial bike, which means it has different handlebars than a regular road bike. It is also a bit more lightweight than a road bike. Because I have been dedicating so much time to horseback riding lately, my bike hasn’t gotten as much use as I would like. Maybe I will go out for a nice long ride this weekend! Some of the major races I’ve done include:
- New York City Olympic Distance Triathlon (0.9 mile swim, 26 mile bike, 6.2 mile run) – swim in the Hudson River (fun!)
- Nation’s Triathlon in Washington, DC – swim in the Potomac River
- Goofy Challenge at the Disney Marathon – run the half marathon (13.1 miles) on Saturday and the full marathon (26.2 miles) on Sunday
- Augusta Half Ironman – 1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run
Mr. Bicycle and I are currently training for the Rock N Roll New Orleans Marathon on February 2. If you’ll be there, let me know! This will be his second full marathon, the first being when we ran the Chicago Marathon two years ago.
I first started training as a way to keep me busy during the slow summer months at work. I signed up for Team In Training, which helps you train for an endurance event while raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I did three different races with TNT, raising close to $15,000. If you’re interested in getting into endurance events I recommend looking up your local TNT chapter—it is a great place to start! I also ran the Chicago Marathon while raising money for the American Brain Tumor Association because…
5. I have a brain tumor.
It is a “best case scenario” brain tumor, as I like to call it, so no worries! I have a meningioma on my left frontal lobe, which is the same type of brain tumor that Sheryl Crow has. It was discovered through an MRI after I had some numbness in my right forearm. Most meningiomas are benign and the risks of a craniotomy aren’t really worth the potential reward, so until I start having serious symptoms or until it grows significantly, annual MRIs are a sufficient course of treatment.
Researching brain tumors and seeing how devastating they can be was heartbreaking. I am fortunate that I have the best possible kind of tumor and even more fortunate that I have good health insurance. So many others struggle to find the means to pay for treatment, if any treatment at all is available. This is why I wanted to raise money for the American Brain Tumor Association—to give something to those who are facing far worse circumstances than I. I say all this to encourage everyone to do what they can to help those around them—every little bit helps!
Yes, those are running brains with tumors on my shirt. / Personal photo
5. New Orleans changed me.
Going to college in New Orleans changed me in ways I am sure I still do not understand. The city, the people, the music, the food…it all just becomes you when you live there. Author Chris Rose summed it up pretty well after Hurricane Katrina: “Dear America, I suppose we should introduce ourselves: We’re South Louisiana. You probably already know that we talk funny and listen to strange music and eat things you’d probably hire an exterminator to get out of your yard. We dance even if there’s no radio. We drink at funerals. We talk too much and laugh too loud and live too large and, frankly, we’re suspicious of others who don’t.”
One night I was fortunate to partake in a project called Dear New Orleans. Basically a photographer takes pictures of people (mostly celebrities) with inspirational messages on their hands and arms. I was out to dinner with a friend while I was in town for the weekend when she asked if I wanted to go with her to a Dear New Orleans fundraiser where we could get our own portraits done. This is, quite possibly, my favorite picture ever taken.
Newcomb College at Tulane University ring to the left, fleur de lis ring to the right
“I love who you make me.” Yep, that pretty much sums it up. New Orleans changed who I am, and for that I will be forever grateful.
OK, I think that is enough for me! You now have a very clear picture of the life of Mrs. Bicycle. Horseback rider and New Orleans misser by day, manatee nightmare victim at night. Please feel free to share the secret life of you!