Wednesday, July 30, 2008

A moment to thank my sponsor...

Sunday, July 27, 2008

World Champion x 3!

Rolling against Taylor in semi finals at LWC

Yep, I’m even having trouble believing it. Just over a week ago I was on crutches crying into my Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. And today I just won the 2008 Log Rolling AND Boom Running World Titles in Hayward. How did it happen? I have no freaking clue. Well, yes I do. I had the greatest support system anybody could ask for, and I never lost my positive attitude. This past weekend was of course memorable because of the wins, but even more memorable because of the friends. Damn I’m lucky.

I’m exhausted, so I will keep this really short (I know… THANK GOD, right?).

Thursday night: Coops Pizza with the gang. We were all too sleepy to even carry on a normal conversation.

Friday: Day 1 of competition. I had a fun match with Jenny Cobb and fell in on my first boom run time trial. I blamed my knee, but honestly, it was my head. That night we saw BATMAN! Great movie!

Saturday: Day 2 of competition. Didn’t have to do anything until the night show, so I did laundry at Taylor’s house and played with her wiener dogs. Yay wiener dogs! Tay and I then watched the choppers do their thing. In the evening show I had two great matches against Abby Hoeschler and Taylor Duffy. I won them both to make finals in log rolling. I had a much better boom run time trial which squeaked me into finals for the boom. That night we had a GREAT dinner at Famous Dave’s then went to the competitor party at Old Hayward. Olivia looked hot, Stirling caused trouble (you are SO DEAD next time I see you), and Taylor chased boys.

Sunday: Thanks to nerves there was not much sleep the night before. My legs were sore as hell. Thank god for Nathan’s foam roller. I ran my butt off in the boom run finals and miraculously won my first boom run world title. Yes, I know, my amazing doctor told me I wasn’t allowed to boom run. Wow am I ever glad I didn’t listen to him. Recovered my legs for a great log rolling match with Jenny Atkinson. We got down to the #4 log and I won 3-1. I ended up taking third in the overall lumber jill competition, which log rollers rarely place in! I am still in complete shock. We said our good-byes (this is the toughest part of the summer) and Olivia and I reflected on the amazing weekend during our long drive home.

Thank yous to: -All of my dear lumberjack friends. I cannot imagine life without you guys. Next summer cannot come soon enough.
-Duluth Trading Company. I am proud to represent such a wonderful company. And without your help, many of the contests I did this summer wouldn’t have been financially possible!
-Olivia, for being my 24/7 support system and putting up with my insanity. -All of the volunteers and staff at LWC.
-Erin, for being forced to listen to all of my dumb stories over the phone after the weekend was over. Thanks for acting interested!

Sorry this was so choppy, I am truly exhausted. I am also suffering from what Jason calls P.E.D (post epic depression). Once again, back to reality.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Another Setback

This entry will be the reverse of the last… good news first.

Here is a summary because I know these things can get long to read:
Good times at Camp Savage. Cathy Savage is amazing. Hire her.
ACL is torn. Surgery will happen this fall. No fitness contests in 2008, but I will be allowed to log roll at the Lumberjack World Championships this weekend.

Little Kathy, Me, Lisa, and Amber in our heels and ready to walk!

Last weekend Amber, Lisa, and I attended Camp Savage Chicago. I was technically a coach, but I think I played more than I coached. I’ve said this before, but I will say it again. Cathy, Paula, and their crew are the most positive, uplifting people you will ever meet. I don’t care if they said the world was going to end tomorrow… you would still leave the room excited and feeling good about yourself. Luckily, they really know their stuff on top of being so energetic and uplifting… perfect combination. I’ve always had a philosophy about sports and fitness contests, which matches perfectly with Cathy’s: have fun, be healthy, no supplements, and ABSOLUTLY no steroids. I see too many fitness and figure athletes who put themselves through hell and don’t have any fun with the process. What on earth is the point? During my last round of competitions, somebody asked me the question, “Why do you do these?” And for the longest time, I didn’t have an answer. I don’t get paid any money, I don’t get much magazine coverage, I pay an arm and a leg for travel, costumes, suits, etc., and the dieting and training can be excruciating. Last weekend I solidified my answer. Fitness contests are about the girlfriends we meet and train with and the feeling of accomplishment and health after all of that hard work. I am also a HUGE ham, and love to perform for a crowd. I am a firm believer in surrounding yourself with the type of people you strive to be, and Cathy and her staff are exactly that. I am honored to be a Savage Ambassador and coach.

Last weekend all of us girls got really pumped about the upcoming fall season. I had the perfect plan: Fitness America Midwest October 11th, Fitness America New York October 25th, Women’s Tri Fitness Fall Classic in Tampa November 15th, and ending with Fitness America Nationals in Las Vegas on November 22nd. Everything was all set. I feel great; have an amazing routine, a beautiful new suit, and the motivation to train my ass off.
This morning I went to see my fantastic surgeon Dr. Graf to get fitted for a brace to wear at the Lumberjack World Championships this weekend. Then he dropped the bombshell… my ACL actually IS torn. Long story short, 4 years ago I MOSTLY tore my ACL, thus no matter what happened, my MRI would show no ACL. As far as I understand, because there wasn’t much left of the ACL, the final tear did not show up as acute damage on the MRI, making the other docs and radiologist assume there was no new damage. When Dr. Graf felt how lose my knee was, he knew it was gone. Time for surgery. Luckily because of the lack of swelling and pain (and because he probably knew I would do it anyway) I got permission to roll at the Lumberjack World Championships. This makes everything not-so-horrible. I plan to get surgery early fall so that I can get ready for 2009 as soon as possible!

Again, thank you everybody for your kind words. I have the most amazing friends and family.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

It was only a Nightmare

The rest of my weekend in Vegas was quite awful. I couldn’t stop crying for the life of me. I mean, my god, it was just a knee, but when you work so hard for something (or in this case, many things) it is such a blow to lose it all so quickly. On top of that I was completely alone out there. A combination of the above was the perfect recipe for self pity alone in the hotel room.

When I got to the routine round on Saturday morning, I was told that fellow competitor Brandy Goddard also tore her knee on the obstacle course. At first I was happy to have a “buddy” but once I came to my senses, was devastated by the fact that at least three of us suffered season ending injuries in one stupid evening. Brandy was great to sit with. We felt each other’s pain watching the other girls do their routines. We both knew we would have rocked that stage.

My flight out on Sunday was nothing short of a disaster. I’ll keep this short, but basically the person who was supposed to push my wheelchair left me stranded at the airport parking lot and I missed my flight by less than a minute. When I was told I would have to spend the day in the airport and wouldn’t get back to Milwaukee until 1am, I completely lost it. The faucets turned on and wouldn’t slow down. The poor lady behind the counter didn’t know whether to cry with me or call security! They were finally able to get me on a flight to Chicago after only three hours of waiting. Whew. I made it into Chicago, got a ride back to my car in Milwaukee (more about that later) and got home by 11pm. I once again cried myself to sleep thinking about what I would do with the rest of this year and a bit upset that the majority of the things I strive for are physical. And now, we end the sad part of my story.

I got in to see the doc right away, and after the obligatory pulling and tugging, she said my knee felt fairly solid. I was also encouraged by the fact that I had virtually no pain or swelling, just some unsteadiness and stiffness. They got me in for an MRI quite fast and today I got the amazing news that although still mostly torn from 4 years ago, I have no new damage to my ACL. NO SURGERY! There was a bit of damage to my MCL, and I have a sexy cyst on the back of my knee from the trauma. But despite all of this, my doc thinks I can still log roll this summer! I see the best orthopedic doctor in the world, Dr. Graf, on Monday to get fitted for a brace and for the final word on this summer’s log rolling. I tossed away my crutches (literally) and started rehab. I even stepped on a log for a bit! I know, I know, take it easy. But I only have one week to learn how to log roll again before the world championships!

Now for all of the silver linings: my friends. The moment I went to the ER my phone started ringing. I was alone, but my dear friends made sure I didn’t feel that way. My phone literally rang all night long, which was wonderful. After the last blog I posted, the e-mails, texts, and calls kept coming. I had no idea so many people cared so much. The girls in the Tri Fitness competition were also amazing. It was so similar to Fitness America a few years back… everybody shared their injury and recovery stories. Absolutely inspiring. During routines they sat with me, laughed with me, and cried with me. Thank you girls… especially Brandy and Allison. You guys are remarkable. I did get a chance for a fun experience out in Vegas during all of the hoopla. My new friends Erik and Tracey invited me to watch Erik perform as a king in the Excalibur show “Tournament of Kings”. It was like Medieval Times on steroids! Totally marvelous! I have so much respect for those actors. After the show, Tracey and I went to my all time favorite place to eat: the Rio Seafood Buffet. My two favorite words: seafood and buffet. It was worth every penny. Thanks for a wonderful evening guys.

After my flight insanity my dear friend Kurt volunteered to pick me up at O’Hare and drive me to Milwaukee. Wow did I really need that. We acted like complete idiots (as we usually do) the entire drive while stopping for a yummy dinner and ice cream. We even managed to meet up with my best friend Erin in Milwaukee on our way back to my car! I was only reminded of my injury a few times during that afternoon. The rest of the time was spent laughing with good friends.

I’m not in the clear yet, but I sure do feel much better. I will do whatever I can to get on a log in Hayward next week, no matter how pathetic it may be. Tonight I am going to sleep with a smile on my face knowing how incredible my support system is. Thanks everybody.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Is This a Nightmare?

It’s 2am in Las Vegas. No, I wasn’t out partying all night; I just got back from the ER. I’m out here competing at the Women’s Tri Fitness competition, which was supposed to be a “fun event” between log rolling tournaments. On the obstacle course I had a bad landing and finished off my ACL. Reminiscent of my Fitness America Competition a few years back, I went to the ER. Let me tell you… the ER in Vegas on a Friday night is a scary place. After a short four hour wait, I got my familiar leg brace and crutches.

Now I’m sitting in my hotel room drowning my sorrows in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s. I had the GREATEST fitness routine that I was so excited to compete with this Summer and Fall season. I’ve been log rolling and boom running better than ever before this summer. Now it’s all over. This is the most important time of year for me, and now I get to sit on my ass. I don’t think even Ben and Jerry can help this awful feeling…

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Driving, Driving, and More Driving Through Canada

JR kicking my butt in Longview

The contest in Longview, WA was quite wonderful. It was my first experience at a “You are ONLY a log roller? You don’t chop ANYTHING?” type of contest. I held my own against many of the guys (this was a coed contest) and placed highest out of the ladies. Of course JR and Brian once again had the pleasure of knocking me on my ass. Thanks boys. The highlight of the day was seeing my dear friend Kristy again. Poor thing is marrying a lumberjack, Wade Stewart, in just a few weeks. Good thing Wade is cute. :)
With my girl Kristy in Longview

After competition (not even a shower!) we hopped in the car for our 12 hour drive to Slocan, British Columbia. I was crammed in the back seat along side everybody’s crap. Thank god JR and Darren are fun; although there were many times I was ready to wring JR’s neck. The boys only let me drive for about two hours… apparently I am a bit scary to ride with in the mountains. :)
In the middle of the night we finally found a small Wild West town (no joke, it was a themed town) with some motels. No Vacancy. Awesome. We pulled into a parking lot and tried to sleep in the car. After getting “comfortable” the town police officer found us and asked if we heard any gun shots. Apparently one of the local crazies was shooting right in the area we were sleeping. That made our evening just that much more restful.

The next morning we awoke bright and early to drive to the boarder, only to be told the boarder didn’t open until 8am. Damn Canadians. Thus we arrived in Slocan an hour late. We put our stinky selves in the glacial ice water pond and caused quite the scene.

Bathing Travelers

After the 15 hours in the car, they drew brackets and I was seated to roll JR right away. I wasn’t too worried because usually brackets are double elimination. Not in Canada. Damn Canadians. This was yet another “you seriously ONLY log roll??!!” contest, so when I asked to have double elimination brackets because I was only doing one event, I was simply told, “You should learn to chop.” Keep in mind this came only a few weeks after a well known chopper (who will remain nameless) told me, “Women shouldn’t chop.” Make up your minds you fools!!! Due to our short time on the log at this contest, Maggie and I entered the choker race. I might be fast, but when it comes to figuring out the damn choker (which really shouldn’t be that complicated) I suck. I achieved my first (and hopefully only) last place finish of the summer. Best part of Slocan? The amazing lake. There was a real log jam and boom by the mill… I felt like a true lumberjack! Nobody there could believe we actually have kids in swimsuits log rolling at local YMCAs. These folks just cut our logs off the mountain the day before!
Maggie and I making fools of ourselves in the choker race

JR and I had a long drive down to Spokane that evening and I put up the money for a nice hotel due to the fact that I was tired, sore, smelly, and crabby. A nice flight home the next day and back to reality.

I now have two days to get ready for the Women’s Tri Fitness competition in Las Vegas this weekend. Whew… it never ends!

To see all of the pictures from the Canada adventure click here.

Sunday, July 06, 2008


Rolling Stirling Hart on beautiful Grouse Mountain

Ever have one of those weeks you never want to end? I am in absolute heaven. The day on Grouse Mountain was one of the best I’ve had in a long time. A day of log rolling, good friends, sunshine, and a beautiful mountain… great memories were made. Of course all of the guys kicked my butt log rolling (it was a coed competition) but thanks to a great win by JR, team America took the title on Canada Day. :) After the contest Brian and I had a great run to the peak (talk about burning lungs!) then we slid down the snowy mountainside in our running shoes. I was sun burnt (opps) and playing in the snow… too much fun!

That night Jody, the producer of the Grouse Mountain show, hosted a killer party for the lumberjacks at his beautiful house. The evening was filled with great conversation, singing around the campfire, a mean steak on the grill, and some hot tubbing. I crashed early, but from what I hear those guys got pretty crazy later on. Drunk lumberjacks getting crazy? Unheard of.

Once we got the hung-over birthday boy (JR) up and ready (by around noon) I dropped him off at Grouse and headed over to watch Jason cross the finish line on stage 5 of the BC Bike Race. I had to hop a ferry over to their finish line and while on the ferry got a call that he had already finished. Good news for him, but I was bummed I missed it! I basically turned around on the same ferry with the cyclists and got to hear exciting stories of crashes, cramping, and downhill giggling. We then had a beautiful drive on the Sea to Sky highway to Squamish. I got to observe first hand the craziness of a bike race as large as this one. Hunting for the right bag out of hundreds of identical ones, the sprint for a perfect tent, sorting through piles of sweaty jerseys, and selecting the perfect amount of gels and bars were all part of the insanity. Luckily I had a car and was able to wisk (steal) Jason away from his friends. My fitness diet took a back seat for an evening and we had an incredible dinner with an even better view. We then went to visit world champion 24 hour cyclist Chris Eatough and joined him and the Trek gang for some crazy waterslide action. Yes folks, I got to play on a waterslide with some of the hottest and best mountain bikers in the world. Life is good. Early to bed so the boys could continue their insanity early the next morning.

Jason getting ready to kick some ass in Squamish

Cycling folks are all absolutely amazing. Everybody at the bike race was so kind and welcoming to me, and even though I had no clue what was going on, they took me in and made me feel like part of the gang. After the race started, I went with a group of them up into the mountain to watch the guys pass at several different points. This also involved a lot of hiking with the most incredible views. In fact, the last time I saw anything this beautiful was when I hiked in Canada 12 years ago. It was great finally getting to see Jason do his thing, and really hold his own among the world’s top mountain bikers. BUT once again I was lollygagging and missed his cross at the finish line. This once again is a good thing because it means he had a killer time, but I was still extreamly disappointed to miss it. Guess I’ll have to go to another race…

After good byes, I drove back to Vancouver to meet up with my lumberjack folk. God I love these guys. We’ve only been on the road to Washington for a few hours, and I’ve already laughed to the point of needing the restroom about five times. Tomorrow we compete in Longview. Against the guys again, so I probably won’t bring home the gold medal, but with how much fun I’m having… who cares?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Third Place

With Taylor Duffy After Finals

…ain’t so bad. The sick feeling in my stomach left shortly after the last blog. All it took was more time with my wonderful girlfriends. I ended the weekend in third place, with another run I felt really good about. Even with my third place finish, I still had the fastest times of the weekend, which once again, made me feel much better. On top of that, I got to see Taylor Duffy, who has been training her ass off, bring home a gold medal. Taylor really deserves some payoff for all of her hard work and life changes she has made.

Once again, I cannot thank the folks at STIHL enough for putting on these amazing events for us. They work so hard to make sure we have the best time possible, and make us feel so important! I cannot WAIT for next year’s STIHL Timbersport Series.

Probably the greatest thing that came out of last weekend was this newspaper article. My life ambition is to raise awareness about Huntington’s Disease, and Troy Johnson of the Ledger-Tribune did a wonderful job supporting that. Please take a moment to read his article. Thanks Troy.

Monday started off at 3am heading to the Atlanta Airport. Unlike Utah, I did NOT stay up partying all night with my favorite ladies. I hit the sack early and am glad I did. I met up with JR Salzman in Minneapolis, and then we flew out to Seattle. We picked up our rental, exchanged our money for Canadian monopoly money, and drove up to Grouse Mountain in Vancouver.

I’m currently sitting at the Lumberjack Show site on Grouse Mountin during the Can-Am log rolling championships. Yes folks, Darren put together quite the competition. On Canada Day 4 of the top Americans and 4 of the top Canadians are competing against each other for the Grouse Mountain title. Darren has been absolutely wonderful for us, and we’re having a blast!

Tonight we have a big BBQ in Vancouver and I’m guessing with these Canadians it will get pretty crazy! Time to kick some Canadian butt… more updates to come!