PHA Pathlight Spring 2014 - (Page 18)
AdvAncing the cAuse
Member s o f Te a m PH Sh a r e Pe r s eve r a n ce Te ch n i q u e s
hen Team PHenomenal Hope (Team PH)
crosses the finish line of the Race Across
America (RAAM) - the "world's toughest
cycling race" - they will have pushed themselves
across 3,000 miles through nine days of grueling
hills, barren flats and relentless head winds. The
highs and lows of the race will give them just a glimpse of
what it feels like to be a pulmonary hypertension patient.
During the race, Team PH will conquer the endless
miles, with a finish line nowhere in sight, by relying on the
same determination, motivation and positivity that many
PH patients cultivate in order to live and thrive with their
diagnosis. Though Team PH will face their physical challenges
for only a short time, PHA asked the team to share what
they've learned so far from their training about perseverance
and fortitude in the face of obstacles.
PHA: What sources of inspiration do you rely on?
Sara Harper: Knowing that there are people cheering us on,
wishing us the best and supporting us is huge - it's truly
difficult to put into words.
Ryanne Palermo: I reflect on the PH patients for whom
breathlessness isn't a choice. I have to choose to fight
through my own suffering to bring them closer to a cure for
theirs, and that really empowers me on the bike.
Patty George: It is no understatement that I have been and
continue to be inspired by the PH community, and I am also
inspired by my teammates. On those rare days when I don't
want to get on the bike, I think of the PH community and my
team, and those are two important motivators to get it done.
Anne-Marie Alderson: When I'm struggling through a difficult
part of a race, or even a really hard training session, I start
making a mental list of the things I'm grateful for. I always
start with the big things like my supportive family and friends,
my healthy body, my motivation and willingness to train and
race, a particular piece of advice or conversation I've had with
a mentor/athlete friend.
something negative and have a positive outlook is
Ryanne: Reflecting on past experiences is crucial
to control doubt and anxiety - that is why it is so
important to train hard. Confidence comes from the
little victories that are achieved along the way.
Patty: In terms of determination - when you truly want
something, when you feel it in the core of your being,
like something you're meant to do - it is really difficult
for something like doubt or fear to shake you from
Anne-Marie: Knowing that I am capable of more than I think I
am. It is important to have faith in my abilities and the training
time I have put in and knowing that if I believe I am capable of
accomplishing a goal, I will be capable of actually doing it.
PHA: Do you have any mantras you use to keep you going?
Sara: "Can't Break Me." I had a mountain bike on campus a
few years ago that someone tried to steal. Since the frame
was aluminum, it broke. A good friend of mine gave me a
magnesium-based bike frame. Then we painted it and put
"Can't Break Me" on the top of the bottom tube. It helps to
remind me that only I can put true limitations on myself. I have
pulmonary issues myself, and I've spent most of my life not
letting limitations stop me.
Ryanne: I love the quote by Robert Pirsig: "If you become
restless, speed up. If you become winded, slow down. You
climb the mountain in an equilibrium between restlessness
and exhaustion." It reminds me that the struggle won't be
endless; life and racing are both dynamic processes, and
whatever state we find ourselves in one moment won't
necessarily define the next. Just keep going!
Patty: "You are stronger than you know."
PHA: How do you keep doubt from affecting your
Sara: The more I hurt, the harder I push. The ability to take
Anne-Marie: If I'm struggling to hold pace near the end of the
race and am fighting the desire to slow down or ease up on
the effort because of physical fatigue, I'll estimate the time
to finish and tell myself, "It's five more minutes. You can do
anything for five minutes, so hang in there!" w
By Erin Wiegert, Former PHA Corporate & Foundation Relations Associate
PATHLIGHT SPRING 2014
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PHA Pathlight Spring 2014
Coping with PH
Ask a PH Specialist
Advancing the Cause
PHA Pathlight Spring 2014