Sunday, October 30, 2005

Marine Corps Marathon - Finish BABY

My watch said: 6:07:33

Accoridng to the MCM Site I finished at: 06:38:09 I think they have not yet taken the second wave start time into account since it said I started the race at 8:18 and I was in the second wave that started at 8:45.

I know for a fact that it didn't take me 1 hour to finish the last 5K because I had my splits and I was doing 14 minute mile and my chip time at 23 miles was 5:20 but you know what ....


Nancy and Keri were my angels and made the run wonderful fun!

More tomorrow. Living STRONG!

UNOFFICIAL TIME (on website as of 5:45PM)
Chip Time: 06:38:09
Clock: 06:41:57
Pace: 15:11

Overall: 17538
Gender: 6815
Division: 1127

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Marathon Goals ...

I was contemplating my goals for the Marine Corps Marathon when I was struck by something crazy...

What if I had a great day and PR'd my second marathon ever? While in treatment...

The number of excuses I would lose about being naturally slow would be extinct and I would really have to face that I could , with some hard work and effort, probably run faster than 9 minute miles with some training (my fastest pace - 5K in 2003)

In March 2003 I ran the Ocean Drive Marathon in Cape May, NJ. It was my first marathon and I finished in 5:39:15.

The paceband that I created for Marine Corps, based on a solid 13:00 per mile pace predicts a finish time of 5:40:00.

So in the spirit of my good friend Nancy I am going to make a list of goals for my race - real goals and "DREAM" goals - and I will let you know how many of them I accomplish.

Goal 1 - HAVE FUN!!
Goal 2 - BEAT THE 14TH Street Bridge (Mile 20)
Goal 3 - FINISH
DREAM - Goal 4 - Maintain a solid 13:00 mile pace - FINISH TIME of 5:40:00
DREAM - Goal 5 - Set a PR by beating my only other marathon finish of 5:39:15

Some days you have to DREAM a little bit bigger! Living STRONG, dreaming and tapering here in Northern VA.

Inspiration on a Taper Day...

"It’s too easy to forget that we are strong and we can persevere."

Linae, triathlete - 10/22/2005

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

A Most Excellent Taper

The time for the "taper" has come and it is being enhanced by a 10 DAY BREAK from the Interferon. I am going to be feeling like $1,000,000 Dollars on race day! Marine Corps Marathon - here I come!

I saw Dr. Butler on Friday and he decided then was as good a time as any to stop the SUBQ shots for a week or so. He felt that the break would help boost my blood count and give me a little extra edge for race day. The "edge" being simply that I won't feel "flu-ish" for the week leading up to the Marine Corps Marathon!

This is kind of morbid, but I did have to promise Dr. Butler that I wouldn't "die on him" out there and that I would listen to my body. It was a promise that I gladly made and that I fully intend to keep.

He said that with a smile on his face so I think he was being somewhat funny but then he proceeded to make sure I understood how to avoid overdoing it with "plain water." I did my best to assure him that I understood the risks of hyponytremia and dehydration and I had a nutrition plan worked out and that I would always have Keri and Nancy with me in the first 20 miles to make sure that I was staying on pace and on plan.

This race isn't about PRs .. It is about living as STRONG as I can under the circumstance.
Jim and I had a great time climbing Old Rag for his Birthday. The weather was perfect and the crowds pretty small. I will post a picture later tonight!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Looking ahead ...

Holly & Woodchuck (photo credit: Heather Gannoe)

I see Dr. Butler today and will show off my Army 10 Miler Coin and talk to him about next weeks SUBQ shot plans and the upcoming Marine Corps Marathon. I have been pretty fatigued this week with a monster headache last night and I have been feeling rather "BLAH". I'm guessing it is the time change and maybe just a little healthy "pre-marathon" anxiety.

I'm going to ask Dr. Butler if he thinks that post-Marathon, he can up my dosage to 10 MIU for a while if he thinks my body will handle it. We'll see what he thinks of that and go from there.

Jim's birthday is this weekend (the BIG 43) and we have some fun stuff planned including a 7 mile hike to the summit of Old Rag on Sunday. I will be sure and get some pictures to share!

No stinking hurricane named Wilma is going to stop my triathlon buddy Linae or any of the other 400 athletes from starting the Great Floridian Triathlon!

GO LINAE GO! Have fun and live STRONG all day!

I hope everybody has a good weekend!

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Killing me softly ...

Somebody save me from myself today! I have been hungry ALL day and hitting the D*MN office Halloween Candy basket.

I started out with my typical breakfast of a bagel & peanut butter and a glass of milk. Then lunch was a duplicate of breakfast because since before breakfast I have had stomach pains. (Thanks Interferon!!)

Perhaps I didn't eat enough real food? Or perhaps my hunger is in my head and related to having pain?

I ate whatever I wanted this past weekend during my travels and so I thought I would try to "behave" today and here I find myself prowling the candy jars and eyeing the Vending Machines (which I have managed to avoid, just barely!)

I think ultimately I needed a better lunch with some complex proteins and vegi in spite of the stomach ache.

The goal for dinner to night is a healthy Chef Salad and warm rolls for Jim & I ... if I can make it through the grocery story without being arrested for "Gorging in Public"...

20 minutes to freedom from the Candy Jar .....BE STRONG!!

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Sisters ....

Gannoe Girls - Sleepy on Christmas Eve, 2004 (Mom, Heather, Cathy, Holly)

I drove to and from Maine this weekend to visit my youngest sister Cathy and deliver some furniture that she could use. While it was a "short visit" with more driving than actual visiting, it was wonderful all the same! Cathy and Norm have a cute little apartment in Old Town, ME and an adorable kitty named "Moo" who is the most wonderful lap cat ever. I wanted to clone her but Cathy discouraged that. :)

I told Cathy that Heather and I were trying to find another "Sister" event that might suit all of us better, since Cathy is not a big fan of running. She suggested that maybe we could do the Covered Bridges 1/2 Marathon in Queechee, VT this June 06 since it is close to Mom and Dad. You could have knocked me over with a feather since Cathy said "No more 1/2 Marathons, I have done one" not long after Myrtle Beach last year... Surprise Surprise...

Cathy doesn't have a BLOG but my other sister Heather does. I go there occasionally to see if she has updated or posted and I found this today!

"let your waves crash down on me and take me away...."

I'm a surf addict. I can't stand to be away from the ocean. But I also live on the east coast where winters are far from warm and forgiving. I have been searching for a hobby to help me survive the boredom until next spring. Recently, my older sister has introduced me to the wonderful world of running , and being the adrenaline junkie that i am, i've decided a 26.2 mile race is what i want. This blog will be my story, as winter nears, and training for my first marathon begins...


When she posts her first entry and starts her training I will let you all know! I think she is considering the Myrtle Beach Marathon in February 2006. I have promised her that I will be there! Will I be running? We haven't gotten that far in negotiations yet ... I will at least run 1/2 of the race with her!

Two weeks until the Marine Corps Marathon. My coach has started a gentle taper and this weekend I will be hiking 7 miles at Old Rag with Jim and friends to celebrate his 43rd Birthday instead of a long run. I think based on the challenge of the hike, it will be equivalent.

I guess since it is a work day, I should be getting back to work .... Hope everybody had a great weekend!

Friday, October 14, 2005

An Awakening while Running

I am going to the great state of Maine this weekend to visit my youngest sister Cathy and her boyfriend Norm so my long run had to happen during the week. I know people run in Maine but I'd rather run 30-45 minutes in Maine while visiting than 3.5 hours. I'm picky like that.

So yesterday I made it my goal to "run home" from work. I am lucky because there is a trail that runs all the way from my office in D.C. along the waterfront and across the Potomac and down into Alexandria. Since the actually mileage home is only 12 miles, I made a detour through Hains Point and "The Awakening". This park is actually a part of the Marine Corps Marathon course - Miles 16-20 - and is the last segment that needs to be done in order to "Beat the 14th Street Bridge".

So I ran 2/1 intervals and covered just shy of 16 miles in 205 minutes. I average around a 13 minute mile pace. Some miles were closer to 12:30 (in the beginning) but as I started losing daylight and the rain began (gentle sprinkles) I slowed down a little. Why fall this close to the Marathon?

I kept in contact with Jim via cell phone and he met me at Bell Haven Marina at 7:45pm. It was nice to have a kiss and a warm car to wrap up my run. I felt fantastic... like I could have easily run another 11 miles. My nutrition and water intake seem to be dead on. I think that I am actually ready for Marine Corps Marathon in two weeks!!

Now if I could just get Mother Nature to give me 60 degrees and overcast skies with no rain on race day ......
Nancy is running the Baltimore Marathon tomorrow!! GOOD LUCK NANCY!
Shelley is doing Iroman Hawaii Sunday! GOOD LUCK SHELLEY!
Live STRONG and have a good weekend everybody! I'm off to MAINE! Lobster Anyone??

Wednesday, October 12, 2005



Dear Fellow Metro Commuter -

While I will take a moment to appreciate that I could actually turn your head and make you look twice, it is in fact RUDE to continue to OGGLE me (stare unabashedly) for two blocks till we both reach the metro. It's 5:30 in the morning and I am wearing standard "running short" as I head to the gym. Perhaps you need to get out more ...


Dear Woman on the Treadmill -

WOW!! You are in great shape and sweating so much. I wonder if you know that when you have the incline set so steep on the treadmill that you have to lock your elbows and grip the handles with "white knuckles" that perhaps you should consider either lowering the incline OR reducing the speed somewhat. The truth is that you are not getting much of a workout when you are performing the "treadmill deathgrip" . Still I am impressed with how much you are sweating ... and a little grossed out ....

I'm not the most cheerful of morning people - especially when it is 5:30AM - At least I got my 4 miles in before work. YEAH ME! Nancy and Flatman and the rest of you early risers - how do you do it???

BLOOD COUNTS/SIDE EFFECTS: The blood count is coming back up and I am really beginning to think Linae was right on the money with noticing that after my last long run my blood counts dipped and then stabilized again the next week. So I am less inclined to be very concerned with the numbers. Hopefully Dr. Butler will let me jump back up to 10 MIU on Thursday when he sees the results.

They looked as deep as they could in the back of my eyes with a big light and didn't see anything strange. Of course I saw "spots" for about 15 minutes after that. I had to walk in a straight line, close my eyes, put my arms out in front of me - all the standard general equilibrium tests and passed with flying colors.

The prognosis: Let us know if the dizziness happens some more but we think its nothing to worry about. There were no general comments on the phlegm and breathing problems so I will just pay attention to when they are happening and tell Dr. Butler next week when I see him, if it is still bothering me.

OTHER ATHLETES: Did you know???

IRONMAN HAWAII is in less than 5 days! Go and send Shelly and Cathy (AKA CLM) lots of good wishes!!

The Baltimore Marathon is this weekend and Nancy will be running for a Personal Record! Go and send her lots of good wishes!

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Too little Blood

Cute Kittens for a Rainy Day...
It's about time to update y'all on the medical end of things because it has the potential to rudely "interrupt" my current Marine Corps Marathon plans in just 3 weeks time. Damn medical drama!

After the speedy and fun Army 11.4 Miler with Heather, I felt pretty good all things considering. I was having some significant fatigue (expected) and had noticed that I have begun to produce a lot of phlem (unexpected).

The weekly visit to the Dr's office on Tuesday produced some pats on the back for the Army 10 Miler (I brought my finishing coin with me - I was so proud!) and some rather negative results in my blood count. I was showing continued signs of Anemia from last week (low reb blood cell count) and very low Nuetraphil numbers (white blood cell count).

The verdict on that day was as follows:
- Do not give yourself a shot tonight.
- Reduce the amounts of the next 3 shots by 5 MIU (from 10 MIU)
- Dr. Butler will let you know what to do next AFTER we get your blood next week.

The "good" news is a that a detailed check of my Iron levels shows that I am not in need of an Iron supplement in addition to my current "One-A-Day" for Women multi-vitamin. The "not so good" news is that the anemia is another side effect of the Interferon.

How much lower could my weekly dose get until my body understands that this is going to continue? GET USED TO IT ALREADY! We (me and the body) have 34 more weeks left!! ARG!

Granted, I like to suffer for my love of sport. I don't want to suffer on Chemo any more than I have too but watching my body have a hard time with such low doses makes me very anxious. Anxious that I am not getting enough of the treatment to prevent a recurrence.

Unfortunately I have to report to the Dr. this week that in the last week I have begun to have some problems with my breathing and I have had a few strange Vertigo moments with regards to looking at lights. I am going to head to the optomistrist later this week to check the eyeballs but I am more concerned with the phlem and breathing problems.

When Keri and I went out - I was a giant running head full of phlem (SUCH A PRETTY PICTURE TO IMAGINE, HUH?) and towards the end of the run I was having a hard time catching my breath. Here is hoping it was the 100% humidity that was the cause of that and not another side effect of the drugs!

So at 4PM, I will be back to give blood work and see where I am at in terms of anemia/nuetropenia. Keep your fingers crossed and I will keep my veins hydrated so they can get a good, juicy sample.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Rain, Rain, Rain

We needed it and Tropical Storm Tammy is providing plenty.

I still need to get out for my "long run" this weekend which is a refreshingly short 5 miles (60 minutes). The rest of the LONG WEEKEND is being spent unpacking more boxes, taking naps as needed and doing laundry including the "Fall/Winter" wardrobe shift in the closet.

That project alone will bring at least 6 more weeks of unusually warm weather to Northern Virginia!!

Hope you are all enjoying the weekend - rainy or not!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Here are some pictures from the actual race ....
Holly - Running Strong!

Heather - Running & Surfing like a girl!

Walk Break!!

Finished! Go Sisters!

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Race Report - Army Ten Miler !!!

Executive Summary:

Army 10 Miler - October 2, 2005
Actual Mileage - 11.4 miles (rerouted for Security Reasons)
Time: 2:23 (2/1 Run/Walk Intervals)
Estimated Average Pace: 12:54

The rest of the story:

F*#K Cancer! Hooah!

Sorry to start with such an offensive phrase but that was the underlying vibe of the Army Ten Miler for me this year. In February of this year I was diagnosed with Malignant Melanoma, an aggressive form of skin cancer. This diagnosis was followed up with 2 surgeries, a month of daily high dose Interferon Chemotherapy that took me out of work for 6 weeks and out of the triathlon season and into 48 weeks of low dose Interferon Chemotherapy with shots 3x a week. Only 34 weeks left!

All through the early phases of my treatment, I decided that Melanoma would only take so much away from me. I would hold onto whatever I could during treatment to prove to myself that I could "live STRONG" and maintain some level of fitness. If so many other people could do it, so could I. I got my Oncologist approval to train. (It helps if your Dr. is a runner too!)

My younger sister Heather came into town to run the race with me and was my official pacer. The plan was:

2.) Run/Walk 2/1 intervals for an average pace of 13:00 minute miles
3.) GU every 40 minutes and get water and Gatorade from the course stops

Heather and I showed up at the Pentagon with about an hour to the race start. We walked about 1/2 mile to the "purple balloons" that signified the back of the pack. Before long the canon's roared and we were off!

As we passed over the start line 10 minutes later (18,000 people ahead of us), We were treated to cannon fire right in our ears! We must have both performed instant high jumps! YEOW!

The first miles were fast! Heather kept the overall pace up and I was the "interval queen"; my watch beeping for walk breaks every 2 minutes.

I was thrilled and astonished when Heather told me that miles 1 through 5 were dead on for 11:00 minute miles! Heather was amazing at keeping the conversation going, keeping me focused on how great we were doing and sharing the race with me. We cheered people on when they passed us with names on the back of their shirts. I scream "Hooah" (an Army term) at least 4 or 5 times as Army personnel cheered us on and Heather and I talked about her newly found "Marathon distance" running goals. We even sang "Happy Birthday to a runner who's shirt said "Today is my 61st Birthday"!

Just short of mile 7, Heather and I passed our boyfriends Jim and Rich. They gave us cheers and took a picture and said "See you at the finish!" Then we pass the SAG busses, which were still on the other side of the street! Goal 1 accomplished .. I wasn't being swept off this race course today!

My overall finish goal had been a 2:30 finish and we were on pace for at least a sub 2:15!!

As we approached mile 8, I started telling Heather how important the final 2 miles were for me. They crossed over the 14th Street Bridge which was the "Make or Break" point of the Marine Corps Marathon in 4 weeks. If I could keep the pace we had today on race day, I knew for sure that I could attempt the Marine Corps Marathon on October 30th.

Then we hit mile 8 or so and found they were cleaning up, the water stop had been removed from the course already!! 500 feet later they were taking down a mile marker sign. Somebody along the race course in the general vicinity said "Hey, we are still racing here!" There were choruses of "Yeah" and "What mile marker is that?" Dissention was mounting among the troops and I was lost in a bit of a fog of confusion.

"Why are we heading back to the Memorial Bridge .. I thought we crossed the 14th Street Bridge..."

Heather picked up on things quickly and even though she didn't know the course, she encouraged me to "look behind us Sister ... There are thousands of people back there ... We are going to finish strong".

She was right, a peak back revealed just as many people behind me as there seamed to be ahead of me. I was solidly in the middle of the Back of the Pack and destined to finish.

The last miles were quite a challenge. Looking at her watch, Heather knew something was up with the mileage but she didn't let either of us focus on that. She just kept me moving forward. Giving me focus points that helped get me through the intervals.

"Focus on the Eagles at the end of the bridge Sister ... We will run to there and it will be time to walk for a minute." That comment caused me to sing "Bird, Bird, Bird... Bird is the Word" as I shuffled down the bridge!

When we were in the middle of the Memorial Bridge, there was a female Army Medic standing on the Bridge yelling "You did it! Nice job runners! You made it... Only a mile to go!" At the time I didn't realize it but she was telling us that we had just completed mile 10!

Mile 11.4 - which most of us thought was mile 10 - was a struggle for me. The pace had caught up to me and so had the lack of water since Mile 7. I was struggling and Heather carried me emotionally as much as she could.

She talked to me the entire way.. Non-stop encouragement and the occasional gentle hand on my back. With the finish line in site in the distance, I told Heather, I want to run the rest of the way - no matter how slowly we go. "F*#K Cancer."

My sister Heather responded with an echo of "F*#K Cancer" and we ran the last .4 miles. As we passed a gentleman with an American Flag he said "Congratulations! This 11.4 miles was presented to you from the US Army"


We crossed the finish line, a confusing concept for my tired brain. I kept looking for a finishing mat that wasn't there. Apparently due to suspicious package found under the 14th Street Bridge, the race was rerouted so the only finishing time would be the one on my sister's watch.

2:23:00 for 11.4 miles!

We headed over to the finish zone, got our finishing Coins, got an official picture taken and met Jim and Rich for big hugs and kisses and a metro ride home.

I am happy to say that I am ready to start the day on October 30th for the Marine Corps Marathon. I fully accept that I may not finish the day at the finish line because I might not beat the 14th Street Bridge but I will have a fun time trying! Cancer Smancer.

Post Script - I want to send out of big THANKS to fellow RAT - Kevin Hnery - although he wasn't able to race the ATM this year, his generosity and kindness helped my sister race this year through a Bib Transfer. This race would have been so much harder without her and it is his kindness that got her to the start line! Thank you Kevin!

In other news, my sister Heather is now 90% sure she is going to run the Myrtle Beach Marathon in Feb 2006!! Another Endurance Junky has had been born!


Sunday, October 02, 2005

Army 11.2 Miler!!

We did it!! And here we are at the finish with our "Finisher Coins". 11.2 miles in 2:23:00 and our pace through mile 5 was solid 11:00 miles! Heather had us cruising between the walk breaks and it was feeling good!


Yes, you read it right. 11.2 miles completed. There was some kind of security emergency and they rerouted the course just before the 8 mile point.

Race Report to follow later tonight! Live STRONG!!