Thursday, January 26, 2006

The list keeps growing...

I'm on a registration roll and have just added my "MAY" Event

Marilyn Lathum "Homegrown" Triathlon on May 7th, 2006 in Reston, VA. The race is a 1K pook Swim/20K Bike/5K Run and therefore is a SPRINT distance TRI.

Keri, I asked to be in the same wave as you!

Hmmm... what can I spend money on next....

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Tales of Ice and Half Marathons

Today was busy at work and while my knee didn't get any smaller, I had hardly any pain. So I went to the gym and did an upper body strength workout and some Core Strengthening. As a test, my warm up was 10 minutes on the stationary bike at Level 4 (very easy). No pain to speak of ...

Once home, I iced for 15 minutes ON - 20 OFF - 15 ON, a course of action recommended in my book "Galloway's Guide to Running" and took some Advil. We shall see if there is any reduction of swelling by morning. In the mean time, I am going to take tomorrow and Friday off completely and hope that will encourage some healing and then I will resume my run workouts by half and maybe stay off the spin class bikes and stick to Sunshine and a trainer.

Time will tell ... taking it easy this week may be hard but it could mean the difference between having a fun time running Myrtle Beach with my sister, Heather, in 3 weeks OR suffering and needing to take more time off to heal.

Besides, I need pool time.


My youngest sister Cathy, noticed that I didn't have anything planned for October 2006 yet and emailed me to ask me if I would be willing to head up to Maine to run the Maine 1/2 Marathon with her. She *claims* that she needs something to keep her active over the next few months but I *know* that she has become charmed by the BLING of Race Medals!!

You look at this picture of Cathy running the Myrtle Beach 1/2 Marathon in February 2006 (Her first road race EVER!) and tell me that she doesn't look like a runner!

So I jumped on Active.Com today and registered for the 1/2 Marathon. Looks like 2 of my races this season are with my sisters!! How cool is that? WICKED COOL!! Life is pretty darn good !!

Biopsy Results and yet another procedure

Hey all, the two-week wait is over and the biopsy results from my Colposcopy are back. The biopsy confirmed abnormal cell development on the cervix. While I don't have a copy of the biopsy yet, I am assuming based on the treatment my doctor has suggested, that I have mild to moderate dysplasia of the cervix.

So the next step is Cryosurgery.

In a nutshell, I am going to be zapped with a very very cold stick which will freeze and kill the funky cells and allow the healthy cells below to come to the front. It takes 15 minutes at the most and other than a little discomfort, it should be a "walk in the park."

The great news is that this procedure is 85-90% effective in preventing the cells from continuing to develop into cancer.

I'm all about prevention!!

So now Monday afternoon will be "Crysosurgery Day"

And now I need to get back to work.

Still Living STRONG!

First Swim of the Year

Well it is in the workout log book. Last night I got back in the pool and swam 1100 yards (44 laps) - just over 1/2 a mile.

My new suit works great! It fits, there is no rubbing on my port near my collarbone and other than being slow as molasses.. I am very glad to have gotten back in the pool.

Now if I could just get the swelling in my knee to go away! Grr....

Back to work ... Busy Week.

Keep Living STRONG Folks!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Credit Due...

Thanks to everybody for all the KUDOS on the "Photo Blog" of my run. I had fun doing it but I got the idea from Nancy's Bike Around the Pennisula Post.

So KUDOS to Nancy for inspiring me!

-------- WHINEY ATHLETE ALERT: WAAAA!! WAAA!! --------------

My right knee starting hurting immediately following my long run on Saturday. It hurts on the outside, near my patella and is swollen less now than on Sunday but still swollen.

I have been icing and taking Advil and I wrote Coach Debi for some advice on how to proceed this week. She had this to say:

"Sounds like ITB problems? Does it hurt when you step on it?" Well...either way it is a good excuse to get in the water to either water run or swim. I bet the swelling goes back down in the next day or so. You might want to try spinning easy on your bike later on (not the spin bikes) to see how it feels."

"We'll go from there in a couple of days. It might just have been one of those side affects from your medication that just showed up."

Coach Debi ROCKS! I can't wait to be done with Chemo so she can help me see what I am really capable of in Triathlon.

I think she is right on the money and I will take today as a rest day as planned and get in the pool tomorrow - since I didn't do it on Sunday like I had said I would - My knee hurt ... and I was reading a good book!

My Mom "caught me" on Sunday when we caught up on the phone and reminded me to "Get in the Pool because I have a 1/2 Ironman in September!

I LOVE my Mom! She knows me so well! Hi Mom - Thanks for the encouragement! (She reads my blog daily)

Cliff Shot Blocks - My Review

So many people asked about the Cliff Shot Blocks in the comments of the last entry that I thought it was worth a separate entry.

The following is only **MY** opinion -

I have always been a fan of Cliff Shots, GU and other gel supplements in "running" events. I have a hard time "chewing" when I am on a run. It seems like I am trying to do too many things at once. Having said that, my biggest complaint about Gels is how messy they can be. I can't even tell you how many empty gel packets get stuck in the back of my cycling jerserys and in my running pack. What a mess!

So when I saw the Cliff Shot BLOCKS in the local bike shop (LBS), I thought twice before I decided to buy them.

So I picked up a pack of Strawberry and raspberry Cliff Shot Blocks. Hoping that the cleanliness factor would outweigh the "chewing" factor. The guys at the LBS (local bike shop) advised that I not even attempt the Lemon-Lime because they said the smell made them gag when they were stocking the shelves.

• I liked the Strawberry flavor. It was sweet with no obvious aftertaste and you can't say that about the Strawberry Sonic Clif Shots.

• The block itself reminded me of the "fruit jelly" candies that my Grandmother always had in her candy jars. They are chewy but didn't stick to your teeth. That is an improvement over the Sharkies and Jelly Belly Sports Beans that I have tried in the past.

• I took 3 blocks at the 50 minute point of my long run with a couple of gulps of water and it seemed to have the same impact as if I had a gel. 20 minutes later, I was still doing well, no BONKS in sight.

Overall Assessment: Cliff Shot BLOCKS will become a part of my training routine ... but probably for the bike and not for my long runs. I just don't llike chewing while I am running!! On the bike, I can chew all day long and the blocks will easily fit in my bento box.

Lingering Concern: What happens to these BLOCKS when the temps heat up? Am I going to have "hot jello jigglers" sticking to each other and my hands?

Now has anybody tried the Cliff Nectar Bars? The Cinnamon Pecan and Cranberry, Apricot, and Almond flavors sound right up my alley!

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Long Slow Distance - 8 Miles Saturday

The Runner ... Holly

And her Gear ...Cell Phone, Water, Cliff Blocks, Road ID & IPOD Mini

The slight climb out of the driveway ...

Five Guys - Burgers and Fries - Temptation in the first mile.

Warm Up is over: Big Climb - Start of Mile Two

At the top of your climb - a Vintage Salmon Station Wagon - 1973 - FOR SALE!

What goes up must come down ...

And down further still ... Head to the river!

2 Miles Down - Rest Stop!

speed limit
Miles 2-6: on the Mount Vernon Trail - Watch you speed!

dog man
Passed by a pack!

View at Mile 3 - 1 mile to your turn around!

A Beautiful Day for a Long Slow Run ...

On the back half of the run - Keep your eyes UP!! Only 3 miles left!

mile marker
2.5 miles to go!

Finding Inspiration in the most unlikely places!

Runner's Notes: I had a blast "photo blogging" this run but the workout wasn't quite what I had hoped for. The one thing that I "forgot" was to put on my Body Glide and I paid dearly for that oversight. By Mile 6, my inner thighs were chafed and raw so I cut the run short. I walked the last 2 miles (mostly uphill) home. It was a beautiful day, so even walking was wonderful BUT I had the energy to run so that small mistake cost me a few miles.

Body Glide is a voluptuous triathlete's best friend! I won't soon forget that lesson!

Living STRONG in spite of chafing!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Back in the water...

The swim has always been my worst event in a Triathlon. Funny really, since I was in the water 24/7 every summer from the time I was 9 until I was 14. While I loved to dive and pretend I was a synchronized swimmer, I never got into the races across the pool that my Grandpa and my youngest Uncle often threw my way. I would try to beat them, but I never believed that I would beat them.

When the time came to "try out" for the Swim team in High School, I was so scared of failing that I didn't even bother trying. If I had *known* that they take everybody, regardless of skill, I might have shown up for tryouts that fall and I'd probably be a much better swimmer.

But I'm not.

You see I do fine in the pool. I definitely need to work on my stroke, bi lateral breathing and speed but I have no problems getting in the pool for the workout and doing my best.

The problem happens when I get in the water on race day. Open Water. I simply lose my cool and end up doing a modified crawl with my head up and out of the water the whole time.

So in an effort to resolve this problem and improve my swim, I am taking a swim clinic with Nancy. But more importantly, I am going to take Nancy & Jim up on their individual open swim offers. Nancy. has mentioned that she wants to get some open water swims in this year and has invited me along. Jim has said that he is willing to escort me in a boat while I do open water swims down near our friends at Lake Anna, this summer. It is wonderful having friends and family who want to see you succeed!
After a rest day on Wednesday, last night's SPIN class was welcome. I got out of work a little early so I used the extra time at the gym to reaquant myself with the Weight Room. Strength Training is something that I have been missing lately and I figure 20-30 minutes 2 times a week can't be that hard to add in. So I did some upperbody strength training work yesterday followed by an hour of Spinning.

Today is a rest day in prep for a LSD run on Saturday. (Long Slow Distance) The schedule calls for 8 miles of 3/1 intervals and the weather is supposed to be in the mid 60s! Sound like the makings of a perfect workout!

Sunday - I AM GETTING IN THE POOL!! Let it be said, Let it be done!

Hope you all have a great weekend!


Wednesday, January 18, 2006


My normal walk into the office today left no doubts in my mind that I chose the right day to schedule a recovery day. After a faster than normal run pace for 5 miles on Monday, last night's SPIN class left me and my quads empty of all available glycogen stores.

I am spent and D*MN does it feel GOOD!

It has me so motivated to be so tired that I went ahead and bought some more gear to complete my lovely "triathlon" race kit for this season.

So I hopped on over to Team Estrogen and bought this pair of shorts to go under my skirt. Because Comfort and large thighs prevent me from even considering the bikini-briefs that Zoot! recommends. I'm my own fashion icon!! PROMISE TO Nancy: When the shorts come in, I will post a picture and model my new race kit!!

SO with all this gear, I guess the next step is to add some more races to the calendar. I had thought about going to Boulder to visit Bolder and do the Bolder Peak Triathlon since Jim and I want to go to CO & it is close to my birthday. I also considered signing up for SteelHead as Nancy suggested since so many of you are also doing that race as prep for Ironman Florida.

In the end, I have had to settle for local races. Jim and I would LOVE to head to Colorado to race and ride AND I would love to spend time racing with you guys, but I simply don't have enough "Leave Time" at work thanks to the big M and treatment. So I have to choose my races with that in mind. After all, I need to save up some vacation time to come down to Panama City in November to volunteer at Ironman Florida!! You didn't think I would sit home while you guys kick butt in Florida together, did you?

So I am officially adding the Colonial Half Iron Distance Triathlon to my calendar on Sept 24th.

Hmm.. my Lunch break has expired...Back to work!

Keep Living STRONG!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Where did the weekend go?

I had a 3-day weekend and do you think I got even half my list of "things to do" done?

Nope!! But it was a full weekend never the less.

Friday night was a night "OFF" from the workout schedule. I met Jim at Sine, had a Kilian's Red and Spinach Artichoke Dip for dinner (YUMM) and then we went to the DC Motorcycle show where I went all "girly" over the Vespas and made Jim take a picture with me on one. If I am ever going to ride a bike with an engine, I plan to start small and that works for me.


Saturday morning I planned on an easy bike ride along the Potomac and through some surrounding neighborhoods. I got lost trying to go home (I'm still new to the neighborhood) and my easy 12-15 mile ride turned into 20 miles. The ride started out balmy and a little windy and ended in 20-30 mph head winds for the last 5 miles home. I'd say that I got a good workout (and now I will never forget how to get home from Fort Hunt!!)

Saturday night was spent visiting with friends and watching football.

Sunday I went to the Health and Fitness Expo and saw "Dr. Jeff" from The Biggest Loser 2. He looked amazing!!

Monday was "tax day". I spent the morning starting to reconcile my medical deductions for Tax Year 2005. I have not even started to reconcile my Rx expenses and I am flabbergasted at the amount of money that I spent this year. Thank goodness for what medical insurance I do have or I might not have any savings left.

Midway through "tax day" I took a break to do the long run that I skipped on Sunday. I ran an out and back course of 2.5 miles for a total of 5 miles that includes some hills and flats. Throughout the workout I found myself breathing hard and using every moment of the recovery in my walk intervals. I kept wondering why the workout felt so darn hard until I looked at my watch and realized that during the "run" portion of my intervals I was keeping an 11:30 pace.

That's a "pre-Interferon" pace!!

I wasn't "fall on the ground exhausted" at the end of my run but I was having problems making sense so I'd say that it was a great long run albeit a little harder than I probably needed to push it!

It is good to know I still can push it!

Bring on the week! I'm living strong!

Friday, January 13, 2006

Get thee behind me...

The Colposcopy adventure is over and a piece of my cervix is off to some lab in Bethesda, MD. It will be two weeks before I hear anything (according to my Doc) so I am left to my own devices and sending "healthy vibes" to my sample.

While Dr. Tabibi was doing her thing, she told me that everything looked okay to her but she wanted to send samples out just to cover all the bases. I would have prefer not giving a sample but I appreciate her thoroughness. We talked about if she had "ever" heard of Melanoma metastisizing to the Cervix and she said "No" so I am holding onto that nugget.

Later in the day, I saw Dr. Butler, my Oncologist, for my monthly checkup and unloaded all my stress right onto him.

"Blah Blah ... Colposcopy ... Blah Blah ... Night Sweats and Itching ... Blah Blah ... New Moles... Blah Blah ...Recurrence??"

Dr. Butler took the time to listen and ask questions and told me that he would test my blood a little more this week and make sure that there were no "odd" markers indicating problems. He looked at my new skin things and said "They look pretty benign to me so just keep your appointment with the Dermatologist in 2 weeks and have her look at them" and then reassured me that he had never heard of Melanoma metastisizing to the cervix.

He also was kind enough to tell me that all the anxiety of the last week was "perfectly normal" and he had been waiting for me to come to him and be "sick of it all" for a few months now. He commended me for being upbeat for as long as I have been.

All in all, Dr. Butler answered my questions and make me feel better. This allowed me to let go of some anxiety and really think about how I wanted to approach the next 20 weeks of treatment.

Last night while talking with Jim, I finally realized ::I have been coming to this for a while but last night it was "CLEAR TO ME":: that I am going to start treating my weekly shots the same way I treat my daily vitamins. It is just something I need to do 3x a week. Obviously I still need to be vigilant in doing weekly mole checks, but how is that any different than the monthly breast exams that we all should be doing as well?

No different.

For all intense purposes, I am CANCER-FREE with NO EVIDENCE OF DISEASE and have been since my second surgery on May 4th, 2005.

It is time to get back to Training, Working and Enjoying Life in General. I'm imagine my blogging will reflect more of my TRI training and racing adventures as well as the final countdown to this particular treatment year and I hope you will stick around as I transition, dear friends. It might bit a bit of a bumpy transition but I'm ready for it...

Living STRONG all the way.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Work It!

Don't wanna wait til tomorrow,
Why put it off another day?

One more walk through problems,
Built up, and stand in our way...ah

One step ahead, one step behind me
Now you gotta run to get even

Make future plans, don'?t dream about yesterday, hey
C'mon turn, turn this thing around

Right now, hey
It's your tomorrow
Right now,
C'mon,it'?s everything
Right now,
Catch a magic moment, do it
Right here and now
It means everything

(Right Now by Van Halen)

With a 1/2 Marathon with my sister Heather (Myrtle Beach 1/2 Marathon) less than 6 weeks away and a Half Ironman (to be announced after this weekend) in my long term plans, I realized this weekend that the "holiday slacking" was over. So I confessed to my slacking to Coach Debi, asked for some adjustments to my workout schedule to keep me "on track" and got serious.

This week I have been keeping an eye on my food intake and getting back to the daily workouts in earnest. After just 2 days, Tanita has been very kind in acknowleging that I have been getting all my water, watching my food and working out. I'm glad "she" is in a good mood this week but I know she is prone to serious "mood swing". If you don't believe me, ask Boulder.

Monday was a light day with Core exercises early in the AM (Earlier than the birds but not earlier than Nancy)

Last night I worked "hard" in spin class. We did a mock "criterion Race" which was 3 laps of 6 minute progressive climbs followed by a 2 minute "downhill" sprint and then 2 minute of recovery. I gave it everything I had in that class, knowing that the only thing I had to do after class was go home, eat dinner, give myself a shot and relax. When Jim and I finally did get home, I felt that "exhaustion" that I covet and I soaked in the "Wow, you worked hard today in class" compliments from Jim. He is much faster and stronger than I am in cycling and sports in general and isn't quick to hand out the compliments in the workout world unless you earn them!

So EARLY this morning, I found myself stumbling out of bed to get to the gym before work since we are having friends over for dinner tonight. By 6AM I was on the treadmill, doing my 2:1 Run/Walk intervals and shuffling my I-Pod like a mad woman to find the most motivating, pulse-pumping tunes I could to keep my pace up. By the end of the 45 minutes I was covered in sweat, face red and had covered 5K. There was a time when 5K took 33 minutes ... I look forward to that again.

I have found lately that focusing on this year's season is helping me focus alot less on my upcoming biopsy and my monthly appointment with Dr. Butler. I'm sure thousand of other cancer survivors have gone through what I am going through this week - Doubts creep in, along with anxiety and suddenly every new thing makes me wonder "Is it back?" "Did we miss some of it and it has spread?"

With 20 weeks of Chemo left, I have to find faith and courage in the knowledge that I am doing everything I can and that I can't worry about what I don't know yet. I have to Live STRONG now and not dwell on what "might or might not be"

Besides, I have to make dinner tonight ... LOL... and Gloria Childs, I am not!

Live STRONG, Right Now!

Flattered and Humbled

THANK YOU to every one of you who nominated me for Tri-Bloggie-for-Most-Inspirational Blog on Tri-Geek Dreams.

I have never won anything before!!! I was a runner-up in the "Degree Everyday Ironman" competition last year and got a cool Nike Backpack but this is much cooler than that!

Monday, January 09, 2006

Shakin' Up the Routine

I am not, nor have I ever been "a morning person" but year's ago I accepted the fact that most of the races and events I enjoyed required early wake-ups. No problem, as long as my weekly workouts could be in the afternoon.

Ah, but life changes .. as it is want to do... and today I found myself up at 5AM to do my Core Exercises since I knew that my evening was already booked with plans unrelated to Endurance.

5AM is DAMN EARLY! How do you guys do this on a regular basis?

For this week, I will wake at 5AM again on Wednesday and Friday for more Core Exercises and leave Tues and Thurs as afternoon workouts. How many weeks does it take to make a new habit?

I am curious ... When do you work out?

Living STRONG (and remarkably awake!)

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Grumble Grumble

Why would you make an appointment with a patient for a biopsy in your Fairfax Office when the necessary equipment for this biopsy resides in the Reston Office????

Needless to say, I have to schedule a second appointment for a different office because they screwed up AND the appointment computer was down yesterday "so can you just call back on Monday?"

"PRACTICING Medicine" .. heavy emphasis on the "practicing".... SHEESH

Living STRONG.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Couldn't say it better myself ..

Early on in my short "blogging" history, I found a new friend. He is also a Melanoma survivor and a Triathlete. He didn't know me but he stepped forward with encouragment, compassion and understanding.

I am very blessed to call him a friend and his post yesterday on a "Time for Reflection" is a must read!!

Live STRONG Everybody!

Thursday, January 05, 2006

My GOOFY Friends

(**Author's Note: I had a great picture to go with this post BUT Blogspot software is being a pain in the butt!! SORRY!!)

Some of my friends and fellow Bloggers are in the final stages of preparing for a very GOOFY running challenge this weekend.

Nancy, Jeanne andLinae are planning to run over 39.3 miles this weekend across Walt Disney World Resort during the two days. Saurday they will run the Disney 5K Fun Run & the Disney 1/2 Marathon and on Sunday they will continue toward their "GOOFY" goal by running the Disney Marathon.

You ladies are simply amazing! I hope you have a WONDERFUL time and I will follow you from here.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Year of the Phoenix

Happy New Year to you all!

Jim and I have declared 2006 to be the "Year of the Phoenix" in our household. The phoenix is a mythical creature celebrated across many cultures as a bird that "rises from the ashes every 500 years to begin anew".

And so we are choosing to use 2006 to "rise anew" - strong and vibrant towards a healthy, happy new year.

Living STRONG all the way...
I have struggled with making Goals in the last few months but since 2006 is a new beginning, I thought "jump in with both feet and make some long term commitments.

My 2006 Goals:

1. Loose 35 pounds of fat / Gain 10 pounds of muscle (min)

2. One Race/Event per Month (Swim,Bike or Run) - 12 events

3. Complete Half Ironman Distance Triathlon (2nd race at this distance)

2006 12-Event List

So far I have 3 months covered but I need to do some research to fill up the other 9 month and keep a little bit of balance if I can....

Feb - Myrtle Beach 1/2 Marathon
Apr - Cherry Blossom 10 Miler
June - Bike Virginia (250-350 miles BIKE TRIP)

I have a few ideas for other races but I need to coordinate with Jim's upcoming events. Looks like it is time to have a "Calendar Pow-Wow" again already!