Sunday, April 30, 2006

A Week of Workouts!

In spite of a very full week of work and some socializing, I managed to get all my workouts done this week!! Every muscle aches right now but it is a "good ache"!!

I have learned just recently that having a workout buddy makes a huge difference in the quality of my workouts. I guess having somebody else suffering along with me keeps my "inner whiner" at bay and I seem to be able to push that little bit more. The perfect example of this was on Wednesday night when I met Keri for a bike ride.

Our ride was delayed a "low-air tire" and by my ability to "ruin" any tube that I come in contact with, which required Keri to take a short jog to the local bike shop by the bike trail (thank gosh there was one)!! Even so, one we got going - we had a good 13 mile ride and we managed to end the ride with some short sprints where I brieflyo saw 17 MPH on a false flat ... It's a start!

On Friday I tried to teach myself how to do a basic "flip turn" in the pool in prep for the HomeGrown Triathlon next weekend. I figured that it has got to save me a minute or two in overall time since the entire swim is in the pool. Alas, I just could not get the hang of it and of the 9 other people at the pool - NOT ONE OF THEM KNEW HOW TO DO IT EITHER!! What are the odds of that?

So today Keri and I got together again and after doing the Vienna Elementary School 5K in my painfully slow 39:50** run/walk pace, we headed to the pool to try more Flip Turns. And after one or two times of watching Keri do a flip turn and talking about "how it was happening" - I actually did one! And then another and another!!

So now the goal for the week is to feel more comfortable with the flip turns and acutallytry to use them on race day to gain a minute or two.

**Keri kindly forgot to mention the fact that the entire 5k course is either uphill or downhill**
In terms of a brief Race Report for the 5K, today's run was preceeded yesterday by a 28 mile bike ride so I am not too concerned with how awful the run felt. We all have those kinds of workouts and it is not likely to be my last.

I am thrilled to report that this weekend, I swam, biked and ran the distances required for my race next Sunday. It was a good reminder that these are all distances that I am very capable of finishing and I can do anything for about 2 hours so there is no reason to think that I won't finish on Sunday .. so now I can focus on trying to finish STRONG!

My totals for the week:
SWIM - 2400 yards - 3 workouts
BIKE - 45 miles - 2 workouts
RUN/WALKS - 8 miles

Slowly getting back on track! Seven Days to Race Day!

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Time in New England ...

I am finally coming up for air from the long work week!! I never had the spare time to blog but I did manange to get alot of work done and get in a few workouts.. More on that later this weekend.

Last weekend I had the pleasure of flying back to Connecticut to visit my maternal Grandparents and my best friends Theresa and Brian. We are all "College Friends" and have been through "everything and then some" together.

The visit with my Grandparents was wonderful! They looked great and we had a nice time! My Gram is the coolest little lady and the older I get, the better our relationship gets!! My Gramps is pretty awesome too! What can I say, I love them .. I am their first Grandchild ... They are pretty cool and it was great to see them doing well!

The second half of the visit was to see "T" & Brian and to finally meet their latest addition: Jack. While he is now already 10 months old, because of the years craziness, this was the first chance I had to meet him. He is a cutie!!

This also gave me a chance to get reaquainted with their daughter Addy (short for Addison)... We hit is off right away and why wouldn't we? Her Mom and I are best friends and "forever roommates!".

Brian was a total doll all weekend! He watched the kids while "T" and I went shopping and went out to dinner and had some quality "girl time"!! Hopefully the next time I can get to see them, we can spend a little more time together.

So here are a few pictures! Posted with Permission!! Enjoy!

Theresa & Brian
M_D Cosker

Jack, being shy in Momma's Arms

Addy, TinkerBells Newest Competition!

All little girls LOVE their Daddy!

Baby's are Bendy! It's FLEXI-Jack!

Holly and Addy - New Best Friends!
new friends

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Sshh...It is not "official" yet but

This little baby may be running around my house just in time for the 4th of July....along with one of these little grey guys...

We are going to meet them this weekend and make the final decision....

(Had a great weekend! More coming on that tonight!)

Now back to work....

Friday, April 21, 2006

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I am off to southeastern Connecticut to visit with my Grandparents and my college roommate, her husband (another college friend) and their little ones. It will be nice to head up North for the weekend but I hope the rain stays down south for the weekend and washed the pollen away since Jim is suffering miserably.

I did a 30 minute workout last night at the gym just to keep my legs from getting too complacent. This weekend will be full of walks and maybe a small run along the beach!

I called the Pathology Department at Virginia Hospital and my port is out for autoclaving and cleaning!! Looks like I'll be able to pick it up later next week! I will post pictures!! I am excited to see what this port looked like!!

That all for now... I'll bring pictures back from CT. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Keep Living STRONG!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Coming full Circle

My surgery to remove my mediport was successful with no apparent complications so far. I have to wait a week to get my mediport from the Pathology Department. Dr. Wagner said if they throw it out, he will just give me a new one and charge it to the hospital. I told him that I don't want it *that* badly (beside I want *my port*) but he was thinking of me ... so that is nice!

I have become all to familiar with the routine of outpatient surgery and general anesthesia and everything went as expected. I went through all the pre-op questions (x 5), scooted on the OR table and was asked "So where are we going today?" by the anesthesiologist.

I said: "Take me back to France, please ..."


I have always been a spiritual person, although I would hesitate to call myself religious. I have always tried to live rather intuitively and have had several experiences that I choose not to write off as "coincidence". So it was no big surprise to me to find that I ended up with the same recovery nurse that I had in March 2005 when I had my first round of Melanoma-related surgery.

When she came in the room, her first words were "You look familiar, I have taken care of you before?"

The answer was "Yes" and when she found out that I was "in" having had my port removed, She treated me to the biggest smile and actually said "This calls for a Happy Dance" and then this wonderful stranger did a spin and a wiggle and laughed!

Jim and I laughed right along with her and I gave her the biggest hug and said "Thank you!"

It might sound silly or weird, but having the same nurse in recovery made me feel like I am really coming full circle on this year of treatment. Things seem to be falling into place and wrapping themselves up and I am hopeful that these "good omens" are just the beginning of a lifetime of "No Evidence of Disease".

6 Weeks and counting ....Then some CT Scans and an MRIs every few months. It is a transition that I am looking forward too!

Monday, April 17, 2006

"DEAD LEGS" and Recovery

Well today I definitely have "DEAD LEGS"!! I got up early this morning to get a quick 600 yards in the pool since I am going to be in a pseudo "forced recovery mode" tomorrow. My legs don't have much left after the long weekend of workouts so it's a good thing they don't do very much during the swim. It was good to get my workout done early in the morning even if it meant getting out of bed!!

tomorrow morning at 7AM, I am having minor surgery to get my port removed!!!

I am thrilled to be getting rid of the port because it is a big physical reminder of chemotherapy and cancer and they have not used it since May 2005 so OUT IT COMES!

The surgery should take less than 20 minutes since all they are doing is reopening my scar, snipping a few stitches and pulling out the port. I plan to ask Dr. Butler to let me have the port, I am dying to see what was inside me all this time.

The only drawback that I can think of is that my chest will probably be sore for a day or two. When I had the port put in, it felt like somebody had punched me in the chest. I expect that feeling again.

I'll post tomorrow if I am up to it but if not, I'll be back on Wednesday - hopefully with a picture of my port (clean, of course) for those who are not weak-of-heart.

See you on the flip-side of anesthesia! Keep Living STRONG!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

First Brick of the Season Complete!

First a definition for those readers who might be unfamiliar with the term Brick as it relates to triathlon.

Brick refers to training on two disciplines during the same workout, one after the other with minimal or no interruption in between, just as you would do in a race.

Today marked the first "Brick" in the Year of the Phoenix and it went much better than I could have anticipated. I was thinking that I would be passed out on the floor right now, begging for a quick end but I am not! Woohooo!

Keri and I met at her place and drove onto Reston, VA to ride the Bike course for the Homegrown Triathlon that we are doing together on May 7th. The course is a 6 mile loop of gently rolling hills that you repeat twice for a total distance of 12 miles. Today's workout goals were to learn the bike course, see how "ugly" it is for me to run after a bike right now, and MOST IMPORTANTLY, to enjoy a workout with Keri!

The bike course was a beautiful loop with just enough rolling hills to make some climbs a challenge and the down hills safe but fun! It was great seeing Keri riding her new bike and she is riding better all the time. She is in that "new rider" stage where she still has a profound amount of respect for speed, especially down hills. In this case, the downhills were pretty wide and not very steep so I encouraged her to "Get off her brakes!" and enjoy the ride down.

Pretty quickly the bike ride came to an end and I am happy to say that I still felt like running was a good idea although I had no clue if I could.

I set the watch for 15 minutes and Keri and I headed out to run. BOY DOES IT TAKE ME A LONG TIME TO WARM UP! I didn't feel the "dead legs" that I have felt in transition for other races in the past but then again, I was walking within the first 2 minutes.

Keri stayed right with me and we kept up the intervals of run/walk for the first 10 minutes and then as we were headed back to the car, I asked for Keri's help:

"For the next 4 minutes, no matter how much I bitch, don't let me walk please!"

It helped that it was downhill most of the way back to the car and it REALLY helped that Keri talked to me the entire time, telling me about a documentary that she watched the night before. The 4 minutes passed quickly and the run was over .. almost.

Keri and I walked for about a minute and then I realized that I still felt good so with about 500 yards to the car, I decided to see what I had left. I looked at Keri and said, "Let's bring it home strong!" and we sprinted to the car.

12 mile bike: 58 minutes followed by a 15 minute jog

FIRST BRICK of the season in IN THE BAG!!

Friends make all the difference! Thanks Keri! What a great weekend!

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Beautiful Biking Day

Well I got up this morning and tackled the house along with my sweetie Jim. The busy week was reflected in the state of the house and last night we hit our collective limit. When this happens, we seem to agree, without ever actually having said it out loud, that workouts come second.

So I didn't head out until after 1PM. The weather today has been perfect. 80s with winds around 5 MPH and scattered clouds. I sprayed on my Nuetrogena Sunblock (SPF 45) figuring this was the perfect "test run" for it. My only real critisism was that the directions say to wait 10-15 minutes for the sunblock to dry before you go in the sun. Who has that much time? I want to put on my sunscreen and go!

So I rode out the driveway and settled in for a loop of 30 miles that took me down through Old Town Alexandria toward the Airport where I took a left and headed up towards Nancy'shouse in Arlington and on towards my old neighborhood. I stopped at mile 15 for some more water and to eat a PowerBar (Oatmeal Raisin - my favorite!) and stretch my lower back which was just barely beginning to "speak" to me.

The next 15 miles took me down through Roslyn by way of the hilly Custis Trail and then down to the Mt. Vernon Trail which follows along the Potomac River passed the National Airport and back to through Old Town Alexandria and home. Around mile 25, my back began to complain .. looks like I need some more rides to recondition it. For what it is worth, my legs felt great! They were up for the 30+ mile ride.

Overall it was a great ride! I average 11.8 MPH which is woefully slow to most folks on a road bike but was just fine for me. 30 extra pounds and a year of sporadic riding takes it's toll and it will take time to get myself back into shape. It's all good! So 32 miles took me about 2:40 in ride time - 3 hours total if you include my rest stops and traffic (the trails were packed!)...

A pretty good way to spend a Saturday afternoon!! And I am happy to report the sunscreen worked well except that it left me feeling a little extra dirty .. it seems oil-based and collected pollen well.

Now about that "BRICK" with Keri tomorrow....That workout should be very interesting ....

Friday, April 14, 2006

REST can do a body good!

Wednesday turned out to be a rest day because I had a sinus headache and the wind was blowing enough to make me think of my Grandma G, who used to tell me that if you can see the "backs of the leaves, Rain is near..."

It never did rain but I stayed in and lounged in front of the TV with my sweetie.

Turns out it was an excellent plan for my workout on Thursday. I was able to do an hour of spinning on the bike, keeping my cadence about 90 RPMs the entire ride for about 13 miles. Then I got in the pool and swam for 15 minutes to cover 600 yards. Then I went home and gave myself my "Thursday Night Shot" and ...


I still feel good this morning! What a nice change of pace....

Hope you are enjoying FRIDAY!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006


It's never been a question of "WHY?" for me ... just a matter of WHEN ....


Nuff said .... Living STRONG!


I keep track of other folks going through the same sorts of stuff that I am over on the Melanoma Patients Information Page Bulliten Board MPIP and it makes me so damn ANGRY when I read about somebody being upgraded in Stages in their fight against Melanoma.

This stuff is freaky and nasty and needs to ELIMINATED!!!!!

Kim_in_Iowa ... FIGHT FIGHT FIGHT ...

Send good Vibes to Kim while she is at MDA in Houston. They just found 2 new mets in her brain and she is going in for Halo insertion and radiology tomorrow.

Kim ... this songs for you! I find inspiration it the lyrics all the time and just last night I was thinking how it reflects how I feel about the Melanoma fight ....

Fighter by Christina Agullera

"'Cause it makes me that much stronger
Makes me work a little bit harder
It makes me that much wiser
So thanks for making me a fighter
Made me learn a little bit faster
Made my skin a little bit thicker
Makes me that much smarter
So thanks for making me a fighter "

-----Freaking Melanoma!!----------


Tuesday, April 11, 2006

It's a boy!!

My sister Heather and Rich just found out yesterday that they are expecting a boucing baby BOY!! Ultrasound technology is amazing!! Truth be told though, Heather told me "It's a boy" about 2 weeks before her Untrasound confirmation... "Motherhood Senses" freak me out a little!

His name is going to be Rowen Joeseph (with two "E"s) and he spent his time yesterday hiding his sweet face from the ultra sound but flashing his little "bits" about .... He already has a great sense of humor! Got to love that in a guy!

I'm looking forward to meeting him in September ... We all are!

Rest and grow strong Baby Rowen! Aunt Holly is already on the lookout for your first bike!

A Motivating Surprise in the Mail!

I got home late last night and had a nice surprise in the form of junk mail from It seems that there were photographers at the finish line of the Cherry Blossom 5K and they got a picture of me as I passed Blond Ponytail, Similar Body Type Lady!

It's a small image (because Marathonphoto wants you to PAY PAY PAY for a big picture) but I am looking strong!

This picture makes me want to go and run some more! Looks like I have some good inspiration for tonight's TEMPO run!

Have a great day folks!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Gettting back on track...

First of all CONGRATUALTIONS to IRON BENNY who finished his first IRONMAN last night in 12:53.09 just before 8PM last night !!

Last week my focus was on getting back to a regular workout schedule in preparation for my first triathlon in over a year. (Marium Lathlum Homegrown Triathlon) Since I have not been very consistent with workouts since my knee problems in January, I had no idea what to expect from this week in terms of energy and endurance.

My week looked something like this:

Tues - 20 minute RUN/WALK (TEMPO PACE 12:00 min miles - 2/1 intervals) - 500 yards in the pool (14:09)

Wed - 10 mile BIKE (inside)

Thurs - 700 yards in pool (with Drills)

Fri - 25 minute RUN/WALK (2:1 intervals)

Sat - OFF - RAINY DAY (missed a 60 minute LONG RUN)

Sun - 20 mile BIKE - OUTSIDE - 1:50 minutes

I was able to complete 6 of the 7 planned workouts. My workouts averaged around 30 minutes a day during the week with a longer bike ride of 2 hours on Sunday. The missed workout happened on a "rainy day" on Saturday but truth be told ... I was going to miss a work out this weekend anyways ... that is how much I underestimated my FATIGUE levels on Interferon.

The FATIGUE from my Inteferon therapy is definately progressive. My workouts on Tuesday and Wed felt like good hard efforts. Thursday swim was hard and by my workout on Friday, I felt like I had nothing to give. It was a lousy run but I was able to finish it. Some workouts are like that. Based on Friday's workout, I was happy that the forcast said "RAIN ALL DAY" on Saturday.

I realized on Sunday that 30 miles wasn't in the cards because I was pretty tired after 10 miles on flat roads so I settled for 20 miles knowing that I would be close to the 2 hour mark; which is where I expect my first race of the season to be (around 2 hours to finish).

Last night I had a hard time sleeping and awoke this morning feeling a little extra lousy but since today is an official "RECOVERY DAY" - I'm not too concerned. I figure that I will re-eavaluate my weekend "long" workouts a little to see if I can find a better balance that lets me get in the workouts I need without leaving me as "tired and cranky" ....

I know there is a happy medium in here somewhere between my fatigue and working out, I simply need to mix things up a little to find it .... and with only 7 weeks to go with the Interferon, I am not going to let a little "FATIGUE" get in my way!

It's Monday! Live STRONG!

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Go Benny Go!

Benny is less than 10 miles from being an IRONMAN! Outstanding job Benny and thanks to his lovely wife Nytro for posting throughout the day!

GO BENNY GO!!! You are truly an inspiration!

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Motivation Central ...

This bumper sticker is on my fridge.

I bought it at the Myrtle Beach Marathon Expo along with a few others. If you come to our place, you will also find two 2006 Bike mileage charts (one for Holly and one for Jim), various magnets that only mean something to Jim and I, a photo of me crossing the finish line at the Timberman Half Ironman in August 2004 and a poem that a fellow TRI_DRS member sent me last year entitled "What will it take?"

The fridge door seems to have become Motivation Central.

Last night I spent some time working on a 5 Week training plan to get me ready for the Homegrown Triathlon on May 7th. So it was no surprise that I wanted to put my 5 week SPRINT TRI workout schedule on the fridge. It is up there and it is a good plan that will get me to Race Day feeling fitter and ready for the distance.

Seeing all that stuff on my fridge made me wonder where other people keep their motivation?

Leave a comment, PLEASE: Where is your MOTIVATION CENTRAL?

Keeping On and Living STRONG!

Monday, April 03, 2006

Waiting with baited breath ...

Cherry Blossom race report coming soon


These are the two litters that my Bengal kittens are going to come
from!!!!!!! We are getting one silver and one brown spotted!

We are planning to meet the breeder and see the kittens at the end of the month ...


Cherry Blossom 5K Race Report

I am keeping this report simple because it was a simple race for me. I had originally signed up for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler back in November but lack of consistent training and some knee issues force me to reconsider the distance. 5K (3.1 miles) would be far enough and I would have to be "OK" with that.

On Saturday, I met up with my friend Keri to pick up our race bibs and tshirts! We both chose to update our shirts to the "tech-T-shirt" and it is a beautiful shirt! I am glad I upgraded!

Sunday started a little later for me than the rest of the folks running the 10 miler. I was out of bed and on the Metro around 7AM and got to the start line at 8AM just as the 10 milers started their day. With 45 minutes to the start of the 5K, I had time to cheer on the kids 1K and do a little stretching. Those KIDS are so much fun to watch ... I could have stood there and cheered them all day long!

Having just come off of physical therapy for my knee and a 24 mile bike ride two days prior, I had no idea what to expect so my plan was to start the race strong, run for as long as I could and then settle into run/walk intervals and enjoy the day! No time goals, no worries, just a fun race.

The gun went off and I ran for about 3 minutes before I had to start my walk breaks. I set my watch for 4/1 minute RUN/Walk intervals and just started slowly moving through the back of the pack. I never had any pain and I had fun keeping track of the people around me. Having run this particular course for many different races, I knew what to expect in terms of terrain (FLAT AND WIND) so I put myself on "Interval Autopilot".

There was one woman who was in my sights the entire race. She had a blond ponytail, similar body type and was running around my pace. She and I passed each other constantly over the course of the race -she ran the entire race and I did my RUN/ walk intervals. With less than 100 yards to the finish line, I found her in front of me by less than 10 feet.

I made up my mind that she was NOT passing me at the finish line and picked up the pace a little and passed right by.

My competitive spirit is alive and well.

Post Race I found myself a spot along the finish line of the 10 Miler and cheered the finishers on until I saw Keri, Nancy and The Other Jeanne finish! The four of us hung out together for a bit and then Nancy gave Keri and I a ride to the Metro!!

Nancy, Keri, Holly & Jeanne - post race
My Final gun time was: 40:55 with an average pace of 13:11

That is right around my pace for the Marine Corps Marathon back in October. I'm satisfied that my fitness levels have not dropped too dramatically in the last few months in spite of my lack of workouts.

AND more importantly I am very inspired to get back on track! I have my first Triathlon of the season in 5 weeks and I am going to write out my training plan tonight!