Friday, June 30, 2006

Bike VA - Tour of Love

V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N !!!!! It is a wonderful thing and our trip was beautiful and we hardly had any rain compared to everybody here at home in the Metro DC area. Here is a brief synopsis with pictures and mileage!


Bike Miles: Holly & Jim - 60 miles

Number of Dogs: 10 dogs, 9 of them chilling in the humidity ...

Summary of Ride: Gentle Rolling thru SouthHill, VA's famous Tobacco fields. The pit stops were EXCELLENT!

Funniest Moment: Dog #10; a white, yappy poodle mix was barking up a storm and chasing some cyclists up the street...until she tried to slide into her front yard and FORGOT that their was a drainage ditch before the yard started. That is the first time I have ever seen a dog do a full front somersault and from the dog's reaction, it was his first time doing one. He immediately STOPPED running and simply stood where he landed and barked at us from afar.

Best Rest Stop: Rest Stop #2 (see picture below)


Bike Miles: Holly - 62 miles Jim - 105 miles

Number of Dogs: 5 dogs, all of them mellow

Summary of Ride: Rolling Downhill toward Emporia, VA and Hot, Hot, Hot!! Tobacco fields everywhere! Lots of GOOD Watermelon and COLD Water!


Bike Miles: Holly & Jim - 40 miles

Number of Dogs: 3 dogs, one was a 3-legged beagle who ran up and down the fields, wagging his tail and howling his "WELCOME" as we entered a REST STOP at his farm....

Coolest thing on the side of the road: A Boy Scout house make entirely of natural things from the area (think wood, nuts, rock, shells). This dragon was the COOLEST!

Summary of Ride: BLUE SKY .... SPRINKLES ... BLUE SKY ... DOWNPOUR...BLUE SKY ...REPEAT... More Rolling Downhill toward Roanoake Rapids, NC ....Wet, Tired and Happy. Still smiling at lunch at the end of the ride!


Bike Miles: Holly & Jim - NONE

Number of Dogs: 2 dogs who lived near the Interstate Inn where we stayed ..

Summary of Day: RELAX and dodge the Rain Showers ... Went to the Matinee Movies ($2.00!!!!) and saw "CARS"


Bike Miles: Holly & Jim - 60 miles

Number of Dogs: 2 dogs (same one from Monday)

Photo Op: Valentine Post Office in Valentine, VA

Summary of Ride: Gentle Uphill, mostly rolling back to SouthHill, VA. No Rain but HOT by ride end! I had a little trouble with my lower back being sore and my kidneys were not keeping up with my water intake so my pace was SLOW ... so slow that Jim had time to get to camp, get our car and luggage AND still be waiting for me at the finish with a smile, hug and dry clothes! Man do I LOVE that part of being slower than him on the bike!


Holly: 220 miles over 5 days
Jim: 265 miles over 5 days

BIKE VA Vacation Summary: WONDERFUL TIME on the BIKE! Lots of open rolling farm roads, a lot of sunscreen, a little rain and no flats!!! Life on a BIKE is GOOD!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Good Luck and Have a Good Week!

First of all GOOD LUCK to the the folks who are racing this weekend; especially folks like Shelley who are tackling IRONMAN CANADA!!

GO, GO, GO and Live STRONG!

I'm OUTA here for a few days. Jim and I are off for our little vacation with Bike VA!!

I'll be back with milage, stories and pictures later next weekend!

Keep Living STRONG!

Oopps!! HeHeHeHe

So Wednesdays are bike commuter day. It is a good way to get some bike miles in and still have the evening to do other stuff. The ride itself is not very difficult or long. It is 13 miles to and from work (26 mile round trip) and follows the Potomac River with no big hills to speak of just some moments of effort.

The course is predominately bike trail and so the hazards are the occasional recreational biker and the flocks of runners but trail manners in this area are better than most. We have more dedicated users during the week and everybody makes room for everybody else by staying to the right, calling out when passing and being fairly predictable in behavior.

I tell you the course nature so that you can appreciate what happen to me today.

I know this route to work and home very well. I have been on these trails for about 5 years. After 5 years, you know which little climbs need a little jump out of the saddle, which require a nice easy spin and when you can coast and chill.

So yesterday's trip home was HOT and WINDY! I don't mind either but both together makes you feel like you are riding in an oven with the fans on. I'd rather have a cool headwind than a hot headwind any day. So here I was on the trail, heading home at a moderate pace. My only goal - HOME - no extra miles, no extra effort, just a good base mileage ride. I had a lot on my mind, I am working on plans for a Baby Shower, I have to pack for Bike VA, the kittens are coming home in less than 10 days and I still have decided where the kitty litter will be .... On and on my brain went.

So you an imagine my SHOCK when I looked up to navigate a detour in the trail and realized .... I MISSED A CLIMB!

No I didn't go off course and I hadn't gone a different route, I was simply so distracted by what was going on in my head that I did the climb with no effort at all! It was so easy that I didn't even remember doing it!

Now I have to laugh because I don't know if I should be THRILLED that my fitness is coming back enough to make that small climb a non-issue or WORRIED that my "coming off of Interferon" brain is able to loose a full mile worth a riding!

HEHEHEHE ... I will choose to be THRILLED! Bike VA is going to be a trip folks!! I might even feel *FIT* by the time I get back!

But for now, back to packing and list of things to do!

Keep Living STRONG!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Somebody who inspires me..

This is Rosey (top) and Elly (bottom) and they live in Upstate New York with my Aunt Pat and Uncle Jim.

They may look like simple barn cats but they are more than that ....

They are "Anti-Depressants" that purr ...

My Uncle Jim is one of my "LiveSTRONG" Heros. About a year before my own diagnosis, I found out that he was diagnosed with colon cancer. The Doctors prognosis was grim... less than a year. Early on, when I heard about his cancer, I sent him and my Aunt a set of Live STRONG bracelets and told him about Lance Armstrong. My Aunt then went on-line and bought 20 bracelets to hand out of fellow patients at Uncle Jim's chemo center. That is the kind of woman my Aunt is! Strong and full of Positive Energy.

My Uncle, Jim Bowdish has been fighting hard and strong for over 2 years now. That shows how much Doctors know about strength and will especially from a real tough Yankee.

He is currently on the last kind of chemo they can give him and Each round of chemo has worked at keeping the cancer at bay which is what we want. His next step is to look for clinical trials. He and Aunt Pat work hard with his Doctors to keep on top of new chemo drugs because you never know when another will be approved in the next weeks or months. He will be 72 in Sept and Aunt Pat and Uncle Jim will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary in the same month!

His fight continues daily and he is the epitome of what it means to "Live STRONG". Whenever I felt sorry for myself over this past year, I would think of him and know that I was not the only one fighting. And he is one of the reason that I am planning to ride the LiveSTRONG ride in Philly in September!!

$1440.00 raised ... only 3660.00 to go! Thanks to everybody who has contributed so far!

Keep Living STRONG Y'all!

Monday, June 19, 2006

On the Go & 15 seconds of Fame ...

In an effort to break my "Diet Coke" habit and cut down on my general sodium intake, I have started drinking water at lunch with raspberry Lemonade - Crystal Light -On the Go! ...

I just don't have the heart to simply squeeze lemon in my water so it is worth the 5 calories to have some taste and 28 grams less sodium. I want to reduce my Diet Coke habit to 1-2 bottles (20 oz.) a week instead of 1-2 per day.

This weekend was VERY PRODUCTIVE indeed! I did a 3 mile run/walk on Saturday which left me convinced that it is time for new running shoes. While I didn't "feel" like I was going very slowly, the chrono on my watch indicated otherwise. I think it might have something to do with the temperature at the time of my run (75 F) and the long sleeve running shirt that I ran in IN ADDITION to the shoes. When I took a look at them after the run, I notice that I have no tread left ... Shame on me ...Bad Runner Girl ... So I bought some new shoes this weekend!

The new shoes are Men's ASICS® GEL -Kayano® XII (I have big feet so I feel more comfortable in Men's running shoes) and they are so pretty and comfy ... I feel like I am wearing slippers! I can't wait to break them in this week!

On Sunday I did leisurely 40 mile BIKE ride on my own on the trails here in the area. I rode up to my old neighborhood in Falls Church, VA and then back home. Again, a slow pace but I don't really care right now ... I am just happy to get out and ride my bike. I am really looking forward to Bike VA 2006 this coming weekend! 5 days of me and Jim and our bikes! Doesn't get much better!!

Finally, I have almost used up my 15 minutes of Fame .... I was recently interviewed and had a small quote in an article here in U.S. News & World Report ... it is on newstands today.

My quote is at the very end of the article and it one of many pieces that was written by by Katherine Hobson. Included in the issue is a piece on time management (here) in which Nancy Toby was interview and quoted too!

Now ...on with a new week! Did I mention that my new kittens Wallace and Grommet are coming HOME on July 1st?

Bike Vacation followed by Kittens AND an article in U.S. News?

Life is good! Keep Living STRONG!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Finding Some Balance .. (warning long post)

I read the comments that all of you are so kind to post but sometimes, quite frankly, they don't sink in. If they had, perhaps this week would have started a little better.

You see Peter, in response to my "Cancer Free" post, had said:

"Absolutely fabulous! I am so pleased for you. Just don't overdo it until you really build up again."

And so what happened? I completely "Overdid" the rest of my week.

Early in the week, Jim and I had lots of very welcome COMPANY in the form of family and friends. My workouts were non-existent from Friday to Wednesday but we were busy and it was worth it to spend time with the people I love.

Thursday was the bike commute to work which, as I said before, was probably 10 extra miles too many. I did 34 miles for the day when the entire commute trip is actually 24 miles roundtrip.

Friday, in prep for a Hike on Saturday, I did my normal 5K route from the house. I didn't worry about my pace and just jogged when I felt good and walked when I needed a break. I was out for about 45 minutes.

On Saturday Jim and I met up with friends to hike "Old Rag" out near Lurray, VA. It is a 7 mile hike that starts with about 2.5 miles of woods hiking and rock scrambles to the summit followed by 4.5 miles of wood hiking and long wide fire roads and takes up the morning, usually about 3-4 hours of moving with a stop at the top for a hearty snack.

I had expressed to Jim that even though I did this hike last fall, while on Interferon treatment, I wasn't so sure about how well I would keep up with the group. I have put on 30 pound since that hike last October '05 and even though I was on chemo, I was just a week out from the Marine Corps Marathon and in much better shape. Jim reassured me that I would be able to finish and that some of the folks we were hiking with were coming back from injuries themselves.

"This would be a fun hike, not a timed ascent."

I kept that in my head as we began the hike. I did my best to keep moving but found myself needing more rest breaks than in previous hikes. Even though our hiking partners were recovering from injuries, these folks were still keeping a good pace and chatting away, while I hung onto the back of the group, head down, breathing deep.

We got to the first major marker, where the hike become a series of rock scrambles, and I thought about stopping for the day and letting Jim go on with the rest of the group. I few sips of Gatorade and a moment to rest soon changed my mind.....

for about 5 minutes, until the real rock scrambling began and my legs started "screaming" and shooting "lactic acid" all through my muscles....

I stopped, in place, looked at Jim and said: "Two hours of hiking is enough for me today. I'll take my snacks and a bottle of Gatorade and meet you guys at the trail head. Go on and catch up." I reached into the fanny pack that Jim was carrying and took my ham-n-cheese on wheat, my trail mix and was grabbing for the Gatorade bottle when it hit me...

I don't QUIT!

I looked at Jim, who had said nothing except, "Okay, if you need to do that, I understand" and said "Damnit!" and I stuffed my food back in the fanny pack, handed him back the Gatorade bottle and started moving up the trail, at my own pace.

We finished the hike after nearly 5 hours on the trail. Both tired but content to have had the chance to enjoy a beautiful day in the woods.

Sunday I took off from exercise and simply ran around the house all day doing errands and little projects. Seemed like a good day of recovery.


Which is why on Monday, I was the most miserable person you have ever met. I was high strung, cranky and snacking out of control. And for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why I was having such a HARD TIME. It wasn't like I got up and did a workout or had a stressful work day ahead of me. Why did I feel like I was going insane?

I kid you not, it took me all day to figure out where this funk was coming from ...for the last week I have either been ON or completely OFF. There has been no balance. It was like I go that "Cancer Free" diagnosis and decided: "Okay, get back to life as you knew it last spring ... as FAST AS YOU CAN!"

Funny thing is that my body and soul don't work like that. There is no "getting back" at this point. Sure the fitness will return over time and the weight will drop back to normal but that doesn't happen by "going back".

It happens by moving forward.

And it helps if you take a little time to make sure you are "steady and balanced" and know the general direction you are headed in. It is a simple rule but so easy to forget. I forgot but now I am beginning to remember.

And as Peter, so kindly recommended, I am going to take it a little slow and not "overdo it until you really build up again."

Live STRONG Everybody!

Sunday, June 11, 2006


Nancy finished Eagleman 70.3 in 7:30:32!!!!!!!!!

THAT IS AN 1 hour and 20 minutes faster than last year!


SWIM - 55:30
Bike - 3:44:38
RUN - 2:42:02

OVERALL - 7:30:32 / RANKED - 1368



Just a quick update ...Nancy is off the bike and onto the RUN...


Swim: 59:45
Bike: 3:44:38
Run: in progress...

Following NANCY's Day

For those of you who are following Nancy ... I am happy to report that she is out of the swim and on the bike with a combined SWIM/T1 time of 59:45

She must have missed the mat coming out of the water ...

A SUB-1 HOUR SWIM! Already a HUGE PR from last year's swim time of 1:28.... BOOOYAAA!


You can track her race here ...

She is bib #1859

Friday, June 09, 2006

The results are back ......

and the CT Scans were NEGATIVE!!!

I am now officially "CANCER FREE" ....



Yesterday I commuted into work on my bike and the weather was darn near perfect. I covered 34 miles for the day (with an extra 10 miles on the ride home for good measure. As I rode home, I ran through my list of "things to do" and realized that this weeks marks 20 weeks until the Maine 1/2 Marathon with my youngest sister Cathy so I will be pulling out my running books this weekend and settling into a training plan.

A few weeks ago, while Jim and I were visiting, my friend Rochelle (Hey Roche!!) mentioned that she was planning to run the Stonewall Jackson Ambulance Run which falls the weekend after my half-marathon. Since have had a "DNF" (did not finish) in the innagural running of that race (it turned out to be a stress fracture in my foot) - I think that might be a great race to do. The training milage will give me a strong base for the 1/2 Marathon and it's a great course with a wonderful friend ... How can THAT be bad?

In just 2 weeks, Jim and I will be taking a week off of work to ride Bike Virginia. SInce we are at completely different paces this year, I will be spending much of the daily rides alone, unless you count the other 1,998 riders who are registered. I am looking forward to the trip and to the days of riding. I am also looking forward to buy one of this years jerseys. They are so cute!!!

Did you know that this weekend, Nancy will be tackling the Eagleman 70.3 Triathlon. It is her second time racing this distance AND a big milestone on her way to IRONMAN FLORIDA in November! GO NANCY GO!!!!!

So to recap: I'm CANCER-FREE, my race calendar is filling up and Nancy is going to ROCK the Eagleman Course!


Ellie too!

I nearly forgot to mention that Ellie is running the Hatfield-McCoy Marathon is Saturday!

May the wind be at your back Ellie! ROCK THAT RUN!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Waiting for the "ALL CLEAR"

We interrupt this very busy week of work, company and life in general to share that I had my first round of "follow-up" CT scans (brain, thorax, abdomen & pelvis) yesterday and I think it is safe to assume that my digestive system can't handle the "iodine & apple juice" mix. UGH!! I did *not* feel too good after two large glasses of that mix.

I don't recall getting sick on the chalky milkshakes they made me drink last time so I guess I will request those instead next time around.

Waiting for the official "all clear" and enjoying the fact that I only take a One-A-Day and Vitamin C every morning now!

Back to work ... more to share on the weekend later!!


Friday, June 02, 2006

A week OFF of Interferon!

So it has been a full week (actually 9 days!) since my last shot of Interferon and already I can tell the difference:

1. I am sleeping well, no lucid, crazy, "Did we talk about this already, Jim?" dreams

2. I am waking up rested and happy. None of the "is it time to get up already?" groans...

3. I have not had a headache in 9 days!

4. My right knee and hip are not sore!!!

5. I am much more pleasant to be around in work!!
(A great thing considering that graduation is next week and everything is RUSH - I NEEDED THIS YESTERDAY at NDU)

6. After 12 hours at work (overtime BABY!) I am actually able to make complete sentences and stay awake.

7. While my weight has not changed, my body fat percentages have dropped 5% points.

The workouts are not showing any big improvement yet but it has only been 9 days and I expect it to be a month or so before I start seeing significant improvement there. So in general, all is good!
RE: My LiveSTRONG Challenge

WOW!! Thank you so much to everybody for your love and support!! I never expected to raise $675.00 in less than 24 hours. You guys are wonderful!!!! I will be getting together my "snail mail" lists to mail to family and friends who don't get on-line much later this weekend! Only $4325.00 to reach my goal!!
Jim and I are expected a full house this weekend with Family and Friends so I don't expect to have time to post. Have a fantastic weekend and I will catch up with all of you on Monday!

Keep Living STRONG!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

2006 LIVESTRONG Challenge Philadelphia

It's official ... I'm registered to ride 70 miles on September 10, 2006, in Philadelphia with a team representing Cyclists Combating Cancer.

My fundraising goal is $5,000.

It’s been just 14 months since I got the diagnosis that changed my life. When I found out I had cancer, I was scared, angry, hurt and worried for my family and myself. As I experienced all of the treatments, the side effects, the ups and downs, more and more I wanted to fight. I did not want to let cancer take away my health, my hope, my life.

I am not alone. More than 10 million Americans are currently living with cancer. More than 1.3 million people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with cancer this year alone.

In honor of my battle with cancer, and for all of those millions of people in the same fight, I’m participating in the LIVESTRONG® Challenge Philadelphia in September.

The Lance Armstrong Foundation believes that in the battle with cancer, unity is strength, knowledge is power and attitude is everything. Founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist, Lance Armstrong, the LAF provides the practical information and tools people living with cancer need to live life on their own terms. Their mission is to inspire and empower people affected by cancer and they serve this mission through advocacy, public health and research programs.

Step up and Live STRONG out of your wallet this time, if you can ....

Click the button below to donate online or to print a donation form to mail.

For donations by mail and employer matching gifts, my participant ID to include on the form is 11040911.

Thanks so much!! Live STRONG!!!