Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Dead Legs...

I had DEAD LEGS on my 18 mile BIKE last night but it's not as bad as it sounds.

DEAD LEGS is the expression that Jim and I use when we do a ride or a run and it feels like you have "nothing" available to give in the workout. I guess it would be easier to say that "my legs felt really *fatigued* during last nights workout" but the truth is that DEAD LEGS is more accurate in terms of how it feels.

So I am going to take an unplanned RECOVERY day today and move my next run to tomorrow night. It's all about training smart this time around. Besides, when it comes to workouts "A Change will do you Good" as the Sheryl Crow song says.

Tonight we have a trip to the Vet for Wallace and Grommette. So far they don't associate anything *bad* with these Vet visits and so they behave well and don't mind the car ride. This will be the first time that they won't ride together in the same cat carrier because they are getting too big. I am betting that Wallace (who is a serious chatter-box) will talk non-stop all the way to the Vet office. I'm thinking I might bring along the camera ... and share the *fun*.

Great News in recently in Cancer Research: Scientists have found a way to trick cancer cells into committing suicide. Here is hoping that they can make use of this great new discovery sooner rather than later.

Have a good day! Live STRONG!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Good Beginnings...

WAAHOOO!! I rode 40 miles on Sunday and other than being a little tired, nothing else ached or hurt and the saddle soreness was minimal. This weeks plans are to get in at least one 20 mile ride (if not two) and log 55 miles this weekend and I should be in good shape to handle the 70 mile of the LiveSTRONG Challenge ride next weekend in Philadelphia. (Sept 10th)

My running is going well and this weeks goal is to get in at least 10 miles cumulatively with the focus being a long run of at least 4-5 miles over the weekend.

In other news... Wallace and Grommette are becoming serious *BED HOGS* ....It's a king size bed for goodness sakes so with all that extra room, WHY DO THE FEEL THEY NEED TO SLEEP RIGHT NEXT TO ONE OR BOTH OF US!!!!

Jim and I don't even sleep that close to each other!!

I guess I need to teach the cats that there is a time to *cuddle* and a time to *sleep*. No touching when you sleep ... I get too hot!!

Cool Picture right? I can't remember if I posted this before but it was to celebrate the end of Interferon back in May. Cool Champagne flutes were a gift from my youngest sister Cathy!

More later in the week! Keep Living STRONG!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Holly Tested, Kitten Approved

Well my new running shoes came in on Wednesday night so I took them for their first test run on Thurday night. The verdict?


I love them! For the official record they are Brooks Adrenaline GTS 6 just like Bolder has and I have to give him KUDOS cause he has GREAT taste in shoes!

For those of you who are of the female persuation who are wondering why my shoes are yellow while yours are blue, they are yellow because I buy the mens version. My feet are very long for a woman and mens running shoes just fit better!

But the real test of news shoes is how well they are recieved by Wallace & Grommette, our official shoe testers. They test for shoe lace taste and ability to withstand "Bengal curiosity test" ...

Grommette, leaning in to test their tensile strength while on the user...

Wallace is much more critical, you can see it in his eyes ...

Approved!!.. after some testing
(which included dragging one shoe around a little...)

Speaking of Wallace and Grommette, the kittens are doing well and growing like WEEDS! The proof is in the pictures. These two pictures are only 4 weeks apart. For the record, both of them are still at least 8-12 pounds from their potential max weight. Jim and I are excited and a little nervous ... in a good way!

July 20th, 2006

August 20th, 2006
Today marks my 3rd day of running this week. Nothing too steep in terms of milage, just 3 miles but each workout is getting better and better in terms of effort and energy. AND DAMN, does it feel GOOD!

Enjoy your weekend! Keep Living STRONG!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

A Baby Shower for Heather!

(Blogger Note: This is a LONG post with lots of pictures - You have been warned!)

Finally, I have the time to tell you all about last weekend's trip to Myrtle Beach and the Baby Shower that "We" ("G" Girls and "T" Girls) gave my sister Heather!

The weekend started on Thursday with my youngest sister Cathy, flying into DC from Maine and spending the day with me. We went to work for 1/2 the day and then, due to rain, skipped the planned trip to the National Zoo and went shopping and home to play with Wallace and Grommette (my own personal zoo).

Cathy and I loaded up the SUV and headed South! The 7-hour drive was spent talking, laughing, counting "South of the Border" signs and stopping for multiple "rest stop" breaks. We did attempt to snag a "South of the Border" bib for Baby Rowen, but saddly there were none to be had.

BASTARDS! Hehehe....

On the Road .. . Cathy & Holly

We arrived in Myrtle Beach on Friday afternoon and descended upon Heather and Rich. Heather was not only expecting the two of us, but her childhood girlfriends, Kelin and Sam. It was a housefull of laughter and smiles. Heather had no idea that there were suprises in store for her!



SUPRISE #1 - Mystery Guest: Around 1100PM, We told Heather that we were craving "ICE CREAM" and managed to wisk her out of the house and into my car. The five of us (Holly, Heather, Cathy, Kelin and Sam) quickly drove to the Airport, where Heather began asking 20 questions ...Who is coming? Do I know them? Do you know them?

It was our MOM, Carol! Heather was convinced that Carol was not going to be able to make the shower after a recent move and was not going to be able to come to town until after the baby was born. Needless to say, Heather was surprised and so happy!!! It was a great way to end the day!

SATURDAY: Surprise #2 - Your Baby Shower is today!
Saturday morning, we all took a trip to Build-A-Bear where we made 4 stuffed animals for Rowen (ironically none of them bears) and then Carol and I took off to run some "errands".

All along Heather was under the impression that her baby shower was going to be on Sunday. Being a Graphic Designer, part of my gift to Heather was designing the invitations to her shower. In an effort to keep the SURPRISE a secret, I went so far as to send Heather a fake invitation! She had no idea that the shower was Saturday.

The weather even played a part in helping us keep it a secret until the very last moment. I have never been so happy for rain! Less than 30 minutes before the shower, which was being held at the Clubhouse at the top of the street that leads to Heather's home, she spied both my car and Jan "Ts" (Grandma-to-be). When asked why we were there, Cathy quickly replied that "We were worried that it might rain tomorrow and we are looking at alternate sights. Holly and Jan want us to stop by at 1:30 to check things out." Heather bought the reason, hook, line and sinker!

Fake Invite

Real Invite

So at 130pm, Heather, Cathy, Kelin and Sam rolled up to the Clubhouse. Heather recognized other cars immediately but at that point, there was no need to worry, the surprise was complete! She walked in and the Baby Shower began!

A Luau Baby Shower

The amazing cake with baby photos of Heather and Rich!!

Gifts for Baby Rowen, Heather and Rich!


Heather in her guenuine Hawaian Haku Lei
(it is bad luck to put a "closed lei" on an expecting mother)

All the decorations and the beautiful cake were the fine work of Rich's mom, (soon-to-be-Grandma) Jan and his sisters Hope and Katie. They did a beautiful job! Grandma-To-Be Carol made sure we had plenty of wonderful snacks and little sandwiches to enjoy.

Cathy and I took charge of the shower favors and the games and prizes. What is a party without some games? We had 3 games for guests to play and the winners left with "shower" gifts of their own. (think SPA-types of girly stuff).

Game 1: Guess how big Mommy's Belly is? (Ribbon Game)
Game 2: Baby Food Taste Test - Guest had to taste 5 foods and guess their flavor...
Game 3: Guess how many NERDS were in the Baby Bottle (Heather's favorite cancy) ...

ribbon game
Heather in Ribbon - such a good sport!

Baby Food Taste Test

Sam considering the number of NERDS in the bottle...

We also had a "Craft Corner" where we asked guests to make a foam fish, that we later made into a mobile that will hang in Rowen's bedroom. The fish were a little harder to make than we expected but we ended up with over 15 fish to string when all was said and done!

Make a fish for Baby Rowen!

Katie making a fish!

After some games and some snacks, Rich arrived from a break from work and we had them get started on opening all the gifts. They got lots of wonderful stuff and plenty of practical items too including lots of diapers because you can never use too many diapers! Here is a photo hightlight of a few of the gifts they recieved:

A warm "Winnie-the-Pooh" blankie

Rowen's first SOCCER onsie (with Heather's Varsity Captain number)

Great Reading .. Where the Sidewalk Ends

Rowen's first bank - Noah's Ark style

A home-made blanket for Rowen from Aunt Pat and Uncle Jim!

Clothes that will make Rowen the coolest baby on the block!

Rowen's "Home from the Hospital" outfit - from Aunt-to-Be Cathy!

After opening gift, everybody enjoyed some cake and we round out the party with some gifts that Cathy had put together for everybody. Each guest got a little bag-to-go filled with things that reminded us of Heather. The "shower" bags included a "Pirate Rubby Ducky, a Turtle soap, and a floating Hybiscus flower candle along with a sweet "Thank you note" signed "Love, Baby Rowen"

A basket of gifts for the Guests

Rowen's "Thank You" Poem

Heather and Rich, at the shower!

Cathy, Holly, Heather and Carol!! The "G" girls!

Katie, Jan, Heather & Hope - The "T" girls!

Sam, Heather and Kelin - The "VT" girls!

Post-Baby Shower, we loaded all the gifts in the cars, cleaned the club house and headed back to Heather and Rich's to relax and enjoy the rest of the afternoon and evening. The night was pretty low-key but everybody was tired from the busy day and we all just relaxed and enjoy each other's company.

SUNDAY: On Sunday we had a Cook-Out with the "G" family, the "T" family and a few close friends of Heather and Rich. It was low-key, fun and SUNNY! A great way to spend the day as the new, bigger family!

Mommy (Heather) & Daddy (Rich) & Rowen (in Utero)
in their tradditional Hawaian Haki Lei and Kukui Nut Lei

"Grandma-to-Be" Jan

"Grandma-to-Be" Carol and "Mommy-to-be" Heather

"Aunt-to-Be" Holly (pleasingly plump at the moment)

Relaxing after a long weekend!

Sunday night we relaxed some more and dropped Mom off at the airport for the long flight home. Which turned out to be an overnight layover in Dulles (DC region) due to delayed flights! Gotta love flying!

MONDAY: It was time for Cathy and I to pack the car up and head back to VA while Heather headed to the airport to see Kelin and Sam back to New England. Heather and Rich were wonderful hosts for the long weekend and Heather rolled with each surprise with style and grace! Pretty impressive when you consider that she is 35 weeks pregnant with her first baby!

35 weeks and COUNTING! Go Heather Go!

It was a great weekend and by far the * best* Baby Shower that I have given so far and I have given more than my share. Am I biased because it was one of my baby sisters? Probably ... but wouldn't you be too?

Less than 5 weeks til Baby Rowen's arrival!! We can't wait to have you here!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

This and That

To all my family members and close family friends who keep stopping in to see if I have posted the Baby Shower BLOG and Pictures yet - HAVE FAITH, that post will come. I have regretably been having problems with getting the pictures exported but I hope to have it resolved before the weeks end.
So as I mentioned before, I have some events coming up in the next six weeks (LiveSTRONG Challenge 70 Mile BIKE and Maine 1/2 Marathon) whose distances demand that I get back "in the saddle" and "on the road". With my calf muscle healed, I headed out on Sunday and did my first 20 mile bike ride *since* Bike VA in late June.

I really didn't plan to be off the bike for that long ... it just happened that way between injuries, illness and other priorities.

I am happy to say that 20 miles felt great and I'm gunning for a solid 30-40 mile long ride this weekend along with a short 20 miler later this week.

On the running front, things are slow but steady. I have been walking as much as I can but last night was my first official RUN since the injury so I was feeling very anxious. I started out really slow with some run/walking and promised myself that this was a *2 mile* workout. No need to go and try to pack on the miles too quickly.

The running portions of the workout felt good! No pain and lots of sweat! Today my quads are a little sore, in a good way and I woke up with that familiar feeling that I hadn't realized I missed. I wish I could put the feeling into words but I don't have words for it... it just feel familiar and comforting, like I can finally breathe deeper again.

So today will be a rest day since Jim and I have a big trip to the commissary planned and tomorrow I will head out an do another 2 mile run. I am feeling encouraged enough to resurect the old "Weekly Workout" portion of the side bar.

Nancy was talking in her post today about how she get excited over Handle Bar tape instead of jewelry, clothes or makeup. I can definatley relate! I am waiting on a new pair of running shoes. They are Brooks Adrenaline GTS 6 ...they are SOOOOO cool and bright yellow! I can wait till they arrive on my doorstep!

Pretty New Shoes!!

I'm a triathlon gear geek and PROUD OF IT!

Life is Good! Live STRONG and enjoy your day!

Monday, August 21, 2006

Who's In Charge here?

This morning, Wallace, our beautiful brown spotted Bengal boy did something pretty darn sneaky.

BACKSTORY: Jim and I have two alarms. Jim gets up at 5:50 and I get up around 6:05. So Jim takes the first shift of feeding the cats in the morning.

Now over the last six weeks, Wallace and Grommette have come to learn that incessant meowing does not wake up Holly and Jim. At least not to the extent that they will get out of bed and feed the cats. They must wait for the alarm clock.

When the alarm goes off, Wallace goes off too! He will jump on the bed and meow and do his little Bengal "Yowl", chattering up a storm until somebody gets out of bed and feeds him. Grommette is a smart little Bengal girl. She just lets Wallace do all the work and reserves her high-pitched "Mews" for when she really want our attention.

Even with the routine, the cats can be very accommodating. I'd say that 4 out of 7 days a week, Wallace doesn't make a peep until he hears the alarm, even when we set it later on the weekends. 4 our of 7 days of predictable behavior is pretty good for a cat, let alone two of them. Ask any cat owner you know....


Jim and I set one alarm for 6AM because there was no need for him to be up at his regular time of 5:50AM.

This was not to Wallace's liking so at 5:51AM, we heard a sound we had never heard before ....

SOMEBODY was shaking the bedroom blinds.

Jim and I looked at each other, raised our sleepy heads and look toward the window to see Wallace with one paw on the blinds, rattling away and looking at us. Of course as soon as he saw the whites of our eyes, the "Feed Me" chatter began in earnest and let go of the blind and hopped on the bed, bouncing from Jim to me to Grommette (who was also sleeping in) until all of us began to move.

So exactly who is training who?

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Surprise, I'm BACK ....

Sorry that I have been slacking on the posting lately, I was busy organizing and coordinating a Baby Shower for one of my two sisters. It was a surprise shower held in Myrtle Beach, SC so you can imagine just how much work was involved. I'm happy to say that the shower was a big success and my sister, Heather, was indeed surprised.
Doesn't she look surprised? And ready to give birth any day?

She and the baby have 5 more weeks ...

I'll post more on the shower and pictures later as I promised to friends and family.
My cough is history and my calf is healed so the time has come to get back on track and boy am I ever ready. I have about 4 weeks until the LiveSTRONG Challenge and roughly 6 weeks until the Maine 1/2 Marathon which my sister Cathy and I plan to run together. While my injury set me back a little, I am holding onto the fact that I have base miles and experience at these distances for both events.

Neither race is going to be a Personal Record (otherwise known as a PR) but I'm sure that I can cover the distances, have fun and use them to jump start my training. I have decided that I have two big *A* races for next season which were chosen with the hope that the workout volumes will lead me into my push to race an IRONMAN in Fall 2008.

My current "Raod to IRONMAN" plan is to do the following big events:

Myrtle Beach 1/2 Marathon - Feb 2007
EagleMan 1/2 Ironman - June 2007
Marine Corps Marathon - Oct 2007
IRONMAN Florida and/or Wisconson - Fall 2008

My guess is that I will end up doing IRONMAN Florida since I plan to head down there this fall and volunteer for the race and check out the venue. The ocean swim still scares the crap out of me but I vow to wait and see how Nancy rates the swim and then make my decisions.

Why do Myrtle Beach and Marine Corps again? Well why not? I have course records to smash AND my sister Heather wants to train for her first Marathon post-pregnancy. The two of us have such a good time running together that she decided she wanted Marine Corps to be her first marathon and ask me to run it with her. I would NEVER say no! I am honored to tag along and help her reach her goal!

Of course there will be some other races that will happen over the next 2 years for prep and practice but in the sense I am going to take Nancy's lead and try to keep my focus on "training for the Ironman" so the other races that I do will be "training days with lots of like-minded" friends.

But not too loose focus, I have alot to do in the next 6 weeks to prep for the LiveSTRONG Challenge and the Maine 1/2 Marathon with my youngest sister Cathy. So off to the gym, I go!!

I have Baby Shower tales and much to share on the antic of Wallace and Grommet ... those blogs are coming soon!! Stay tuned ... It is going to be a busy Fall!

Keep Living STRONG!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Just Gotta Say It...

Grow up and put on your G-D sunscreen people!!!!

Oh that's right, "Cancer happens to other people, not me ..."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Triathletes Drink Beer, Raise Money for Cancer

Now this is a great little event, from the pages of Triathlete Magazine....

Alternative athletics: 30-plus triathletes mark first-annual beer mile for cancer research By Cameron Elford

I have been thinking about fundriasers and Melanoma awareness myself lately. I have some ideas brewing but nothing to "BLOG" about just yet.

In the meantime, Jim and I are still working on fundraising for the Live STRONG Challenge - Philadelphia Ride in September. While I have been able to raise over $2,180.00 - Jim has a ways to go to make his goal and only 4 weeks left to reach his minimum of $500.00 raised.

If you have not already made a donation, please consider supporting our effort!!

Jim's Donation Page

In other news, I am going to the gym tonight for my first workout since the calf muscle injury. I am going to try 20 minutes on the CrossTrainer (low impact) and some gentle stretching. You could not even *BEGIN* to understand how happy I am to be getting back to some kind of sweaty cardio.

HaHa . who am I kidding, 75% of you are cardio junkies just like me! You ALL get it! And I can't wait to "Get to IT!" Just 7 more hours of work to go...


Monday, August 07, 2006

The most hated woman in the house....

For about 2 minutes every day this week, Wallace will *HATE* me.


He has a little kitten cold (which I am happy to say I did not give him!! The Vet said that is not possible) and the Vet prescribed him 1/4 of a dose of a pill, twice-a-day....

Have YOU ever tried to give a cat a pill? A pill that he is not allowed to chew?

Yesterday is was pretty easy to do, it was new and Wallace had no idea what we were doing and it was two against one, Humans Win! This morning it was one-on-one and proved to be tramatic for both of us. I figured if I gave it to him just before I fed him for the day, he would forget quickly. I even put some cat food juice on the "handy dandy pill popper stick" that the vet gave us. It took 3 attemps and much complaining, from both Wallace and myself AND I have to do it again tonight when I get home.

So I went on-line to see if I could find any better "suggestions" on how to give my kitten this pill twice a day and I found the following - I think I may have to wait until Jim get's home from his work travel do continue treatments .... ENJOY!


1. Pick cat up and cradle it in the crook of your left arm as though holding a baby. Position right forefinger and thumb on either side of cat's mouth and gently apply pressure to his cheeks. Cat will then close mouth and swallow.

2. Retrieve pill from floor and cat from behind sofa. Repeat the process.

3. Retrieve cat from bedroom and throw soggy pill away.

4. Remove second pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open, and push pill to back of throat with forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of 10, if you are able. Hold cat's mouth closed as well.

5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call for assistance.

6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, immobilizing front and rear paws. Ask assistant to hold cat's head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into cat's throat. Flick pill down ruler with forefinger, and rub cat's throat vigorously.

7. Retrieve cat from living room curtain valance.

8. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and set aside for later gluing. Remove third pill from foil wrap.

9. Wrap cat in beach towel, and ask assistant to lie prone on cat with cat's head visible under assistant's armpit. Put pill in paper tube you've made for this purpose. Then, force cat's mouth open with pencil and blow.

10. Check label to make sure pill is not lethal to humans. Sip water to take taste away. Apply bandage to assistant's forearm and remove blood from carpet with soap and cold water.

11. Retrieve cat from neighbor's roof. Remove fourth pill from foil. Place cat in cupboard, and close door on cat's neck and head outside cupboard. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with rubber band.

12. Fetch screwdriver from garage, and put cupboard door back on hinges. Apply cold compress to cheek, and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Throw bloodied, ripped T-shirt away, and fetch another from bedroom.

13. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Too FUNNY not to share...

My sister Heather is the funniest (& one of the funnest) people that I know and she just recently posted the following on her blog... She has just 8 weeks to go in her pregnancy.

My sister is defintely living STRONG!! ENJOY! (Last names altered to protect the unborn....)


Eviction Notice

July 28, 2006

To: Rowen Joeseph T (a.k.a. little fetus)

Re: Eviction Notice

Dear Mr. T,

This letter is to inform you that you have sixty (60) days to vacate the premises of : Mommy's (Heather) uterus. While you have been a wonderful tenant in the past, we have recently recieved many complaints of your behavior. This behavior includes: kicks to the ribcage, using the bladder as a trampoline, squashing the lungs resulting in shortness of breath, insomnia, swelling, and being the cause of general overall discomfort.

Our utmost concern is your health. Therefore, we would like to stress that we are in no rush for you to vacate premises before those sixty days unless you are developmentally ready (a.k.a. "done baking"). Please take as much time as needed to fully develp: lungs, brain, heart, and all bodily functions necessary for survival on the outside.

In order to assist you in this transition, we have provided a team of people who are eagerly awaiting you on the outside. This includes your mommy and daddy, four aunts, but just one uncle, four very excited grandparents, and a handful of friends who already consider you family. All of these people will ensure that you find your stay on the "outside" very comfortable and full of love.

Again, we thank you for your timely attention to this matter. If not vacated by the 27th of September, physical action may be taken, including but not limited to: jumping on a trampoline, eating super hot chicken wings, or anything else of (desperate) mommy's discretion.

Once again, we hope you enjoyed your stay, but now it's time to get out.

Sincerely, Mommy (a.k.a. owner, Heather's Uterus)

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

HOT and Efficient

IT IS HOT OUT HERE!! Okay, so it was HOT out West and Central days before it came here to the East Coast but MY, MY, MY it sure is HOT! Code Red, Air quality HOT ... so if you are working out, stay in the gym!

I have been working on efficiency these past few days. I decided it would be much more efficient use of my time to "get a cold now" rather than wait until early Fall when I have alot of things going on. Really, I planned it this way. Honest...

Yeah, so being sick gives me a reason to stay off my torn calf muscle without remorse. I only have one regret....

Wallace (one of our two kittens) was seen sneezing this morning, several times. It appears I may have given him my cold. Now that would be awful.

The Doctor gave me some killer cough medicine and antibiotics (to be filled only *IF* the cold is not gone by weeks end) and in the mean time, my right calf is causing me no pain so it looks like once I can get this "goop" out of my lungs, I am free to get back on the bike and out on the trails.

So I figure a cold NOW, in the middle of summer EQUALS No Colds all winter long!!! Fingers Crossed...

Keep Living STRONG!!