Friday, September 29, 2006

Maine for the Weekend

So this weekend is the Maine Half Marathon, which I will be participating in with my sister Cathy.

This is the weather forcast for Portland, ME on Sunday:

A chance of rain, mainly after 8am. Partly cloudy, with a high near 61. East wind between 9 and 11 mph. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

Looks like I should buy a rain poncho or some garbage bags cause it might be a wet and rainy day.

Still 50% is better than 80% .... and I will be with my little sister so we will have FUN, no matter what Mother Nature sends our way....

Have a good weekend! Live STRONG!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

He's Here!!!!!!!

Rowen Joseph is here!!!

He arrived at 8:14 pm and weighed in at 7 pound, 9 ounces and is 21 inches long!

Mommy, Daddy and Baby are doing well!


I am now Aunt Holly .. you can address me as such!! Hehehehe...

Labor-Vibes and Swimming....

First off, I am *NOT* an Aunt yet! It seems that Rowen is warm and happy in Heather's womb and reluctant to go anywhere just yet. After about 18 hours, my sister is just 1cm dialated and ready to get the show on the road. If you have a moment, send her some "GOOD VIBES" .. maybe all the extra energy will help her along ..... Come on Rowen, Big World Out Here with lots of people anxious to meet you!!!!

Last night I decided to give my legs another abreviated rest day before this weekend's Maine 1/2 Marathon. While Cathy and I will not be "racing", we have decided to go ahead and participate. The race welcomes walkers and variations on that theme so we are going to stick to the back of the pack and do what we can to have fun and make our fellow "Back of the Packers" smile and have fun too!

So I got in the pool for the first time since May and did a very leasurely 1200 yards in about 30 minutes with plenty of slow laps where I simply focused on my form and technique.

Overall Observation: WOW!!! Swimming in a pool while not under the daily influence of Interferon is WONDERFUL!

While on chemo, 1200 yards would leave me truly exhausted and pretty much done for the night. What a revalation that was for me about how much of an overall impact the year of Interferon really was having on my fitness/endurance and general engery levels.

I actually got out of the pool and was looking forward to the next swim workout ... There is hope for me yet!

Don't forget to send some "GOOD VIBES" Heather's way!! She can use them!

Live STRONG and enjoy your day!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

For Heather....

"Chance made us Sisters, Hearts made us Friends." --Anonymous


May you feel the love that is coming toward you
from every direction tonight and know that we are
all there with you in spirit, if not in person.

May the pains of labor be brief and easily forgotten
the moment your eyes meet his for the first time.

May your heart weigh heavy in you chest
with a love you didn't know you were capable of.

And may you know in that moment, too
How much you are loved yourself!

Copyright, Holly Gannoe, September 2006

I Love you Sister!!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Navy 5 Miler


24 seconds within my "goal" for the day. I'm happy with that.

Keri was a great running partner and kept reminding me:
"This is supposed to be fun!"

And it was fun and it didn't kill me and I learned that I need to power walk on my walk breaks instead of a leasurely stroll.

For the record, when the watch hit 59:xx, I picked up the pace and sprinted to that finish line passing the woman in front of me by a mear second. That second scored me one more place in my age group and kept me under the "round up" number that might as well have been 61:00 minutes.

The weather was perfect, breezy and overcast. With a few token rain drops at the end. Followed by a lovely Brunch with Keri and a day of errands and house cleaning. Not such a bad way to spend a Sunday.


Friday, September 22, 2006

NDU 5K: "To Begin Again"

In essense, I am starting from scratch. Today was my first timed running road race since I finished my year of chemo/cancer treatment so this is the "Post-Cancer Holly" baseline from which all times will be compared in my running through the end of 2006.

Technically, I could call this a post-cancer PR (personal record) but I have run faster in the past so I won't call this a PR but I will call it a good start.

Not only did I get to run this race BUT I also got to design the T-Shirt! (see image above) Not too bad a deal!

The course is FLAT and started at 12:30PM. We run on the National Defense University campus which is on Fort McNair in Washington, DC and runs parallel with Haines Point/West Potomac Park for those of you who have run a race here in the DC area. I ran along the same course as President Bush did during the Presidential Fitness Challenge 3-Mile Run in June 2002.

George ran this course in 20:29.

Today's overall winner ran the course in 17:48.

It is the same extact terrain as the Navy 5 Miler this weekend (in fact that race start is less than 3 miles away) so it was a good test of the pace strategy that I plan to use.

The weather was perfect! 67 and a cool breeze coming off the water.

I went out faster than I wanted to but it is hard not to do that in this race. I tried to ignore those around me and stick to my 4/1 RUN/WALK intervals. My goal anything smaller than 12:30 minute miles.

Mile 1: 11:08
(that includes walk breaks! NIce to know that I can run sub 11:00 miles still)
Mile 2: 11:52
(Now that is what I was looking for...)
Mile 3: 12:36
(OOPS! I guess that was the sub 11:00 mile catching up with me)


I TAKE IT! So my average pace was somewhere around 11:50 - not such a bad place to start from! I will take it.

Now onto this weekend Navy 5 Miler. I have got nothing to loose in this race so my goal is to stick close with my friend Keri and see how far I can go before I blow up using 4/1 RUN/Walk. Now that I know what kind of pace I am doing, I'd like to finish the Navy 5 Miler in 60:00 or less.

It's good to have a goal! Live STRONG!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Checking In - Mid WEEK

I am in training classes for work this week and Jim is out of town and the kittens are in a tizzy because the schedule is off. I swear to god it is like having children! I'm sure of it ... because the cat's even talk back!


SUNDAY - 50 mile bike ride at the Potomac Potomac Pedalers Touring Club Century - Average pace - 13.9 MPH - WAAAAHOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe that slow, hilly 70 miles in Philly did more than just "Inspire my Soul".. it put some speed back in my legs!

MON, TUES - No workouts, just work.

WED AM - I did a 3 mile run this morning. The weather was beautiful and the pace felt pretty good. I am going to go for it this weekend with the Navy 5 Miler this Sunday with my friend and running/tri partner-in-crime: Keri. Looking for some faster times!

Next weekend I will be in Maine for the Maine 1/2 Marathon. So will Kate and she is Running for Her Mom. If you have time, stop by her blog and check it out and send her some good vibes. She and her Mom have covered many miles, in so many ways. I'm hoping that I get a chance to see her on the course so that I can yell: GO KATE GO!!

My sister Heather's due date is fast approaching and Rowen has dropped in to position (as you can plainly see). We have a ETA of Sunday or Monday for Baby Rowen ... I am practicing saying "Aunt Holly" instead of "Ant Holly"...


More later this week! Keep Living STRONG!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Playtime with Wallace and Grommette

When they are not sleeping ... Wallace and Grommette are very active for 5-month-old kittens. Here is the evidence! No toys were harmed in the making of these pictures but I can't promise that a fish or two was not eaten. (Our apologies to the Fish Lovers out there.)

Grommette on the Go!
Wallace on the Go!
When Grommettes Attack!
Near Miss for Wallace...
Caught Ya! x2
Wallace's catches the Feather and some AIR!
Grommette's AIR time!
Wallace sets up for the sprint!
Tub Time with our new friends!
Wallace investigates further ...
What is this?
Team Work!
Grommette say "Get it Wallace!"
They'll never find me here!

Run Holly Run

As I walked home from the Metro, I saw this handsome guy standing by the side of the road, fiddling around with his bike computer. He was lean, fit and scowling. It was my boyfriend, Jim.

I walked up, gave him a kiss and encouraged him as best I could. I could tell he had no interest in "working out" but I knew once he got out there, he would feel much better because I was feeling much the same way about my scheduled run.

Yesterday I did a very easy 5K (3.1 miles) after work. I didn't have any soreness in my legs following Sunday's 70 mile - hilly bike ride but my desire to work out was pretty low.

It would have been SOOOOO easy to use Sunday's effort as an excuse to take an extra rest day. Instead, I made myself a healthy compromise. As long as I went out and covered 3 miles, I could run it however I wanted.

So that is what I did. I walked a little more than I usually do on the OUT part of the course. As a result, my trip BACK to the house was faster by more than 4 minutes. That, in the workout world, is called a Negative Split!

Sometimes just getting out there is a reason to celebrate folks!

Now, does anybody have any suggestions on how to get a good Cabernet our of my brand new LiveSTRONG running shirt? Grommette decided to treat me to a "Cabernet Rinse" - the glass was in her way and she wanted to be in my lap....

Life is never dull with two Bengal kittens....


Monday, September 11, 2006

Ride Report - LiveSTRONG Challenge Philadelphia

Sunday, September 10th
LiveSTRONG Challenge Ride
Philadelphia, PA

70 mile Option: Total Ride time: 6:50:00
PACE: 11.5 MPH with 4 rest stops

(Author's Note" There is a bit of colorful language at the end..but it
suits my emotion so it stays ... Consider yourself warned).

Our race morning started early with a 5:30AM wake-up. My first priority
after throwing on my bike clothes was to hop onto the laptop and surf over
the the Columbia Triathlon site to register for the June EAGLEMAN 70.3
TRIATHLON - a half Ironman distance race that is my "A" race goal for the
2006 season. There was a chance, if I waited until late in the day, that
the race would already be full so I wanted to get my name in early. After
much searching and grumbling, I found the site, charged my credit card and
Jim and I were out the door to grab a quick bite to eat and head to the Ride

We left the hotel at 6:20 AM. The Ride Start was 5 miles away. After
sitting in traffic for 40 minutes, we finally pulled into a parking space at
Montgomery County Community College. We were not alone in arriving late and
the organizers kindly delayed the ride start to accommodate the number of
folks that got caught up in the logistics of parking 2600 riders/runners and
their families.

Jim and I unloaded our bikes, stuffed our pockets with a PowerBar and Gu,
pumped up the tires and rolled over to the start line just in time to hear
the last speaker talk and to see the Century Riders be released for their

The announcers said "There goes Team CCC looking fine!" and Jim and I let
out a big "Hooray" and followed the other 70 mile riders to the corrals for
our release. In terms of numbers of riders. It appears that the majority
of folks chose either the full 100 or the 40 mile option. The number of 70
milers was much smaller than either of those groups.

With the blare of the air horn, we were off on our 70 mile ride and on our
way. The terrain for the first 15 miles to the first Rest Stop on the 70
mile route was beautiful. We gently rolled through Valley Forge farmlands.
It was the kind of ride that I love with some power rollers and low traffic.
The first 10 mile was a little congested while people found their pace and
Jim stuck with me to the first rest stop.

This is how we have ridden together throughout the entire year. Jim will
ride with me to the first rest stop, then we kiss and he is on his way. It
is too hard for the two of us to come up with a pace that works for both of
us. This year my pace has been 12 MPH on a good day, as compared to 14-15
MPH in years past. Jim averages around 18-20 MPH. It wasn't so hard to
have Jim do a recovery ride and have me do a hard workout in years past
where we would average 16 MPH together but this year was different and we
both accepted that. We agreed that Jim would call me when he reached the
final Rest Stop at Mile 55 and we would see how far behind him I was. If I
was having a good day, he would wait for me at the stop and we would ride
the last 15 miles to the finish together.

Miles 15-28 went well for me. I was still feeling strong and doing a good
job of keeping on top of my hydration alternating Water and PowerAid and
really continuing to enjoy the rolling terrain. The climbs were still short
and required little more than a hop out of the saddle on occasion to power
over them.

I stopped very briefly at the second Rest Stop, topped off my PowerAid,
grabbed some salty Chex Mix, ate a few bites and continued on my way.

**Brief REST STOP NOTE: I think that LAF did an excellent job on the rest
stops over all. The food was very bike friendly and they had plenty of
water and PowerAid. With the exception of the first stop, which had only 1
port-o-potty (a snafu of the delivery company from what I understand), all
the other stops had plenty of Port-O-Potties and amenities.**

Miles 29-35 - More of the same terrain, with perhaps some more downhill as
we headed toward the River and along Railroad Lines in the outer Philly
area. I stopped at the third Rest Stop and ate 1/2 of a PB&J sandwich, hit
the Port-O-Potties and immediately headed out. In retrospect, I should have
taken the time to eat more at this point and I paid for this mistake later
in the ride.

Miles 35-55 - For me, the "Challenge" part of this ride began at the start
of Mile 36 as we climbed away from the river valley on our way toward
central Philadelphia. There was about 3 miles of good, long climbing that
had me spinning in my granny gear. Slow and steady. I simply focused on
the cadence and jumped out of the saddle when I felt I needed an extra boost
but that bit of climbing quickly took its toll on my energy levels. Not
long after that climb we descended into Philadelphia by way of Manyunk and
along River Road, which was closed to traffic on Sundays (very similar to
Rock Creek part for those familiar with Washington, DC). I saw lots of
fellow recreational cyclist as well as several local teams out putting in
the miles. It was around this time that three things happened that really
changed the ride for me.

1. My speedometer started turning itself on and off randomly - leading to a
mileage reading that was 10 miles shorter than the actual distance covered.

2. My overall nutrition was falling behind, in relation to my effort on the
increasing longer, larger climbs.

3. Jim called to tell me he was at the final Rest Stop.

Up until this point, while I was getting progressively more tired, I had
been able to keep my spirits pretty high and recover after every climb by
focusing on the miles I had covered already. Early on, around mile 25, I
had lost my cue sheet while fishing a Fig Newton from my back pocket. So
while I didn't need to worry about getting lost, because the course was well
marked, I also didn't have a "backup" reference for the squirrelly

I could only "keep riding", keeping an eye on the time since my last stop
and estimating where I thought I was. Between my frustration over my lack
of knowing "how far I had to go" and my increasingly diminishing energy
levels, my mood was rapidly declining.

Then my phone rang. And my first thought was: OH NO, Not already!

I knew that meant that Jim was at the final Rest Stop and I thought that I
was closer but no close enough for his wait to be less than 1 hour. I
stopped and called him back and belly ached about my squirrelly speedometer
and the missing cue sheet and told him where I though I was (River Drive)
and we talked about how far he thought I was from the stop. His estimate
was that I was about 10 miles away and he told me that there was a pretty
significant climb to the final Rest Stop.

I did the math in my head and knew that at the very least, I had an hour of
riding to get to him and I knew that I didn't want him to wait that long for
me. With a catch in my breath, I told him to finish his ride. He said he
would be happy to wait and I said, "No" because I knew that asking him to
wait would put too much pressure on me (from myself) to ride faster and it
would only upset me more and slow me down and make me angry and take away
from the "celebration" that I intended this ride to be.

Jim understood and told me that he would be at the finish line to cheer me
in and that he loved me and to enjoy the rest of my ride. I mumbled "Okay"
got off the phone and spend the next 5 miles in the midst of my own personal
"Pitty Party" - wishing my speedometer worked, wishing I could ride faster,
wishing I was riding with somebody else, wishing I had done the 40 mile
route, and most of all wishing that I had never gotten Cancer because then I
would still be riding 15 MPH or faster this year.

Just around the time that I was at my lowest, I began to see LiveSTRONG
riders from the century route catch up to me. Several folks gave me words
of encouragement and commented on my "In Memory of" signs on my jersey and
complimented me on being a survivor. I thank God for these people because
they instantly pulled me out of my self-absorbed funk and reminded me "WHY"
I had decided to take on this ride in the first place.

I resolved at that moment to make the best of it, keep spinning and if need
be, stop in about 20 minutes and take my own rest stop if I had to. I
recognized that I was probably in pre-BONK mode and needed to try to reverse
some of my nutritional issues.

The route took us to the end of River Road and then onto a multi-use path
that led past the Phili Art Museum (and the famous "Rocky" stairs) past some
other downtown sites and back up through Manyunk to the final Rest Stop for
the 70 mile route. Just as I was about to stop, for a rest stop of my own
making, I saw the "One Mile to Rest Stop" sign. I decided that I was close
enough, I could make it to the stop and took on the challenge of that climb
head on. I thought about Rose C and Jeanne G who were gone and my Uncle Jim
and so many other people who were fighting hard to simply survive their
diagnosis and I put my bike in the granny gear and just kept spinning.

I passed several riders who were walking the hill and each time that I
passed somebody I made it a point to tell them to "Keep it up, get to the
top however you can"... It was as motivating for me as I hope it was for

At the 4th Rest Stop, I took a 10 minute break to stretch, eat an entire
PowerBar and a caffeinated GU and fill up my water bottles. I hoped the GU
would help in the short run and the PowerBar would kick in for the last 5
miles or so.

Miles 55-70 - The first 5 miles or so went better. I was having a surge of
energy thanks to the brief rest, the GU and the caffeine. I had looked at
the watch and knew that worst case scenario, I would be done with the ride
in one hour and thirty minutes. I gave myself my "Traditional" triathlon
mantra that I use in my races: "I can do anything for 1 hour and 30 minutes
longer" and headed out on the road.

The route was a little better in terms of terrain, more rolling downhill
than climbing as we headed back in to the Philly suburbs. I was hanging in
there, saying "Hi" to as many century folks as I could (we were on the same
route for about 10 of the 15 miles) and thinking about getting to the finish


UGH! Unfortunately about 1 mile of the route was in the process of being
repaved and so the pavement had been milled in prep for that. It was what I
could only imagine it must be like to ride the Pave (Cobbled Road) in
Northern France. Every inch of road could be felt in your hands, arms,
legs, teeth.... It was miserable and I remember saying out-loud: "What is
this, freaking Paris-Roubaix?" At least I got a laugh and some "No kidding"
from the fellow riders that were passing me.

I struggled on until we hit better pavement (thank goodness!!) and had a
respite for the next 5 miles with some gradual down hills with moderate,
quick climbs. At around an hour into my last segment, a group of 100 mile
riders passed me on my left and we passed a large group of folks who started
yelling and hooting and hollering. It turned out to be friend and family of
one of the guys in that group and he stopped with his ride partners to give
hug and kisses and thank them for coming out.

I don't know if it was the exhaustion, or simply the fact that I knew that I
must have less thank 5 miles to finish but seeing this group of people
affected me deeply and I began to sob and cry. One one hand I wanted
nothing more than to be done with this bike ride and on the other hand, I
was sobbing because I was so happy to be on this bike ride. I was a mess
and really had to focus on stopping the tears because I was finding it hard
to ride and cry at the same time. More to the point, I was having trouble
breathing and felt like I was going to fall of the bike.

With my tears under control, I tried to simply focus on spinning and
finishing this ride. There was no doubt that I was struggling because the
negative thoughts began to fly around my head - "I'm NOT riding next weekend
- I don't want to see my bike for a week!", "How do I expect to finish a 1/2
IRONMAN next spring if I can't even finish a 70 mile ride?", "Why didn't I
choose the 40 miler?"

I put a clamp on my brain as quickly as I could by reminding myself that
somewhere out their on the same course that I was on, was John O'Toole.
After 3 surgeries and chemo for Brain Cancer, John was riding the 70 mile
route, in spite side effect from the last surgery that basically left his
left hand, arm and wrist paralyzed. If John could be out here on the course
then so could I!

The last 2 miles had one last climb in store for the riders. That climb
wasn't particularly long but it was steep and my energy, physically and
emotionally, was waning. Twice during the climb, I stopped by the side of
the road, head hung over the handlebars, breathing deep, trying not to cry,
willing myself to get on and go. The first time, I was able to get back on
and peddle a few hundred feet. The second time, with about 200 feet to go,
I was at a loss. I stopped, sobbed a little, clipped into my peddle and
slipped right off and almost dropped my bike.

For a moment, I thought to myself, are you kidding? I have less than 2
miles to go and I am going to quit here? And then it came to me - if I can't
ride my bike these last 200 feet up the hill, I can sure as hell can WALK up

I pulled myself off the bike, and walked those 200 feet, holding my head
high and refusing to cry. "Whatever it takes..." I said out loud to nobody
but me. In that moment, I remembered that it wasn't about riding every
mile, it wasn't about walking up a hill, it was about Living STRONG. It was
about doing what I could, AT THAT MOMENT, to keep moving forward because by
moving forward, I was not quitting.

At the top, I got back on my bike and rolled onward for the last mile. I
thought for sure that I would be a hysterical sobbing wreck as I rolled
around the corner and to the left finish chute that was designated for
"SURVIVORS" but it wasn't tears that I felt or sorrow.

Just a profound sense of relief and anger. As I past over that finish line,
I pumped my fist in the air the same way that I did last October 30th, 2005 at the Marine Corps Marathon.

And that fist pump had only one meaning then and it had the same meaning
yesterday: "F*CK Cancer!"

How many more people do we have to loose? It's stupid and I, for one, do not
plan to go down without a fight!

In Memory of Rose Collins ...
In Memory of Jeanne Gannoe ...
In Memory of Ron G ...
In Memory of CCC riders who have sat up...
In Support of my uncle, Jim Bowdish ...
In Support of the Melanoma Patients Info Page Warriors who are in the fight
of their lives ....
In Honor of my fellow Survivors ...

My name is Holly Gannoe, I am a 17-month Melanoma Survivor and I LIVE

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The LiveSTRONG Challenge is here!!

We believe in life.
Your life.
We believe in living every minute of it with every ounce of your being.
And that you must not let cancer take control of it.
We believe in energy: channeled and fierce.
We believe in focus: getting smart and living strong.
Unity is strength. Knowledge is power. Attitude is everything.
This is the Lance Armstrong Foundation.

LiveSTRONG Manifesto Video
(WARNING - This may make you tear up a little .. in a good way!)

This weekend Jim and I are heading up to Philadelphia for the LiveSTRONG Challenge.

With your help, we have raised $4,393.01!!!!!

I thought along time about this ride and who I would ride for. Obviously, I could ride for myself, to celebrate my 19 months of survivorship since being diagnosed but I celebrate that every time I get on my bike, every time I slip into my running shoes, every morning that I open my eyes.

So then who would I ride for and how? Do I ride "In Support?" Do I ride "In Honor?" Do I ride "In Memory?"

The answer to those questions is: YES, I ride for all those reason.

These are the pictures that will be pinned to my jersey - believe me, I could have filled it with 100 more names...

I have never met Jeanne, she was gone before I was born and I am sad to say that I didn't even know that I had lost an Aunt to Brain Cancer until I requested donations from extended family. When I found out, I immediately asked my cousin Debbie if i could ride in her mother's Memory.

I had the pleasure of knowing Rose for 6 years. I'm sad that it was such a short time but I am a different woman because of Rose. She was a loving, spunky generous woman who was a pleasure to be around and who I and my co-workers miss dearly. Rose died of Pancreatic Cancer less than 3 months after her initial diagnosis. It was shocking and a hard lesson in the viscous nature of cancer. Less than 3 months after Rose passed, I found out that I had Melanoma. I have always felt like Rose is my guardian angel, watching over me with her comfy monkey socks on!


My Uncle Jim is one of my "LiveSTRONG" Heroes. 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.

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.

FINALLY, I want to dedicated my ride to a special group of people that the cancer community calls: CAREGIVERS


They are our spouces, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, family, friends, boyfriends, and girlfriends. They are the ones who pick us up when we are down. Who comfort us and support us and who remind us every day that we are loved and that our lives have value and are worth fighting for. They are also the ones who honor and respect us and our decisions, even when those decisions come down to choosing "quality of life" over "length of life".

For myself personally, I can tell you that the strength and the courage and the endurance that you see coming from me is nothing but a reflection of that which Jim and my family and friends give to me, unselfishly, on a daily basis.

I LiveSTRONG because I am truly loved and valued and therefore love and value myself.

SO, off we go ... onto Philadelphia .. to ride our bikes and Celebrate, Honor, Support and Remember!

I'll come back with pictures!


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

A weekend full....

So much that happened this long weekend:

-• We bought a steam cleaner and are carpets are looking marvelous! Never again will the pear tree in the front yard get the better of me by leaving "pear muck" on my shoes that I can't clean off the carpets.

-• We had a BLAST with Wallace and Grommette and some playtime in the *BATH TUB* .. Seriously .. I will post pictures later this week... Our cats love to play in the bath tub - WHEN THERE IS WATER IN IT!!!

-• I got a nice long 56 mile bike ride in on Sunday morning. I now have no doubts about my ability to finish the
LiveSTRONG Challenge Ride ride next weekend - 70 mile option that is...

I stuck to the local multi-use trail for the majority of my ride. Because I that, I did have to weave my way around a few joggers with head sets and a kamikaze squirrel or two. I chose to leave pretty early on Sunday morning and so the number of trail users was low, which helped some in terms of "crowdedness."

What I am about to say needs a small disclaimer: I am very thankful that I can ride at all and still
cover those kinds of distances but....

I am SOOOO sick of having 12 MPH being the average pace on my bike
computer...It is so SLOW!!!!!! I am ready to get faster again.

I guess that is going to take more consistent riding and a loss of about 35 pounds. I am working on both those problems but in the meantime, I am going to simply be happy that I can ride a bike at all....

Less than 6 days to the LiveSTRONG Challenge Ride in Philly! I am looking forward to the ride and very proud of the money that Jim and I have been able to raise.

To date the two of us have raised a combined total of:$2,620.01

I'd like to get Jim's fundraising total over $500.00 before the week ends and I have a few family and friends I have not reached out to yet so I am hoping that we can boost that overall total to closer to $2800.00 by the time the event rolls around.

All in all I have been touched and honored at the generosity of so many people when it came to making a donation! Thank you to everybody who was able to contribute! The money will make a difference in the fight to cure cancer and support future survivors!

- There will be more later this week on the adventures of Wallace & Grommette and the BathTub .. as well as more on my training in general .. but for now, that is the weekend recap!


Saturday, September 02, 2006

Races as Training

I wanted at least one opportunity to combined a long run with a race before the Maine 1/2 Marathon with Cathy on October 1st.

So I just signed up for the Navy 5 Miler on Sunday, September 24th.

The event is the weekend before the Maine 1/2 Marathon and it is at West Potomac Park, a very familiar race spot for those of us who do 5K, 10K, 10 Milers and Marathons in the NOVA/DC region. The park is FLAT FLAT FLAT and run along the Potomac River and past The Awakening (which some of you may have seen in some of the latest Nike Ads in Runner's World). It's a good time to test my legs at half the Maine 1/2 Marathon distance and settle into the pace that Cathy and I plan to run together at.

After having found this race, I started looking at races where I could use the Champion Chip that Kerry gave me for my birthday this year and I found two races that worked with my schedule and don't interfere with my Saturday morning Pilates/Power Yoga classes. So I went ahead and registered for those too!

The first raceis a 10K in the same location as the Navy 5 Miler at Haines Point: Veterans Day 10K on November 11th.

The second race is another 10K, same location, a month later: Jingle All the Way 10K that I did with Kerry last year. For this race I will be gunning for a 10K PR!

That should keep me moving through the fall and give my champion chip a good workout, don't you think?

If you local (Kerry, ,Nancy, Caroline M., *Jeanne*, Ellie), wanna come and race with me?

Friday, September 01, 2006

Shake and Bake and Ernesto

Last night I took a quick run before Jim and I went on a "movie date"! We saw Will Ferrel in Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby. It was a fun flick and a good way to spend a few hours away from the house and NOT at work or at the gym for a change!

The weather was perfect for a late afternoon run, just around 70 with low humidity. My pace is slowly picking up and I found myself considering "speed work" and "tempo runs" in the gym this winter. It seems that good workouts bring out the "desire to work hard" for me. I'm ready to build some serious foundation this winter so that I can come out "ready to race" this spring!

As I said the run was short, just 2.5 miles and when my watch beeped indicating it was time to turn around and head back for home, the incoming winds of Tropical Storm Ernesto began to make themselves known. There was stuff kicking up all over the place and my uphill slog home made me feel like I was running in a wind tunnel set on "low".

The crest of the hill gives me some respite before the finish of my run because from there it is gently downhill to my driveway. Instead of simply running to the driveway and being done, I vowed to do a little more before my workout ended.

I set my iPod to my most motivating song: Right Now by Van Halen, pressed the play button and ran past my driveway 2/10th of a mile to the circle at the end of the street. There I turned around, rested for a moment, waited for the perfect moment in the chorus ...... RIGHT NOW .... HEY! IT'S YOUR TOMORROW....

And sprinted back to my driveway like I was about to win a race.

It took about 5 minutes before my heartrate came back to normal as I sat on the livingroom stairs, gulping air and having Wallace and Grommette crawl all over me, sniffing my running shoes and licking salt off my legs.

::BIG STUPID GRIN:: He He He, Life is GOOD! Live STRONG and enjoy your weekend!

Van Halen - Right Now