Wednesday, February 28, 2007

How do you run with 50,000 people?

You don't run ... you just "go with the flow!"

My sister Heather suggested that we run the Cooper River Bridge 10K this year. This 10K has been running in Charleston, SC for 30 years.

When she first mentioned it, I thought: Sounds good! Who wouldn't love 10K in late March in South Carolina with their sister? Sure there is a 4% grade on the bridge - that might suck BUT only for a little while. I'm thinking of it as a reason to actually *DO* some hill training this year! After all, the Columbia Triathlonin May has a *very hilly* 10K run course - it's all good.

How do I know that this is a big race? We get special commemorative Champion Chips!!" - I imagine that is a good thing since I would hate to be one of the people at the finish line who was responsible for removing 50,000 timing chips!

I have been wondering if I should bring my ice skates for the water stops. If it is anything like the water stops for 2005 Marine Corps Marathon (30,000 runners) they are going to look and feel like icy ponds. Nothing says "slippery" like a few thousand dixie cups smashed on the ground...

The race is still open, come on down y'all! We'll have fun! No PRs in a race this big but you are bound to have a good time!

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Yesterday nothing felt good. Work was bugging me, life was *blah*...PMS had me in it's grips. So I forced myself to the pool for a workout. I knew if nothing else, a workout would exhaust me enough to take the emotional overload away. Little did I know that I was about to have the best swim of my "TRI-life" thus far.

Over the course of the 30 minute workout, I covered 1400 yards. That is 56 laps of the pool. According to Nancy I was averaging 2:08 per 100 yards.

So I was asked "What is your secret?" and I am sad to say that I had none. There is only one thing that I did differently:

Last night I simply swam... I didn't think about what I was doing, I had such a bad day that I simply wanted to escape with a workout. It had also been a week since my last swim...

I just let the water flow over me and counted laps .. every 9th lap I did 25 yards of backstroke and that seem to "reset" my stroke because it would help me *find my balance* again.

Honestly it was amazing and felt so good! There were times I even had my eyes closed, I just focused on moving through the water.

I have never swum that fast in my life, that I can recall but I do know that at one point I thought to myself "I could do this for another 20 laps/" I was tempted to finish up the mile *but* I knew I would pay for it later it was, I was in bed by 9:15pm - lights out & head on the pillow, kittens and Jim at my side.

Now what does one do with the best swim of her "TRI-life" thus far...Keep on going, I guess. The rest of the week's workout schedule calls for a 1000 yard & 1500 yard workout with various drills and then I guess I'll try 1400 again next week and let you know if I can duplicate the effort *OR* if the swim gods simply gave me one *DAMN GOOD DAY*....

Either way, I ended my day yesterday Living STRONG and I feel much better for it today.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Snow Interuption...Bengal Style

Today's "ice storm" has developed into quite the little snow event. I have already gone and shoveled once and since then, my driveway has once again disappeared. Looks like we have already gotten about 4 inches and there seems to be no sign of it stopping.

Wallace and Grommette got their share of snow today. I had barely opened the front door to see what was in store for me and Wallace had wandered out. So I grabbed the camera, took a picture or two, brought the kittens back in the house and then did some shoveling.

After the shoveling there was some time to play outside. Grommette went back in after about 5 minutes of exploring but Wallace stayed out with me for a good 30 minutes. He had some fun in the snow. I know that because right now he is in a dead-sleep on the couch. Adventures require naps, you know ....

Hope you enjoy the pictures. I have to go back out and shovel again already! UGH!

I opened the front door and Wallace strolled right out...

Grommette was a little more cautious...

Wallace in the freshly fallen snow...(tail up indicates excitement!)

Wallace loves to explore new things...

Bengal paw prints in the snow...

No Fear...Cold nose...

Grommette greets us with a hearty "HELLO"as we come back into the house...

Myrtle Beach Pictures!

Here are some of my favorite Myrtle Beach Weekend pictures! Enjoy!

Rowen chillin' with his daddy!

Wonder-Twin Powers Activate! Form of Greek Statues!

Medals Galore!

Rowen "mid-shiver" in the tub...

"Save Me!! I am being engulfed by a blue bear...."

Uncle Jim, Rowen and Aunt Holly!

I'm Rowen... How ya doing?!

Heather pre-test the teething ring....

Grandpa and Rowen....

Grandpa, Aunt Cathy, Rowen & Mommy (Heather)
[oh and the lobster teether....]

Aunt Cathy and Rowen

"Look over there, it's Jim ...."

Rowen and Aunt Holly

Friday, February 23, 2007

Checking In...

So yesterday I had time for a quick workout - just about 35 minutes before I had to brave traffic to get to the other side of the Beltway for my 6PM hair appointment. (Love It! Thanks Keri!!) So I went for a nice easy treadmill run. The previous weekend's boost of miles (16) and a sore quad on Tuesday night's Spin Class had me more interested in logging 30 minutes of cardio rather than focusing on any kind of tempo run.

I did run intervals of 2-3 minutes at a time at a pace that fell between 11:15 - 11:30 minute miles. For the last 5 minutes of the workout, I upped the ante a little and pushed it to 1/1 intervals with a 10:00 minute mile pace. So the workout ended up being 35 minutes and 2.65 miles of run/walk interval work.

Nothing hurt, I didn't fall off the treadmill and there is no soreness today. Looks like my body has had enough recovery for this week. Now it is time to get back to work - Next BIG RACE - Eagleman 70.3 Ironman - June 10, 2006.

If you take a look at my race calendar, it does look like I have *alot* going on but in reality, every one of the events you see is simply a glorified *training day* in prep for Eagleman. Sometimes it is more fun to *train* with others and get a t-shirt while you at it!

In that vain, I have added another event to my calendar: the Wilderness Road Ride which is part of the Mountains Of Misery Weekend.

I plan to ride the 78-mile option on Saturday, leaving the Mountains of Misery Century (100 miles) with 10,000 feet of climbing, to my boyfriend Jim. While he rides MoM for a second year, I will do multiple laps on the little dirt track that I found last year (as a long run) and then head up to the finish line with my cowbell in hand. 78 miles and a long run are plenty when Eagleman is just 2 weeks out. Every mile is "money in the training bank" as Linae would say.

Besides, I don't want to wear myself out *before* I get the to start line of Eagleman because Nancy will be *HOT* on my heels at that race and I plan to *keep her in my sights* when and if she passes me. Nothing like having a good friend on the course to keep you moving....

Picture from last weekends trip and a preview of the new *hair do* will be posted this weekend! Until then .. you know what to do! Keep Living STRONG!

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Myrtle Beach Weekend!

This past weekend Jim and I drove down to Myrtle Beach for what has become the "Annual *G* Family Myrtle Beach Half Marathon Weekend!"

This was the 3rd year that Heather and I have finished the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon together and it seems like every year we do just a little bit more!! I guess the race director is going to have to come up with some more events to keep us busy because I don't see this tradition ending anytime soon!

In 2005: Heather, Cathy and I ran the Half 2006: Heather and I walked the Half Marathon (she was expecting, I was in chemo) and Jim rode the Metric Century Bike Ride on for 2007 we decided to do more.

This year the plan was as follows:
Friday: RNC Myrtle Beach 5K - Heather and Holly
Saturday - MB Half Marathon - Heather and Holly
Sunday - MB Bike Rides - Holly & Jim

Add to this event packed weekend the addition of my nephew Rowen, the visit of my Dad (now to be referred to as Grandpa!) and the relocation of my sister Cathy to the Myrtle Beach area and you have a very full household for the weekend!

Heather and Rich (her Sweetie and Rowen's Daddy) were the best hosts, as usual. And when we were not running around, we all enjoyed plenty of downtime just being together! Nothing beats family!!

So how did the actual races go? For once, I am going to be brief in my race reports ... I could devote a post a day to each event but I'd rather save the space and post pictures (once I have them downloaded) so you are getting *hightlight* race reports this time around! Pictures will follow throughout this coming weekend!

Friday: RNC Myrtle Beach 5K - 34:28

Heather, Cathy & Holly - Sisters!!

GOAL: 30 minute 5K or at least a faster 5K than 2006

RESULT: While there was no sub-30 5K, I ran a full 2 minutes faster than my fastest 5K last year ... that is a *BIG* pace increase over a short distance and tells me that with some speed work and Heather by my side, a sub-30 5K will happen in 2007!

HIGHLIGHTS: Cold Twightlight Run (35 F) with Heather talking for the entire 34 minutes (to help distract me from thinking "We are running too fast!") and Cathy cheering us on from the sidelines. We saw her twice ... that is alot in a short races that loops itself! I think we waited in the bathroom line pre-race for longer than it took us to race 5K ...Okay, maybe not but it felt that long!

Saturday: Myrtle Beach Half Marathon - 3:00:51 **

**I don't have an official finishing time because I was register for the full marathon distance (I missed the Half Marathon registration cutoff) but I crossed the finish line hand in hand with Heather.

Heather & Holly - Finishers!

GOAL: Have FUN and FINSH together!

RESULT: Goal accomplished but not before I had a big BONK! "Coach Heather" was a ROCK_STAR and got me through my BONK and onto the finish line...

HIGHLIGHTS: Cold, COLD START - 19 F, the temp never got above 30... The first 5 miles were GREAT and felt EFFORTLESS ... then the speed from the night before caught up to my quads and my pace slowed from a RUN to a JOG to a SHUFFLE. At around mile 9, "Coach Heather" confiscated my watch - that was a good thing! Then around mile 11, I disolved in to tears and frantic protests of "Go on Without Me!!" Heather never left my side, let me cry a bit and waited for me to realize that I was "BONKING". Once I realized this, I was able to pull it together, refocus and enjoy the finish!! Our whole family (Rich, Rowen, Cathy, Grandpa and Jim) met us at the finish line!!!!

Sunday: Michelob Ultra Bike Rides - 10 mile Ride - 57:00 ** my speedometer said I rode 12 miles...

GOAL: None for me, just move some lactic acid out of the legs and have fun! Jim was going for the 30 mile option with the front pack.

RESULT: I had a nice easy ride, styaed in my comfort zone. I rode the 10 mile option with my only goal being to get back within an hour of starting. Truth is that I couldn't even walk down the stairs without pain so I had no idea how cycling would feel. It made my legs feel better, different muscle groups!

Jim had planned to ride the 30 mile option but with lots of recent travel for work, he has not had much time out on the road on the bike. After picking up the lead pace line, he made the mistake of hanging off the back for a moment too long and when he looked up, they were gone. Jim, not one to be easily dropped, went anaerobic, pushing 25+ MPH to catch the tail end of the pace line. At the first incline, he slipped a gear and watch the pack move away. At that point, he decided to turn it around and call it a day with 10 miles under his belt.

HIGHLIGHTS: Much better weather this time around (Sunny, low-40s at 7:30AM start). The best part of this ride was actually "post-ride" watching my sister Heather take her first spin on a bike in 8 years! I put her on my bike so that we could get some measurements ... hehehe ... my sister wants to try a TRI later this season!!!! Oh and of course being met at the finish line by Heather, Rowen and Grandpa (Dad to me...) - or should I call him "NINJA Rowen"...

Ninja Rowen ...

Rowen and Holly showing off their wheels!

Heather, beginner Triathlete in Training!

****ALL IN ALL THE WEEKEND ROCKED! ***** I got some good training in, proved I could still hold a running pace faster than 11:30 minute miles and as usual, had lots of fun and good times with my sister's Heather and Cathy and with my Dad, Jim, Rich and Rowen. The only think missing was my Mom ... but she is saving her time off for a longer vacation later in the year. We missed you Mommy/Grandma!!

Uncle Jim, Rowen & Aunt Holly!

More pictures and some video to follow!! Hope you all had a good weekend yourselves!! Live STRONG!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

The day I started all over again....

Maybe Tonight, Maybe Tomorrow
by WideAwake

I heard the news today. It came out of nowhere.
I wish I could run away,
but where would I go?
Is this my destiny? Something so unfair... What will become of me?
God only knows.

And they say the road to heaven might lead us back through hell.
Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow, we will win this fight and bury this sorrow.
We're so alive, still holding on, not ready to die, so we LIVESTRONG.

My pride is left for dead, as my world gets shaken.
The thoughts inside my head are so hard to control.
I am staring down the unknown, but one thing is certain.
You could break my body, but you will never break my soul.

And they say the road to heaven might leads us back through hell, but we're holding on for more
than stories to tell.

Maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow, we will win this fight and bury this sorrow.
We're so alive, still holding on, not ready to die, so we LIVESTRONG.

Listen to the song and buy it from iTunes here!)

February 14, 2005 - I was sitting at my computer at work when my phone rang. The news I got on that day changed me forever... I'd like to think, for the better.

On Valentine's Day 2005, I was diagnosed with Nodular Metastic Melanoma. It would take 6 weeks and surgery before I would find out that the cancer had already spead to a lymph node. It would be another 6 weeks until I had a second surgery and was determined to have "No [further] Evidence of Disease" (aka N-E-D). I started 52 weeks of chemotherapy just 2 weeks after my second surgery.

Just one phone call ... and my life changed forever.

So today it is has been two years since my diagnosis and there is no doubt in my mind that I am one of the lucky ones. Will I continue to be lucky? Only time will tell... The reality of my diagnosis shows that at my stage (Stage IIIA), I have a 50% change of surviving 5 years. "Flip-o-the coin" odds, as they say. My chance of recurrance is highest now, in the first 32 months. So naturally reaching my 2 and 3-year "No Evidence of Disease" anniversaries (May 2007 & May 2008) will be a reason to celebrate.

But as anybody with any melanoma experience will tell you, nothing about Melanoma is predictable. Hey, let me broaden that statement and say that Nothing about Cancer is predictable!! There is no rhyme or reason why some folks survive and others do not. Your odds are greater, the sooner you are diagnosed - That is the truth regardless of the diagnosis.

So do yourself a favor, take a moment and call you Doctor and make that annual physical you have been putting off. Prevention and Early Detection are your best chances at a long and healthy life.

As for me, I am proud and happy today to be able to say that I am officially a 2-year Cancer Survivor. I have been given a second chance at life and I will live my life to the fullest for how ever long that may be. Of course being the optimist that I am, I expect that to be a good 40-50 additional years.

My name is Holly, I am a 2-year Malignant Melanoma Survivor and I live STRONG!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Got One Dollar in your pocket?

I have a suggestion how you can spend that dollar.

Go on over to Sarah Gordan's webisite and Be A Voice!

Sarah is a 25-year-old young adult cancer survivor who needs your voice. Well, your voice and your dollar! She is running the Paris Marathon on April 15, 2007 in support of the 70,000 young adults who will receive a cancer diagnosis in 2007.

Through $1 donations, her goal is to raise $70,000 before the start of the Marathon. Your $1 donation will represent 1 of the 70,000 young adults that will be diagnosed in 2007.

At the start of the marathon she hopes to have 70,000 voices alongside her. The $70,000 she raises will benefit the Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults. The Ulman Cancer Fund stands at the forefront of young adult cancer advocacy.

Now for those of you who want to be quick about it, you can make a donation online. Now if you do that please be sure that you still visit to download the printable card, “MY VOICE.” and mail it to Sarah so she can bring your voice with her on marathon day.

Added Bonus: Each individual that contributes a $1 donation will receive a bumper sticker (I’M A VOICE).


Monday, February 12, 2007

Who said you could leave?

Anybody who says cats are stupid has not met my cats. They are SMART! Einstien-cat smart!

Jim is out of town for a few days for work. So it is just me and the kittens, Wallace and Grommette. So the morning routine is a little off, one less human around. So what makes me think my cats are so smart?

This morning, after the cats had been fed and I had finished my shower. Wallace stood at the shower in the master bathroom (where Jim typically takes his shower) and meowed and meowed and meowed. I opened the shower door and let him in, to explore. He walked around the shower, looked up at the showerhead, looked me straight in the eye and siad "ME-ooo_MOW."

I believe that was the bengal cat equivalent of: "Where is my other human?"

These cats are smart, damn smart!

Happy Monday to you all! Live STRONG!

Friday, February 09, 2007

New Tshirt - Great Attitude...

Okay folks, I thought I *loved* my LiveSTRONG collection of T-shirts BUT then I found this today and bought it right away!

Where did I find this *GEM* of a Melanoma Survivor shirt?

At OPERATION SUN SHIELD, a website started by fellow MPIP member and Melanoma Survivor Jane Caddell!!

Way to put the word out there on Skin Cancer awareness, Jane, along with a great tshirt too! Way to Live STRONG!

Have a good weekend everybody! Keep Living STRONG!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Our Workout/Game Room: Before and After

Since I moved in almost 18 months ago, our basement/workout/game room has been sadly mis-used as a storage area. Our goal has always been to have the room as a place to workout in the winter on our bike trainers, entertain friends with "game nights get-togethers" and have a place to work on our various projects. (Holly-Crafty Stuff & Jim - Bike Maintenance/Car/Motorcycle Stuff) The opportunity to paint came along when our largest obstacle, a sofa bed, was donated and taken away by the Salvation Army two weeks ago. Seeing an opportunity, we seized the moment and cleared everything out...the first goal - PAINT THE ROOM!!

As you will see, we don't do anything simply. We wanted the room to be brighter and more lively. Having watched too many "Trading Spaces", I felt that multiple colors and stripes would really break up the room and play up the beam in the middle of the room. Jim, as usual, was up for the challenge.

We are thrilled to say that what we saw in our minds eye and on small paint swatch cards was a stunning success and we are definitely satisfied with the results. The colors, in case you are interested are: Jonquil Yellow, Icebreaker Grey, and Coat of Arms Purple - all Glidden colors with a satin finish.

Now we just have to slowly add stuff back to the room. Eventually there will be flat panel T.V. over the fireplace to replace the "Lance Armstrong/NIKE Ad poster" (which will then move to another wall in the room). The T.V. will serve as our "on the bike entertainment" for those long winter days when it is too cold to be outside. That will come in very handy in the next year as Ironman USA 2008 training approaches. Until then, Lance stays as our primary motivation.

It was hard work painting and we won't be that ambitious again, we agreed we will pay somebody else to do it in half the time it took us. Still it is good to know that we have the skills to do something this ambitious!!


Lots of stuff - white walls (Lance Poster)

Still more white walls...

Wallace helping Holly tape...

Wallace and Grommette - keeping "safe"...


Grommette is feeling "lucky"!!

Wallace showing why possession is 9/10ths of the law...

Already the room is looking so much better!

We carried the color scheme through to the windows too..

Lance in his rightful place, front and center on the wall...

"This is my body. And I can do whatever I want to it. I can push it. Study it. Tweak it. Listen to it. Everybody wants to know what I am on. What am I on? I am on my bike busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on?
-Lance Armstrong, NIKE AD

Friday, February 02, 2007

Run Sister Run!

Heather, at the 2005 Army 10 Miler, making it look easy...

My sister Heather is running her first road race since she gave birth to my beautiful nephew Rowen. She is doing the Surfside 10K. Now I ask you, how appropriate is it that somebody who *loves* to surf and run would return to running at a race called Surfside? Yeah, I know .. the race being in Myrtle Beach, SC along the coast could have more to do with the race name but I choose to beleive that it is running karma at it's best!

Run Sister Run!! Have a great time!
So the painting is almost done! Tonight we do some trim work and then I will post some pictures. It really does look pretty darn good. Jim and I would ROCK on a show like Trading Spaces!

Today is a "REST DAY" on the workout schedule. Good thing too, cause between work, working out and the house painting - I am one tired gal! Even so, I managed to kick some but and get a good swim in this week of 1400 yards along with a Spin Class and a short run. This weekend will be all about a long bike and a long easy run with some more house cleaning tossed in the mix for variety.

There are some other big things going on right now but I am not ready to "spill the beans just yet" on what I have going on. Let just say that is has to do with Cancer, being a Survivor and making a Difference .... I'll elaborate soon enough! You have my word...

Hey, enjoy the weekend, Live STRONG and if you have a moment, send my Sister some good vibes for her post-partum 10K!