Tuesday, June 30, 2009

RR: Montclair Triathlon

Last Race before the Big Dance...or HOW TO TOSS THE DNF MONKEY OFF YOUR BACK!

Monclair Triathlon - June 21, 2009
2:44: 23

This would be my last race before IM Lake Placid and after two DNFs this season - I wanted to shake the DNF Monkey off my back once and for all. Met up with Team Z at 5:30AM to pick up my race packet and get the day underway. Saw Debi B. pre-race - looking cool and relaxed - and said "Hi!" Got into transition and got settled and headed out to the water.

SWIM: 28:04 (no wetsuits, water 80F)

Debi B. and I were in the same wave - LOL - but I never saw her until we were out on the bike course. I'm guessing she was hitting the shore as I was hitting the turn bouys. But I had another fantastic swim and another new experience. Wave 4 (women 40+ and Athenas) went off and I had seeded myself mid-pack - and THERE I STAYED UNTIL THE TURN BOUYS! I was a combination of "I feel good / what are all these people doing around me/ get out of my way" It was great until the turn bouys when I really got to experience what it is like to be in the midst of the swim - what a bunch of nuts! I saw more feet and felt more hands and bodies than I have ever cared to experience and I was dreaming of open water. I actually stopped for a moment to let some of these yahoos go by because I was tired of getting my feet pulled and having to dodge other feet. Lesson learned - clear water means losing the draft - I'm sure I was slower on the back half but I was happier in general ...Guess I have to just get used to crowds!

So serious coming out of the water...LOL

T1: 3:24 - A little long in T1 but I wanted to get my socks on straight.

BIKE: 1:09:01 (15.6 mph)

Whheeeee! This was a 3 loop bike course of gentle rolling hills - DOWN - UP - DOWN - UUUPPPP - DOOOWWNNN - nearly all aero, all the time and big chain ring - It was fun and I had a good time passing some of the guys on the descents cause I have hips/booty to spare - of course they always passed me back on the climbs...LOL. Saw Debi B. again as she flew by (I estimated she was already on lap 3 cause I never saw her again until post race.) and took the time to say "Hi Holly! Looking Strong!" I shouted "Debi, You can Do it!" cause I could - LOL - but she was already gone. All in all - fun bike course, done in a flash..

T2:2:22 - almost slipped down the hill - recovered - changed shoes and out I go...

RUN: 1:01:33 (12:15 pace)

Okay - I had a specific goal for the run - practice my IRONMAN plan. 5/1 RUN/WALK intervals at a 12:00 mile pace with the goal to finish the race feeling like I could have run 21 more miles if I had too. I know, the bike was only 18 miles but I wanted to be able to feel my pace, stride and be good with it. The run course was two loops that followed part of the DOWN and UUUUPPPP of the Bike Course with a left turn into a neighborhood that brought us downhill back to the park for a second loop. The biggest surprise on the run was the start of the second loop followed a hiking/single track mountain bike trail for about 1/4 mile through the woods. Off-Roading in Triathlon = Wild Fun! I had a great time slip-sliding down hill through the leaves. Took at GU at the start of the second loop and kept to the plan.

Big Smiles for the finish line!

Finished the 5 mile run feeling like I could run another 21 at 12:00 minute miles (after having run 4 miles less than 10 hours before ) and officially TOSSED THAT DNF MONKEY off my back.

4 weeks to IRONMAN Lake Placid...

Still FOCUSED. Getting EXCITED. Feeling GOOD. Living STRONG!

Another LiveSTRONG Moment!

Totally Awesome!

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Life is Good! LiveSTRONG!!!

Monday, June 29, 2009

For Helen...

CANCER to 5K lost a teammate this past Friday. After a year of fighting hard, enduring clinical trials to get her recurrence under control; having a successful bone marrow transplant and recovering only to have cancer rear it's ugly head again, Helen is gone.

What can I tell you about Helen? Young (early 20s), vibrant, beautiful smile, beautiful face, beautiful laugh. She took life in stride. Helen had to take a break from College to fight her cancer diagnosis and when we were training together, she would show up on Saturday mornings after a long shift as a hostess at a popular local Irish Pub (in high heels) and run with the group. (in running shoes, thank gosh!) Even her complaints were good natured - How is that for "attitude with a smile"?

Helen's fight with this 3rd recurrence was incredibly hard on her. Several CT5K Teammate had chosen to run the recent Survivor Harbor 7 race on June 14th in support of Helen.

A close family friend and fellow CT5K teammate told me, when she saw Helen last week and told her "You ran 7 miles Sunday and did a great job!" - Helen smiled and laughed a little. Helen had just been moved to Hospice care on Thursday, so to have her gone on Friday afternoon was shocking and sad.

But Helen left on her own terms - it bears reapeating over and over again:

Having the courage to decide when to stop treatment is one of the bravest and most powerful things that a Survivor and their families can do. Helen's courage is another powerful example of what it means to LiveSTRONG.

I told the team in a brief email on Saturday afternoon: "Helen has moved on, beyond the struggle, beyond the fight - on her own terms - down a new path. Next run or walk you take, take a moment and remember our teammate Helen and smile and give your finish everything you've got - show the world how you LiveSTRONG! Helen would want it that way."

So on Saturday night, myself and fellow CT5K teammates Jessica T. and Paula S. went out and ran the Potomac Twilight 4-Miler Run.

Potomac Twilight 4-Miler: 42:34

They started this race an hour later this year to eleviate some of the "heat" from last year and that seemed to help but it was still pretty hot at 7PM. I took the pace out easy since this was going to be a "fun run" and supposed to be Zone 2 all the way. Got to see Paula and Jessica several times (two loop - out/back course), which was nice because they are faster runners than me. Spent my time watching other people start/stop - sprint/walk around me in the back of the pack while I just focused on maintaining my race plan and a steady pace until we hit the last water stop.

I decided, in honor of Helen, I was going to pass as many people as I could in the last 1/2 mile. I just slowly picked up my pace - passing runner after runner, many of whom were now run/walking or slowed down due to the distance/heat. With about 600 feet to the finish line (straight-away) I passed a woman in lavendar who had just started walking and a guy in red who had been constantly in front or behind me sprinting and then having to walk the entire race. I was determine that these two would not pass me. Woman in Lavendar started running as I passed her and I let her pull ahead just a little and then got right behind her. As happened every other minute for the last 3.5 mile RED DUDE blew past us at full sprint. I knew that there was no way that he was going to last at that speed for another 500 feet so I eased out from behind Lavendar Lady and eased the pace up focusing on "just a little bit faster" in my head. With about 200 feet to go and Lavendar Lady well behind me, I passed Red Dude as he blew apart from his latest sprint and kept the pace up to pass 2 more runners before crossing the line.

5 minutes off last year's race time - that one was for Helen!

Rest in Peace, Helen. My thoughts and prayers with your family and friends. You will live on forever in our hearts.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Nothing like a little of the wee "C" to bring you back down...

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,

(lyrics and song - WideAwake)

I've been ALL IRONMAN, ALL THE TIME these last two weeks but this week has served to remind me that there are bigger battles going on every day.

First I got a call from Melanie, telling me that she was going to have to put down our cat Jasmine. Jasmine is your typical cat - LOYAL to only ONE or TWO (Melanie and myself) and always suspicious and on guard. She was the crankiest, meanest, nastiest cat I ever co-owned.

Melanie brought her home as a ferrel kitten from her job as a Park Ranger when we were roommates in 1994 back in CT.  When I moved out, I took Jasmine with me (she was not very nice to other cats either...)  Jasmine and I were together for 8 wonderful years until 2000 when I found myself having to move locally here in the DC area.  The rental market was tight and moving with a cat was proving very difficult - so I call Melanie, who was living on the other side of the beltway and asked her if she would take Jasmine.

I cried like a baby the day Melanie came to pick her up.  I knew she was going to be well loved but I felt like I was giving up a child. (I really love my pets...each one.)  Within a month, Jasmine was happy and content and would barely give me even a pur or a walk-by when I would pet-sit for Melanie when she was out of town.  I felt better - I knew Jasmine was happy.

Jasmine lived with Melanie for the next 10 years - even making the long move to Texas.  That is a lot to ask of a New England-born cat! But according to Melanie, Jasmine kept her personality in tack right up to her last years - only mellowing slightly.

Jasmine was diagnosed with Breast Cancer that metastasized to her lungs.  I didn't even know cats could get breast cancer...

REST IN PEACE my sweet, evil kitten!

Last night I got another call from a friend telling me that a mutual friend who has been battling a reoccurrence and in and out of the hospital for the last year - has been released from the hospital to go home and into the care of hospice.  Things have progressed to the point where the Doctors can no longer do anything more.  

I makes my heart ache to imagine anybody ever having to hear those words but I know that being at home with family and friends is the best place for my friend to be and I completely respect the decision that has been made.  I pray that every moment is filled with love, laughter and happiness for the time that is left for my friend and the family.

This morning, I was lurking around - catching up on some more friend's blogs and learned that another friend and blogger was just informed of a reoccurrence.  This friend is one hell of a dynamic guy - a FIGHTER in the truest sense of the word and while the news that he was going to have to start chemo again is still fresh in his mind, he is already making plans and taking action.  He is primed for the FIGHT - that is a LiveSTRONG attitude if ever there was one.

It's been a while since I got this much "cancer" news in less than 24-hours.  It's sobering and quite frankly it simply pisses me off! Not the news but the cancer itself.  Nobody is free from the grips of cancer.

1 in 2 Men and 1 in 3 Women will develop cancer during their lifetime.

560,000 Americans are expected to die of cancer THIS YEAR.  That averages out to more than 1,500 people a day.

(source: American Cancer Society)

But as long as we are all willing to continue to FIGHT and live life on our terms - at least we know that we truly Live STRONG! Make sure you tell your friends and family how much you love them today... Life is still Good - Keep Living STRONG 

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I'm GOOD and TIRED...

FOR THE RECORD:  If you choose to snack on seedless red grapes - maybe think about rinsing them TWICE before you indulge.  Yesterday I found a small but fuzzy spider in my snack bag of red seedless - Needless to say, I lost my appetite at that point.

What a weekend!  I'm still tired and it's already Wednesday but I am not leery about my 90 minute run tonight so I guess that means I am on track with my Ironman Training.

This weekend was the last official LONG WEEKEND of TRAINING for IRONMAN USA.

The workout schedule called for a 2-mile open SWIM practice and a 20 mile Zone 2 RUN.  I met Team Z down at Gunston's Manor for the swim and run.  

The open water SWIM went really well.  I was very happy with my half mile swim loop times (19:00 - 20:00 per loop) and I felt pretty comfortable in the water - even though I grew weary of having to pull my hands and feet out of the fresh water hydra.  Those weeds were just prolific!  Really - ridiculous!! 

The RUN started out just fine and then along came the Rain - at least it stayed warm.  I heard THUNDER but never saw any lightening so I just kept on running.  It really helped to see my other Team Z-mates out on the course.  There is solidarity and comfort in knowing your not the only one out there.  Something like "misery loves company" with a side of " GO Z!" to make you smile.

We ran along the roads leading into Mason Neck State Park and Wildlife Reserve and it was really quiet (except for the Thunder) and beautiful with lots of frogs that would leap in the low bog water along the side of the road with a loud "RIBIT" as you ran along.  At one point on the second loop, I found myself laughing out loud - for every foot step - it seemed I would startle 2-3 frogs.  It was one of those times that you think "If not for this workout - I would have missed this entire moment..."

I did cut my RUN down to 16 miles because I am still a little behind the rest of the group on running volume due to the pleurisy and the wedding but those 16 miles felt good so I know I have what it takes to handle another 10 miles if I stick to my RUN 5/WALK 1 intervals on IM USA race day.

My total volume for Saturday:
• 2 miles open water swimming - 1:20
• 16 mile run (5/1 intervals) - 3:25 (12:50 pace)


Sunday was the BIG RIDE and Team Z ALL-HANDS picnic! On the schedule for me was 120 miles starting in Nokesville, VA.  The 120/70 mile riders started bright and early at 7AM.  The day was pretty much 80 and overcast for the entire day with winds going from 10-15 mph all day long.  There was always a headwind, crosswind or tailwind - which made the ride a little more challenging considering the terrain was "gently rolling".  We did have some climbs but they were always long, gentle gradients with a few short steep climbs that required nothing more than a little extra power.

All in all the ride was FANTASTIC!  I was able to dial my nutrition plan in and it was SPOT ON!  I rode by myself the entire way - about 2 minutes back from a group of teammates that I thought I was on pace with but staying in my Zone 2 meant not trying to bridge the gap to them and since this was supposed to be training for race day - I knew that I needed to ride alone and be "OK" with it for 120 miles.  But it was nice to know the group wasn't that far ahead and everybody always had a "Hi!" or "Looking Good Holly" for me when they saw me at the rest stops as I rolled in and they rolled out.

I only had one tough patch the entire ride and that was right around mile 101 on the bike.  I found myself getting tired.  I took the time to self-assess, took a GU that I knew would kick in in about 15-20 minutes and took the time to do some positive thinking.  I told myself: 

 "Embrace this moment, remember what this feels like.  Your going to have less than 11 miles left on race day and you will be climbing the hardest part of the bike course. Now is the time to dig deep and be strong and believe because you need to get back to Transition and get on the RUN course!"

Of course, on Sunday, there was no run to transition to but there was still another 20+ miles to go so the mental practice help and the rough patch passed and the GU, when it kicked in at Mile 109 made the last 10 mile fly by.  I can honestly say that I felt STRONG when I finished. I'm sure part of it was the endorphin rush of knowing that I had just biked 120 miles but the other part of it was that I got my nutrition right.  Had I needed to Run after that bike ride, I had the energy to do it.  Now I KNOW my legs would have felt like BRICKS but I was not suffering from any stomach issues or general exhaustion which speaks VOLUMES about my conditioning.

Total Volume for Sunday: 119.35 miles - 8:25 hours (14.1 mph average)

Monday was a FULL REST DAY - Thank Gosh!

Tuesday was LONG AM SWIM with Team Z.  I managed to get in 2850 yards in 1:30 but I was toast and very thankful not to have a second workout for the day. 

Today will be a 90 minute run in Zone 2 and then it's back to "double workouts" as the official TAPER begins. Everything that follows over the next 4.5 weeks is considered "taper volumes" to get my body ready for the big day.  

Just because it is a taper - don't expect to see me slacking off on workouts.  I want my body and mind prepared and primed for race day so I am committed to every workout from here until race day.

Friday, June 19, 2009

FOLLOW-UP: Clumsy Continues...

Got home from work last night and got on the Bike for Workout#2 of the Day. (Workout #1 was an AM SWIM with Team Z, FYI)

2 miles into my ride, at a busy intersection, I waited for a break in the traffic (Stop sign - no traffic light) to cross.

Break in Traffic Came - and my left foot decided not to stay clipped in (or I didn't realize I was not clipped in...)

Left Foot hit the ground and Right Shin hit the right pedal - leaving yet another bruise and creating some tears and swearing along with the following internal struggle:

HOLLY: "Damnit, that hurt - SCR*W this - I'm just going back home."

INNER HOLLY: "Yeah that hurt, soft pedal, relax - just spin in out."

HOLLY: "Maybe this is sign, I'm not supposed to work out today...Damn my shin hurts. [whimper]"

INNER HOLLY: "HTFU Holly!  What are you going to do on IRONMAN race day? Quit if you get a boo-boo then too?"

HOLLY: "What...NO! OK, FINE...I'm feeling better now anyway, an easy mile helped.  Sheesh, third times a charm, right? -  no more bruises this week !"

And with that...I went on and did my BIKE workout for the day...

(For those of you not in the know - HTFU stands for HARDEN THE F**K UP - useful in self-whiner moments for anybody...)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Stay upright much?

Um..what it is with me and falling this week? 2 falls in 5 consecutive days has got to be some kind of record for me.

I have always been a little clumsy in general - I think it is my long feet (size 12 women's), they get in the way - but I never fall more than one in while (months between clumsy acts..)

Saturday, I took a SLOW FALL while getting back on my bike after a quick break to fill my water bottles. Typical CLIPLESS pedal incident. I forgot which foot was clipped in (left) - shifted my weight for a moment and - S_L_O_W___F_A_L_L - No damage to the bike - nasty elbow and leg bruises for me. Hurt my ego more than anything else...

So then yesterday, on my way home from work - I managed to loose my balance going UP the stairs on my way to the L'Enfant Metro Station. It was one of those situtations where you feel yourself falling and try to recover it - only to realize - "Too much momentum already - you are still going to fall..." So at the TOP of the stairs, knowing the fall was coming - regardless of my attempt to recover my balance - I did a "tuck and roll" - after all there was no need to try to stop the fall with my hands and break a wrist!

The very nice stranger who helped me gather my bags off the top of the landing complimented me on my "Tuck and Roll."

GOSH THANKS! LOL - What can I say....if I see the fall coming, "I know how to protect my head and significant body parts..."

Even with my "tuck and roll" technique, I ended up with a nasty scratch on my knee and my left hand is a little scratched up - and I decided that rather than risk another fall - I would do my speed work on the treadmill at the gym - instead of the track (closer to home too...)

I have not been this wobbly and out of sorts since I was on high-dose interferon back in April/May 2005. At least then I could blame it CHEMO - this time is is ALL ME.

Team Z mates - you might want to steer clear of me this weekend at about Mile 18 of the long run or mile 100 of the long bike - I seem to be on some kind of roll.

Thank God tomorrow is a REST DAY!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

She's got me thinking...

Cat, fellow Team Z-mate and one of my wonderful CANCER to 5K SHERPA volunteers, had a great post about BALANCE.

In essence, she talks about her struggle to find a balance between training for Ironman (IRONMAN FLORIDA in Nov 2009) and the rest of her life. And reading her blog, I found myself nodding my head alot - thinking, I know how that feels.

Quite a few people suggested that I might have taken on too many things this year. That getting married and racing an Ironman were too much and that to do another season of CANCER to 5K on top of those two big events along with a regular work schedule was just asking for trouble. I'm not sure that I agree but I guess we will have to wait until race day (July 26, 2009) to test that argument to the fullest extent. 140.6 mile should be a good test, I think...

I have, indeed, had my share of moment when I thought: "What was I thinking?" but overall, I think that things have gone well. I managed to find some balance and learned to "delegate responsibility" wherever I could this year. Of course it helps to have a Fiance/Husband who loves and supports your crazy dreams. Without Jim's support, none of this could happen.

Jim and I planned a beautiful wedding in Jackson, MS - in no small part thanks to my WEDDING PLANNER: Deborah Simmons. Delegating the responsibility of planning and handling vendors and keeping our event on track was the smartest thing we could have done. Our Wedding Planner was the biggest ticket item on our wedding budget and she was worth every penny, PLUS!

I took a BIG STEP BACK with CANCER to 5K for the Spring Season. Coach Bob and I reached out and asked some volunteers to step up and take on leadership roles as Assistant Coaches and I only attended TUESDAY track workouts this season. While I missed working out with the group more than I could have expected (there are some people who only make Saturday workouts), I was happy to see that the program can run without me around all the time. That means that things are moving in the right direction. Are there improvements to be made? Of course, but like any program, you try something new - weight the results and course correct. The bottom line is that the Team had a successful season and I learned that I don't have to do everything (which I already kind of knew...LOL)

As far as Ironman Training goes - I knew that to be effecient, I needed to let my training be handled by somebody who had the time to write my schedules and plan my workouts - making my job simply to "show up and get them done." Team Z and Coach Ed have made that possible for me. BONUS: I have a few hundred teammates to train with and about 25 teammates who are heading to Lake Placid, NY in July too. Talk about built in support systems!

It was a rough start indeed! The horrible FLU and the later bought of Pleurisy just after the Myrtle Beach Half Marathon and before the Wedding really shook my confidence. Then I had two hard race experiences at the Half Ironman Distance (both DNFs of a different kind...).

It took quite a bit of personal courage to really dig and evaluate those race experiences but I feel like in both cases, I gained some very valuable lessons. Lessons that I would rather not have learned on IRONMAN USA race day itself.

My training since the beginning of May has been good and consistent. I'm getting the miles in and I am getting the hours in. This weekend is the FINAL BIG BUILD! Saturday is a 2 mile swim and a 20 mile long run ... Sunday is 120 mile bike - both with Team Z.

142 miles over two days in prep for 140.6 miles in one day in just 5 weeks.


Life is Good! All I can do is keep trying to find my own "balance" as IRONMAN USA race day approaches.

Thanks for the reminder Cat!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The SMILES tell the real story...

Jessica T. and Jennifer M. - running strong!

Finish Smiles for Andrea H., Beth S., and Thomas S.

Yuneng L. and Paula S. leading the charge!

Laura is all smiles at the finish!

Denny C. - all smiles after his first 7-mile race!

Cat, Ben and Monica - making it look easy!

The "unofficial" finisher bling - more cowbell!

Paula S. took home 1st Place for Survivor Women - Age 20-29
in the 7-mile distance race - GREAT WORK PAULA!

Lindsey from UCF and Holly S. at the Finisher Pavilion

Heather G., Denny C. and Colleen C.  - 7 miles complete!

Team CANCER to 5K - Spring 2009

Go to most running races and watch the faces of the finishers - you'll see grimaces, tears, frowns and smiles - every conceivable emotion can be seen at the Finish Line.

But there is a something in those smiles - joy, triumph, pride, sometimes a hint of relief...those are the people that I am drawn to every time.

On Sunday at the Survivor Harbor 7 race in Baltimore, MD - Team CANCER to 5K: 20 runners & volunteers strong, all finished their races with BIG SMILES!

This season the CANCER to 5K program trained 15 runners for 12-weeks to run either the 4-mile or the 7-mile distance of the Survivor Harbor 7 race.  Coach Bob Shaver led the way every Tuesday and Saturday at group workouts along with the help of this seasons new group of Assistant Coaches (Arnetta D., Destiney I., Monica R. and Andrea H.) and our ever present and dedicated group of volunteer pace leaders helped to encourage the group of survivors to new distances.

While in the beginning of the program, the common tie that binds this diverse group of people together is CANCER - either as a survivor, a supporter, a supportive family member, a volunteer - at the end of 12 weeks - it is the running, the training and the common goal to challenge themselves and "LiveSTRONG" that makes this group a Team.

Pace doesn't matter for Team CANCER to 5K - we cover the every part of the collective PACK (Front, Middle and Back) - what matters is that we are in this together - committed to taking a risk, trying something new (running) and showing ourselves and those around us that we will not let "cancer" determine what is possible and that we can reclaim our health - on our own terms and go onto to achieve great things!

With all these "personal goals", you would think that all that matters is the Finish Line - but that is not the case.  This year, we had a few Teammates who were not able to race - those Teammates were there with us - in our hearts and minds as we covered the distance. They are facing the challenges of different fight's this season - recovery from injury, cancer diagnosis of family members, complications/reoccurrence of cancer & even happy changes in family status. All these challenges serve as a reminder to us all that STRENGTH and ENDURANCE are important in all facets of our life to be nurtured and encouraged and that to "LiveSTRONG" can have so many definitions.

For Helen, Shawn, Jessica W., Alisa and Katy - you were with us, every mile.

CONGRATULATIONS to the SPRING 2009 CANCER to 5K Team!  You did it!!

FALL 2009 Season starts August 1, 2009: Come explore the meaning of the word ENDURANCE as a Cancer Survivor - One Mile at a Time! CANCER to 5K

Friday, June 12, 2009

12 Weeks goes by so quickly...

Well it is coming up on another 12 weeks and this weekend the 4th group of CANCER to 5K Runners will toe the line at the Survivor Harbor 7 Race in Baltimore, MD this Sunday, June 14, 2009.

This season we tried two new things - we added a 7-mile distance training option for those CT5K alumni who wanted to try running a longer distance than 5K and we coached 3 runners "on-line."

All in all, I think we continue to be very successful.  We had a few people who had to pull out of the program for various reason - but that happens in any program. 

Last weekend the first of our "on-line" runners, Sandra, completed her first 5K at the Race for a Cure in Detroit, MI.  Her comments after the race to Coach Bob:

 "I can't believe I did it. This was HUGE for me and I couldn't have done it without you Coach. I was a little nervous but my sherpas were by my side and I averaged a 5 minute run/1 minute walk pretty consistently. I felt good running and felt even better finishing.  p.s. - I'm signing up for a 5K in September."

(L to R:)  Andrea, Sandra  and Jenean:
The H. Sisters at the finish of the Detroit Race for the Cure!

On Sunday, June 14, 2009 - We will have 4 runners and 4 volunteers running the 4-mile event and 4 runners and 7 volunteers running the 7-mile event.  Including friends, family and non-running volunteers - we will have a group of about 25-30 people representing the CANCER to 5K program at the Survivor Harbor 7 race.

The goal of this program, from inception, was always to provide a place where young adult cancer survivors could discover the benefits and joys of being active and hopefully, after the program, have the tools to continue running or explore other areas of fitness and continue with an active, heathy lifestyle.

It's working but to be honest, I had no doubt that it would work.  Sometimes all a person needs is the opportunity to try something new.  CANCER to 5K provides that with NO FEES, NO FUNDRAISING and LOTS OF COWBELL.  Our Coaches, Assistant Coaches and our Volunteers keep coming back to help and I hope as we spread the word and get more survivors involved - we will make an even bigger impact on the Survivor Community here in the NOVA/DC/MD area and someday far beyond.

What is even more exciting is that some of the Alumni runners are going onto bigger and better things and yet they stay involved with the group - training and doing social races - and in that way - they encourage and inspire our new runners.

• 1 CT5K alumni runner qualified for and ran her first Half Marathon at the National Half Marathon (13.1 miles) this past March 2009.

• 2 CT5K alumni runners are currently training for the Half Marathon Distance (13.1 miles)

• 1 CT5K alumni runner is currently training for the Marine Corps Marathon this fall! (26.2 miles)

This season has been the most "hand-off" season for me yet due in large part to my IRONMAN USA training. I am thrilled to report that the CANCER to 5K program has a model that is working successfully and can sustain itself - showing that there is room for other  groups like the Northern VA team to form and grow.

RACE DAY is going to be a day to CELEBRATE!

Life is Good!  Live STRONG!  MORE COWBELL!!!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Training Perspective....

Hill repeats on the bike was the workout so I thought "Well I keep climbing the same hills in my neighborhood, today I should go elsewhere and climb something longer and harder"

"Where to go?  Long and Hard - think, think, ahhhh - Custis Trail - Lee Highway - that has always been a hard climb for me...5 miles from the office - that is a good warm-up and then I'll climb.

Bottom of Climb:

"OK, here we go....cadence up, SPIN SPIN SPIN, here come the hard hill...."

SPIN, SPIN, SPIN - "Um, okay, here comes the hard hill.."

(still same gear - SPIN SPIN SPIN) - "Here comes the hard hill?"

(top of climb - SPIN SPIN SPIN - only gone down one gear)

"CR*P, I need to find a new hard hill!"

Perhaps a hard weekend in the Poconos wasn't a total bust after all...

Life is GOOD!  Train STRONG!  Live STRONGER!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

I'm UP then I'm DOWN but I'm still moving FORWARD...

On the shore of the Lake with some of Team Z!
(Holly & Jim, 4th and 5th from left)

This past weekend was the Black Bear Half Ironman at the base of the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania.

Black Bear Half Ironman
May 31, 2009
1.2 mile SWIM/ 55.4 mile BIKE / 13.1 mile RUN

Bike course included 5012 feet of altitude gain (VERY HILLY, VERY CHALLENGING)

I could go on and on and on - and I kind of already did to some folks - but I find the longer I dwell on this weekend, the less confident I become and I want to turn this experience into some positives so I am keeping it short - just the facts please!


• Watching my husband spontaneously sign up for his first TEAM RELAY Triathlon by doing the Bike Leg with some Team Z folks! (Team Coleman aka "TEAM Something Like Awesome!"

• He rocked the 56 mile bike in 3:36:51 - pretty d@mn good for low milage season on the bike to date...

• Setting a PR (Personal Record) in the 1.2 mile swim distance with a time of 51:00 - 8:35 faster than I swam the same distance just 3 weeks ago and 3:40 faster than my previous PR at Timberman Half in August 2003.

• Having one of the young volunteers at the Water Station on the bike tell me "I want to do triathlons so I can ride a bike just like you!"

• Getting my nutrition on the bike nearly SPOT ON!

• Being allowed to finish the Bike Course

• Getting comforting hugs from Jim and from Pam C. and feeling, in that moment, OK again...


• Another DNF - I missed the cutoff for the run by a large margin - over 35 minutes - I averaged 10.7 miles per hour and covered 55.4 miles in 5:35

• Crying like a baby in transition...

• Experiencing the pain of DNF because I was too slow - I'll be frank - It SUCKED! (and yet it is very motivating - I don't ever want to feel that way again...)

FINAL SYNOPSIS: I gave this course all I had and it wasn't enough. I'm told this course is much harder than Lake Placid - let's hope so because I'm not backing down and I  am honestly getting sick of these @#&#&$ DNFs.

TWO is TWO too many!  Back to the training at hand!