Why am I Running from Cancer?

Why am I Running from Cancer?. . . check out this post for an explanation

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

May in the rear view mirror

WOW what a month!

Total miles biked during May for sport:  157 - 7 training rides
Total miles biked during May for transport:  83 - biked to work 6 times
TOTAL miles BIKED during May:  240

TOTAL miles RUN during May:  79

Over 300 miles of exercise in the month of May - YAHOO!  I realize that for some of you - that is a running only total - but for me - this was a great month of exercise!  

Some of May's highlights:
Traveled to New York and back in 4 days
Participated with 32,000 other people in Bike New York - biking 58 miles

My youngest son finished his first year of college

My oldest son's girlfriend graduated from college

My oldest son is moving out on June 1 into his first apartment

Youngest son moved back home for the summer
Cleaned and waxed the boat

Ran in the Monona 20k

Youngest son signed a lease for a duplex for his second year of college

Planted my flower garden
My flowering crab trees bloomed

My tulips bloomed and were NOT eaten by rabbits 

Planted my vegie garden
Tore out the fireplace
 Painted the walls near the fireplace so that the mason can install the stone around the new fireplace (in progress)

Picked out new carpeting

Biked to work 6 times

Biked home from work 6 times  ;-)

Took 3 bike rides with my hubby

Took 4 other training rides by myself
My favorite Witch hazel bush is flowering - although I looked up a Witch hazel bush and this is NOT that - but that is what I have called it for years!!!

Ran 18 days out of the month

Took boat out for a spin on the lake - 2x's
Took jet skis out - 2x's (sorry no pic - hard to do that while riding a jet ski)




I can't wait to see what June brings!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Brat Fest and Memorial Day weekend to do lists!

Well if you are anything like me - there is a LIST of things that need to get done on Memorial Day weekend.  In addition to the unofficial start of summer - there is "stuff" to get ready.  
vegie gardens to plant 
flowers to plant 
boats to clean, inside and out 
shop for new carpet
jet skies to clean
houses to clean 
walls to paint
rides to bike 
paths to run and 
brats to be eaten.  
Here in Madison . . .  let me re-phrase that . . .  here in Wisconsin we LOVE Brats . . .  oh and especially when eaten while enjoying a beer.  Trust me - nothing tastes better than a beer and a brat, especially when the brat is first simmered in beer and onions!  yum.   
In Madison we have a annual Brat Fest, which was started by a local grocer, and is now billed as the World's Largest Brat Fest, with much of the proceeds going to local charities.  This year because of the political turmoil in Madison and Wisconsin, the Brat Fest not only is being "protested" or boycotted by many local individuals, including many of my Facebook friends.  One of the PRIMARY reasons that the "Official" brat fest is being boycotted is that the Brats are provided FREE to the event by Johnsonville Brat's . . .  

Political Involvement and Controversy

The Johnsonville company and its owners have a reputation for political involvement, and are widely known as supporters of conservative causes. [1] In 2010, members of the Stayer family figured prominently as contributors to the successful Wisconsin gubernatorial campaign of Republican candidate Scott Walker. [2]As a result, in 2011, opponents of Walker and his policies have called for a boycott of Johnsonville products.
As a result of this boycott, there are at least 4 alternative Brat fests which are set up around the city this weekend, with most of these proceeds also going to charities.  So we are a city with Brat's coming out of our ears!   
We decided after a day of planting the vegie garden, planting more flowers, carpet shopping, painting, cleaning the inside of the boat, we needed to eat some Brat's.  So we road our bikes to Brat Fest, figuring that the exercise would help offset the calories of the brats and beer.  Round trip was 18 miles.  Best part was that when we got to Brat Fest, which is held at a local venue situated on a parcel of land with water all around it (think moat) - bikes were allowed on the island and had a special valet area.  There is a huge parking lot - but getting to bike on the island was great.  We hopped off the bikes, walked a few short steps - I got a couple of beers, while my son and hubby picked up the brats.  We then sat and ate them while listening to a band.  Music, beer, brats - charity event . . .  great way to spend chillaxicating time on Memorial Day.  

Johnsonville Brats

Local volunteers, cooking up the brats - this goes on Friday - Monday so it takes many many volunteers.
On today's agenda - paint (already done), clean house, three bathrooms already cleaned ;-), three loads of laundry already finished, we are now waiting for the rain to stop so that we can wash the outside of boat let it dry and get it waxed.  Oh and we will probably be stopping at Brat Fest again to enjoy a brat and beer (or 2)  . . . we have to do our part to help the local charities!  
On the running front - I took yesterday and today off - my ankle is still swollen and quite stiff after I sit for any period of time, not that I have been sitting around much this weekend, but  . . . . good news is that it feels much better today.  I noticed that it wasn't nearly as stiff when I got out of bed this morning.  I was thinking about running - but decided I would give it another day of rest.  I should have probably not been running on it this past week, instead of getting better during the week, it seemed to be getting more swollen and stiffer - that is why I decided to take these last couple of days off.  I think it needed to be rested.  
Hoping for another bike ride, maybe to Brat fest again and then a 6 mile run tomorrow morning.  Then about the only thing on tomorrows agenda will be to take the clean boat out for the day!  Temp's tomorrow are supposed to hit 89 - currently it is raining and 61.  brrrrrrrr 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Great Friday off of work

I took today off of work - It was a Linda day - one of my 55 goal, was to take 5 days of vacation for me.  Well, today turned out to be one of those days.  Only thing on the agenda was a long run and a long bike ride.
Woke up to mild temp's and sunshine!  When I headed out for my run, it was around 65 with 70+% humidity.  I started off with 2 miles with Sophie, then I came home and dropped her off and then headed out again.  My original plan was to run 8 more miles, but based on the warmer / humid temp's I decided to shot for 6 more miles for a total of 8.  Don't get me wrong - the weather was BEAUTIFUL - but on Monday and Tuesday we had FROST warnings . . . so to say that I am not quite use to warmer temp's is an understatement.
I started out on my route and felt pretty good, so I decided to add a few extra blocks, and ended up finishing 9.7 miles in 1:41.  Not the fastest time - but reasonable.
I took some time for a little something to eat, changed clothes and got ready to bike.


Here is a shot of the back of my ankle area, right next to my Achilles tendon.
My plan was to bike downtown, using my commuter route, then hook up with the bike trail and head out for the 20 mile Capital City Bike Trail, then head back home, for a total 35 mile trip.  I got downtown and was on the bike path, but had to cross a major intersection.  I stopped and waited for the signal - crossing over to the next light.  Here is where things went wrong.  I was stopped at the second light, as was a car that was stopped for the light.  I was right next to the driver and he appeared to nod his head at me, with I interpreted as him telling me to go ahead - well I was clearly WRONG - because while I took off to go in front of him, so did he.  I had to try and stop - which I did, but I also fell.  In the process, I obviously hit the back of my ankle with my pedal and ended up slicing it.  I walked over to the grass and pulled a couple band aids out of my bag.  Problem was that I also used some of my water, to try and clean it off a little, so the band aids didn't stick very well.  At this point I was 7 miles from home, right next to my office and I had to decide whether to keep going, or head back home.  I kept going.   

I stopped on the Cap City Path, enjoyed a snack of a Luna bar and checked my phone.  I had a missed call from my husband.  We are in the process of looking for new family room furniture and had discussed possibly meeting somewhere this afternoon to look at a couple of options that I had found.  I told him that I was on the bike path, but could head back into town and without much extra effort get to the store in about 15 minutes.  
So, 20 miles into my bike ride, we stopped at a furniture store and purchased new furniture.  ;-)
Then my husband headed to visit his dad, and I headed back home.  Since I had cut off some of the trail, I didn't get the full 35 miles . . . only 31.4 in 2:29.  Felt pretty good, other than my ankle and happy to have purchased the furniture.  Next is new carpet.  Maybe that will be this weekend.  


Heading to bed - I just know I am going to sleep well tonight!  

Monday, May 16, 2011

Spring flowers

Spring is not my favorite season.  There I said it - while I know that many many people love spring - for me it means, rain, wind and cold temp's  - all the while you are wishing for warmer temps.  I love winter - but by the end of February I am ready for warmer temps, but Spring is a constant struggle.  We finally get some warmer temp's, maybe even 60 or 70 degrees and then boom - the next day back in the 40's or even 30's.  Yuck.  Heck - tonight there are frost warnings - it is May 16th, we shouldn't have to worry about frost.
But I do love getting back into my gardens and watching everything starting to grow.

Early spring - daffodil's

day lilies growing and daffodil's

perennials on side of yard

Tulips ready to open
rocks, tulips, daffodil's




the view out my front door

around the screen porch

side yard

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Got kicked by a 20k

Last weekend I ran in a local race, the Lake Monona 20k.  I had wanted to run this in the past, but I had just never signed up for this race.  This is a 20k that circles one of Madison lakes, Lake Monona.  I have been on this "path" many many times, but on my bike, not on my feet.  Speaking of my bike, remember that the weekend before, I had experienced a whirlwind experience, driving to New York, touring New York, biking 58 miles and then driving back to Madison all over the span of 4 days.  Because of this bike trip, I hadn't spent much time (recently) running any distance.  I ran 13.1 miles with Jamie on April 23rd - but between then and May 7th I ran 6 times for a total of 15 miles.  I figured, heck I could pull out 12.4 miles with less training than I would prefer.  Well I did the run - I finished the 12.4 miles but it wasn't pretty.  The first 6 miles were OK - I was keeping a good pace, but somewhere during mile 7 I lost my drive - the engine simply didn't want to move forward.  I walked and then ran and then walked . . . more times than I would like to admit.  Based on my gamin results, it looks like I actually walked 10 times during the last 6 miles.  I never walked for long - but yikes - I have NEVER walked much during a race.  And I hope that I never walk that much ever ever again.  Total time 2:08.  While I realize that isn't that bad - I would have really like to run faster.  Well heck - if I hadn't walked soooo much!


It has taken me the week to think about this race and turn it into a positive experience.  So what did I learn?  I learned that no matter how many years I have been running I need to respect the distance.  I will say the next statement cautiously!  As an older runner - I need to make sure that I am ready for a race.  While I know that everyone needs to be prepared for a race - hitting distances beyond 8 miles is hard for me - 11 12 and 13 miles do not come easy for me.  I can not take it casually.


So I am ready to go and ready to recommit myself to running mid distance runs.  I love the half marathon distance and need to be prepared to run.  


Below is my pirated copy of my finish line photo from the 20k.    




Add caption

Friday, May 6, 2011

Sometimes it is the little things in life!

At the start of the year I made a commitment to myself that I was not going to buy any clothing for the year. I really don't need any. Although I have not yet found time to clean out my closet, I have counted my hangers and there are more than 200 hangers and that does not count jeans and other clothes that are in drawers or shelves in the closet, or summer items not yet pulled out of storage. So I definitely have enough clothes. And so far I have not purchased anything. I will allow myself to purchase running shoes, underwear and bra's as needed.

I recently purchased new running shoes and before I went to New York, I ordered 3 new "regular" bra's and 1 new sports bra and they all arrived while I was gone. Just like a kid - it is always exciting to see packages when you arrive home. This is the first time I have ordered "regular" bra's on-line - well not "regular" for most people, but "regular" for me. Since I have had a mastectomy I wear a prosthesis on the right side and to hold it in place, I wear bra's with special pockets for the prosthesis. I have tried to purchase regular bra's and simply insert it into the cup - but it doesn't offer 100% assurance that it won't move or shift or worse case . . . fall out, like the time I went to a yoga class immediately after work and I was wearing the wrong type of bra. During about the 100th down dog - out it slipped. I simply picked it up and stuffed it back into my bra, laughing to myself the whole time. 

I have now worn two of the "regular" bras and love them both. I also ordered a sports bra and love that also. I ordered the Moving Comfort Juno sports bra and wore it this morning. Yup it is a keeper.


Sometimes it is the little things - Yahoo to new bra's!

Peace

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bike New York - Part 2 - The ride

Part 2 of the Bike New York tour

Sunday

7:00 AM - Get bikes out of Scott's cousin's apartment ( in typical young man fashion, there was a couple, sleeping on a blowup mattress on the living room floor after a night of partying.  :-)  )

7:30 AM  - major BRAKE problem with my bike - assume something happened during the drive (we pulled a U haul trailer with the bikes).  Front cable will not stay in bracket.  Next - back brake is rubbing REALLY bad.  We adjust back cable - now I have no brakes - I am not joking.   I get the front brake to stick and we are off.  Follow bikes through Greenwich Village to get to Battery Park, which is where all of the bikers are queuing up.  The bikers we are following stop - what appears to be a couple of blocks north of Battery Park - we also stop and call Jack and Sally to see where they are and if it will be possible to meet up.  I am still trying to adjust my brakes - but really figure that there are no downhills until we get to Central Park.  And I figure there will be a maintenance stop towards the beginning of the ride. 
Do you see our cheese wedges stuck in our helmets.

This is the start of the tour.
Another view of the front riders

We get to see the motorcycle motorcade start the tour and wait as the front bikers takes off.  Then instead of queuing up - remember there are 33,000 people on this ride - we hop in about 4 blocks into the ride - which will work out to be SUCH A GREAT IDEA.  I assume most people, like me, have never been on this large of a bike ride (this is the largest amateur bike ride in the US) - hard to describe that many people on the streets.  OBVIOUSLY, unless you are in the front, you are not able to bike very fast for quite a few miles.
Anyway, while still riding slowly up Church Street and then 6th Ave (Avenue of the Americas) -  my brakes gave out - TOTALLY - NO BRAKES with thousands of people around me.  Luckily I was near the sidewalk, sort of, and with much skill (LOL) and hollering "I have NO BRAKES",  I managed to swerve to the side and up on the sidewalk without hitting anyone.  I then put a foot down and slid to a stop.  Two bike Marshall's were there by my side before I could turn around to see my friends, who were following me.  They quickly fixed my brakes, adjusting my back brakes that we had loosened toooooo much and then used a pliers to tighten the front brake bracket.  This maybe took 5 minutes and we were good to go - I can't believe how lucky I was.  I am calling a local bike shop tomorrow - to sign up for bike repair class - I don't ever want that to happen again. 

The bike ride was great and so much fun.  After we traveled up 6th Ave (Avenue of Americas) through Manhattan, we were stopped just before Central park.  They queued up the bikers so that only a manageable amount were allowed in at a time.  We were maybe queued up for 10 minutes and then we hit Central Park, where the flowers were blooming, people were out and about and the the flowering trees were so fragrant.

The tour next travels through Harlem and then over to the Bronx via the Madison Ave Bridge and back on the Third Ave bridge spanning the Harlem River.

Back in Manhattan, we traveled down the FDR Drive, a highway where bicycles aren't usually allowed.

Next up was the Queensboro Bridge into borough #3, Queens.  We stopped at the rest area in Astoria Park, along the East River with beautiful views of the Manhattan skyline.
Tricia, Nikki, Me, Scott and Ken

Back our bikes we traveled through the industrial neighborhoods and then crossed the Pulaski Bridge into Brooklyn, borough #4. 



We traveled through Brooklyn, traveling under the Brooklyn Bridge and then we "entered the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, miraculously clear of its usual traffic jam just for Tour Day. Now you can fly over the Gowanus Canal and along the South Brooklyn waterfront, reaching the shoreline park in Bay Ridge."  NOTE the quotes and underline in the sentence before.  This is directly from the website.  While they were correct there was no "usual traffic jam" - there was a bicycle traffic jam.  Although they had warned bikers that there were delays on the BQE (Brooklyn Queens Expressway) there were really MAJOR delays.  There was road construction going on and while we were riding on the BQE, which is a BIG road, and it was closed to traffic heading in our direction, the exit ramp was narrowed WAY down - to a single car width - so they had to stop bikers on the BQE and get us queued up to exit.  We waited approximately 30 minutes - we would later find out that some people waited more than 2 hours - stuck on the expressway with no where to go.  Needless to say there were lots of unhappy bikers.  We followed the comments on Facebook and Twitter.  

Once we bad it through this bottleneck we were on our way to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on to Staten Island, borough #5.  

1:45 PM - we crossed the finish line 42 miles later.

Scott (just to the left) Tricia, Ken and Nikki
I would later read that the tour takes just over 3 hours for the rider stream to pass any given point on the course.  Holy cow!



Side note:  (We never did meet up with Jack and Sally - but we did talk to them later, they didn't get back to Manhattan until 7:00 - we got off the ferry around 2:45 - 4 hours different.  They were stuck at the start in the queuing process and didn't cross the start until 9:30 - remember we started a few blocks into the ride and they were some of the unfortunate people that were stuck on the BQE for over 2 hours.  Then by that time of day - the wait for the Staten Island ferry was also really long.)

3:30 PM - back to the hotel, pack up trailer with bikes, hop in and try to find some place on the upper west side to park the van w/trailer so that we can stop to eat and have a celebratory beer.  No such luck! 

4:15 PM - headed out of New York

5:30 PM - back in Rockaway NJ - we stopped for pizza and beer

7:00 PM - back in car - get about 1/2 way through Pennsylvania -

11:00 PM - find hotel, we stayed over night in a small community off of I-80, called Lock Haven - turn on TV - stay up to listen to the President.

12:00 - sleep

Monday

4:30 AM - up and on the road . . . again

5:00 PM - 1,872 miles later (plus 58 miles biking and many many miles walking) we arrived back in Madison

AHHHHHH!

I had a great time - would I do it again?  maybe - but probably not -

In keeping with my fascination of doing things involving the number 5 during my 55th year -
I did travel in a group of 5 individuals,
with 5 bikes,
traveling through 5 states, IL, IN, OH, PA, NJ (not counting our starting state of WI or our destination state of NY),
through 5 boroughs of New York 
and biked more than 55 miles (58 to be exact). AND it only took us 4 days.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Bike New York - Part 1

I typed this post yesterday while we were driving back to Wisconsin.  We had just entered Indiana after driving through New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio.  Thank heaven for conversion vans.  It has been a pretty comfy drive.  I then had some computer problems last evening and am now trying to reinstall Snow Leopard on my Mac book - while using another computer to finish this post.  I didn't get all of my photo's uploaded to the post before the "incident", so there might be a part 2.

To describe the weekend in one word - whirlwind.  We did so much, in such a short period of time, it is hard to remember.

Friday

3:00 AM - got up, dressed . . .  and headed to our office parking lot, which was our meet up location - loaded the U-Haul
4:00 AM - left for New York
It is pretty dark out at 4:00AM and the camera was too far away - but there we are - ready to hit the road!






As I mentioned we had a conversion van and the back seat was comfy - here I am sprawled out, enjoying string cheese and crackers.  YUM!





We had to come up with something clever to wear or display on our bike ride - so Thursday evening I searched the local Shopko and came up with this wedge of cheese with little mice.  We just needed to figure out how we would attach them.  We ended up simply stuffing them into our helmets.  Many people realized that we were obviously from WI and there were several "hey cheese heads", while others were "what's with the cheese in your helmet".  But during the drive, it is sometimes the simple things that bring the most laughs.  ;-)

We drove and drove - stopping to fill the gas tank and stretch.  In Pennsylvania we had a mission - remember we are from Wisconsin and enjoy a good beer.  So we had to find a beer distributor near I-80 in Pennsylvania so that we could stop and pick up a case of Yuengling beer, which is America's oldest brewery.  To be honest I am not much of a beer drinker - I like beer, but had never heard of Yuengling - but it sure did taste great on Friday evening.  

7:00 PM - stopped at Stoudsburg, at a local drive-through distributor for a case of Yuengling beer and proceeded to have a beer (only 1 beer) in the parking lot - then back in the van.



After about another hour of driving we decided to stop at Rockaway NJ at the Best Western. We figured this would leave us less than an hour in the morning to get to New York. 

8:30 PM ate a a local restaurant - the Exchange - we raved about the food, it was really good - we all had seafood dishes and a couple of pitchers of beer (Yuengling - of course) - but honestly, anything would have probably tasted good.  Back at the hotel and sleeping around midnight.   

Saturday

6:30 AM up, ready to hit the road by 7:00 to drive to New York

First photo opportunity of New York - Took the Holland tunnel into Manhattan.
Scott dropped Ken, Nikki, Tricia and myself off at Battery Park.  We were headed to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.  Scott was headed to his cousin's apartment to drop off the bikes and then HOPEFULLY find a place to park the van and trailer in New York City.  (he has been to New York numerous times and was not interested in these tours).


8:00 we hopped the ferry and headed to Liberty Island.
Ken, Tricia, me, Nikki - and of course Lady Liberty
Then onto the ferry to Ellis Island
Ellis Island - we walked around and listened and read about the immigrants.  We also commented about our conditions in the Conversion van on our trip to New York vs. what the immigrants must have experienced.   
One last view of the Statue and skyline.
11:30 AM back to city - met back up with Scott - who hadn't found anyplace for the van.  He did drop the bikes off and then enjoyed brunch with his cousin - but had a hard time driving around Manhattan because the Revelon 5k Run/Walk for Women, which obviously closed some of the main thorough fares.

The plan was now that Tricia and Scott would drop the van and trailer off at the hotel and then they were going to go to Central Park, while Ken, Nikki and I were going to Wall Street, World Trade Center site - the new Freedom Tower, and then Hobokan to see Carol's Cake Shop. 

New York Stock Exchange
12:30 PM took PATH to Hobokan NJ, both Ken and Nikki's children love the Cake Boss and really wanted them to visit the shop.  Needless to say - there is a line of people waiting outside to go into the shop - we simply snapped a couple of photo's and then walked around Hobokan - which we all agreed is a really nice community - or at least the "downtown" area. 
Escalator to the Path - we had a hard time finding this - we were looking for the PATH at the subway stations near the Freedom Tower site - but it is a completely (or almost completely separate) station. 

Carlo's Bake Shop, make famous by the show Cake Boss.


We found a great bar / grill and stopped to have lunch.  Chatted about the city, etc. with the waitress and then were on our way back to Manhattan via the PATH and then up to the hotel via the Subway. 



Jack, Sally, Ken, Scott, Nikki and Tricia.  Grand Central Station is a beautiful building and just such a cool place.
4:30 PM - met up with one of our East Coast (work) attorney's, also doing the ride with his wife in the hotel lobby.  He took us up to the 55 floor of his office building, we saw one of the Helmsley buildings and then stopped at Grand Central Station and the to dinner at PJ Clarke's for dinner.

7:15 PM - took cab to Barrow St Theatre to see Mike Birbiglia's show titled: My Girlfriend's Boyfriend.  Funny show.

9:30 - enjoyed some Gelato

10:00 - took subway up to Times Square - walked around and then headed back to hotel - 11:45
 (we were there the night before Osama was killed - in my opinion, it is always crazy down there - but I can not even imagine what it must have been like on Sunday evening)


A picture does not do Times Square justice!
Sunday - The Ride

5:30 AM - up and head down to Scott's cousins apartment to pick up bikes via subway.

. . . .  rest of the story tomorrow - now I must work on my mac book!