Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Prepping for a whole new year

Turning 50, taking Tamoxifin and living without ovaries has put a whole new twist in my training. I have had to make some changes in my workout routines due to fatigue, interupted sleep, weight loss and strength loss. My first change is mixing up my strength routine. I have always been a big proponent of body weight exercises for endurance athletes; but with my big loss in strength, I have headed back to the weight room, hitting the machines and free weights. Here is my new program: Exercise DAY I; DAY 2; DAY 3 1. Plank 2 x 30-60 secs; 1 x 60-90 secs; 2 x 30-60 secs Low Back 2 x 15 - 15; 1 x 15; 2 x 15 - 15 (can be machine, superman's or swis ball reverse curls) Calf raises 1 x 25; 2 x 25; 2 x 25 - 20 2. Squats 2 x 15 - 13; 1 x 12; 1 x 15 Bench Pr. 1 x 15; 2 x 15 - 12; 1 x 12 Seated Row 1 x 15; 2 x 15 - 12; 1 x 12 3. DB step-back lunge 1 x 12 each leg; 1 x 12 each leg; 1 x 12 each leg DB pull-over 1 x 15; 2 x 15 - 12; 1 x 12 High Pulls 1 x 15; 2 x 15 - 12; 1 x 12 4. Leg Ext. 2 x 15 - 12; 1 x 12; 1 x 15 Leg Curls 2 x 15 - 12; 1 x 12; 1 x 15 Wide grip pull-ups 10-12; 12-15; 10-12 (I use the "assited" pull-up machine) 5. Bridge with ball and band (pulse-squeeze and push out 2 x 30 secs.) Single Leg Bridge 2 x 15 Dead lift 2 x 15 ***Group 5 is done on day 1, 2 & 3... Each group of exercises is completed as a circuit and then you move to the next. It runs a three-day pattern, sometimes one set, sometimes two. If two sets the second set of reps is with a heavier weight. I will complete this phase for another 4 weeks and then switch it up. I am now two weeks in.

Sunday, September 2, 2012


It has been about 11 weeks since I posted last—caught up in IM prep…. So here is my latest update: I turned 50 on August 8th and completed my 10th Ironman Race in NYC on August 11th, 15 weeks after my last radiation treatment. It was a great day on a tough course and although I missed my goal time by 45 minutes, it was the fastest IM I have done since I qualified for Kona in 2004 with an 11:26:02—this year I was 12:00:50 (I will post my full race report in another entry).
Once I recovered my energy from the radiation treatments, my training went really well and all was on track for a solid race. The only side effect from the breast cancer was tightness and discomfort in my pectorals on the side of my surgery—easily managed. About a month or so out of the race I began having some lower abdominal and lower back discomfort and decided to head to my OB/GYN (keeping my fingers crossed). An exam, ultra-sound exam and then an MRI confirmed a lime-sized cyst on my right ovary that needed to be removed, as the doctor said that it would continue to grow. Arghhh, another bump in the road to deal with…. My doc felt 99.9% sure that it was a benign cyst filled with fluid and that waiting a few weeks to do the surgery would be okay—one risk, it could burst if it got too big….great. So I charged onward with my IM preparation with my new “friend” Muriel (my sister in-law named my cyst) in tow. The back discomfort got a bit worse, she was growing, and I was a bit nervous on how things would feel come race-day. But, I had worked so hard for the race I was not going to let this derail the day. The swim was great, the bike was ok and the run was a bit of a challenge-when I realized that I was not going to hit my goal time, I did not let it get me down. I was just so happy to be out there competing, not for me, but in honor of my mom and in memory of my brother. Thoughts of them and what they went through (my mom is done with her chemo and is now having radiation and it has been just one year since my brother’s death) kept my focus on the finish line. The mind is a powerful thing, as it can talk your body in and out of a lot of things—positive thoughts can push you through tough times—I found this so true with my battle with cancer and in my racing. I did cross the line with a smile on my face, focusing on all of the positives—it was a great day! I had several clients also compete and everyone had a terrific day. Congratulations to athletes; Becky Sage, Phil Beane, David Tattan and Caroline Lettieri for finishing the IM. Below is Team TRI for HOSPICE members, Phil Beane, Becky Sage (and her daughter Addison) and the Coach at the finish line. (Missing is Dina Arceo who was sadly unable to compete due to a bad bike crash the Thursday before the race).
The race was not very spectator friendly, but at mile 20 on the run in Riverside Park there is a great outdoor bar, The Hudson River Café and this is where my wonderful support crew was waiting for me:
Stevie, Luke, Sam, Ben, B-Lee, Liz and Marty—missing is Terry who took the photo. It was wonderful to have family and friends at the race—we all had a great time in the City! My Tri for Hospice ( teammates and I are excited to announce that we nearly doubled our fundraising goal of $15,000, which will be donated to Hospice and Palliative Care of Greensboro. We still have one other fundraiser, Ridgewood Try a TRI for HOSPICE ( ); on September 10, 2012 that we hope will push us over the $30,000 mark. Thank you so much to all of our sponsors and donors who helped make this happen—we are over whelmed at the generosity of all….. I took a bit of a break from training 2 weeks following the race (walked a lot, easy short swims and short spins on the bike), battled a nasty cold (luckily no abdominal gunk from the Hudson) and had my surgery on Monday. All went well, I had the cyst and bad ovary removed as well as the other—no worries now about ovarian cancer…. The pathology came back and it is all good—the cyst was pretty big and filled with blood—Yuk! I cycled easy for 2 hours yesterday and ran for an easy hour today. It felt good to be out and about and I will slowly ease back into a routine, doing what I always tell my athletes about recovering “take things easy and listen to your body.” An oh-yeah, I signed up for an IM in 2013, Mt. Tremblant in Canada—I have some unfinished business to take care of….. Get out and make it a GREAT DAY!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Back on my game!

I am 5 weeks post-radiation and have been on Tamoxifen for 2 weeks. It took a couple of weeks after radiation to get my energy back. I realized how tired I felt during the radiation once I started to feel back on my game. My appetite has improved, I now feel hungry, but my weight is still pretty light (I am 10 or so pounds down from pre-cancer weight). I am working on packing in the calories and getting in a solid recovery drink and then meal after longer workouts. I do not want to get any lighter….. I managed to train through my radiation, long slow efforts, and I do believe that I came out of it with a really solid base. I competed in IM St. Croix 10-days post radiation and was very pleased with my effort. I had no idea what to expect, but I went into the race looking at it as a training day and if I had to stop, I would. The swim went very well (4th in AG out of the water), the bike was tough with rain and slick roads, but I just kept my pace under control—made it up the Beast! The run was what I was worried about the most as my longest training runs topped out at 9 miles. We were very lucky that the sun was not out—it was hot and humid, but not too bad. I had a great first 6 miles and then felt a little wobbly, so I just walked the hills and was okay. I was hoping to come in around 6:00 and ended up coming in at 6:11:31, 9th in the AG. All-in-all it was a great day-- I was just happy to be out there competing. My recovery went well from SC and next up was the FS 100 with two of my clients/tri for hospice teammates (Dina was 2nd over all female and Becky won her age group!). As with SC, this race was a training day for us in prep for IM NYC (August 11th). The race was in Washington, NC (very flat) and consisted of a 2 mile swim, 88 mile bike and 10 mile run. Again, I just took it easy and felt even better this day. I ended up the 3rd overall women with a 7:09:19 (57:16 swim, 4:41:09 bike, 1:27:53 run). Feel like my old self again…… Now to get used to the Tamoxifen….. I have heard from other triathletes who have taken it during training and racing and most do not experience any major side effects. I did find out that it is on the USADA (US anti-doping agency) list of banned substances, which is very interesting—need to mention that to my Doc! I have been getting some night sweats which interrupts my sleep, which makes me a bit tired during the day—also have been having a dull headache…. I have an appointment with my oncologist tomorrow to go over some blood work (taken last week) and discuss the Tamoxifen. I hope that these side-effects are just temporary. I continue to feel very lucky with my diagnosis and treatment and feel very fortunate to be able to continue to do what I enjoy so much….. My Tri for Hospice teammates, Becky, Phil & Dina, and I are off for a 120 mile ride this Sunday and I will enjoy every minute of it—because I can…..

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Almost at the finish….

Today marked my 23rd radiation treatment and this is my last full week! The time has really gone by quickly and I am ready to be “done with it.” I will go three days the following week and “double-up” one day since I will be traveling on Thursday of that week. My symptoms (fatigue, breast soreness and rash) are very minor—every day I see other patients who are dealing with way more than me, I am the lucky one.
The fatigue is different than any other “tired” I have felt—I just get really worn out and nothing I do or don’t do makes it go away. I think that pushing through the fatigue with some of my recent workouts will really help me mentally during long races. I have been keeping up with my training and I am sure to take one or two complete days off each week or just go for a short easy swim. This is my last big build week to St. Croix. Next week I travel again and will only be able to run while I am gone and then it is off to SC on May 3rd. One of my Tri for Hospice Teammates, Becky, and I rode to Hanging Rock and back on April 7th (60 miles RT). It is a very hilly route and the climb up Hanging Rock is really tough—I made the climb and it was a real confidence booster for the upcoming half ironman in St. Croix. We will head there again this weekend and add one more climb up Saurtown Mt. (another tough one) and then do a short run off the bike.
I am 14 weeks into my cancer diagnosis, two weeks away from finishing radiation, three weeks out of St. Croix and 16 weeks out of the IM... I am 10 pounds lighter, a little rashy and tired, but fortunate that this is the “worst of it.”

Workout of the week:

This is a great “bang for your buck” workout, especially if you are short on time. Do this workout one time per week during the build period and build to 20 repetitions. I prefer to complete it on a trainer—you can focus more on the efforts and not have to worry about road hazards
Warm-up well and then do 10 to 20 x 30 seconds at 90% effort (9 on 1-10 RPE scale) with 30-second spin recoveries. Cool down easily and stretch.
This is a workout that I have used successfully in the past, but not so much now as too many anaerobic efforts zap me….
Get out there and get after it!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

11 down....

I just had my 11th radiation treatment today. I go every day, five days a week at 8:50. It is about a 30 minute door-to-door trip so I try to tie it in with workouts and or errands. 3 days per week I leave a bit early and hit the pool for 30 to 45 minutes, 2 days per week I head to another pool that has a deep end and water run and then lift. Tuesday’s I have a set ride with two of my Tri for Hospice Teammates, Becky and Dina. They are nice enough to meet me at the Battleground Park around 9:30, right after my appointment and we head out for a 2 hour hilly ride.
Getting my workouts in early has been key, as I have been feeling a bit more fatigued each day. This Monday it really hit me and I just took the entire day off—no pep, no motivation, just blahhhh. This is really hard for me to handle as I am a “doer” and just “resting” is definitely not my style. But, the coach in me says, “Listen to your body” and I am doing my best to practice what I preach to my athletes. I have also found with my training these past couple of weeks that anaerobic efforts really toast me—so, I am trying to stay very aerobic (building a solid base for the IM). With St. Croix on the horizon, my hill strength is not where it needs to be, so I am trying to settle into a comfortably hard pace and spin up the hills as best as possible. If my heart rate goes to high, it generally settles down quickly after the climb—a good sign.
This afternoon will be my first “key” brick, a 1.5 hour ride followed by a 45 minute run… I have completed some short runs off the bike all winter, but this will be the longest and a real test of where my fitness is. I am 7 weeks out of St. Croix and 19 weeks out of the IM—time is flying by….
The nurses, technicians, aids and doctors at the Cancer Center are all really nice and upbeat. I generally see the same people who treat me each day as well as other patients coming in for treatments. It is a very sobering feeling to walk into the main waiting room and see so many people, from all walks of life in various stages of fighting cancer. Often, I feel like I do not fit in, as I do not look sick. As I have learned from Ironman racing, “just when you are feeling really bad during a race and start to feel sorry for yourself, you just need to look around because there is always someone else out there who is feeling worse than you or dealing with bigger issues….” This is how I feel when I go for my treatments—I am sad, frustrated and sometimes angry that I have to deal with this, but it goes away quickly when I see all of the other patients who are much sicker and dealing with much bigger issues than me. That is the point when I tell myself that I am the lucky one—mine got caught early…..
So about 19 more treatments to go—I will finish about 2 weeks before St. Croix. I will continue to train as much as my body allows and enjoy whatever happens in St. Croix. I am a lucky one—I am strong and healthy; my cancer was caught early; I have great doctors, wonderful family support, terrific friends and training partners. I will get over this “bump in the road.”
Train Smart,

Workout of the week:
One-Legged Drills on the Trainer:
Warm-up for 10-15 minutes of easy spinning
Then complete 30 seconds right leg (unclip your non-working leg), 30 seconds left leg, 30 seconds both legs focusing on proper form at a comfortable cadence (Aim to build the interval to one-minute as your form and fitness improves).
Repeat 3 times through.
5 minutes of easy spinning and repeat the sequence.
Cool-down for 10-15 minutes of easy spinning.
Total Time: Approximately 44 minutes

Monday, March 12, 2012

And I said that I would never get….

A tattoo and now I have three—well three tattoo dots…. These are markers for radiation, which I start this Thursday.
I am four weeks out of surgery—the recovery has gone much slower than I expected and I think that it is due to the two surgeries in one day and the loss of blood. I have found myself much more tired than usual (the doc said I am anemic) and am wiped out after workouts. From this I have learned that I need to get my workouts done early in the day. If I wait too long, I am just too tired and very unmotivated. Last week was a solid week with three swims, two long bikes (2.5 and 3.0 hours), three runs (with the “long” run at an hour) and a couple of strength sessions.
I am 8 weeks out of St. Croix and 21 weeks out of the IM…. I am focusing now on building back my base and building back some strength. I have lost about 5 pounds over the past month or so—good for running, but not so good on the bike as I am very “weak” on the hills. I rode last week with a group of five guys and just could not hold on---very frustrating as I am not used to having people wait for me (they were nice and did). I keep telling myself what I would tell my athletes, “be patient, it takes time and you will get your fitness back.”
So, I am plugging along, slowly increasing frequency and duration each week—I will keep St. Croix in perspective, looking at it as a workout, not a race and just enjoy being out there. I have two clients attending and it will be good to be there to support them. Spring is here in NC and my kids are home for spring break—life is good!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Back on Track….

Last Thursday marked a week following my surgery (s) and it was a week of good news—my pathology came back with solid margins, so no more surgeries and I should be able to begin radiation treatments in 2 more weeks. I see the radiation oncologist this Thursday and my surgeon on Friday. Another piece of good news came from my mom who found out her cancer had not spread. However, due to the aggressiveness of her form of breast cancer (inflammatory) and the advanced stage (it did spread to her lymph nodes) she must undergo chemo and radiation.
So it feels good to be back on track. I cycled three days last week, water ran two times (tried to swim each time, but there is still swelling, so it was pretty uncomfortable) and walked the dogs every day. It looks like the weather will be really nice here this week, so I will hit the bike as much as I can, keep trying to swim and will give land running a go soon.
24 weeks out of IM NYC….
My workout of the week was a Deep Water Run:
In the deep end with a belt easy run for 10 minutes.
Then 1 minute straight leg kicking hard (be sure that your toes are pointed and that you "feel" the water on the front and back of your legs) and 1 minute easy and repeat this pattern 5 times through for a total of 10 minutes.
Then easy run for 10 minutes.
Total time 30 minutes