Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Adventure #24 - Part One the half Marathon April 30, 2011

Well the encouragement to do a half marathon came in January from Joanne, who sent me an e-mail about the Illinois half marathon.  I put it out of my mind as I was training for Hustle Up the Hancock and was trying to beat a sinus infection.  After completing Hustle Up the Hancock, the race was revisited so on March 5, 2011 I signed up and began the whirlwind training for a half marathon as I had never run more than 4 miles at that point.
So with weekly work-outs on the treadmill focused on running, I slowly added miles and time until I was able to run for 90 minutes on the treadmill which roughly translated for me to 8.5 miles.  So the week before the half marathon, APril 16th Ben agreed to run the Rock Island Trail with me for my long run of 10 miles.  Ben was very gracious as my run for him was a slow jog.  Ben talked to me for the entire run to keep me going and at about 10.5 miles I wasa done.  The thought that crossed my mind was "and I have 3 more miles to run - you have got to be kidding me!" 
Easter Sunday I woke up feeling really funny and by Monday I had a full blown sinus infection.  I was able to see my MD on Thursday after work and told him that I had a half marathon to run on Saturday.  Dr. Miller's response was "So I have 2 days to get you better - this should be interesting."
Joanne, Amanda and I travelled to Champaign on Friday after work, had dinner on the road, picked up our packets and went to stay with the Crusade staff in Champaign as they had graciously opened their home to us.
Aftere coughing all night as I had been doing for 3 weeks,  Saturday arrived and I felt terrible.  So I was resigned to just finishing, even if it would mean walking.  the race provided free pacers so I decided to join the 11:26 pacer and just see what would happen as I figured that I would not be able to run my 11:00 pace.  So the race started.  When we reached the 90 minute mark, my pacer, Beth, told us that we only had an hour left and I thought I am feeling good apart from using a kleenex every mile but another hour seems impossible so I turned on my i-pod to listen to music.  As we approached mile 9, Beth told me that the plan was to speed up for the final 5K and I said "you have got to be kidding me - there is no way that I can do this."  She told me that I could and to try but I was not planning on it.  At mile 10 however, she slowed down a bit and so I went ahead and slowly began to speed up so that my last 5K was faster than my first one.  As I approached the 13 mile mark, I was teary just with the realization that I was going to complete the half marathon.  It was an overwhelming thought since in April of 2007, I had my worst month  of chemotherapy treatments because at the beginning of April, one of my treatments burned my blood vessels, I had phlebitis, and never had a good week.  My parents would check on me at night to be sure that I was breathing and doing OK.  God has been gracious to me over these 4 years so that despite the loss of 30% of my lung diffusion due to chemotherapy, I am still able to be active and able to enjoy living life and trying new things - like a half marathon.  Even if I could not do these things - God is still good. 
So at 2:28:54 I crossed the finish line under the 2:30 mark and well under my planned 3 hour goal. 

So now begins the full paced training for the full marathon in Dublin in October.  Exactly 6 months away. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

April 20, 2011 Adventure #1 - Get a Spray Tan!

Ok - I wanted to see what I would look like with a skin color other than red or white.  I do not tan at all and have learned over the years to just liberally apply sunscreen and a good hat is a must.
Shannon wanted to participate in one of my adventures before moving  on April 28, 2011 for 4 years.  So she called around to a few places to see if any times were available on April 20th as this was the only date available.  We found Corpo Bello Spa and Salon.
So adventure to date has provided the most laughter.  First of all, Shannon went first and I could hear her down the hall just cracking up!  She came out really really dark. 
So then it was my turn.  So I stepped into the brown cave like plastic area and the spraying began.  Up one side and down the other and several rotations later I was told to stand in front of the fan for 10 minutes to dry and to keep rotating for maximum even drying.  Then I looked in the mirror and just laughed knowing that I was headed to choir practice for the evening.
We stopped at home and my mom said "I have two African daughters that have a white mother and father!"
At choir no one said a word until after practice when Carol Hornbrook and I just looked at each other and laughed.  Mura and Don both laughed and wondered what I had done and I reminded them of my blog.  Ben looked at me and said "you got your spray tan!"

Thankfully the next day, the excess dye washed off in the shower leaving me less African looking.
At work, I had a dietitian staff meeting and in the middle of the meeting my former boss Karen looks at me and says "Holly - you are tan what did you do or where have you been?"  The dietitians had already asked so we all just got a good laugh.

easter sunday - 4 days post fake bake and it looks like a bronze tan


The thoughts that I had afterwards were related to my BSF lecture questions that week - Where does God need to do a make-over in your life?  My spray tan was temporary and just an external show that would wash away.  God's makeovers are internal and result in a change in heart and then outward actions and attitudes that make me more like Christ.

April 16, 2011 Adventure #6 Serve Those in Need - Walk for Life

Life!  What a gift!  Today was an opportunity to walk with friends from Bethany for the Esther House and for the life of the unborn.  The day was very rainy yet the walk went on.  After a few laps, I was soaked even with a hood on my water proof jacket.  Memorable!

Adventure #11 - Try a New Ethnic Food - Lebanese Sunday April 10, 2011

So Ginger sent me a note to attend the Lebanese Food Festival to check another item off my list. 
I checked with Denisse and Hassan to see if they planned to attend but they were not.

Ginger and I arrived and after getting our food, we set out to find a table.  Ginger says to me "Holly how many people do you think that you will know here?"  My response - "no one since Denisse and Hassan are not coming."  I should know better than to make a statement like this as within 30 seconds I hear "Holly, Holly."  I look over to see Rachel Haynes and some of her friends.  Then at the next table were some of my parent's friends.  As we were leaving I saw Jimmy Lahood. 

 Ginger and I just laughed about this the entire time wondering who else would show up.  So at the end of the day, I knew people at 3 tables

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Adventure #11 - Eat a new ethnic food each month March 10, 2011

March is an appropriate time to eat a new ethnic food celebrating the luck of the Irish."  So Ginger and Julie joined me for an evening of fellowship and Irish fare. 
I ordered Irish Trio Platter which included Shepherd's Pie, Cabbage Casserole and Mashed Potatoes along with Irish Soda Bread.
The food was quite good but the fellowship made the evening.
Irish food had to be an item on the list given that some of my original ancestors in the states came from Ireland, although at this time we are not sure of the actual location due to a name change upon arrival in the states.
Unexpectedly, Karan and Natasia arrived to have dinner after attending an opera as Shepherd's pie is one of Natasia's favorite dishes.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Adventure - random places to sleep

This was suggested by a friend after hearing about several of the random places that I have had the opportunity to sleep in the past few months.  The fun part of this suggestion is that I did not try to have these things happen, these events just occurred and provided some rare sleeping locations!

I am officially a stranded airline traveler and it occurred at Christmas time just a week before Christmas.  Enroute to London from Geneva, my plane experienced an electrical failure in the instrument panel preventing a landing at London Heathrow and instead we were diverted to a small regional airport and bused to Heathrow where we arrived to utter chaos due to snow all over Europe.  Since British Airways forgot about our flight and did not make other arrangements for us, we were left to try to find our own way home and to rebook our own flights.  After hours in a line, British Airways closed their agent windows and left for the night, leaving thousands of passangers stranded.  So after rebooking my flight via skype to American Airlines in the States, Malia and I joined the other passangers in sleeping on the floor at Healthrow.  I slept on my bacakpack, holding my purse and covered up with my coat, fleece and other items and using my PJs as my pillow.  Finally, employees brought us British Airways blankets.  God was gracious as I was on the last flight out of London the next morning and all other passangers were stranded for days.

My bed for the evening the table in the RD office

Snow seems to be the theme of sleeping adventures.  February 2, 2011 was a major snowfall in the Peoria area.  At lunch time the snow began to fall and our offices closed.  I was asked to report to the manager of the dietitians and foodservice.  I was sent home to get my things and returned to work.  I was assigned to pass trays for dinner, pick up trays and work in the kitchen preparing for the next morning's tray line.  The dietitians decided to sleep in the dietitian office.  So I slept on the table in the dietitian office on my sleeping bag.  We ended up with 13-15 inches throughout the city and I was released to return home at 3 pm the following day. 

Dietitians hard at work in the kitchen preparing trays

Lauren, Km, Hannah and I are ready for bed - the RD office (a new kind of slumber party)

Monday, February 28, 2011

Adventure 27 - Hustle Up the Hancock February 27, 2011

It began as an idea spraked by a conversation with a drug rep who had just completed the 2010 Hustle.  So after looking up the details, I signed up to get additional information and shared the idea with a few friends who are always up for a challenging adventure.

In November, sign up started for the 4000 Full Climb and Half Climb Spots for 2011 Race and the spots closed in 1 hour and 15 minutes on November 1.  So when the lines closed, Ben Hobbs and I were the two that had been able to get a spot for the full climb.      
With good intentions of training well, I decided instead to travel the month of December and then was sick for most of January.  Thus crash training began in February.

The weekend was delighful in Chicago.  I was able to spend some time with Karen and Michael and the boys.  Dinner with Karen, Michael and Ben at Elwood's was amazing and the BBQ chicken was delicious!  In addition, I was able to see the 25th annivaersary of Les Miserables, the musical. 

Pre-Hustle Photo with Ben
 Sunday dawned with the Hustle.  I was given a 12:15 wave time and Ben had the 1:30 time slot.  I arrived early as requested.  Ben joined me to wait in line around 11:30 for my start.  It was awesome to have someone there to encourage and cheer me on at the start!

Thankfully a woman behind me had experience and gave me some good advice - take you time, don't look at the numbers on the floors and just keep your feet moving and don't stop.  You will have sore legs and your lungs will hurt but keep going. 
So began the 94 floor climb to the top.  Round and round and round I went, not prepared to become dizzy as I went up the stairs nor was I prepared for my ears to pop and to have some influence of a little altitude, as the stairmaster definately does not prepare you for ascending 94 floors.  I did think about the germs that would be on the railings and the need to wash my hands at the top!  My legs got tired and I was shocked by the lung pain and the coughing that awaited me the rest of the afternoon (and continued for a few days).  By floor 70, I was exhausted and it took sheer will power to keep going and I was thrilled to get to the top even though I was completed out of breath!  After some time on the cool observation deck and wandering around to catch my breath, I went to wait for Ben since his start time was an hour behind me, which really just gave me a head start!
Ben did great and he too was a bit winded at the top.  Ben is gifted with natural athletic ability and terrific endurance especially in longer races and other stamina related activities.  He also thought the event was a challenge, which made me feel good because he is in such good shape.  His time was impressive with a finish in 16:18, placing him 293 overall - yes for the entire field of Hustlers!  Amazing!

Post Hustle photo
 My unofficial time was 23:31 and I was thrilled as my goal was to finish under 30 minutes.  I had been told by my primary care MD, that the loss of lung diffusion with my chemo, bleomycin in particular, would always limit my physical ability and that I have most likely gotten back the function that I can already.  (I went from a lung diffusion of 115% pre-treatment to 85% after 5 months of treatment and my oncologist then removed the drug for the last month so that I would be able to do some physical activities that I enjoy and also so did not end up on a ventilator after my final treatments for a while!)

Post Hustle 2011
  In other words, I will never be really good at many endurance things again and will peak long before I would like.  But I will continue to train with the understanding of realistic expectations.  My official time was 23:28. My overall placement was 1728 out of roughly 2900.  I finished 668 of 1435 women and 182 of 395 in my age group.  I was really pretty surprised and encouraged.  

The line to take the elevator was long and we were a part of a group that got to take the service elevators down to the main level.  The elevators went from floor 94 to 44 and then we had to exit to get on another elevator to get to the main level.  So we got to see parts of the Hancock reserved for service personnel, which was much more fun!