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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Earlier this summer I went down to ride with Bill (BILLALEX70) Anne (AMCG2002), Nancy (ROOKIERIDER) and Bill's buddy Ed (not a sparker). We had a blast and you can read my version in the blog titled 'Sparks flying in Mansfield (Ohio)'.

Bill and I have talked about riding together again, and finally we got together this morning for another ride. This time Anne, Nancy, and Ed were unable to join, but John, some other strong dude Anne and Bill ride with, came along. I think they are trying to find all these strong riders to see if they can leave me in the dust ... and some day it may happen.

Actually I was an easy target today. I ran 12 miles yesterday and I have not been on my bike for about a month - in fact I have not been much on my bike this summer, so I am an easy target.

We had talked about not riding if it was raining, so when we looked at the weather yesterday, it looked pretty decent. Well, I want to say - it was a gorgeous day for a bike ride. Not only was it great weather (some may disagree when I tell we started with a temperature of about 34), but the sun was out, and the fall colors were phenomenal. I live about 90 miles from where the ride started - and it was a gorgeous drive, and then the bike ride was just so pretty.

I could certainly feel that it has been a while since I rode on rolling hills, let alone be on the bike. But we did well. I think most of the time I looked the avg speed was 16.5-17 mph. At the end we did some spinning and the avg came down.

Bill and John - thanks for a great ride.... while I am writing this - I got a txt message from Bill (he went out to do the entire 69 miles (John and I did 37), and in retrospective that was a smart move on our part... I won't steal the thunder from Bill.

Ride on friends...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRACE612 10/12/2009 10:15AM

    Glad you enjoyed your ride....It was a gorgeous day day yesterday!! We took the Cuyahoga Valley train to Pennisula and then hiked on the towpath...simply beautiful!!

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AMCG2002 10/11/2009 9:26PM

    I'm so glad to hear you had a great ride. I was really wishing the colors had been better last weekend in the Hocking Hills. But, you got to meet John; we met completely by chance when we were riding in the BikeColumbus in May. Neither one of us had done an organized ride before. By the middle of June Bill, John and I had become the three amigos!

I really do think the best rides have been in the fall. Hope to have a chance to ride with you again, in the not too distant future.

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BILLALEX70 10/11/2009 7:19PM

    It's probably best for us that you ran 12 miles yesterday and haven't rode your bike in quite some time. Otherwise, you'd have run away from us; not that you didn't at times anyhow. The fall colors were in full bloom and words can't do it justice. I'll post pictures to the Cycling and Ohio teams.

The ride was great and the company even better. It's always enjoyable meeting up and 'soaking' up your knowledge.

I look forward to our next encounter Sparkfriend.

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PURPLEALLY 10/11/2009 4:34PM

    sounds like a great bike ride; and you did great especially since you ran 12 yesterday! emoticon emoticon

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DDOORN 10/11/2009 4:32PM

    Had a great 8 mile walk today in the autumn chill...kept warm by moving right along around 4 mph pace...super to enjoy the season's colors with a good dose of sunshine!

Great to take advantage of good weather by getting out and SPARKING along! :-)


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Akron marathon/half marathon

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Today I ran the Akron half ... I sent out a little report to my friends - I am copying and pasting it to you:

I have had a couple of people ask me for a race report from Akron half marathon, so I am sending out a bulk mail to a bunch of you honorees, friends, runners, and anyone else .. did I forget anyone?

I had not been training a whole lot before the 13.1, but I figured I could do it anyway.

Last night I went for the package pick up (which is where you get your race number). I also spent an hour and a half at the Team in Training booth attempting to recruit new participants to the program. I had a good time doing it, and met some really interesting people. Then drive home - dinner - get everything ready and get to bed, because 4am would be there soon.

I need to back track a little. A couple of days ago I got an email from one of my cycling friends from a previous bike ride that he would be running, and I got an email from one of my team mates from this years Cleveland Marathon who was also running, and we decided to meet and perhaps run together. Around the same time I learned from someone that her best friend of many years - her lymphoma had relapsed for the 4th time. Well, even though I was not running FOR team in training - I decided to dedicate the run to this person.

I got up, did my usual routine, and got in the car and drove to Akron. Parked my car. And found my friends at a preset place. Met some of the other team in training runners and two coaches. (there were 30 fundraising TNT participants).

Well, 7am the bell rang and ~11.000 runners were on their way. About one mile into the run a lady was fiddling with her ipod and slowed down right in front of me, and she went down. I saw her get up again, but I felt really bad about it (and it still bothers me). I did see her get up again, but in that mob-scene there is not really a way to turn around. - I hate to say it - but I was rude and did not stop. The run continued and I did a pretty good speed, until about mile 4 when I had to slow down... I am not sure why. It lasted for about one two miles - not sure .. but then I picked up speed, and kept the speed ... getting me across the finish line at 2:08-2:09 (unofficial) ... which shaves about 7-8 min off my previous personal best. How can you not be happy with that?

I got my medal, got my bag (with change of clothes) ... and made a quick exit to the car, and drove home. The weather forecast yesterday called for rain, but during the time I ran it was perfect. I left - got on the freeway - and there was the rain WOW.

It was a good race - I feel really good - and I hope I transitioned some positive energy to the person who is currently going through chemotherapy. Next weekend is a two day bike ride in Ashtabula county, and then October 18, back on my 'happy feet'... half marathon in Detroit.

Jan Frandsen

- three disciplines - one mission - one goal

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRAINOF4 9/29/2009 1:23AM

    I have to agree with Purpleally. . at the beginning of a race everything is chaotic & from this the IPod runner will be READY before the off. I've had similar situations when I raced on inline skates. We've all had crashes & had people pass us by, but we all know it isn't personal.

CONGRATS on beating your PB! emoticon You're making great improvements with each run. I'd love to see a spreadsheet showing your runs based on distance & finish time across say 6 months. I bet you'd be seeing a steady rise in that red line. Fantabulous!

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BILLALEX70 9/27/2009 6:21PM


Any day out in the sun is better than the alternative. I'm no where near as accomplished as many of the other runners here, but any run/walk that has that many people will be tough to run a good race. It shows great compassion that you cared enough to mention this gal who fell. Most people probably didn't even give her a glance, but you thought enough about her to mention her here.

I'm sure you'll rock that half in Pittsburgh.

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SEEHOLZ 9/27/2009 2:51PM

    Way to finish! I did that training run Labor Day week-end along the Blue line -- it was my first time down in Akron and it was so fun that I'm considering the race for next year!
Anyways, make sure you get to celebrate your accomplishment!

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JOPAPGH 9/26/2009 7:17PM


Sounds like a great run.

You hitting your 2 hour HM target in Akron, or planning to save it for Pittsburgh?

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DDOORN 9/26/2009 6:19PM

    Jan, you are the BEST!



SPARK! :-)


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IRISHLASS117 9/26/2009 2:30PM

    Run on Warrior!


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PURPLEALLY 9/26/2009 1:59PM

    you weren't rude, it is a mob scene at the beginning with 11k people, you know she got up, its ok.
sounds like a good time--are you going to shave another 8 minutes off in Detroit?
I ran a 5k trail in the dark last night, five mile trail this morning and my half is tomorrow morning.

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Read your labels

Thursday, September 24, 2009

For some reason I started to gain weight last week. The gain was at a rate which made me puzzled. Today I reached approximately (for my eyes only) lbs, and I started looking at what I ate, what I had changed, until I reached an ah - ha moment. I found the culprit. A food which was low in calories (and I should have known better) turned out to have a LOT of salt in it - WOW ....

the morale of the story - read your labels and be very careful with the amount of sodium. This particular item would have given me a total of 420 cal if I ate the whole thing - but at the same time it would also give me a whopping 3000 mg of salt. And I wonder why my weight increased. It is all retention of water.

'Say no to salt"....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LIMASTAR 9/24/2009 9:33PM

  I had a lot of nuts recently & along with the water that I drank because of the thirst that resulted from eating the nuts gained 3 lbs overnight.

I lost 2 of the lbs in 2 days, but never thought about salt & water retention having been the reason of the weight gain.

Learn something new every day. Thanks

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IRISHLASS117 9/24/2009 9:30PM

    You have me laughing Warrior! If it was only salt I had to say no to I'd be fabulous in no time.


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DDOORN 9/24/2009 9:25PM

    You betcha! No salt shakers or processed foods in OUR house...! :-)


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JCORYCMA 9/24/2009 9:15PM

    I feel ya! I ate ham all last week -- you know how you make one dinner plus six more with the left over ham -- and I noticed a big difference on the scale!! I watched the sodium this week and I've been in the bathroom every 1/2 hour but the weights coming back off!! Thanks for reminding us!
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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It is not about the bike ... or

Saturday, September 19, 2009

I am going to come with some musings I thought of after todays bike ride.

I realize not everyone have the luxury of having health insurance, but that is for a different blog entry.

A couple of years ago I was friendly with one of our environmental services employees. We were talking health, and she shared with me that she was hypertensive but had not seen her doctor for - I can't remember how long. I suggested she saw her PCP, and she did. When he saw her - he had her schedule a physical. That possibly saved her life. She was diagnosed with breast cancer. Subsequently she had surgery but no chemo or radiation.

About a year ago I had a conversation with one of our MD's. We talked cycling, and health. Well, I finally succeeded in having him go and have a physical done. We then talked about bike riding ... after 1 year he had a physical and today we went bike riding for 25 miles (I added some miles to the meeting place and home). Of course the MD found his cholesterol numbers were in need of correcting.

I am sure all of us have someone who inspire us in our journey. I certainly do. I have set goals. Those goals are mostly not in lbs, but in healthier behavior, and to brag - my second (preventive) stress test was better than my first.

Look at yourself in the mirror. Look at what this journey have done for you. Then take it and apply it to something you care about and make them healthier, and because of that feel better. We can - each one of us - make a major non-partisan contribution to the health care reform - live a healthier life - feel better ... and if you like bike riding ... well then it is about the bike.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TRAINOF4 9/23/2009 11:53AM

    Yep it's about the healthier lifestyle - FEELING better each day, waking up with energy, not getting winded climbing a few flights of stairs, the way your skin & hair look, how you are getting fewer colds & illnesses, that you'll live a long & healthy life without (God willing) the end being a miserable struggle because of all the years of not caring for your body.

Every tiny bit of progress counts. Great blog!

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BILLALEX70 9/21/2009 9:02PM

    It is about the bike, shoes and food. It's living an entirely different life than I've ever lived. I eat healthier than I ever have. I exercise more than I ever have.

I have great Spark friends, like you Jan, who continue to inspire me and push me to my next challenge. It's hard to remember that just 5 years ago I could barely walk on a treadmill for 15 minutes and now I'm contemplating a half-marathon. But, more on that later.

I look forward to our meeting up again.

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JULISABROCAR 9/20/2009 11:58AM

    after doing my first TRI (and grinding it out on a mountain bike) I assure you - it IS about the bike - LOL!

I'm with you - being inspired/pushed/pulled by both Sparkers and cancer patients in my own life circle; it is about the bike/my health/my goals/my life and helping others with theirs.

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DDOORN 9/19/2009 11:33PM

    There's nothing like celebrating the healthy lifestyle we've built for ourselves and then paying it forward so that others can do the same.


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RENA1965 9/19/2009 9:38PM

    Hej Jan,
Super blog post. I spent 5 years traveling back and forth to a heart department with my dad (the New Zealand doctors are good at education about what they did for my dad, I was showed scannings of the cronic heart disease damage and how I could help him eat healthier- still he only got 5 more years) and then my husband the 12 years to and from the diabetes units at århus and dialysis/diabetes unit at skejby with my husband.
This journey for me was a decision of own free will, I now know what hell looks like in the waiting rooms of these two departments and because once you get a lifestyle illness in the door, if you don't act swiftly and do as the doctors say you eventually die. My two fought hard, but you just can't win when things get out of hand. The scarey thing about it was, both these men were thin as beans, never smoked and were very active in outdoor activities..
I now know never to put a price on healthy food, ignore what wise people say and have given the time to this project feel how great a person can have it. I thank the danish social services for keeping me active. I would have still be overweight if they had not pushed me. No regrets, and love my exercise like a old dear friend..

Comment edited on: 9/19/2009 9:40:43 PM

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Spokes of hope

Sunday, September 13, 2009

In my previous blog - I talked about the bike ride 'spokes of hope'. The first spokes of hope is currently taking place. Because of my planned vacation to Europe I cold not be part of it. However, next year I will be.

Spokes of hope was conceived by my friend, cyclists extraordinaire (national champion and state champion) and breast cancer survivor. It is a bike ride which will start from different parts of the country and end at the National Cancer Institute - and then with the participants proceed to Capitol Hill with the purpose of advocate for cancer care and survivorship.

Below is a very emotional (warning) account of why we are riding for spokes of hope, and trust me - I will be there next year to meet the Michelle's out there and to say 'fight like hell'. By the way the author is a 20 year survivor of brain cancer.

livestrong & ride2live


Rather than tell you about the entire day I want to share the one piece that shook me to my core. Our group had ridden to the third stop of the day. We were visiting the cancer center in a west side hospital. We had the SoH banner out for all to sign, Livestrong bracelets ready to handout and our "army" ready to go into action.

It was here that I met a beautiful 22 year old woman named Michelle. She slowly walked into the room wearing PJ's and socks. Only a few strings of blond hair stuck out from her blue bandana. Her face was pale and blood was visible in the whites of her eyes. Her hands and body could not stop shaking. She was so quiet and soft spoken. It was difficult to hear her when she spoke but when she did I hung on every word.

Michelle is battling Leukemia and recovering from a bone marrow transplant. After talking for a while I gave her one of the bracelets and then asked if she would like to sign the banner so she could "go with us to DC." She agreed and we walked slowly over to the banner where she got to meet Cindi.

The three of us sat in front of the banner and we all talked. Michelle is the mother of a three year old boy, David. She has not seen him for months. The doctors have not allowed the visit due to the possible passing of germs. She was so sad. Her heart was broken, her body was broken and almost to the point that her spirit was broken. As a parent, I hate to be away from Aneshka when I go out of town. This trip alone is for more than a week and I miss her so much. I cannot imagine being denied the hugs, kisses and whispers of, "I love you, Daddy." Especially during a time of struggle, when you need those the most.

Cindi was talking about cycling and I asked Michelle what she did for physical activity. She said, "nothing." I told her that just getting up and walking was going to help her heal and feel better. She told me that she was not walking much. It clicked for me and I told her that if she started to walk more, the quicker she would heal and thus the sooner she would have David in her arms again. She smiled. As I teared up I told that you have to find your reason to fight and for her it was her son, David. You have to get up everyday and " Fight like hell" I told her. Her way of fighting could be as simple as walking often.

Before she got up to make a visit to her room Cindi offered her one of the SoH cycling caps. Michelle quickly pulled of her bandana and let Cindi slide on her new fashion piece. Michelle smiled.

As she walked out I started to talk with another group. I had just gotten into a conversation with this group when Michelle slowly made her way back into the room. Both Cindi and I were talking elsewhere so Michelle sat down alone. I watched from the corner of my eye and could see she was sad. We were just finishing our conversation when I saw Michelle making her way to the door. I was blessed with hugs and handshakes from my new friends and then bolted for the door. Michelle seemed to be slowly dragging herself down the hall.

I walked up to her and told that it was pleasure meeting her and that she would be in my heart and mind this entire trip to DC. She put her weak arms around me and gave my a tremendous hug. Almost like a death grip. She didn't let go and started to cry on my chest. As tears started to flow from my eyes I spoke softly into her left ear. "Fight for David. Fight for yourself. Fight like hell!" Every care, problem or issue in my life disappeared at that moment. All I could think of was the pain Michelle was going through and how much I wanted her to beat the cancer, feel better and be with her son.

We said our goodbyes and I went back into the room with the banner. Our time was winding down so we moved chairs back into place rolled up the banner and made our way out the door. I was not ready to get on the elevator. I so wanted to find Michelle and say something profound, motivate her or just be there for her. I looked down the hallway wondering which room was hers. As bodies moved through doors and adjacent hallways I saw the yellow and black cycling cap at the end of the hall. She looked weak and exhausted. She looked sad and scared. But none of that mattered because she was walking. I waved and she did not see me so I moved and waved again. She lifted up her right hand just a little bit and nodded her head softly. She was up and fighting.

I have been an emotional wreck since meeting Michelle. Jay, one of the great people on this SoH tour, told me why I feel this way. "Because everyone we have met so far has been a person. Michelle was a patient.". He is right. I also believe the her pain reminds me of my past and makes me look deep inside myself as I step into this new battle with the two new tumors. Meeting Michelle is another reminder for me to "Fight like hell!"

The Spokes of Hope Tour started out for me as a celebration of my 20th anniversary as a survivor. It is so much more than that. Along with taking the advocacy and awareness issue to DC we have the opportunity to touch the lives of others going through this battle. We can help them by listening to their concerns, sharing or experiences and just simply showing that we care. We can help them by showing everyone that cancer doesn't have to be a death sentence. We can help them by giving them hope. Hope is contagious (as proudly displayed on our banner). We can help them by leading by example. That means each one of us is out there "Fighting like hell!"

Thank you for letting me spill my thoughts and emotions. I know this was long but I needed to share it. Today really hit me hard and writing this has helped me find some balance again. Tomorrow, as I struggle up hills on my bike I will be thinking of Michelle walking down that hallway and being few steps closer to hugging her son. That's the motivation for me to pedal my way to DC.



  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

RENA1965 9/14/2009 11:01PM

    Great entry, keep up the hard work!

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HEALTHYCHIC 9/13/2009 5:10PM

    I read every word of your blog. What a powerful story. It reminds us of how precious life is and that every day is a gift. What a wonderful thing you are doing.

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IRISHLASS117 9/13/2009 3:32PM

    Thanks for sharing Warrior and I'm glad you and Cathy are home safe and sound.

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JOPAPGH 9/13/2009 3:00PM


what a great cause.

Let me know the timeline for Pittsburgh next year and I'll get it on my calendar.

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PINKIEB1 9/13/2009 12:59PM

    Thank you.

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ACTIVE_AT_60 9/13/2009 10:58AM

    I am taking names for next year - we need riders and support crew. Stay tuned.

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BILLALEX70 9/13/2009 10:53AM


First, welcome back. I hope you had an enjoyable trip.

Second, thank you for sharing such a emotional story. Making this story known may lead to a contribution that will finally eradicate cancer.

I look forward to hearing more about this trip in the future.

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DDOORN 9/13/2009 10:51AM

    What a wonderful cause, Jan! How VERY inspiring to hear of folks like you and so many others stepping (eh, BIKING) up to the plate to offer your help and assistance the way you are!


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