I have no clue what to put here.
Perhaps some sort of rotating quote.

But those guys to the right...they're snorkeling off of Rum Point,
on Grand Cayman. You owe it to yourself to check that place out.


Leap Day

It seems fairly appropriate that I've spent the last week overhauling my 29g bioactive terrarium that will eventually house 3 dart frogs. I got a bug up my butt to rescape it, and am SO glad I did. It seemed to make the most sense to move it into the room where my 50g aquarium sits (which will eventually be converted into a 36"x18"x18" terrarium...maybe in another year, when my last 4 dwarf neon rainbow fish have likely reached the end of their 3-5 year life expectancy. Mine are ~4, now. I'll rehome my Siamese algae eater -- 10 year life expectancy -- and the eternally renewing stock of Endler guppies), prior to the remodel. Now I can see both tanks from my desk area. It's nice to keep all of the critter maintenance stuff in one space, too.

I removed the scraggliest bits of Wandering Jew vine and added a new little Austral fern and Jewel Orchid. Those should provide some nice frog cover, once critters are added sometime around late May/early June.

Jewel Orchid + Zebra Isopod photo-bomber (part of my "clean-up" crew)
I failed to take many "before" shots, but above are some currents. I still need to add some moss seed and give that a few months to become established, toss into the trash a patch of sheet moss that failed to thrive, and clean the glass inside and out. Part of relocating the tank included rotating it 180º. It had been a paludarium (terrarium/aquarium hybrid that housed some red devil crabs) for a short time. Our tap water splattered on the front of the glass from a little waterfall feature and left some super stubborn limescale deposits that wouldn't scrape off. Hours with a terrarium-safe mineral-removing gel wouldn't touch it, either. This will no longer be an issue, as the terrarium's future amphibian inhabitants require distilled or reverse-osmosis water.
Hot-Mess "Before"
I enjoyed a lovely run in the sunshine, though it was far colder than it looked. That will change overnight. I am SO ready for 40s! Time to start pulling out some lighter/shorter tights and thinner tops. Soon the gloves and heavier hats can be stashed-away. I am READY! I'm actually starting to get burned-out on Zwift rides, too. I really want to get out on my new tri bike. I'm curious to see how it handles on the roads. My previous tri bike was never properly fit to me and didn't inspire confidence in handling. I only raced once on that bike and was already feeling the effects of the yet undiagnosed cancer. Now I'm all kind of slow (at least on-foot) from all of the surgeries and treatments. I hope there's still a ton of room for improvement. <3 months before I start setting some new post-cancer PRs with my new ride.


Another Year Down!

Yesterday marked the 3 year anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. With every passing year, my odds of a normal life expectancy increase. 3 years is a pretty big milestone. 5 is the ultimate goal...though still no guarantee. It's still not rare for colorectal cancer cells to linger "dormant" for a decade or more.

But I'll take my 3, gladly! Especially as one who has had a lung metastasis. The vast majority of stage 4 colorectal cancer patients require chemo for life. And that life is often relatively short, unfortunately. I've already lost so many friends to this disease. Fit, otherwise healthy people <50.

Last night I celebrated by attending my monthly bunco game...and eating so much delicious junk. Then arrived home to leftover pizza -- yay!

Today I finally got around to applying some sweet decals to my Christmas present 2019 Canyon Speedmax CF 8.0 tri bike. A friend-of-friends does vinyl decals and designed it for me. It looks so amazing! I'll be adding some random red and blue stars. Those aren't my fancy aero wheels in the photo. My good wheels have yellow (Mavic) decals that the WW decal nicely picks-up. Eventually my pursuit bars will have blue bar tape to match the blue in these decals (and the blue stars). I really can't wait to ride this outdoors, in spite of the fact that I'm pretty happy to roll around on Zwift most of  the time. I don't have to worry about inattentive or downright aggressive motorists on Zwift.

I also spent a decent amount of time, today, working on my terrarium and researching potential occupants. It's been a long-term work-in progress. At one point it was a paludarium with a water feature and briefly held about a half-dozen red devil crabs. They were adorable and entertaining, but the largest one was a serious asshole and went around beating up and killing all of his tankmates...until he was alone and died an angry little man (I think it was a male, anyhow). They aren't typically a species that doesn't play well together, but it apparently only takes one rotten apple.

I'm not entirely pleased with my current set-up, but it's mostly because I'm working with the limitations of using a 29g aquarium as a terrarium (and a section of the glass has horrible limescale build-up that we've been unable to remove from a "crabitat" water feature). A purpose-built terrarium would be be preferable. Something taller and deeper. Someday when all the fish in my 50g aquarium are gone, I want to put a terrarium with the same footprint on that stand. My aquarium is 36x18x18. I'd like a 24" tall terrarium with doors that open on the front, rather than trying to dig around from overhead to prune plants. I really enjoy the planted/scaped aspect of terrarium/vivariums and would like to be able to have some taller plants. Perhaps with a couple of rough green snakes (very small, skinny, bright green snakes that eat only bugs -- no rodent friends for dinner). Or maybe more frogs.

Ranitomeya amazonica 
I'm kind of smitten with these tiny guys. They're a "thumbnail" poison dart frog. It appears that they will get along in small groups, so 3-4 should do OK in my set-up. And they will love all of my dwarf bromeliads. They should happily hang out in those and breed in ones that hold water in their center cups (fun fact, pineapple are bromeliads!).

I won't likely be adding any little frogs to my terrarium until May. We're planning a week-long road-trip out West and these little guys need daily feeding until they are full-grown. I don't know anyone locally who I could trust to come in every day to feed wingless fruit flies or teensy crickets. Plus I may have to have them overnight shipped and it's still too cold for little froggies to travel to MI.

Fxck Cancer!


I'm Toast!

Every birthday since 34 I've logged on-foot or on-bike some sort of numerically significantly distance, as I started running just after my 33rd bday. The runs were generally something like 1/10 - 1/5 my age, because I'm not so unhinged as to run my age (though I DO have friends of questionable sanity who run their age -- but most of them have warmer weather birthdays, live in places that don't have a legit Winter, or are actual ultra runners who think nothing of throwing-down a few runs > marathon distance/year). Cycling my age has never been an unreasonable # of miles...but riding indoors pre-Zwift just plain sucked, even for what would be modest outdoor mileage.

Last year was my first birthday with Zwift and I was recovered enough from 2017 Cancer treatments and surgeries and ileostomy reversal in Spring of 2018 to log my 46 miles on the nowhere bike.

Today's 47 miles played out similarly...my lungs are likely closing-in on as well-adapted as I can expect after losing my right upper lobe, early last May (the remaining lobes expand to fill much of the space and work of the missing lobe).

I logged 25 miles solo in "Watopia", changed into a clean, sweat-free kit, pee'd, grabbed a snack, then trundled back down to the basement to finish my distance with a group event on the cyber-rendition of Richmond, VA's UCI World Championships course. The last 6ish miles of that ride were solo, again, including the climb-y bits of the course.

I feel incredibly fortunate to still be alive, much less fitter than probably 3/4 of women my age. This morning I learned that another member of the colorectal cancer community is no longer with us. Another woman who was fit, otherwise healthy, and <50 when diagnosed. Yet another reminder that this is not solely a disease afflicting sedentary, elderly people.

I don't know how many more years I'll be able to "ride my age," but I'll continue to do so for as long as my health allows. Perhaps at 50 or 60 I'll need to set a goal of 1/2 the miles corresponding to my years on the planet. But to not do at least that much feels like it would be to squander the gift of continued existence, even if Cancer has slowed me down, a bit.

Fxck Cancer!


By Popular Demand

Posting only because I always seem to lose track of this image (and runner friends are regularly trying to locate it, as well). It's been over a decade since I last ran a marathon, but I am still no stranger to "tweaks" the week or so before a big race (mostly duathlons, in recent years -- Olympic distance is my jam). Nowadays I have more scanxiety in my life than I do taper madness....

I have no idea who created this graphic, but it's good stuff and a true classic.

Fxck Cancer!

This Town Needs an Enema!

I am totally NOT a fan of MI in February...or January. November is less snowy, but cold and a fugly mix of brown and gray. March is the same. I essentially loathe half of the year, here in the Upper Midwest. I don't tolerate cold well, particularly not after chemo and losing a lung lobe (not to mention the risks of falls or repeatedly re-spraining my bum left ankle. My hips and pelvis are likely in weak shape after pelvic radiation and cancer-induced premature menopause. I'm too old for that shit). And the quality of our heated indoor air seems to exacerbate my lungs, indoors. It's a lose-lose.

The potential for sun in this forecast is relatively high for Winter, here, believe it or not.

Zwift is awesome, but even that generally amazing app has its limitations. I think the ability to make it play nice with our freebie treadmill with that new Runn device will help, but it won't replace outdoor running. Cabin fever is legit. I feel like SAD has become a thing for me. As a kid I LOVED Winter, but I've not really enjoyed it at all since I was 30-ish.

The Groundhog didn't see his shadow, which I believe portends an early Spring, but it doesn't really matter. I still look out my window at a non-sexual 50 shades of grey and want nothing more than to hop in my car and head to New Mexico, never looking back.

Why NM? Because of this.

Las Cruces looks like my idea of Nirvana. The weather, the scenery, the terrain, the food, beer, wine...weather (yeah, I said weather twice -- they average only 60 cloudy days/year. 5 cloudy days/month sounds ideal)! And it's not a big city, nor a small town -- depending upon how the population is defined, it's somewhere between 100-200k people. We currently live in a town of ~10k and it's a bit too insular. The locals are none-too-welcoming to new people. In particular to new people who are not relatively far right of center, politically. 70% of voters in our county supported Trump in the last election...and I don't see many signs of that changing this Nov., unfortunately.

I've even found a "dream house" (though I'm not sure what the elevation options might be). 2192sq. ft with room for a home gym/storage and space for Dane to visit with possible future offspring and/or my brother or friends. Housing would appear to be significantly cheaper, in that region, than it is, here.

The downside of DH having a good job with a great company is that we're kinda stuck here until he retires. That feels like a lifetime away. And life feels awfully short, in light of my last 3 years. I get really down at the thought that if Cancer were to become an unwelcome guest, again (odds are not in my favor), I'd be trapped in an upstairs bedroom (since the only full baths in our house are on the upstairs floor) for the last days of my life. Perhaps it's not normal to dwell on death like this on the eve of one's 47th birthday, but it's not normal to have stage 4 colorectal cancer since age 44, either. If I'm going to die at home, I'd at least like to see blue skies out the window and have the ability to be wheeled-around the entirety of my home, including outdoors. My dad died in a basement apartment. He didn't have any access to the outdoors for the last weeks of his life. That has really stuck with me, as I have endured the very same Cancer that killed him. These are the sorts of thoughts that keep me up at night. And I'm up a lot at night, thanks to the long-term effects of trying to remove all of the known cancer in my body, along with some pretty critical body parts (learn all about LARS, Low Anterior Resection Syndrome).

Fxck Cancer!

Cyclist Problems

Fxck Cancer!


Ooh, shiny!

Heads-up for my running friends. Zwift Run is still in free beta testing. This turns any treadmill into a smart treadmill, for all intents and purposes.

This $100 gadget is nifty -- early birthday gift from my hubby who researched it and saw glowing reviews, including from DC Rainmaker!

I'd pretty much given up on trying to do Zwift running, short of spending $$ on a Stryd pod or upgrading to a smart treadmill. I couldn't really get my Apple Watch or Scosche Rhythm 24 armband to work reliably for HR and speed/cadence. This thing seems bang-on accurate for speed. In theory it might be able to read cadence, but I think it likely depends upon where it's positioned alongside the belt (we set it up way at the back where there's a perfect flat/smooth spot away from where I would errantly kick it). I'll likely just wear my Scosche armband for HR and cadence.

Way cool!

And now we're guaranteed to have an early Spring.

Fxck Cancer!

Relevant to My Interests

The month I was diagnosed just happens to be Cancer Prevention Month. Oh, the irony....

Fxck Cancer!

I couldn't help myself...

...so, welcome to zoomydu.wtf.


Fxck Cancer!


So I'm looking at top-level/custom domains for this stream-of-consciousness written heap. I'm highly amused at the thought of registering one of the following:

Of course, .bike is $10/year more than .run. I can only imagine how $$ .tri would be compared to both!! Kinda leaning towards .wtf. It's a shame there is no .du. Zoomydu.du would be incredible! I could do .me or .us....


Post number, not a poop joke. 💩 Though those have been a mainstay of my life for the past 3 years.

I'm reasonably certain that no other cancer carries a greater potential for humor than colorectal cancer...aside from anal cancer, perhaps. Sometimes the treatments/"cures" require humor to make survival worth the misery.

While I'm still not in a great place -- the constant fear of recurrence weighs so heavy, 24/7 -- the 2 years of near constant treatments and surgeries is somewhere I hope I never find myself, again. Stats are not in my favor. That lung met means that cancer cells were swimming around my entire body until filtered-out by an organ. A cell or two got trapped in my lung to develop into a metastasis. The odds of that being the only spot are slim. With every passing day my likelihood of having this in the rearview increases...but I'm still 2-3 years out from when my oncologist might deem me "cured". And I know FAR too many people who have received that "no evidence of disease" (NED) declaration, only to have cancer return 5-10 years later. Those were often cells that laid dormant for longer than expected. That's a truly terrifying thing to ponder.

Running and cycling have done more than keep me in the best health/strength, possible -- before, during, and post-Cancer -- they have also acted as great distractions from the reality of my situation. There's no time to dwell on the what-ifs while Zwifting with thousands of fellow runners and cyclists from around the globe. The same holds true when I run outdoors and let myself be absorbed by Nature and my favorite podcasts.

This year Derek and I will be raising money to Fxck Cancer with other endurance athletes. It seems to me that there's no better use of my time doing the beneficial things that I love than to also benefit others and help prevent more late-stage Cancer diagnoses.


New Post...New Blog

Not really sure where I'm going with this. I haven't blogged in nearly 5 years. Losing my nephew to a brainstem tumor right before Christmas 2013, then my dad <11 months later, and 2 years after that receiving my own cancer diagnosis (same cancer that killed my dad - colorectal)...well, it just made me not feel a whole lot like writing about anything at all, but especially shanked a running/cycling-heavy blog, since chemo, chemo-radiation, and surgeries (since diagnosis I have lost most of my sigmoid colon, rectum, and my right upper lung lobe to a metastatic spot) made those things such a monumental challenge. I still kept at it, because if there's one thing I'm good at, it's being a SLOW, stubborn broad, but exercise for fitness and mere survival just didn't seem all that entertaining to document. And I got tired of thinking about Cancer, much less writing about it. There were no races for 2017 and '18 and only later in 2019.

I've had a couple of clear CT scans, so 2020 marks my return to doing my run - bike - run thing. I've got a sexy new tri bike. I'm Zwifting my ass off (well, figuratively. I've still got 15#s more of that than I'd like). My kid is in his frosh year of college. When I last blogged he was still in middle school.

We're still in MI, but in the midst of the most loathsome season. It's been a mild one, but I just hate everything about Winter. New Mexico calls...the part with minimal snow and a scattering of palm trees. I love Zwift, but I'd really love to be able to run and bike outdoors year-round. I swear chemo made me extra cold-sensitive and increasingly heat-tolerant.

I probably won't be as regular about this as I'd like, but there have been times in the past year or so when I've had stuff I wanted to document someplace other than social media, but my old blog just didn't feel like the right spot, either. If I were really serious about this, I'd go to the hassle of a WordPress blog...but at nearly 47 I know me...and I hardly see the point of going that gung-ho. But I will probably register a domain, at some point. Mostly because the whole blogger.com thing kinda makes me cranky. I've tried to separate myself from the Google-Borg as much as possible.