Monday, September 29, 2008

Apple Cider Centry 2008

Here we are picking up our packets on Saturday Night. We went out to eat at Chili's on Saturday night and they had a campaign to raise money for a Children's hospital, so I made this pepper. It says at the bottom of the pepper, "My name is Melissa and I approve this pepper." Here we are on Sunday Morning starting our 25 mile ride. Dar is in the bottom right hand corner. It was a beautiful day and a great turn out. At about the 5-6 mile mark there is a pumpkin farm and we stop there for some fun pictures and for the free apple cider and a potty break for Dar. We saw this beautiful flower in the front yard. Here is me and a scarecrow just hanging out waiting for Dar to finish her potty break. Last year this guy liked Dar, but I won him over this year. I was attacked by a huge spider!! AHHHHhhhhhhh!! Dar saved me though. She tore off her biking shoe and killed it for me. My hero. I really liked Frankenstien, so I was telling his bride to back off. Look at these two cute scarecrows. There was a goat with a Cubs flag. The Cubs feel they have the curse of the billy goat. I found him. I stuck my camera in the pen to try and get a better picture. This goat jumped up at me and this was the picture I got. I think he was ticked that I didn't have any food. We were held captive by this huge jack-o-latern Ahhh, Dar you look so pretty. Ready to hit the road again. This is a spot we stop every year to get a picture. Every year the same tree is changing colors. Dar by the changing tree. This is a spot right before a big downhill. We always think we shouldn't stop, but we do anyway. This is Dar riding off. If you ever get a chance to do this ride it is a beautiful route. We made it 18.5 miles to the SAG stop. Here Dar is eating an apple. Here I am at the SAG stop. Yum-O that was a good banana. We were deciding if we should continue on or not due to the fact that we were in pain and we hadn't been able to train as much as we would have liked. We also knew that the most hills were coming. We decided to push on and see how far we could get. We made it the whole 25 miles. Here I am at the finish line. The last 6.5 miles was by far the hardest. There were some decent hills. On the toughest hill I just kept thinking about my new Trisomy friends and telling them in my mind I was doing it for them. It really helped me to think of them because they are not able to be out on bikes and they are not able to be active and it made me realize, no matter how hard that hill was, that I am so blessed and cannot take my health for granted. Thanks Aaron (Bubba) and Samuel. You were the two I was thinking about most during that climb. I did it. 25 miles. Before you know it I'll be lapping those century riders. Here is Dar at the finish line. We did it. I had so much fun. Thanks for all the encouragement out there. Love ya. The highlight of my weekend was being able to buy plus size biking shorts. As a plus size athlete I have had trouble finding gear that fits. There was a vendor there selling plus size shorts and biking jerseys all very reasonably priced. When I do find items they are very expensive. Here I am after the ride modeling my biking shorts. I will post their website in my next post. I kept telling Dar all day, "Eeeeee, I'm wearing biking shorts." They were padded and boy did that take some getting used to. I felt like I was in a diaper. :-) Seriously, you do not know how exciting getting these biking shorts was. Eeeeeeeeeeeeee!! After the ride we headed back to the pumpkin farm to buy some goodies. Here we posed for a picture after the ride. Here is all our stuff in a wagon. We got pumpkins, spaghetti squash, apple cider, Dar got Mums, and of course Apples. Here is the pumpkin farm. The lighting was perfect. After this we headed into the sunset to go home. It was a great weekend.

Here are a couple videos for your enjoyment: This first video was taken going down the longest downhill of the ride.

Here I am interviewing Darlene after the big hill.

Here is a video after Darlene got a hold of my camera.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Off to Apple Cider Century

For the last two years Darlene (my best bud of 23 years for those of you who don't know) and I have gone to the Apple Cider Century bike ride in Michigan. They have routes for every type of biker. The first year we did the 50 mile route, the second year the 25 mile route and this year we will be doing the 25 mile route due to the fact that my leg was in a boot all summer and I could not ride. They have 25, 50, 65, 75, and 100 mile routes. It is a fun day and the leaves are starting to turn colors, so it is beautiful day. We leave today and ride tomorrow. Here are some pictures from last year.

Getting started.

Stopping off at a farm that has some fun decorations.

A little off course.

Crossing the finish line.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My nephew Luke in the future

My brother, Karl, is really up on technolgy. He is already teaching my 2 year old nephew Luke all the ropes. When mommy went away on a trip Luke had videos of mommy to watch every night on daddy's IPHONE. When my cellphone rings. He says, "Phone." My brother has a website (, a blog (, does toybox tales ( has podcasts that he does, etc. etc. With all this technology in mind and knowing how much my brother loves to read to Luke I knew that I had to post this cartoon.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Great Workout Today!!

High Fructose Corn Syrup GOOD FOR YOU?

Here are two ads that are playing on TV. I just saw one of them on the Food Network. I really am upset because someone is going to see this and think that it is ok to eat. UGH!! I was very disappointed to see that Food Network was airing these, but I guess as long as they get their advertising dollars it doesn't matter what the ad says. What do you think of these ads?

Monday, September 22, 2008

I'm back

I'm back and feeling great!! I have basically been out of commission all summer due to a leg injury. My leg was hurting after IMWI because I had been on my feet for about 28 hours between the two days I volunteered and my injured leg was hurting again. My doc has told me that I can work out again, so that is what I did this morning. I went to the gym and took a 60 minute spinning class. It was great and I did a lot better than I thought I would. I have not been to a spinning class in FOREVER!! I wore my Ironman hat that I bought at IMWI and on the inside of the brim I wrote Ironman Wisconsin 2013 as a visual reminder and when it was tough today I just pictured myself out on the bike and it made it better. It was actually fun. Who would have thought that I would have put the words spinning and fun in the same sentence. :-)

Later while my son was at his 1/2 hour voice lesson I went for a walk. That felt great too.

I'm back baby and can't wait to hit the gym again tomorrow. I still struggle with some insecurities at the gym being the biggest one in most of the classes. I really need to work on getting over that and today was a big step in that realm.

November 8th I will be meeting with a Tri coach to set up a plan for my triathlons for the summer of 2009. I cannot wait.

Watch out world here I come!!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

No one told me there were hurdles in Ironman.

So I had this dream last night that I was thin and doing Ironman Wisconsin. I got to the run and was running strong when I saw someone setting up a hurdle and then jumping it. I looked at the runner next to me and said, "what's going on?" She said, "Haven't you been setting up your hurdles and jumping over them?" I said, "No one told me there were hurdles in Ironman." I stopped running and looked around and sure enough people were running to the side, getting a hurdle, running back a little and then jumping them. I found an official. He told me I could run back and do the one's I missed or on my second loop I could do them twice. I was really frustrated because I couldn't understand the logic of us setting them up ourselves and then running back a few feet and then jumping and I was frustrated because my coach had never told me their were hurdles in Ironman and I wasn't even sure I would make it over. I got to the next hurdle station, grabbed one, ran back, and then jumped it. The lady behind yelled, "Leave it up." I was mad cause she was going to use the one I just set up.

Then I woke up.

I was telling my husband about my dream and it hit me. I have so many hurdles to overcome to get to my Ironman that my subconscience incorporated them into my dream. It was fun to see myself thin in my dream and fun to see that I actually made it through my swin and bike and only had the run left. I hope to have many more Ironman dreams.

By the way, my friend Michael finished his 14th Ironman race yesterday. The world record for races in a year is 14, so he just tied the world record and will try and break it next week. Please keep him lifted in your prayers as he is having some major knee issues. He is doing this so that when he gets interviewed he can raise awareness for kids with Trisomy. Way to go Michael. I'm so proud of you and so honored to have met you. I know you can do it and these kids and families appreciate all you are doing to raise awareness for their cause.

Have a happy Sunday everyone!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

This sign says it all.

This is my friend, Chris' (The Clyde) daughter who was holding this sign cheering on her daddy during IMWI. I love this picture so much and it got me thinking, am I made of Iron?

I'm about 115 pounds overweight, can't run my 5k's yet, been having some trouble with my biking lately and will need to take private swimming lessons due to the fact that I cannot put my face in the water yet due to some near drowning accidents. The world would look at me and say there is no way I could ever do an Ironman. I could listen to them and keep going the way I am going or I can prove to them that ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. The thought of an Ironman right now seems overwhelming, but as I ponder the question, am I made of Iron? The answer is yes. As my friend, Michael said recently Ironman is an event where ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE. I can do this, I deserve to do this and with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE, so Ironman here I come.

I was thinking I want to do a different Ironman because I have been scared by stories of the IMWI bike, but I decided today that I have to do Ironman Wisconsin. This is the year that I first volunteered, met awesome people, learned about the cause I would be racing for, and ultimately decided to do an Ironman, so here is my next big announcement. I WILL BE DOING IRONMAN WISCONSIN IN 2013. Some of you already told me that you will do whatever Ironman I decide to do to be there for me. Well, there you go put it on your calendar now.

Here is my tentative race schedule:

2009- 1-2 sprint tris, 1st Olympic distance
2010- 1 sprint tri, 1 Olympic distance, and a 1/2 Marathon
2011-my first ever 1/2 Ironman in Effingham Illinois. It is a smaller venue. I would also like to do the Nation's Triathlon in DC this year.
2012- Steelhead 1/2 Ironman, Chicago Marathon
2013- Ironman Wisconsin

Oh my gosh, just looking at that is awesome and a little scary, but I know I can do it because I am made of Iron. Chris, can your daughter come and cheer me on in 5 years? Again, I look forward to how God will use my journey to help others. I will and can do this. I have given this all over to the Lord and he will see me through. Melissa Black, you will be an IRONMAN!!!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Two AWESOME phone calls

Yesterday I got to talk to two amazing people on the phone.

As I mentioned in my last post about Ironman Wisconsin I met an amazing man named Michael Hennessy. IMWI was his 13th Ironman this year as he is going towards a goal of beating the Guiness World Record of 14 in a year. He is set to do number 14 this weekend in Oklahoma.

He is racing to raise awareness for kids with Trisomy 13 and 18. I have joined his cause and yesterday we got to talk on the phone for the first time. I am very excited to see where this goes. I will be TRI-ing for TRI-somy to give a voice to these children who do not have one.

I have been reading so much about Trisomy since meeting him. A lot of these children are diagnosed in Utero. Most of the time parents are encouraged to abort them. They are told that their child, this precious gift from God, is incompatible with life. Who are we to say who is or is not compatible with life? Trisomy 21 is Down Syndrome and what I learned from Michael yesterday is that ony 10% of babies in Utero diagnosed with Down Syndrome, make it. The other 90% are aborted. I know that some of you will comment to me that it is the parents choice, but parents need to be given more choices than just abortion. These are precious gifts from God. Maybe their wrapping paper is a little different, but they are wrapped in His love and parents need to be aware of all their choices and that is why I am joing TEAM TRISOMY.

I challange you to look up Trisomy 13 and 18 on YOUTUBE. Look at these precious children and their families. Most of them have been told "you're child won't live long, so why do you want to try?" I had a sister that lived only 5 days. She did not have Trisomy, but as hard as it was, I loved seeing her. We have pictures of her and she touched our lives in such a beautiful way. Her name is Blessing and she truly blessed our lives no matter how short our time was with her. Don't these parents have the same right? A mom said in one of the Trisomy stories I was reading, "My baby is not just a syndrome. This is my baby. They deserve a chance at life." I know these parents probably wonder why their child, but God does not make mistakes and each of these babies are precious.

Most of these babies do not live to see their first birthday, but as I am searching on the Internet and finding stories I'm seeing that some kids are living to be 8, 12, 18 (check out and even 32. These children have been a blessing to their families and everyone they come in contact with. Let's raise awareness for these kids and for their families so they know they are not alone and that we see their children as a gift to us and that they ARE compatible with life.

Stay tuned for more ways you can help. In the mean time check out this video of a little boy named Eliott who had Trisomy 18. Get the kleenix!:

Also, I had another aweomse phone call yesterday. I got to talk to Caroline Schnog who as I put in my last post was the last person to cross the finish line. I looked her up on the Internet and called her to tell her I had a picture of me putting on her medal. We had a great conversation and am so excited that I talked to her. She has lost about 120 pounds on her journey to doing an Ironman. We talked for awhile and I know that I must made a new friend for life. She even said to let her know when I do my 1/2 Ironman and maybe she'll come and do it with me.

Also, I have HUGE news. I wasn't going to say this yet, but I have decided to do an IRONMAN. After volunteering, meeting Michael, talking to my hubby, and talking to Caroline I have decided to do it. My 1/2 Ironman will be in 2011, so I am thinking of doing my IRONMAN in 2013. We'll see. I have a lot to overcome, but with God all things are possible. I cannot wait to see how God uses my journey to help others.

Stay Tuned.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Ironman Wisconsin Pictures-Part 2 Run-Finish Line

I worked a water station with some Army National Guard members. Here I am with my new friends Nic and Chris. Nic will be doing the Ironman next year. Nic and Chris in action. #3 1st place male Chris McDonald 1st place female-Hilary Biscay Everyone was commenting on Hilary's gait, so I got a picture of it. She would kick her leg out. When she was running across the finish line it was much more pronounced. And just a word to the lady across the street from me at the water station. You thought it was ok to make fun of the athletes out there, as soon as they passed you, including how Hilary Biscay runs. I'd like to see you do an Ironman. Heck, I'd like to see you do a sprint, honey. Are you perfect? Nobody is, but at least they are out there trying. You really got on my last nerve. And if I'm out there someday and I hear you making fun of me I'll take that Gatorade from you, but it won't be to drink. You'll be wearing it. Next time think twice before making fun of someone else. For those of you who know me, this is not like me at all, but this lady made fun of at least 8 athletes that I heard. I did say something to her when she made fun of Hilary, but it didn't matter. I just had to vent. Here I am at the water station. I think this picture is funny cause I was about to leave and all the sudden I reallized I didn't have a picture of myself, so I have my bag over my shoulder and am so posing. Too funny! I headed to the finish line to watch the pros come in before my shift at the finish line. I arrived right as the 1st place male crossed the finish line. Here is the 2nd place male #16. What is cool about him is that I got to body mark him. You know that is why he did so well. :-) Here is the first place age grouper coming in. He came in at 9 hours and 6 minutes and 56 seconds. I got to meet his family on the bus ride back from the biking loop. When I saw him on the bike he was winning the race. He came in 8th overall. Here comes Hilary Biscay down the home stretch. I'm so glad I got to see her finish. I was rooting for her all day. She got passed on the run, but came back in mile 25 to finish it. Go Hilary. This camera man hopped of a motorcycle to film something and I thought he looked funny like out of a space movie of soemthing. This is the first picture I took after starting my shift at the finish line. I wore my camera around my neck for my whole 6 hour shift so I wouldn't miss a thing. This is my new friend MichaelHennessey. He was the one running in the cowboy hat. This was his 13th Ironman this year. He is on his way to breaking the Guiness World Record of 14. He is a father of 6 kids all 8 and under. He is doing this to raise awareness for kids who are born with Trisomy 13 and 18. Most of you have heard of Trisomy 21 aka Down Syndrome. Most people including myself have not heard of Trisomy 13 and 18. These are children who are born with an extra 13th or 18th chromosone. Most parents are encouraged to abort their child before they are ever born. Michael and those parents of these children are trying to raise awareness so that parents have more choices. From what I have read most of the children born with trisomy 13 and 18 do not live past their 1st birthday, but their families say that this child has taught them more about life in their short lives than anything else ever could have. If you would like more information about Michael's cause check out his website at He also has links there so you can find out more about these precious children and their wonderful families. I had the priviledge of giving my friend Chris his medal. Chris aka Clyde (check out his blog The Clyde on my list of blogs I read) I am so proud of you and am so happy I had the honor of medaling you. You did awesome. Here is Chris' first picture as an Ironman. Great job out there. I made some great friends while volunteering. Here is my buddy Ken and Katherine. Here are a couple of cheeseheads. The person who gave her her medal tried to put it on over the cheesehead. :-) Here is Ken in action. Way to go Ken. Here is the oldest man to finish the Ironman. He was 74. Ken and his babes. Actually they were friends from his tri club. Next year Ken will be doing the Ironman and I cannot wait to see him at the finish line.

Check out this video. She was dancing to YMCA across the finish line. FUN!!
Getting down to the last 20 minutes of the race. Watching the clock tick down. Will the last athlete make it? I had the honor of putting the medal on the last athlete. Here name is Caroline Schnog and she finished it in 16 hours 59 minutes and 56 seconds. She finished with 4 seconds to spare. The cutoff is 17 hours no exceptions. I am so happy she made it. My friend Chris came back to watch the last athletes and he said with 14 seconds to go she was worrying about getting her kids so that they could run across the finish line with her. Chris said he was SCREAMING, "JUST RUN. JUST RUN." Her daughter was able to cross the finish line with her. :-) Caroline's daughter, I'm so proud of your Mom. She rocks!! It was important for me to put on her medal as I am usually last at my events and I wanted to personally congratulate her because I am so inspired by her that she never gave up even when I'm sure she wanted to. I will remember her when I am struggling at my future events. Way to go Caroline. You rocked it and you, my friend, are an IRONMAN!! The race is over. As you can see the clock says 17 hours 1 minute. They were already tearing down the finish line. Good Night Madison. Good Night Ironman. I'll see you all next year.