Wednesday, December 30, 2009

twice the bang for your buck...

You have an opportunity to make your gift go twice as far in the effort to help patients live better, longer lives.

An anonymous friend of LLS will match your gift, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000 if made by December 31st. Act now and your donation of $25 will become $50, your gift of $50 will become $100.

Time is almost up! Don't miss this chance to make a gift that will have twice the impact. If we meet this matching challenge, today's patients will benefit sooner from treatments that let them live better, longer lives.

Please make your gift go twice as far by responding today.

Monday, December 7, 2009

2010 Leukemia Ball Raffle Sponsor
Washington Area Mercedes-Benz Dealers

The National Capital Area Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is thrilled to partner with Mercedes-Benz for the 23rd Annual Leukemia Ball. For more than 13 years, Mercedes-Benz has been the Raffle Presenting Sponsor for the Ball. The 2010 raffle prize cars are below. Tickets on sale now! If you'd like to purchase a ticket, let me know and I will e-mail you the form.

Tickets are $100.... all of the money will go to support the work of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society... and will help me to reach my fundraising goals.

Winner's Choice
2010 E350 Sedan or E350 Coupe
MSRP: $48,600

E Class

2010 G350 4Matic
MSRP: $36,600


Dreams of a Mercedes-Benz really do come true!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Kick-Off was AWESOME!!!

what a great morning we had yesterday :)

we had hundreds of enthusiastic new (and veteran) participants turn out for our Kick-Off breakfast, in spite of bad weather. energy was high, laughs were loud and sincere (not nervous), everyone seems really excited to start this new adventure.

me too... i'm getting excited.

the roads are still a bit slippery after yesterday's snow, even though most of it is gone now... so once the ice has melted a little more i'm headed out for a run.

oh, and i am selling raffle tickets for a new mercedes again... $100 to a great cause (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society), which will also be $100 toward reaching my fundraising goals... and you'll have a 1:3,000 chance of winning a brand new car.

let me know if you're interested and i'll send you the forms.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

starting the season off right...

it's raining.
i'm packing to move.
i have the pre-Christmas (far away from family and friends) blues.

finding it hard to get out running.

but Kick-off is just around the corner! time to give myself a kick in the butt so that when we have our first group training run in 9 days, i won't be huffing and puffing my way through a three mile run.

but first, i'm going to try to pack a few more boxes, just in case the rain lets up a little later on....
(master procrastinator that i am!)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

first run of the new season...

it's hard to believe that this time last year i was humming and hawing over whether or not to join Team In Training... it has been come such an integral part of my social life that i can't imagine being here and not being involved!

even though Spring 2010 Season has not yet officially kicked off.... a bunch of us got up early this morning and headed out to Reston for a pre-season run together. and it was so great!!

we had a great turn out, people were excited, i got to meet a couple of my mentees, got to see some friends from last Spring Season.... and the weather was nice and cool. (so glad not to be training in the heat anymore!!)

am now looking forward to kick-off in a couple week.... even though it also just happens to be the same weekend we'll be moving into our new home! BIG WEEKEND!!!

so today, i'm plotting my next fundraising initiative... and packing. whee!!

Friday, November 13, 2009

recruiting is big on my agenda these days...

so, now that i'm all set up as a mentor for spring season, i'm trying to get some of the easiest mentor obligations out of the way so that i'm not trying to cram them in when we're in the thick of the really long runs and madly trying to reach fundraising deadlines.

last night i was at a TNT info meeting... it was pouring rain, there were oodles of accidents and sirens and flashing lights... and the bus was late. but i made it in the end... me and more staff and volunteers than potential participants... but of the 8 that showed up, 5 signed up right away... and the others went away saying things like "i just need to check with my husband.." so we could still get one or two of them on board.

the night before last i spent a few hours in the TNT office making calls to people who had expressed even the remotest bit of interest in joining over years past... had a few people ask me to take them off the list... got a lot of answering machines... but a couple people said that yes they were interested and to please send them details on upcoming info nights. wooppeee!

feeling so productive!

and in other recruiting news...

i've started fundraising, and i started my efforts by recruiting my friends to ask their friends to sponsor me... you know, since i've already asked them all for the last two seasons.... time to move on to the friends of friends.

i just sent that e-mail out yesterday, and already i've received two donations!
(Thank you, Cecile... you too, Dave!!)

feel free to spread the word on my behalf.

Friday, November 6, 2009

it's official

i got the green light from my physiotherapist to start running this week.... no more than a couple miles, he said. and if that goes well, we'll work our way up week by week. so i'm headed out for a run with my old teammate Ronda tomorrow morning early (just to keep myself mentally ready for the fact that the alarm will ring early every Saturday morning from the beginning of December until the end of April.... that's a long time to go without a sleep in!!)

last night was the first meeting for the Spring Season mentors and coaches. i won't be the mission mentor this time around, as my friend Sara scooped me on that one! but i will be a regular mentor, and that will be just fine too :o)

so here's the plan...

as you know, i had to defer my race plans for Marine Corps Marathon due to injury. so all the fundraising that i did for that event will go to meet my fundraising goals to run the National Marathon here in DC in March... although i will likely just do the half marathon, as i've also signed on to fundraise for and run the Nashville Country Music Marathon in April!!!

very excited.

wondering if i'll be able to run it in my finest cowgirl finery and some fancy boots?? or if i should just stick to the TNT purple singlet and my favourite running shoes... will give that some thought over the next five months.

Monday, October 26, 2009

haven't been here in a while...

since i injured my right knee and had to come to terms with the fact that i would not recover in time to run the Marine Corps Marathon, i have not much felt like writing.

physio starts tomorrow, so after that i should have some idea how long it is going to take before i'm back to running regularly... and ready to decide which race to take on next.

Marine Corps Marathon allowed me to defer my entry to next year, but that's a whole year away... so i'm going to aim to do another Team In Training event in the spring.

this means (to your great delight, i am certain) that this blog shall carry on into season three of training for marathons and fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma
Society. aren't you thrilled?
i knew you would be...

until tomorrow then, when i shall give you the complete knee recovery update... i leave you with some photos from yesterday's
Marine Corps Marathon... I cheered for the first runner through until the very last runner through.... 6.5 hours on the course, around mile 23.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

so, it's been a while... again

i have been avoiding writing this particular post... call it denial if you like.

so, last time i wrote i was recovering from torticollis. and one week later i was suffering from mysterious pains in my thigh... not quite the knee, not quite the groin, but something that radiated from the knee-ish area upward to the groin-ish area and across the front of my thigh.

so, after a few days of icing and ibuprofen and no running, i went for a test run to see if it was any better... and barely made it ten paces before i had to stop.

then i went to see the doctor, who couldn't quite be sure what the problem was because it didn't quite fit any of the typical muscle injuries that she was aware of... she referred me to the sports medicine clinic... however it took a week to get an appointment to see the sports med docs, and in the mean time i was told to have some x-rays done, oh.. and no running.

finally got to see the sports med guys yesterday... so it has now been a little over two weeks since my last run. for the most part, my leg's not bothering me... except when i forget and do things like dash across the road to avoid oncoming traffic... then it hurts.

so, sports med doc number one pokes and prods and twists and hmmms for a while... looks over the x-ray results which say that aside from slight indications of the beginnings of osteo-arthritis in my right hip, there's nothing to see... then he calls in someone else to help him out.

new guys pokes and prods and stretches and twists a little more vigorously until he hits a spot well below my knee that causes me to yelp loudly as i pretty near pierce the examining table with my clenching hands and feel like i'm going to throw up.

then he breaks out the ultra-sound machine and his handy bottle of blue goo.... and we take a look inside my leg. very cool...

and there it is, clear as day... a tear in my sartorius muscle, below the knee... no where near where i have been feeling pain all this time.

and thus have i been introduced to the mysterious concept called "referred pain."

no fun.

so now i'm wearing a knee brace and am scheduled to start physio some time this week.

however, even if the physio and brace miraculously cure what ails me within the next week or so, i will not be able to make up all the time i have lost... and i will not be ready to run the Marine Corps Marathon in 4 weeks time.

i will continue to support my team in their training, and will cheer them on come race day.
i have deferred my registration in the marathon until next year (so i will still run it!! just not this year...). and all of the money i have raised so far will still go to support the work of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

thanks for all your support.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

poor me, yay me!

so... about two weeks ago i woke up with a stiff neck.
five days, much ibuprofen and ice packs and heating pads and a massage later... i wound up in the emergency room getting grilled by the intake nurse about how many of the symptoms of meningitis i had been ignoring for five days.

fortunately, in the end i didn't have meningitis... even though i did have a lot of the symptoms.

i had torticollis (persistant and painful muscle spasm in neck and shoulder).... so they sent me home with some hefty narcotics... and i slept for four days.

upon awakening from my drug induced stupor, i found i could at last tilt my head enough to drink from a glass again... and look from side to side with no pain.

and have since set about trying to catch up on 9 missed days of running.

it's amazing how hard it is to gain fitness and how easy it is to lose it.

i had run 14 miles with little distress a few weeks ago, and now i'm struggling to do 10 again...


trying to remain patient with myself.

and, i have enough time to make it up before my race.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

catch up, cont....

since i got back to Virginia, i've finally focused on some fundraising. as a team captain/mentor, my fundraising requirements are significantly less than they were as a simple participant... however, i've still got to do some fundraising... and i was slacking on that while i was in Canada.

so, i hosted a bakesale... it was hellishly hot that day, and all the icing on the cupcakes melted and slid off into little sticky puddles... but the banana bread held up nicely. my teammate Donna donated some chocolate bars to sell as well, left over from one of her fundraisers.... and they melted too, but are still delicious (as my husband can attest to... he is my biggest chocolate purchaser to date!)

then i attended a Dinner Done fundraiser for teammate Ronda... wherein we went to the Dinner Done location, assembled some tasty meals for future cooking, had a few laughs, and then went out to dinner whilst our assembled meals did a little pre-cooking in the hot sun.

here we are a'cookin!

we had some running adventures the following week, when we had our 14 mile run. longest run to date, hottest training day to date, on a busy trail, for a scheduled "hills" run.... and we ran out of water and gatorade. not the best run... but a good challenge to overcome during training so we won't be thrown so far off balance if things don't go as expected on race day.

here we are getting assembled for that run:

and then we had a momentary reprieve from the heat for our 10 mile run the following week... not only was it cooler, but one of my favourite teammates from last season came to staff our water station. yay Sara! (and current teammate Donna)

missing my 16 mile run

so, i was supposed to be running 16 miles this morning, but have done something to my neck and cannot run... cannot bend over to do up my shoe laces, for starters... cannot glance over my right shoulder to check my blind spot while driving to meet the team either.... and the jarring impact of walking makes me feel as though my right eyeball is about to shoot out of the socket, so i can't imagine i'd enjoy running.

thus, i find myself blogging about running instead of doing the running itself. but don't you worry, i'll be logging those 16 miles later in the week. all by myself.... (poor me)
kidding... my fellow teammate Ronda is out of town at the moment, and so she's going to run it with me when she gets back.

so, let me catch you up on the last month of training.

when last i wrote, i was just arriving in southern Ontario... where i had some lovely runs with my mom. got lost and ran a few extra miles, but lovely nonetheless...

Kissing Bridge Trail - Elmira, Ontario

like my "t-shirt tucked into skirt so i don't have to wear it 'cos it's stinking hot out" look? i learned that from my mom...

Bayfield, Ontario

here's where we got lost... missed the road we were suppposed to turn on...

Friday, August 28, 2009


okay, so i've been absent for about a month... no excuses.

lots of other things have been going on though... i've participated in a couple fundraisers, some for me, some for other people. and i've almost reached my fundraising minimum (but am no where near my personal goal boo :( but i'm still working on that.

i've had a few great runs, and a couple terrible runs. (details on those later)

i've organized some events to help my teammates "connect to the TNT mission".... volunteering at our local Life With Cancer Family Center.

and now, i'm feeling like writing again... so i'll catch up on my posts soon.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

patchy internet... no blogging

just a quick update as i'm about to lace up my shoes and head out for a run through the rolling farmlands of southern Ontario. as much as i'm enjoying my family time, i am really looking forward to getting back to running with the team in Virginia.

since i wrote last, i completed the milestone 10 mile run... from here on the miles seem to increase in leaps and bounds, and it won't be long until i look back upon the 10 milers as an easy run! but it sure felt like a long one last Saturday!

gave me a good excuse to eat lots at my sister's wedding that afternoon though :)


then we headed to Ontario via the US... stopping for a run in Bar Harbor Maine and Lake Placid NY.

sea level... and 1800 ft above sea level.

at first we could not figure out why we were having such a hard time running around Mirror Lake (in Lake Placid NY).... and then looked at the surrounded mountains and were reminded that we WERE running at altitude.


today it is 8 miles /12 km through Mennonite farms in southern Ontario.... how's that for variety??

Friday, July 17, 2009

Another Running in NS Photoblog

with a very full schedule of classes, family, friends, passport applications, field trips, birthday parties, ordering of wedding band to match engagement ring (just 10 months after the wedding!!)... i've had little time for blogging, though i've managed to squeeze in the scheduled running...

here's a little glimpse of where i've been getting the miles in...

Aspotogan Peninsula:

Halifax Waterfront:

Chester Connector Trail:

Running Room Wednesday Night Group Run -

Monday, July 6, 2009

letter to my teammates

Greetings from cool and rainy Nova Scotia!

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July, and that you enjoyed your "free" run on Saturday. I can assure you that I did. It is lovely and cool here north of the 49th parallel... and I ran my 6 miles by the ocean, following the coastline along the Aspotogan Peninsula. Better still, I ran it with my mother.

My mom and I started running together in 1999, when her mother was first diagnosed with breast cancer. In October of that year, we signed up to run the CIBC 5km Run For A Cure, which is a Canadian nation-wide fundraiser and awareness-raiser... It was our first 5km race, and we had hardly trained for it... but we were both fairly fit and felt we could do it. We were huffing and puffing but otherwise feeling pretty good as we came around the final bend in the road, but as we approached the finish line she almost collapsed. Not because she couldn't do it, but because of the enormity of the emotion she was carrying with her. We sat on the side of the road, watching the other runners go by until she had regained her composure, and then finished the race hand-in-hand with tears streaming down our faces. She has run it every year since then, and every year that I have been in Canada, I have run it with her.

When I signed up to run the Shamrock Marathon last December, she told me that she would donate the entire $1800 if that was what I needed to get me to the start of the race... I didn't need her to do that, fortunately! But I was enormously grateful for that support. And then, come race day in March, she was not sending her support from Canada, she there at the starting line with me... she was there at the midway point cheering, she was sending text messages to me during the long and lonely stretch between miles 18 and 22, and she was there at the finish line, full of pride.

Needless to say, being able to share my Team In Training experiences with my mom has been a great pleasure for me. I hope that you too have someone who inspires and motivates and supports you in your endeavors.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Running in lovely cool Nova Scotia - photoblog

i'm home for a little while, finishing up my Masters... and am delighted to be training in the foggy cool weather with my mom. today's run was a 6 miler (10 km) along the ocean...

started near home, and ran past the place that we sprinkled my brother's ashes last summer... had a little weepy moment, but in a good way. it was beautiful and peaceful there.

hit the turn around point and stopped for a little photo break before climbing back up the hill.

my mom gunned it to get up the hill, or perhaps she was just trying to get far enough ahead that she'd hardly show up in the pictures, since she'd stripped down to her sports bra...

personally, i found it to be lovely and cool after the Virginia heat.

stopped to check out the flowers growing on the beach around the 6km mark... artemesia...

and rugosa roses

left mom at the car and ran the last 2 km while she drove home, and was thrilled to find that dad had a dinner of fresh fish and veggies (that we had picked up at the market early this morning) waiting for us.

it's been a good day :-)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Honoured Teammate Picnic

we had our "honoured teammate picnic" on Saturday... a five mile run followed by bagels and fruit and such, and a series of speeches by our honoured teammates (people who have/had a blood cancer and receive support from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society).

there were people there who were treated for blood cancer 20 years ago, and people who were currently in treatment... people who had children who were in remission, and people who had lost loved ones to cancer.

each and everyone one of them remarked on all the amazing things that the LLS has done, from pushing forward on research to helping individuals who are struggling to pay their medical bills.... and they thanked us all for what we are doing to help the LLS achieve their mission.

it's a good feeling to know that i'm literally playing a part in saving people's lives.

Friday, June 26, 2009

tomorrow i'll be a runner

oh, i'm such a slacker!

i've been terribly lax at updating... which goes right along with my approach to training thus far.

i'm blaming it on the heat. i feel sluggish these days.... sweating about the place, leave a trail of slime... feeling legless and limp. not much good for the running!!

however, the mileage is starting to go up, and i really MUST get myself in gear or i'm going to struggle later on. fortunately, i'm going home to cool and rainy eastern Canada for most of July... where i'll be able to run in comfort, and with my mom to boot! what joy!!


in other running news, tomorrow is our first DCA Team group training... which means we could be several hundred on the trail together tomorrow morning. it's going to be happy chaos.

and then, it is the honoured teammate picnic. i wish my honoured teammates could be here to see what we're doing on their behalf. but it is a long way to come just for a picnic, clear across the continent and back again for a bagel and some nice speeches...


my fundraising is sluggish too.... sigh.

i'm such a slug.

tomorrow, i'll be a runner.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

last night on my run...

i have a friend staying with me for a few days, so he's been coming on my runs. he's much shorter than i am so we don't go too fast, and he's much more interested in checking out the scenery than i am... so as we were out for a run last night, here are some things that we saw that i might have otherwise missed if he'd not been along:

ducks swimming in the puddles that remain on peoples' lawns and driveways from last week's heavy rains.

the little house tucked back in the trees (unlike all the other monstrosities that occupy every square inch of their lot) with the lovely gardens has a sign up saying "plants... $1". i might take them up on their offer when the day finally comes that i have gardens of my own to plant.

(live) deer hiding in the hedge... and we are not exactly out in the countryside here in Alexandria!

mushrooms growing in the long grass in front of the gas station... am hoping they weren't toxic, as i only noticed them because he was licking them (he is a dog, by the way)...

the big stone house on the corner near the park that my husband has long coveted is now for sale.

fireflies!! everywhere fireflies! i've never lived anywhere that had fireflies before... and they're beautiful. well, their twinkling like sparks flying from a campfire is beautiful anyway...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Kick-Off tomorrow :-)

this is it... every Saturday from now until late October is spoken for. Kick-off for fall season is tomorrow morning... and then we run!

although i have enjoyed sleeping in the odd Saturday since March, i have definitely missed the early morning runs with friends. and i'm looking forward to getting into that habit again.

i'm a little nervous about how i'm going to manage training in the heat and humidity of a Virginia summer... but, i'll manage, i'm sure. more fluids, earlier runs...


i had planned to be a Team Captain for Marine Corps Marathon... but there was an abundance of people who wanted to be team captains, and no one had signed up to be Mission Captain (the person who reminds the team just why it is we're running... gives updates on our honoured team mates, organizes events that connect runners with the lives of the people we're running for, etc).

i think i'm going to like it.

and as hard as it might be to get out of bed at 5:45 tomorrow morning in order to drive to Maryland for Kick-Off... i'll be glad to do it, once i'm up ;-)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

the unlikely athlete

i always felt somewhat awkward in my body as a child.... never good at sports, afraid of getting hit by the ball, afraid to put my head under the water when learning to swim, falling over and losing my (very thick... and very necessary) glasses in the snowbank while skiing, cracking my skull due to stepping on the ball while playing soccer...

so i came to believe that i was not athletic.

i still liked to be active, but never considered myself good at it. i rode my bike because i liked it. i rode over 100 kms through the Rocky Mountains in one day, camped at the end, and rode back the following morning. but never considered myself a cyclist.

i took up inline skating to keep a friend company when she wanted to lose weight, and then wound up training for and competing in a 24 hour inline skating relay... regularly skating 60 or more kms on a Saturday morning after skating for 3 or 4 hours through the (cobbled) streets of Paris the night before.

i walked 56 kms in the middle of the night in January (twice!), first to raise money for an HIV/AIDS organization, and then because i'd enjoyed it the first time.

i trained for and ran a marathon a few months ago. and signed up to do another one in October.


i think i've finally admitted to myself that i am something of an athlete. perhaps not a successful one in the sense of making it my profession or capturing media attention and adoring fans.... but successful in that i achieve what i set out to do, i enjoy each event and look forward to the rest.

i will never be the athlete that crosses the finish line with the ribbon breaking across my chest, muscles bared and rippling... i will never be that lean, or that driven, or that focused.

but i will cross that finish line, with a smile on my face, because i believe in myself and my own strength enough to put my toe to the starting line.

What's your story? Want to get fit, make friends and save lives? Sign up for Team in Training and complete a marathon, triathlon, hike or century ride while raising money to cure blood cancers. Fall season kickoff is June 6th. Details and locations for info sessions are at the TNT website.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

running dreams

i was going through some old e-mails this morning, looking for a particular one because i was sure i had some info i need posted in an e-mail somewhere...

and i came across this one from October 17, 2007. reprinted here for your reading amusement:

i dreamed we were getting ready to run a half marathon together... Mummer, Liz, Jill and i... and Cath and Molly were staying in the bleachers with all our bags of stuff to take pictures of us when we crossed the finish lines. for some reason, the race started in the rodeo grounds, and the toilets were disgusting... Jill was showing us the enormous blisters she had on the bottoms of her feet (they were huge!) before the race started, and Liz wasn't sure she really wanted to do it... so they took off while Mummer and i were in line to get the tank tops with our race numbers on, they were green... i was #917... i don't remember what you were, Mummer... and i was wearing a green skirt and black wooly tights... not appropriate for running so i stripped off the tights... and we were trying to put our shoes on when the starter gun went off... so we were late starting... and you were running really really fast. i kept calling you to slow down because i was worried you'd burn out, and then we turned the corner where we exited the stadium (where the race started) and suddenly we were the only ones running in tank tops and short skirts in the heavy snow...
then Francisco's alarm went off, and i was bummed because i didn't get to see if we managed to finish the race.
the end.

Clearly I was destined to run marathons... although there's no fear of running in snow any time soon!

Monday, May 18, 2009

first donation is in... woo hoo!

just a quick note, before i dash off to work, to say thank you to my friend Jo for being the first to make a donation on my new MCM website. you rock! and, good luck on your own "Relay For Life" fundraising.


Saturday, May 16, 2009

New Website!

hello my lovely readers...

just a quick note to say that my new fundraising website is up and running, and if you know of anyone looking for charities to support, i'm accepting donations now. not that i'm a charity, per se... but it's not for me. it's for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

feel free to click on my "donate now" link in the upper right hand corner if you would, in fact, like to donate now...

and feel free to pass the link on to your friends and family.

as always, i am eternally grateful for your support.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

all this work is getting in the way of me running

now that i have this new job and i work outside 9 hours a day, i find i don't have as much energy and motivation for running in the evenings.


i still do my best to get out and run on my days off, but i feel less and less fit as the weeks go by. all my training is melting away!

i keep telling myself that once i get used to doing physical work again, after 7 months on the couch, that i will miraculously find the energy once again. i hope i'm right...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

it's official

I've gotten the confirmation that I will be a TNT Team Captain (aka Mentor) for the Marine Corps Marathon in October. Training starts in June.

Given how stinking hot it has been here over the last week, I'm wondering how I am going to manage training here in June.. or July/August/September for that matter.

I'm a wilting flower these days. Oh well, perhaps we'll be doing our training runs at 6am to avoid the heat.... or perhaps just I will be!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

teaming up...

so, last weekend i had the privilege of meeting up with a long time online friend for the first time ever... i mention this now as he was part of my inspiration to join Team In Training. he's a walk coach on the west coast, and has had nothing but good things to say about his TNT experiences.

we spent a lovely rainy afternoon wandering about museums, and then met up with a couple friends of his to watch some fireworks (Cherry Blossom Festival). one of those friends is also involved in TNT... but her connection is with Virtual TNT... because she lives in Denmark. so she is training on her own, with the support of online coaches.

kinda cool... but tough going, i'm thinking, when the miles get long.

anyway, it is a sun-shiny day here, and though my friend is no longer in town, she's here for a while longer.. so we're meeting up this afternoon for a training session. and i'm excited about that :-)

Friday, April 10, 2009


Hello my friends and family,

Just wanted to send a quick note to say thank you all for your support (moral and financial) in my first ever Team In Training experience. Thanks to you I continued to feel motivated with the training and fundraising, even when the going got tough... Thanks to you, I reached my fundraising goals. Thanks to you, I made it to Virginia Beach for the race... Thanks to your phone calls, text messages, e-mails, waving and cheering, I finished my first marathon with a smile on my face. And most importantly, thanks to your generosity, we're that much closer to finding cure for cancer.

I have not heard any jubilant celebration from any of the people that purchased Mercedes-Benz raffle tickets from me. I'm very sorry you did not win. If it is any consolation, neither did my husband and I...

In spite of not winning a new car, I think (hope) we all benefited from this experience. We all got to be a part of something bigger than ourselves, something literally life-saving... and I'm glad you were with me on this journey.

If you feel like joining me on this path again, I will be training for and running the Marine Corps Marathon with Team In Training in October.

Thanks again,

Monday, April 6, 2009

i spent about 6 hours of my birthday manning the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society booth at a recent "Women's Expo"... trying to entice other women to join us in supporting the work of the LLS, either by getting involved with Team In Training, or some other LLS activities.

it was a slightly surreal adventure.

beside our booth there was a man and his son selling bamboo towels, across from us a man demonstrating his Korean-style indoor grills, and another trying to attract customers for his home security company. kitty-corner to us was a little gardening store and across from them the Posturpedic bed display...

the really girlie section of the expo had laser teeth whitening, bright green lipsticks that changed to shocking shades of pink upon application, scarves, skirts, pedicure, wigs, lotions, potions, tarot readings, hypnosis, a cat-walk (which had a doggie fashion show going on when i went by to the use the washrooms)...

lots of women touched and oohed and aahed over the bamboo towels. lots of women taste-tested and debated over the Korean grills. lots of women looked over and then looked away as they walked by us.

personally, i found the larger than life cardboard cut-outs of handsome men in wetsuits visually engaging... but it seemed if we weren't selling something or giving away hand-outs, not too many of the expo-attendees were that interested in what we had to say.

a couple women made the day worthwhile though... women who had lost family members, women who had family member who were struggling through, women who had family members that had survived and gone on to have families of their own. not matter how close or far those experiences were to the present day... the grief, the fear, the relief, the joy were all very present at the Expo.

i hope some of the women who took TNT info brochures do sign up. i hope to run with them some day...


this afternoon i am scheduled to go spend some time in the local children's cancer ward.

i'm expecting a few tears.

mine, of course.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

surprise, surprise

turns out i'm hooked...

for about a week after the Shamrock Marathon, i was feeling blue. missing having the weekly run with friends to look forward to, missing having the goal of the marathon to work toward, missing that feeling of being involved...

so last night i went to an info meeting on becoming a "mentor" (aka Team Captain) for another race with Team in Training. i signed up to be a mentor for the Marine Corps Marathon in October. they have loads of people volunteering to be mentors, for a variety of races... so i am not guaranteed the position, but i have it on good authority (wink wink) that my chances are good.

registration for the Marine Corps Marathon opened yesterday, and it always sells out quickly.

my husband and i had been discussing my post run blues, and ideas for birthday gifts... and he decided he would pay for my next race as my birthday gift :-) i think this is a wonderful idea, because goodness knows i don't want or need any knickknacks to sit on the piano collecting dust.

so last night, he registered me for the Marine Corps Marathon.

joke's on him now though, because i registered him to run it with me this morning....

i doubt that he'll join TNT, as the fundraising is a time commitment that he just does not have the time for at present... but we'll be able to train together, commiserate over aches and pains and bruised toenails together... our grocery bill will go through the roof... and come race day morning we'll at least start together. his legs are considerably longer than mine, so no guarantees that we'll finish anywhere near each other. but we'll hobble home together, brandishing our medals and feeling enormously proud.

i'm excited.

no more blues.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

on the road again...

just can't wait to get on the road again...

today was my first run after the obligatory (coaches orders) week off after the marathon. it was grey and rainy when we left NJ, but the sun was out and it was muggy and warm when we got home. so i threw on my gear and went out for an easy three miler.


sunshine, warm breeze, loads of flowers in bloom, kids out on bikes and scooters... legs working nicely and without pain. felt good to be moving.

but my legs were getting pretty tired by the end.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I've been trying to get myself ready to write about the marathon since last night... but somehow, I feel as though I just don't know where to start. People have been asking me to let them know when I have something posted (blogs, photos, etc) and so I feel compelled to start somewhere. So I shall start with how I'm feeling right now.

I'm feeling kind of sad, to be honest. I can't quite believe it is over... after months of training and fundraising and getting to know the coaches and my team mates and the TNT staff... it's kind of a let down to think that I'm no longer involved in all that. Fortunately part of the team is still training for the Nashville Country Music Marathon... so I can still go join them for their Saturday morning training runs for a few more weeks yet.

When I get past the feeling sad that it's over part... I'm feeling mighty proud of myself. I ran 26.2 miles on Sunday. That is 8.2 miles (over 13 kms) further than I had ever run before. Now, I didn't break any land speed records... but in effect, that means I ran far longer than the speedy-gonzales people in the pack.

I had hoped to finish in under 5 hours... and things were looking good for it by the half-way mark. But at mile 14 I stopped to go to the toilet, and never quite caught up to my team mates (who I had been keeping pace with from the start). I never would have imagined I would find it so hard to keep going on my own.

Not that I was truly on my own, as there were still loads of other runners on the course... but the psychological support of having my team mates beside me was clearly something I had been relying on. I kept running at a good clip until about mile 18... which is as far as I had ever trained. And then I hit a funk.

Miles 18 through 22 were really really hard.

In order to keep the energy levels up, we had to consume vast quantities of sweet crap... gels, gummy things, gatorade... none of which I would ever reach for on a regular day. But for a long run, it's necessary... so I gagged down the vanilla gels and the lemon gummies, and chugged water and gatorade until I could pretty near feel my teeth floating.

Even still, I ran out of steam... my walk breaks became more frequent and lasted longer. My feet hurt. My hip hurt. My legs felt like lead. And the miles felt long and lonely.

We ran down a quiet wooded road... a vastly different experience than 2 hours earlier when we ran en masse through the army base, slapping palms with cheering army service men & women... vastly different experience than 1 hour earlier when people lined the streets with their stereos playing and tables full of beer for the returning runners...

Down the wooded road we straggled. Very little conversation remained, and what little there was focused on getting each other through... keeping each other going.

I chatted briefly with a woman who was from Virginia Beach, who had trained on that stretch of road. She told me we would be passing the oldest remaining light house on the east coast... she told me that we would be passing the landing place of the earliest settlers in Virginia... she told me the story of how the marathon came to be 26.2 miles (rather than 25) long when the queen of England wanted to watch it during the London Olympics so the race was extended to run past Buckingham Palace.. and how runners now say "long live the queen" when they reach mile 25.

I forgot to say it when I reached mile 25... that was a good hour later on, and I had other things on my mind. Like not throwing up, for example. All that sugar and water were sloshing about in my belly, and goodness knows nothing else was left in there to slow the movements down.

But by that time I had also come across Coach Joe on the course, and he had offered to run me in ... he kept me going by telling me how proud he was to have been my coach and my friend, by reminding me of the obstacles I had overcome during training (and in life), by asking me if I had realised yet that I was going to reach the finish line...

I have a much deeper appreciation and respect for the coaches as a result of race day. I had always been appreciative of the training tips and support... but really, the final few miles were the point for me where I came to understand all that they do for us.

Joe embarrassed me with his over the top cheering and pointing as we rounded the corner and came onto the boardwalk where the last loyal spectators remained to cheer us on. But he helped me to finish strong. He helped me to finish running... and I shall love him forever for that.

My mom, dad and brother were there on the boardwalk... still cheering after almost five and a half hours of waiting. They sent me text messages as I ran, telling me they were there with me and that I could do it.

The clock read 5:22:12 as the announcers struggled to pronounce my last name... Actual time for me to complete the race - 5:19:51.

My husband was there at the finish line, taking photos and then holding me up as I searched desperately for something to eat (box after empty box of no more bananas!!!). He reminded me to pick up my medal, which I had totally walked right by... He helped me to find the TNT tent, helped me to walk back to the hotel, ran me an ice cold bath and sat with me until I no longer felt like I was going to be sick from the shock of it... and tucked me into bed with a turkey sandwich.

(He also called around mile 20 to tell me that he was back at the hotel, stretched out on the bed watching tv... so he's not always my hero... just most of the time)

It is possible that I have never been more proud of myself than I was at that moment... stretched out in bed, legs up on pillow, toes poking out because they were too tender to have the blankets weighing down on them, eating my sandwich, too tired to sleep.


Funny marathon moments & highlights to follow in the next posting...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

running with my ma

my family has arrived, come to cheer me on...

yesterday afternoon my mom strapped on her shoes and came out for a 3 mile easy run with me. we haven't run together in about 8 months, and it was so nice!!! it was kind of cool and grey most of the day yesterday... but her last run a few days ago was in heavy snow, so we threw on our running skirts and delighted in the smell of fresh grass the magnolia tree in blossom and sighed a little spring is here sigh.

i'm so happy they're here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

reflections on training for a marathon... and fundraising update.

here i am, on the eve of my last group training run before the marathon... gear all packed up and ready for tomorrow morning. it's hard to believe that this time next week i will be packed up and ready to go to Virginia Beach and run a marathon.

even harder to believe that this time three months ago i was struggling to finish a 6 mile run -- never mind get my head around running 20 miles further.

it's been a period of personal growth... i've learned a lot about motivation and follow through... i've learned how to eat & drink while running (something i frequently have difficulty doing without making a mess when i'm sitting still, never mind whilst moving!)... i've learned how to push myself onward through tough runs, and how to forgive myself for not finishing or even not getting out there when what i needed was a break...

i'm proud of myself for getting this far.

have to admit to having some fear about maybe not being able to finish the whole marathon... what with the stresses of the last few weeks, and the humbling digestive issues of my 20 mile run... but, come race day i'm going to try... what more can i ask of myself?


a quick note on my fundraising efforts to date...

even though it looks rather dire (just $850 raised of my $1900 goal) when you look at my fundraising website, i've actually almost achieved my fundraising goal. i am still waiting on $400 worth of raffle tickets that should have posted to my page weeks ago... that puts me at $1250.
and once the IHOP fundraising money is added (they're still doing the calculations but it should be around $200 per shift, i did three shifts..) i will be at $1850... just $50 shy of my goal.

i've got a week to find an extra $50... i think i can do it!

ps.. a big thank you to my cousin Patty for her donation this afternoon!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

inspiration when motivation is lagging...

i did not much feel like running on Saturday... it has been a very long and stressful couple of weeks and i'm feeling exhausted. i did manage to log the short runs during the week, but when Saturday morning rolled around i just wasn't feeling it.

so i put it off until the afternoon.

it was gloriously sunny and spring like. perfect for getting out for a 10 mile run... but come Saturday afternoon i still wasn't feeling it. what i really felt like doing was laying in bed watching movies or reading fluffy books (in other words, i wanted to step out of real life for a while).

my sweetheart poked and prodded until i pulled on my running gear, moaning about how i didn't want to go...

he told me i'd be glad to be out there once i made it out the door. and so i gave myself a kick in the pants, and stopped grousing about how i didn't want to go and started thinking about why i did want to go.

Saturday morning my sister-in-law's father-in-law died after a long battle with leukemia and lung cancer. i knew that he had cancer... he was in remission when i first met him at my sister-in-law's wedding two years ago. his health was failing again last fall when i saw him at my niece's christening... he collapsed moments before his scheduled chemo appointment on Thursday, and passed early Saturday morning.

i ran for Mr Firrito that afternoon. and i am going to his funeral this morning....

i will run in his memory in two weeks time.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

worst run ever!

this blog is not for the faint of heart... you are forewarned.

today's run did not go as planned. today's run was really tough, in fact. today i experienced the absolute lowest point (thus far) of my running career.

i thought i had set myself up for success... last night a group of my fellow runners and i went out for a big pasta dinner, carb-loading in preparation for our 20 mile run this morning. good in theory...

laid out all my running gear last night... filled my water bottles, packed a warm sweater and some dry socks to change into at the end of the run, stocked up my running treats...

as we are supposed to consume about 100 calories worth of energy every 45 mins or so along the trail, i had purchased a number of different sport "fuel replenishers" to consume en route. i had had some trouble during past runs with a couple other kinds, most of which was based on them being sickly sweet, but some of which gave me stomach pains. so, had a new collection for today... all highly recommended by the running store staff, and other fellow TNT participants. good in theory...

hit the trails shortly after 8, after being brought to tears in the parking lot by the story of a fellow participant... the person in who's honour she is running died of leukemia on Wednesday.

tried out new treat #1 about 50 mins into the run ... sport jelly beans. gave me stomach pains. didn't eat any more.

tried out new treat #2 approximately 40 minutes later. tasted good, no stomach pains, yippeee.. found my new running energy supply. less than ten minutes later i was desperate for a pee, so i ducked off the trail to use the washroom at McDonalds. as i crossed the parking lot, i was doubled over by serious stomach pain and spasms... and without any warning or hint of possibility, spontaneously pooped my pants.

not exactly a high point in my day.

but, at least it happened just steps away from a washroom and not five miles down the trail.

went in, cleaned myself up, threw out my underwear... had a little cry, and then headed back out on the trail, feeling a little hollow and wobbly. and embarrassed. and kinda weepy still...

that was the half way point in my 20 miles.

i was too scared to eat any more of my lovely treats... so i drank a lot of gatorade and water, but without the extra energy i would normally get from the sickly sweet gels, or chewy treats... i totally crashed after 16 miles. still 4 miles from the parking lot where my warm clothes, my house keys, my ride, and yummy pizza and bananas and other post run delights were waiting for me.

i walked on for two more miles, until i hit the last water station... after walking that far i was no longer sweating. in fact, i was just cold and damp and out of energy. Coach Joe took one look at me and said, you're done for today.

i burst into tears. and said okay.

Coach Chip drove the two miles down to the water station to pick me up, and gave me the lecture on avoiding hypothermia... me nodding and shivering all the while.

i grabbed two slices of cold pizza and a couple bananas, signed myself in on the runners list, shivered my way into my friend Lori's car, and then struggled to take my wet clothes off so i could have a long hot shower when i got home.

nothing about today was easy. not much was very comfortable, not a whole lot would even qualify as particularly enjoyable...

but i got through it. and, better that it happens now than on race day.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

girl on fire...

i normally run around a 10:00 per mile pace... when we go out on our long runs i slow it down to around 10:40, maybe 11:00 with doing the 10:1 walk/run.

today we were scheduled to run just 5 miles (that would be 8 kms or so..). i'm still learning all the technical jargon for what it is we're doing... tempo runs, negative splits... stuff like that.

today we were to do a tempo run, which essentially means do a bit of a warm up run, then run a few miles at a pace that is faster than is comfortable, and then do a bit of a cool down at a slower pace to finish (i think)... so, i ran the first 2 miles at my usual 10 mile pace, and then just kept speeding up the treadmill until i was running (fairly comfortably!) at an 8:40 pace.

i ran 2 miles in 18 minutes :)

oh yes, it's true... the new orange shoes make me run as though my feet were on fire.

now, i'm knackered. but i feel good...

let's hope that is how i feel after our 20 mile (32 km) run on Saturday morning

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Happy Feet! New Shoes :-)

I have long been a fan of Mizuno running shoes, and have worn their Wave Nirvana shoes for several generations now. A couple week ago, after my toenails turned purple, I went to get a new (and larger) pair... After all, I have logged a couple hundred miles on the old pair since I joined TNT in December... and, after all, the old pair just doesn't have enough room once my feet start to swell around the 12 mile mark. So, I got the newest version, the Wave Nirvana 5... they were so pretty, but when I got them home and took them for a run my feet hurt so badly that I had to stop running. And went back to wearing the old ones.

I exchanged them today for the last pair of last year's model (the Wave Nirvana 4) that the store had in stock... and let me tell you, they live up to their name. They are nirvana on my feet.

I've just come in from a run, and my toes are happy. My knees are happy. My hip that has been bothering me is happy... I'm happy.

My last pair were a demure blue. I might never have chosen the bright orange pair if given an alternative, but the colour is growing on me. They catch my eye as I run, and they remind me of flames. This inspires me to run as though my feet are on fire.... and that can only mean my times will get faster. Don't you think?

I'm not sure you have totally appreciated them in their fiery glory... here, look again.

Aren't they lovely?

Hip Hop (IHOP) Away!

(photo taken at IHOP's International Pancake Day by Brian Vaugh)

FUNdraising success! After a mere 12 hours of standing in the front lobby of a couple local IHOPs on International Pancake Day... sometimes with other TNT volunteers (like Kim and Lindsay in the photo) and sometimes on my own... that donation box contained over $1500 worth of donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

IHOPS all over the greater DC area were raising money for the LLS. Can't wait to hear what the over-all grand total was for donations raised yesterday.

In theory, the funds raised will be divided amongst the volunteers in a way that reflects how much time they spent fundraising yesterday. This means that, in theory, I should have about $750 applied to my fundraising efforts, which would push me over the top of my fundraising goal! Yippeeee! However, we won't find out until next week how it all gets divided up... so I shall wait til then to be elated.

In the mean time, it is a gloriously sunny day. Cold though... and I'm heading out for the five mile run I was scheduled to do yesterday, but couldn't because I was surrounded by pancakes.

ps. yes, my t-shirt does say "Cancer Sucks!"

Sunday, February 22, 2009

eating like a runner...

now that i am running at least 20 miles each week (or more - this week it will be about 33 miles), i am ravenous most of the time. this has led to a burst of creativity in the kitchen.

one can only eat oatmeal with brown sugar so many times... so now i have it with walnuts, raspberries and honey... or peanut butter and mango... or strawberries, sunflower seeds and yogurt.

breakfast eggs are now rarely just eggs, but omelets full of veggies and cheese... or loads of fresh ginger... or feta and fresh mint. i bake bread every week just so we'll have good bread to have with eggs.

a lunch time sandwich is now never just a sandwich... it's a dagwood sandwich, full of cheeses and olives and sweet peppers and crunchy lettuce and hot pickles and stuff falling out the sides.

lunch time salads are salad extravaganzas... full of nuts and cheeses and seeds and herbs and fruit... and they're never small any more.

one can only eat pasta with tomato sauce so many times... now we're having it with sauteed butternut squash, hot chilis, asparagus and toasted pine nuts... or with chunks of feta cheese, garlic, fresh herbs and good olive oil.

we used to have left-overs for lunches... but now if there are left-overs they rarely make it past late evening snack time.

my sweetheart keeps telling me i'm spoiling him. but the truth is i'm being good to me. i'm eating like a runner.

has it been a week already?

Time flies when you have a canine companion...

He's gone home now though, and I shall miss his company.


My mom called during yesterday's morning run with the TNT group. We were chatting as I ran (slowly so I wouldn't puff too loudly in her ear)... She asked how far we were running and then laughed when I said it was an easy run of just ten miles today.

Whoever would have imagined I'd some day be saying those words?! Ten miles is an easy run!! That's 16 kms, people! That's almost a half marathon!

How ridiculous.

And how ridiculously proud of myself am I?


I took photos of my toenails for your viewing pleasure. I figured I'd best get them taken now before the nails fall off (like viewing the scarlet leaves come autumn, must take advantage of them while they last!). Now I just have to wait for my sweetheart to get home and download them to his computer, as I don't have the right software on mine.

So, you should be seeing them in all their purple blistery glory some time this week.
Lucky you.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

more fun with a buddy...

in spite of my aching thighs, purple toes and creaking right hip... i've just come back from a run. i figured if little Bailey, whose legs are only a foot long (and he has just three of them at that!), is eager to get out there for a run with me then i should quit my whinging and get to it.

we walked up to the conservation area near our place... it's normally about a 15 minute walk to get there, with a few good hills to get the heart beating. but with sniffing and pee stops it took closer to half an hour to get there... the ducks in the pond were also a wild distraction, so running by the water was out of the question. but once we got up the hill to the manicured lawn and dormant flower beds it was smooth sailing.

we ran the brick trail loop twice, and then headed out to the main road for the quicker return home. as we ran, my legs slowly became more limber (thank goodness) and his tongue became more flappy. we stopped to chat with a couple guys waiting for a bus to talk about his three leggedness and how he manages.

i have lived here for almost six months now, and more people have talked to me on the street over the last three days than the previous six months combined. having a cute little running buddy is good on so many social levels.

so now, my legs are feeling looser and less achy... i feel invigorated and ready to fill the day.
Bailey, on the other hand, is flaked out on his bed... using his rawhide bone as a pillow.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

29 km / 18 miles...

so, i was back to running with my old shoes this morning... a little worried about the potential for further damage to my toes, but it turned out okay. i have a repeat blister on one toe, but it's one that i'm going to lose the nail on anyway... so no big wup, as they say.

i felt surprisingly good running this morning, considering that i've been fighting off a cold for almost two weeks, and considering that i struggled a bit to finish 10 miles last week. but today, i'm feeling better... it was warmer, sunny and beautiful. we saw loads of flame red cardinals along the W&OD trail as we ran from Reston to Fairfax, Fairfax back to Reston, Reston to Herdon and back to Reston again.

i felt good up to about mile 14, then i started to get tired... and the last mile was a bit of a struggle, but i did it.

then i came home and took Bailey out for a walk... after i picked up the shredded remains of our mail (which he had eaten, including the latest movie from Netflix!)

it's probably good that he's here this week, as it meant i got out for a few short walks this afternoon and evening, and kept my stiffening legs from seizing up entirely. he does make it difficult to stretch though, with his sniffy nose in my face and climbing into my lap ...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

oh so sad...

my beautiful brand new running shoes that i bought yesterday really really hurt my feet!

i've been wearing Mizuno Wave Nirvana shoes for several reincarnations now, and have always loved them. and these felt good to start with... but about a mile and a half into this evening's run my feet started to hurt like crazy. the only difference between this pair and the last few that i've bought are whatever changes the company has made, and i went up a size to try to prevent the purple toenail effect that the current shoes have on runs longer than 12 miles.

i had hoped to have my new shoes broken in at least a little bit (three days of wearing about the house and at least one run) before my 18 mile/29 km run on Saturday morning. and now i'm going to have to go back tomorrow afternoon and try to find a pair that fits me better... and won't get to have a run in them before Saturday, in which case i'm wondering if i should stick to the old pair after all...

(sad face)

pom-pom squad

i have always been a sporadic runner...

enthusiastic for a few weeks or months, particularly if i have someone to run with... and then i get bored or distracted and stop running for a while (a few months, or a few years). then i come back to it, and the cycle starts all over again.

the only time i ever ran consistently was when my mom and i trained for the Marathon des Deux Rives (Quebec) in 2002. we ran the second half of the marathon, across the St Laurence River and into beautiful Vieux Quebec.

it was tough, but we did it and were enormously proud of ourselves...

then i moved to Paris and got into inline skating. running shoes went back in the closet.

but now that i'm running again, my mom's been incredibly supportive. she has started running again as well, with my cousin. she checks in regularly to see how the runs are going, and to cheer me on. and, she has supported my fundraising efforts too (thanks mom & dad... hope you win that new Mercedes-Benz!)... and now, with race day suddenly just an intimidating 6 weeks away... my mom and dad are looking into the possibility of coming down for the race.

even if they don't make it, i'm touched that they want to come, and that they are so supportive. imagine, my own personal cheering squad coming from Canada :-)
(i hope they do make it though!!)

Monday, February 9, 2009

more shout outs..

Once again, I would like to say a big thank you to my friend Ron, who is an absolute gem. He has been nothing but supportive since day one (in fact, Ron's part of the reason I decided to join Team In Training)... and most recently he used his personal blog to encourage people to support my fundraising efforts.

And I would like to say thank you to Ron's friend Kerry, who promptly made a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society via my TNT Fundraising page.

Your kindness and generosity are greatly appreciated.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

a little reminder

Feeling stiff and sore after yesterday's run, still having problems with my hip, looking at my running shoes and realizing that I really DO have to fork out the cash for a new pair, looking at my fundraising page and wondering if I'm ever going to reach my goal.... I thought I'd best remind myself why I am doing this.

I running to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society strives to find cures for Leukemia, Lymphoma, Hodgkins disease and Myeloma, as well as improving the quality of life for patients and their families. LLS is making progress and a difference, and the five-year survival rates have risen significantly, but there's still so much more that needs to be done.

Every five minutes someone is diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma. Every ten minutes, another child or adult is expected to die from one of these blood cancers. Lymphoma is the leading disease killer in men/women under the age of 35. Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and young adults under the age of 20.

And so, I'll put on my shoes this afternoon and head out for my run with those thoughts in my head. I'll find the money to go buy new shoes this week with those thoughts in my head. I'll brainstorm another fabulous fundraising idea with those thoughts in my head.

In those small ways, I can help the LLS to make a difference in someone's life.

(photo credit: Ron Carino ~ 2009 Kaiser SF Half Marathon)

Friday, February 6, 2009

shout outs...

just want to send out a few words of gratitude:

a big thank you to my uncle Chris for his generous donation...

$200 will fund a Family Support Group Program for one year, where comfort and support can be found and experiences can be shared among patients and family members, guided and mediated by a trained facilitator.


another big thank you to my friend Ron for his generous donation...

$100 will provide laboratory researchers with supplies and materials that are critical to carrying out their search for cures.


and a little thank you to my sweetheart for taking care of my tender tootsies this week.

Monday, February 2, 2009

when i'm out walking i strut my stuff...

So, I got these two little blisters on the tips of my second toes on Saturday. I've never had blisters there... They were a little sensitive, but no big deal.

That is, until I went snowboarding on Sunday. By the time I got my boots off at the end of the day, the toenail on my left foot was turning purple.. and the toenail on my right was threatening to pop off because the blister had grown so large underneath it.


I've done a little self-surgery... lanced the blisters and drained them (ew, gross!) and soaked them in an epsom salts bath. Sigh. Such a relief!

I am optimistic that I will achieve a full recovery. Hopefully before next Saturday's long run.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

24 kms!

well, now that I am home and showered and stretched... I can say that I enjoyed my 15 mile (24 km) run this morning. If you had asked me at mile 14.5, there is a possibility that I may have had a slightly different answer. The last half mile (almost all uphill) kicked my butt!

I had to stop and try to warm a powerbar up (tucked into my armpit) enough that I could eat some of it without breaking my teeth. As fellow runner Mike said, that last half mile I wasn't really running... it's more like I just kept falling forward!

However, the trail was beautiful... we ran along the river on the Mt Vernon trail. There was ice and snow and slippery spots periodically, but mostly we were in the sun on clear trails. It was chilly (-3 celsius) but with the sun on my face and a good pace on, I was sweating in no time. To the point that my hair was frozen in clumps of sweat (nice visual, eh?)

My kind-hearted team mates helped to relieve me of a few spare dozen boxes of donuts that were left over after yesterday sales... and a happy group of Boy Scouts took a few boxes off my hands too (everyone's happy!).

Feeling good. Tired, but good.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

i think my website's broken...

Not this one, this one's fine and healthy... but my Team in Training page doesn't seem to be experiencing any of its expected "growth"

I keep fundraising, and the money raised section of my website just stays the same.

boo :-(

I know for a fact that my fundraising efforts have scraped together a little over $900 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (and it will be over $1100 when my uncle sends in his raffle ticket forms... get to it Chris!!). It's just that it takes so long for the deposits to process that it looks like I've been sitting on my arse eating bonbons.

Speaking of which... Sue and I sold 468 donuts this morning (part of the fundraising efforts). We had a few boxes left over, one of which my sweetheart has confiscated. It is now open on the counter. So I think I'll have myself a revitalizing cup of tea and a donut.... and then head back out into the cold for my 5 mile run while the sun is still shining.

Monday, January 26, 2009

having only just dipped my toe in to test the waters...

... it turns out that even us newbies can feel the impact of what we do.

I have been involved with Team in Training for about a month and a half. During the early weeks, when the staff were trying to get us really motivated and inspired, people whose lives had been personally affected by Leukemia/Lymphoma/Myeloma came in to speak to us about the impact that the LLS had on their experiences with blood cancer.

In spite of my enthusiasm for the running aspect, I have been struggling with the fundraising (as you may have noted from earlier blogs)... I find it hard to ask people for money. However, as Jenny reminded me a week or so ago... it isn't as though I am asking for money for me. I am asking for money on behalf of people who are fighting to stay alive.

And so I have turned a corner in my fundraising efforts. I'm working harder. I'm pushing myself beyond feeling shy and awkward, and asking people for their support. And it is working. That's been a hard lesson for me.

But that is not what I wanted to write about...

I spent four hours standing in front of a grocery store yesterday, asking people for money. I had my signs out, my donation jar, my plates of cupcakes and Team in Training waterbottles and such... Lots of people walked by with their heads down, avoiding eye contact. But lots of people stopped to talk, to tell me they thought what I was doing was a good thing, to put money in my donations jar... But the best part, for me, was when a couple of times people stopped to say thank you.

A young man with broken english stopped to say that his father had been diagnosed with leukemia a year ago, that he was undergoing chemotherapy, and that the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society had been a great support to his family. Then he made a donation.

And a father with his 12 year old (or there abouts) daughter stopped on their way out of the store. She said something along the lines of "cool! cupcakes... can i have one?" And he said "thank you" as he dropped some money into my jar. She asked if she could have another, and he told me that she had been diagnosed with leukemia 2 years before, and that they wouldn't have made it through without the support of the LLS.

Her response... "Dad! Does the whole world have to know that I had leukemia?! Why did you tell her that? I'm telling Mom on you!"

And that made four hours of standing out in the cold, feeling like a dork, totally worth while.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

a few choice tidbits of information... some of which may interest or amuse you.

So, in fact, I didn't actually bother to read the running schedule for today (Tidbit #1)... and just assumed that we could continue to increase our mileage. It was a nice surprise to learn that we were not running more this week, but rather running less. Just ten miles... So the personal records start next Saturday, with 15 miles.


(I think I can, I think I can...)

That being said, I actually covered 11 miles today because Sara, the womanI was running with, was desperate for a washroom so we went an extra half mile (and back) to find one. You might think that she could have just ducked off the trail... but it's actually a very busy trail, both sides of which are loaded with blackberry brambles. (Make note of this come autumn, bring berry bucket on runs...) Not good for bathroom breaks, but very good for bird watching. You wouldn't believe the number of cardinals and blue jays we saw... I'm sure there were others, but my eyes were drawn to the bright crimson and blue.

We bonded over this... and the fact that when she ran with her open package of Powerbar "Gel" in hand, it squirted out and all over my leg. Personally I think those Gels are gross, but to each their own ( Who am I to talk? I am currently eating peanut butter straight from the jar as I type... with a spoon though, I'm not completely uncivilized). (Tidbit #2)

I have been suffering this strange discomfort over the last... lets say 2 weeks, or there abouts... in my right butt cheek. (Tidbit #3) Just the right... makes me feel rather lopsided. And stiff and sore.... Normally, after a mile or two it seems to stretch itself out and loosen up and the rest of my run is fine... But it has been getting sorer, and none of the stretches I've tried seem to be helping.

Coach Chip gave me a little trail-side instruction in a few exercises to loosen it up and strengthen the muscles relating to my hip, as it turns out I have something call Piriformis Syndrome (so next time you have mysterious pains in the butt... you now have something to call it. This includes people at home or work who are aggravating on some level or another.) (Tidbit #4)

He shared some other interesting hip information too... like the fact that he lost his nose in an accident and the nose on his face is actually made of bone taken from his hip. (Tidbit #5) This may or may not explain some things. (And this is how I find out whether or not anyone from the team is reading my blog... if Chip gives me shit next week, I'll know!!.... ps, Just kidding, Chip.)

On the drive home I finally found the running song I've been looking for. I heard it once on my sweetheart's mp3 player and have been looking for it ever since. He has something like 700 songs on his player though, and I didn't know what it was called... which makes finding it challenging. On my way home after this morning's run, I stumbled across it, and cheered. I turned it up, I had it on repeat as I flew down the 495, dancing in my seat like a fine fool at every stoplight along Little River Turnpike. Yes, that was me you were laughing at... (Tidbit #6)

52 pickup, by Ballistic Mystic
. Try it some time. It will make you sprint, I promise.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

personal records from here on...

I ran 12 miles (about 19.5 km) this past Sunday. Was supposed to run on Saturday, but we drove through the night, leaving at midnight and arriving at my in-laws at about 5:30 Saturday morning... and even after a nap, I didn't quite recover enough to get my gear on and face the frigid temperatures.

In the end, it was a good thing I waited until Sunday... because Saturday night it snowed, and I got to run in a total fairyland of sparkling white trees with the scrunching of snow under foot. Yay!

We measured out a 6 mile loop, which was lovely on lap number one... a few good hills, some nice scenery (if you think that pick-up trucks with 6 inch lifts and hand-done camouflage paint jobs make for nice scenery).

Second loop was good too... for the first four miles. And then, it was a bit of a struggle to finish. But in the end, I made it home... all sweaty and rosy-cheeked from the cold.

Every Saturday run from here on will be a personal record for me... every Saturday run will be further than I've ever run before.

What I need to do now is remember to stretch properly, or I won't recover enough from the Saturday runs to do the mid-week runs. I do stretch, but it seem I've not been stretching enough...

Tomorrow's run... just five miles. Piece of cake.