Wednesday, December 31, 2014

26 reasons to run... reason #1

A marathon is 26.2 miles.... that's a lot of miles, and since I'm not a fast runner, that's a lot of time to be out there running. When one is logging long miles (and long hours), there is plenty of time for sight-seeing, plenty of time for making new friends or enjoying the company of old friends... and plenty of time to get lost in ones thoughts.

When the miles start to take their toll, and I start contemplating all the reasons that I don't actually need to finish this darned run anyway... I bring my thoughts to the reasons that I find myself out on the course, and raising money to help find a cure for cancer.

I meant to start this 26 days before race day, but life got busy and I forgot... so I'll do an extra  "catch up" post at some point, but in the meantime... here is reason #1 that I run, and that I am trying to help find a cure for cancer.

I run for MY MOTHER

My mom is one the primary reasons I ever started running... in 2002 she told me that she had always wanted to run a marathon. I didn't think that I could run a marathon, but with a little perseverance and support I thought I could probably manage a half... so we found a 16 week half marathon training schedule in a Runner's World magazine, tore it out and stuck it on the fridge. Then we found a half marathon that was 18 weeks away, so we'd have a couple extra weeks training time in case we had a down week or two... And then we spent the next 18 weeks running 3-4 times a week together. We ran on the local track after work. We ran trails on the weekends. We ran in the pouring rain. We ran through the woods and by the ocean... And on race day, we ran every step of the (half) Marathon de Deux Rives in Quebec City together. The next day I left the country for two years... but that was not a reflection on my mother!!

It was such an amazing thing to experience with my mom. And to this day, she remains my greatest running supporter. She regularly calls me during my long Saturday morning runs. She and my nephews call me a couple hours into a race, to cheer me on... and she came down to Virginia to cheer me on in person during my first full marathon.

Last year my mom was diagnosed with Ocular Melanoma... that is, cancer of the eye. She had four surgeries to remove parts of her eyelids, eye socket and the conjunctiva of her right eyeball...

We were so fortunate that they caught it early, and were able to treat her cancer with surgeries alone. Not everyone is so lucky...

In Mile #1 of my next race (and every race, really)... I think of my mom, and run in her honour.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

get your tickets here!

my technologically savvy friend helped me turn a pdf into a jpg (thanks Tracy!)... and you can now download your Mercedes-Benz raffle ticket right here!

as always, i am ever so grateful for your support.

and so are the people who benefit from your fundraising dollars... patients (and their families) who receive support from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and researchers who are able to continue their work in finding new treatments.

together we will find a cure.

Monday, December 15, 2014

tis the giving season

It's been a while.. story of my life. I mean to be vigilant with blogging but taking care of animals and our company move.. and training for and running a fairly busy fall race season... that has left not much time or energy for writing.

Briefly, I am currently training for the Rock & Roll New Orleans Marathon, which takes place at the end of January. As usual, training is going pretty well, but fundraising is a bit of a struggle.

If, like many people, you find yourself looking to make end of year charitable donations for tax reasons... look no further! Donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and help to find a cure for blood cancers. You would also be helping me to meet my fundraising commitments, for which I would be eternally grateful ;-)

Current Fundraisers:
Jams for a Cure
In the fall I made a little over 300 jars of homemade jams, marmalades, chutneys and sauces... using local produce (including some from my own garden)... with the intention of selling them at a local craft fair. The craft fair has come and gone, and I still have some inventory.

If you are looking for unique (and delicious!) stocking stuffers or hostess gifts, please let me know and I'll send you the full details on flavours, sizes and pricing. 

Options include (but are not limited to..) strawberry jam; strawberry, apple & honey jam; peach jam; peach & ginger jam; white peach & lavender jam; lemon, apple & honey jam; lemon marmalade; grapefruit marmalade; cranberry sauce; peach chutney; apple, ginger & tart cherry chutney; apple butter; and apple sauce...

Raffle Tickets - Win a Mercedes-Benz
Once again, Mercedes-Benz has generously donated two vehicles to be raffled off as a fundraiser for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. A 2015 C400 4MATIC (MSRP $48,590), and a GLA250 4MATIC (MSRP $33,300).

There are only 5000 tickets being sold, so your chances of winning a new car are 1:2500
Tickets are $100 each. If you would like to purchase one (or more!), again.. please contact me and I'll send them to you.
The raffle draw will take place on March 28, 2015 at the Leukemia Ball... winners do not have to be present to win.

Training update:
This coming Sunday we will be doing our 18 mile training run. Normally, long training runs up to about 14 miles are within my comfort zone. Tiring but not daunting...

Getting through the 16, 18 & 20 mile training runs... those still cause me some anxiety. So, think good thoughts for me on Sunday!

I'll be thinking about loved ones who have died of cancer... like my grandmother, my cousin, and my mother-in-law. I'll be thinking of loved ones who are currently battling cancer... like my great-aunt and my cousin. And I'll be thinking of loved ones who are enjoying life after cancer... like my grandad, and friends Keiran and Chris.

Research and patient support, funded by organizations like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, are what gets people through cancer diagnosis and treatment, to where they can enjoy life after cancer. Donations made by people like you and I make that possible.

If you are able, please donate now...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

autumn race schedule...

i've been in a bit of a slump... work has been busy and stressful, my energy levels have been lagging (as they often do during the heat of summer), and though i have wanted to want to run... i just haven't been feeling it.

that said, i have set myself up with a busy autumn race schedule... so i guess i'd best get off my arse now and get ready!

went for a run at Fountainhead this morning... met some friends, ran some hills, enjoyed the overcast morning, until the skies opened and we got soaked. by the time i made it home, the worst of the rain had passed over, so Remsen and i ran another 2 miles together... and then Maya helped me cool down with a half mile meander through the neighborhood.

it's pouring rain again now... so, rather than mow the lawn as i had intended to do today... i went for a pedicure.

i've been avoiding doing that, as my toes look horrendous! a few of the toenails i damaged running Raleigh fell off in June, after running Hatfield McCoy. one of them fell off a couple weeks ago. and the final one is still holding on, but is black and dirty-looking.

thanks to a very nice and understanding pedicurist... the worst of it is hidden under a modest coat of pain.

with any luck, they will have all grown back by January, in time for my next marathon with Team In Training... Rock & Roll New Orleans! If you're in a donating kind of mood, and would like to support the work of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, please click on my fundraising page widget in the upper right... and make your tax deductible donation there!

as always, i am ever so grateful for your support.

autumn race schedule:
Diva Wine Country half marathon - Purcellville VA
Canada Army Run half marathon - Ottawa ON
Reston Perfect 10 - 10 miler - Reston VA
Dirty Damsel trail half marathon - Rosaryville MD
Army 10 miler - Arlington VA
Run for the Parks 10 k - Washington DC
RNR Las Vegas 5k - Las Vegas
RNR Las Vegas half marathon - Las Vegas

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

We Run DC

Sunday morning, just two weeks after my marathon in Raleigh, i hit the streets of Washington DC with about 15,000 women and a few good men to run the Nike Women's Half Marathon...

waiting to reach the starting line...

It was a perfect morning for a run... sunny blue skies, cool and crisp... There were too many runners on the course to go fast, and anyway my toes were still a little tender from Raleigh, so it was just a nice relaxed 13.1 miler with friends (who can wear their Tiffany necklaces with pride, and call themselves half-marathoners!)

The Team In Training runners and walkers from around the United States and Canada raised over $4 million to help fund a cure for blood cancers, including $1.375 million from our local chapter.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

purple nails, but the toes still work...

While I have taken the dogs out walking  pretty much every day since RNR Raleigh ten days ago, today was the first day that I put on the running shoes and picked up the pace.

I've been working on my toe wrapping technique, and am optimistic that my toenails will hold on a while longer.

The sun was shining and the dogs were itching to get outside by the time I got home from work, so I decided to test some new gear, and decide whether or not i'll be able to use them on race day Sunday.

I got new compression capris... which, it turns out, are too big... they feel comfortable, but don't compress.

I tried out the lovely pink sleeves I bought at the RNR USA race expo but haven't actually worn until today.... (i like them!)

But most importantly, I tried out my toes... and they're going to be okay.

Remsen and I ran 2.5 hilly miles, down to the lake. And then Maya and I went out for what I expected to be a leisurely half mile walk... but she was all fired up and wanted to run.

They're both now passed out on the couch beside me... snoring gently, legs twitching, running in their dreams.

Off to bed to see if I can't dream some running dreams too.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

some favorite race day signs...

It really does... (Marine Corps Marathon)

awww... (Flying Pig Marathon)

i was really enjoying it... (Marine Corps Historic Half)

they did... (Nike Women's Marathon)

yes!  (Bluenose Marathon)
there totally was.... (Nashville Country Music Marathon)

there are bears at the beach?
(Dismal Swamp Stomp Half Marathon)

don't i know it?!!!! (Rock & Roll Raleigh Marathon

Tuesday, April 15, 2014


I started this post a month ago... but didn't quite know how to write it out the way I wanted to, so I put it away for "a while" so that I could come back to it and get it right.

Then life rolled on and here we are.

So.... let's just say that Rock & Roll USA was a learning experience.

I have completed enough races now that I don't really get nervous before race day... mostly because I'm not usually worried about my race time, I'm just focused on having a good time. But I was a little nervous about RNR USA because there was a 5.5 hour time limit. My best marathon time is not much less than that (hence the "not a fast runner" blog title), so there wasn't going to be much leeway.

On race morning, I met two runners that were visiting from California, were chatty and fun, and ran about my pace... maybe a smidge faster. Since I was concerned about my pace being fast enough, I stuck with them for the first 12 miles. My friend Jeanette had offered to come on the course around mile 18 and run me through the long and lonely miles through Anacostia. And when I hit the 15 mile mark, I was well on track for a 5:20 marathon.

But by the time I caught up with one of my favourite TNT coaches around mile 17,  I was in trouble.  I was experiencing tightness in my chest and a shortness of breath that felt nothing like the normal exertion of running a marathon. We slowed down to a walk, to see if things might loosen up but by 17.5 the pain was radiating through to my back.

Which is kind of an indicator for a possible heart attack....

So, even though I didn't really think I was having a heart attack, I had to make the tough decision to take myself out of the race. We stopped at the medics' tent, and they called for an ambulance.

In the end, after EKGs and x-rays... they couldn't find anything wrong with me. But better safe than sorry, right?

Still, it was disappointing to have gotten so close and been unable to finish. I'm grateful that whatever the issue, it wasn't serious... but it was really humbling to have to say "i did not finish."  (The only other time I started a race and did not finish it was because of a tornado).

Since that day, I've missed almost two weeks of training because I was struck down with a wicked cold, and I went to spend time with my grandmother who just got out of hospital.

This past weekend I drove down to Raleigh NC to run the RNR Raleigh marathon. Having not trained much in recent weeks, I was undecided about whether I'd actually run the full, or change to the half. The Raleigh course was going to be hilly. The weather was going to be warmer than anything we had trained in this season... and I simply told myself that I would make the decision on race day, when I got to the marathon/half marathon split.

Truth be told, even though I told myself I'd be okay with doing the half... I really wanted to run the full. And I really wanted to complete the full. And I was a little bit scared that I would fail again.

Race morning broke cool and clear... I had friends on the course, one of whom I kept pace with for the first 8.5 miles. Susan kept me at a slightly slower pace than my usual, so in spite of the hills I was feeling fresh and strong at the marathon/half marathon split. There was no question at that point that I would run the full.

Raleigh was a tough course. It was all hills. It was hot and windy, and there was very little shade... and I got nervous when I stopped sweating around mile 12. It didn't seem to matter how much water or gatorade I drank thereafter, I did not start to sweat again until I got into the shade after I crossed the finish line. So, I slowed down. I soaked myself with water at every water stop. I filled my sports bra with ice at every medic tent. I ate salt packets. I ate goo... I drank more water than I thought possible. And I kept on moving on.

Because there was no way I was going to NOT complete that race.

truer words were never written... favourite spectator sign of RNR Raleigh

My friend Ron came back out on the course and met me at mile 25 to run (walk) me in... I"m so grateful to have had supportive friends out on the course. It just makes such a difference to have someone there beside you when you're digging deep and not finding much left to draw on.

Somehow, even though there had been more than a few miles that I struggled, and even though I felt that I had nothing left... rounding the corner and seeing the finish line just 0.2 miles away, I managed to pick it up, and finished with a real kick. Like, I heard that girl in pink coming up behind me and I just wasn't going to let her pass me... Like, I stretched it out and flew across the finish line. And promptly said to the poor volunteer who was putting the medal around my neck "now I'm going to throw up."

Just kidding!

I didn't throw up but I really did think I might.

It was such a relief to be done. It was such a relief to have proved to myself that I could do it. It was such a relief to sit in the shade, drink chocolate milk and start sweating again.

Home now, and thinking about the next race... Nike Womens' Half Marathon is less than two weeks away. I'm a little sore now, but looking forward to going out for a nice easy tour of DC with my team. What a great way to wrap up the season.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

hockey or sleep...

good morning all...

so, i ran 20 miles yesterday.

the sun was shining, the snow was melting, the birds were lively in the bushes along side the trail and i had good company to keep me moving and motivated... and though i finished feeling tired and tight, i did not feel the need to go home and have a nap (as i often do after a 16+ mile run).

took the dogs out for a walk in the neighbourhood, a slow-ish 2 miles... which i'm sure was helpful in helping to dispel the lactic acid and prevent some of the stiffness that i anticipated (but did not feel) when i got out of bed this morning.

but, i did get up at 5am... which is just too early in the morning on a day off.

let the dogs out, fed them, made breakfast and packed a lunch for my sweetheart... and then posted a note on Facebook about how i was going to go back to bed for a "sleep in."

and there was a flurry of comments from friends back home in Canada about how i couldn't possibly be going back to bed just as the gold medal hockey game was about to start!


i went back to bed... but couldn't sleep. somehow it felt anti-patriotic, even though i don't usually watch hockey.

so i'm up... unlike some of my friends, i am not drinking beer in a sports bar at 6am... but i'm up and watching hockey and having a bit of a stretch.

i'm sure my legs will be grateful that there's a game on.