Sunday, December 30, 2007

Happy Holidays

My only excuse for not writing so long has been the craziness of the holidays: shopping, end of semester madness, partner in town, and - oh yes - training for a marathon.

Never fear, the training does indeed go on and I'm on track. On the day after Christmas, I ran 15.25 miles (let me pause for a "!" here)...

The training has improved since last time and I've been enjoying it again; I mostly needed to try something different because it was really feeling like a bunch of the same old same old, what can I say? So now I've been using the iPod Nano a bit (listening to inspiring music and a little Jane Austen) and working out at the gym at school on the treadmill. Another thing I've started to do is use the warm-up - that is: I've been warming up before running (as opposed to just starting out running). I suspect some of my problem was rooted in starting out too strong and burning out too fast. I'm also working on balancing out my hamstrings and quads, doing more on the exercise bike to address that. Overall, then, I would say that things have gone quite well.

What else? Well, I still need about $400 to make my fund-raising minimum, which is a major drag. But there it is. If anyone knows someone who hasn't gone broke here during the holiday season and looking for a good cause in which to invest, I'm available. Ugh...not much to say. Heading to Minneapolis next week, which is so cooooooold that it should be a major challenge to get proper training time in. Maybe I can go beg Lifetime fitness to give me a deal for a good cause. Otherwise, I think they charge $30 for a guest pass (which I may need to pay off my fund-raising goal). Argh!

So, to sum up. Running = good; fund-raising = bad. No surprises there. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Back in the saddle again.

So, I guess you could say that I'm back in the saddle again, running regularly and long (when I have to). Nevertheless, this last week has been hard. I don't know if my problem is coming back from illness, or just the unseasonably warm weather (sorry Minnesotans - but 73 degrees is not ideal running weather), but things are pretty tough these days.

Last Saturday I drove out to Longview to run the nice trail there. It was under construction and pretty torn up, but I could see why it's a trail that appeals to my coach. For one thing, it is asphalt rather than concrete as is the case with the Rose Rudman trail in Tyler - inexplicable! Anyway, I went 10 miles. The beginning was wicked, each passing moment/mile going by in slow motion as I wheezed along. Then, after some 3 miles or so, I chilled out to about mile 5 (things went by kind of smoothly and I must have hit some kind of groove or something). As I approached the water stop (at approximately mile 5-3/4), I started to feel things again and it all became work. Why is it always so hard? I feel like I must be doing something wrong, bad form, too fat, something. Thank goodness I have Sean and McKenna looking down on me and Ann to think of here. Otherwise, I would be seriously in the mood to quit...

Perhaps I am entering that time in marathon training where quitting becomes really enchanting, but I still have money to raise and a race to run. Might I add for any aspiring marathoners that fundraising provides tremendous incentive to get your training runs in - you simply do not want to be shamed out of the end product. So I have to run, but I'm not really liking it right now. This kind of stinks because I really, really want to be a runner. I long to glide along, fleet-footed and graceful, like a powerful gazelle in a Nike commercial. Instead, I feel like a lumbering cow, heavy footed, pounding, pounding, pounding along in the most ungainly, unnatural lope. I may try to start working in some speed training here and there, because I am seriously sick of this.

Oh, here's something mildly interesting. I've changed my Monday run to a Sunday run/cross-train. I'm going to try to work in more cross-training (low impact) because I am just convinced that I'm not strong enough. I really feel like I should be much stronger than I am, so that's my solution. One thing I've started is rowing. I've read that rowing is one of the best cardio workouts that you can do (I believe it - my old roommate was a rower and was she ever fit!) Only problem is, I'm not strong enough to get any serious workout. My arms and back seem to give out long before I've become anything close to winded. Perhaps this will help me burn some of my fat off, though. Then I could be lighter, leaner, and (see above).

Wow, this is a snarky post as they go. I guess I'm cranky today, not in the mood for much. Anyway, I'll let you all know if things seem to improve with my new plan. Until then...

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

It's been too long...

Yes, yes...I know. I've neglected posts very badly now for nearly 2 weeks! So, I decided to get back in the saddle and renew my efforts here until the end. Truth is, I've been fighting a terrible cold for the last 10 days or so, so I've not run much either. I guess that made me feel like there wasn't much to say, but there are a few things to note, some news to share.

First, the saddest thing. McKenna Johnson - sweet McKenna - passed away a week ago tonight. Not only was she a personal inspiration for me, as I've been training for this race, but she was also the Team Hero for the Minnesota marathoners in Team-in-Training. I'll always remember how brave she was, standing there with her parents the night after Sean died and facing the return of her own cancer. I cannot say enough about Krista and Scott (her mom and dad) who were just so wonderful to us when we lost Sean - I HATE that they had to go through what we did, bringing it all right back again. And amazing Krista... here's what she posted on Sean's CaringBridge site the very night (actually those sleepless, numbing wee hours of the next day) that she lost her own little girl:


Have fun playing with McKenna in Heaven. You're her "big" brother now...taking over where Kalen was forced to leave off. Kale will take care of your friends here on earth, and you need to take care of his little sister in Heaven. Pretty fair tradeoff, don't ya' think?

Until we meet again...we love you....

The Johnson's

Of course this made me cry and cry. Kalen was in Sean's fifth grade classroom last year, and many of Sean's friends posted on McKenna's site after they learned of her passing. [side note: I remember kids that age sometimes being unconsciously and unconscionably cruel, but these children - friends of Sean and Kalen - continue to astound me with their grace and kindess -- amazing!] Anyway, Krista painted hot pink toe nail polish on McKenna's toes (as well as her own and those of her other daughter). I went out and bought some for myself and will be pink-toeing it all the way to the finish line in Austin.

Okay. So anyway, back to running (is that possible?) Today was recommitment to the Austin Marathon. I - in my own imitable way - forgot the paperwork at home and will fax it in tomorrow. Good thing, otherwise the training run (first run after illness) would have had to wait another day and I was starting to get antsy. So, thanks for understanding Karmen! Just a slow 4 mile run today and I felt it in my sinuses the whole way. Can't wait for the dregs of this horrible cold to leave me at last. Before tonight, the last time I had run was the Saturday after T-Giving (a 12-1/2 miler around the lakes in Minneapolis).

That was not the greatest run and I don't know if it was the excessive mileage, insufficient stretching/warm-up, or the early onset of the cold. Probably a combination of the three. My legs turned to lead about 1/3 of the way in in and I was never able to run it out. At the end, it was just fatigue, fatigue, fatigue. And then, the cold came (a doozy, I might add), thanks to the man from New York who brought me those special East Coast germs that I hadn't yet experienced. Hopefully, there will be no sinus infection as a result.

Finally, the exciting news of the two week layoff. I ran my first 5k! Me and 10,000 Minnesotans early on Thanksgiving morning, just an early strike against the many thousands of calories to be consumed later in the day! Thanks to Kirsten and Jake for facilitating this (5ks are apparently a regular thing for them), it was really pretty exciting. And it snowed! That was a LOT of fun.

I think that is about all. I'll try to write again and let you all know how post-cold recovery is going. I'm hoping that I'll be able to shake it off and slide back into the program. In the meantime - THINK PINK!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hello all! I'm in Minnesota, hooray!

I love to come up here and run and was looking forward to the cool weather for some of these long runs - but it is downright cold! Today I ran around Lake Harriet twice (about 5 miles??) and it was a wee bit chilly (29 degrees) and toward the end of the run I felt quite the hip twinge.

Have I told you all about my troublesome hip? It's been slightly bothersome on a few runs but has not given me much trouble for the last few weeks. Suddenly, today, I felt it again except today it was worse. A decidedly sharp pain in the area of the hip flexor, so I stopped running immediately and walked the rest of the way to the car, stretching out carefully when I returned. Strangely, it has been fine since then, not the achiness I was feeling before, so I guess I'll just wait to see what happens.

Tomorrow is the Turkey Trot. I was enormously lazy and didn't sign up for it early so it's going to cost me an extra 5 bucks - or whatever... There's also something going on at Lake Harriet - a 6 miler (really, more my speed), so maybe I should do that instead? That's a "Drumstick Dash." Don'tcha just love the holidays?

The long run this week will be something like 12 miles (I'm going to attempt some kind of Lake-of-the-Isles/Calhoun/Harriet combo), just mapping something out. I wanted to run with the MN TNT group, but that sort of fell through last weekend. Actually, that's a something of a story...

So, there I was at Lake Calhoun, searching in vain for the TNT group when I approached a man who looked like he was gathering runners - perhaps he was the coach? I asked him if he was with Team-in-Training and he harumphed! An actual harumph followed by a dismissive wave of the hand and a "They're afraid of the snow." (!) This was my first experience with runners snobbery and I did not deal well. Not to mention the fact that I currently live in Texas and I was running in the snow! Anyway, the guy irritated me so much (and I still couldn't find the TNT folks) that I just went out on my own. The good news is that my anger sustained me for the first 3 miles or so, when I'm normally irriatable and sluggish. Only problem was, I was not prepared and had no water, so I spent the first little bit just running around looking for a convenience store (finally found one somewhere off of Lyndale). Not a bad run, all in all, I think I ended up doing something a bit over 11 miles, though it's hard to say 'cause I hadn't mapped the course. Longest distance yet, though somehow I just wasn't that pumped. I wonder why?

Okay, must dash. Holiday preperations have us all on the hop. Happy Thanksgiving everyone and I will give you feedback from my first road race sometime in the next few days!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

An Update (Finally!)

Okay, first let me apologize for being so remiss in updating this blog. I've had hardware issues with my home computer which has made it difficult to do any updates. Basically, the power cord is fraying and I need to hold it with one hand while I navigate with the other -- needless to say, it makes typing rather difficult. I've ordered a new one so I hope this will mean that I will be a better blogger once it arrives...

So, on to some training news! First off, I need to be honest and tell all of you that I have had some pretty lackluster runs of late, which has made me generally cranky and difficult to be around. (Since I live alone and have no social life, this has not been too rough on anyone in particular. My poor work colleague, I suppose, bear the brunt of this!) But, yeah. Bad runs of late. I mean, I've been doing them, but I feel constantly out of breath and leaden for so much of the run. I'm totally bummed that I have never experienced the runners "high" (somehow I feel like I deserve it). Even my mantra of "better than chemo" does not appear to be helping me much, which makes me feel endlessly ashamed. I mean, the short distances have been simply horrid, horrid, horrid... The long runs, hilly and difficult. I might chalk it up to the freakishly warm weather, but shouldn't I be able to handle that somewhat?

Good news is that it is cooling down and I'm heading back to Minnesota on Friday. I'm very excited to go, in part to see my family, and in part because the MN TNT group has agreed to let me run with them. Hooray! (Though, I will give a shout out to my own Coach Carole and her husband who have been great!) I'm mostly just happy to run with a team for the long runs so that I can benefit from the water provisions. That's what I find difficult about mapping my routes here - making sure that I'm finding a convenience store for my water needs. Anyway...

So yes, to sum up: lousy runs lately, not feeling motivated (shamed), and running in MN

More updates later (or should I say sooner?)...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

What a week...

Wow, so much has happened this week. Get ready. First of all, I've decided to switch my training toward the Austin marathon, rather than Walt Disney World. This is totally cool with me as it just means one more month of training and I kind of like the training. Kathleen and I took the decision right up to the wire and she decided, in the end, that the trip to Disney World would wait until the whole family (including little Snapkos) could go. Furthermore, Sage would not have to push her exhausted Auntie Deirdre around the park in a wheelchair, so that was cool for everyone. So, mark your calendars folks! February 17, 2008! Austin Marathon

How's everyone doing? Well, McKenna had a rough day today, but it looks like she's doing okay now. McKenna is actually an honored hero for TNT in Minnesota, so she's got a lot of marathoners working for her. I've met this little girl (last year, the day after Sean died) and I just have to tell you that this is a great kid with some cool parents. Just talking to them that night meant so much to all of us and my heart just aches for them. Keep thinking positive for McKenna.

Ann is a trooper. One of the loveliest girls I've ever seen and - like I said before - rockin' the chemo! Both Ann and McKenna are just beautiful, as was Sean, and it really seems that as unfair as it is that anyone must go through this dreadful, dreadful disease, and as much as it takes away from its victims and all the people that love them, it just cannot beat them. Not really. We lost Sean, but the cancer never stole his spirit. And he won. We lost, but he still won.

Anyway, I think I mentioned a mileage update, but I forgot to add things up before I started writing, so I don't have it. What I can tell you about is the running for the week. Both Monday and Tuesday I ran on the treadmill at the gym, which I think that I mentioned. Tuesday I was in a rush and didn't have time to do the whole run (only something like 2.8 miles, rather than 3). Likewise, I attempted to run on the treadmill when I had to go to Dallas on Thursday night (stayed in a hotel for a meeting), but it just did NOT work out. Seriously. I don't know why, but I just did not have it with me. Perhaps it was the late hour, or the not-so-great treadmill. But whatever it was, it was the first time that my workout really kicked my butt. Made me pretty cranky. Furthermore, I didn't get to train with the team on Saturday, so I had to run on my own this morning. I went about 10 miles (instead of the 13 that was supposed to happen), but I figured it was okay since I changed my race. Nevertheless... One new thing of note, tried a PowerGel today. I seriously have no idea if it worked. But it was worth a try.

So, now I'm a bit tired and sore. But hey, like I say when things are getting tough, it's better than chemo. Way better than the BMT.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Happy Birthday, McKenna!

So, I promised the updates on the next post, here it is. Yes, I realize I just posted like 10 minutes ago, but this is important. One of my honorees has turned TEN today! Happy Birthday, McKenna!

This young lady is truly remarkable, having gone through not one, but two (count 'em, two!) bone marrow transplants. The last one took place in August and (unfortunately) she's having a little trouble these days. She's on the oscillator now and getting help with her breathing, which means that she's sedated for her birthday. In my opinion, this just means she should have an even bigger party when she gets off of that thing. In the meantime, let's mobilize some hopes and prayers for McKenna. If you want, post them here and I will pass the good wishes on to her and her family.

Double Digits!

Well, here's some exciting news. I have officially hit double digits! After the blues of last weeks blah, blah running, my training has once again kicked in and I ran...(drumroll please)... 10 MILES! (One is not supposed to use caps on websites, the theory being that the reader will feel like s/he is being shouted at, but...why not shout? TEN MILES!!!)

Wow! Okay, just published this accidentally (in all the excitement). Ten miles is a long way and I must say that I was really feeling it on Saturday afternoon and evening, all stiffness and the like. A friend of mine, who has run many of these things, warned me on Sat night that I would probably be feeling it even worse on Sunday. Fortunately, that did not happen. In fact, I felt pretty normal/fine on Sunday. All the good training? All the good stretching? Who knows? Anyway, I'm doing pretty well.

As I noted earlier, I'm probably developing a little hip bursitis, but my running buddies have been giving me some IT band stretches that seem to have helped that out. Also, the knees are a wee bit sore on stairs (up), but I suspect that is to be expected. I'll need to hit the gym for some quad work (tonight) and a run. I'm still a bit dismayed by my slowness, but I may work some light speedwork into the training. Not really pushing things, but running on the treadmill to improve my pace, maybe get up to an unimpressive 10 minute mile or something.

Fundraising has slowed a bit, to be honest. I'm at about $1800 (+/- some cash donations), so a big decision is in store here. I have to turn in my paperwork for Disney by 5pm on Friday if we want to do that so the big question is: will I be able to make up the remaining two grand? Hard to say; I'll have to talk to Kathleen as well, see where she's at and if she and Sage will be able to afford Disney World in January (I'm told this is peak season). Can we do it?

If not, there's always Austin and that is not so bad. For one thing, Austin is a cool city. Also, the marathon is not until mid February, which means another whole month to get ready. I'm quite enjoying this training process, so it wouldn't be a bad thing. Mostly, though, I think I'm going to leave it to Kathleen and see what she wants to do. I'll let my reading public know when she decides... :)

Next time: Mileage update, Updates on Ann and McKenna, Marathon location information. Talk to you soon!

Monday, October 22, 2007


So, I haven't gone running yet today because the weather has been a little nasty here today and, combined with work, it's been a bit inconvenient. But I'll head out tonight when I get home. What happened to early morning running? Well, it's 53 degrees out right now (but icky - blustery), so I figured it would be okay to let the run slide to later in the day. But I am not in the mood. So, it's not just a weather thing, it is also psychological. Must run early in the day to get it over with so I will not have it hanging over me ALL DAY LONG. All was okay, though. Had a big thing at work to finish, so it was nice to get in early (during running time) and finish some stuff off.

I'm going to get a mileage report to you all pretty quickly, but this has been a pretty easy week so far. We had a stepback this week and the group run was only 6 miles on Saturday, which felt easy when I did it (though I went home and collapsed when I was through and pretty useless for the rest of the day - can't quite figure out why). And Thursday's run (first day back from NY), was gross and hot and muggy. So apparently, nothing about the weather makes me happy.

To be honest, I think I'm hitting a dry spell here. I need some kind of encouragement, perhaps a rich benefactor to make that $2000 that I'm still short for Disney? Or maybe just a rah, rah...blah, blah, blah... Whatever, I don't even have the energy to write this entry. Now I have to go run . Oh well...

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

So much to tell...

Well, I feel a little guilty because I have been on vacation and haven't been blogging like I normally would. I have, however, been running so I guess that's what's important here. Okay, so I told you all that I would be in New York state this week and indeed I am. A landscape with many hills which made me quite nervous for the long run this week. So, while 'tis true that the hills are numerous (I am told by the knowledgeable one that these are actually carved out valleys and ridges from ancient glaciers, not hills per se), the biggest challenge comes from another geographic anomaly of the area -- the rain.

So, my first 5 mile run last Thursday was a wet one. I slogged 5 miles through a fairly steady rain - no electrical storm, just rain - and was good and soaked when it was over. When I realized what I was going to have to do, I was sort of freaked out. I only had shorts and a long-sleeved tee (thankfully not cotton) and I thought I might just freeze (did I mention that it was in the mid-40s?). Nevertheless, I just decided to suck it up and got out there and did my thing. Not too many hills on this run because it turns out that most of the town is in a fairly flat valley. Only when I got to the edge of town did I find myself going up a rather steep hill (running all the way! hooray!), getting to the top of the ridge and seeing what might have been some rather fabulous fall colors, if not for the aforementioned steady downpour.

Anyway, much to my surprise, the run went pretty well. Yes, my shoes were soaked when I was done, and I wasn't able to go on Friday morning as a result (I had planned a three-miler), but I felt remarkably good afterward. No soreness or anything. Almost like I was getting a nice cool massage all along. Very weird... And then to Saturday, the day of the long run. Saturday was 9 miles and, despite my surprisingly positive experience with the 5 mile rain/run, I was happy that it was a fairly nice day (partly sunny and low fifties for the run).

Things have begun to fall into something of a pattern with these runs. For instance, I think I can say fairly definitively that it is much harder to run three miles than it is to run five or six. After three miles, my body suddenly feels like its accepted the fact that this is what is happening and everything just feels easier. Breathing gets easier, joints seem looser, muscles seem warmer... And it's almost like clockwork: 30 minutes of running then -- boom! Is that endorphins? I don't really know. From what I've read, it's supposed to feel like a kind of high and this is not so much a "high" as it is a "this-doesn't-feel-horrible-anymore" kind of feeling. That said, this more relaxed state only lasted another four miles or so (to mile 7, or so) and then I can say that I started to feel it again. The last two miles were not so much a struggle, but they were definitely "felt" by me. I would like to say that so far I've been able to steadily run all of these distances without walking. Perhaps that is what being obsessive about the training will do.

So anyway, I was a bit stiff afterward, but not horribly so. By the next day, I was fine. Yesterday I ran another three miles (all hard fought and horrible - ran 5 minutes at the end just to get past that bad feeling) and today I will run five. That's the other nice thing about being up here in New York. I don't have to get up at the crack of dawn to do the running that will prevent heatstroke. I can pretty much go whenever. So, I thought I would update the blog and do some other work (for work - I know, I'm on vacation), and get the run in this afternoon.

Alas, my break ends all too soon tomorrow and it's back to Texas for me.

Monday, October 8, 2007

8 Mile...

So this would be the time when I could throw in a hip reference to Eminem, if I knew anything about him other than that he once starred in an autobiographical movie that happened to have the same title as this post. My only impression of him is one that paints him as vaguely misogynistic (though he apparently has an "important voice" that has been lauded by some free-thinking intellectuals. I'm pretty free-thinking myself, I guess. But I don't respond well to so much anger, especially when women are the target...

Oops, off on a tangent there. Okay, so 8 miles today! Hooray! I got up pretty early(6am) to make this run work as Tyler was muy humid this weekend and hit the road before the sun came up, about 6:30. Overall, the run lasted 90 minutes and I stopped at a gas station about halfway through to buy a bottle of water and replace some fluids. Boy did I need it! My clothes were soaked by the time I was finished, but I did it. Again, I was really surprised by the fact that I could do it. Is it all the training? I mean, I've been pretty rigorous, but - still - I'm surprised! 8 miles. That's two weeks in a row of personal bests (in terms of distance - and time I guess as I've never run such a distance in any time). Next week it is 9 miles and I'll be in upstate New York to do it. Should be cooler, but the twist in this next run is going to be the hills. Oh yes, that country is filled with hills, so even though I might have gotten over my wariness had I been ramping up again in a place familiar to me, I'm going to be scared all over! Hopefully I can sleep better about it this week than I did last week.

Did I mention something about the March of Dimes? I think so. I was talking to my sister last week about the March of Dimes and how anything is possible and telling her that stuff like this (Team in Training) is great because it is a little something that all of us can do. Just like all those kids helping fund the cure for polio, culminating in Joseph Salk's vaccine in 1955.

Not everyone knows that the March of Dimes did this because the organization, as we know it, has moved on to other things, like funding the study and cure of birth defects. But this is such a great story because it shows that raising money and funding research really can make a difference. Think of all those kids who did not have to lie in an iron lung, or be paralyzed for the rest of their lives. Now think of all those kids in chemo, getting bone marrow transplants, radiation, etc. Come on! Let's cure this stupid disease!

P.S. Don't you just love blogging? I can just ramble on and on and on... Hope nobody got whiplash from the rapidly changing subjects! :)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Stretching Clinic and Other Good Things

Hi all,

So I haven't done my long run yet and it is 5pm on a Saturday...feels weird but I guess this is what happens when I have to work. The plan is to do the long run (8 miles) tomorrow morning - EARLY! Also, I'll have to figure out where/how I'm going to work some H20 into the run. This is the problem with doing the long runs solo - no built in water stations and I'll have to fend for myself (sigh).

Even though I didn't get to run today, I did go to the stretching clinic this morning at 7:30 am before work with other team members. It was given by a doctor who is actually the national trainer for the Team in Training coaches. She just "happens" to live here in Tyler - go figure! Anyway, she's a sports medicine doc and a marathoner/ultramarathoner who gave us some pretty good advice about running and staying injury free. I think the first thing that I'm going to do is buy some ice packs so that I can do some anticipatory icing.

Fortunately, she told me that the leg tingling (pins and needles sensation that we often get from sitting awkwardly) that I used to get in my legs probably came from shoes that were too tight. Also, she told me that my crackly knees were nothing to worry about, though my lifelong dream to become a CIA covert, special agent (ala Sydney Bristow) has been dashed (big sigh). Anyway, lots of good advice about stretching, range of motion, muscle balance, etc. Wow, somedays I'm really suprised by what I'm doing. Perhaps this whole experience will make me a "runner". I used to run once-upon-a-time, but I do not know if that made me a runner, per se. I just successfully did a regimen of running 3-4 miles, 4-5 times a week for a few months and was able to lose a whole lotta wait (which seems to have crept back on, partially at least).

But I want to be a real runner. I just have this feeling that this is supposed to be me. Now, if I were just running to get into shape, things would be a lot easier. I'd do my little bit, I wouldn't have to raise funds (grrr....) and I'd look like a supermodel (hah! not!). But I'm not just getting in shape, I'm curing cancer. To cure cancer, I have to raise funds (hooray - at $1600!) and I have to run loooooooooong. Doing a marathon is not the most efficient way to lose weight, but it does require my heart and soul, now spread out to all the cancer fighters, survivors, and families (like mine) of those who have lost someone. If my heart and soul become a part of this, well -- maybe that makes me a real runner. I guess we'll see.

Next post - a report on the 8 miler and the March of Dimes

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Mileage Report!

So, since Sunday I have run 4 hot, sticky miles (Tuesday morning) and 4 considerably less steamy miles (this morning). I had to skip Monday morning as I was on a flight from Minneapolis to Dallas and the flight attendants tend to frown on jogging in the aisle, but since I ran some extra mileage on Sunday and want to get out for 2 miles tomorrow, I suspect all will be fine. I'm supposed to run 8 miles on Saturday (!) and I will not be in nice, cool Minnesota to do it. Furthermore, I have to work on Saturday morning, so I'm going to have to do it on my own (probably Sunday), without the team water stops, etc. I'm thinking I'll just tuck a dollar or two into my shoe and stop for a water at a store about halfway through. Otherwise, if any Tyler readers know of a trail with fountains, please tell me where it is! :)

Now for the news you have all been waiting for: Total Miles! Drum roll, please...
61 miles since training started! I can barely believe it. Now we'll have to have a little blogger party when I hit the first hundred (perhaps I'll go buy some new running shoes, I'm going to need them anyway). So, hooray!

So anyway, ciao for now!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Two things...

First of all, I ran seven miles yesterday and, much to my surprise, it was great! I mean, really nice. (Okay, some slight stiffness, but it seemed to recede quickly I'm in Minnesota and genuinely enjoying a rainy, but classic, fall weekend. Yesterday morning, I ran my seven miles under gray skies on one of the many fantastic trails near my sister's house. I even got to run over the Coon Rapids Dam (across the Mississippi), and around a lake and prairie restoration project. For something that was freaking me out as much as it did, things turned out really well and I felt sort of pleasantly buzzed for the rest of the day, sort of exalting in my personal best. I've been on such a high this weekend that I went out and ran 2 miles this morning, just for the heck of it!

Second, on a more sentimental note, and sort of getting at what I was thinking about (but didn't say) the other day, if you have never done anything like this before, I really recommend it. I mean, there is something so special about doing something like this, something bigger than oneself. I know that I probably never would have run a whole marathon, or seriously trained for it, if I wasn't motivated by all of you out there supporting me. It's a collaborative effort and I am delighted to talk with you about it and have you comment on/inquire about my progress. I'm discovering readers I didn't know that I had and such a wonderful generosity from some genuinely unexpected places. Hopefully, you are keeping an eye on my fundraising progress, 'cause it all goes together. But we've all come too far to turn back now, so I'll keep logging those miles.

Next post: a total mileage report.
Next weekend: 8 miles (in hot, humid Tyler! )

Friday, September 28, 2007

Late run and nerves

So yesterday I worked the evening shift (12-9) and put my run off until 8am. Big mistake. East Texas is hot and humid at 8am and even a four mile run was tough. So I took a slightly different route and called on Sean to help me out. I think he joined me about halfway through, because things seemed to get much easier. Whew...

Tomorrow, I run 7 miles and I am apprehensive, to say the least. I've never run that far and I'm doing it by myself. At least I'm in MN so I can't complain about the heat. I have some mushy, sentimental things to talk about, but I'm too distracted at the moment. Stay tuned, I may be in the mood for major introspection tomorrow after I exhaust myself. Nothing more to say now because I am currently surrounded by five screaming nieces who have no patience for my blogging...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Humidity Factor

So, the last time I wrote I thought that the 2 mile run would be "easy" or "no problem" --not quite. Why? I think you may guess from the title of today's post. The Humidity Factor! For those of you unfamiliar with the climate down here in East Texas, it's bloody humid. So anyway, Monday's two miles were a full and hard-slogged two miles.

I knew that it was going to be the same today when I woke up to the weather and heard that it was 73 degrees at 6am (ugh). So, I just stayed in my bed until a voice in my head practically shouted, "McKenna!" She's my Tuesday run inspiration (still doing great after her bone marrow transplant btw) and, I don't know, I just thought of how much work it is for her just to get outside her room and how she still does it, how brave she is (and what a big dork I am) and I pushed myself out of bed. Still took me awhile to get on the road, but I did it. Ran four muggy miles which, in retrospect, seemed easier than the 2 from yesterday. I think once I've been going for about half-an-hour or so, things get strangely easier. Go figure!

So hey! Thanks to all of you who have donated so far, things are looking pretty good! I am about 21% to goal and at 30% to the race threshold ($3800).

See you soon!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Five Miles!

How lame is it that I'm weirdly proud of my 11:29 average over 5 miles? Pretty lame. I mean, at that pace I would finish the marathon in about 5 hours, which seems like a very long time to be running, more than 1/5 of a day! Then I think back to my waitressing days, and I have hope. I can stay on my feet for 5 hours, oh yeah. Anyway, back to my excitement over this time. I came in first yesterday of the team members! Hooray for me. Some may think its a shallow victory due to the fact that one of them left early with shin splints and the other appears to have injured her ankle and there were only three people there anyway, but... hey, I'll take what I can get. :)

Okay, I'm kidding. A little.

Next week I get to run in Minnesota! I had thought that I might run around the lakes, but Kathleen is having some kind of charity race for Target and she has asked me to come and do the 5k with her. Weird thing is, though, that I need to run 7 miles. Somehow I will find a way to get the extra mileage in, perhaps by preceding things with a four mile run. Or something.

An easy 2 mile run tomorrow. It will probably feel like I'm cheating!

Ciao for now...

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Thursday run

4-1/2 miles this morning! Working my way up to 5 on Saturday for another team training. But no more cotton shirts, no matter how cute and stylish and free they are from some fancy Madison clothing store they are. Nope, word of the day for today is "wicking" - moisture wicking to be precise.

So today was an interesting run, saw two other women out walking and a guy walking his lab puppy. Strangely, I do not often see too many people out on the roads - though they do seem to like the local walking trail. I'm also starting to see my regulars: a lady who walks out to get her paper at about 6:45am (she likes to tell me I have "a lot of energy for so early in the morning"), and a woman and her cat drinking coffee on their porch.

I need to find something interesting to tell y'all or I'll never make any money. In the meantime, I'm off to stretch the hamstrings...


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Yesterday and today...

Two days of running with very different experiences helped me learn a bit about myself as a runner. First of all (and much to my surprise) I found that while I am not an early riser, I am an early runner. It will be interesting to see how I reconcile these two sides of myself as training goes forward.

Let me explain:
Both days I ran 3 miles. Yesterday I got up at 6:15, had a brilliant run, came home, showered, went to work, etc... Today I got up at 9:00am (bad night of sleep, in my defense, and I'm working the swing shift at the library) and did not hit the road until 9:45. Not such a great run, huffing and puffing and panting my way to the end. Also, I've been thinking about that stupid run all day, with a good deal of general negativity and some serious irritation with that very nice route. What gives? Well, I figure that a good part of this is the sun. Yesterday morning, no sun (too early); this morning, lots of sun (too late). So I guess I'm just going to have to force myself to get up earlier. Sigh...

I also think I need to put this all in perspective, motivationally speaking. Getting up early is nothing compared to spinal taps and graft vs. host disease, so there!

And speaking of which, a big shout out to Ann and McKenna who are doing really well this week. Ann is rocking the chemo and McKenna is making fantastic progress after her bone marrow transplant last month. Way to go ladies! Now all I have to do is get out and run 4 miles on Thursday morning...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

First Team Training!

So, I ran with the team yesterday, which was really great. One of the coach's told me that I was running between a 10-1/2 and 11 minute mile, which was about what I thought, but nice to have confirmed. Anyway, I ran 4 miles yesterday and I'm running 5 miles next week. Some of you have asked me what the long run schedule looks like, so here it is:

9/22 - 5 miles
9/29 - 7 miles (which will be the longest ever, to this date)
10/6 - 8 miles
10/13 - 9 miles
10/20 - 6 miles
10/27 - 10 miles
11/3 - 13 miles
11/10 - 10 miles
11/17 - 12 miles
11/24 - 15 miles
12/1 - 12 miles
12/8 - 17 miles
12/15 - 12 miles
12/22 - 20 miles (!)
12/29 - 10 miles
1/5 - 5 miles

On January 13, I'm supposed to run 26.2 miles at the Walt Disney World Marathon, where I would like to run for Sage (Sean's sister) to help her build another beautiful memory of her brother.

You may notice that I do not run more than 20 miles before this, which freaks me out, but I'm told this is normal. I suppose that the powers that be (who are they? I suspect they are the editors at Runners World. Anyway...) think that this should be sufficient. I guess we'll see. It seems kinda crazy to me, but what do I know.

Anyway, getting up to do 3 miles tomorrow morning before work.

Hey, thanks to all the contributers. Hopefully I can hit the halfway mark by the end of October. That's when I have to "recommit", which basically means that I have to pay the balance of my commitment amount. If I can make $1900 by this time, I guess I'll feel pretty confident. I want to raise $5000, but I have to raise $3800.

Okay, ciao for now...

Friday, September 14, 2007

some cooler running

Okay, so I've had two more runs this week, both of the shortish 3 mile variety, and both pretty good. The weather cooled off for a bit (yesterday it was only 64 degrees when I started out, which was great for this yankee).

Thanks to those of you who have contributed so far. Just so you know, I have until the end of October to get to the half-way point in my fundraising, at which point I need to recommit to the marathon (and pay the remainder myself). Also, any amount helps. If 100 people contribute 38 dollars apiece, that's $3800!

Anyway...tomorrow I run with the rest of the Team and we are up to 4 miles.

Monday, September 10, 2007

hot and humid

So, I've decided to take my training outdoors (I had been running inside on an indoor track at work). Two major problems with this: heat and humidity. Yuck. Anyway, ran 3 miles this morning before work, and during the last 10 minutes of the run, chanting "Curing cancer, easier than chemo. Curing cancer, easier than chemo..."

Thursday, September 6, 2007


Welcome to my blog!

**Attention: A version of this is posted on the upper left side of this page.**

I created this site in honor of my nephew, Sean, who joined the Hundred Mile Club at his elementary school last September. He loved to run and he had pledged to run a hundred miles last year. Sadly (oh, but sadness does not even begin to describe what we felt), he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, complicated by the Philadelphia Chromosome and Monosomy-7 chromosome.

He underwent chemotherapy all last fall and had a bone marrow transplant shortly after Christmas. More complications, acute respiratory distress syndrome, and - with incredible speed - he slipped away from us on March 8. Heartbreak...

So, I guess I'm picking up where the boy left off. Taking my fat, lazy self out on the road to run a Hundred Miles (and then some) for the American Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. At the end of the process, I plan to run 26.2 miles (yup, that's right, a marathon) and this is where you come in. I'm asking for your support.

I'd like to raise about $5000.00 for this incredible organization that is training me to run a marathon while raising money for cancer research and family support. If you would like to sponsor me, please click on the link at the upper right corner of this page. In return, consider this blog a report on your investment. I will try to make regular updates to let you know how I'm doing... a public runner's log, if you will.

Finally, while I am running in memory for this dear, dear child whom I miss every single day, I am also running for hope. In particular, I am running for two more honored heroes - Ann and McKenna (whose last names are withheld here for their privacy). The spirit of these brave young ladies and their families (whom we met through Caringbridge and Sean's school) have been a comfort and inspiration as our family has grieved. So, I'm running in memory of Sean and in honor of Ann and McKenna who will, with grace, beat this ugly disease.