Thursday, December 16, 2010

Looking for the right GIFT...GIVE COOKIES!

I read about these gourmet cookies on Georgia's of our honored heros and I just had to post it. If you are one that has family or friends who you send gifts to PLEASE PLEASE consider sending these cookies from Cookies for Kid's Cancer.

Cookies for Kid's Cancer was founded by a mom inspired by her son's current fight against Neuroblastoma. By purchasing their gourmet cookies you're helping fund research for new and improved therapies for pediatric cancers. Pediatric cancer robs families of more children than any other disease! In the past year I have learned there is a huge difference between funding for pediatric cancer and other types of cancers.

And quoting Georgia's mom..."if you're trying not to overdo it this holiday eating season, how about one of these cool t-shirts instead?"

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Monday, December 6, 2010

A Happy Ending!

Sunday was Marathon #2 for me and I couldn't have asked for a better way to end this year's running season. I know I'm giving away "the end" at the beginning but I'm just still so overjoyed about how Sunday unfolded I can't contain myself.

I am having a hard time even describing how I feel...giddy, happy, elated, proud, accomplished...those are some words that come to mind. As you know from the previous post I tried to go into Sunday with an open mind. I wanted to be relaxed and I wanted to enjoy this race. Something that I really struggled with in DC during my first marathon. I knew that much of how the day would go was beyond by control.

Have I mentioned it was freezing? I think that is my biggest complaint about was bitterly cold. We arrived at Fair Park about 6:40am. We got to spend some time inside the automative building which was nice, but then headed outside. We huddled in our corral for at least 45 minutes waiting to start - Robin, Kim, Melissa, Serene and myself. It was nice to be surrounded by friends. Happiness! I felt great and I wasn't nervous...I was ready!

The first couple miles were a little hard mainly because of the cold. My feet felt like ice cubes and as they hit the ground there was a bit of a sting until the blood started flowing and my legs warmed up. At mile 5 my family was there cheering. Happiness! I stopped for a quick minute and lost sight of Robin. So as I started back on hit me that I might be running the next 21 miles alone. I became a bit concerned...did I have it in me? Self-doubt as I've said before is my biggest weakness. I stayed focused and about 1/2 mile down the road I saw my coaches...first David and then Meg. David asked how I was and I said..."I'm great...I don't even care how today goes so I'm good!" Meg ran with me a bit and said Robin wasn't that far ahead so I thought just maybe I could catch up with her. At around mile 6.5 someone tapped me on the back...and to my surprise it was Robin. Happiness! She accidently passed the relay stop to pass off to Ken so she had to double-back.

We ran together, mostly in silence...but at a consistent pace. I was content and comfortable. Will & Ken were waiting for us at Mile 16 for food support. We gobbled some cheerios and pretzles and were on our way. Happiness! We continued to run together until mile 23, I think. My knee started to ache and I could feel I was getting a bit tired so I stopped to walk an incline. But as Robin went out of sight I knew I had this...I knew that Will was at the finish along with my Mom, Andrew and Allie.

My final GU was at mile 24 and I hoped that would give me the last bit of energy I needed for the final push to the finish. Right before mile 25 I saw a purple jersey in the middle of the road...could it be? I yelled out as loud as I could, "ROBIN" and the purple jersey turned around. Happiness! Tears of joy rolled down my face and all I could say was "I'm so happy to see you!" It wasn't that I couldn't finish by myself, but Robin has been my main running partner this entire year. 90% of our long runs and races we have done together this year and knowing that we might just cross the finish line together...well what more could I say.

We both had some pain in that final stretch. Charlene, another TNT coach, was covering that last mile and she ran with us for about 1/2 a mile and chatted...trying to keep our mind off anything but finishing. She left us right as we would round the corner to see the finish line. We hit the corner and that was it...we finished strong. The final 1.2 mile was my fastest all day! Happiness!

We headed back to the TNT tent to check in and meet up with Will, Ken and the rest of my family. Much of the team was there...Allie, Jessica, Serene, Melissa, Brittni, Chris and many others. What was even more amazing is that it seemed EVERYONE had an amazing race day. Santa (via God) had answered my list. Happiness!

So why am I so happy? First off, I shaved 22 minutes off my marathon time from final time was 5:11:11. Secondly, and even more important than my time, was my attitude during this race. Maybe it was that White Rock was my official TNT event...maybe it was simply because I knew what to expect this time or maybe it was just that I decided to let whatever Whatever it was it worked!

The last year (really 18 months) have brought me so much happiness in more ways than I can ever express. John Bingham said, "The miracle isn't that I finished. It's that I had the courage to start." and I couldn't agree more! the beginning of this year I blogged that I would complete 10 events in 2010. And it looks as if I did...if you are so inclined, please take a couple minutes and watch the video of events I put together. It pretty much sums up my year and how I feel about running and TEAM IN TRAINING.

10 in 2010
2 - 5k events
2 - 10k events
4 - Half Marathons
2 - Full Marathons

Wishing everyone a very safe and happy holiday season! Until next year...

A couple of additions...

Since I posted this blog I tallied up how much Will, Allie and I raised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society from White Rock '09 to White Rock '10...drum roll....$7,557.60! And I have to add that the three awesome friends I recruited for this season (Robin, Kim & Shannon)...they raised...$4734.00! So all in all that is $12,291.60!

Thank you to EVERYONE who donated. You have truly made a difference!

Please check out the following two blogs about Sunday's race and TNT...they will continue to inspire you to join us - Robin's and Jessica's.

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Thursday, December 2, 2010

Preparing for Marathon #2...and my list to Santa

So here I am again…3 days until another marathon. I am not as nervous as I was for my first one (a month ago) because now I know what to expect. This is what the start lines looks like in big marathon...and it can take 20 minutes for the final group to cross the START line...that's alot of runners and walkers!

I know the day will be long. I know it will be bitterly cold in the morning while we wait for the race to start. I know my feet and body will ache after the first 20 miles. I know my eyes will search the crowd for Will waiting for one familiar face. I know my tummy will grumble for pretzels and then want to reject anything I put in it. I know that every time I see another purple jersey I remember I am not alone in my mission to help find a cure for blood cancers or any cancer for that matter. I know that I will see signs like the one in the picture below that will make me laugh out loud at just the perfect moment. I know that I will see amputee runners (even children) who will inspire me to continue pushing no matter how tired I am. I know that I will smile, cry and scream (inside my head) while I’m on the course. The range of emotions on a single race day is overwhelming. Sometimes it isn’t running 26.2 miles that worries me…it’s my mental state for 26.2 miles!

So am I prepared? Honestly, I can’t really answer that this time. I’ve been sick and felt crummy for the last several weeks but this morning I saw something and my inspiration has come back. God has a funny way of doing that. Besides the bronchitis and sinus infection I’ve been battling, my IT band started to ache a couple weeks ago so I’m trying out this new ROCK TAPE. No need to go on about what it is but the back of the rock tape has all kinds of quotes and as I put my tape on this morning the word “difference” GLARED at me….

“When it’s all over, it’s not who you were. It’s whether you made a difference!”

Perfect. Brilliant. Inspirational. Sub “who you were” with “my finishing time” and it is exactly what I need to get me to Sunday!

On this blog I try to be real…but we all hold stuff back. The last thing I want to do is complain about how I don’t feel good or that I had a bad run or I’m disappointed in my finishing time. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I SIGNED UP FOR THIS…no one makes me do it. I signed up to train. I signed up to wake up every Saturday morning at 5:00am or earlier. I signed up to run 18 miles in blistering heat. I signed up to meet new friends. I signed up to raise money. I SIGNED UP TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

How I’ve felt these last couple weeks…sick, run down, bummed, tired…is how I think my honored heros feel when they are going through treatment. They feel that way EVERY DAY for months on end sometimes. And to make matters worse, most of them are children. Small tiny humans…just like my two children at home, who can’t possibly understand why their tiny bodies have been evaded by “bad guys.” And their parents…battling along side of them – heros in their own right!

So as I prepare for another marathon...I have also made out my LIST to Santa. I think I’ve been good this year so I’m hoping my (prayer) list comes true… with the help of God.

1. Continue to help Georgia, Morgan, James and Phillip fight their battle against Leukemia. Heal their bodies quickly. Bless their families and keep them healthy (and home) during the holidays.

2. Bring peace to my teammate Monique and her family as they celebrate another holiday season while Griffin watches from heaven. May he and the angels make plenty of snow-angels, build snowmen, drink hot chocolate and sing carols.

3. Keep Allie’s body and mind strong as she runs her first half marathon… and keep her in remission as she grows into a beautiful young lady.

4. Ease the anxiety and fears of all my teammates as they approach race day. May they have the race they have dreamed about since they signed up for TNT in August. Bless each of their honored heros.

5. Bless Abi and Beau (my kiddos) with good health and happy days. Guide Will and I to be good parents and a strong family. Help us show them how much they are loved each and every day. .

6. Keep my mind focused...remind me why I run when I begin to doubt myself.

My final note…yes I know this is a LONG POST. But I have to tell you the story of the picture above of the child in the wheelchair. Her name is Ryanne Carr (age 7) of Mineola, Texas. She is the Junior Race Director of the White Rock Marathon this year. Ryanne is a double amputee and is missing part of her right arm. As part of the orthopedic care that she receives at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital in Dallas, the hospital provides Ryanne with prosthetic limbs, which allow her to do the things she loves. Scottish Rite is the primary beneficiary of the marathon. The runner pushing Ryanne is Amputee Amy Palmiero-Winter (37-year-old mother) from Long Island, N.Y. Amy lost her leg in a motorcycle accident in 1994. But, using a customized prosthesis, she's become a three-time triathlon world champion and holds 12 world records for amputee athletes. In October 2009, she was named USA Track & Field's Athlete of the Week after winning the 10th annual Heartland 100-mile endurance run in Kansas. She posted the second fastest time of any runner in the event's history.

Last year at White Rock Marathon (2009) Ryanne couldn't pass up the opportunity when Amy Palmiero-Winters offered to push her in a wheelchair for the race. In the last mile, Ryanne got into her racing wheelchair so she could finish the race on her own power.

What more inspiration do you need than that?

Good luck to the entire Winter TEAM! Each of you have a made a difference…so you’ve already won!

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Thursday, November 18, 2010

How will you use the power today?

Love this quote and with Thanksgiving next week and Christmas around the corner I wanted to post it.

"Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around." ~Leo Buscaglia

Take a moment and you might just make a difference...whether it be your spouse, child, friend, co-worker, waiter, sales clerk or a complete stranger.

And...a big SHOUT OUT to Robin...she reached her fundraising goal. So proud of her for making a difference and helping find a cure. She has touched lives she will never meet.

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Monday, November 8, 2010

Running towards the Pink Ribbon

This weekend marks another RACE...yes two weeks after my first marathon I am running a HALF (13.1 miles)...I know I'm crazy! Its the Rock & Roll San Antonio Marathon benefitting Susan G Komen.

This will be Will's 1st HALF marathon! We signed up several months back to celebrate our 8th anniversary and hope to run the whole way together!

As you all know we are passionate about TEAM in TRAINING and raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. But I'm a supporter of Susan G Komen Mom is a breast cancer survivor - 19 years to be exact and I hope by the time Abi reaches adulthood a cure will be found so no women has to endure the words, "You have breast cancer."

My Mom gave me the pin above and I'll be wearing it on Sunday to show my support along with my TNT jersey!


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Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Average Jane or GI Jane?

Done. Finished. Completed. SURVIVED!

I am officially a marathoner- 2010 Marine Corp Marathon FINISHER!

I can't say it was was probably the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life. I believe I was 100% ready for the event...physically. But no one can ever prepare you mentally and emotionally for running 26.2 miles.

My morning started off a bit rough...I didn't feel too well and of course I was nervous. We woke at 4:00am and the race didn't start till 8:00am so there was a lot of waiting. They recommend you are in "runners village" (aka the starting area) at least two hours before the start. There was heightened security as well due to all that has been going on in DC lately so it was kind of strange running on a course with FBI agents and other military personnel holding weapons.

I am not going to take you through the entire race...I will spare you mile-to-mile details. Here's a brief account...Miles 1-10 were rough...miles 11-20 I felt strong and the final 6 were a bit of a struggle. I just wanted to be done and I wanted to see Will.

I want to thank Robin...she was cool and collected and provided much needed reassurance (without saying much) throughout the first 20 miles. We didn't talk like we do on training runs...there was so much going on around us. Robin was in a zone and I fed off of that many times throughout the race which was incredibly helpful and calming.

So to everyone's big question..."what was your time?" It isn't that I mind people asking because I have somewhat obsessed about finishing times myself, but at the same time I ran 26.2 miles so does my time really matter? I completed it in 5 hours and 33 minutes. I have to say I was hoping to come in under 5 1/2 hours but I'll take the 3 minutes. I've had plenty of mixed emotions about those 3 minutes and other parts of the race which I just have to let go. But I did some research. It appears that only around 1% of the population ever run a marathon in their life time and out of Sunday’s Marine Corp Marathon with 30,000 registered competitors only 21,856 finished. And according to Marathon Guide, the average finishing time for woman in all US marathons in 2009 (since 2010 stats are out yet) was 5 hours 41 minutes. So I'm AVERAGE....Average Jane...and after 26.2 miles I LOVE AVERAGE!

And furthermore, I didn't start running to be the best or the fastest...I started running to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and that is my help find a cure! Every one of my honored heros ran those 26.2 miles with me - Allie, Georgia, James, Phillip, Griffin, Morgan and so many others who have battled such a horrible disease.

Thank you to all my friends and family you emailed, facebooked and messaged me. Your support is greatly appreciated. One FB message stuck with me and it was from an old college friend...he said, "this is something that can never be taken away from you" and that statement is so true. I will never forget October 31, 2010!

We didn't take alot of photos on this trip but the two above are my favorites. The first for obvious reasons - Robin and I with our medals!

The second - Will & I in front of the Lincoln Memorial - because no matter where life takes me, I will always have Will by my side. He provides a constant source of strength and encouragement and no matter how many events I enter whether its a 5k or a marathon...he will always be waiting for me at the finish line and that is better than any medal!

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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Counting down...

If you noticed the clock to the right...I have 4 days until my very 1st marathon - the Marine Corp Marathon (MCM) in Washington DC. Voted the best marathon for families, the MCM honors the dedication, sportsmanship and patriotism of its participants. Runners from all walks of life participate in the largest marathon not to offer prize or money, earning the nickname as "The People's Marathon". The MCM is the 4th largest marathon in the United States and the 8th largest in the world. The race will be held on Sunday, October 31.

I have debated several times about posting earlier but couldn't put any thoughts on paper. One minute I'm excited, the next nervous. I have been training for this event for 6 months. Robin, my friend and running partner, will also be running the race along with our TNT coaches - Dave and Meg. This will be their 3rd MCM. They have answered every question I can think to thank you Dave & Meg!

I chose the MCM as my first official marathon for one main reason...they are celebrating their 35th anniversary and last Friday, October 22, I celebrated my 35th birthday. So needless to say the medal will have a rather large 35 on it...which excites me! I'm sure some don't enjoy getting older but the fact that I just turned 35 and started running a year ago and am tackling two marathons this year still shocks me.

October 31 also has two other meaningful events in my life - on that day in 2005, my grandfather passed away and Will & I first heard Abi's heartbeat on the sonogram. We had our fair share of worries trying to get pregnant that year but I firmly believe that my grandfather passed allowing Abigail to come into our lives, so the day has always been special to me. And in regards to MCM being my first marathon...I will not be alone...over two-thirds of the estimated 30,000 participants in the 2010 MCM will be making their race debut. Simply amazing!

I wish I could say that I was running MCM under the Team in Training name but the North Texas team does not train and travel to this race. However, there will be other TNT chapters there so I expect to see alot of purple shirts. I will be wearing my purple TNT "Train with a Purpose" jersey because every time I run I want to support TNT! Likewise, 1 in 5 runners is running MCM for some type of charity organization. To see all the charities that benefit from MCM,
click here. I am still fundraising for my official TNT event - White Rock Marathon on December 5, 2010.

I also wanted to take a moment to update you on Georgia, one of my honored heros who inspires me during training runs and also race day. Georgia is doing well and is in first cycle of maintenance. Her and her family participated in two big events this month - the Leukemia and Lymphoma's Society Light the Night Walk and the Livestrong Challenge 5k. All kids in treatment were invited to ride in pedicabs among the walkers/runners to offer support and inspiration. Also, as a fellow TNTer, I want to give a "shout out" to Jenn, whom I don't know personally, but she is a friend of Georgia's who completed the Denver Marathon on October 17 in Georgia's honor!

Last I have two THANK YOUs I want to post...

First, with the race being held on halloween that means we will miss taking our kids trick-or-treating. So THANK YOU Mom (Dad and Grandma) for taking care of them this weekend and making sure they receive tons of love and candy! I couldn't be traveling and running this event without your support.

Second, words cannot express how grateful I am to Will. His support and encouragement of my running keeps me going. Even yesterday, Mark Remy - a writer for Runner's World - declared October 25 National-Married-to-a-Runner Day. Remy even went so far to suggest we blog about how awesome our spouse here it is...Will - you are AWESOME! On a more serious note, I couldn't ask for a better partner in are steadfast and strong in taking care of our family. I love you!

So wish me luck and send a prayer my way for a successful race day!

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Sunday, October 3, 2010


The agenda for Saturday morning...20 mile training run...READY, SET...

I ran the first 10 miles with the team. I ran side-by-side to another teammate....Jessica. She was on the winter team last year and is a mentor this season, like me. We have really gotten to know each other a lot better this season. She is quite funny and I enjoy running with her and reading her running blog. She can definitely turn on the speed especially on race day...and I'm inspired by that. Serene, another teammate from last year, ran with us and a new teammate Melissa joined in as well. I mention these ladies and others in previous posts because they are part of my life...most are new friends...and they are one of the reasons I love running. When you are out there running you can talk about things and confess things that you probably wouldn't just standing around in the parking lot. We laugh, we cry, we run!

Robin, my friend and regular training partner, who is running Marine Corp at the end of this month with me had a recovery weekend so I was on my own for miles 11-20. While I was running the first 10 which went by rather quickly...I was very worried about the second 10 and confessed that to Jessica on our run. My confession...I had NEVER run more than 4 miles alone. I consider myself a social runner. I love running with others and I run my best when I'm surrounded by friends (so I thought). So needless to say, I wondered if I could pull this off. Deep down inside I knew this was going to be a "make it or break it" moment. It would either give me the confidence I needed for the Marine Corp marathon or pull me into a downward spiral of negativity.

When we finished up mile 10 and came into the parking lot, I stretched, refueled and took about a 15 minute break. Inside I was ready...I was happy and wanted to prove to myself I can run alone. Jessica, Melissa and Serene cheered me on as I ran out of the parking lot.

I bet you are thinking I have some witty comments about my run...some very personal thoughts that went thru my mind but honestly all I can say is I DID IT! My plan was to run two 5-mile loops but when I was supposed to turn right to finish up the first loop I knew there was a chance I wouldn't go back out for the final I kept running straight instead of turning. Going straight wasn't on ANY of our training routes but I was convinced it would run into a street that would get me back to the parking lot and I had my phone so I knew I was ok if I got lost. I must admit this was the longest part of the run and I finally had to pull out my phone to check my GPS but I was ok.

I was on my own and I was running and I was OK!

That was around mile 15. Now I knew I just had to keep running because I was not close to the parking lot. My garmin watch tells me my mileage, pace, time...whatever I want to know actually. So that is exactly what I did...I kept running our training routes until I knew I would hit 20.

At mile 19 I was turning the corner to run the final 1 mile into the parking lot and there was Dave and Meg (my coaches along with their son Landon). I was so happy to see them. Meg gave me some super encouraging words and sent me on my way. Tears rolled down (like they are now) as I ran the final stretch in.

I sent some text messages and posted on facebook about my 20 miles because I was so proud. Yep, I'm patting myself on the back because this was a defining moment for me and I wanted to share it with everyone. My biggest flaw...self-doubt. And on a beautiful Saturday morning in less than 4 1/2 hours I kicked my self-doubt to the curb and pray it doesn't return.

I maintained an average moving pace of 10:50 for 20 miles. I'm scared, nervous, excited...I'm feeling every ache and pain my body throws at me. But I think I'm ready...I think my training has paid off. So with lots of prayers and support from those closest to me I believe I am going to cross the finish line.

And if you are so inclined...I am still fundraising!

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Do PRs even matter?

On Sunday, September 26, I participated in the Hills, Heels and Him HALF marathon with two friends - Robin and Nicole. This was Nicole's 1st half marathon. It was Robin's 2nd...and while her IT Band spawned its ugly head and started giving her problems last week she was a trooper and decided to run anyway. It was a perfect running day...overcast, cool and the course was mostly flat. This was my 3rd half marathon this year and I had a goal of getting in under 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Once you've run your first race, you have a PR, or a "Personal Record" refers to your best time in a race of a specific distance. So, if you run a 5K race in 33:45, that's your PR for the 5K distance. If you run faster than 32:38 in a subsequent 5K race, then you have a new PR for that distance. You have PRs for different race distances, from 5ks to marathons. Many runners (even beginners) love to talk about their PRs because it helps them stay motivated to keep training and racing. It's also fun to keep track of your PRs so you can refer back to them and record a new one when you achieve it. And of course, I do this!

So when I crossed the finish line and looked at my watch it said 2:28:05! I was overjoyed but only for a moment because that isn't the "official time". In races you wear a "chip" that times you from start to finish. My official time was 2:32:03. So I didn't make my goal, but I definitely have a new PR!

I'm not a "leave everything on the course runner" and I can beat myself all day long over that but I got into running for two reason... (1) to get back into shape and (2) to celebrate Allie's 15th remission last year. So does the PR even matter? Honestly, yes and no.
  • Yes, because I am for the most part I need to see improvement and I want to be a stronger runner as time goes by. Who doesn't want to improve? Everyone does. We all need goals to help us stay focused and motivated.
  • No, because running is my hobby...its my therapy. It isn't my profession and it doesn't define me. I run because I can and it makes me happy. I run because I can help others while being a part of Team in Training.

So all in all...I'm happy! I'm happy with my new PR and I'm happy that I got to share in Nicole's first half marathon and that Robin crossed the finish line with a big smile despite an annoying IT Band.

It was a good race day!

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Monday, September 20, 2010

The Amazing Human Body & Philip

I typed this post "in my head" many times on Saturday while I completed an 18 mile training run and I'm sure it made much more sense then. : ) 18 miles...the farthest I have ever run. It was exhilarating...yet I was drained, both physically and emotionally. I do have to admit I was prepared. I had my Gu, water, banana, oatmeal cookie and some incredible running buddies! What I wasn't prepared for was how one person can feel every tiny movement in their own body...every twinge, tweek, ache and pain. I also wasn't prepared for the roller coaster of emotions I would feel during a 3+ hour run.

About 12 miles into the run I literally couldn't believe that I was running 18 miles. For those that do not know I have never run in my life. I started running last July 2009 to get back in shape. Will and I had both cycled with TNT but not run and we had decided to sign up for the White Rock Relay in December '09 to celebrate Allie's 15th year in remission. I remember asking him, "Do you seriously think I can run 5 miles?"

I had dreamed of running. Laugh if you will but I had...I could see myself running and crossing a finish line, but never had the nerve to try. Was my body even built to run? Will I have the time? Why would someone run when they can use a bike or a car? Yet, I wanted to try and I was determined. My first experience was feeling how liberating it was...the rush of blood your muscles get, the sweat down the side of your face and the sound of your feet striking the ground. I can remember the night I came home July '09 after a 2 mile run in our neighborhood and told Will, "I ran the entire way...I can't believe it...I actually ran the entire 2 miles...I did not walk!"

So here I am many, many miles later...simply humbled and amazed by what the human body and the human spirit can accomplish together! Which leads me to Philip...

On Saturday I started off at 5:30am with Robin to run a 4 mile loop then the team met at 6:30am. Our coaches give instructions, we talk about fundraising and then we have a Mission Moment. A mission moment is when someone on the team talks about their connection to blood cancers and/or why they are involved with TNT. This morning Suzanne spoke. And as she spoke a five year old boy along with his little brother played in the background. It was hard for me to keep my attention directed at her because I was fixated on him...his joy, his smile and his laughter. Plus I was distracted by the first sentence that Suzanne spoke, "Hi, I'm Suzanne, this is my husband John and then she started naming their children... ALL 7!" Yes, I said they have 7 children! Suzanne went on to tell us that Philip was diagnosed with ALL on March 21, 2008, the same week she was giving birth to their youngest child.

Philip, like most children, battling leukemia will receive 3 years of treatment to ensure that he is and remains cancer-free. All this was familiar to me, but what really pulled at my heartstrings was that in December of 2009 Philip was diagnosed with Avascular Necrosis (AVN) in his hip. AVN is a disease where there is cellular death (necrosis) of bone components due to interruption of the blood supply. Without blood, the bone tissue dies and the bone collapses.

From Philip's caringbridge site which Suzanne updated on September 10...Philip's doctor states, "there is not much more hip to collapse but there were more signs of bone death in his femur. The good news is that his range of motion is really good and he’s been in very little pain. The physical therapy really helped with his range of motion."

Suzanne goes on to tell the team that due to the AVN (which is a result of high dose steroids) Philip's activity has to be runing, jumping, recess! My heart running for a 5 year old? Tears streamed down my face. I have two small children...not much younger than Philip and all they want to do is play at recess. I watched Philip in the background throwing a ball to his little brother and more tears. In time, Suzanne told us that hopefully Philip's bone will rejunvenate after all his treatment is complete in 2011.

Again, our amazing bodies! And Philip's amazing spirit!

So I went out for a 6 mile loop with 4 teammates...we were inspired, we were motivated and we are determined to kick cancer's butt. We ran strong for Philip.

We returned to the parking lot to refuel. Then myself, Robin and Nicole headed back out for the last 8 miles. I remember we go, can I do this? As I approached mile 12 and had 6 more to go...tears welled in my eyes. I was hot and tired. I don't think my running partners noticed because we had so much sweat pouring down but I cried and I fought to put one foot in front of the other...for Philip and all my other honored heros.

May God bless Philip and his family and know that they are an inspiration to so many others on our TEAM!

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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Cooking for a Cure!

Need some NEW RECIPES and want to help others?

Purchase a Cooking for a Cure Cookbook! Over 85 recipes included in the book! Your donation benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This is a team fundraiser I am participating in as I train for a marathon on December 5, 2010!

Cookbooks are only $12.00 each. They will make fabulous holiday gifts! If you can't tell Allie and Will are both featured on the cover!

If you want to buy a Cookbook please contact me...
Checks may be made out to me (Dianna Bacon) or cash is accepted (please include name, address and email…on cash donations) so I can enter it directly into the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society fundraising website so the donor gets credit.

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Monday, September 6, 2010

Read, Give, Hug...and of course, RUN!

I must start off in saying that I've got a lot to say so be patient and be prepared to READ, GIVE and HUG!

1. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month! So without being too pushy I think everyone should do their part and donate $5.00 to help find a cure! I'm not asking for more... just a mere $5.00! $5.00 is the cost of your Starbucks coffee, a Chic Fil A sandwich, Subway footlong or ice cream at Marble Slab...I could go on but I'll stop because you get my point. Everyone can spare $5.00 and you do it without thinking every day so put that $5.00 towards finding a cure for cancer. And in return for donating $5.00 I will put your name into the POT OF GOLD which gives you a chance of winning over $2,700 in gift cards! Yes that is person will win the entire pot and you'll have all your christmas shopping done and then some!

2. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month! If you are a parent hug your child a little tighter tonight and say a prayer for their good health. Georgia, one of my honored heros, has been on my mind I wanted to give everyone an update on her. I am so happy to say that she returned to school this month. I honestly cried when I read that one simply post from her blog. So many kids wish they never had to go to school again but that was one of the biggest things Georgia missed...being at school with her friends! Also, Georgia was granted a "wish" from Make A Wish Foundation...she will be spending her 11th birthday at Walt Disney World with her family...exactly one year after she was diagnosed with "ALL". Georgia is one strong and determined girl...she is a warrior and I'm proud to have her as one of my honored heros. Knowing her battle...makes me a better person and a more determined runner!

3. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month! With each September comes Labor Day...a day of rest and relaxation...yeah right...maybe for some. I spent Labor Day "laboring" in the Labor of Love 10k event with my friend Robin. We woke bright and early to get in 5 miles before the race even started. Then at 8:00am we were off to tackle the 10k (6 miles). A walk in the park...right? WRONG...that 10k was the hillest 6 miles I have EVER run! Those who say Texas is flat should come visit Stonebridge Ranch in McKinney because they have some hills but oddly no downhills : ) Robin and I made it...tired and hot at the end...but oh so happy! That was Race 5 for me! I'm proud to say that we ran the entire way except for the quick walk breaks to refuel and finished in 1 hour and 10 minutes. Our training for Marine Corp is going well...we will be tackling 16 miles next weekend so wish our legs luck!

As always, thanks for your continued support! Every dollar donated, prayer, post to this blog, facebook or email means the world to me!


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Monday, August 30, 2010

Race 4: Hottest Half

First off...I gotta give credit where it is running buddy Robin (pictured above with me) designed the image and she did a great job...I love it! Yes I know I'm a graphics teacher but school was just beginning and I simply didn't have the time to be so creative so I am "borrowing" her work...hopefully my students don't follow my lead : )

Robin and I participated in the Hottest Half 10k on Sunday, August 15 and it was HOT! I think we made a very wise decision in only doing the 10k (6 miles) instead of the half (13.1 miles) considering they ran out of water by mile 3! Not to worry...Robin and I are as prepared as you get and we had our fuel belts on with our own water.

This was RACE 4 for me out of the 10 I hope to complete this year. We had a great time and as you can see still had huge smiles on our face at the end. I was really excited to have a new shiny medal for my collection.

Robin and I's next race is the Labor of Love 10k on Labor Day in will mark off Race 5 for me and will help us get prepared for the Marine Corp Marathon which is 61 days away but who's counting??

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Sunday, August 8, 2010

Winter....are you sure?

I know it is August and the heat is in triple digits but to me its WINTER...yeah that is right....winter season for Team in Training is here! Even Abi thinks it is I write this she is dancing around the room singing Jingle Bells. : ) After not running as much as I hoped this summer...I am back and boy does it feel GOOD! Doesn't matter how hot...I'm ready to run!

This season I applied to be a mentor which means I get to help other teammates accomplish their goals. I have three very close friends who joined the team this season and that makes it even more fun to get out there every Saturday morning at 6:30am! Plus Allie will be completing her first half marathon at White Rock this year a week before her 16th year in remission. This time she'll be waiting me for to cross the line. We have a great team and I got to meet most of them this past Saturday at our first training session. The picture below isn't from a race day it was our 3 mile training, love and even some tears during the mission moment which Allie and I did. I hope to share the team's mission moments on this blog so everyone who reads and those who donate to our events know that there money is truly helping save lives and find a cure!

To give you an update on a goal I posted at the beginning of the year...if all goes as planned I will be completing the following events which will allow me to make my goal of running 10 events in 2010:
  • Hottest Half 10k
  • Labor of Love 10k
  • Heels, Hills & Him half marathon
  • Marine Corp Marine (my VERY first full marathon) - in Washington DC
  • San Antonio half marathon
  • DRC half marathon
  • White Rock full marathon

The other 3 events were Austin half marathon, Oklahoma City half marathon and the Memorial Day 5k. I hesitate allowing the 5k to be an "event" but we did it as a family and the kids got medals. It was an awesome morning and I meant to blog about it but never got around to it. We all ran the 1k together...Beau ran the entire thing refusing to get in the stroller. Will and I were amazed (and proud) that he wouldn't give up. After the 1k I went on to run the 5k while Will and the kids waited at the finish line. So all in all I think it counts as an event!

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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Sending prayers, hugs & wishes....and beating the "bad guys"

In memory of Griffin would have been his 12th birthday.

His mother, Monique, has become a dear friend of mine through Team in Training and I wanted to show her how much she has made a difference in the lives of sharing Griffin's story. He battled Neuroblastoma - the "bad guys" as he referred to them.

Monique is amazing...and has completed 6 half marathons in his honor AND she is signed up for 2 more before the end of the year. Her dedication to the cause and finding a cure for ALL types of cancers is an inspiration.

Please take a moment...even though you don't personally know her and her family and send prayers their way.

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Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Your invitation to join us...and be PROUD

Here's a invitation to everyone....

Has the idea ever crossed your mind to run a marathon or a half? Have you said to yourself...I think I can do that but don't know where to start? Do you say...I want to get back in shape...maybe I should start running? Or do you read this blog and say to yourself, I want to honor someone who is battling leukemia/lymphoma or any other cancer for that matter? Well if the answer is YES to any of those then please pay close attention.

The winter season for Team in Training starts in August. I am a mentor for this team and I would LOVE to have you out there running with me for no other reason then it will change you...all for the better! I will be participating in the San Antonio HALF marathon along with Will and I will also be doing the White Rock FULL marathon!

You pick an event (one of the ones below) and in exchange for top-notch coaching & clinics that will help you successfully cross whatever FINISH LINE and distance you will change your life...and save someone else's!

Plus you get to run/walk with us each week : ) and meet new friends!

Join our TEAM - Train Endure Achieve Matter!

Rock 'N Roll San Antonio Half Marathon - Enjoy the River Walk, Sea World, REAL Mexican food, and much more in beautiful San Antonio. Alumni and experienced runners/walkers are welcome to sign up for the full marathon as well.

White Rock Marathon, Half Marathon, and Relay - The best local event we offer. Run and walk in your own backyard with your friends and family cheering you on.

Walt Disney Marathon, Half Marathon, and Goofy Challenge - Make a family vacation out of your event, or go GOOFY if you think you can handle it.

If you are interested attend an INFO meeting. They start in July and are all over the metroplex. I will be attending these 3 meetings, but there are more so if you need another location contact me.

Allen - Allen Public Library
300 N. Allen Dr., 75013 Sat., July 10 at 10:30 a.m.

Plano Central Market
320 Coit Rd., 75075 Tues., July 27 at 7 p.m.

Denton - Greenhouse Restaurant
600 N. Locust, 76201 Wed., July 14 at 6:30 p.m.

Here are a couple more:

Frisco - Cantina Laredo
1125 Legacy Dr., Suite 102, 75034 Tues., July 20 at 7 p.m.

McKinney - Market Street
6100 West Eldorado Pkwy., 75070 Sat., July 17 at 10 a.m.

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Friday, June 18, 2010


After doing these endurance events, most of which are outside the Dallas area, I think it is interesting that the first thing I packed (the Wednesday before we left) was my event gear – helmet, shoes, cycle shorts, jersey, and food….I was leaving Friday morning June 4 and hadn’t even packed a change of clothes and we were gone for 4 days! I did manage to throw a few changes of clothes in a bag at the last minute : )

Ok – Tahoe was already 2 weekends ago so my apologies that this is late but we got back from Tahoe on Monday June 7 late at night, got caught up on our home-life routine and then left again on Friday for a wedding in Austin. We are back to some semblance of reality and I have sorted through all the thoughts and feelings of the training season and event and I might actually be able to make sense enough to put everything down on paper. First, of all the events we have done, this is by far the one I have looked forward to the most since I met Dianna in 2000. She had completed Tahoe a few months before we met and really displayed a sense of accomplishment and pride – both qualities that I found attractive – and it was certainly the catalyst for my involvement with TNT. So for me, personally, the Tahoe event was 9 years in the making and I can’t even begin to articulate how excited I was so I am not going to try – let’s just say I was totally pumped…enough said!

Before totally focusing my thoughts 100% on this weekend, I have spent a significant amount of time thinking about the past 6 months – most notably my new friends and my new honored hero Georgia. I guess (for me) it all started when we signed up for the White Rock Marathon to honor Allie’s remission. Dianna and I wanted to do something for her and with TNT but I didn’t really expect much more after that – I kind of went into it with the thought that we would train and finish the event and then go back to doing events and training on our own without a team. Those thoughts changed for me when I met David and Meg Burdette – our White Rock Marathon coaches. As a coaching “team” they were simply wonderful in how they helped the entire team train – from beginners to seasoned marathoners. The way they displayed kindness and respect to everyone was simply a life lesson in how we should treat others the way we want to be treated. Not only were they great to the team but even more important was no matter how cold, hot, miserable, or tired we all were Dave and Meg made sure that we spent time at EVERY training session to remember our honored heroes and why we were there. There were times that were sad, happy, funny, and touching but Dave and Meg never forget (or let us forget) the importance of what we do and who we do it for. They alone are responsible for our continued participation and efforts with TNT….so thank you to Dave and Meg!

To continue the theme of new friends and new honored heroes, it was distressing to hear from a high school friend of Dianna that one of her family members (Georgia) was diagnosed on her 10th birthday in December. I knew that this was all we needed as a “sign” that we had to keep going, we had to keep fundraising, we had to keep up the momentum, we had to keep training with the team, and we had to let Georgia and her family know that, although they were just hit with a life changing event, and even though we did not know them, they were not alone. So after embarking on this new mission, we continue to be happy to pass along the reports that Georgia is doing well with treatment, she is in remission, and almost to her full maintenance phase of treatment. Every time I tell someone Georgia’s story I think about how a strong-willed little girl, advances in medicine, and the generosity of all our friends and family can make such a monumental difference – not just in beating one case of Leukemia but in the overall fight to end it once and for all. While I am thinking of everyone’s generosity, I have also been thinking that it is important to remind everyone where donations go. A great example is a drug called Gleevac which was formulated by a Doctor that was funded by a grant from The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Gleevac works by targeting, and turning off, specific proteins in cancer cells that cause the cancer cells to grow and multiply. The great thing about Gleevac is it is a pill, it works well with newly diagnosed patients, and provides treatment without chemotherapy! Please know, remember, and be proud that pledging a donation doesn’t end when the check is sent – that is simply the beginning of a process that ultimately helps save lives! In fact, I have a teammate, Krissy Drupp, that rode Tahoe with us and she currently takes Gleevac. Krissy was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) in February 2009 and she will take Gleevac every day for the rest of her life. Simply amazing…is what comes to mind! Krissy was also featured in the TNT June newsletter and stated that her positive attitude made her a success for the 100 mile ride and she couldn't have done it without her "new TNT family!"

Now for the ride!! All through the training season the Tahoe alumni all said the same thing – “it is never windy in Tahoe”….well Mother Nature must have known I was coming because it was windy….20mph gusts. Fortunately, training in Texas prepares any cyclist for the wind but when you couple it with mountains it becomes a bit more challenging. The morning started out sunny, chilly, crisp, dry, and quiet – a perfect morning to start a ride. Lake Tahoe is beautiful – snow capped mountains, blue water, white sand, and spectacular views from the mountain roads. 12 miles in was our first significant climb – Emerald Bay – about 800 feet of climbing over a 4 mile stretch of switch-back road. Good thing this climb was at the beginning because it was tough. Our team started the ride earlier than most so I did not see anyone get off their bike to walk up. What I did see, and I am likely one of these, was folks that were spinning their cranks just enough to stay upright to get up the mountain. The great thing about climbs like this is what goes up must come DOWN!!! The other side was almost straight down for about 800 feet over about 2 miles which was nothing short of thrilling. The middle 50 miles was fairly uneventful as it was mostly flat with rolling hills. The last rest stop came at mile 72 at which point the climbing started again…this time roughly 1000 feet over 8 miles. The climb itself wasn’t too bad except for the fact it was toward the end of the ride and most folks are getting tired. I came into this rest stop thinking I should he happy as the ride was almost done. But for some reason I wasn’t feeling the excitement of most of the others. I knew I would make it through the ride and I knew the coaches prepared us adequately. I had completed many tough training rides, finished the Shiner event a few weeks prior, and managed through all the typical aches and pains of training. I knew that I had done everything to get through all the climbing so I wasn’t worried about what lay ahead of me in terms of riding. As I look back on it I was thinking about what lay ahead of me after the ride. I was riding toward the end of the season, the end of training, the end of Saturday morning rides with the Team, and ultimately the end of something I had looked forward to for so long. I was definitely sad because in my mind I was riding to THE end. I didn’t really know how to articulate my feelings at the time so I made it a quick rest stop and told Dianna I was just ready to go. Ultimately, I almost felt that it wasn’t fair that I was done and many of our honored heroes – like Georgia – are still almost at the beginning. I spent 6 months training for this event and the season all came to a close in one day. Georgia, and many others, undergo 3 years of treatment and a lifetime of concern that their Leukemia might come back. So in a way I was feeling like I didn’t want our season to be over – I wanted to keep going because I knew our momentum was amazing and ultimately, I felt like every time our team went “out for a spin” we were there with our honored heroes, fighting right along beside them.

We will continue our momentum with TNT as Dianna has already signed up for more running events and will likely be mentoring on the winter run/walk season which begins in August (again with Dave and Meg as our coaches), so it isn’t really over for the Bacons with a Cause. Dianna is running her first FULL marathon on October 31…the 35th anniversary of the Marine Corp Marathon in Washington DC…one of the top 10 in the nation. She is doing this to celebrate her 35th birthday which is the week before. She also registered both of us for the San Antonio Rock and Roll Half Marathon in November – the weekend of our 8th Anniversary. Meg said she knew we were hooked because we sign up for endurance events to celebrate birthdays and anniversaries. We have to agree with Meg and think it is easy to see where our minds are these days. I think this past year may very well be just the beginning for us! We also think we got our kids hooked as we ran in a Memorial day 1k and our little man who is almost 3 ran the entire 1k…he refused to get in the stroller. It was a proud parent moment to say the least!

Thanks so much for all the generosity everyone has shown - every little bit helps and there are many ways to donate money or time. Since the first funding in 1954, LLS has awarded more than $680 million in research funding….donor funding, your funding, so be proud that you are all part of the fight!

Until next time – keep Georgia on your Mind and be on the lookout for more from Bacons with a Cause! If you are considering completing an endurance event…please contact us as the winter season begins in August and we’d love to have you on our team!

Oh and one more thing…as you watch the video Dianna put together…the red cowboy hats on our helmets help others know what chapter we are from. Remember there were 3300 cyclists in the event and 1300 are Team in Training all wearing very similar jerseys…so each chapter wears something symbolic on their helmets. It is very entertaining for all the spectators!

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Thursday, June 10, 2010


This past weekend was fast and furious...there wasn't much down time in Tahoe as everyone got checked in, went for test rides and prepared for the big event! Tahoe was beautiful...and the weather couldn't have been better for a century ride. I won't go into detail about Will's ride...I'll leave him to post all that next week but I wanted to let everyone know that he did complete America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride...all 100.96 miles!

Also, a very interesting note is that Sunday, June 6 was also National Cancer Survivor's Day! We want everyone to be a survivor which is why we participate in events like raise money for research because research saves lives. And that wouldn't be possible without each of you...our friends and family who donated!

Lastly, I want to share that this past Monday was Georgia's last day of Interim Maintenance - that means 3 phases of primary treatment down, 1 to go! From what her mom said...the last one is the toughest, but it's also the LAST one before maintenance. So every day will bring Georgia one day closer to her finish line! Please continue to send thoughts and prayers her way!

So that's all for now...look out for Will's post next week.

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Friday, June 4, 2010 we come!

So Will's ride is this Sunday, June 6 with a start time of 6:00am! There will be 3300 cyclists that day completing either a 72 mile or 100 mile course. All Team in Training participants ride the 100 mile course. Here's a little more about America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride...

The ride circumnavigates the highways clockwise around Lake Tahoe in both Nevada and California adding an out and back on Highway 89/ Bike Trail to visit historic Truckee, California. It includes a challenging 800 foot climb to a rest stop overlooking Emerald Bay and a 1,000 foot climb to Spooner Junction (which as you can see above in the elevation map begins at mile 80 and peaks at mile 88). There are also many short rolling ascents and descents totaling over 2,600 vertical feet of elevation gain! The altitude ranges between 6,300 feet and 7,100 feet above sea level and the ride is recommended for conditioned recreational bicyclist, not for beginners. On the downhills the riders can be at speeds of 45mph!

The ride is also proud to be the century selected by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team In Training Program where participants from over 69 different cities across the country will raise over $8.5 million to support their mission of finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life for their patients and families.

Please keep Will in your thoughts & prayers this weekend as well as all the other cyclists. I'd like to ask for a special prayer to go out to the family & friends of Fred Brickner. He was a teammate of our dear friends, Tommy & Sharon, who live in Orange County (CA) and will be cycling along side Will this Sunday. They were finishing an 85 mile training ride on May 22 and at mile 82 Fred collasped. A fellow teammate called 911 but they could not revive him. This would have been Fred's 5th time to complete the Tahoe read how he got started visit his TNT page...its quite a story!

So to my amazing husband who has made me incredibly proud completely two centuries in a month and all TNT cyclists...Good luck!

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Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Shiner Down, Tahoe to Go….and video included!

For those keeping up with our posts, I apologize for the delay in getting the Shiner update. Things have been busy since the event – training, kids, work, more training, more kids, more work but that’s not excuse so here we go….

The Austin to Shiner Century Ride was fantastic. The entire event benefits the American Cancer Society and our Team rides for The Leukemia Society so over 1000 riders pedaled to Shiner raising a ton of money to help wipe out all sorts of cancer. Some were riding in honor of another, some were riding to train, and others were riding just for fun but everyone had 2 common goals – get to Shiner and raise some money in the effort to wipe out cancer…absolutely awesome!!

Prior to the ride, Courtney and Trevor Moore (Georgia’ parents) met us at the starting line. It was so great to have them there and I don’t think I could really express how much it meant to me personally to see them right before we left. It was like a little boost of energy and a little bit of calming for pre-race jitters at the same time. They watched as we rolled out which I think was exciting for them too as they saw hundreds of cyclists rolling down the street….pretty cool if you have never seen something like that before! We had another opportunity to spend time with Georgia and her whole family the next day when we went to a blood drive that was being held in Georgia’s honor. Once it was all said and done, the whole weekend was seemingly “dedicated” to fundraising and volunteering from thousands of people all for the same cause. Selfless (and of course inspiring) are what comes to mind when thinking about all the folks that gave their time on a beautiful weekend in Austin.

Now to the ride – wake up call at 5am – we were meeting downstairs at 6 to head to the start. The day started out a little overcast and cool but NO WIND….at least not yet – this after all is Texas and you never know what to expect weather-wise. As I mentioned in a previous post, my plan was to ride with my Team a little more since we have become close over the past few months and I think it is cool when you see a bunch of folks grouped together wearing the TNT jerseys….the jersey’s really stand out, everyone knows what they are and what they mean, and it really signifies the spirit of the Team. We all started out strong knowing that the faster we rode the less chance there was that we would get caught in the wind. Dianna, her mom, grandma, nephew, and our kids were at a rest stop at mile 35 – this was the first time the kids have seen “daddy” on event day so it was really special to me when I pulled up and saw them holding the signs they made to cheer me (and the Team) on. I saw them at 2 more stops and was looking forward to it knowing that I was only going to see them a few times on the course. I remember thinking as we all drove to Austin on Friday – all 7 of us – that this was going to be crazy and I was going to be worried about the kids and they weren’t going to sleep in the hotel etc, etc, etc…all that went away when I saw Dianna, Abi, and Beau at the first rest stop. Later, I confessed to Dianna that I did not think it was (initially) a good idea that we bring the kids with us, but ended up thanking her later for insisting. It was really special and Dianna and the family did a great job of making sure that I had plenty of time to rest and recover pre- and post- ride. Thank you Fran for all your help!

As ride day went on, there was a pack of us that rode together, sometimes spread over a mile or so and sometimes in a paceline. While I always find inspiration and strength from thinking about Georgia, Allie, and our other honored heroes, I found myself thinking a lot about the Team and why each of them were there. Nick for example, a young, early 20’s, recent Texas A&M grad that lost his brother to Leukemia a few years ago; and Matt (whose wife Jess is also on the Team) who lost a grandparent; and Tex, whose kids are grown and doesn’t have a real significant connection to LLS but is by far one of the most positive men I have ever met; and Kim who has 2 adult brothers that were both diagnosed with Leukemia and she pledges not to get off her bike until they are both in remission; and Coach Becky who gave bone marrow to someone she did not know so that he could live for another 9 months; and the list goes on but my thoughts kept coming back to the fact that some of our Team has a connection to Leukemia and some don’t but what brings everyone together is the CHOICE to do something. Each person on the Team, our Coaches Becky and Tracy, Amber our TNT coordinator, our captains Tommy and Becky, and every participant has made the decision to not sit back and do nothing – they get up and train, fundraise, work, raise families, and ultimately decide that they are going to use their good health in the best way they know how - to honor a loved one, to lead by example, and to make a difference in the lives of our honored heroes. The past few months have been amazing – I have talked about being inspired by Georgia and her family, I continue to talk about my gratitude to Dianna and Allie for introducing me to such a wonderful and meaningful cause, I talked about training and the benefits (physical and mental) that come from pushing yourself but I guess I always felt like I was leaving something out. During the Shiner event I realized that the Team was the “shout out” I was forgetting. In our lives we all come across a person/people that are inherently good, selfless, and inspiring. As luck has it for me, I have spent the last 6 months with a Team of people that live the qualities I admire. For that I am humbled and grateful.

Now it is on to Tahoe – just a few short weeks away! A special thanks to my Dad, Bill and stepmom Debbie for coming to Shiner for the afternoon to see me cross the finish line - we are looking forward to having them in Tahoe to cheer us on too.

More posts to come as we wind down the training season and prepare for America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride!! And instead of just a few pictures...Dianna put together a video of the weekend. GO TEAM!

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Friday, May 14, 2010

Life is a journey, a marathon (or a century ride!)

I know we promised a full blog entry about Shiner...but we've had a crazy week and if you don't know you kind of have to "feel it" when you are writing for a want it to be heart-felt yet entertaining. And I gotta cut Will some slack...that man has been busy training as the Lake Tahoe Century is right around the corner...22 days to be exact! But he says he is working on the update.

What I have to say is not funny but truly from the heart...and I wanted to share it with you. Some of you might be shocked because if you know us know that Will and I are very private with our affection. Will sent this poem to me the day before we left for his Austin to Shiner ride and it touched me...he said he came across it on the internet and thought it was "timely". Well "timely" got me thinking about our life together. So if you spare me a couple minutes...I'm going to share some thoughts (and feelings!).

Will and I embarked upon our "journey" 10 years ago - it was fast and furious...getting to know each other, falling in love, traveling together and getting married in 2002. Over the next couple years we experienced all types of rolling most relationships do. We kept moving...pushing on towards something, but I don't think either of us knew exactly what that was. Both of us continuing to find our way as individuals and together as couple. Then in 2006, we were blessed with Abigail and the speed of life increased significantly because Beau came 15 months later...more blessings, but at times, the pace was hard to handle so we leaned on each other as well as family and friends. It was a whirlwind of growth, change and about peaks and valleys! We were no longer a couple but a family...a TEAM. And who doesn't want to be part of team? Life was good. This past year has been fast, flat and exciting....soaring at times yet in an odd way, we found our groove...the pace that makes you feel like you can go forever. Because simply stated, a team is less "me" and more "WE"...and I like that. I like that I have others who depend on me (mostly the kids) but I also like that I can depend on them (mostly Will). I like that together we will continue on this journey through life with every type of terrain before us with no end in sight. GO TEAM BACON!

Life is a journey, a marathon (or a century ride!)
It begins. It ends.
Life is a contest of endurance with hills and valleys, peaks and depths.
A roller coaster ride. One we have little say in the choosing.
Captives of the rail, we journey from beginning to end.
Along the way, we learn that what is important is not the speed with which we transverse the distance, but the determination by which we traverse it.
There will be those who begin with swiftness and sureness only to finish laboriously and with uncertainty.
Others will begin slowly and gain momentum to rage towards the finish line.
BUT, no matter.
We will all finish the line.
There will be no losers.
Each of us benefiting from the richness of the journey.
Sometimes, benefiting from the journey of others!

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Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The 2010 TIME 100

No, we didn't actually write this blog entry, but we had to share it.... And Yes...we know its been over a week since Shiner and we still have not updated our blog...Will is working on that post and it will be here soon with photos, I promise.

And even though I couldn't be more proud of Will's 100 miles from Austin to Shiner (in 5 hours and 23 minutes...a teaser to his entry) this letter below ROCKS...and had to be posted!

This is YOUR money...the money you give to individuals like Will and I. So all of us together, really make a difference in helping fund (and find) a cure! GO TEAM!

LLS Funded Researcher is on Time Magazine's List of 100 Most Influential People

Dear Friend of LLS:

I am pleased to share exciting news about Larry Kwak, M.D., Ph.D., a researcher funded by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Dr. Kwak was recently named one of TIME Magazine's "100 Most Influential People," for his role in advancing custom-made vaccines for patients with lymphoma.

Dr. Kwak, professor and chair of the Department of Lymphoma and Myeloma at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, has focused his work on harnessing the power of the immune system of patients with follicular non-Hodgkin's lymphoma to fight their cancer. The vaccines are developed by taking proteins from the patient's own tumor, training them to find and kill lymphoma cells and then injecting them back into the patient. Currently in late stage clinical trials, the vaccines have been shown to extend disease-free survival for more than a year.

In 2007, LLS awarded Dr. Kwak a five-year, $6.25 million Specialized Center of Research grant, our most prestigious research award. These grants are distinctive in that they encourage at least three laboratories at the same or different institutions to work together. In addition to continuing his work on the personalized lymphoma vaccines, this grant is enabling Dr. Kwak to expand his research to develop immunotherapies for patients with leukemia and myeloma as well.

Throughout his distinguished career, Dr. Kwak has been on the cutting edge of researching and developing novel immunotherapies that are already showing a clear benefit for patients with cancer. We are proud of Dr. Kwak's well-deserved recognition and are honored to have played a role in helping to advance this life-saving work.

To read more about Dr. Kwak's inclusion in the "2010 Time 100" please visit
Time Magazine's website, and to learn more about our Research programs visit Please join us in taking pride in Dr. Kwak's achievements.

John E. Walter
President & CEO (LLS)

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Monday, April 26, 2010

Our “Endurance Weekend” --- and I am now convinced Muenster is German for Monster…

This past weekend starts to wrap up the training season as the Shiner GASP approaches this weekend. On Saturday, I rode the Muenster Germanfest Bike Rally, then jumped right in the car to meet Dianna in Oklahoma City for the 10th annual OKC Memorial Marathon and Half-Marathon.

A little about the Muenster Rally – it is 62 miles, very hilly, some rough road, crowded, and when windy a very challenging ride. All those conditions were very present including wind, wind, and more wind. 30 mph gusts at times and we only had about 15 miles where the wind was truly at our back. I started the ride worried that I would not make it in time to OKC to meet up with Dianna (and our friends) for dinner because the wind was howling with no sign of letting up….have I mentioned before that wind is not your friend when riding a bike?? I decided it was the last training ride before Shiner so I might as well go for it and leave all I had on the course. I did just that while perfecting some skills that needed a little work – like opening granola bars, eating cookies, and washing down electrolyte chomps all while riding. I stopped twice to refill bottles, load my jersey up with snacks, and text Dianna with progress reports. The wind was ridiculous and at times I caught myself thinking (and saying) some things that aren’t fit to print. Dianna sent back some texts with the words of encouragement I needed, took the stress off a little, and ultimately I finished in 4 hours 15 minutes - 4 hours and 4 minutes of actual pedal time. Not bad considering the wind but I had nothing left when I got to the car. That said, I felt fairly proud that I finished the way I did because at the Shiner event I will not really have a time constraint – I really just need to finish and while I did not ride much with my team in Muenster, I plan to ride with them a little more on the route to Shiner. Besides, the training rides are sometimes nice to ride alone as it provides some nice thinking time to keep things in perspective.

Now that Muenster was behind me, it was on to OKC to meet up with Dianna. I made it just in time to grab a quick shower and head to dinner. This was Dianna’s second half-marathon of the year and one of the steps on her quest to run the 35th annual Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC in October. We had a relaxing dinner with friends on Saturday evening and as tempting as it was to really let our hair down and have some cocktails, we all knew 4:30am was going to come awfully early…..did I mention the run started at 6:30am?? Wake up call at 4:30 - although I don’t think either of us slept that well anticipating the event. It was a wonderful and memorable event with 168 seconds of silence at the start to honor the 168 victims that died in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building bombing. Dianna did great, beating her actual run time from the Austin half-marathon in February….but of course, being the perfectionist that she is, wasn’t happy with the time and vows to do some speed work to keep improving her time….amazing and inspiring are the only 2 words that can describe how I felt as I remember us spending a few private moments together when she was done.

Back to my thoughts on the “thinking time” and Dianna’s texts I mentioned above. When I was riding Muenster, she sent me a few texts, one that simply read – “remember you don’t HAVE to do this – you GET to do this”. That statement alone kept me pushing hard toward the finish – not so much because I was trying to hurry, now I was remembering why I am doing the Shiner and Tahoe events. There are so many folks that do not “get” to do this because they are in treatment, are too weak to even walk at times, can’t get out of the house much because their immune systems are suppressed, and the list goes on. I remembered that I am doing this for Georgia, for all people diagnosed with blood cancers, and for all the people who continue to support us with their generous donations to the Leukemia Society. A few simple words in a text message (from the only person that it could mean something from) that brought me back to where I needed to be – not worried about dinner, or making good time to OKC, but back on the course with Georgia on my mind and thinking that it was all our supporters that were the wind for 15 miles on my back!


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