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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