Thursday, December 15, 2011

17 Celebrations & ICECREAM!

Today, December 15, 2011, marks Allie's 17th year in we celebrate her life! The photo above was taken this summer in Hawaii with her family...and that handsome young man next to her is her younger brother - Andrew.

Allie is beautiful inside and out and I can't wait to see the path her life takes as she soon will embark on a new journey in 2012...Allie will graduate high school and has her goal set on becoming a nurse so she may help others!

So, if you'd like to do something to CELEBRATE and that will benefit another child battling cancer join us for ICECREAM tomorrow - December 16 at Marble Slab (Frisco/Little Elm border) from 3pm to 9pm (2831 Eldorado Parkway) to help out our honored hero Grayson!

Marble Slab will be donating a portion of the profits to Grayson's family : )

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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cupcakes & Dimples

So who loves CUPCAKES?

Well here is your opportunity to eat cupcakes and feel good about it. On Sunday, November 20 from 12:00pm to 5:00pm you may go to Dimples Cupcake Factory in Frisco Square and purchase cupcakes and a percentage will go towards helping Grayson and his family!

If you didn't read Grayson's blog last week...there was a bump in the road. Grayson's status was changed from low-risk to high-risk which means he will have to endure a more intensive chemotherapy plan. This is not the kind of news his family wanted to hear nor any of us.

Please help us support them and EAT CUPCAKES! And a huge THANK YOU to Dimples for their support of this awesome family!

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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Green "Gray"celets!

Grayson's favorite color is I ordered GREEN "Gray"celets to show support for Grayson and his family.

How do you get a GREEN Team Gray"celet"?

If you donate a minimum of $5.00 to my Team in Training account I will mail you 2 bracelets. If you donate more...I can mail you more. It is that easy! Click on the link above or the fundraising widget on the right-side of the page to DONATE NOW!

Please note that your donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is tax-deductible. 75% of the money raised goes directly to research & patient services. If you want to know what that money has funded recently please read this post about Dr. Larry Kwak who was named TIME Magazine's "100 Most Influential People," for his role in advancing custom-made vaccines for patients with lymphoma.


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A Perfect Weekend

This weekend was packed full of GOOD things:

1) First, Grayson, my honored hero was home from the hospital after spending 36 out of 45 days there. Kalee (his mom) said they got to spend a lazy weekend all together which brought lots of smiles and laughter.

Wanna know what a HERO looks like? Check him out below before being released from the hospital. The image of him taking his own medicine bought back a flood of memories of Allie towards the end of her treatment when she was old enough to hold the syringe herself. Children are resilient when it comes to battling cancer. Not to mean they don't have bad days...but they adapt quickly to a "new normal".

2) Allie, my 17 year old niece, completed the 2011 Susan G Komen Dallas 3 day walk with her teacher...60 miles in 3 days! We cheered for her on Saturday and then went to the closing ceremony Sunday. It is a huge event...which raised $7 million.

She walked in honor of my Mom who celebrated 20 years of being a breast cancer survivor on June 25. She also walked in honor of two other women who are friends of their family & her teacher's Aunt. Doesn't she look awesome after walking 60 miles? I am so proud of her! Stay tuned because Allie will be telling about her 3 day journey on the blog soon!

3. Last, I ran DRC Half marathon on Sunday morning. It was new event for me and one I probably wasn't fully prepared for. Chicago full was about 4 weeks ago and my training has been sporadic since, but I wanted to run it anyway. Jessica ran it as well along with David & Meg. Jessica and I stayed together for the duration of the race. She was coming off a 32 mile week already. Her increased miles coupled with my decreased miles made for an interesting race to say the least. The course was hilly...for some reason I thought it was going to be flat. At about mile 10 I just wanted to be done and when that happens I think about my honored heros and I also thought about Allie walking the final 15 miles of her journey with blistered I pushed on the best I could. I'm actually pretty proud of my finishing time (2:13:30) because it was just shy of my PR at Dallas RnR this past March (2:12:46). Granted I know in running 44 seconds can mean a lot but to me...I ran 44 seconds shy of my PR on a course that (to me) was much harder.

One last note, most of you know that Georgia comes along on all my long runs & races in the form of her orange "Keepin Georgia on your Mind" bracelet. Well I wanted to bring Grayson along too...I've ordered some green (his fav color) Team Grayson bracelets but they hadn't arrived, so I went with a green rubberband instead. Grayson ran his first 13.1 miles! That coupled with him home with his family made for a perfect weekend!

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This one's for Grayson

This past August my daughter, Abi, started kindergarten. And my niece, Allie, started her senior year. Most of you know how close Allie and I I thought it was perfect that as Abi started her educational journey...Allie would be finishing hers. As a mother and a teacher...this was an exciting & happy time. Her year started along with roughly 120 other happy (and nervous) kinder students at her school. But in late September after about six weeks of school...I found out that one of those kindergartener was diagnosed with leukemia. His name is Grayson. And his mom...a fellow teacher at that elementary school.

My heart broke, tears flowed and new honored hero was added to our family's mission. I had to find a way to help.

I just finished running the Chicago wasn't a Team in Training (TNT) event but I always run for my honored heros. They are the reason I run. So as Abi and I decorated the sign I wear on my back...she added Grayson's name to it.

So I'm at it again...I signed up for spring season with TNT and will fundraise in Grayson's honor. The event for spring is the Dallas Rock & Roll Half Marathon on March 25. The money raised goes towards research and patient services...research that will help discover more effective treatments for leukemia and eventually find a cure!

Allie's the reason I got involved with TNT and over the past 11 years we've met too many children with Grayson. But Allie has been blessed...she will celebrate 17 years of remission this December. I want that for Grayson and his family!

Please consider helping me in my mission & donating in Grayson's honor. My goal is to raise $800. Not sure what to give? Or think it might not be enough? Well, every dollar helps...
  • Donate $5.00 in honor of Grayson being 5 and fighting cancer.
  • Donate $13.00 in honor of me running 13.1 miles for him.
  • Donate $17.00 in honor of Allie celebrating 17 years in remission.
  • or donate more if you can...just click the link below

You can read more about Grayson by visiting his blog.

Much love & thanks! GO TEAM!

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

What Moves You?


In one word...Cancer...that is what keeps me moving. with cancer. And it all started almost 17 years ago this November when Allie was diagnosed with leukemia.

We've come a LONG LONG way!

Last month Allie submitted her story to Little Guy Movers which is a moving company in Denton. But the story, of course, isn't that simple. I have a connection to them as connection to Little Guy Movers goes back to 1997 when they helped me move after college...see there was a Little Guy Movers in San Marcos and Denton! And they helped me move again a couple years later. Little did I know they would play a part in our lives much later down the road and it would have nothing to do with moving.

Little Guy Movers has a community project that helps individuals and organizations in need. So as I said before Allie submitted her story...that she was a baby when diagnosed with leukemia and now as a teen she wants to help others. She told them she had not only raised money for LLS/TNT by completing the 2009 White Rock Relay and the 2010 White Rock Half Marathon but was now training and fundraising for the Susan G Komen 3 day with her ASL teacher. If your story is selected it goes up against 2 other stories and over the course of 30 days people vote on the one that "moves them" the most. And Allie's story was selected!

So Allie went up again two other stories...the one that played the biggest part was an organization called the Cupcake Crew who actually helps individuals like Allie. The battle for votes was a long one...Allie would surge ahead and then the Cupcake Crew would catch up and vice versa. It went like that for the entire 30 days up until the last second...literally!

The outcome...well technically Allie lost by 1 vote in the final seconds...but the owners of Little Guy Movers called her when the voting closed and gave her some awesome news. They had never seen voting like this on their site and it had NEVER been such a close race that they were awarding $1000 to BOTH Allie and the Cupcake Crew. Woohoo!

I have to say I'm impressed by their actions...Little Guy Movers definitely knows what moves our family and that is the fight against cancer...any kind!

So if you need movers PLEASE check out Little Guy Movers...they definitely deserve the business of our friends and family.

ps...With the $1000 the Cupcake Crew received they will now officially be able to get their 501(c)3 status. So if you are in the Murfreesboro, TN area please check them out!

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Friday, October 14, 2011 Just Keep Swimming

"A marathoner is a marathoner regardless of time. Virtually everyone who tries the marathon has put in training over months, and it is that exercise and that commitment, physical and mental, that gives meaning to the medal, not just the day’s effort, be it fast or slow. It's all in conquering the challenge."

I read this quote 2 days after I ran the Chicago was written on a teammates' FB page by another teammate. The quote is from Mary Wittenberg, the CEO and President of the New YorkRoadRunners who oversees the NYC Marathon and other running events.

Time...well isn't that what Chicago was all about? Likewise, the burning question many ask when you finish a marathon is "what was your time?" It isn't a bad question to ask, really...its legitimate...I
mean why on earth do people go out and run 26.2 miles? That's a long way to run. Runners for the most part are time-oriented. Do I have enough time for a run? How many miles can I get in during this time? Did my time improve from my last 5k, 10k, half? I could go on...

The dictionary defines "time" as the system of those sequential relations that any event has to any other, as past, present, or future; indefinite continuous duration regarded as that in which events succeed one another.

For me Chicago was about was my race...the one I've trained, sweated and cried over for the last 9 months. When all is said and done...I missed my goal by 2 minutes and 37 seconds. My official finisher time is 5:02:37. Am I upset? Yes, because I made a goal and I didn't make it happen and that falls on me. Am I disappointed in myself? No.

I started running in August, 2009 with Team in Training. I've estimated that I've logged roughly 348 days of running and about 1044 miles in 2 years and 3 months. This coming from someone who hadn't ever run a consecutive mile in her least not one that I remember. So when I go back in time and look at it that way...I think I've got a lot to be proud of...I can now say I'm a runner. Chicago was also my 3rd full marathon all in 1 year! From Marine Corp Marathon to White Rock to Chicago I shaved off 31 minutes!

I won't go into detail about the 5 hours I was on the course...mainly because I don't recall all of it. I vividly remember how packed the course is with 45,000 runners on it and trying to find a place to zone out was difficult. Robin and I ran together the majority of the race...we separated in the last 4 miles. I've said it before but I will again...having a friend next to you in a marathon is priceless...comfort beyond words. I remember seeing Will and Ken (Robin's husband) at Mile 13. Seeing Will on the course always gives me a lift. Then at Mile 18 I saw my family...tears of joy. Abi and Beau were handing out skittles and pretzels...I was so proud of them. I remember my iPod dying at Mile 19.

After 19...I was tired and without music to help me zone out. I looked at my orange "Georgia" bracelet and words that would get me through the next 7 miles came to me..."Just Keep Swimming". It is what Courtney (Georgia's Mom) has said the last year or so... "Just keep swimming ..." is a pretty good motto, especially in the fight against cancer, so that's what Georgia's going to do. Just keep swimming, and before we know it, the summer will be over, primary treatment will be over, and she'll be back in school with
all the other little fish, where she belongs. " So I just kept swimming to the finish line because if Georgia and all the other children I know can fight cancer I can finish my race!

And in the end that's what is was's not about the's about why I started running. I started running to celebrate Allie's 15th year in remission and I just kept going because it breaks my heart to see a child with cancer.

In closing...I'd have to say the best part of the weekend was the last morning we were there. My grandparents have lived in the same house for 56 years. I've spent countless holidays there and I can close my eyes and visualize every inch of that house especially the photos I took on that front porch. This weekend was the first time that Allie, Andrew, Abi and Beau all gathered in that house together. My grandfather passed away 6 years ago this month but I know he had to be smiling down on us and I know it made my Grandma overjoyed to have us there.

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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Windy City & Gray Skies

Race week is here...almost over actually and I'm headed to the Windy City tomorrow for the 2011 Chicago Marathon. As always I've prepared as much as I can...I've read everything (twice)...I've trained, planned, packed...done it all. I'm ready and for the first time, in all honesty, I think I have a real chance at making my goal a reality. So we'll see...whatever happens on race day is beyond my control. I have to relinquish that control to the man above. And since not being in control is something I'm always working on...I'm hoping that my faith, belief and trust will help me on Sunday when I need it the most. The motto of this year's Chicago Marathon..."Let's Run Together" fitting as my honored heros are always on my mind & running with me.

What I couldn't control was that my little girl got sick this week : ( She missed 3 days of school and has been running a fever all week. Those who know me well...know that this caused an incredible amount of worry. My mind often drifts to the worst case scenario (something else I have to work on). It definitely put a damper on the week and altered some training plans but as long as she is on the mend I will be good.

On the subject of children...I want to ask for some special prayers for a kinder friend of my daughter. Last week we found out that a boy in the room next to her was diagnosed with leukemia. I don't personally know his family but children like him are why I run. His name is Grayson. He is 5 and in kinder...what should be an exciting time for him and his family but instead they heard the words no parents wants to hear. BUT I have some good news...Grayson is in an elite group of children with leukemia...his body has responded so well to chemo that after 8 days of treatment he is considered to be in remission! Now...he still has to endure 2.5-3 years of treatment like the majority of children with 'ALL' but this is a really good sign. To learn more about Grayson please click him name and it will direct you to his blog - When Skies are Gray.

So until Sunday...send prayers for safe travels, healthy bodies, quick legs and most of all comfort to Grayson and his family!

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Monday, September 19, 2011

9 + Peer Pressure = 22.1 miles

This weekend was full of running to say the least...22.1 miles to be exact. I didn't plan it that way but peer pressure got the best of me : )

In all honesty, the marathon training schedule calls for a 20 mile run 3 weeks before race day and Sunday was exactly 3 weeks out from Chicago Marathon. But two weeks ago Robin and I ran our 20 mile training run. It was hard...not gonna lie. It wasn't the best of training runs we've had but we got through it. So with three weeks out I needed a confidence booster.

Jessica, Tony (Jessica's Dad) and Serene had signed up for the Plano Balloon Festival Half Marathon. And like all good running friends...Jessica and Serene applied a good amount of peer pressure to sign up. So not wanting to feel left out and using the excuse that it would be a great 'training' race I signed up...on Saturday. Yes, the day before! Not to mention that Saturday is our TEAM run day so I ran 6 miles with the team and finished it off with a 3 mile walk with Allie. (Yep 9 miles the day before the race!)

I had no idea what the race course would be like but I was determined to at least run a decent race. I needed to log these miles and I needed to feel good about it. I ran a good amount of the course with Serene and we had a great time catching up. The course had some rolling hills...not horrible but not what I was hoping for.

But when it came down to it...I crossed the finish line and I was happy! It wasn't my best time nor my worst but all in all I had a great day. I was happy with my average pace and am hoping to carry that forward to Chicago. What made it even better...Will and the kids decided to come to the festival and were at the finish line!
And when I got home from work today...I had a surprise in the mail. My Chicago Marathon confirmation ticket! 18 days to go and I think I'm ready.

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Sunday, September 11, 2011

September...should be like October!

I've been pretty quiet these last couple weeks...but today I got fired up again. Our new winter team had our Honored Hero Luncheon and we had a fantastic turn out! It was great to get together with teammates outside of running clothes and share friendship and food!

I was reminded today that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness month and I have a wish. That wish is that the month of September would be just as big as the month of October in that October is "pink-ed out" supporting breast cancer. Don't get me wrong...I support breast cancer research. My Mom is a 20 year survivor and I never want to have to go through what she did nor would I want my daughter, niece or anyone else I know. However, I want the same support for children enduring cancer. Everyone who reads my blogs knows that children with cancer pulls at my heartstrings more than anything else. It is heart-wrenching to see a child endure cancer!

Please help me support fellow teammates as they fundraise and train to find a cure. If someone asks you for donation...please give! Even $5.00 means the world to that person asking! Incredible, kind and giving people have joined our TEAM this of our coaches said it best last week "We are pushing our bodies to meet new challenges, and raising funds for life-saving research. Whether we knew someone that had been touched by a blood cancer before we joined, or if we met them along the way, we all have some connection to the cause. Every step we take, every training mile we log, and every dollar that we raise makes a difference in someone’s life. "

So please help us make a difference in someone's life...especially the life of a child!


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Friday, August 19, 2011

Winter has arrived...well almost!

TEAM IN TRAINING Winter season kicked off last Sunday and our 1st official group training is tomorrow, August 20. This season I am the Honored Hero Captain and very excited about it!

Each participant comes to TNT for their own reason...some lost a loved one to cancer, they know someone currently fighting cancer, they want to make a difference & fundraise for a charity or simply for the physical fitness aspect. Whatever their reason we are glad they joined and look forward to seeing each of them CROSS THE FINISH LINE!

This season we have three TEAM honored heros - Phillip Endres, Allie Ciulla & James Berg. I have blogged about each of them before, so click on their names if you'd like to read more.


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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Join me in Creating a World Without Cancer...

I probably don't need to tell you how serious cancer is...these days everyone has someone close to them who has been affected by this awful disease. When it comes to blood cancers did you know that every four minutes, someone new is diagnosed with blood cancer and every 10 minutes someone dies? Leukemia is the #1 disease killer of children.

You can make a difference by joining me and training for a full or half marathon this winter season - info meetings start this week and kick off is August 14! To learn more about what awesome events are this coming season check out the events page.

I also want to update you on one of our honored heros from Winter 2010 season...Philip. Remember him from my post last season? Well Philip had his port removed yesterday and that means he is at the end of his treatment. And to top it off he was a big brother earlier this summer. Lots of good things happening for Philip and his family...God Bless them all.

Children like Philip are why I stay committed to Team in Training. Seeing them reach this milestones and live a healthy life is the ultimate reward for all the long miles and sweat that goes into training.

I look forward to meeting new participants and honored heros this season.


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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A Half Dozen + 1 Request

So Sunday, June 12 marked my 6th half marathon - Wounded Warrior in Las Colinas, Texas. This was the 2nd annual Wounded Warrior half marathon and it was started to honor men and women of the military and help raise money for the Semper Fi Fund, which provides assistance to Marines & Sailors injured in post 9-11 combat, and ReserveAid, which gives financial support to Reserve Service Members from all branches of the military. It is an incredible cause and after running Marine Corp Marathon last October I would run almost any event benefiting the Semper Fi Fund.

Needless to say it was HOT. I ran the event with several friends - Meg, Serene, Jessica, myself, Robin and Tammy (in order). We didn't all stay together but it is nice to know you have some buddies out there feeling what you are, tired and ready to see that finish line. The course is relatively flat and fast...but again it was HOT and its Texas in the summer! It wasn't my best time but it wasn't my worst so I'm proud of that. Around mile 9-ish if I recall cor
rectly I found myself really "digging deep" because the sun was beating down and at that point there wasn't any shade. I always wear my orange Georgia bracelet on long training runs or race days...and as I circled it on my wrist several times it gave me that extra boost I needed for that final 3 miles. I crossed the finish line with a big smile, thanked the ROTC gentleman who handed me my shiny new medal and said a little prayer that I made it without needing a medic!

On a more serious prayers honestly went out to the men & women who serve our country and give us the very freedom who allow us to be able to run freely & safely in this country. Secondly, they go out to my honored Georgia who are strong & courageous in their battle with cancer. Georgia continues to do well and for that I am so very thankful. However, I (and Allie) have another honored hero, Morgan, who could really use your this is where my request comes in. Morgan, who just accepted her high school diploma less than a month ago, has been battling leukemia since December of 2009. Morgan is from Frisco and her and Allie became fast friends. Allie volunteers for many of Morgan's fundraising events and tries to see her whenever she in in Frisco visiting. Today Morgan was admitted into the hospital and directly into ICU. Allie doesn't know much more than that but Morgan's mom posted on FB and asked for prayers so if you can add her to your prayer list we would greatly appreciate it.

Here's to another half dozen...or more...until we find a cure!

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Friday, June 10, 2011

Can we Outrun Cancer?

Shortly after I started running in July of 2009 and came back to TNT to tackle marathon training I subscribed to Runner's World magazine. I love it and I look forward to it coming every month in the mail. I read it cover to cover. Well this month I was pleasantly surprised when I opened it to find an entire article dedicated to "outrunning cancer" and it talks about TEAM IN TRAINING!

The article showcases what a difference individuals can make by running for the cause and shares inspiring stories highlighting cancer survivors!

In the article TNT is mentioned frequently! In fact it points out TNT has raised more than 1 billion dollars since 1988. What's most exciting is the mention of our funding of research that led to the development of the breakthrough cancer drug Gleevec. First approved to treat patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia, it's now being tested for patients with breast, ovarian and prostate cancer as well as nerve, brain and small cell lung cancers. And Gleevec is also being tested on melanoma and other diseases. Will and I have trained beside teammates who currently take Gleevec...they're alive...running and cycling today because of this drug.

There is even a feature on Dr. Brian Druker...the doctor who developed Gleevec with funding in part by TNT! Here's what he had to say about TNT:

"The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society recognized the opportunity with Gleevec," Dr. Drucker says. "They were willing to take a chance on our work. Unfortunately, researchers today are basically in the same position as we were a decade ago. If anything, it's even more difficult for novel research to gain federal funding. We're more reliant than ever on private non-profits like LLS."

So can we OUTRUN CANCER? I honestly don't know. Will says I have an unhealthy fear of cancer...and I do. But I'm willing to give it my best my children nor myself ever have to battle this disease or lose a loved one to it. So I'm willing to keep training and keep fundraising if it helps save my life, my child's, a loved one or even a perfect stranger!

I'm proud to WEAR the color PURPLE to most events. I'll be wearing it this Sunday, June 12 as I run the Wounded Warrior Half marathon with my TNT friends. And I'm proud to be a part of THE TEAM! The TEAM that will one day bring down the ugly monster we call mile at a time!

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

A Hero's Wings...

I have not posted since May 10...when I spoke of Andrew Small and his courageous battle with cancer. It is with a very heavy heart this morning that I share that Andrew was granted his angel wings yesterday, May 23.

I do not personally know the Small family but we know their friends...Please join me in praying for his family and friends during this difficult time.

Read more about Andrew's journey.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day - Mother's Fears - Mother's Prayers

I've been debating and struggling to write this post for a couple days...mainly because I'm not sure part of the story is mine to share nor do I have the words to get it out. But my goal of this blog is simply to bring awareness and share Will and I's journey as we train for different events. Right now neither of us are in the "heat" of major training. I am signed up for the Chicago full marathon so come June my training will pick up considerly. But right now I'm mentoring summer season and I've been posting each week about our honored heros...this past Saturday we did not have our typically mission moment but there will be a mission moment towards the end of this post.

Sunday was Mother's day and if you saw my facebook post it was the BEST. MOTHERS. DAY. EVER. I got to sleep in (till 8:15), woke to quiet, smiling, healthy children who were so eager to have me open their mothers day cards, we went to church, had brunch, swam for the first time in our pool with friends, ordered pizza and finally called it a night by saying prayers and kissing tired little heads. I think that is one of the best days I've ever had since I became a mother. Absolutely perfect. I felt so very just doesn't get much better.

Later that night I climbed into bed with the iPad and checked some of the sites/blogs I follow. Right now I've been keeping up with Andrew Small...he is a family friend of Georgia, our friend and honored hero in Austin. Andrew was diagnosed with Leukemia on in July 2005 at the age of 5 and he received a Bone Marrow Transplant from his sister. He did well for four years and then in April 2010 a mass was found in his brain. It's a mother's worst fear to hear the words, "your child has cancer" is heartbreaking for me to hear stories such as this one week after week but it continues to push me to put one foot in front of the other mile after mile and it makes me want to continue to tell everyone about Team in Training's mission and how it helps find new treatments.

Unfortunately, the update on Andrew's caringbridge site that evening brought me to tears. I knew he wasn't doing well but the first line...well I don't have the words. This morning his parents posted another update which is the reason I made the decision to post. My heart aches for Andrew and his family. I won't even try to understand what they are going is not my place but I can offer my prayers and I can ask others to pray for them. So that is what I'm asking each of you who reads this blog...please pray for the Small family.

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Who you calling trashy?

Sunday was the first event for our summer team...we had 10 team members participating in the Heels and Hills HALF marathon. Overall there were 150 TNT participants from the surrounding areas. Jessica, Robin and I decided not to run the event but instead go out to support all the runners and walkers.

We met at 6:30am at a grocery store...and as we were all loading into my car it started to rain...not a good sign for race day. I quickly went into the store and bought a pack of trash bags. Yes, large black trash bags...they are a runner's saving grace on race day when its cold or raining. You'd be suprised at how warm they keep you and obviously will keep you dry. Plus they are completely disposable unlike a $50 running jacket you don't want to toss or ruin.

And come to find out they work really well for supporters too as seen above! The only negative about the trash couldn't see our TEAM IN TRAINING shirts.

On a more serious note...CONGRATULATIONS to all the runners/walkers who completed Sunday's event. It was definitely not an easy morning. The event was stopped several times and participants had to take cover due to the rain and storms. Our TNT participants in Oklahoma City at the OK City Memorial full and half marathon endured the same hats off to them as well. We are very proud of each of you!

Train Endure Achieve Matter!


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Saturday, April 30, 2011

Honored Hero: Georgia

It was my turn again for another mission moment this season at training...this Saturday I was speaking about Georgia, one of Will and I's friends & honored heros! Many of you have already met Georgia on our blog last year. Will cycled, not one but TWO century rides in her honor in 2010.

It was fitting that I would be speaking about her this Saturday because her Mom just announced on their blog that Friday, April 29 marked 1 year till the END of Georgia's treatment...yes only 365 more days!

For those that don't know Georgia's story...she was diagnosed in December of 2009 about a week after she turned 10. She quickly started treatment and at the 30 day mark she was in remission which is huge! Georgia has tolerated treatment relatively well with few bumps in the road. Her family is dedicated to her care, helping others and finding a cure like so many of us.

One of the biggest accomplishments was this past spring when Georgia was chosen as Girl of the Year for the Austin chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!

And as her mom said, "our girl is a fierce cancer warrior....and quite the advocate as well!" They have raised funds for LLS/TNT, LiveStrong, St. Baldricks, CureSearch and so much more!

Will and I are proud to call them our friends and even more proud to raise funds in her name!


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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Honored Hero: Dee

Dee & Blair Casey are on our summer team and Dee gave the mission moment this Saturday. Dee is a Lymphoma survivor and will be running her first HALF marathon this coming Sunday along side her husband!


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Sunday, April 17, 2011

A boy named Griffin...

Saturday's mission moment was given by Jessica. I first met Jessica through Team in Training in winter '09. It took us almost the entire season to strike up a conversation but after that we've been friends since and this is our 2nd season mentoring together. Jessica's mission moment is below...typed in her words.

When I first started this in 2009, like a lot of people, I did not have any type of connection to the cause. I was a member of a Moms Group and it was suggested that some of us put together relay teams for The White Rock Marathon and fundraise for Team In Training. Most of my friends did not know what TNT was but I did. I also knew that there was NO WAY this group of moms could run 6 or 7 miles. I knew what it takes to be a runner and I knew that we didn’t have it. It’s hard. Really hard. And I knew this not because I am or was a runner but because I’ve been exposed to running and races my entire life. My dad is a runner. All his friends are runners. Not occasional runners. Good runners. Fast runners. All of our family vacations were planned around marathons. He ran Boston and New York often. He always BQ’d (Boston Qualified) and was over 50 with a finish time well below 3:30 (New York’s requirements). Again, he is good.

So when my friends suggested we do this I thought they were out of their mind. Crazy. A few of us exercised regularly (not me of course) but none of us had ever run. So with no intention of signing up, I reluctantly went to the TNT informational meeting. I listened to the coach tell how anyone could so this. Still not convinced. I listened to a mentor say how fundraising is not as hard as it seems. Still no go. And then Monique Yarbrough got up to talk about her connection to the cause…

I remember her words like she said them yesterday. “My name is Mo and I am here to tell you about a boy named Griffin.” Her son Griffin was 2 when he was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma. He was 6 when he lost his battle with cancer. All I could think about was my son Grant, 6 at the time. That I get to go home and kiss him goodnight and that Mo didn’t. That here she is telling us why she walks and raises money. It hit me so deep. Would I be this brave if the roles were reversed? Could I do what she was doing? I don’t know. But I could figure out a way to run and raise money. So as I’m crying for this woman I have never met, I signed up. Because of Mo’s story - Griffin’s story – I committed to run not the relay but a half marathon.

And then I get home and have a bit of buyers remorse. What have I done? What have I gotten myself into? I decide I need to run a few miles before actual training starts. Just so I don’t embarrass myself. I didn’t make it 2 minutes before I had to stop. It was horrible. I wanted to quit before I even started. But I went to the first training anyway. Again, very reluctantly. And it just so happened that Mo was there. Telling her story. And that was it. I never looked back.

This is now my forth season with Team in Training. I have completed 9 half marathons and 1 FULL marathon. Somewhere along the way I realized I was getting just as much from TNT as I was giving to it. Maybe more. I have a great life. A wonderful and supportive family. But TNT filled a hole in my life that I did not realize was there. It is such an amazing feeling to be a part of something that helps so many lives. Something that is so much bigger than you. I will be forever grateful that I was “forced” to go to that TNT meeting.

Go TEAM! -


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Monday, April 11, 2011

Honored Hero: Jack

This past Saturday's mission moment was given by Deb Duffy. She is the neighbor of our summer coach, Charlene. Deb and her family's journey is the reason why Charlene got involved with Team in Training and continues to coach. This is Jack's story...told in part from Deb's speech on Saturday and also from his father's fundraising page...he is training for America's Most Beautiful Bike Ride this June with TNT. He has raised $9,092.00 already. Their fight to find a cure is inspiring!

On August 9, 2002, the Duffy's son, Jack, was diagnosed with ALL - acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He was 7 months old. They were told that Jack was high risk because of his age and high white count. Their journey started immediately...including chemotherapy, numerous hospital stays, almost daily doctor visits, spinal taps, central lines, ports, blood & platelet transfusions...AND this was just the first year.

Jack went into remission but the leukemia came back almost immediately after treatment stopped. The Duffy's only option at that point was a bone marrow transplant. Fortunately Jack's older brother, Ryan, was a perfect match! The bone marrow treatment consisted of even higher doses of chemotherapy and full body radiation. The transport went smoothly; however, the leukemia came back again.
After just under 2 years of fighting the disease...Jack lost his battle with leukemia on November 17, 2004.

The Duffy's lives were forever changed. This year, 2011, Jack would be 9 years old. The Duffy's say although the journey had lots of tears, pain and sorrow, it also had laughter, joy and happiness. They attribute that to Jack's spirit. His father said that, "the most part he fought his battle with a smile on his face and laughter in his heart. He fought so hard and squeezed as much life out as he could in the short time he was here." Jack's story personally hit home for me...Allie was the same age when she was diagnosed with leukemia but her outcome was much different. It is truly heartbreaking to hear parents tell their story about losing their child to cancer...the fighting, the praying, the worry...the unknown year after year during treatment and after.

What I ask of those reading this is to PLEASE pass on Jack's story as well as the stories of all our honored heros...share this blog with anyone who will read it. Most important if you are every approached by someone with Team in Training who is training for an endurance event PLEASE donate to them...every single $1 counts. A $5.00 donation means the world to that says I believe in you and I want to help you find a cure so no child has to endure treatment and no parent has to lose their child to cancer. GO TEAM!

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Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Honored Hero: Joshua Rosenthal

This past Saturday for the mission moment we had a fellow TNT teammate from Austin be our speaker. Her name is Pam Rosenthal and she is a friend of Coach Coby. Coach Coby is the spring season coach and an officer with the Richardson Police Department. Pam's mission moment was about her son, Joshua D. Rosenthal.

She spoke about as a young boy he always wanted to be a police officer. His wish came true and as the young age of 22 he was hired as a rookie police officer by the Richardson Police Department in 2006. He was healthy and in excellent shape his mother went on to say. But soon after he started with the police force he wasn't feeling well and visited the doctor. After having some blood work done he was admitted into the hospital. Within 36 hours Joshua suddenly died from acute leukemia. His cancer was 98% curable if if it hadn't metastasized in the brain - which his did. His cancer went completely undetected until it was too late.

You can read more about Pam's journey as she trains for the San Diego Rock & Roll half marathon in honor of her son! GO PAM! GO TEAM!

Coach Coby is seen in the above photo as the first officer on the left. Thank you to Coach Coby and Pam for sharing Joshua's story!

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Racing Day: 13.1 + Shoes - Garmin = 1st Place

In the words of the Backyardigans:

Racing day, it's racing day,
Racing day, it's racing day!
It's not nervous pacing day.
Today's the day we race.

I'm ready to race a long, long race.
This race goes almost every place.
It's fast, it's long,
It's vast, it's far,
It starts out right here where we are.

But when the finish line's unfurled,
We will have raced around the world.
When we finish this long, long race
I hope, I hope I'll take first place.

So obviously I like the Backyardigans and Sunday was RACE DAY! So here is how it went....

I was nervous to say the least. This was my 5th half marathon (13.1 miles). I was on my own for the first time in a fairly large race...and when I mean on my own I wasn't running it with anyone in particular. Alot of my TNT running friends would be there but everyone was kind of doing their own thing. I kept thinking back to my 20 mile training run last fall trying to build up my confidence.

The night before I planned to meet up with Jessica. She was in corral 7 and I was in 8 and the only thing that separates a corral is some rope, so I went ahead and jumped in her corral. The faster you are the lower your corral number is (in most cases). I had put a finishing time of 2:15 even though my PR (personal record) in the half marathon was 2:32. I honestly thought I put 2:20 because that is what I was hoping for. On any given day Jessica is faster than me especially when it comes to race day...I wasn't sure if I could hang with her or not and I had no intention of holding her back. I just wanted a friendly face next to me when we started. I knew I would try to keep pace as long as I could.

I guess I should mention TWO big things:

1) I bought new Newtons (shoes) and decided to wear them for the race. This is a HUGE HUGE no-no. Nothing new is what the runner motto is...nothing new on race day, but I went against this. I've been running in Newtons for close to a year so the shoe isn't new to me but this pair was brand new out of the box. I went ahead and slipped on my shoe bling that Meg (one of my TNT coaches) got me last winter season. Jessica's mom snapped this picture at the start line...and I'm so glad she did!
2) My watch (Garmin) locked up! This is my running watch...its like a mini computer on your wrist that tells me my time, pace, heart rate, etc...and when I went to turn on the just stuck there. I think Jessica thought I was crazy...I kept pushing the button harder and harder like it was going to do something but NOTHING HAPPENED. All I could say was, "What am I going to do...I'm not going to know my pace!" And Jessica's honest reply, "You'll probably run a better race without it!"

At this point there is no turning off we went. Jessica and I ran side-by-side miles 1-8. There was no conversation...ear buds in...I could tell that we were both in the zone and I was perfectly happy with that. Miles 1 - 8 as you can see on the elevation map are a steady incline. It is funny that I only noticed this at two spots...the beginning and going into mile 8 which was on Mockingbird I believe.

At mile 8 Jessica's husband and mom were there cheering her on...since my Garmin was not working I quickly pulled off my heart rate strap and handed it to Jeff (thank you Jeff!). Because I knew it wasn't working it was driving me crazy. At this point Jessica and I separated. I continued to see her for the next mile or so in front of me. Right around mile 10 I saw an empty potty...I debated...I debated and then I dashed for it. Generally runners try to avoid any breaks but I'm awful at this...without being too personal I have a small bladder and that coupled with having to drink on the course to stay hydrated + running isn't always fun. So I took my chances knowing it would affect my time. I think it was the fastest potty break of all time.

Back on the road I felt good....I realized I only had 3 miles left and I knew I was doing well. How well...not exactly sure because NO GARMIN. There are clocks on the course and I estimated that I started about 10 minutes after the official start time so I was doing my best to take that into account. The best thing about the end is that it was all a slight decline. I have no idea of my exact pace miles 8-13...but I kept steady.

Rounding into the finish I saw the said 2:24 and I picked up the pace...there was NO WAY I was not going to make 2:15 if it was in reach. I sprinted to the finish and it felt good. Besides coming into the finish line at White Rock Marathon this past December...this was the best I've every felt during a race. FINISHED. DONE. HAPPY.

I didn't see anyone I knew. I remembered that Jessica said she was going to meet her family at family meet-up so I headed that way under the "W"...there she was (with her Dad) and I was so excited to see her. We hugged...I wanted to cry...she asked what I thought my time was and I said I hoped it was under 2:15 but we weren't sure. She showed me her watch...2:08:36 - she made her goal and then some...a new PR for Jessica! I was soooo excited and proud for her.

I was guessing I came in about 10 minutes after her...which would have put me at 2:18 but I had ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA. Jessica tried to look up the race results on her phone but they were updated yet. It was getting cold and even though Bret Michaels was going to be playing I decided to head home but not without a picture!

At home...I went straight to the computer. My time 2:12:46 - seriously I couldn't believe it. I immediately text Jessica.

Today I actually thought about running Big D half in a couple weeks to see if I could do it again...crazy I know, but I think its just the runner high lingering from Sunday. To me my 2:12:46 is my 1st place!

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