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 GPS...it 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 back...so 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 clock...it 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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Monday, March 28, 2011

Be the Match...Be the One!

Well I ran the Dallas Rock & Roll HALF Marathon yesterday (Sunday, March 27) but you are all going to have to wait for that post...because today I came across a news story that I wanted to share because in part it is also connected to our mission...

With our house move about one month ago I realized that I hadn't paid much attention to the news or what was going on. So today I came across a story about a toddler named Winslet Seoighe who lives in McKinney. She is 17-months old and has been fighting for her young life since the day she was born. Winslet was born with only 33% of the blood volume a baby should have. Winslet's only chance for a cure was a life-saving bone marrow transplant. This is the same procedure that many blood cancer patients must have in order to save their lives! Winslet is one of the lucky ones....doctors found a 6/6 match from the National Marrow Donor Program cord blood bank. Winslet endured eight days of intensive chemotherapy in preparation for her bone marrow transplant, which took place February 3, 2011.

You can read the latest about Winslet in the news story I saw today...she is home and recovering well...as I always say...simply amazing!

Winslet's mom wants to get the word out about Be the Match..."she wants others to be as lucky as they've been. She encourages women to visit http://www.marrow.org/, where they can get information about donating their umbilical cord if they're pregnant and whether the hospital where they deliver accepts cord blood donation. People can also register on the site to be a bone marrow donor."

I encourage you to check out the Myths & Facts about donating your bone marrow...in most cases it is simple and relatively painless AND most important can SAVE A LIFE!

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society encourages people to become donors...I've been a donor since I was 18...when Allie was diagnosed. I was called once...back in 2001...I was so hopeful that I could help someone. In the end, I wasn't the right match but honestly, I wait for the day that it will be my turn to donate my bone marrow.

You to can BE THE MATCH!

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Honored Hero: Mark Stratton

Saturday's honored hero is the husband of another teammate...his name is Mark and his wife (who runs with TNT) is Austin. However, they weren't married when Mark was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma in May of 2006...they had just met. He was given a 50/50 chance of surviving his illness and by the time he finished chemo in October of that SAME YEAR he was in remission! Amazing! Even more good news was to follow...the following October in 2007 Austin and Mark were married and have since been blessed with two beautiful children.

Since Austin met Mark and he became an honored hero of LLS she has wanted to participate in a TNT event in honor of him...and this is her season! On June 5th she will be running in the San Diego Rock 'N' Roll Marathon. That entire race benefits LLS! This will be her 1st full marathon...and I know she will do fabulous.

On Austin's fundraising page...she posts updates...and I want to share her post from March 8...

There are just some days, like today, that I DO NOT want to get up and run. I want to stay in my nice warm and cozy bed, I don't want to get up I do not want to run 6.5 miles in the morning and 4 at night. Then as I am lying there listening to my alarm I remind myself why I am doing this. I remind myself of the days that it literally took every ounce of energy that Mark had just to get out of bed. I am remind of the days that it took all he had to sit up and watch a movie with me. I remember that I do not want him or anyone else to have to suffer that same fate, and so once again, I get up. I put both feet on the floor, put my shorts, shirt, socks, and shoes on, I go down stairs walk out my front door, turn on my ipod and say a prayer, Thanking the Lord for the strength I know only comes from Him to get up and do this. Phillipians 4:13.....Then I run!

Her words ring true for many family members of those that are diagnosed with blood cancers or any cancer. Those of us that train and fundraise for these events have a choice but our honored heros do NOT have a choice...they do not have a choice to skip treatment or spend a holiday in the hospital. As many have said...we run for those that can't.

We Train Endure Achieve and Matter in honor of heros like Mark!


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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Racing Day Approaching and Knee Surgery

Sunday will be my 5th HALF marathon...I'm excited as I think I'm actually prepared for this and might get the time I've been hoping for after completing two full marathons at the end of 2010. But with that being said, one can prepare all that want for a race, but you never know how the actual race day will turn out, so I'm anxious.

Furthermore, I'm doing this one on my own...no running partner and no TNT. TNT typically doesn't co-participant in events that benefit Komen. And while the Komen organization uses some funding for things I don't personally agree with...I do give them credit as they have brought great awareness to breast cancer research. As most of you know my Mom is a breast cancer survivor and I want a cure for that just as much as I want a cure for blood cancers. I just wish that much awareness was given to childhood cancers...ALL cancers for that matter!

So off my soapbox...what's this about knee surgery some of you might be asking??

Unfortunately my Mom injured her knee and today is having a complete knee replacement. Please send prayers her way as the surgery requires several weeks/months of rehab. She was very upset that she will (obviously) be unable to complete the half marathon in May but I'm hoping to run it for her along with Allie!

So wish me luck on Sunday and wish my Mom luck on the long recovery!

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Sunday, March 20, 2011

Honored Hero: James

This past Saturday at training Cheryl and Chris Berg joined us to share their story about their son, James...seem in the photo above (sandwiched between his older twin brothers!).

First, a little background on how I originally met the Berg Family....I had the pleasure of meeting the Berg Family on the 2009 winter marathon team. I first heard about James Berg at our last training before the 2009 White Rock event...it was bitterly cold that morning and I didn't want to go to training but Allie was determined and said we had to go, so off we went that morning bundled in layers of clothes and running our last training miles before the event. As we all stood there huddled in a circle Cheryl and Chris told James' story...he was diagnosed with "ALL" on April 23, 2008. As they continued to tell about his diagnosis and treatment, in my mind, I was "blasted back to the past" remembering when Allie was diagnosed and how I thought I was coming home for a normal thanksgiving break but instead I was picked up at the airport and in the parking garage was told that Allie was diagnosed with leukemia. For some reason...hearing James' story really reminded me of Allie and why I was a part of TNT. I can picture that morning of training like it was yesterday. James' story and his family's commitment to helping find a cure and their continued participation in TNT events continues to motivate and inspire me! The Berg family is always in my thoughts and prayers.

So back to Saturday's mission moment...the Bergs came out and told about James and his journey. For the past year I have kept up on his caringbridge page. This is the 3rd time I have heard Chris and Cheryl speak about James' journey but this time they spoke about the end of his treatment...which if all goes as planned will be this July 2011! They spoke about how excited (and nervous) they are for the end of treatment. As many families do...they also said they would be throwing a huge "end of chemo/treatment" party. And one of the things they will do at that party is throw away all the empty plastic medicine bottles they have kept over the years. Cheryl brought one shoe box full of them and as she opened it I could see how shocked the team was to see that one child has to endure all that medicine for 3+ years. It definitely puts what we are fundraising for into perspective!

Thank you Berg Family for sharing your story!


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Saturday, March 12, 2011

Meet Allie (again...)

Many of you reading this blog already know Allie...but for anyone new...Meet Allie!

I shared her story for the new summer team as my mission moment. Allie is my niece and she was diagnosed in 1994 with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) at 7 1/2 months old. At that time there were only 50 children annually diagnosed under the age of 1. Her treatment began immediately and at the 30 day mark she was in remission. She underwent 2 1/2 years of treatment and is now a healthy, happy high school student who is about to turn 17!

Allie doesn't remember her diagnosis or treatment (thanks goodness) but she does remember all the events we participated in as a family in her honor and she has now stepped up to continue as a participant herself. On December 13, 2009, Allie became an official Team in Training alumni as she crossed the finish line while running the White Rock Marathon RELAY two days before celebrating her 15th year in remission. It was a glorious day...and I couldn't have been more proud. In December of 2010 Allie completed her FIRST half marathon for Team in Training. She is committed to helping find a cure like the rest of our family.

I'd like to take this moment to THANK every family, friend or stranger who has donated in honor of Allie. Your donation has made a difference in the lives of many and continues to impact patients today!

Photos above in order: Allie's first week in the hospital; Allie in 1996 as a TNT honored hero; Allie in 2009 completing her first TNT event!

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Sunday, March 6, 2011

Honored Hero: Jenna

Jenna (above) is the daugther of another teammate - Terri. Terri shared Jenna's story this past Saturday at training. Jenna was diagnosed with ALL, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in 2004, while the family was at Disney World! Yes they were on vacation. She received a blood transfusion in Orlando, then the doctor allowed us 2 days at the beach to relax, and we headed home to Austin to start her cancer treatment.

When they arrived back in Austin they promptly took Jenna to see her new oncologist, Dr. Wells. He explained her condition and treatment, saying the goal was to get her "good as new". Treatment would take approximately 2 1/2 years. During that week long stay she had surgery to implant a mediport in her chest, more specific diagnostic tests, and started chemotherapy.

Terri continued to tell us how Jenna was extremely tired and slept all the time. About a week after being sent home, she started complaining of tummy pain and her color was coming and going. They returned to the hospital and found out Jenna had developed severe pancreatitis from one of the chemo drugs. She was rushed to the Pediatric ICU (PICU) and almost died. There were a few other complications...she had 5 IV sites, a NJ (nasojejunal) tube to bypass her stomach and allow her pancreas to rest. She also had an insulin pump and still does to this day. She was in the PICU 6 days and then transferred to the regular cancer floor. Jenna slowly recovered with time, physical therapy, and the excellent care of the wonderful nurses and doctors.

I'm proud to post that I met Jenna on Saturday at the Honored Hero luncheon...and she is a beautiful, happy young lady in 5th grade! And want to know something else really spectacular about Jenna...last year she was the only 4th grader at her school to get perfect attendance for the year.....now that's healthy!! Terri gives credit to God for that. He answered their prayers and healed Jenna, making her strong and resilient.


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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Meet Cesar...

So last Saturday, March 26th I had to miss training...it wasn't an easy decision but we were moving homes and I was exhausted and my family needed me home. When I say it wasn't an easy decision I mean that...literally...because what you realize when you are involved in TNT is that we (healthy individuals) have choices - tons of choices every day that we (sometimes) take for granted. Unfortunately, our honored heros do NOT have these same choices. They don't have the choice to say, "I'm too tired, so I'm skipping treatment today." You will hear runners who run events for organizations like TNT...say "we run for those that can't" and they mean it from their heart.

So our 3rd honored hero this season is Cesar. Cesar is the husband of D'. I met D' back in August 2009 on the winter run team. I have heard their story a couple times but asked D' to write the following so I didn't miss any details...
Cesar was diagnosed with Lymphoma back in the 90s, so long ago that I don't even remember exactly when it was. He went through chemotherapy fairly easily the first time and was declared clear. Eight months later, it was back and it really came roaring back. The doctors gave him a 20-30% chance of making it. I'm really proud of Cesar. He took treatments in stride. He always said that his body had cancer and it was just a disease and he was not going to be consumed by it. And that's exactly what he did. He continued to work and play, having a glass of wine or a cigar – with the blessings of his doctor. I know that sounds counterintuitive, but it kept him sane and happy, so it was probably exactly what he needed.

He eventually needed to have a bone marrow transplant, but no donor was found, so he had an autologous bone marrow transplant. After wiping out his immune system, it was a few months of staying out of crowds and spending most of his time at home. He was again declared clear and this time it stuck!

He's been cancer free for 16 years. His daughter got us started with TNT, by running in 2008 for a son of a friend and her father. We went to watch her run the San Diego Rock & Roll marathon and caught the bug. Cesar had a heart attack a couple of years ago. Doctors think that it might have been a consequence of the radiation he had during cancer treatment. He's overcome that also and has the heart, both physically and figuratively, of a healthy, strong person, so much so that he is now doing half marathons himself and says he's going to do a full.

We have been blessed.

Picture: Cesar Miranda & D' Forman at Tyler Rose Half Marathon


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