Monday, November 11, 2013

2013 Virtual Turkey Trot!

Why do you run?  I run to save lives! 

I wanted to take time out of all my fun runDisney banter to tell you about a project I am working on.  As you know, I have been training with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training.  I will run the Nike Women's Half Marathon on October 19th, 2014 in honor of my Aunt Linda who was recently diagnosed with cancer.  I will be running for a reason much more important than the personal challenge of completing a Half Marathon.  I am running to save lives!  (and so can you...)

As a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training program, I have pledged to train on the behalf of all the affected children and their families to help raise money for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma research and patient assistance programs.  During my training, I have gotten close to a few families with sick children.  I am very sad to report that my sweet angel Kaitlyn has lost her battle.  I am very happy to report that Emily is still fighting leukemia--and winning!  She is the first child to get an experimental treat that involves giving her body new T-cells.  The treatment is working for Emily and she is now cancer free!  She just celebrated her one and a half year cancer free anniversary.  
As you may or may not know, leukemia is the #1 disease killer of children and the leading fatal malignant disease of men and women under the age of 35.  Although the cause of leukemia remains unknown, recently developed treatments and steady advances in research bring us closer to a cure every day.  These research advances were only achieved as a result of contributions made by companies, foundations and individuals like you.
My goal is to raise $2000 by the end of 2013. If you would like to help, please consider registering for my 2013 Virtual Turkey Trot!  For the race, anytime until the end of November--run, walk, skip or crawl your chosen distance—BLING included!  As a thank you for registering, I will send you this beautiful finisher medal.  To register, just make a donation of $20 or more using the button below.  Want to run with a group?  I offer group discounts!  Click the Paypal to see what they are (if you need 6 or more--email me and we can work something out).  I will be doing this event with my kids on Thanksgiving morning. I am organizing this race a little different.  Once I get 25 people registered, I will order the medals.  If I do not have the 25  registered by November 20th, I will refund your money through Paypal.  This will ensure that most participants have their medals by Thanksgiving!  Please consider registering and helping me reach my goal.  With the generosity of people like you, there is every reason to believe that a cure for blood-related cancer, and all cancers is in sight!
A dream is a wish…

Number Registered

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Nike Women's Marathon San Francisco 2013

The Nike Women's Marathon / Half Marathon is one of the hardest races in the country to gain entry into.  So many people want to be part of the event, Nike has to set up a lottery system for entry.  Only about 1 in 5 who seek entry actually get into the event--unless you are part of Team in Training!  If you commit to raise money to fight cancer, you are guaranteed entry into this most sought after event.  That is how I got in!  In total, there was about 3,000 Team in Training participants in the race, raising over $13 million dollars to fight cancer. Nothing like a sea of purple running to fight cancer! 

I met my team bright and early in the hotel lobby.  Since our hotel was right at the race start, we got to sleep in a little because we could walk to the start.  I was a little said and lonely that morning because I was the only "Yorkie" from the Central Pennsylvania Team at Nike this year.  Most of my local teammates choose to do the Chicago Marathon this year instead of Nike.  Crazy!  We gathered for a team photo and wished each other luck!  

It was still dark when the race officially started!  Nike had a great DJ to get the crowd going.  We even got a firework sendoff!  It took me about 26 minutes to cross the start line.  Those minutes waiting to cross the start are always so anxious for me. The first two miles were on the city streets of San Francisco, through the Financial District, heading toward the Embarkadero.  The view of the San Francisco Bay was amazing, although it became very evident that the word of the day, like last year, was quickly becoming fog.  It was so foggy that morning, that we could only see about a quarter mile out. I could not even see the water while running through Fisherman's Wharf or Pier 39.  As we ran through the Presidio, all of the runner were eagerly awaiting a glimpse of the famed Golden Gate Bridge.  Unforgettably, this was a marvel we would not be blessed to see that day. This was also the coldest half marathon I have ever done.  It was about 50 degrees, and very damp.  It never rained but the air was very wet.  I was cold for the entire event.  Some teammates tried to talk me out of wearing my long sleeved top.  I was so glad I wore it!  My hands stayed icy the enter race.  Brrrr! 

The course was tough, but simply amazing.  That word does not do it justice, but is a true description.  The first really tough hill was around mile 5.5-6.5.  It felt never ending!  This is where the best bridge view should have been, but due to the fog the bridge was never visible. After the top of this crazy hill, was about a mile of winding down hill, along the San Francisco Bay--not that I could see it due to the fog.  At the bottom of the hill, we ran through a very cute San Francisco neighborhood that contained what I was told was Robin William's house.  Lots of the runners were whispering about it on the course. We made a sharp turn around mile 8 to greet the steepest hill yet. 

Once we got to the top of this hill, we turned a corner and there it was--the most beautiful and breath taking view of the race.  I got my first glimpse of the Pacific Ocean!  The view looked like it came out of a book.  The waves were crashing against the cliffs.  The seagulls were flying around.  Pure magic!   I have always had a love / fascination with the ocean--especially the Pacific Ocean.  When I got to the bottom of the hill, I could see race village--but I was only on mile 10.   After another breathtaking mile along the coast, we made a turn into Golden Gate Park to run our last two miles. By this time, I could see runners who already had finished the race carrying their finisher bags, wearing their finisher shirts and holding their little blue boxes.  It was tough to not look at the bright yellow shirt in the bags, but I was determined I was not going to look at their necks!  I did not want to see the Tiffany necklace until I was looking at the one I had earned myself.  

The final mile went pretty fast. By this time in the course, spectators had lined up and were cheering the runners on.  As I got closer and could see the finish line, I ran faster!  I once again could see the Pacific Ocean.  My mind was on getting my blue box from a hot firemen in a tux.  I crossed the finish line strong and chose the guy I wanted to give me my little blue box.  After I got my box, there were volunteers giving out reusable water bottles sponsored by Whole foods.  I got my finisher shirt and then my finisher bag--full of snacks and a nice note from Tiffany's.  

This year, I planned to spend more time at the finish line party.  First, I stopped by and washed my face at the Neutorgena face wash station.  Neutorgena really outdid themselves for race participants this year.  They really pampered us at the expo, then they had a Neutrogena station at mile 5 with face wash clothes and sunscreen.  Then at the finish line--they had huge bins with lots of Neutrogena products for runners to check out and take what ever they wanted.  I got lip sticks, facial moisturizer, sunscreen and lots of other fun stuff. After the fun at Neutrogena, picked up my bag from bag check, then went to the Team in Training tent.  After a stop for a sandwich and some food in the Team tent, I walked out on the beach.  I took in my last few glimpses of the Pacific Ocean.  After a quick stop in the Whole Foods tent for a snack, I rode the bus back to the hotel.  

I was so excited to open my Tiffany necklace this year--but I made myself wait until I got back to my room.  I wanted to take my time, open the box slowly--to take it all in.  I slowly untied the ribbon and opened the box.  I pulled out the tiny blue bag.  There is was--my new Tiffany necklace.  Its a triangle shape, with an X to stand for a 10 because this was the tenth year of the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco.  

Nike Women's Marathon was an amazing event!  It was the most breathtaking course I have ever run.  There is not one boring second of this race.  There was always something beautiful to look at. The course was for sure my favorite I have ever done (don't tell the runDisney people.)  The support on the course was also spectacular.  I had 3,000 teammates/ new family members cheering me on on the course.  There was hundreds of TNT coaches on the course.  I could not go half a mile without seeing one of our green shirted coaches cheering on all of the runners.  The NWM in San Francisco is going to be a yearly event for me.  I can't wait to do it again next year!

A dream is a wish...


Sunday, November 3, 2013

Some Running Inspiration That Keeps Me Going...

Before every Team in Training event, the TNT staff through an inspiration dinner for participants.  It is their way of saying thank you for all the hard work we have done fundraising, but its also an a send off for us--a reminder WHY we did all that hard work.  The inspiration dinner for the Nike Women's Marathon a few weeks ago was no different--except they had a few extra specials surprise in store for us. 

The dinner started out just like every other TNT inspiration dinner.  The staff, coaches, survivors and family members gathered to cheer us on as we entered the convention center.  There were about 3,000 TNT participants, and countless supporters.  All of the cheering honestly makes me uncomfortable.  I always feel like I am NOT the one who deserves to be cheered for.  The food was your typical pasta, salad, meatballs and veggies.  The amazing John Bingham was our motivational speaker--like at every other TNT inspiration dinner I had been too.  Besides all the typical--this dinner had some amazing surprises in store!  

Team In Training was founded by Bruce Cleland in 1988
 in honor of his three year old daughter, Georgia--a leukemia survivor .   He wanted to do something for other families--to find a cure!  He had the "crazy" idea to run a marathon while getting sponsors to donate for each mile he ran.  Bruce created a team to train for a marathon in New York City . His team raised $322,000 and helped Team In Training grow into what it is today.  TNT Participants at the Nike Women's Marathon received the honor of meeting Bruce and Georgia at our inspirations dinner!  It was so amazing to hear them speak--the people who started it all! 

We also got to hear from another amazing family--The Family of "Team Mickey".  Mickey is now a sixteen year old girl with Downs Syndrome. When she was a toddler, she was diagnosed with Leukemia.  Hearing her mom tell her story brought me to tears.  I know how it feels to spend months and months in the hospital--how scary it is to fear for your child's life. After fighting the disease for years, Mickey in now in remission!  Her mom joined TNT a few years ago.  Mickey crossed the finish line with her mom at her mom's first half marathon.  Mickey vowed then to do a half marathon with her mom as part of TNT when she was 16. That race would be the 2013 Nike Women's Half Marathon!  Hearing Mickey and her mom tell their story was so heart warming.  It reminded me of the power of a mother's love, the power of a family.  It also made me miss my kiddos a bit.  Team Mickey is what Team in Training is all about!  Finding a cure, giving back, helping families have more time together.  

The Team in Training inspiration dinners are always very powerful to me, but this one was different.  It was all about parents fighting for their kids!  They were speaking my language....  This inspiration dinner really put me in the spirit to conquer the hills of San Francisco.  

A dream is a wish...