Sunday, September 23, 2007

With the Hampton Roads Team

September 23, 2007. I’ve gotten up to my full training mileage, 29 miles on foot this week. It has been tiring with some sore muscles, but after the forced inactivity it feels really good to be training again. Yesterday, I was down at the beach and trained with the Hampton Roads team - thanks coaches Bob and Anita. While there, I learned that one of their assistant coaches (Michelle) and one of their mentors (Cathy) are currently battling cancers. And Ruth, a participant, has a sister who has had to undergo treatment for Hodgkin lymphoma twice, including a stem cell transplant. It reminded me again of how important this cause is, and how lucky I am to be fully healthy again.

I first met Coach Bob in Alaska in June, 2005. He was the coach for TNT Virginia for the Mayor's Midnight Sun Marathon, my very first marathon. Here we are before the race, June 18, 2005 - dig those moose antlers!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Our Patient Honorees

Update and Fund Raising Message of September 18, 2007

Hi again,

Here I am, about ten weeks into my efforts to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society while training for the P.F. Chang’s Arizona Marathon in January. I wanted to give an update about how things are going, and talk again about our mission.
Thanks again to the 61 people / couples who donated to LLS through me, putting me at about 18% of my goal. You can get detailed information about what I am doing and make a donation if you so choose by going to my TNT web page:

I appreciate donations of any amount, and will gladly add the name of someone you want to honor with your donation to my web page and race singlet.

After a month of minimal training, my cut foot finally healed enough for me to put on running shoes again. In the prior month, I’d done some running and walking barefoot on a beach, and some sessions on a stair-stepper in Crocs, but it feels great to be out there with running shoes on again. I walked and ran 13 miles over the weekend, and hope to just keep going now.

Each of us in Team in Training is inspired by our patient honorees. Team Richmond has a number of these brave survivors, and I always write their names on my shirt. Today I wanted to share a little bit about five of our team’s patient honorees. Thinking about what they and their families have been through makes it easier for us to get up at O-Dark Hundred and train in all kinds of weather. By comparison with dealing with cancer, chemotherapy and bone marrow transplants, doing a marathon is not so hard. My fervent goal is that by participating in TNT and hopefully continuing to motivate and inspire generous people to make donations, that in the future it won’t be such an awful experience to get through cancer. Every five minutes, another American is diagnosed with a blood cancer – here is the story of five of them.

Emma is seven years old and loves all kinds of animals, but especially lions, tigers, cats, dogs, jaguars, cheetahs, rabbits, fish, turtles, leopards and elephants. When Emma was 10 weeks old, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Her parents did not expect her to survive the weekend and prepared to say goodbye to their little baby. But after a lot of horrific treatments and most of her first year of life in the hospital, she did indeed survive and is now in remission 6.5 years. I never fail to get inspired and more determined to make a difference when I think of Emma and her family, and a picture I saw of Emma as a baby with a body swollen from chemo and needles and tubes all over the place. But then, seeing a photo of a healthy and happy Emma swimming with dolphins is also inspirational, because it shows the possibilities of what cancer research can accomplish.

Nicki is 31 and is a ten year + survivor of Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. She survived due to a bone marrow transplant in 1997, which is a very tough thing to go through. Her transplant was from an unrelated donor who got on the donor registry to try to help an eight year old boy, who unfortunately died before a donor could be found. Nicki enjoys sports of all kinds, reading, and spending time with her family and friends. Nicki also has done several events for TNT and in 2006 was my marathon teammate in San Diego. Nicki is a constant inspiration to me. By the way, every day, people’s lives are dependent on finding a bone marrow match, so you might want to consider getting on the registry. I’ve been on it since about 1990.

Ed got Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) at age 19, about the same age as Nicki was when she went through lymphoma. Also like Nicki, Ed survived due to a bone marrow transplant: a gift of life from one of his sisters. He is married to a great gal named Leslie. He likes to renovate real estate, travel, attend festivals, and participate in TNT events. Ed has completed at least 11 events for TNT, including marathons, 100 mile bike rides, and triathlons, making him a “Triple Crown” winner. Incredible! Ed is a constant inspiration to me.

Paul is 47 and loves to bike, ski, and play frisbee. He is married with three children. Paul was diagnosed over two years ago with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a slow growing cancer for which there is no cure. Despite having cancer, Paul does century (100 mile) bike rides for TNT to raise money for the LLS. How inspirational is that? And how inspirational is it to think that the hard work we put in now and the money we raise could some day soon lead to a cure for CLL?

Eric is 46 and, with his wife Beth, has two children – along with two dogs and a cat. He has Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia (WM), which is a rare cancer that affects bone marrow, blood, and lymphatic tissue. Eric is currently in partial remission, as WM is treatable but not curable. Eric likes to play golf, do home remodeling, and spend time with his family. Just like with Paul, it inspires me to think that maybe the money that you generously donate can lead to a cure for WM and make a huge difference in these patients’ lives.

These five people are an inspiration to everyone involved with TNT Richmond. I hope that you realize that your donation makes a difference in the lives of real people like Emma, Nicki, Ed, Paul, and Eric. Every ten minutes, another American dies from a blood cancer, so there is plenty more to do.

Best wishes, and thanks.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Back with the Team

September 16, 2007. It felt absolutely great to be out with the team again! We walked eight miles, and I felt fine the next day - no soreness. So I think despite the reduced activity, I got enough exercise in to stay in some degree of shape. Now it is back to the early training and increasing double-digit mileage. I have plenty to do in order to be ready for 26.2 in Arizona. It’s odd – without the careless injury, I would already have a half marathon under my belt and be cruising right along, I think. It is sobering how a second of carelessness can have such far reaching results, although in the grand scheme of things, a cut foot is a pretty small price to pay for being careless.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Back in the Saddle

September 11, 2007. The last week involved some workouts in sandals, a number of barefoot miles on the beach, and then finally on Monday the 10th, putting on running shoes once more! I did a few miles Monday, and three more on Tuesday. After a month of limited activity, the 3 fast miles in shoes felt more like 7 or 8. But it feels great to be "back in the saddle again!

Buying the Crocs a few weeks ago really helped, because I could wear a shoe without pressure on the heel. I would do workouts on the elliptical machine in the crocs, and so got at least some exercise. Then, running and walking barefoot on the beach a few times was very helpful. I know that in time, three miles will again feel like three miles, not eight.

Monday, September 3, 2007

The Cheerleader

September 3, 2007. The original idea was to write something about completing the Virginia Beach Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon as part of my five year cancer survival celebration. After all, I had signed up and paid the entry fee several months ago. But my heel did not cooperate, even three weeks after the damage. I put on running shoes the night before, along with a thick bandage, and knew after 50 feet that it would be a huge mistake.

Upon arriving at Virginia Beach, I went to the expo to pick up my race packet and tee-shirt, but before I got there my friend Nicki called me to say that my picture was in the program! What I had written (see my blog post “My Submission for the Rock N Roll Half Marathon”) was used in part for the program as well, so it was really cool to see that when I got my race program. I talked to the first aid station about my ideas for protecting my foot. They looked at the injury and told me that it might be difficult to protect it, given the location.

That night, when I tried going out with the bandage on my heel, and quickly realized that I was not going to do this race without risking serious pain and maybe injury, I was really disappointed. Thinking it over, I realized that if I couldn’t do the race, I could at least support my friends who were in it. So I again was a cheerleader, and got a lot of happiness seeing so many dear friends doing the race and having a good time. Some of my friends that I saw include Michal, Nicki, Robbi, Theresa, "Chuck Squared", Lynn, Kristi, Jamal, Betty, "Holly-and-Amanda", Dian, Chelle, Vicki, Tim, Coach Bob, ... I know that I've missed some, and I know that some people went by so fast that I couldn't pick them out in the crowd. It was really disappointing to miss the race, but great to be alive to see it and to cheer for my friends. Plus, since the injury only hurts with shoes on, I did get in a 4 - 5 mile run and walk on the beach in my bare feet. It felt great to be moving again!

Plus for my $75 race fee, I got my photo in the program and a cool tee-shirt! It's a great race - if you ever have a chance to do it, go for it!