Monday, November 26, 2007

Gimme 5!

Update and Fund Raising Message of November 26, 2007

Hi everyone,

Here is my latest update in my quest to complete the Arizona Marathon in January while raising life-saving funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This time around, I am asking you to Gimme 5!

1. Gimme 5 minutes of your time - go to my TNT web page at:

There, you will learn more about The Society and my training and fundraising progress and updates. In the five minutes that it takes you to review my web page, someone new is diagnosed with a blood cancer – so money for research and patient support is desperately needed.

2. Gimme 5 friends. Send this e-mail to five of your friends or colleagues and help me spread the word about what I am doing! Maybe they will want to make a donation as well, or maybe they know someone in their lives who has cancer and will get some encouragement that people can survive cancer and come back to do a marathon.

3. Gimme 5 months of training to get ready for the Arizona marathon. It is a ton of work, but it pales in comparison to what people facing cancer have to go through every day. During the five months I’ve trained, approximately 21,600 Americans have died from blood cancers.

4. Gimme 5 years of surviving lymphoma. In May, I became a five year survivor, and in about two weeks, I will be five years in remission. I am doing this particular marathon in thanks for reaching the five year point, which is huge with cancer patients. When I was ill, I pledged to give something back once I was healthy again, and raising money for LLS is what I have been called to do. But I can’t do it without you.

5. Gimme 5 hundred thousand Americans who have contracted blood cancers in those five years. I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be a survivor! Help me help others with cancer to win their battles.

6. Gimme a donation and I’ll give you 5 reasons I’m grateful for it. You can make a secure credit card donation online, or if you prefer, get me a check payable to LLS. For those of you who have already donated, here are 5 things I’m grateful for regarding your donation: (1) Just still being on God’s green earth to ask people for a donation; (2) That cancer survival rates continue to increase, and you are helping (3) Because without your donation, all I am doing is going 26.2 miles – it is your donation that is real purpose of all of this; (4) That so many people continue to believe in me trying to make a difference for the third straight year with TNT; (5) For the names of your loved ones that I wear on my shirt on race day. These give me a lot of strength during the marathon, and I am grateful for you sharing them with me.

So if you haven’t done so already but would like to, go ahead and use your fingers to write a check to LLS or key in a credit card donation. In return, I’ll use my legs and feet to go 26.2 miles, and you’ll automatically get all five reasons for my gratitude applied to you as well!

With humble thanks,

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Increased miles!

November 25, 2007. The marathon is in only seven weeks! Since getting back from Michigan, I've done most of my training either at Deep Run Park or at the beach. Yesterday was an 18 miler, my second longest training yet. It was tiring, and sore muscles led to a soothing 15 minute soak in ice water, but it felt good to be within 8 miles of a marathon. The training at Deep Run, which also included several sessions before going to Michigan, was really nice because of the fall colors and not having to worry about cars. There is a nice two mile loop there, and I can repeat it as needed to get my miles in. It was a nice change of pace.

Photo for this post:

During the marathon, I plan on wearing these three bracelets. Our TNT "T.E.A.M." bracelet reminds those of us who are participating in Team in Training for the LLS to Train, Endure, Achieve, and Matter. Teammate, fellow marathoner, and fellow lymphoma survivor Nicki Patton passed the 10 year remission milestone last February, and her "Decade of Strength" bracelet reminds us of all that cancer patients go through. Tommy West is a Richmond area man who developed liver cancer earlier this year, and hundreds of his friends formed "Team Tommy" and ran the Monument Ave. 10K last March in his honor. He is currently going through some very tough times. He and his family remain in my thoughts and prayers.

Note: Tommy died of liver cancer late in March, 2008.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Special Birthday

November 18, 2007. I was privileged to spend my granddaughter's first birthday with her in Michigan this past week. I trained when I could, and got in a couple of 9 mile workouts. There is a great foot path in Traverse City that actually goes for nearly 30 miles. It is a lot colder in Michigan than in Virginia, as one might suspect. There was even some training in snow flurries. Now that I am back in Virginia, I got in six miles today. I was training in shorts and a tee, after driving through a snow storm in Pennsylvania last night on the way home from Michigan. It is amazing what differences a few hundred miles makes in the weather, from a near blizzard to sunny and the 60's. Today's training was going to be 10 miles, but I cut it short when my hamstrings started getting sore for some reason. Every time I try to add in more running, I seem to damage something slightly.

The visit to our granddaughter was so much fun. She is starting to walk a few steps and is curious about everything. Here she is enjoying her cake!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Back to Training

November 11, 2007. I got in most of my training miles this week for a change, including a 12 mile walk in Deep Run Park enjoying the fall foliage. I am currently in Michigan, getting ready to celebrate the first birthday of our granddaughter, Aja. I am grateful to be able to see her. A lot of people who get cancer never get the opportunity to see their grand children. I am one of the lucky ones, because I am healthy again.

Here is a photo of her with me taken last February when she was three months old. She has changed and grown so much in the nine months since this photo was taken. She is a lot of fun.

Today is Veterans' Day. If you are a veteran, or serving now, thank you for all that you did.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Some More Q&A about TNT

Update and Fund Raising Message of November 4, 2007

Hi again.

As my Team in Training efforts start to accelerate, I wanted to give an update about how things are going. The main focus of this note will be some additional questions I sometimes get about TNT.

The Arizona Marathon is about ten weeks away right now, and the next ten weeks will tell whether or not I can attain my training and fund-raising goals. I am giving it my best shot. If you want to check my training updates, updated photo, honoree list, and/or make a donation, you can do so at this link:

Thanks again to the 78 individual donors and one corporate donor who have contributed to date, as well as to the nine companies / individuals who donated items to the TNT Silent Auction on my behalf. Thanks to these donors, I have reached 35% of my fund-raising goal, and have raised nearly $2,000 in the last month. By the way, if you live in the Richmond area, we are having another Silent Auction this coming Thursday, November 8. It is at Champs Restaurant and Bar at the Stony Point Fashion Park from 7PM to 9PM.

My training had some more setbacks this past week, but I am hoping to be back on track soon, and did 10 miles yesterday.

Now, here are some questions I get, and my answers.

What is the rain date for the marathon? If it rains the day of the race, we sleep in until 10AM, are gently awakened by the scent of special aromatic candles and the sounds of soft music and ocean surf recordings, are served a huge breakfast in bed with Champaign and the finest chocolate truffles, and get a free deluxe spa treatment and massage. NOT! The rain date of the marathon is the date of the marathon. In my first marathon in Anchorage, Alaska, it rained about 22 of the 26.2 miles. That is why we train in all types of weather, other than thunderstorms. Getting electrocuted is not considered to be a desirable outcome of Team in Training.

Why not just raise money by asking people to donate to a good cause without doing the marathon? This is a tough one to answer, because people donate to good causes all the time without an endurance event being involved. However, Team in Training is the oldest and most successful fund raising and endurance event competition, and its success has led to many imitators. I think people generally respond to a great cause like curing blood cancers and providing services to cancer patients, but maybe they respond even more so if someone is willing to sacrifice for this cause by going through the rigors of marathon preparation and all that entails.

Do you think it is good for you to do a marathon? To that I would say: “compared to what?” In comparison to sitting on a sofa all day eating a couple of bags of chips and drinking a six pack, then yes, doing a marathon is good for you. But compared to a more moderate exercise, say a half marathon, I’m not sure if a marathon is good for you or not. I’m not a doctor, but I know doctors who do marathons (as well as “iron man” triathlons). So I guess at least it cannot be horrible for you. I will say that at about mile 21 or 22, you vow to never do another one. But then, when you cross the finish line just four or five miles later, you start thinking about the next one.

Why do you set your fund raising goal so high? Since I work so hard at this, and only do it every year or so, I want to maximize the amount of funds coming in to this important cause. So I set my goal high, $15,555.55 this year in celebration of surviving five years, and work as hard as I can to reach it. Politicians who raise millions for their campaigns would laugh at the amount of money that I am trying to raise, as they can get that much cash by looking under the sofa cushions of one of their wealthy donors. But I don’t know rich and famous people, nor can I offer special access or political favors in exchange for a donation, so I do it one donation at a time from ordinary people.

Do you get to keep any of the money that you raise as a bonus? Absolutely not! Whether a donation is by credit card, check, or cash, every single red cent goes to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and its mission.

Didn’t you ask me for a donation last year? There is a good chance I did, because this is the third straight year, more or less, that I have done Team in Training. Cancer has not gone away this year, and that is why I am putting my body through this a third time, and why I am again humbly asking for donations of any amount to LLS. Thank you!

Thanks for taking the time to read my note, and special thanks again if you have made, or plan to make, a donation to LLS through my Team in Training Efforts.
Carpe Diem!


November 4, 2007. Gosh, another sub-par training week! Painful inflammation made it impossible for me to train all week until yesterday, when it had subsided enough to allow me to do 10 miles with the Richmond Team. I am grateful for that, but it is still 7 miles less than I should be doing to stay on schedule, so I have more make up work to do. I hope to get my miles in this week, and will be in Michigan next week visiting my granddaughter for her first birthday. So next week's training will involve views of Grand Traverse Bay in Lake Michigan.