Sunday, January 20, 2008

O Canada!

There is something special about Canadians.

We always want to start a marathon well hydrated, and I did. So well hydrated that about 25 minutes before the start of the race, I had to make a quick visit to a porta-potty. As you can see from the photo, the lines were outrageous, but it was either go there or try to find one early in the race course, so I opted for the former. The line crept along, getting closer and closer to the start time. There were only minutes to go and I realized I was going to miss the start of the race unless I abandoned my quest, as there were still at least 20 people in front of me and the two people just behind me who were also doing the full marathon. We were all stressing a bit.

Just when things looked bleak, a lady at the very front of the line looked down the line and called out "Who is doing the full marathon? If you are, cut in front of us." The half marathon was not going to start for another hour, and she was kindly willing to let us in. The three of us practically sprinted down to the front. She and her two friends were from British Columbia. We chatted for a minute, then the "Star Spangled Banner" began to play. At the end of the USA National Anthem, I sang the opening few words to the Canadian National Anthem: "O Canada! Our home and native land ..." We thanked them profusely for their thoughtfulness. If I had gotten in any other line, I suppose I would have missed the start of the race.

After quickly clearing the porta potty, I sprinted to the very back of the marathon start line seconds before the gun. I think I will always remember these three kind ladies from our Great Neighbor to the North. O Canada!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Sea-Sick in the Desert, but a PR all the Same!

Final Update Message (January 19, 2008)
Greetings, with my final Team in Training update for this season.

So, how does one get sea-sick in the desert? Perhaps from riding the "ship of the desert", a camel? Or could it be because the American desert was once covered by seas, and maybe our bodies pick up some kind of weird aura from ancient times? Well, in my case, it was nothing so interesting, but congestion from my three-week cold that caused fluid in my ears. In any event, when I got up for our Saturday morning team run / walk, I was quite sick and dizzy and very concerned if I would recover in time for the marathon 24 hours later. The team doctor said that I had to go to the emergency room for evaluation and medical clearance to be allowed to do the race. Throwing up on the marathon course is not looked upon with favor by one's co-marathoners. It was in the ER that the inner ear fluid was discovered, prescriptions were prescribed, and a medical release was obtained. My guess is that the pressure changes from flying also contributed to the vertigo, maybe by pressure on the inner ear combined with the fluid. I've had plenty of colds before and flown plenty of times before, but I've never experienced this.

Celebrating five years remission with my third marathon and a high five!

So the next day, I was out there with thousands of others doing the PF Chang's Arizona Marathon, racing 26.2 miles through Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe. As always, the support we got from Team in Training - coaches, staff, teammates, and cheering squads - was suburb, as was that of the race volunteers, bands, cheerleaders, and spectators. As one of my teammates said afterwards, tongue in cheek, "We are cheating when we do these marathons. No one else out there gets the support that the 'Purple People' get!" I've updated my web page with a photo and description of the event. And within a week, I will add a link there to more pictures from the marathon and my short explorations of the Sonorian Desert in Southern Arizona, so look for that soon on my web page. Here again is my TNT web site link:

I was thrilled with my race because I set a PR (personal record) and also broke six hours for the first time. That is slow for a good runner, but is a very good walking pace (I did run about 10% of the race, especially once I realized I could break 6 hours if I kept it up). I missed my original goal of 5:55:55 by only about 50 seconds, despite a lot of setbacks with injuries and illnesses this season, and so am very pleased with the results.

A couple people asked if they can still make a donation to LLS, and they can until the end of the month, but I won't be doing any more race or fund-raising updates.

I feel so grateful to have recovered fully from my adventure with lymphoma nearly six years ago, and to be able to give something back in gratitude for my good fortune and good health. Of course I can only do this because of the generosity of so many people who have donated $11,350 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on my behalf so far this season and over $31,600 in my three times of doing this. So until the next time I do this, thanks so much for the support of so many kinds and for the generosity.

With Gratitude and Thanks,

Click here to see photos from the marathon:

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Racing for the Desert

Update and Fund Raising Message of January 6, 2008

Hi again, with one last Team in Training pre-race update. Even if you don't read this whole note, please at least look at the honoree names.

Usually, I am racing for the dessert but at the end of this week I'll be on an airplane racing for the desert. And in exactly one week and a couple of hours, I'll be racing in the desert in the PF Chang's Arizona Rock 'N' Roll Marathon, 26.2 miles of desert fun in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe. I am involved in this endeavor, which may seem somewhat masochistic, for a number of reasons. The primary one is to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and on that front, the generosity of many people has really come through with donations of $10,750.01 to date. A few of my other reasons for wanting to race (or at least plod) 26.2 miles with TNT on January 13 are to give back for what I received to survive lymphoma and to celebrate five years in remission, reached about a month ago.

But I also do this to maybe give a little hope and encouragement to those suffering from cancer. I was once as sick as many of them are, and now I am healthy enough and strong enough to do a marathon. I know personally a number of people going through cancer right now, including my sister, Ann. And I know indirectly of many more. It is a tough fight, far tougher than a marathon, against a foe that is remoreless and relentless, that never sleeps, never takes a break. But it can be defeated, as I and millions of others can attest. So if you know someone with cancer, tell them to stay strong and positive - it is my fervant hope that they will all be healthy again in the near future, even if they don't want to do a marathon.

There are a few of you who told me that you would like to donate later. Well, if you are one of these folks, later is now. So if you want to donate, or just check out my latest updates, photo, and honoree list, here again is the link to my Team in Training web page:

On my web page, you can see the names of honorees scroll by. These are the names of people who have had cancer, have it now, or have died as a result of cancer. Most of these names come from people who have made donations, and who want to honor a specific person or persons with that donation. A number of others are people I know that I want to personally honor with my efforts. Since they are really what this whole thing is about, I am listing all their names here so that you can see them without them scrolling by. During this week, I will write these names on my Arizona race shirt, and on the morning of the race I will read them all again to myself as I try to think what they have all been through:

IN MEMORY OF: Allan Bernstein, Bob Caggiano, Debbie Hoysa, Joe Boisvert, Ellen Heim, Martha Anne Roberson, Ron Mason, Virginia Forth, Kristin Kalinke, Susan Lord, Julius (Fred) Dalley, Gerald (Jerry) Eastey, Marjorie Smith, Robert Smith, James Vaught, Earl Gowell, Joe Feely, Dr. Kurtis Hess, Rizalino A. Dilag Sr., Rudy Angerman, Linda Cox, Mark Smith, Kelly Bazemore, Mark Duva, Paul Torrice, Larry Burger, Janel Tara Pustilnik, Len Smith, Phyllis Moyer, Wilfred Thibeau, Camilla Stull

IN HONOR OF: Ann Ritter, Christine Grudinskas, Dick Dreselly, Ed Stone, Emma McFeely, Eric Lamp, Janice Wedwick, Jane Koehler, Kristen O'Brien, Kristi Garstang, Leroy Sievers, Marguerite Campoli, Mary Beth Gibson, Meg Brown, Nicki Patton, Paul Zamecnik, Susan Lawson, Tommy West, Carole Austelle, Wendy Wright, Loretta Hamann, Bob Banko, Jackie Connors, Barbara Gooby, Pat McAuliffe, Grace Oughton, Joseph Livingston, Marilyn Libman, Madison Chamberlain, Doug Barnett, Rachel Cox, Gerry Adamson, Barbara Adamson, John Hammel, Lillian Kerby, Lorna Noble, Walker Hutchins, Kittie Jackson Edwards, Wayne Gutmann, Kaley Grace Shoemaker, Teresa Burton, Kim Hill, Larry Stewart

If you will, think of me and my Teammates in Arizona and Florida on the 13th and say a little prayer or send us good karma. Thanks again for supporting me in so many ways during my "Celebrating Five Years Cancer Kickin' Campaign" for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Best wishes,

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Bide Your Time, for Success is Near

January 5, 2008. The marathon is one week from tomorrow. It is amazing how quickly time goes by. We had our last team training today, only 8 miles. Eight miles feels really easy, I must say, which is good because 26.2 miles is going to feel pretty tough in a week. I am slowly getting over this cold, although it is hanging on just a bit after 11 days now. I am really glad to be doing this. Just today, I learned about a 12 year old girl who died of leukemia in 2007. That should never have to happen to a child, and I hope that my efforts and your donations will help other children to survive cancer in the future. Thanks again for the support! I know that some day, blood cancers and other cancers will be mostly curable or at least manageable, and I will have helped in some small way to make that possible.

Our send-off party, hosted by Coach Sarah, was a lot of fun, as it always is for Team in Training. It is our last chance normally to get together as a team. Over 4-5 months you develop a lot of camaraderie with your teammates, and now we will be splitting into two events, Arizona and Disney, and going our own ways. At the party, Amber presented me with a “top fund-raiser” TNT training vest for raising over $10,000 this season. Every time I train in this vest, I will think about all of the hard work and the generosity from so many people that made it possible.

During our send off party, one of the guys brought fortune cookies. My fortune was the top one: "Bide your time, for success is near." With the marathon just a week away at the time, this is a great fortune for me. I need to remember to bide my time during the race, and enjoy the experiences. Take time to create memories, capture pictures, and so on. Success is near, indeed. Then the next night, Mary and I decided to get take-out because is was late when we got back for exercising. My fortune that night was the lower one: "The job is well done." That is how I am feeling about wrapping up my third year participating in Team in Training. Once I have finished the marathon, the job - fund raising, training, and racing - will indeed be well done.