Friday, June 25, 2010

Reviewing my ABC's

Today as I toured a bit of Seattle for the second day in a row, I reviewed my ABC's. More about that in a second, but it was a fun day. We started out with a National Team run around the Seattle downtown, probably running 1.5 miles. It was so nice and cool. Then my roommate (and Richmond coach) Chuck and I walked in a light rain down to Pike Place Market, had breakfast, and looked at some of the amazing displays of seafood, flowers, and fruits and vegetables. From there, we walked to the Washington State Ferry Terminal, and took the ferry to Bainbridge Island, which was a very pretty ride. The rain had stopped but there was heavy cloud cover all day. Mt. Rainier was never visible. We walked trails through a waterfront park, and shared some of the walk and a snack at a coffeehouse with a nice young woman named Kim. She was here from California and is running the full marathon. The link below may or may not work, but shows where I was on the way out:

Then, knowing I have been on my feet too much today, I came back the room and am trying to relax for the last three hours before the Inspiration Dinner. I would guess I was on my feet a minimum of 5 miles today, including our team run.

Now to my ABC's.... My A goal for tomorrow is to break 2 hours 30 minutes. It will be tough because of my sporadic training the last five weeks due to injury and illness, but it is doable. The weather should be great. I am in good over all shape, and my coach taped the 2:30 pace marker to our hotel room mirror. And it is in purple! That is a good omen! So I am going to go for it tomorrow. And I made the decision to do something different - to not run with my TNT hat that I have worn in every race since first signing on to TNT in 2005. I do not want to cover my purple hair. I will bring it to the start and gear check it if it isn't raining.

My B goal is to set a PR, which would be under 2:44 for the half, which was my time in my only other half marathon, Nashville Country Music last year. My C goal is to finish, in any time.

Regardless of A, B, or C, I choose to be happy about this, collect great memories, and take pictures along the way. Having surpassed my fundraising goal - emphasized by my purple hair tomorrow - is what really counts. Hitting 2:30 in the race would be the frosting on the cake. But the cake itself - being here for the race, being alive, being strong and healthy enough to run and walk 13.1 miles, running with purple hair, and running to honor all of the cancer patients whose names are on my shirt - is incredibly sweet with or without the frosting. So I will have my cake and eat it to in Seattle - with or without the frosting!

A TNT Inspiration Dinner, and a 3AM wake-up call wait! GO TEAM!

In Seattle

Well, I made it here in a long day that started at 4:15AM. The air travel was very smooth and I got here in time to explore a bit yesterday, probably walking about 5-6 miles all told. This included finding a good microbrewery of course, walking around a bit, seeing some great views of Mt. Rainier, going to the convention center to pick up my race stuff, and going out to dinner later with the National Team.

I love the weather here. It is a good 30 degrees cooler than back in Virginia. On the flight in, we flew over beautiful and rugged snow covered mountains just east of here. Makes me wonder again how much hiking I will get in after the race, as there is still a lot of snow at elevation.

Well, this is it for a few days. GO TEAM!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ready or Not, Seattle, Here I Come!

Wow, where does time go? 4.5 months ago, it was snowing a lot and cold. Fundraising was going slow, training slower. Now, in the heat of the summer - it is supposed to hit 100 today - my bags are nearly packed and ready to go, and I hope that I am as well. Seattle, here I come!

Since my little injuries, I have not come up anywhere near to my full training schedule. But I know I can finish the race. Slow down. Take pictures. Capture memories. Enjoy the time at the race and not worry so much about my time in the race. I am heading out for two easy miles in a few minutes. Yesterday, I did two hard miles to see what that would feel like, essentially doing them about 45 seconds a mile faster than my race pace needs to be if I don't want to crash and burn after 8 miles.

Fundraising-wise, which is really the most important thing, everything is great. I got a big check from a fundraiser that a friend had out of state, and then a $100 donation yesterday from Pat in Richmond put me just over the $11,000 mark at $11,050. It feels great to have surpassed my goal and running with purple hair will emphasize that!

I have all my team and marathon course information - pages and pages of it. Good reading on the plane. Virginia's team is so small that we will be part of a large "National Team" along with many other chapters. I am looking very much forward to hopefully meeting fellow blogger, blood cancer survivor, marathoner, and TNTer Julie at the race if we can connect. And I am looking forward to the Inspiration Dinner Saturday night, meeting the other Virginia and National Team members, and seeing a new place for a few days.

Seattle, here I come! I hope I am ready for this, but ready or not, there is no turning back!

Monday, June 21, 2010

A Letter to My Grandfather

Dear Grandy,

This Saturday, I will be running and walking a half-marathon in Seattle, Washington. That date will be 51 years to the day from your death from lung cancer. I still remember the phone ringing, my mom answering and saying a few words but mostly listening, and then hanging up the phone and starting to cry. It was a sad time for all of us.

I have thought many times what it meant to me to have you in my life for my first seven and nearly eight years of my life. You were my only grandparent still alive at my birth, or even close to it. You were a huge part of my early years in so many ways. One of my favorite childhood memories was you taking me for haircuts (which I didn’t especially like) and then out to lunch afterwards at the Horn and Hardart’s cafeteria. I thought it was so cool that they had all these trays of food and you could just point at what you wanted. It was fun spending time with you, just the two of us, while we were there.

You also used to let me beat you in checkers. Of course at the time as a six year old, I didn’t realize you were letting me win. I just thought I was the butt-kicking checkers king of the world! You would set up the board in such a way that I could jump 2 or 3 of your checkers with one move, then you’d say things like “Wow! That was a great jump! How did you do that?”

You loved working in the vegetable garden, and especially taking care of your beautiful rose garden behind the kitchen. For years afterwards, even though we didn’t take proper care of it, I would think of you when roses would bloom there. You’d walk me to and from school every day my first year, and maybe part of my second. Then you got ill and we watched you get weaker and weaker. My folks moved your bedroom to the first floor of our house, and eventually you had to go to a hospital. It wasn’t long after that when you passed away. It was scary and sad seeing you so ill.

Now you are long gone, but you have never been forgotten by me or by my brothers and sisters. I’m a man now, and I’m a cancer survivor, because things have changed in these 51 years. Cancer is still a dreaded and often deadly disease, but survival is no longer rare. I hope that by racing for a cure again this Saturday in Seattle, I am making one tiny step in the ultimate elimination of incurable cancers. I hope you would be proud of me, were you able to be here. But maybe you would just be thinking “Now why would anyone ruin a perfectly good day by running 13.1 miles if no one was chasing them?”

Thanks for being such a big part of my life. I will be thinking of you this June 26 as I race in Seattle, Washington.

“Little Art”

P.S. I am a grandpa now, too. I was there at my granddaughter's birth, lucky to still be alive. And you know, someday when she is a bit older, I just might let her think she is the butt-kicking checkers queen of the world!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Color Purple

So, having met and exceeded my 2010 fundraising goal for Seattle, I will be dying my hair purple! But how? This is either going to be a lot of fun, or a disaster. But here is my plan for June 26th.

1. Get up no later than 3AM (the buses leave at 4AM and depending on when our coach wants us to meet, I may even have to get up earlier than that.) After two nights on west coast time, I think I am going to be very tired.

2. Put petroleum jelly on the skin around my hair line so that hopefully any dye that slops over on my skin will clean up easily.

3. Use "Color Fiend" deep purple dye. I can try combing it in, and I am also bringing gloves in case I decide to just rub it in. I have four little dye packets which should be plenty. Hopefully, I can avoid ruining the hotel bathroom and getting a huge bill to clean it.
4. Dry the dye with a hair dryer, if the hotel provides one (hope so).

5. Wear a purple headband during the run to hopefully soak up purple sweat before it reaches my eyes.

6. Try to remember to leave the headband on the whole race, and not wipe my brow with my hands and then rub my eyes.

Any suggestions out there?

Saturday, June 19, 2010

One Week to Go!

Where does time go? Early February, with its back to back deep snowfalls that cancelled our first two trainings for the so called Summer Team, is a distant memory in the sweltering heat of June in Virginia. The Seattle Rock 'N' Roll Half Marathon is exactly a week away, and so today, I had my last team training. I trained with the fall team, and we ran the good old out and back up Boulevard. It is not my favorite route, but one advantage of it was seeing many old friends from TNT out running with the Richmond Sportsbackers Marathon Training Team.

I ran about 6.5 miles, the first half of it with Elliot, who is the remaining TNT staff person in the Richmond office now that Amber and Cate (who left yesterday) are gone. He is a good guy, very busy right now, and I enjoyed getting to chat with him. During the run, I felt no pain in my injured calf or ankle, which works for me. It was tough going in the heat, but Seattle should be much cooler. It is possible that the high the day of the race will be cooler than our low today. So hopefully, I am ready. I know I have not done enough hill work, and may have no choice but to walk many of the hills. But my goal right now is to finish.

Here are some photos from training today.

The Fall Team seems like a great group.

Elliot snapped this shot of me with the monument to all the Civil War horses and mules that perished during the war - something like 1,500,000 of them. It is a sad monument of an exhausted and starving horse at the Virginia Historical Society.

Confederate General A. P. Hill's monument marked my turn-around point.

Showing off my new purple headband, which hopefully will keep purple hair dye from running into my eyes with sweat in Seattle.

Running with a couple members of the Fall Team back down Hermitage

Some of the Fall walk team coming up Boulevard

The Flying Squirrels are now rocking the Diamond! Let's go nuts over the Squirrels!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Who I Am Running For

This was my final note sent to supporters and potential donors....


Hello, all –

Ten days from today, I will wake up at an obscenely early hour, apply temporary Team in Training tattoos to my face, smear temporary (I hope) purple dye in my hair, and put on my running clothes – including my purple race jersey covered with dozens of names. I will wolf down a bagel, if I can find one, and catch a bus to a staging area somewhere in the Seattle area. I will try to get a little rest in the pre-dawn darkness, and mentally prepare myself to start running and walking 13.1 miles.

Yes – I did say I will dye my hair purple, for my fundraising goal of $8,500 has been reached, thanks entirely to so many of you getting this update. But as we attempt to cure cancer, one mile and one dollar at a time, there is no harm in exceeding one’s goals. So if you have been meaning to donate all along, or if you are one of those folks who said “I’ll donate later, just remind me,” then this link is for you:

Every time I do Team in Training, I write the names of cancer survivors, and of those deceased from cancer, all over my race shirt. You can see a list of my 2010 honorees here:

If I were to tell you something about every one of them, this note would be many pages long, for they represent the stories of so many people with cancer. A college girl whose friends took her out to celebrate her last birthday – thirteen birthdays ago. A two year old boy who died from leukemia last year. A man about my age who is fighting late stage leukemia as we speak. A boy stolen from his parents by leukemia at 15. A young pregnant woman battling Hodgkin lymphoma while carrying her child to term. A ten week old baby who developed leukemia but survived after several years of horrific treatments. A woman who, forty years ago, was the only person in her clinical group at St. Jude’s to survive a type of leukemia that is now over 90% curable. They are brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, mothers and fathers, husbands and wives, friends and cousins – and beloved pets!

The first name I will write on my shirt is that of my sister, Ann, who is in the fourth year of battling a relentless metastatic breast cancer. I think of her every single day, and pray that she will be more relentless than her cancer.

Finally, I am running for anyone who may have cancer and needs a little hope and encouragement that they will survive and be healthy again. Eight years ago, I was in their shoes, and now I am a three time marathoner and soon to be two time half marathoner. If I can in some way inspire someone else who is currently ill to keep their chin up, fight to get better, stay positive, and maybe someday be motivated to do something to make a difference in the world, then I can ask for no better outcome from my experience.

I deeply appreciate all the support for this cause from so many of you. Finishing the half marathon next week is something that I have to do with my own two legs. But hitting my ambitious fundraising goal, and turning my hair purple in the process: that is your accomplishment. So thank you for your generosity, which made reaching this goal possible!


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Honorees for Seattle

NOTE: I am keeping this post near the top, because these people (and pets) are one of the big reasons that I do this.

Every time I do a race for Team in Training, I am raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society so that their mission of curing blood cancers can be reached. In addition, I am celebrating my own great fortune for not only surviving cancer but returning to good health, and I am honoring those who have had to battle cancer. For Seattle, I will write these names on my marathon shirt, and will do my best to honor each and every one of them when I race the Rock 'n' Roll Seattle Half-Marathon. I will keep adding to the list as people make donations and ask me to write additional names of their loved ones.

If you want me to run in honor or memory of a loved one with any type of cancer, please go to my TNT web page, make a donation in any amount, and email their name to me.

First, there are seven special honorees for 2010 who are currently dealing with cancer:

Ann Ritter (my sister, relapsed with breast cancer)
Ed Stone (teammate and four time cancer survivor, currently battling melanoma)
Jordan Shahbaz (two year old boy with leukemia)
Madelyne Blanton (eight year old girl with leukemia)
Ashley Lefkow (four year old girl with leukemia)
Elayne Minich (facing metastisized breast cancer once again)
David Williams (recently diagnosed with lymphoma)

Next, with my race, I pay special honors to the memory my grandfather, Walter L. Lepson, who died of cancer 51 years before the date of the Seattle Marathon: June 26, 1959.

Then, there are our Team Patient Honorees, all such inspirations to our entire team: Emma McFeeley, Nicki Patton, Kristi Garstang, Paul Zamecnic, Katie Powell, Rob Larsen

Next, there are other honorees who have bravely faced cancer. Some are fortunate like me, and are survivors. Others fought the good fight but did not have a lucky outcome. May they rest in peace.

In Memory of: Alan Bernstein, Bob Caggiano, Blake Wayland, Joe Boisvert, W. Scott Bivans, Linda Cox, Scott Scupien, Manual Toombs, Katherine Toombs, Marilyn Libman, Dax Locke, Mark Duva, Bob Dorsey, Bob Knapp, Charles Considine, Kate Homan, Yolanda Casim, Frank Raflo, Eileen Jones, Kenwyn Dougherty, Carol O'Neil

In Honor of: Christine Grudinskas, Chris Ritter, Janice Wedwick, Bev Kuhlman, Rhoda Ritter, Kayla Kuhn, Nancy Nelson, Faith Eury, Pam Pollard, Blair Collins, Robin Yoder, Mary Beth Gibson, Michael Marmion, Julie Westcott, Kerry Allor, Linda Silver, Rita Conkle, Tomas Nichols, Linda Hurt, Nancy Blevins, Frances Koons, Warren Short, Samantha Fisher, Craig Sandras, Ed Moore, Cade Howard, Matthew Lozada, Steve Hauck, Pat McAuliffe, Karen Lane, Lillian Kerby, Bill Scherling, Linda Schmidt, Gerry Adamson, Joe Zingone, Pam Sudz, Leona Held, Meighan Daily, David D'Arville, Lanie Evans, Barbara Moriarty, Debbie Cray, Joseph Durante, Jordan Greer, Mindy Fast, Barbara Marx

Finally, there are beloved pets lost to or ill from cancer that I have been asked to remember:

Tyra, Zack, Catherine, Amber, Rocky, Copper

I Will Run With Purple Hair!

Elsbeth from Arizona put me at 100% of my goal today, so it is official - I will be running with purple hair in Seattle in 11 days! To the 120+ people that donated so that I could reach this goal for LLS, many thanks. I dedicate this, and my purple hair, to you!

“I Will Run With Purple Hair!”

“Will I run with purple hair?”
I asked five months ago.
Will there be enough who care
With the economy so slow?

For I pledged to run with purple hair
If I should meet my goal
While making people more aware
Of blood cancers and their toll.

So I set my goal for purple hair
At eight thousand and a half
I tried to write updates with flair
And to sometimes get a laugh.

Just three months in that purple hair
Began to look in doubt
Fundraising was a tough affair
Was my goal, perhaps, too stout?

But in my quest for purple hair
A surge came fast and strong
As six score gave what they could spare
And proved my doubts so wrong.

And so I’ll run with purple hair
On the twenty-sixth of June
Because so many choose to share,
Helping fund new cures soon.

So think of me, with purple hair
As I run across Seattle
For cancer patients in despair,
And for hope in their hard battle.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Not So Great Ankle Roll

Everyone loves rolls! Picture hot yeast rolls with butter! Mmmm! Warm cinnamon rolls in the morning with a hot cup of coffee or tea! Delicious! Lobster rolls made with fresh Maine lobster and just enough mayo to keep it together. Spring rolls with some pad Thai. Yep, rolls are great. Except…

Yesterday, I was served a fresh ankle roll when I stepped on the edge of the sidewalk I was walking on at exactly the right spot where the ground fell away about two inches. My left ankle felt like it rolled nearly perpendicular to my leg, although I know it didn’t quite go that far. It hurt quite a bit, and I tested it. After a minute or so, it felt OK, so I kept going towards the start of my two mile hike around Belle Isle, plus a half mile out and back from the car. The smarter thing would have been to turn around and drive home and ice it. But I have had minor ankle strains before and just kept going. And truthfully, it felt OK. I was careful with the rock hopping on the hike, but that was about it.

Today, I noticed that it did hurt some. So I iced it tonight. I am in the position of backing off once more on training with the half-marathon just 12 days away. Hard to believe, but I need to let this thing heal, along with the calf muscle.

My recipe for an ankle roll: Take one foot. Step quickly and forcefully on an uneven edge until you feel a lot of pain, but don’t stretch those ligaments so far that they tear. Soak in ice water for 10 minutes or until you can’t stand it any more. Rest as much as needed. Repeat as necessary.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Thanks, Lelia, For a Great Season

One of the cool things about Team in Training is coming back for another season and meeting old friends and teammates in a totally different role. People I used to mentor come back as my mentor. People I used to train with come back as my coach. And this season, I ended up mentoring a gal that used to be my coach, Lelia.

It made for a great season. First, Lelia was a mentor's dream - she just quietly went about fundraising and met her goal with no real help or assistance from me. She did it by direct email and letter campaigns, and by doing innovative fundraisers that I never would have thought of, like a Bunko night. Of course, if I ever did a Bunko night, I would probably be drummed out of the ranks of Guydom. Drunko, maybe - but not Bunko. Not for a guy.

Because Lelia and I both were doing a type of Galloway run - walk, and because we were walking and running at similar paces and intervals, we trained together every Saturday. Sometimes she would be stronger and push me a bit, others times it was me pushing along, and many times we both had bad days running the same day and could commiserate. The few times she couldn't make it to training, I really missed her. After last season of being the only "runalker" and training by myself most Saturdays, it was great to have a teammate to train with and talk to. We trained together for the last Saturday yesterday, and it was fun. So thanks, Lelia! It was a great summer season.

Here is Lelia at mile 8 in the San Diego Marathon a week ago, being suprised by her friend Mike and his camera. Another of my mentees, Stephanie, is in the right hand side of the photo. Don't they look like they are having fun? Come on out and join Team in Training, y'all! You won't regret it!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Two Weeks to Seattle!

I had missed the last three team trainings. I was at the beach for the first two I missed, and injured for last week. So even though I am the only one left on Summer Team still training for my event, the others having done the San Diego Half Marathon last Sunday, it felt great to be out training today. This is especially true since 13 days ago, I could barely walk at an extremely slow pace.
My schedule called for 11 miles today, but coming off two weeks of total inactivity and this last week of just starting to run again, my coaches and I agreed that six miles was enough. I also walked a lap around the lake before and after training, and so got in seven miles on my feet. And that did feel like enough. The good news is that I switched back to the three minute run and 1.5 minute walk intervals I was doing so successfully before my injury. A couple of times, I walked for the first minute into a run interval to recover my breath a bit, but most of the time, I stuck to the intervals. Lelia ran and walked with me. I really appreciate her coming out with her event now past. I loved hearing her stories from the San Diego trip. It was great to see her again.
I got a little tired at times, and it was fairly hot. But at no time did I have any pain in my calf. So I think it is on the mend. It is going to be tough to do 13.1 miles in two weeks after my extended break, but I know I can do it at some speed.
Here are some pictures from today.
As I am the only one officially still training on the Summer Team, we are combining the Fall and Summer Teams for joint training. Here Coach Chuck is preparing to lead a cheer.
A few of us pose for a photo along the way. Tina (middle) was on the spring team, and is now a Fall Team Mentor.
Beautiful blue hydraingas along the route.
Afterwards, Lelia and I get a momento snap shot taken. It is our last time training together this season, after week after week of sticking together each Saturday as runalkers.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

On The Mend

Knock on wood, but I think I am on the mend from my torn calf muscle. I am out of shape after missing more than two weeks of training, and being actually pretty sedentary, first from my cold, then from the muscle tear. But I have started up again.

Sunday I went for a two mile walk in a park near here, finishing in just under 30 minutes. Yesterday, I got up early and walked two miles, finishing in 28 minutes. Today, I went out for a three mile walk, and after a mile decided to see what running felt like. I ran for one minute, then stopped and walked to evaluate. Other than some stiffness in the calf, it felt OK, so I alternated 1 - 1.5 minutes of running with every five minutes of walking. It felt great to be moving, and the three miles took 39 minutes.

Tomorrow morning, if it is not raining hard and if my leg pain remains low, I am going to try for four miles, throwing in maybe a 1.5 minute run with every three minutes of walking. I am hopeful that if that feels OK, I can gradually increase my running ratio and distance. The bad thing is, I start taper a week from Saturday, and I feel like I have been on the ultimate taper for over two weeks. But I know I can finish the race, even if it takes longer than my goal of 2:30.

I won't say "I'm Baaaaaack!" but I will say, knocking on wood and throwing salt over my shoulder, that I am headed back!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Answering the Burning Questions

This was the note sent tonight to potential donors as a campaign update...

Hello Again,

Eight years ago, the burning questions for me were: what kind of cancer do I have? Will I live to the end of the year? What is chemotherapy going to be like? Will I survive five years? (Answers: Hodgkin lymphoma, yes, not fun, yes). But now, with my 13.1 mile race in Seattle just 19 days away, I have a different set of questions to find the answers to.

First, a quick update: people have generously donated nearly $7,900 so far to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through my campaign. I am only a few hundred dollars away from running with purple hair. If you want to see how I am doing, make a donation, read campaign updates, or view my honoree list, the place to start is with my TNT page:

Now, I know that the suspense is killing you, so let’s get to today’s burning questions.

(Q) Will your hair be purple come race day? (A) While I cannot be certain, I am so close to my goal now that I cannot imagine not hitting my objective of $8,500. A goal that seemed tenuous just a few months ago now seems very likely. Thanks everyone! You can check up on me by reviewing my “Purpleometer:”

(Q) How will you turn your hair purple? (A) I am looking for the right dye, one that I can apply easily the early morning of the race, without causing the hotel’s smoke alarms to go off or resulting in a hazardous waste alert. It has to be very temporary, since I really don’t want to come into work a few days later with purple hair. But it can’t be too temporary, because I will be sweating a lot during the run, and don’t want it to bleed out down my face and into my eyes.

(Q) What happens if the purple doesn’t come out? (A) Assuming multiple shampoos won’t fade it, I probably can’t miss work and go on disability for this reason, so I would guess I will just get a really short hair cut. And I’ll keep washing it. Or I could dye it red and become a carrot-top for a while.

(Q) What’s this about a leg injury? (A) I’d had a nasty cold, and didn’t run for nine days. When I did run again, it was just a 1.5 mile run barefoot on the beach, which seemed simple enough, but at the very end, I suffered a slight tear in my left calf muscle. After another week of doing nothing, I started short two mile walks yesterday. Running is still painful.

(Q) Do you think this injury is due to your age? (A) Absolutely not! Both my legs are exactly the same age, and only one of them is injured, so no way!

(Q) So can you still do the race? (A) I intend to, even if it means walking most of it. I’ve made great progress. A week ago, I could barely walk and it was painful. I tried taking a walk and a big snail sneered at me as he zipped by. His laughter cut me to the quick, and I yelled “You laugh now, but when I catch you, you’ll be escargot in garlic butter!” “Catch me?” he said, taunting me. “You couldn’t catch a cold!” I tried pursuing him for a while, slipping and sliding in his slime trail, but eventually he got too far ahead and I lost him. But this morning, I walked 2 miles in 28 minutes – much better. Hopefully, I can get in some running in a few days, and try to get back to race condition. Since a nine mile run on May 21, I have run a total of 1.5 miles, injuring myself in the process. So I definitely have some catching up to do.

(Q) Any big surprises this time around? (A) Not really, but I continue to be amazed at people’s generosity as we continue to slowly climb out of this recession. I think enough people realize that cancer is not in recession – not even close - and we have to keep making progress in the fight against it. Every ten minutes in this country, a cure arrives too late for one more person with blood cancers. Your generous donations are going to ultimately improve the odds and lead to more cures, and to more support of cancer patients.

Thanks again from my 2010 Cancer Kickin’ Campaign, “Survivor in Seattle.”

Sunday, June 6, 2010

May Progress on My 2010 Goals

At the end of 2009, I identified ten goals for myself for the upcoming year. I decided to do a little progress report at the end of each month to see how I am doing on each of these. Here is where things stand after five months into the New Year!

1. Do my fifth Team in Training event. I am on the Summer Team to run the Seattle half marathon. Training has been going on for almost four months. There are just 3 weeks to go now, and injuries and another cold have me down but not out.

2. Get a bike. Initially, this means saving money for a bike. This takes money I don't have right now, and I have finally made some tiny progress on this goal by setting aside a little more money for this purpose. But truthfully, enjoying my time in Seattle and Washington could use some of this money. I need to seize the day while I am out there.

3. Eclipse $50,000 (cumulative) in fund raising for Team in Training. I need to raise $8,500 this season to hit this target. After some times when I wondered about whether I could do it, I've now raised 92% of this amount so far, and had a great May for raising money. I had to update my PurpleOmeter four times in May, and have already updated it in June as well. It is clear to me that I will reach and even surpass this goal.

4. Lose my extra 10 pounds. It is slow going, but I have lost about five pounds of it so far, a pound more than a month ago. However, taking it easy for this injury is not going to help, unless I start watching what I eat.

5. Practice swimming. I’ve made no progress on this goal.

6. Write something, get it published, and get paid for it. I’ve made no progress on this goal.

7. Run the Ukrops Monument Avenue 10K this March. Accomplished!

8. Hike more, and try to backpack again. I’ve managed a few more short hikes in the past month. And I've continued with some short hikes in May. But my larger plans for hiking last month were impeded by being sick and now this injury. Hopefully, I can get a few good hikes in this month as training winds down and as this injury heals.

9. Do something about my work situation. No progress on this at all.

10. Continue this blog, as well as my blog “Oh, to be Hiking,” through 2010. I’ve written 114 posts on this blog and 16 posts on my hiking blog through April of 2010. So I am doing well on this goal.

Summary – mixed. After five months, I have accomplished one goal, made good progress on three of my goals, some progress on two others, tiny progress on one more, and no progress on the other three. But the year is now 5/12 over. I need to pick one of those neglected goals and at least get started in June. So that is my goal for this month. Check back!

I said a month ago that my goal for May was to get started with a neglected goal, but it didn't happen. June is not looking great either, with my event coming up and with being ill again. But I should be able to focus on something.

Injury Update

On Thursday, four days after injuring my calf running on the beach, I went to a sports medicine doctor. The news was pretty good. He said that I have a slight tear of the lateral left calf muscle, but that it should heal on its own. I am not likely to make it worse by running, although it would be painful right now. He suggested continuing to rest and ice it, and then when the pain is less try getting back into running slowly. Start with a half mile, and it that feels OK, do a mile the next day, two the next, and so forth. He said that I could run the race in Seattle but that if it is still painful by then, I would have to make the decision of whether the price of the pain would be something I want to pay to do the race.

That night, I ran a tiny bit. We got home late from a play in a terrible, drenching storm, and our neighbor’s trash can had blown over. The lid had blown way down the street. Her husband is having a ton of medical issues right now, and she doesn’t need any more stress. So I ran over in the rain to right the can and find the lid. Even though it was just a few hundred feet and I was going really slow, it definitely hurt.

On the plus side, I can walk almost at my normal pace without a lot of pain, unless I have to adjust quickly to an uneven spot or something like that. I walked ¾ mile yesterday. So at the least I can increase that. It has now been a week since the injury, and everything I see tells me to give it two weeks to heal. But it seems like some walking would be a good idea.

On the down side, I seem to have another cold / sore throat, and feel pretty lousy today. Hard to believe, after just getting over a tough one.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

An Ill-Timed Muscle Tear?

So, nine days after running/walking nine miles with little effort, Sunday came. I had not trained a lick, fighting off a pretty bad cold. But then Sunday came. It was a beautiful day. My cold was lots better. I was at the beach. It seemed perfect to do a short 1.5 mile run barefoot on the beach, just a little leg stretcher. I had only missed a week of training with the cold. If the 1.5 miles went well, I would do 4 Monday morning, and then get into my regular training schedule again.

I cruised .75 miles down the beach, running the whole way. I turned and walked 2 minutes, then started running again. I was not bothering with intervals, since the distance was so short. With 150 meters to go, it seemed like a good time to pick up the pace, so I increased my speed from maybe a 9 or 10 minute mile to about a 7 minute mile. The stopping point was just ahead. 100 feet. 75 feet. 50 - Oww! What the hell is that? I got a sudden burst of pain in my left calf. I slowed, but ran the remaining 50 feet, then stopped. This is a funny time to have a leg cramp, thought I.

15 minutes later, it was clear that this is no leg cramp. No, I have damaged something. It was too nice a beach day to ice it, so I stayed on the beach, soaking it in the cold ocean often. After a little bit, even walking was painful. Slow walking that is. Every time I pushed off with that left foot, it hurt quite a bit. Going up and especially going down stairs was very painful. I Googled "pulled calf muscles" and the news was not good. If it is mild, I should rest it for two weeks and then take it easy. My race was 41 days away on the date of the injury. I tried walking a bit in the wildlife refuge, probably making about 30 minute mile pace for a mile, stopping often to look at things. I noticed a bruise the size of a fifty-cent piece. Hmmm, so there is some bleeding. That area was very painful to the touch with slight pressure.

Monday came. It was less painful but still so. I could walk a little better, mabye 20 minute mile pace, but didn't do much. I applied ice. I was careful and slow on stairs. Tuesday came. I returned the work and used the elevator. Yes, that is not a typo - I used the elevator! I walked to the bank and people actually paced me! Out walking about town I NEVER get passed walking by anyone. EVER! Man, that was hurtful to my pride! Wednesday came. I called a sports medicine doctor and made an appointment for the morning. Each day the pain is less, but still there, and very stiff. I have done no training since the injury. I walk only to get from point A to point B. I cancelled running with a friend for tonight.

I think it is probably a minor calf muscle tear. My left calf is always a lot stiffer than the right. Maybe it was running barefoot in sand. Maybe it was speeding up at the end in sand. Hard packed sand, but sand all the same. Maybe it was running most of a mile and a half (although I've done that recently with no problems) instead of doing intervals - after not doing much of anything for over a week because of my cold. I don't know, and I guess it doesn't really matter. I just have to see what the doctor says, and get advice on training / running / walking / hiking / pool work / etc. over the next three weeks.

My guess is that my real training schedule is derailed for at least another week. If I am lucky, maybe I can start running late next week and work up to 6-8 miles before heading to Seattle. But until I talk to the doc tomorrow, I am not doing anything at all. It feels really weird because I have basically been inactive for nearly two weeks now.