Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Racing for a Cure in Yellow!

I was going to wear my purple Team in Training shirt Saturday for the 5K Livestrong Dolphin Challenge in Sandbridge. But then I got an email from the Livestrong organization - not in connection with the race specifically – requesting that people wear yellow on October 2. I’ve also seen this request on several blogs. So as much as I would like to wear my Seattle TNT shirt while I run, instead I will wear a yellow shirt I got some years ago when I signed up for a 10K as a cancer survivor. On the back it says: “Team Survivor – I Put Cancer on the Run.” Now, I don’t know if I put cancer on the run, or if it put me on the run and I managed to run faster than it does, but in any event, I will be 8 years cancer free this December. And that, as much as anything, is a good reason to run in yellow this Saturday in Sandbridge, Virginia.

But while I will wear my yellow “Team Survivor” shirt during the race, I will also wear my white hat with the purple and green Team in Training logo on it. On that hat will be my three “26.2” and two “13.1” pins, representing marathons in Anchorage, San Diego, and Phoenix, and half marathons in Nashville and Seattle for Team in Training. Each of those pins represents a tremendous amount of sweat and effort – many, many miles on my feet to train, and so many times of getting up early while the rest of the world sleeps, not to mention fund-raising over and over again.

I am not fundraising right now, and I will not be writing names of cancer victims and survivors on my yellow shirt. But I will be running 5,000,000 millimeters (sounds so much more impressive than 5K, doesn’t it?) in memory and honor of the following personal honorees who have died from or survived cancer. I will carry these names with me on a piece of paper while I run. And although I am so slow that snails gather in little groups and laugh with hilarity as I creep by, I will do my best to honor each and every one of my honorees with my humble efforts. As one of something like 28,000,000 cancers survivors worldwide, I am fortunate indeed to be alive, healthy and strong enough to do this.

In Memory of:
Alan Bernstein
Art Ritter, Jr. (my father)
Bob Caggiano
Bob Knapp
Joe Boisvert
Marilyn Libman
Steve Hauck
Stuart Silverman (my step-father)
Walter Lepson and Willis Lepson (my grandparents)
W. Scott Bivans

In Honor Of and Currently Dealing with Cancer or its Immediate Aftermath:
Ann Ritter (my sister – happy birthday, Sis!) – I’ll be wearing your picture while I race!
Barbara Moriarty
Ed Stone
Elayne Minich
John Hunnicutt
Kerry Alor
Lanie Evans
Linda Silver
Lillian Kerby (getting tested to see if she has relapsed)
Nancy Blevins
Paul Zamecnic
Robin Yoder

In Honor Of Those for Whom Cancer is Currently in the Rear View Mirror:
Bev Kuhlman
Blair Collins
Chris Ritter (my brother)
Christine Grudinskas (my sister-in-law)
Emma McFeeley
Faith Eury
Kayla Kuhn
Jane Kohler
Janice Wedwick
Julie Westcott
Katie Powell
Kristi Garstang
Mary Beth Gibson
Meighan Daily
Mindy Fast
Nancy Nelson
Nicki Patton (I’ll be wearing your “Decade of Strength” wristband, Nicki!)
Pam Pollard
Rhoda Ritter (my step-mother)
Rob Larsen
Warren Short

And finally, I am running in honor of the “Little Nashville Girl” I saw in April, 2009!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Someone is Going to Jump Off a Cliff

So, there is no way around it - someone is going to have to jump off a cliff! A month or so back, I did a poll about this blog and the results (among the six who cast votes) are in. Like politics, there is no middle ground - I guess people (who voted) either like this blog a lot or don't like it at all. The results:

2 - will jump off a cliff if I stop blogging (love it)

2 - will cry themselves to sleep if I stop blogging (like it a lot)

1 - will throw a party if I don't stop blogging (dislike it a lot)

1 - will jump off a cliff if I don't stop blogging (hate it)

So what can I do? I guess I will keep blogging. Thus only one will jump off a cliff, not two. And if they hate the blog that much, maybe they won't check back and won't feel compelled to jump.

In all seriousness, it is always more difficult to continue this blog when I am not doing Team in Training, since that was it's original focus and reason to be. I don't know what my next event will be or when, but until then I will just keep blogging from time to time with topics that hit my interest or strike my fancy. My other blog (Oh, To Be Hiking) is very active right now as a follow-up to my Alaska trip, so that is getting more attention at this moment in time.

But sometime in the next month or two, maybe I will join TNT again, and if not, I will surely join next Fall's team in the April or May timeframe. So until then, check back from time to time, and see what I am writing about here. And please don't jump!!!!!!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A 5K in a Week!

Well, after doing hardly any running or even fast walking since the Seattle race the end of June, I signed up for a 5K today. The race is a week from tomorrow morning in Sandbridge, which is part of Virginia Beach. It is the Livestrong - Dolphin Challenge, and I have a place to stay right at the starting point, so it will be convenient.

Right now, a 5K seems challenging enough. I almost signed up for a 10K, but decided to save the extra $10 and just enjoy doing a 5K - my first ever, so a personal record is guaranteed.

The money goes to supporting two good causes: Livestrong and a dolphin rescue organization. I am excited about doing a race. I want to get in a couple of runs this week, then see what I can do about that PR. In any event, if it is not raining I will snap some photos. And rain or not, I want to enjoy the experience of a new race down at the beach, and hopefully use it as a springboard to start training again. After all, with the hot summer weather hopefully gone soon (it was about 98 today, I think), that removes one excuse.

I watched this race a year ago and really saw it as a festive and fun event. And of course, I will be wearing a purple TNT shirt for the race.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

How Slow Can You Go?

So after about 4 weeks of no running or even fast walking for distance, I did some miles today since my cold was finally feeling better. I walked 4 miles this morning in great, cool weather at a 14 minute pace. And this afternoon, after the frustration of having the Philadelphia Songbirds almost blow a big lead against the Detroit Housecats, I decided it was too nice a day to not go out again. So I did four laps of a trail I like for a total of 2.8 miles, mixing running and walking. But I was slow. How slow was I? Consider…

The first to pass me was a young guy about half my age. “Well,” I thought, “I could be his dad.” So that was OK. Then a young woman, about the man’s age, zipped right by. She ran like a girl, so that was OK. By run like a girl, I mean running smart, running strong, and running proud. Most women I know can beat me in a race hands down. So that was OK, too.

Then a lady pushing a baby carriage with two kids in it sped by. Not so OK. A guy about my age roared past. Ouch! My testosterone level plummeted like a stone. His dad passed me a few seconds later. I felt the burn of shame across my face.

I heard a clickedy-clack behind me and turned just as a really old lady, maybe about 90, came up on me. She was using a walker, and was dressed in a sort of nightgown, of all things. As she went by, she turned and looked behind her, shaking her head grimly. “Damned Viagra!” she muttered half to herself. I heard more clicking and clacking behind me and looked back.

An old man, a little older than the lady, was wearing pajamas and was also using a walker. He was totally bald with a big paunch, and he sported a big grin. He was gaining quickly on me but gaining almost imperceptibly on the old lady. But he was gaining on her – that much was clear - and he put his head down and redoubled his efforts.

“Dude!” I exclaimed. “Give it a rest, why don’t you?” “No way, young fella,” he replied with a big grin. “There may be snow on the roof but there’s still fire in the furnace." I was tempted to tell him there was no snow or anything else on the roof, and that the furnace looked more like a pot-bellied stove, but then I decided that would not be nice. He passed me by, looking quite determined, the old lady just a few yards ahead of him now. Deciding I wanted no more of how this might turn out, I reversed course.

Within minutes, I was passed by a three-legged goat pursued by an old farmer on crutches. Then a box turtle lumbered by. I have always loved turtles and been fascinated by them, but I did get a vision of turtle soup. Finally, a snail crept by me. At that point, my 2.8 miles ended and I felt thoroughly defeated. But then I thought, “Hey, a lot of guys your age never even left the couch today. I was out there for 6.8 miles, slow or not!” So it was all cool.

Now, of course, I made some of this up. I was never passed by that snail. No way. Once he got close, I made a snap command decision. I won’t tell you what happened, but I will share that I had escargot for an appetizer tonight!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Friday Musings

Man, TGIF! I came back from two weeks in Alaska worn out from playing and exploring hard, jet lag, the redeye flight home Sunday, and finally, a nasty cold that is kicking my butt. Finally, figuring I’d infected the office enough, I took the afternoon off sick today. My sneezes are shaking the foundation of my house!

So, my training has been nil lately. I planned on doing some running this week, but have been too drained with the cold. I did eat like a hog being fattened for slaughter during my trip, and between that and not enough exercise, I have gained about 6-7 pounds since my race in Seattle less than three months ago. Now obviously, that has to be turned around and quickly. And there is only one person who can make that happen. And he has a cold and is feeling miserable right now.

Meanwhile, the agony of da feet continues. I just can’t shake that neuroma, but got another shot of alcohol in there the other day, and it was a clearly a bull’s eye, because my foot felt like a big chunk of it was missing the rest of the day. I get another shot in two more weeks. I’ll keep trying to knock that baby out without surgery, which I’d like to avoid.

I need to set another race up, so I will have something that forces me to train. I could join the spring team for Team in Training, but right now it feels too soon to start fundraising again. I have a month more to think about it. If I don’t do it, I’ll join the fall team for 2011. But if I don't get training soon, that future world record marathon is going to be delayed.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Requiem in Pacem, Steve

My blogger holiday is over, and so is my two week vacation to Alaska. Before I went on vacation, I wrote about a man named Steve who was fighting a very tough fight with leukemia. During one of my rare e-mail checks from Alaska, I learned with sadness that Steve passed away about a week ago.

Every ten minutes on average, someone in the United States dies from a blood cancer. Last week, Steve became one of this terrible set of diseases latest victims.

I never met Steve, but he sounds like he was a great guy and devoted to his family. My heart goes out to them. Rest in peace, Steve. Your difficult and valiant fight is over, but you will not be forgotten.