Sunday, January 31, 2010

Message From the Captain #11

Ahoy Mateys! How about this snow? I didn’t realize that the Arctic Ocean was one of the ports o’call for the LLS Mentorship this season, but it sure feels that way. Hopefully everyone stayed safe and sound over the weekend. I am still bummed out that both our big storms this winter came in on the weekend and so we lost no time at work but lost training time. Sometimes Cap’n Art is just like a school kid! My exercise this weekend was primarily shoveling out the walkways of some of my widowed and/or infirm neighbors, so at least I got a good upper body workout out of the deal.

With recommitment past for the Shamrock Team, and the race in four more weeks for the Mardi Gras crew, things are moving right along. There are some of you that I hear from regularly about how your mentees are doing. But I don’t get this from everyone. So if you would, can you give me a brief report about how your mentees are doing? Ideally, it would be good to know (1) who has recommitted (2) how close are they to their minimum (3) what concerns do you have about any of them (4) what plans do you know of for them to close the gap? Please copy Cate on this analysis.

I think that your goal in your note this week – because you have already provided plenty of ideas – is to try to reach out to anyone who is under 50% of their minimum and see if you can meet with them to come up with a plan to get them the rest of the way. Of course if you have some specific ideas to get them, go for it. In particular, are any of your mentees due in your opinion to send out a reminder email? I know that I am (for the summer season). I sent my first note nearly two weeks ago, and I got a flurry of donations, and now one comes in every few days. So it is time for me to send out an update. Human nature being what it is, my note of mid January is now buried in everyone’s in-box. And of course, if you have mentees who have not sent a letter, see if you can motivate them to do this. Even though I personally get a lot better fundraising response to my emails than to my letters, my letters are always good for a half dozen or so donations, and every single donation is important.

Please remind all your mentees about the Silent Mile on the 20th. This is a really good training for everyone to participate in, because they can meet all of the team patient honorees, and also meet teammates from summer and 10K teams, and from the other sports.

With me now fundraising and mentoring for the summer team, I will try not to get confused each week about my captainly duties, and I will still be involved with your team. I also know that especially for Susie, the spring and cycle team are essentially one because of the timing, and that you will have mentees at different stages of fundraising. So there is less urgency for the cyclists to be up on their fundraising – if they are new. If they have been involved all along, then definitely you will want them to have a good bit of their funds raised by now.

Please let me know if you need anything, if you want to meet and review any concerns with your mentees, or just touch base to discuss how things are going. We arrive at our first port of call in less than four weeks! How Cool!

Cap’n Art

North Versus South

When I was a young man, I lived in Maine for a number of years. The big storm we got yesterday, our second in six weeks, reminded me of Maine, and of how I used to spend hours on snowshoes out in the woods, or on cross country skis. Winter and cold weather were a big part of life in Maine. The question, asked only partially in jest, was how many seasons does Maine have? The answer was two, although there were at least two variations to this. The first was that the two seasons were winter and last winter. The other answer was that the two Maine seasons were winter and three weeks in July when the ice skating gets kind of poor. In Wayne, Maine - the little town where I lived for a while – snow removal was the second biggest line item on the town budget behind schools.

When we cancelled training yesterday, a very wise decision, I started thinking of how Northerners and Southerners think differently about snow and cold weather. Virginia is not Deep South – our weather is not much different from Pennsylvania, at least in Central Virginia – but we think of ourselves as Southern, I guess because of the Civil War. So here are a few of the scenarios I thought of.

Scenario 1 – the weather forecast, where the TV announcer talks about a big storm coming in. Northern couple: the husband yawns, and turns back to his paper. The wife says “Hey kids, better get to bed a little early tonight, because you have to get up 15 minutes earlier to get to school on time.” Southern couple: the husband and wife leap from the sofa with blood curdling screams. They jump into the car and drive 80 miles an hour to the supermarket, nearly getting in several accidents with the crush of traffic heading to the store. They park 800 feet from the store in the last available spot. In the store, there is a mob scene as people strip the shelves of bread, milk, and beer. Meanwhile, back at the house, their kids are dancing around and giving high-fives – no school for at least the next week.

Scenario 2 – the mercury hovers at zero F, and it is time for a run. The northern runner decides to wear long pants and a long sleeved shirt, and starts running. The southern runner bundles up with five layers, steps outside, and cannot move from all the layers.

Scenario 3 – it is snowing hard, and a couple has dinner plans with friends. The northern couple throws a snow shovel and a bag of cat litter in the trunk, takes a couple of sleeping bags just in case, and starts driving – hell, it’s only 40 miles. The southern couple sends their regrets – there is no way they are going to drive that mile to their friends’ home! (And actually, there was this time in Maine that we drove 70 miles each way in a snow storm to have dinner with friends. The drive home, very late at night, was through a raging blizzard, and it took over three hours to make the drive back. Another time, we drove to Portland and back in a snow storm to go to our first opera. Yesterday, I didn’t even leave the house.)

Scenario 4 – a couple is selling their home in a tough market. The southern couple seals the deal by including their golf carts. The northern couple seals the deal by throwing in their snow-blower and two snowmobiles.

Scenario 5 – a big storm, starting just before morning rush hour, is forecast. The Southern company announces before the start of work that the offices are closed that day. The highway crews can easily take care of the low-traffic roads. But with the Northern company, everyone shows up to work, slogging in through the storm. The snow fall gets worse and worse. The wind picks up to blizzard intensity. Finally at 3:30, the company and all other businesses in town close for the day. This results in a massive traffic jam as every commuter hits the road at exactly the same time in the snow storm. Snowplows are stuck in traffic just like everyone else.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Message #1 From Your Artful Mentor

My first note to my 2010 Summer Season mentees....

Hi Summer Marathoners / Half Marathoners,

It is I, your Artful Mentor, with the first of many weekly emails to you all. This is my way of reaching out to the participants that I am mentoring this summer season, giving you ideas, and letting you know that I am thinking of you. I would love to make this a dialog, and to hear back from you with any questions, concerns, comments, and ideas. At the least, I’d appreciate a reply to this first email just to confirm that (1) you got this note OK and (2) a home phone number and cell phone number, if you have the latter. You should each have my contact information from my introductory email, but let me know need it again.

So our team is off to a slow start. Kick-off only had myself and one other participant show up, plus Cate and the three head coaches. Training today had a foot of snow show up. What is a new TNT participant to do? Well, I say, enjoy the beautiful snow and start getting your fundraising organized! Next weekend will be a good chance to meet your coaches and teammates at training, so use the spare time to get going on fundraising. And I see that a few of you have not waited to get going – two of you in particular are off to amazing starts!

I want to give you a few things to think about in this first note. All of you have already set-up and customized your web pages. Now, it is time to promote them if you have not already. What if you created the most amazing invention but told no one? Just like with any other product that you are attempting to get people interested in, your fundraising campaign and web page needs to get into people’s consciousness. So get a message about what you are doing and why you are doing it out to all of your email contacts - and I mean all. Let them decide whether they want to donate or not. Don’t assume that they won’t want to or won’t be interested. Your message should be in your own words and personalized to your situation, but if you need help, let me know and we will work together on it.

If it might be helpful to you, I have all of my fundraising messages for my 2008 and 2009 campaigns out on my blog, and am putting this season’s on there as well. I usually do about 10 notes / updates each season, or one every two to three weeks. Just go to my blog:

And then search on the label named “Note to Donors.”

Second, fundraising thousands of dollars is not easy, and it can be more difficult in a down economy. Come up with a plan of how you will do it. You have four months to go until your race, and at least a few weeks after the race to accomplish your goal. If you are trying to raise $3,000, you will need to come up with approximately $700 a month to get there. So you might want to think in terms of having at least $750 raised by the end of February, $1,500 by the end of March, and so forth. I will be glad to meet with each of you one on one and help develop your plan. And I know that Cate is also very willing to do this. You just need to let us know what you need. Fundraising is much less difficult and even is fun if you jump right on it.

As your mentor for this season, I look on myself not just as your fundraising coach, but also someone who you can talk to about your Team in Training experience, if you want to. I’ve done four events (three marathons and one half-marathon), and will be training along with you on my fifth this season, so I have experience balancing fundraising, training, and life along the way. If my experience can help you in some way, please let me know. Of course, training specific concerns and questions and injury issues should be discussed with your coach. I am copying head coach Chuck in case he has anything to add here.

Finally, I want to close by saying that I am delighted that you have chosen to do Team in Training. As I blood cancer survivor, I thank you for your deciding to make this world a better place with your decision. I think you will have an amazing and wonderful experience, and will do all I can to help make it so for you. The San Diego Marathon was my second event, and I loved it! I think you will as well, especially with the new course and the new TNT focus!

Let me know if you need anything in the upcoming week. In any event, I hope to see you all at training next week, weather permitting! Fair warning, though – I will likely have my camera, and you will likely end up on my blog. If you want a picture for your webpage or any other use, I am glad to take it at training, and email it to you.


Fundraising Update

Well, I am now about a week and a half into fundraising since sending out my kick-off note, and I am pleased with how things are moving along. I have raised $1,000 so far, which is about 12% of my goal of $8,500. That is a great start! As usually happens, my note results in a flurry of donations for a few days, and then a week goes by with an occasional donation. For example, I got one yesterday and one about four days ago. So it is almost time to send out an update to my e-mail list. I have one mostly ready to go, and will probably send it out Monday night.

I wanted to talk about my fundraising goal this season. The past few years, I have set my goal very high – $14,000 or $15,000 – and have never come close. So this year, I was thinking of setting it at a more attainable level. Since this is my fifth event for Team in Training, and I will be an eight year survivor in May, I wanted a number with a five and an eight in it. But $5,800 seemed too low to shoot for. As it turned out, raising $8,500 would top $50,000 for my five TNT campaigns and my Light the Night effort this past fall. Topping the half-century mark as a total is one of my goals this year, and I need to raise something like $8,300 to accomplish this. So that jived pretty well with setting my goal at $8,500. Now I just have achieve it! But I have always found people to be very generous, and I think that I am off to a great start, given the economy.

I haven’t yet had a Dallas Cowboys fan step up and donate $100 in order to force me to wear a Cowboys hat, but I do have a Seattle Seahawks hat coming. That actually is kind of cool, since that is where my race is. Cowboy fans, are you going to let a Seahawk fan best you? A guy yesterday at work donated $50 and in return I have to wear a multi-colored hat with a propeller on top of it for a week. Of course you know that I will be bringing a camera to work and getting a photo of that for this blog! Ditto for the Seahawks hat once it arrives from California.

I wish everything else was going as well as fund raising. As I write this, our first Summer Team training is cancelled due to rapidly falling snow. This is the second cancellation of Team in Training for snow in 6 weeks, and I never remember this happening before in my five years. Coach Ken from Michigan, don’t laugh too hard if you read this! And of course, our kick-off didn’t really happen, and so our Summer Team is getting off to a slow start. So it is good that at the least, fundraising is going well to date. I have been working out on my own at least a little, getting in a four mile run and walk the other night, doing water aerobics twice this week, and doing some weights last night. I also took a four mile walk in the wind and cold at lunch yesterday, walking around Belle Isle as the James River roared by. I was freezing in my light fleece, no hat, and no gloves, but I saw several people running along in shorts and a tee. They must be from Manitoba or somewhere like that where they button their short-sleeved shirt when it drops to 20 degrees. The snow will make it difficult to run for a good part of this coming week, so I may need to use the dreaded treadmill.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Kick-Off That Wasn’t

My very first event for Team in Training was 2005, and our team kick-off was cancelled because of a storm. It wasn’t until I spoke as a survivor at another team’s kick-off later that year that I realized what we had missed. It is a great chance to meet your new teammates, coaches, and mentors, learn more about the mission and your part of it, and get whipped into a fever pitch of enthusiasm. If, that is, more than one person shows up.

Our summer team is small – there is no denying that. We have seven (fundraising) participants on the cycle team, and many of them are actually coming in on the spring team which had already formed. We have four triathletes, and eight on the run / walk team, including me as a fundraising mentor. That is a total of 19 people, of which exactly two – me and one more half-marathoner – showed up at kickoff. We had a coach there from each sport, and our fabulous LLS coordinator, Cate. We all sat around and chatted for a while, waiting for the others to show up, and no one did. So eventually we just all talked to the newcomer, Nancy, about getting started with fundraising and training. As kickoffs go, it was pretty much a dud and very disappointing. Hopefully everyone just had stuff going on, and once we all get out there with our sports, enthusiasm will grow. All’s well that ends well, and even though our summer team is off to a slow start – plus a big storm may cancel first training this Saturday – hopefully we will all end up as an awesome team!

Nancy, the person that showed up, is pretty amazing. She just got diagnosed last month with CLL (chronic lymphocytic leukemia), right out of the blue. This is a very slow growing blood cancer and there are no real cures right now. It says a lot about our new teammate that one of the first things she did after getting this shocking diagnosis is to join our team as a half-marathoner, having never raced before. I think it is her way of fighting back and making her own difference in the world. One of the reasons we all do this is so that the difficult cancers, like CLL, ultimately are curable. So I pray that Nancy and others like her will one day soon get a direct benefit from her efforts on our team.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Kick-Off Tonight!

Wow, kick-off for the Summer Team is tonight! We have one more information meeting just before kick-off, one last chance to add new recruits for what promises to be another great season with TNT. Well, there is one more chance next week - an alumni reunion to recruit for the San Diego marathon with its incredible fundraising deal. I'll be speaking at the info meeting tonight, and wearing two hats so to speak - as a cancer survivor and as a Team in Training mentor and veteran.

It is exciting to have another kick-off, this for my fifth event! GO TEAM! I hope that it is a big team, but even if not, it will still be great!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Need Advice on a Sports Watch

So, now that I’ve committed to the Seattle Half-Marathon, I’m getting back into the start of training with run-walk intervals. I am starting out with two minutes running and three minutes walking. In theory this works great – I look at my watch, run for two minutes, then walk for three. What could be simpler?

But in reality, it is far from simple. For one thing, it is usually dark right now when I am running. So it is hard to see the watch. Or I forget to look and suddenly it is 30 seconds past when I should start running – or a minute and 30 seconds past that time. Or I think it is pointing at 5:22 and it is actually 5:21 or 5:23. Or I am constantly stopping in the dark to try to figure out where the second hand is.

So I am thinking maybe it is time to get a simple sports watch. Anyone want to recommend one? Here are my requirements:

1. Inexpensive – I really don’t want to put a ton of money into this. I need to focus on saving up for a bike.
2. Ability to set at least two intervals by time that will beep audibly when it is time to switch to the other speed. Best case would be different beeps for different intervals, for example it clearly tells me it is time to run as opposed to time to walk
3. Clear to see in the dark, or has an easy to find light.
4. Digital might be best because it is easier to read than analog in the dark
5. Waterproof (and sweat-proof)
6. Saves the intervals so I don’t have to reset it on each workout
7. Any other feature that you think are important?

Any ideas?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Message From the Captain #10

Ahoy, Mateys! Ahoy! Shiver me timbers but you are a fine crew! Some of you are even pulling double duty by participating with the Summer Team! I hope we have some fine recruits for that effort.

My note tonight will be brief. First, I have been battling a little migraine headache for the day and am not feeling super creative tonight. Second, the NFC Championship game is about the start!

Here is the main idea I had for this week. As experienced TNT participants, and having been successful with fundraising for past seasons, this would be a good time to share the secrets of your success with your mentees. Last year, when I was mentoring, one of my participants asked me what my secret was for raising money. I don’t know that I have any fundraising secrets, and I have seen many, many participants who are much more creative with fundraising ideas than anything I do. But I thought about it for a while, and came up with this note to my mentees last January:

Maybe you can think of things you do over and over that work well, your secrets in effect. If so, consider writing your mentees a similar note.

We had a number of participants do great with the auction. That is fantastic! Well done to all.

Do you have any participants who did not recommit? I’d suggest writing them a nice note thanking them for their efforts, and expressing hope that we will see them again for another season. Do you have any participants who appear to be struggling? This is one more chance to try to meet with them one on one and go over their entire plan – what they have done, what is working, what is not, and what other things they could try. Do you have participants who are doing OK but still have a ways to go? I’d suggest a similar course of action, just with less urgency.

I know I may see some of you for summer kick-off Wednesday. I am really looking forward to being back on the training and fundraising circuit again. But of course I will still stay involved in the Spring Team as well.

Cap’n Art

Running with Scissors, uh iPods!

I got an iPod Nano for Christmas, and I love it! I love music; it is one of my most favorite things. I can now pick up my favorite radio station at work, and I put many of my compact disks on this tiny device. If I am having a frustrating day at work, which seems to happen frequently, I slip in my earphones and put on some Mozart, and workplace distractions ease. It is impossible to listen to music you love, whatever that is, and not feel happy at some level.

But I will not be running or walking with my iPod. I think it would be too distracting and too dangerous. It is a tough world out there for pedestrians in an auto-crazed world. If I am running with others, it is more fun to chat. If I am by myself, which is the usual mode of my workouts, I want to pay full attention to my surroundings. What do you think? Time for a new poll. Please vote!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

From Rain Drops to Raging Rivers

I had lunch a couple of days ago with my teammate Paul, who has been going non-stop with Team in Training since August 2007 when I first met him. I mean, seriously non-stop for 2.5 years – every season we have had since then, Paul has been there as a fundraiser, coach, mentor, or some combination of these roles. He is also a scientist in the biological sciences, and thus knows quite a bit about the biological and medical research processes. We were discussing how daunting it is to work for a cure. Each “type” of cancer, for example lymphoma or breast cancer, is in reality several dozen (or more) diseases, each with its own biology that is often determined at the sub-cellular or molecular level. Then Paul said something which really caught my attention and actually depressed me for an instant.

What he said was something to the effect that $50,000 is a drop in the bucket in a research project, and how a half million bucks might keep one scientist in one research project going for a year or two. I thought about all four of my seasons with Team in Training, how hard I have worked to raise just over $40,000. I thought about how if I reach this season’s goal of $8,500, then I will pass the $50,000 mark for my five seasons. All that work to get a drop in the bucket, or maybe 50,000 raindrops in a river.

But then I had this image, actually two images, that have stayed with me since, and these are much more postive images. The first image is was of being at the TNT Inspiration Dinners at each race and they announce how much money was raised collectively by all of the participants at that event. I can’t remember details, but it is usually well over a million dollars. It can be several million bucks at large events. I pause at the announcement, and I think of all the people that donated to my race, most of them in $25 and $50 and $100 increments. And I realize that combining each of my donors with the other 100 or so donors that contributed to my race have added up to $9,000 or $10,000 or $11,000. And then I look around the room, and I think of this same thing happening over and over again with every participant in the room. That $25 dollar donation made by Jane Doe, when repeated over and over with much generosity and much hard work, is now a million or two dollars going towards an ultimate cure.

The other image I have is that of a raindrop, a single raindrop, plopping into a river. Or maybe it is 25 raindrops or 50 or 100 raindrops at a time. In any case, each of those drops by itself is insignificant. But when combined with enough other raindrops, a raging river that can move boulders will result. In that context, if every dollar donated to me is like a raindrop, then I am like a little stream, and when that stream is combined with everyone else on Team Virginia, then we have a tributary. And in Seattle, by combining each chapter tributary with all of the others, a river forms and flows along. Do this often enough each year with the various events we all do all over the country, and ultimately, maybe we will sweep cancer out to sea on a huge flood. That river started with a single raindrop, and grew from there!

So that is how I am going to think of it. I am not collecting drops in the bucket. Instead I am – with the extreme generosity of my donors – helping to build a raging river, one drop and one dollar at a time. A river that will one day sweep cancer away.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Rumors About Art and Team in Training

Hello Everyone!

Eight years ago this spring from surviving lymphoma, I am racing for a cure once again for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I am asking you to consider supporting my 2010 Cancer Kickin' Campaign by making a donation to the mission of curing blood cancers.

I guess there are always going to be rumors going around – that is just human nature – and recently, there have been some pretty interesting ones circulating that I want to take a moment to dispel.

Rumor # 1: “Did you hear that Art has permanently retired from doing Team in Training?” This is totally false! In fact, I am back with the TNT Summer Team, training for the Seattle half-marathon and fundraising for a cure for blood cancers. I would very much appreciate your support of this great cause. You can make a secure donation here:

I think this rumor got started when people confused me with Green Bay Packers, er New York Jets, er Minnesota Vikings quarterback Brett Favre and all the times that he retired forever. I can understand why there was this confusion, of course. We are both manly men. We are both ruggedly handsome. We are both incredible athletes. We are both so famous we can’t go anywhere in public without being harassed by fans. We both wear purple uniforms when we compete. We are both getting a little old for doing this kind of thing. We are both fabulously wealthy. Okay, only one of us is fabulously wealthy. And yeah, maybe one or two of those other things was slightly exaggerated. But here is one thing about both Brett Favre and me that is true: we have both been affected by cancer; Favre through his wife; me, personally, and through my sister, sister-in-law, brother, and many other family members and friends. So, yes, I am indeed back out for another cancer kicking campaign, and would love for you to join me with a donation.

Rumor # 2: “Did you hear that cancer is cured now? So why is Art doing this again?” Cancer is most decidedly not cured. Every ten minutes, someone dies in this country from one of the blood cancers. In the five minutes that it takes you to read this note (and forward it to five friends if you wish), another American is diagnosed with a blood cancer. And that is from just one type of cancer. But your donation can get us just a bit closer to a cure.

Rumor # 3: “Did you know that Art is 85 years old? Isn’t that, like, too old to run a half-marathon?” I am 58, not 85. I can see where the confusion came in. I have said that the number of this TNT event for me (number five) and my years this spring since surviving cancer (eight) match my age. People just reversed the numbers, 8 and 5 instead of 5 and 8. I am putting the five and the eight in 58 this spring with this race! I have to say, there are times after training that I feel 85, though. It gets a little tougher each year, and I must seem like an old man to many of my young teammates. So make a donation to support this “ole man’s” cause while I can still do it!

Rumor # 4: “Cancer survivors too weak to do a marathon!” Some may be, but not this one, and not many others that I know. One reason I do this is to make a statement that cancer survivors are able to fully recover and be physically strong again. Maybe that will give someone else currently dealing with cancer some hope.

Rumor # 5: “Did you know that Art is a huge Dallas Cowboys fan? He even wears a Cowboys hat while training!” Not so! Cut my hand and I bleed Philadelphia Eagles green. Eagles fans are typically not Cowboys fans, believe me, and especially not this year when they totally humiliated us two weeks in a row. But here is a special offer that expires midnight on Super Bowl Sunday: if you are a Cowboys fan, make me a $100 donation and I will wear a Cowboys cap (that you provide) for a week at work. I’ll even expand the offer to wear the cap of any other team for a $50 donation! Dallas fans, “cowboy up” with that donation and make my humiliation complete!

I am excited to be out there with Team in Training again, trying to make a difference in the world. I greatly appreciate your support, because while I can run the race myself, I cannot race for a cure without the support of lots and lots of people.

Thank you,
Art Ritter

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Planning My Fundraising Campaign

Now that I have joined the summer team for the Seattle Half-Marathon, it is time to plan and start executing my fundraising campaign. My goal is to send my first note this coming Tuesday night. I have been working hard getting prepared but still have a lot to do. My first year in Team in Training, I didn't even get the link to create my web page until after first training, but LLS has organized this really well now and we can start fundraising litterally the day we sign up.

I’ve been trying to come up with a theme for my campaign. Last year was perfect with the presidential campaign underway for the first few months of fundraising. My notes reflected, hopefully with some humor, what campaign messages would look like: an announcement that I was “running,” press conferences, an attack ad, and even campaign buttons. This year, there is no natural a theme to use that I can think of. So far, I have not come up with a unified concept, so I think I will do more what I did in 2007-2008 for Arizona: write what comes to mind for each update. I am going to try to focus at least some on the tales of people affected by cancer, making it a more mission focused message. I will also try again to interject some humor. My kick-off note Tuesday will discuss rumors about me and Team in Training. Hopefully I can get some laughs while illustrating the very serious nature of cancer. That first note is partially written.

So what is left to do before Tuesday? My biggest job is updating my email messages. I deleted some that came back as undeliverable, but I am in the process of going through new contacts and adding addresses. This is fairly laborious and I have much yet to do. I also have to consolidate the names of my personal honorees and put them on my blog, and I have to finish my TNT fundraising web page. Then I will be ready to rock and roll.

After much thought, I came up with my fundraising goal: $8,500. It feels ambitious in this continued poor economy, especially now that there is a major international crisis in Haiti that so desperately cries out for badly needed donations (including mine). But I like setting my goals high when I am doing Team in Training. This spring marks eight years surviving lymphoma and my fifth team in training event, so I wanted to use those two numbers. I could have more easily made it $5,800 but if I don’t try for $8,500 (and beyond) then I will never know, will I?

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Two Teams

Yesterday, I met up with the Spring Team that I am mentor captain for. I put out water and Gator Aid, brought some baked goods for after training, and did a mission moment. I talked about the little girl I saw in Nashville who had leukemia. But I didn't train with them, because at 8:00, Elliot had asked me to talk to the brand new Monument Avenue 10K team. This is the second year in a row that TNT has had this team. It is a response to a difficult fund-raising environment. Instead of asking people to raise $2,000 - $5,000 to run a marathon far away, you ask them to raise $300 to run a 10K locally. I enjoyed talking to them, and afterwards we ran and walked laps around Swan Lake for 20 or so minutes, so I got in a little workout.

Here are a few photos from the day:
The Spring Team goes "over the fence," one of our dynamic stretching routines:
Some of the Spring Team at the start of their run:
Chalk message for the newly formed Monument Aveune 10K Team:
Monument Aveune 10K Team gather before the announcements and mission moment:

Friday, January 15, 2010

Message from the Captain (#9)

Ahoy, Mateys! Ahoy! This is your captain speaking, Mentor Cap’n Art, that is! I can see the surprised look on your faces. You are wondering: “Why is my captain contacting me today?” You check your calendar. Yes, it is Friday, and it has been all day. A bit of worry flashes in your eyes, and just a trace of fear flits like a shadow over your visage. You start worrying” “Have I done something wrong? Did my captain catch me sleeping on my watch? Why, oh why, isn’t he down in his berth, swilling some grog or doing some other captainly thing? Oh, I am in such trouble!”

Belay that lubberly talk, my mentoring shipmates, er teammates! No one is in trouble! In fact, everyone is working hard to make this season’s voyage successful. With our first port of call - New Orleans - fast approaching, these efforts are appreciated by all. No, I am contacting you today because I didn’t want to forget doing this later in the weekend. As you know, I have joined the summer team and I will be working away this weekend getting prepared to kick off my fundraising campaign with my initial note Tuesday night. And I have tons to organize before that time, thus my early contact for next week.

I call the Silent Auction a success, and a lot of fun to boot! Thanks, everyone. Here are a few suggestions for next week.

First, I know that several of you have mentees that you are worried about. They typically have not raised much money and seem to avoid contact. Keep trying to contact them. Try email. Try phone. See if Cate has other numbers for them. Ask Cate and I to try reaching them, giving us an idea of the problems that you are having. Short of breaking into their home in the middle of the night and waking them up – no, Cap’n Art is NOT recommending this approach – what else can you do? I do know the feeling from past tours of duty as a mentor.

Second, get everyone back on task – if they have strayed from their course – in updating their web page, getting progress reports / reminders out, and also letters if they have not yet done this. I typically send out reminders and thank you messages, written as campaign updates, every two to four weeks when I do Team in Training.

Third, with the NFL football playoffs going on, here are a couple of specific ideas for the season for your mentees:

* Throw a lavish Super Bowl party. Better yet, find someone with a big screen TV and see if they will help. Advertise it as hanging out on the 50 yard line enjoying good food, good drink, and good company with friends. And of course, no one gets into the Super Bowl for free, so sell tickets. Use your imagination – and if you have some artistic friends, use their imagination – to create cool tickets and “sell’ them to your friends.

* Cut my finger and I bleed Philadelphia Eagles green. In fact it really confused my oncologist with my first blood test as a cancer patient! So you may know that the Philadelphia Eagles were absolutely humiliated by the arch-rival Dallas Cowboys in the playoffs. Maybe your mentees have a favorite team that is out of it (or was never in it), but they have friends whose team is still going strong and their friends are lording it over them and rubbing it in a bit. To those friends, they could make a deal: make me a $50 or $100 donation and I will wear the hated cap of your team for a week at work or school.

Well, Mateys, this note is a bit long, and so I will just say thanks for all you do. No need to flog anyone with the cat o’ nine-tails this week! That’s about it from the Captain’s Chair!

Cap’n Art

Why a Half Marathon Once Again?

Last April’s event for Team in Training, in Nashville, was the Country Music Half Marathon. Despite having done three marathons, I’ve not done one now in almost exactly two years – two years and two days ago to be precise – in Arizona. And I set a personal record in that one, one that is just waiting for me to better. And also, I recently figured out if I can start up doing marathons again I will ultimately set a world record. Yep, you read that right – eventually I am going to own the world record! I will tell you how in a near-future blog post. So, then, why would I pick a half marathon once again instead of a full marathon?

It really is a tough choice, and it came down to time, and to priorities. Training for a marathon takes a huge time commitment, especially the last two to three months before the race. Even more time is needed for a slow runner / fast walker like me, because it just plain takes longer to go 10 miles than it does for a fast runner. And for someone who works full time, the only way to get that time is to steal it in early morning. It means getting up on work days from 3:30 to 4:45 and then putting in five to 11 miles. The five is not so bad, but if you get up at 3:30, do 11 miles, and then go to work, it is a rough day. I become sleep deprived as time goes on, and Saturdays are spent training all morning as the miles pile up to 16, 18, and 20, then recovering from it the rest of the day. Your life gets out of balance – run and work, work and run.

I’m not complaining – anyone in Haiti, or for that matter anyone with cancer, has it far, far tougher than marathoners. But by doing a half marathon once again, I will have more time and energy. I can use this to stay healthier and better rested. I can concentrate my efforts more on fundraising in a continuing tough economy with so many competing charities and causes: mostly really good ones, by the way. I can do more cross training and strength training, and not just focus on running. If my fund raising and my savings plan goes well, I can get that bike this spring and start up cycling. I can spend some time learning to swim better. I have some time to do things around the house, and more balance in my life. As the weather improves, maybe I will have some time to take hikes. That is what it comes down to: time, priorities, energy, and balance. Focusing on fundraising more and training less is really critical this go around: I have set my goal a little lower this year at $8,500, but it will be difficult to reach, given our economic times and the Haitian disaster. I will explain my fundraising goal for 2010 in a near-future post as well.

I want to do more marathons. For one thing, I won’t work my time down to that world record that I mentioned unless I do. I want to do at least one or two more full marathons for Team in Training, and I want to run the Honolulu Marathon in 2012. It is on the day of 10 years in remission from cancer for me. But while it is possible I will change my mind, I think that this season, the half marathon just makes more sense.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Pray for Haiti

It is hard to imagine a disaster of that scale, and the suffering involved. Impossible really. So maybe imagine one person injured, orphaned, or trapped in rubble. Pray for that person, and maybe make a donation to one of the legitimate organizations trying to help this impoverished and devastated country: Care and The American Red Cross are two that come to mind.

Remember how hard it was for this country, with all its resources and wealth, to recover from Hurricane Katrina? Think how impossible it seems for an incredibly poor nation like Haiti to cope with this kind of death, injury and destruction. They will need help, and the government cannot do it all.

Monday, January 11, 2010

My Summer Event Will be the Seattle Half Marathon!

If you followed my three clues, you know this by now. Well, you knew it would be the Seattle Marathon or Half Marathon. I am picking the half again, at least at this point in time.

It was a tough choice. The Lake Tahoe Century Ride, “America’s Most Beautiful Bike Race,” was really tempting. First, it would have had me doing something totally different. Second, my good friend Susan is the coach, and it would have been great to train with and learn from her. Third, it is a small team and thus they need more people. Fourth, fellow blogger Susie would have been my mentor, and it would have been fun to train with her. And fifth, my mentee from last year in Nashville, Nicole, just joined the cycle team. I learned that just the other day, and it would be so cool to do another event with her – she is such a wonderfully enthusiastic person.

One problem is that I don’t have a bike, rumors to the contrary. I could buy one, but this is not the best time for me to do that. Plus, I am concerned about fundraising. Once I start this thing, once I get my first few donations, I am seeing it through to the end. The fundraising minimum is about $4,700 I think, and the economy still stinks. If I can’t raise the minimum, I have to meet the difference myself. While I don’t expect that to happen, if it does, I am going to need the $1,000 or so I would spend for a bike and all the associated stuff to put in the fundraising pot.

But I think that the biggest single reason I selected this event is that I have never been to Seattle or to the Pacific Northwest. When I first learned last August that this event was on the 2010 list and that the Philadelphia triathlon was not, I was immediately intrigued and tempted. I love the outdoors, and late June in Northwest Washington has got to have a few places to see before or after the race for a few days.

Now all that being said, I am going to do a triathlon or century ride in 2011. And the only way for that to happen is for me to get a damned bike this year. If I wait till next year, the same thing will happen. So I am saving my pennies, and once it is clear I am not going to have to supplement my fundraising for Seattle, then I am getting a bike, and finding some people who like to ride and can show me the ropes. Plus I need to swim better – a lot better – to consider a triathlon next year. You will see that I was already thinking about this with my New Year’s resolutions. Now it is time to make it happen.

But for now, it is time to be happy about being back on the Team and heading to Seattle in five months, and to start working hard fundraising and training to make it all happen!

Message from the Captain (#8)

Ahoy Mateys! This is your captain speaking, mentor captain Art that is. How about this cold weather continuing, eh? Swan Lake was totally covered in ice, a rare event indeed for these parts. I remembered when I moved here from Maine in 1992, I asked the realtor if people ever ice fished here. She looked at me like I had three heads, which I took for a “no.” But I think we could almost give it a try. Although the first time I tried it in Maine, the actual air temperature that morning was -24 F and I have rarely been so cold, so ice fishing never quite caught on with me.

Yesterday during training, a couple of people were talking with me about having a hard time getting started with fundraising. We discussed some ideas, and I also told them to make sure to check the new TNT on-line fundraising webinar. They could not remember seeing that, so please make sure each of your mentees knows about it:

One person I was chatting with said she knew what to do, just couldn’t seem to get started actually doing it. With recommitment coming up for all events, and past for Mardi Gras, it is really getting critical that people are out there hitting the fund raising trail, doing whatever is most comfortable for them, but some combination of:

US Postal Service letters
Emails and their web site
Door to door visits in their community
Talking to people at church and professional organizations about what they are doing
Fund raisers at work if allowed
Corporate sponsorships
Fund raisers at home and with friends
Fund raisers at restaurants
Car washes (just kidding – ice sculptures would be more like it)
The Silent Auction

Speaking of, I don’t know Cate’s deadline for getting a list of items, their desired minimum price, and value, but I would assume it is very soon. As Nicki can attest, having done a great deal of this a year ago, it is a big job to organize all of the items and get everything set up. Urge everyone to get their lists to Cate, and to show up early Wednesday at Black Fin. And they should tell everyone that they know about it. I hope we have (a) a lot of good items and (b) a great turnout, because it takes both for the silent auction to be a success. Last year, I got nearly 20% of my minimum amount at the silent auction, so they can be really great fundraising venues.

Cate has been sending some great fundraising material in the last few weeks. Between that, the webinar, and your assistance, people should be doing well if they are plugging away at it. Please let me know if you want to get together and chat, or if you want to bounce any ideas off me.

Most of you probably know that I am joining the Summer Team. I was originally thinking Fall and doing the Nation’s Tri, but I really think it is time for me to leave my comfortable captain’s berth and dive into the icy fundraising waters again. I’ll still be working with all of you on the Spring Team as mentor captain of course.

That’s about it from the captain’s chair! GO TEAM!
Cap’n Art

Sunday, January 10, 2010

What Race Will It Be? Here is Clue Number Three!

As you know, I’ve made my choice for a summer event with the Purple People! I had six choices. Friday’s clue, that it is not an event that I have already done, eliminated the San Diego and Country Music Marathons. Yesterday’s clue, that it is west of the Mississippi River, eliminated the Fletcher Flyer Century Ride and the I Love the Tavern Triathlon. Today’s clue will allow you to narrow the choice from the two remaining possibilities to just one. So without further ado, here is the last clue!

Typically, I don’t sleep too well the night before a race. I toss and turn. I anticipate the early wake-up call, usually 3:30 – 4AM. I think about all of the effort I have put in for the previous four to six months. I think about all of the reasons I do this and hope that I will be strong enough to complete my self appointed task and to fulfill my commitment to all of the people who donated to this cause through my efforts. I think about completing the race and thus honoring all of the people whose names are written on my race shirt. Sleep is a rare commodity the night before a big race, but I usually get at least a few hours of it. But for my summer event, because of where it is, I wonder a bit if I will be sleepless.

There’s your clue. Of course, if I don’t get any sleep, I am pretty sure I’ll be able to find a Starbucks in this town. I will talk about why I selected this event tomorrow. But right now, I want to write just a bit about why I picked the summer team this year. Spring felt too early to do fundraising again, even after I got the news from my sister around Thanksgiving about her breast cancer returning. I liked the idea of doing the Nations Tri or the Nike Marathon or even the Tour de Tucson with the fall team. But part of me didn’t want to wait that long to get back with TNT. Plus I have some travel plans for the fall that would have interfered with some of these events. So I was leaning towards summer, especially the two events that were left after yesterday’s clue: the Lake Tahoe Century Ride and the Seattle Marathon / Half Marathon. Finally, my friend Ed’s news about having cancer for the fourth time arrived last week. All of these things pointed to the summer season, to try to make a difference sooner rather than later.

It is time to do it again. Time to test the fundraising waters once more and see if people will respond generously for a fifth time. And time to start preparing for an endurance event again. It really felt good yesterday to train with the Spring Team for seven miles. It felt like where I needed to be. And so, I anticipate with happiness getting ready to get back out there and Train, Endure, Achieve, and Matter. GO TEAM!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

What Event Will I Do? Here is Clue Number Two!

What’s my summer venue? Here’s your second clue!

Yesterday evening I gave you a clue
Cutting six summer events down to four
Now you can narrow the number to two
When I give you just this one clue more

I think the way I can say it the best
Without keeping you tense and a-quiver
Is to say my event will be to the west
Of the mighty and long Ole Man River

Spring Team 2010 Breakfast

Today was a fun morning with the spring team. It was somewhere between frigid and colder than hell, but by the time we all gathered for a team breakfast at Kitchen 64, the cold start felt like history. Swan Lake was frozen over for only the second time I can remember since I started Team in Training in 2005:

Faith, a recent stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma survivor, come out on this cold Saturday morning to tell our team her moving story as a mission moment. Faith, as I blogged before, didn't just sit around while enduring chemotherapy - she got involved in Light the Night and raised thousands of dollars. Here are Faith and I, both HL survivors, just before training started:

Today was the first time in over a month since I managed to see the spring team. They are a great group of people, they truly are. And today, we did one of my favorite training routes: across the James and along Riverside Drive. Here are three of the walk team on the Boulevard Bridge - Coach Kristi, Angie, and Mindy:

The views of the river along this route are beautiful:

I did about seven miles today, counting two laps around the lake. Mostly I walked, but I got in a mile or two of running on the way back. Here is another view of the James from further along the route:

There are four major types of blood cancer. This group of six of us involved with the Spring Team have survived all four types between us. Everyone of us has or shortly will have done a marathon, half-marathon, triathlon, or 100 mile cycle event, all as cancer survivors. So if you or someone you know has cancer, take heart! You can not only survive, not only regain health, but you can regain strength and endurance. From left: Ed (leukemia survivor, as well as three other cancers), Barb (multiple myeloma survivor), Art (Hodgkin lymphoma survivor), Mindy (multiple myeloma survivor), Kristi (Hodgkin lymphoma and thyroid cancer survivor), and Nicki (non-Hodgkin lymphoma survivor)

We survivors humbly and gratefully thank everyone anywhere doing Team in Training or are involved in some other way in the war against cancers. Included in this group is the Richmond Spring Team, some of whom are pictured below: all warm and content with full bellies. GO TEAM!

Friday, January 8, 2010

What Race Will I Do? Here's Your First Clue!

So as noted yesterday, I’m joining the summer team, and I’ve picked my event. But rather than just blurt it out, I will give three clues – one a day for three days – and after evaluating all three clues, you will be able to figure out where I am going.

TNT Richmond is participating in the following events with the summer team:

Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon in Nashville, Tennessee

America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride in Lake Tahoe, Nevada / California

I Love the Tavern Sprint Triathlon in Richmond, Virginia

Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle Marathon and Half Marathon in Seattle, Washington

Fletcher Flyer Century Bike Ride in Fletcher, North Carolina

Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon and Half Marathon in San Diego, California

Here is your first clue: I am doing an event that I have not done before. If you are stumped, scroll down my blog, and on the right hand column you will see photos from my four previous events. You will be able to narrow the list down from six to four possible events.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I'm Joining the Summer Team!

Nearly eight years since cancer, I’m here and alive
Despite Hodgkin lymphoma’s grand scheme
And that’s a great motive to do Number Five
To join up, once again, on the TEAM!

Medical science has only some answers
And this is a very good reason
To come back again in the war against cancers
And wear purple for this summer season

But what event will I do, and where will I go?
There are many adventures I’d like
I could pack up my things and go west to Tahoe
And pedal all day on a bike

Or jump in the water to swim for a while
Then ride a bicycle out in the sun,
Lace on my shoes, and race many a mile…
Yes, I could swim, ride a bike, and then run

Or I could race thirteen-one or twenty-six-two
But this time by the bays of Seattle
All these great choices, which one should I do?
In my mind, this will be quite a battle!

Whatever I do and whatever I choose
Even if choosing it gives me some pause
It is patients who win, and cancers that lose,
For I’m doing it for a great cause.

I send updates to all, I know I have said
But there’s an exception to every firm rule
If you’re a teammate of mine in purple or red
Let me know it’s Okay and we’re cool

So if you would like to be kept abreast
Of whatever decision I make
Just send me an email. I’ll give it my best
And you can follow the road that I take

Some time very soon I’ll begin my campaign
As I go out and race for a cure
So come on along while I fundraise and train
And I matter, achieve, and endure!

Woo-Hoo! Looking forward to another great TNT experience. Next step - come up with a fund raising campaign, and of course make a final pick on an event. I have a definite leaning right now.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Wrong Trousers

Did you ever see the very funny Wallace and Gromit feature “The Wrong Trousers?” An evil penguin uses Wallace’s amazing mechanical trousers to commit a dastardly crime, but Gromit saves the day. Well, I doubt that an evil penguin is involved, but someone very mischievous and very sneaky is messing with my mind, because I clearly have the wrong trousers.

For months now, my pants seem to get a little tighter every few weeks. It took me a while, but I think I finally figured it out. Someone who thinks they are very funny, someone who is incredibly sneaky and dishonest, is stealing into my house and replacing all of my pants with exact replicas. Exact, that is, except that they are slightly smaller. Then he waits a while, and repeats the whole thing every couple of weeks. It was funny at first, but really tiring now. My jeans that fit so well last spring are now very tight. Some of my older jeans that were still tight last spring now can’t be worn at all. They look exactly the same, but they have been replaced on the sly.

Clearly this person doesn’t have a life, because they went nuts with this clever little trick for the last month or so. Every week it seemed, my pants were all replaced with tighter pairs. Sometimes, closer to Christmas, this even happened a couple of times in a week. Instead of visiting family and friends, and spending money on gifts, this person seemed to dedicate all of their time and lots of money to making sure that I have the wrong trousers.

Why would anyone go to all this trouble and expense? I tried staying up a few nights to catch them in the act, but I had to sleep eventually. Then – bam! – my pants were replaced again. Every single, solitary pair! I never did catch this clever person, this thief in the night.

But enough is enough! If it is you playing this trick on me, please stop now. If you know who is doing it, please ask them to stop. It might have been funny at first, but it isn’t anymore. I want my old pants back. I want the right trousers.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Did I Hold the Line?

For weeks now, you’ve thought of little else. It has been on your mind as you went through each day’s activities. You wondered about it when you turned in for the night, and it was the first thing that you thought about in the morning when the alarm went off. You and your friends discussed it at Christmas parties. Newscasters speculated about it, and it was the rage on Entertainment Tonight. Why, just the other day, I got a personal note from Tiger Woods thanking me for taking over the news circuits. He invited me to ride on his yacht, he was so grateful. It has been on your mind nearly every day: did Art hold the line?

I can now answer, with a sense of grief and a little embarrassment, that the answer is an unequivocal, unavoidable “NO!” I came close, but my weight, as measured on the same scale in Bank of America as my holiday period baseline, wearing roughly the same kind of shoes and clothing, crept up by a pound. It did not stay the same. It did not go down. It increased, by one pound.

What tipped the scale the wrong way? Was it the incredible brownies and fudge around Christmas? The oh-so-many snacks at work? The boxes of chocolate given to us by friends? A holiday drink or two (or three)? Desert after a couple of lavish dinners in restaurants? Too little exercise? All of the above? Muscle mass gained while working out in the weight room? Actually, that may have accounted for an ounce or two but that’s it!

Well, it doesn’t change my goal to get back to a more ideal weight for me, which seems to be about 170 – 172 pounds - dressed in business casual clothing, that is. It makes it a pound more difficult to reach that goal, and it means I failed in my holiday quest. But it not the end of the world. I’ll do better! Well, I’m off! I am meeting friends in a nearby Mexican restaurant. Hey, can you spell “Margaritas?” How about “nachos?”

Monday, January 4, 2010

Cancer is So Nasty and Sneaky

My first season with Team in Training was 2005, and at that point each race team was assigned a specific patient honoree. My Anchorage, Alaska marathon team was assigned a great guy named Ed S. Ed had barely survived leukemia at age 19. At one point, he was so close to death that they had a moment of silence for him at a football game at his old high school. This fine young man survived thanks to a bone marrow transplant from his sister.

Over the years, Ed has given a lot back. He has done more events for Team in Training than I can remember. He has done marathons, half marathons, century cycle races, and triathlons of several different lengths. He was TNT Richmond’s very first Triple Crown winner. He has raised an amazing amount of money over these years. This past fall, he and three family members walked the half marathon at Virginia Beach together to commemorate Ed’s 20 year survival point. And later in the fall, Ed reached his big 4-0. He has been a busy guy, made a difference, and inspired a lot of people along the way. Plus he was a model with me in the American Cancer Society’s Cure by Design Fashion Show last summer.

Ed has also dealt with cancer multiple times since then. He had a malignant tumor on the back of his neck some time ago, and the year I did my first marathon and he served as our team patient honoree, he had malignant melanoma on his back. He had painful surgery, and then healed up and went out and did another triathlon. Tough guy!

So yesterday, I got a kick in the gut when I learned that Ed has melanoma again. What they thought was a plantar wart back last summer has turned out to be malignant melanoma, and he also had a mole removed near his biceps that had this disease. While the mole appears to be pretty well contained with clear margins, they will still do follow-up surgery to cut deeper. The cancer on Ed’s foot is a bigger deal. There could be lymphatic involvement which would be really serious. When they do more surgery in a month, they will test for this by searching for and the removing and doing biopsies on the sentinel node. The surgery will remove a pretty big chunk of Ed’s foot, with plenty of pain involved. They will have to taper the surgery so he gets to keep all his toes. There could be chemo involved depending on what they find, or maybe not. In any event, Ed has to give up on doing the St. Anthony’s triathlon this April, but plans on starting up swimming and cycling again in the summer or fall, and running towards the end of the year. You can’t keep a good man down.

I hate news like this. It is just not fair that anyone has to go through this, much less having to deal with cancer for the fourth time. It just is not right. Ed is a strong and brave guy. He will face this head on with courage and a positive attitude. He will get good medical care, and do what it takes to survive and to recover. But cancer does not care about any of this. It is a sneaky, nasty, relentless, dastardly foe. It is always searching for a way to kill you. It never sleeps or tires. Ed and his doctor are going to fight like hell to kill it first. That is the way of this disease. Kill or be killed! Go kill it, Ed! You have a lot of people cheering for you, who have faith that you will be the one walking away from this fight. And that you will leave cancer lying dead in the gutter for the fourth, and we hope, the last time.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Message from the Captain (#7)

Well, Mateys, here we are, entering a really key stretch for the spring season. The next five weeks are so important to our ultimate success as a team on reaching our fundraising goals that I am not even going to try to dilute the message with any nautical wittiness. Here we are in a new year. The holidays, a time when people often have no choice but to slack off a bit, are now behind us. For the next five weeks, the time is here to put our backs into it and make the season pay dividends to LLS and the mission to defeat blood cancers. The next five weeks will lay the foundation for a successful outcome for the remainder of the spring season.

This is a good week to try to touch base with your mentees again, if you were not able to during the last couple of weeks. How are they doing? What help do they need? How close are they? Shamrock recommitment is coming right up, as is the Silent Auction.

Speaking of the latter, it is crucial this week to get an inventory from each mentee about what they have collected for the auction – each item, its value, the minimum bid, and the incremental bid. We will need this information to create bid sheets next week. This is a time consuming process and simply cannot be done at the last minute. As you hear from each mentee, let Cate and I know what they have collected. This is the single most important activity this week for each mentor. The early you can start getting these lists, the better.

I propose having another go at a team breakfast Saturday, obviously concentrating on the marathon teams, but including cycle and triathlon teams if they can make it. Coaches and mentors, what do you think?

I know that many of you know Ed S. He has been a teammate, mentor, patient honoree, and inspiration to so many of us over the years. I returned from a couple of days away to check email today, and learned as several of you have also learned over the weekend that Ed is now battling cancer again. This is his fourth bout with cancer and his second with multiple myloma. This news felt like being kicked in the gut. It is a reminder of how critical it is to defeat these awful diseases. Ed was actually on the spring St. Anthony’s triathlon team but obviously is going to have delay these plans to kick cancer’s ugly butt to the curb once more. Please keep Ed, his lovely wife Leslie, and his other family members in your thoughts and prayers this week, and for the rest of the spring season.

Please let me know if you wish to meet, give me a call if we need to talk.

Cap’n Art

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ending Well, and Starting Right

Despite my recent sporadic working out, I ended 2009 with a four mile run / walk combination. It was one of the last things I did for the year. And New Years Day, I started off 2010 with a four mile walk. It felt good to end the old year and to start the New Year with exercise.

Now I need to keep that going. Having the two days off from work really helped. Work interferes with working out. But unless I won the lottery New Years night – I need to check that, actually – I will have to keep working, and will need a way to work in working out around work.

I started with five minute run and five minute walk intervals New Years Eve. But I have run so little lately that I was getting winded. So I switched to a two minute run and three minute walk interval. I think I will try this while attempting to get back into running. I see some treadmill sessions in my future to try to work on just the right pace. But for 2010, I definitely need to make exercise a priority again.

OK, off to check the lottery numbers!