Friday, June 28, 2013

Great News on the Cancer Treatment Front!

Hello from Art’s Cancer Kickin’ Campaign, with update number 3!

First, thanks to the many generous donors who have contributed to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on behalf of my efforts with Team in Training in the Crawlin’ Crab Half Marathon this coming October. This includes several anonymous donors, who I can’t thank in person – since I don’t know who you are.

If you want to make a donation, read about what I am doing, or see my list of honorees, the place to start is my TNT web site:

If you want to donate, but don’t wish to use the secure on-line donation, simply contact me about how to get LLS a check for your donation.

On the fundraising front, things are going well, and I have attained 32% of my goal. If I reach that goal by the time of the race, I will celebrate by dying my hair purple once again for the race. This time, I will use a different technique than the one I used in Seattle three years ago (nearly to the day).

Cancer is a tough, tough foe. I am very lucky to be here, much less healthy enough to do a half marathon – run, walk, or crawl like a crab. There are many cancer survivors, but there are also very large number of people who face very difficult odds. So, when I saw the news of a breakthrough last week, I was really encouraged. Did you read about it? A new drug called ibrutinib has shown extremely promising results in two extremely difficult to treat blood cancers: chronic lymphocytic leukemia and mantle cell lymphoma. This is an oral drug that is not only very effective against these cancers, but has minimal side-effects when compared to traditional chemotherapy. News like this always gets me fired up! Will I see all cancers being treatable in my lifetime? Every dollar raised is a little step closer to this ultimate goal. I know two people with CLL, and I pray that this news means longer and healthier lives for both of them, and that there will be more similar news coming.

On the training front, I continue to walk a lot and do physical therapy and stretching for the knee pain, with the goal of running at least some of the half marathon. I’ve also figured out, with the application of mathematics, that I will set the world record in the men’s marathon in 2024! Skeptical? Well, like I said, I have the proof, and I'll share it with you:

That’s all from my campaign at this time, where I may be crabby about cancer, but happy as a clam about the ibrutinib news. Google it! It truly is an amazing thing!

Thank you,

Sunday, June 23, 2013

I'm Going for the Marathon World Record!

Yep, you read it here first. Someday, most likely in 2024, I’ll be setting the world record in the men’s marathon. How do I know this? Simple mathematics! Let me explain.

I’ve done three marathons, the Midnight Sun in Anchorage in 2005, the Rock ‘N’ Roll in San Diego in 2006, and the P. F. Changs in Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe in 2008. I walked the first two, and walked over 90% of the third one. Here are my times in those races:

Anchorage – 6:41:39 (walking in heavy rain)
San Diego – 6:14:15 (walking in sunshine - Woah, oh!)
Phoenix – 5:56:44 (mostly walking, with some running,  in sunshine)

If you will do the math, you will see that, on average, I knocked 22 minutes and 46 seconds off each successive marathon. So projecting this forward, as any intelligent person might, leads to some fantastic future times. Of course, I am dealing with knee pain right now, and am not scheduled to run a marathon, so let’s assume that I don't start up again until 2014.  I'll get past the knee pain this year and use the 2013 Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon as a springboard to run a full marathon next year, and my projected time - based on the above - will be about 5 hours and 35 minutes. Strong runners blow by me, laughing as they pass, saying, "Hey!  Who is slow, old guy?"  Laugh now, while you can.  But some day soon, I'll be the one doing the laughing!  You'll see!  Yes, you will see!

So, I will shrug off their derision, and keep on going.  Because I want that world record as soon as possible, I will start cranking out a marathon a year. This leads to milestones in my racing career, and they start to become remarkable just a few years from now:

2016 – my first sub-five hour marathon
2018 – I qualify for Boston
2019 – my first sub-four hour marathon (in Boston)
2021 – I break three hours, by a hair, for the first time
2023 – I run a marathon in 2 hours 11 minutes, just missing the world record. Ethiopian and Kenyan runners are looking over their shoulder in fear, their lungs on fire as they just manage to finish ahead of me. “Who is this old geezer?” they ask in wonder.

2024 – I shatter the word record and win Olympic gold all at the same time, doing a back flip to cross the finish line!  "Sports Illustrated" cancels its swimsuit issue to put me on its cover (but not in a swimsuit). Sales of Wheaties, with my photo on the box (but not in a swimsuit) go berserk!

But wait, I'm just getting started! Now things start getting really incredible. In 2027 I win the Olympic trials in a new world record: less than 43 minutes. In 2028 I defy all reason by setting a new world marathon record in a shade under 20 minutes, and win my second Olympic Gold. Just for grins, I also win the Kentucky Derby, Belmont, and Preakness, leaving the world’s best thoroughbreds far behind and gasping in agony and shame. An enraged and humiliated jockey tries to shoot me after the Preakness, but I dodge the bullet. I’m not fast enough to beat a cheetah over 200 yards, but can easily beat one in a half mile race.

By 2029, I enter a marathon and win it before it even starts. At that point, I decide to slow down a bit and jog the Boston Marathon, one last time, in about an hour and 5 minutes. It is time to hang up the running shoes and take it easy.

All it will take is me getting this knee healed, running a marathon a year, and the application of simple mathematics. After all, it was none other than Mark Twain himself that wrote the following: “In the space of one hundred and seventy-six years the Lower Mississippi has shortened itself two hundred and forty-two miles. That is an average of a trifle over one mile and a third per year. Therefore, any calm person, who is not blind or idiotic, can see that in the Old Oolitic Silurian Period, just a million years ago next November, the Lower Mississippi River was upwards of one million three hundred thousand miles long, and stuck out over the Gulf of Mexico like a fishing-rod. And by the same token any person can see that seven hundred and forty-two years from now the Lower Mississippi will be only a mile and three-quarters long, and Cairo and New Orleans will have joined their streets together, and be plodding comfortably along under a single mayor and a mutual board of aldermen. There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.”

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Campaign Update

Wow, I am a little dismayed to find out that I have not updated this blog in nearly three weeks - not since my last fundraising update.  Time just flies by.  It seems like I get up, go to work, work out when I can, and the weekends pass like blurs.

In the last 2.5 weeks, I have been to Saturday training a couple of times, done some training on my own (but not enough), and sandwiched in a great trip to backpack for the weekend on Shackleford Banks, an uninhabited island off the North Carolina coast.  See my other blog, Oh, To Be Hiking, for more information and photos.  Even though I have been back for 10 days, I still have more to post about my adventures there.  It was a blast, trust me.  Not always comfortable, not always easy, but a blast all the same.

As far as training is concerned, our Saturday routes have been five or six miles.  My mid-week training is not as organized as it should be, but I manage plenty of time on my feet.  And even the weekend I missed, while hiking on the barrier island, I got plenty of miles on my feet - an estimated 37 miles in two days.  This last Saturday, our six mile training route was one of my favorites - over the Nickel Bridge to the gorgeous city neighborhoods on the south side of the James.  Here is a photo as we crossed over the river, looking upriver to the majestic railroad bridge with its amazing design.

I'll miss Saturday training this week, but should be able to make the next two or three weekends.

On the fundraising front, I have reached about 31% of my fundraising goal thanks to many generous people.  It is time to get out another campaign update next week.  This time, my theme will be of a less serious vein - rumors about Art and Team in Training.  My last note, about my sister Ann and others who are no longer here because of cancer, was kind of heavy, and I want to write something lighter and more tongue in cheek.

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Ones Who are Gone

June 3 being the 11th anniversary of me starting chemo, I thought it was a perfect day to get out a campaign update.

Hello again. It's been about three weeks since I kicked off my campaign to raise money for the mission of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society while training for the Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon in Hampton this October. So, here I am with a campaign update, and today being the exact 11 year mark of me starting chemo for Hodgkin's lymphoma seems like the perfect day to get this out. Things are going well - I'm putting in about four to five miles at a time in training. I am still sticking to walking (although I did run two solid miles on an anti-gravity treadmill today as part of PT), but continue to try to improve my sore knee so that I can hopefully do some road running later this summer. And on the fundraising front, things are moving along thanks to people's generosity. I'd like to again thank the folks who have donated to LLS thus far through my efforts, including anonymous donors.

If you want to make a donation, get more information, or see my list of people I will be honoring during the race, the starting point is my Team in Training webpage. Come on, donate some clams and help me make Cancer the Crab scuttle away in fear!

This is my sixth time doing Team in Training, but there is something quite different for me this time. For the very first time, my sister Ann is no longer here. For five TNT campaigns, Ann was among my biggest supporters. She always donated extremely generously, she enjoyed getting my campaign updates and gave me feedback on them, and seemed proud of what I was doing. Even after developing cancer herself in 2007, she continued to be a big supporter. She fought so hard for over four years, determined to find a way to keep living. And then, on Memorial Day 2011, she was gone. I think of her every day and miss her deeply, and know that I am far from alone in that.

The second anniversary of my sister's death a few days ago caused me to think back to her memorial service, and how difficult it was to know that she was gone, and that I would never see her again on this earth. But it also made me remember a rainbow that I saw over her beloved Tremper Mountain the day before the service. I will share the story of that rainbow here:

I think of all the people I knew who are now gone - very much too young and too soon - because of cancer, especially in the last two and a half years. And I am willing to bet that a large number of people getting this note have a hole in their lives that was once filled by loved ones who are gone now because of cancer. Nothing we can do will change that, but what we can do is to go forward and try to make a positive difference in the world, to work towards a cure so that all types of cancer become curable or at the least manageable.

In my case, I am using my legs and feet to propel myself 13.1 miles in October, and I am hoping that you will be inspired and motivated to use your fingers on your keyboard (or on a pen with your checkbook) to make a donation to the mission of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society: to find cures for all blood cancers. So, let your fingers do the walking - I'll take care of the miles for you with my feet!

As always, to anyone making a donation, if it is in honor of someone dealing with any type of cancer, or in memory of someone who is now gone, just let me know, and I will write their name on the honoree page of my Racing for a Cure Blog, and on my Crawlin' Crab race shirt.

Thank you for reading my update and message, and thank you for the support.