Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

Well, another Thanksgiving is here!  For anyone reading this blog, a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, at least since becoming an adult.  (Certainly as a kid, Christmas was the best!)  And since surviving cancer, Thanksgiving is even more important for me.  For one thing, anyone surviving something like that tends to give thanks a lot and feel a lot of gratitude.  For another, it was a few days before Thanksgiving in 2002 that I had my very last chemo - talk about feeling grateful!  The exact date was Monday, November 25, 2002.  The way the calendars came out this year, the dates are on the same days of the weeks.  So Thanksgiving that year was also on November 28.  I felt too sick to eat a lot but at the same time, I was overjoyed to know that in another week or so I would start to feel pretty good, and that this time, I would not have to go back into the chemotherapy room for more poisoning.  It was such a joyous feeling!

This year, there is thankfully no such drama, but the memories of dealing with cancer, getting more distant each year, are still there.  It is good to be alive, although I am sobered by the remembrance of people I knew who are no longer here starting about 3 years ago.  Today is the first Thanksgiving that my friend (and Crawlin' Crab teammate) Leslie will not have her husband Ed by her side.  Ed is just the latest in an all too long list of recently departed friends and family members.  So while I give thanks for all that I have, including life, I remember those less fortunate than I who did not survive.  They are gone all too soon.

Well, enough of that!  Have a Happy Thanksgiving!  Enjoy some good food!  Kiss a grandchild!  Tell someone that you love them!  Watch a football game!  Have an extra piece of pumpkin pie!  Say a prayer of thanks! Take a nice, long walk! And give thanks for what you have.  Even if it doesn't seem like a lot, it is.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Cheering for Teammates!

Yesterday, I got up early to go cheer at "America's Friendliest Marathon," the Richmond Marathon.  I had a number of friends and teammates running and walking it, some for Team in Training, and others just because.  There was supposed to be a slight chance of showers early and then clearing, but it rained pretty steadily off and on while I was out there, and I got pretty wet.  The good news: I don't melt, and I dried off later.

I saw everyone in both races (plus several thousand people in the 8K) go by, starting with the fastest runners and ending with the slowest walkers.  I was standing at the 2 mile point just before the half and full marathon split, cheering and ringing my cowbell ("Hate the bell!" one runner said).  It was very hard to pick people out of the huge mass of humanity constantly going by at 6 - 15 feet per second.  But some friends saw me and yelled my name, and I did pick a few out.  There were 51 people from Team in Training in the races, but I didn't see them all.  Maybe some of them wore jackets over their purple shirts.

Anyhow, I had a great time cheering, and appreciated seeing so many friends out there in the rain.  Here are a few photos....

I always choke up a bit as the people pushing severely disabled kids go by at the start of the race.
At the two mile point, these two were the lead runners in the half marathon.
This guy was skipping rope the whole way!  Impressive!
At the two mile point, these two guys were flying along and leading the marathon pack.  I could not sustain their pace for .26 miles, much less for 26.2.
One of the marathoners was carrying "Old Glory."
Coach Sue (in the green) carried the sweep balloon for the half marathon.
Sharing a laugh and a smile with three teammates out doing 26.2 miles that rainy day.  Sorry about the raindrops on the camera lens, but it was pretty wet out there.
"Go Team!" Tracy was saying with a high kick!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Richmond Send Off

My Team in Training event for this year, the Crawlin' Crab Half Marathon, is now more than a month in the past.  But the people I trained with were not all doing that event.  A few of them ran the Nike marathon in San Francisco, but the largest number of my teammates are running and walking the Richmond Half and Full Marathons next weekend.  This is billed as "America's Friendliest Marathon," and from what I hear, it is a great one to do.

Last night was the send off for the Richmond Marathon Team, held at Capital Ale House not two blocks from where I work.  All of us were invited, so I went, of course.  It was great to look around at the excited and happy faces.  For many of them, this is there first half marathon or marathon.  There were a few nervous faces, too.  But they will be just fine once they cross the start on November 16.  They are racing for whatever their personal reasons to run or walk this race are, but they are also racing for a cure, and I am very proud of them!  They are a great group of women and men!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

My Mentors' Gift

Every Team in Training participant gets a mentor to help them with fundraising.  This year, I got two: Kristina and Bryan Babbitt.  I have been involved with Team in Training for eight years now, and this couple were the best - bar none - mentors I have encountered!  And I include myself in that mix, as I mentored people at least three or four seasons over the years.

I could write a lot about all the things they did to keep the participants involved and motivated, but I won't.  I will mention that every week, they put out an amazingly well done newsletter for us.  That alone is a ton of work. 

The final touch was the race weekend.  They drove all the way down from Richmond to see us off at the start and be there at the TNT finisher tent, sitting out for hours in the hot sun.  And when we came up to the tent, they gave each of us a handmade gift - a medal holder.  Isn't it cool?  That is my medal from the race under it.
Kristina and Bryan are running the Richmond marathon together in two weeks, and I plan on being there to cheer them on.  And they are coming back for their third season in a row to mentor once again.  Can they top this season?  I don't know, but if anyone can, they can.