Monday, April 29, 2013

13.1 for a Cause

Yesterday, April 28th, was the first Nike Women's Half Marathon in Washington, DC. It was also the day I ran for Team In Training! This entire TNT experience has been wonderful. The fundraising was a little overwhelming, but in 4 short months you all helped me raise over $4400! That is amazing! Over $4400 life saving dollars to help find better drugs and a cure for blood cancers.
Back of my TNT jersey.

  That. Is. Awesome.

Thank you so very much for your support!

Sunday morning 15,000 runners packed in at the starting line ready to go for the 7 am start. We heard some motivational speeches from a leukemia Survivor, Shalane Flanagan, and Joan Benoit Samuelson. It was awesome to hear each of those 3 women speak...I was ready to go with Jody by my side!

Usually Jody and I are in different starting corrals, but for Nike DC we decided to start together and then go on our own whenever we felt like it. I love that about running with Jody. She is much faster than me but we train together and she sticks with me and pushes me. But we both know come race day, each of us will run our own race, as it should be.

The race started and we ran right towards the US Capitol Building, a beautiful sight to match the perfect weather. During the first mile we headed into a tunnel and it screwed up my GPS. I was so frustrated! I had spent the entire week before the race figuring out what pace to run and about what my time should be every few miles. I am not able to read pace through my body yet so I rely heavily on my Garmin. I was very unsettled about this really minor detail. By this time Jody had decided to stick with me for the duration of the race. I was thrilled to have her by my side the entire time!

We headed over the Arlington Memorial Bridge and reached the 5k (3.1 miles) mark. There was a timing mat and we were able to see the clock time (not chip time), it read 39 minutes and something seconds. Knowing we had crossed the starting line about 5 minutes after the clock started, I was able to estimate our time. At that point, we were averaging just under 11 minute miles. A little slower than I planned on but no big deal.

We turned around just after the bridge and headed back over then ran by the Kennedy Center. We were running along the Potomac River and there was a nice breeze. The weather was perfect and even though the race was crowded, Jody and I were enjoying ourselves! We had a min-meld going and were able to weave through runners with little to no communication and very few hand signals. I guess that comes from logging so many miles together!

We continued along the Potomac, running past the Lincoln, MLK, and George Mason Memorials. We clocked in our 10k (6.2 miles) at 1:06:42 and I was happier with my average pace at that point. I remember thinking I should take fuel in soon but got distracted by the gorgeous views on the water and the quietness of the course while we rounded the golf course. At mile 7 I was really starting to feel the run. We walked through the water stop, as usual, and kept walking to give ourselves a little break. By mile 8 I was feeling nauseous and not terrible well. It was then I remember my fuel. I knew it would make the rest of the race more challenging to be behind on my fuel intake. I sucked down my Honey Stinger gel and was able to start running again.

By mile 9 I was starting to feel mostly okay again but knew I wasn't up for my 10:15 minute miles I was hoping for. We clocked in at the 15k (9.2 miles) at 1:43:27. Not a big deal, but I still wanted to feel good about the race. miles 10 and 11 brought us by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, through the mall and that tunnel again. At this point we were close to the starting line and could see runners approaching the finish. How I longed for that! As we turned onto Pennsylvania Avenue and headed once again toward the US Capitol Building, Jody and I decided to walk for a few minutes and just enjoy the sights.

We were both starting to struggle at this point and welcomed the break. As we entered the National Mall again, we picked up the pace and ran a square in front of the US Capitol Building around that reflecting pool. Passing mile 12 we picked up the pace just a tad, part excitement part wanting to just be done. You could feel the excitement from the other runners and the crowds were cheering louder. I was feeling it, and wanted to take off but there was no way I was leaving Jody at this point. We had less than a mile to go and I wanted to cross that finish line with her.

I was thinking of Poppa and Grandpa as I ran down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the finish. I was thinking of the generosity of everyone who donated. I was thinking of all the patients who will benefit from the funds we have raised.

And I wanted to person I logged the most miles with right next to me. For so many runs she has been the one pushing me to the end and I was thrilled to be able to now do the same for her. Jody was starting to fall behind so I grabbed her hand and we crossed that finish line onto the red carpet with our arms raised in 2:25:45.

Not my goal time, but I still got a personal best! Wasn't Jody's best race by far, but we ran together and had an awesome time which was Goal #1 for me. Goal #2 was to PR, and while I had hoped to get much closer, if not under, 2:20, I am thrilled.

Because in the end, I ran 13.1 miles for cancer. And for that, I am proud! 
Jody and me with our Tiffany boxes!
Great finisher's medal!

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Make It Count...twice!

April is now upon us and that means it the month of the race! April 28th I will be running the streets of Washington, DC, for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I am starting to get excited about race day and proving my body once again that it can do what I want it to.

The fundraising deadline for this event is also nearing. My commitment is $3400 and we are nearly there! As of writing this post, there is only $737.53 more to go. We can do this! I am putting a call out for your help in bringing in those last dollars of life-saving funds:

April 9th is my Cancerversary. It was 10 years ago this day that I heard those terrible words for the first time, "you have cancer." Those words bring your world to a screeching halt, at least for a few days while you get your bearings. In honor of my Cancerversary and 10 years of Surviving, I am asking you to give just $10 to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. If you can't swing $10, then even $2 can make a difference (remember The Penny?). And if you feel compelled to give more than $10, I will not complain!

And to make your donation count double, my father-in-law will match every dollar up to $500 starting April 1st! So just think, you give $10 and it turns into $20. You give $5, it turns into $10. You give $100, it turns into $200. Almost like magic. Life saving magic!

Please donate today on my fundraising page: click here.
Make it count double!

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Fighting Cancer with Tutus

Living in a house of all boys we own very few pink and purple items. I have a few girly colored shirts, but blue and green dominate my wardrobe as well. And the last time a tutu was in my house was, well never! Nonetheless I'm happy to share another fundraiser by my friend Rachael of Too Tutu Cute! Her shop is filled with adorable children's items and this month 20% of the sales from the Purple Reversible Tutu will go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in support of my Team in Training efforts!

Purple Reversible Tutu
Make your little girl feel like a princess...and fight cancer!
Seriously, how cute in this?!
Now don't feel left out if you are only a kid at heart and have to have your hands on one! Rachael says she can make them in ANY size. For an adult size, Rachael gives these instructions:
  1. She will need a waist measurement (it's an elastic waist so doesn't have to be exact).
  2. She charges $1 per inch after 23" (the largest children's size she sells).
  3. You could also order it in a plain purple which starts at $25 for the 23" waist and $1 per inch after than.
  4. 20% still would go to LLS! 
  5. You can contact Rachael at or on Facebook about this special order.
So hope on over to her site and check it out!

Monday, March 04, 2013

Virginia is for...Runners!

My last post I mentioned VA Runner was going to have The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through my Team in Training efforts be the recipient of their Charitable Community Program. A portion of the sale of their VA Runner branded merchandise will be donated. There are also a few fleece headband/ear warmers left in dark colors that are not pictured below. Shirts and hats are each $15 + tax.

Shirts come in sizes small to XL in both a men's cut and a women's cut that is more form fitting with shorter more feminine sleeves. Shirts are non-tech fabric and sport the VA Runner logo on back (see hat). (The women's shirts run a little on the small side, I wear an XL and am 5'9" and 170, in the men's I wear a medium.)

Out of town and want to share in the Virginia is for Runners love? Contact me and $20 will get you a shirt or hat shipped to you.

Women's style, love each of these colors! Purple, turquoise, pink.

Men's style in blue, green, heather gray, red.

Running hats with velcro closure on back.

I've said it once, but I'll say it again. VA Runner is awesome. They care about their customers in a way that makes you want to go in for no other reason than to get a smile from them. And when I come in with my crew, I know the boys will be welcome (and entertained) as well. (Of course it's because my kids are THE best behaved kids in town!)I love that this place is so kind to their customers but even more so that they are doing even more for the community now!

Friday, March 01, 2013


This week has been a good week for me. Very good. I've been able to get all my workouts in so far, had an awesome 5 miler with hubby on Wednesday (didn't have to push the stroller and had quality time with him!!), and have received some very special donations. And I will reach 50% of my goal this week!!!

VA Runner branded merchandise, like my shirt in this pic, will support LLS this month!

VA Runner, you know my running store, has started a Charitable Community Program. Each month they will donate 10% of all sales of VA Runner branded merchandise to a worthy cause. The month of March they have chosen to donate to my cause, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I have been overwhelmed by their support of my efforts (we are in this together!) and am overwhelmed that a cause that is important to me is the recipient of their Charitable Community Program!

Yesterday at breakfast, Jack and Sam were asking me questions about my fundraising efforts. I realized I hadn't given them many details and so I took the opportunity to share why I chose LLS and what all these donations will do. They were eager to help right away and wanted to empty our their piggy banks. I loved their enthusiasm but also want them to be thoughtful about their donations now and in the future. So I told them that they would be able to help me ask for donations one day at VA Runner. The boys were thrilled with that idea. And they also decided they were going to donate all the coins they find on the ground to LLS.

Fast forward to pick up after school. My 8 year old jumps in the car and excitedly hand me this:
Life saving. Yes, even a penny can make a difference!

I was confused about why my son, who saves every last cent to buy Legos, would be handing this to me. The he told me what it was. "It's for your donations, Mom."

I thought it was very sweet he was keeping good on his word from that morning. Until he told me that it was from his friend "who wanted to help people with cancer but that's all he had."

I was overwhelmed.

So that penny, while it might not look like much, is literally life saving. That 2nd grader gave all he had so someone he doesn't know can get the support and care they need to battle cancer.

Small steps have been taken this week that have had a big impact. Wow! 

Do you wish to donate to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society? Please visit my fundraising page here to help blood cancer Survivors!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hear it from an Oncology Nurse

Running is going well! I am slowly building up my miles so I am ready for 13.1 miles on April 28th. As the date approaches, I am becoming more excited to be out running in that purple jersey for a good cause! Each and every time I see an email notice that a donation has been made, I am so thankful for the contribution and the resources you are giving Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to be able to reach more Survivors.

As for fundraising, honestly I have hit a tough spot. I was disappointed to not make my first goal of 50% by Valentine's Day. I was about $200 short. But I know that there are some friends and family out there that have not yet taken the time to help out the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. If that's you, don't wait! I need to get to $3400 to get to the starting line and have been praying that more people choose to support me and LLS.

I also must mention that I now have VA Runner supporting me with fundraising as well! They have graciously allowed me to have a donation jar at their checkout and each of their wonderful employees is helping spread the word. I am thrilled to have their support and not be in this alone as I shared in a post on my fundraising page.

Speaking of the fundraising page, I posted a letter from Dela who is an Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Survivor. She was a previously honored patient and has benefited first hand from the resources that LLS provides. Today, I am sharing about LLS from the perspective of an Oncology Nurse. I'll let Lara do the talking:
I first met Cynthia in October of 2006 at the Inaugural LIVESTRONG Summit in Austin. This was about six months after my second surgery for thyroid cancer and the scars on my neck were still prominent and screaming red. In the middle of a meeting we had a happy dance to find another young adult thyroid cancer survivor and our friendship was born.

Cynthia is currently raising funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society through a program called Team in Training. She's going to run a marathon to benefit LLS in memory of her grandfathers and in honor of a LLS honored hero. Please consider going to Cynthia's fundraising page and chipping in a few dollars to help her meet her goal.

What's that? You want to know more before you donate? Well, it just so happens that I'm a oncology nurse who can give you the scoop on LLS.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is my favorite of all of the cancer support organizations because as an oncology nurse I see every day how they help my patients diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma and myelodysplastic syndromes. Here are some bullet points why:
  • LLS funds real research that directly impacts survivors. There are a lot of fruity research studies for cancers, but LLS research grants go to only the best.
  • LLS supplies FREE info and counseling to survivors and their caregivers about the disease process, treatment, side effects, finances, just about anything they never knew they needed.
  • LLS provides real support! They have an excellent "First Connection" program that matches new survivors to a seasoned survivor of their disease. They also have support groups- and provide group facilitators (community members- social workers and oncology nurses) with education to enhance group experience.
  • LLS has a program to help young survivors return to school after long absences.
  • LLS provides financial aid and copy assistance programs to help ease the financial burden of a diagnosis.
  • LLS has a fantastic advocacy program to encourage state and federal support of bills that directly impact survivors.
  • Did I mention that ALL of their services are FREE to survivors of blood cancers?
  • Also, it's worth noting the LLS is a Better Business Bureau accredited charity. Any donation you make will be tax deductible.

Great. So now you've bought-in to LLS. What about Cynthia?
  • Cynthia is a mother to three adorable boys and wife to an incredibly awesome (and super hot!) Marine. She doesn't halfway do things. Her life is all about supporting her family, her country, and making the world a better place.
  • Cynthia is a serious mother runner. She doesn't halfway do things, and that includes half marathons. She has finished every half marathon she ever entered and this is her first  half marathon she's running to raise funds for LLS.
  • Cynthia is a survivor of two different cancers and know the difference education and support makes.
  • Cynthia is just really awesome.

Now here's where your part comes in: she can't do this without our help. Please click the link below and support her in this marathon. Even a $3 donation will help!

Please consider keeping Cynthia in your light and prayers for injury-free training! And keep our cancer survivors and families in your prayers because they need all the help they can get.

Finally, please share this message. Personally there's no way I can train to run a marathon right now, but I can support someone who is running for a great cause.

Thanks for your time and for supporting Cynthia!

Thanks, Lara! Now that there is a little over a month until fundraising ends, I hope each of you will take the time to make the different in the life of a blood cancer Survivor!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

TNT: What will my donation do?

Running is going well. I am still pain free and am being kind to myself by still taking it slow with a run/walk interval. I braved the chill today (25 degrees here, very cold for me!) and enjoyed beautiful blue skies and was rewarded with a bald eagle on my run! It appeared just as I was heading up a huge hill and I took it was a sign to push on. I got to the top and headed home with a frozen face. But after thawing out, I was relishing the post-run feeling of doing something good for me. And knowing in turn, I am doing it to do something good for someone else.
I am now at 20% of my fundraising and am hoping to over 50% on February 15th. Are you ready to give lifesaving funds? Maybe not just yet...sometimes people, including myself, are reluctant to donate to an organization, especially if they don't know where the funds are going. I hope to clear that up for you! 
What Will My Donation Do?
Encourage scientists to pursue blood cancer research. Grants to young scientists help grow research talent even as federal research funding becomes increasingly limited.
Develop "targeted therapies" that kill cancer cells selectively. By hitting specific molecular targets, these treatments don't harm patients' healthy cells, resulting in fewer dangerous side effects.
Test immunotherapies. Immunotherapies strengthen a patient's own immune system so it can better fight infections and attack cancer cells, reducing the need for damaging chemotherapy.
Improve the safety of today's cures. LLS funds research to predict, manage and prevent complications in patients most at risk for long-term and late effects of treatment.
Help patients and their families make informed decisions. LLS supplies information and counseling to help guide patients through their cancer journey and access current treatment and clinical trial options.  
Provide financial aid and co-pay assistance. A cancer diagnosis is hard enough without having to deal with its financial burden. We provide programs to help relieve the economic strain of a blood cancer diagnosis.
Offer community services. Among the wide array of programs LLS provides are those that link newly diagnosed patients with trained volunteers and that help young cancer patients return to school after an absence resulting from treatment. 
Encourage our state and federal legislators to support blood cancer issues. With your help, LLS brings to the attention of lawmakers the urgent need for increased government funding and support of research and patient access to affordable treatment and quality care.
My Grandpa was a fortunate recipient of help from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society for over a year. The financial of strain of cancer treatments was reduced because of the aid Grandpa received from LLS. For 3 months, the drug Gleevec was was completely paid for and his health insurance was covered from 2011 until his death in 2012.

Help like that cannot happen unless there are others who are willing to give! Please consider donating today (click here to donate!) so that someone's Grandpa, Grandma, sister, brother, mom, dad, son, daughter, cousin, aunt, uncle, or friend is able to receive help to get them through the battle of their lives.
Visit my page to donate today!