Monday, July 14, 2008

Spanglish, hills & humidity

I am attempting to post updates to training & fundraising each week. Together, we will make it across the start & finish line of the Nike Women's Marathon and work towards finding a cure for blood cancers!

Total miles for the week: 10
Total miles since June: ???

This Saturday marked the first day of hill training - which was a surprise to me! Since we will encounter hills in San Francisco, it is important for us to include some hills in our training. For the past couple weeks, our Team In Training group meets at 5:30am to try to avoid some of the Tucson summer heat. However, it is currently monsoon season too so there is a new factor in our training - humidity! Every morning (which this past week was only Saturday - bad training week due to weather-related sinus pressure) when I get up to run, I turn on the weather channel to see what the conditions are like. Much to my shock & horror this Saturday at 5:00am, it was 75 degrees (not bad) with 85% humidity. Wait a minute! Did I read that right? 85% humidity with a dew point of 70?!?!? Yes, it was that humid and we were hill training!

The hill training was not as bad as I thought it might be. For those of you in Tucson or familiar with Tucson, we ran along the Rillito River Park from Children's Memorial Park (where we meet every Saturday morning) to First Ave. From there, we ran up the east side of First Ave, past River Rd to Via Entrada. Via Entrada is about halfway between River and Orange Grove with pretty much a steady uphill. I told myself that I wanted to run the whole distance of the uphill to Via Entrada. Other than having to deal with concrete and running a bit in the bike lane, I made it up the hill without any issues!!

At the top of the hill, I was met by Coach Ashley, who directly us where to go. For the next mile & a half, we ran through through the hilly neighborhood on Via Entrada. Gorgeous neighborhood, I wish I had the money to afford a place along there! I am including the graph from the data my Garmin watch picked up. The blue line is my pace & the green line is elevation. You can see that much of the first half of the 10-mile run was the hill training portion.
After the run, I had to book it home because Dan & I were having a yard sale to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Being the loving, supportive husband that he is, Dan agreed to get the signs up and get things started while I was finishing my run. He had the great idea to put most of the stuff in plastic Rubbermaid tubs we normally use for moving or storage and label each tub with a price. This made it soooo much easier to set up but required some work on my part during the week. Mom, Tracey & Dianna all donated items for me to sell at the yard sale. Thanks guys for your support! I got a head-start on the yard sale by taking the nicer, name-brand items to Plato's Closet and I got $41.75! Then Dan & I sold almost $200 worth of stuff (literally that's what it was - stuff) at the yard sale, along with a number of Pepsis for 50 cents & bottled water for $1. The grand total for this fundraiser = $236.80!!! Not bad for a few hours work. But we still have a long way to go to reach the $5000 goal.
Dan got to practice his Spanglish. We had a number of pick-up trucks with Sonoran license plates stop. Luckily, I can understand some basic Spanish & I know 1-10! But Dan did most of the negotiating in Spanish. Thank you 7 months of working in Eloy and 2 years of high school Spanish!

Earlier this evening, I met a few people from Team In Training for optional hill training at Tumamoc Hill. Some of the more adventurous people actually run up to the top but I am more than OK with walking to the top & running down. Running down the steep inclines definitely works my muscles in a new way! I included my Garmin graph from a couple weeks ago. You can see the change in elevation over the course of a little over a mile!
Also during the week last week, Dan, the cats & I had a bit of excitement. Rory (our little 6-pound cat) tracked a VERY large bug from the hallway to the living room. It actually flew & Dan though it might be a bird. No, it was just the hugest bug I have ever seen in our house. Below is a picture of Rory trying to get it after it landed on our speaker. Sitting above it (not in this pic) are our Wii-motes and the bug is almost as big as one of them. I would say the bug was between 6 & 8 inches! Dan & I both looked it up online and it is a Palo Verde Beetle. It actually snapped & hissed at Dan & Rory. I was a huge girl & sat on the couch, praying that Dan would take care of it (and I snapped the picture).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Newsletter Vol. 1, Issue 1

Why Team In Training and Leukemia & Lymphoma Society?

What is Team In Training?
In 1988, a team of 38 runners in West Chester County, NY train for the New York City Marathon while raising $320,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Their nickname Team In Training (TNT) stuck. Since 1988, over 340,000 people have raised over $800 million in support of TNT’s mission: cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life for patients and their families. Participants train for an endurance event - marathon, half marathon, triathlon or century (100-mile) bicycle ride - while raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Each participant is paired with an Honored Teammate, someone locally whose life has been affected by a blood related cancer.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services. The mission of LLS is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Since its founding in 1949, LLS has invested more than $550 million for research specifically targeting blood cancers. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has 68 chapters throughout the US & Canada and is headquartered in White Plains, NY.

Your 100% Tax-Deductible Donation
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society uses the donations for a variety of purposes.
“The Society is committed to curing leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, and helping patients and their families. The support you provide is invested wisely.

Why I Joined Team In Training
Joining Team In Training is something I wanted to do for quite some time. My mom, Linda Schiefelbein, participated with the Phoenix-area chapter for the past year.
Throughout my life, I’ve known a few people whose lives were affected by one of the blood cancers, most notably my step-grandmother Lorraine. She’s battled multiple myeloma for the past several years. My training for the Nike Women’s Marathon is nothing compared to the marathon fight she’s been through.
I can only hope to be as strong as her. She is with me in spirit each time I run for this cause and she will be with me when I cross the finish line of the Nike Women’s Marathon on October 19th in San Francisco.
I raise money for LLS so other families do not have to endure what Lorraine has gone through.
I run and train in honor and memory of your loved ones. Please share their names with me & I will carry them with me as I run.

A Lasting Piece of Your Generosity
For each individual or family donating $50 or business donating $150, you will help create a quilt that will be donated to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and will be used at a treatment center.
You will be sent a 6.5" square to decorate how you please (or I will help you) and it will be included in the final quilt. The quilt will be designed and assembled by me. It will be similar in design to the one pictured here. I plan to make the quilt in TNT green and purple, as well as represent the ribbon colors of each disease.
You will also receive a photo of your quilt square and the quilt itself. Please make sure to email me your contact information after your donation at If you donate $100, you have the option to decorate 2 quilt squares, $150 = 3 quilt squares, etc.

Check with your employer to see if they make matching funds donations. You can double or triple your contribution.

How YOU can help
MAKE A DONATION TO THE LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY! Check the cushions of your couch, I’ll bet you find some change. Every dollar can make a difference! Please look in your heart (and wallet) to find $5, $10 or $20 to donate. I committed to raising at least $4200 for LLS, and I appreciate all the assistance. I would love for you to donate $50 but $5 is all I am asking. Please join me in this effort to help save lives and find a cure for blood cancers.
There are 2 easy ways to donate by July 18*:
1. Visit my donation page at
2. Fill out the form included with the letter and mail it back to me with your check to LLS.
I would love to run in honor or in memory of your loved ones. Please let me know your loved ones names and I will carry them with me throughout training and race day.

*Donations can be made after July 18 but I want to make my fundraising goal early so I can focus on training.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Honored Teammates

Below is a list of the honored teammates that I run and train for:
Names of your family and friends will be added to this list if you desire me to run & train in their honor or memory

Lorraine Anderson - my step-grandmother - multiple myeloma
Chris Freeman

Team Tucson Honored Teammates:

Marisa Ann Gallego - lost her battle with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) on April 18, 2008.
Our training season is dedicated to her memory. Five of her family members train with us for the Nike Women's Marathon.
"Our Honored Teammate
August 20, 1991 – April 18, 2008

Marisa Ann Gallego was an excelling junior, at Mountain View High School.

On May 29, 2007, Marisa Ann Gallego was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) which is a fast growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow. She had to undergo five rounds of chemotherapy. The chemotherapy left Marisa unable to fight any type of infection. She was in and out of the hospital after her diagnosis. Marisa was in remission in November, December and January. In February, Marisa was to have her stem cells harvested and frozen in the case that the cancer would return. Unfortunately the Leukemia had returned and again Marisa was given chemotherapy, the chemo did not put her in remission so she got another round within two weeks. Her blood count would not return to normal, she was transferred to the Bone Marrow Transplant Center were she was to receive a blood cord transplant, but as they prepared her they found that her heart was failing. They put her in ICU on April 16th and put her in on a ventilator to give her heart a break, her organs began to shutdown and on April 18th we learned that her Leukemia had returned and her breathing tube was removed. Marisa was sixteen years old.
Marisa was a very special young lady she touched the lives of all those she met. Even with all the pain she was going through she always had enough strength to give everyone that would come her way a smile."

Dawn Kulesa - diagnosed with Stage IV Non Hodgkin’s Follicular Lymphoma on June 5, 2007
Dawn is a former member of Tucson TNT and was diagnosed just weeks after completing the Big Sur Marathon.

Gabbi Martin - Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia
"Hi! My name is Gabbi. I am 10 years old. I am a survivor of Leukemia. I was 3 years old when I was diagnosed. I have been in remission for over 7 years. I enjoy soccer, swimming, and dance. In the fall, I will be in the 7th grade. My favorite subjects in school are reading, spelling, writing, math, PE and music. At school I am in the Write Right club where I write articles for the Bear Essential Newspaper. I’ve had numerous articles published and I’ve also been on television a few times."

Alexandra (Alex) Stuetze - Lymphoma (PTLD)
June 21, 1993 - October 19, 2006
"This morning (10/19/06) the world as we know it came to a screeching halt. Our beautiful angel girl Alex left us. Our lives will never be the same as we move forward. She invariably changed each of us she met. Nothing could express what is in my heart, as I know she touched each of you as well. Alex has been the light in my world for the past 13 years illuminating my way each day of my life. October 19th will forever be remembered as the day our Angel face left us, our piece of heaven on earth. Hopefully each of us takes away some beautiful part of her, a memory, a moment where you saw in her face a glimpse of heaven. Our lives will never be the same. May her light, love, beauty, bravery and unselfish nature remain in each of us as a reminder.
Elizabeth Stuetze"

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The reason I run

I want to tell you about my newest endeavor. On October 19, 2008, I will participate in the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco, all 26.2 miles. This marathon will be the most special for me and my family. Together with your love, support and encouragement, we will cross the finish line together in San Francisco.

Yes, the scenery will be gorgeous, and a little hilly, but that is not the important part. The important part is that I joined Team In Training and committed myself to raising a minimum of $4200 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). I would love to raise at least $5000 though.

The funds we raise for LLS will go towards finding a cure for the various blood cancers.This is where your help will be greatly appreciated by me and the families that the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society helps. The dollar (or many dollars) you donate could be the dollar that finds a cure or a new treatment. Your tax-deductible donation can make a huge difference

Here's why this cause is so important to my family. My step-grandma Lorraine was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma several years ago. She is a huge trooper and is still with us today. We've watched her go through rounds of treatment for her disease. She spent a recent Thanksgiving in a hospital bed instead of around the dining room table with her family. Although her nurses were quite happy to see us when we showed up with Thanksgiving dessert (yes, including pumpkin pie!) for the entire floor! Holidays with a huge family dinner are some of Lorraine's favorite days. Many memories of mine involve her coming out of the kitchen to greet us prior to a holiday meal, making an entire serving bowl of mashed potatoes for my brother, and making a batch of fudge just for me (although to this day I haven't had the heart to tell her I prefer it without nuts). Lorraine's treatments have left her with severe osteoporosis and glaucoma. But still she looks forward to spending time with my cousins and step-cousins, who range in age from 3 to 13 (and then there are the adult grandkids like me). I don't know where she finds the energy sometimes. And honestly sometimes she doesn't. She has good days and bad days but looks forward to spending time with her family.

Other families should not have to go through what mine and friends of mine (like Jami) have gone through. This is why I joined Team In Training and am raising funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Again, here's where you come in. Your tax-deductible donation can make a difference.Please visit my donation page at
Together we can make a difference; one dollar and one mile at a time.

I got this email recently from Lorraine. I'll admit, I got a bit choked up when I read it. OK, I cried a bit.
Dear Jennifer,

Your e-mail has touched me in so many ways. I'd be so proud of you & your running accomplishments regardless of the cause. The fact that you are running in my honor & doing so to help me and others battle cancer makes this much more than an athletic feat. You make me so proud of your strength and commitment that it adds to my own. We will be sending a donation shortly and hopefully, more in the future
Love, GrandmaRaine

She is proud of ME? In my mind, she is the one that we should all be proud of, not the other way around.

(Remember, if you are friends with Jessica Salomon, she also also raising money for LLS with Team In Training. Please share your donation between the two of us. Visit her donation page at