Monday, August 18, 2008

I am fast like Michael Phelps?

Photo courtesy of Mark Schiefelbein

Like most Americans, watching the Olympics on TV has filled much of my free time during the past week & a half. So much so, I found myself staying up until 11:30pm or midnight to watch swimming, gymnastics, etc and found myself exhausted and not wanting to get up to run at 5am. I also found myself with a sinus infection this past week which gave me horrible sinus pressure, so bad at one point it made me nausous (no, I am NOT pregnant!). I am trying to get rid of it with over-the-counter medication so that I don't have to take antibiotics if I don't need to.

Speaking of the Olympics, I am insanely jealous that my brother Mark & my sister-in-law Didi are there. Mark got to see Michael Phelps win his last 3 medals and has some amazing photos of the events he's attended (visit Didi's blog at to see some of his photos). Didi is working for the Associated Press and by the end of August will have spent 4 months in Beijing covering the Olympics & other stories leading up to the Games.

So back to my headline... I ran on Saturday with Team In Training for the first time in three weeks. (I was on vacation for 2 Saturday runs & missed last weeks because I felt like I was coming with a cold or something.) Our scheduled run for Nike full-marathoners was 12-14 miles and I usually try to push myself to go the furthest distance. My occasional running buddy Emily was not there so I took off by myself. Even though we meet at 5:30am, it was another hot and humid morning. I was getting tired toward the last 3-4 miles but I made myself keep moving - partially because I found it's easier to keep running than walk and try to get moving again & partially because it was sunny (not a cloud in the sky) and hot so I wanted to get back as soon as I could.

What we typically do is run one way to a certain point, turn around & run to another point and then come back to where we started to get our full mileage. About halfway through the mileage, I hadn't seen another TNT person or coach for a couple miles. I was worried that I had heard the trunaround points wrong. Once I got close to the second turnaround point, I saw our water station and was a little less concerned. Usually I see other people during the course of my run but had only seen Carolyn (a Maui half-marathoner who runs different distances than the rest of us) about 3 miles before the turnaround point. Once I turned around, I expected to see other TNT runners within a few minutes. I did not see anyone for over a mile after I turned around! Which meant I was over 2 miles ahead of everyone! I was shocked since I felt like I had slowed down after my first 3-4 miles and usually was much closer to the other TNT members.

I finished my 14 miles in about 2:50 (my watch didn't pick up the satellite until I was already running for a couple minutes so I don't know my exact time). This is a little over a 12-minute mile pace, a pace I have run faster than other times. However, I finished about 20-25 minutes before any of the other marathoners. How am I that much faster than the rest of them? I've seen some of the other participants finish ahead of me and usually the mentors finish ahead of me too.

So am I fast like Michael Phelps? No! But apparently I am faster than the other Tucson TNT participants, at least on August 16th I was.

Now for the fundraising update: I received a donation in the mail from my grandpa & step-grandma this week. If I didn't know it would cause more trouble, I would mail it back to her. After all, I am doing this for her and others like her! The $250 check also included a note that made me tear up a bit.
Another $80 this past week came from Dan's birthday party (aka The Beer Olympics). Dan decided that the money people gave for the keg should go to LLS. So if you came to the party & didn't contribute to the keg, make a donation on my website at
Thanks to everyone for their support & contributions. It's not too late to make a dontation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! We are still only halfway to our goal!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

New Honored Teammates & Technical Issues

I planned to write an update before Dan's and my vacation to the upper Midwest but time was not my friend. So this blog covers about 3 weeks.

First, the newest honored teammates:

Cindy Wool - my dentist's good friend is at TMC awaiting a bone marrow match after her recent leukemia diagnosis
(name to be added, can't remember) - my co-worker Joseph Espinoza-Gonzales' cousin who lost his battle with leukemia last week

Both of these stories touched me when I heard about them. Joseph's family was hopeful when his cousin first received the diagnosis a couple months ago. These lives and the lives of others just like them is why we need to find a cure for blood cancers (and ALL cancers). No more lives should be cut short by a cancer diagnosis! Together, we can make a difference through the donations we make towards research, patient & family support and the advocacy we do to get the word out to those around us. If you'd like to make a small difference today, you can make a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at

And now I will get down from my soap box and fill you in on the recent training experiences. Let me start by saying I thought the recent summer monsoons & accompanying humidity would prepare me for my visit to Wisconsin & Iowa. It kind of did...

On the first day of our trip to Wisconsin, I intended to get up & run the planned 12-14 miles. I got up at about 6:30am Wisconsin time (my usual 4:30am Tucson time) and left my Aunt Jan's house for my run. At the end of her street, I glanced down at my Garmin & it was off, which was weird because it had been on outside her house when I hit "start" at the beginning of my run. I charged my Garmin overnight before we left so I wouldn't need to bring the charger with me on the trip - we had enough charger between the cell phones, digital camera, etc. I turned it back on and it immediately died. I'd gotten the "low battery" warning when it turned on but have run for 4 hours after the low battery warning before so I figured I could make it through this run & some of the shorter ones. Boy was I wrong! Since I hadn't mapped a route in her neighborhood, figuring I would use my Garmin to figure out distance and make up a route as I went, I moved on to plan B. I figured if I ran for about 2 hours, I should be close to the 2 hour mark. About 2-3 miles (as best I can figure) from her house, I realized I hadn't brought GU or a Luna Bar with me so I had nothing to refuel my body halfway through my run. So I moved to plan C and decided to run for an hour to hour and a half. I think I ended up running about 6 miles but I am not sure. I wasn't able to drive my route later to check.

Needless to say, since Dan & I were visiting family & staying with them, I didn't run as much as I planned.

This past Friday, the day before gorgeous bride Inga's wedding to Soren, I ran with my father-in-law Dennis, my brother-in-law Trevor (aka the Marine), and the father of the groom Rex. I told Dennis that I needed to do a 10 to 12 mile run & he told me he had a route planned in McGregor. We met at 6:30am, although I didn't get as much sleep as I'd planned since we spent a lot of time the night before hanging out at the Hattery's (Dan's mom's side of the family) Riverhouse on the Mississippi. I was greeted by heavy humidity (I was ON the Mississippi so I should have expected it) and a pack of runners a bit faster than myself. I was contantly bringing up the rear but resisted the urge to try to keep up because I knew that would only spell trouble. After we ran down picturesque Main Street McGregor, we ran through some of the surrounding neighborhoods and up an insane hill. I felt like I was crawling up the hill but couldn't keep my breath steady (I guess even though I missed our Sabino Canyon training, I got my own hill training). Since the hill also was curvy, there were times when I couldn't see the others. However, when I got to the top they were all waiting & cheering for me. I really appreciated their support, even though I am sure Dan's brother was annoyed by my slowness. He's used to PT with the Marine Corps and I couldn't keep up with the rest.

That morning, the humidity really zapped me. I struggled through the second half of the 11 miles I eventually ran, even walking for about a 1/3 to 1/2 mile stretch. But I finished & finished strong. I purposely planned the run for Friday so I would be fresh & rested for the wedding & reception on Saturday. What a great time we had. It was fantastic to see Inga & Soren get married. I love those two, they are awesome. Since the very first time I met Inga, I loved her and it's impossible not to love her (and Soren). I am sad the DJ did not have Perry Como's "Papa Loves Mambo" for Dan & I to dedicate to them. There's a special memory of the 4 of us tied to that song.

I resolve to complete the rest of my training program in it's entirety. I can't keep cutting corners & skipping days of training. Those with cancer don't get to skip a day, why should I? Remember, you can make a difference & donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Please see the blog titled " Newsletter Vol. 1" for more information about Leukemia & Lymphoma Society & Team In Training

Dan during the Leinenkugel''s Brewery Tour
Me during the New Galrus Brewery tour (no, I didn't partake in the tasting)
Dan's happy place - boating on the Mississippi
Dan & our niece Alex
The Riverhouse
Inga & Soren as husband & wife
Lynn (mother of the bride), Inga & Alex

Soren, Inga, Dan & me (Is it just me or do I look chubby?)