Wednesday, October 21, 2009

26.2 miles COMPLETE!!!

Tucson Team
Thank you to everyone for your support and encouragement. Together, we raised over $3,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! The Tucson Team raised over $69,000 and over $14 million was raised for LLS at the Nike Women's Marathon!!!
Finding my name on the Niketown window
Overall, it was a great weekend in San Francisco. The weather was perfect - not too hot, not too cold, not too windy! (It rained on Monday when we were leaving but otherwise the weather was gorgeous all weekend.)

Riding the cable cars with Jennifer, Crystal & Elsbeth

We started the race at Union Square and I was able to start with 3 of my teammates from Tucson - Jennifer Henderson (J-Hen), Elsbeth and Amanda. The weather was warm enough that we all turned in our jackets at the gear check bus and then the wind decided to pick up while we waited in line for the bathroom. Oh well, a little bonding via a huddle for warmth! The 4 of us ran together for the first few miles and then we lost Amanda to a pit stop. I continued with J-Hen & Elsbeth for the first half of the race.

Hills... what can I say about them? I must have a mental block about the hills from last year because we ran the same course but I do not remember some of those hills being that steep or that long! And now I will block them out again :-) For the most part, once you got to the top of a hill, you get a great view of the city, the bay, the ocean, a nice neighborhood or something that made it worth the climb!
Hill by Ghiradelli Square, very steep!
The Golden Gate Bridge decided to be under fog the morning of our run, only the supports peaked out at us through the fog. I snapped a couple photos of the supports but didn't stop to take a picture by the bridge like last year since it was hiding. I did get a couple great shots the day before when we took the cable cars to Fisherman's Wharf & Ghiradelli Square (yes, I brought chocolate home!).
Can you see it? The Golden Gate Bridge is in there somewhere (my head at the bottom right)
At the top of a long, brutal hill we found our coach Ashley. Our coaches have a way of showing up just when you need them! Ashley ran with us for a couple miles, through a neighborhood with plenty of rolling hills. Then it was just the 3 of us for the next couple miles until we broke apart from each other around the half way point.

Coach Ashley running with the other Jennifer
Going into the race, I didn't know if my hip would give me trouble like it had during training. I was mentally prepared to take the half marathon cut-off (we all start together and then between mile 10 & 11, we break apart) but knew that I wanted to do the full marathon if my body permitted me to do it! When I broke apart from the other ladies, I was really tired and wondered if I made the right decision...

I made my way through Golden Gate Park on the way to the Great Highway. Just before the Great Highway, the sun peaked through the clouds and marine layer. I thought to myself " this is going to suck if it's sunny today." Luckily, the sun went back behind the clouds for the rest of my run!

Nothing much to report from the Great Highway, part 1. It was pretty flat and there were a number of spectactor so that helped me keep moving. There is a steep hill at the end of the Great Highway that leads into Lake Merced. The lake nearly killed me last year and I didn't want the same to happen again this year.

Just as I was about to turn into the lake, I looked up and found Coach Glin!!! Like I said, just when you need them, our coaches are there! I told Glin I wasn't going to let the lake conquer me this year...

I was cruising along the lake - which is the worst part of the marathon, nothing to look at and none of the cheerleaders or bands from earlier in the course - I passed my roommate for the weekend Susan. She was kicking butt! I cheered her on and kept going. Around mile 21, I found our coordinator Louanne and gave her a big hug! She was part of a TNT cheer group that was dressed in hula skirts so I found her at mile 4 and mile 21! A little after I passed Louanne, I got my Ghardelli chocolate squares (put them in my pocket, there's no way I could have eaten them then) and then I saw my mentee Michelle. She was also doing great so I said hi and cheered for her. Still cruising along...

Until just before mile 22! My hamstrings had been tight all weekend and were tight during the race. I guess they made my quads work overtime because heading up a hill to the mile 22 sign, my lower quads (near the knees) started cramping up. I told myself, "let's make it to the top of this hill and then deal with the cramping." My quads had a different idea than I did. They seized up about halfway up the hill. I hobbled off to the side and stretched them. I made it to the top of the hill and just on the other side, I spotted Coach Ashley again!!! Just when I really needed her. I told her about my quads and she gave me some salt - which helped some.

The lake got me when I had just over a mile and a half before I got back to the Great Highway! I conquered part of it this year. One of my teammates described it as a soul sucker and it really is. That part of the marathon is tough already because it is where most people hit their "wall" anyway. About 3/4 of a mile before I got back to the Great Highway, I spotted Coach Glin again! He ran with me for a minute or so and told me I was almost out of the lake.

There's another steep hill coming out of the lake to get back onto the Great Highway. I ran as much of it as my quads would allow and then powerwalked the rest. I had to run as far as I could and then take a walk break for the rest of the marathon.

During the marathon, I texted my husband Dan with my location & how I was feeling. I love having a qwerty keyboard with my phone! For example, "10 full" meant I passed mile 10 and I planned to do the full. Other texts were "14 tiiired" and "22 cramping" (except I missed the "m" so he got a whole different meaning!). A couple of times I texted him my mileage and time - "18 in 3:21" and "21 in 3:56". He gave me encouraging feedback and also told me how I was doing in fantasy football (I won!) and also said "if you pick it up a bit, you can break 5 hours". My brain was incapable of doing math (I knew I was making good time but not my exact pace) at that point and what he said really stuck with me.

For the last 3 miles of the race, I kept looking at my watch, trying to figure out if I could break the ever-ellusive 5 hour mark. Before race day, my fastest marathon was my first (Nike '09 was my 6th) with a time of 5:02:47... I kept up my run as far as possible then walk quickly for a bit. But what Dan said kept nagging at me. I couldn't figure out if I could do it or not...

For those of you that have never run a marathon or half-marathon, there are spectators & volunteers that think they are encouraging and supportive by telling you that you are almost there. More often than not, you are NOT almost there. So when I heard someone say "the finishline is just up ahead" I didn't know whether to believe them or not. I couldn't see the finish line, I had about 3 minutes (according to my watch) to finish under 5 hours and I only had so much left in me at that point. The spectators had moved onto the street so only a couple runners could fit through at a time and it blocked the view of the finishline.

I decided to believe that guy and picked up my pace. I saw the finishline ahead of me and I had just under 2 minutes to cross that finishline. I used up every last bit of strength and energy I had left and booked it to the finishline. I passed several people on my way there and I finished in...

...wait for it...

...wait for it...

4:59:17!!!!!! I finished 43 seconds under 5 hours and set a PR (personal record)! I broke my 2006 Tucson Marathon time by 3 minutes and 30 seconds. If that finishline had been 100 feet further away, I might not have made it or might have given myself an asthma attack but I made it!

Getting my Tiffany's finisher's necklace from the fire fighter

The entire Tucson team had a great day too!!! Everyone finished!

Amanda, Michelle, Elsbeth (top row) Jennifer (J-Hen), me, Ashley (bottom row)

Photos from the weekend can be seen here: There are over 160 of them!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Almost there!!!

Whew! It's been awhile since I posted and a number of things have happened since my last post.

Here are the things that are "almost there":
1. Fundraising - I am very close to my fundraising being finished but still need a few more donations. Please check those couch cushions for me!
2. Training - this Saturday is our loooongest training run. 20 miles!!! 2 weeks ago was our 18 mile training run and it was a decent run, especially considering my recent injuries (more about this later).
3. THE MARATHON - it is just over 3 weeks away!!! On October 18th, twenty thousand runners will run in the Nike Womens Marathon and Half Marathon.

Also, the hair was finally cut off and donated to Locks of Love. Above is a before & after shot of the hair. It is nice to have a cooler neck but I've had to get creative to keep it off my face when I run. I have been pulling it up into two half ponytails or two half frnech braids. Basically, I give myself a hairdo you might see on a small child but it works! Below is a photo of my at the end of our 18 miler.
The end of August, on our 14 mile run, I started having pain in my hip joint. I took a couple runs off and the next Saturday run, my knee on the same leg started giving me trouble on the hills. I am working on recovering from the injury now and have been trying to stretch and exercise both areas. I WILL run in San Francisco in honor and memory of those with blodd cancers. But this is nothing compared to chemo, right?

Please help save lives by making a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Monday, August 10, 2009

The end of a long head of hair and more hill training

Uggg, it's been a crazy few weeks around here. I've been meaning to post something but haven't had/made the time. In addition to running and fundraising, I also have been making weddding and birthday quilt gifts (some pics can be found on my craft blog). I also always forget how busy the end of July & beginning of August are at work.

I will NOT be shaving my head. I will be donating approximately 12 inches of hair to Locks of Love. We did not make the $5,000 fundraising deadline in time but there is still time to make a donation to this fantastic cause!

I'll post some pictures of the new 'do as soon as I get it later this week. I am still debating on long, sideswept bangs or no bangs. I had bangs a couple years ago and like them in pictures but I also remember how much of a pain they can be... I have until Thursday after work to figure it out!

Here's a picture of the current 'do (more photos here). You can also follow the link to see pictures of the time I ACTUALLY shaved my head. It was back in 1998 and a little cold during the Flagstaff winter. And there were many different awkward stages while it grew back in...
Please help save lives by making a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! We still are only 1/2 way to the $5,000 fundraising goal. Please share this blog with your friends and family.
We met at Sabino Canyon this Saturday and did 12 miles of hill training. We ran to the top (3.7 miles), back down to the Mile 1 marker, back up to the Mile 3 marker and then ran back to the parking lot. It ended up being about 11.7 miles total, partially because I always forget where the 3rd mile marker is and went up and extra (steeeeep) hill!

Here are a couple photos I snapped with my phone. We arrived before the sun and got to see the sun come up over the canyon. And the moon stayed out to play with us even after the sun was high in the morning sky. Mornings like these with views like this make me happy to live here :-)

Sunrise over Sabino Canyon (taken while running = blurry)

Mile marker at the top (3.7 miles of mainly uphill, a little downhill)

The moon was still up even though the sun was getting high in the sky. Photo taken on the way down from the top.

Please help save lives by making a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society! We still are only 1/2 way to the $5,000 fundraising goal. Please share this blog with your friends and family.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Yard Sale SUCCESS!

Our yard sales, yes SALES, this past weekend were a success!!! All totaled, 4 TNT members raised over $1150 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Our friends and family provided so much support and made so many donations that we had to split the yard sale between two locations. Nora & I were stationed at my house & Michelle and Jen were at Michelle's house. Nora & I raised just under $500 for LLS on Saturday and Michelle & Jen raised over $650 on Saturday and Sunday.

Below are some photos of the "stuff" that my friends, family and Team In Training members donated for our yard sale. And these photos are without the stuff Nora brought over. I still can't believe she sold her old golf clubs for just $25, including the bag! But it all went to a great cause :-)

Thanks to the following people that made donations to me for this fantastic fundraiser: Mom & Dad, Joseph, Patty, Tiffany & Justin, Carolyn, Rick, Dennis & Anne, Louanne, Dan's boss & wife, and anyone else I might have forgotten.

Notice my "helper" Rory in the photo above. This is what our living looked like the night before - even before I sorted through the large moving box of stuff Dan got from his boss. There was barely room to walk in the living room by the time I went to bed. The picture below is our guest room/office. It was completely full!

More photos can be seen at

Also, if you would like to help find a cure for blood cancers, you can make a donation at: Every quarter, $1, $20, $100 helps!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Yard Sale

This Saturday, a few of us TNTers (Team In Training participants) are having a yard sale at my house.
If you live in the Tucson area and have items you'd like to donate, they'd be greatly appreciated!!! If you want to swing by on Saturday morning and check out the bargains, we'll be at the corner of Kelso & 15th Ave - just off Oracle and Glenn, by Nash Elementary.
We have so much stuff to sell we've expanded to a second location. The second location is: 3033 W. Treeline Dr. 85741. Cross streets are Orange Grove and Shannon. Just north of Org Grove on Shannon. Turn west on Positano and then east on Treeline.
You can also make a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at:

Monday, June 29, 2009

Honored Teammate Lorraine Anderson

Lorraine, aka Grandma Raine, is my honored teammate. Lorraine came into my life when I was about 8 years old and has been a part of our lives for the past twenty-plus years. My own grandmother passed away when I was 4 so Lorraine is the only grandmother I've really known.

Lorraine was diagnosed with multiple myeloma eight years ago. She has been through countless rounds of chemo and radiation. She is a fighter and I believe has done her own marathon several times over. I am constantly impressed by her strength and determination.

We recently got fantastic news that Lorraine's cancer is in remission! Let's hope it stays that way forever!!! She has been in and out of remission ever since she was diagnosed.

Last year, when I trained with Team In Training for the first time, Lorraine wrote me this note that still touches me each time I read it:

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.

Sabino Canyon

This weekend we ran at Sabino Canyon. Even though the runs at Sabino are harder (3.7 miles of uphill and then 3.7 miles of downhill), it great to run in the middle of our beautiful desert! The scenery at Sabino makes the extra work worth it. I am looking forward to later in the summer when the mountain stream is running again and we get to run through the nice cool water several times. Running with wet shoes and socks can be a bit of a departure from normal but the cold/cool water definitely helps keep you cool. Maybe it's time to go do a rain dance to get those monsoon storms to visit Tucson and bring our desert some much needed rain :-)

And a reminder of the reason we run - to bring an end to cancer! Your tax-deductible donation can help! We are over 15% of our way to our goal of raising $5000 but every penny, nickle, dime, dollar, fifty-dollars, hundred-dollars helps!

Please help save lives

Friday, June 5, 2009

Running is a drug

Running is a drug. Kinda. You get a lot of the same effects from running that people get from using drugs. So running is my "drug of choice."

I found this article on CNN today about a guy that was a 20-yr addict that couldn't kick the habit until he found running and triathlons. Now he's clean and he's done an Iron Man event! An Iron Man is 2.4 miles of swimming, a 112-mile bike ride AND a 26.2 mile (a.k.a. marathon) run. Nuts!

Tomorrow is our third group run! I am excited for the 6:30am start since it should be cooler than our runs the last couple weeks. And I get to see the other "addicts."

And I am still totally psyched that "Grandma Raine" is in REMISSION!!! She still has 3 months of chemo left but we love, love, love the word remission!

Please help find a cure for cancer. Make a donation at

Update on the head shaving: $195 with "keep it" in the lead. We've got a long way to go to get to $5000 by July 31st. Please help.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

On the good news front...

A quote from my Aunt Kathy, regarding Grandma Raine's health:
"GOOD NEWS!! Mom has been on the new chemotherapy for 3 months now and the results are good! It's working and the marker that the doctor looks at (M or T spike) is down 60% and her proteins are down 50%. Woo-hoo!! Her chemo doctor wants her to have another 3 months of treatment to assure that she remains in remission. The chemo is very hard on her but it is saving her life."

Let's keep the good news coming!

Won't you help save lives? Make a donation to the Leukemia & Lymhoma Society at

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shaving it for cancer...

Have you ever seen a grown woman shave her head? This is your opportunity!

If we raise $5000 by July 31, 2009 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), you may get to see me shave my head. I know some people do not want to see me shave my head, so whichever side raises the most money for LLS will make the decision!

Head to to make a donation to this great cause! In the comment box, put “shave it” or “keep it” when you make your donation.

Right now, I have approximately 21 inches of hair that will be donated to Locks of Love – an organization that makes wigs for kids with cancer. So we are raising money for cancer support and research and donating hair to help kids with cancer too!

Make your vote & donation count!!!
(You can also make an unofficial vote on the right side of the page. Only donations count towards the decision!)

Monday, May 4, 2009

Back Again!

(For those close to my age, I totally have Backstreet Boys "Backstreet's Back" running through my head. And I wasn't even a BB fan... NKOTB all the way!!!)

Anway, I'M BACK!!!

This year, I joined Team In Training (TNT) as a "Team Captain." This means I am raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help cure blood cancers! But I am also helping other members of Tucson TNT with their fundraising.

Please help those with blood cancers and their families by making a donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society at

Reason We Run

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 18th 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.

How YOU can help


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 $5000 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 31*:
1. Visit my donation page at
2. Email me at and I will send you a form you can fill out and mail 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 31 but I want to make my fundraising goal early so I can focus on training.