Monday, April 20, 2009

Today is one of "those" days

I went back and read all of my old posts, chuckling to myself at the "Wow, FIVE MILES!!!" references. I really had no idea what I was in for, but I wouldn't change that for the world....little miss "I'm going to RUN the ENTIRE marathon!" ::snort::

Then I get to the entry about Granddad, and I just get so sad. I miss him so much, that it kind of hurts sometimes- it physically aches. I see the beautiful desert around me, and as the weather starts to warm up, I think of him and how "at home" he felt in Arizona. Of course, I'm sure he'd have a thing or two to say about the urban sprawl, as it's quite spectacular.

I see seed packets and garden equipment, which remind me of his attempts at growing tomatoes and cucumbers in the full AZ sun. And he succeeded, from what I can remember- he was such a good gardener.

He'd also trained a family of roadrunners to come by for a snack (ground beef) at the same time every day. He loved it. I'll never forget him telling me that sometimes he'd be taking a nap and if they came for their snack and he wasn't there, they'd rap rap RAP on the door with their beaks to "let him know" that they'd dropped by. Pokey, the desert tortoise, was also a fixture in their backyard. He wandered into the yard one summer and Granddad said that he was probably just "passing through". Well, Granddad took such a liking to him that when he tried to leave, he boarded up the fence so that Pokey became more of a......'permanent resident' in Casa de Hoggatt, wandering around from cactus to tree to plant.....and hibernating in the winter (this is very common in southern Arizona).

I look back on these memories and am heartbroken that I'll never get to share the desert with him again. I can tell he's around- these breezy evenings when it's still in the upper 90's and the cicadas start to chirp and the mourning doves start their songs.....I know he's here. However, it's not the same. Then I get angry. Stupid STUPID lymphoma. How DARE you rob me of my Granddad? Seriously? MY Granddad?

I heard once: "You can't change what happened but you can change what happens next". I think I need to remember these words when I have days like this, because these days are hard.

I miss you, Granddad.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

One Year Ago

One year ago today, we lost Marisa. Only a few short months after her passing, five of her family members signed up to train for the Nike Women's Marathon.

The following was written by a fellow TNTer.

"Our Honored Teammate MARISA ANN GALLEGO 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."

I got a chance to meet Marisa's family, and they gave me a bracelet that said "iMAGine a cure", the MAG standing for Marisa Ann Gallego. I wish I could have known her- the way her family describes her is so full of love and joy.
Hearing her story and seeing her family's grief is just one more reason that I continue to do this- I need to keep training to stop this from happening.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bribery?? ME??!!?!?

Ok, well, maybe just a little.

Here's the deal: For the Nike Women's Marathon, I have committed to raising $2,925. That's a lot of money, especially in this day and age of our craptastic economy.

So.....I want to throw in a little incentive for you to donate! For the next seven days, everyone who donates will receive a special surprise from me. I'm not going to reveal what it is, because that's no fun. But trust me, your act of donating will not go unsung.

The thing is, I strongly believe that fundraising is not a four-letter word. Lately, however, I feel like I'm raking my fingernails against a chalkboard every time I invite people to donate to this cause. And believe me, I've been on the other side of it as well. "If I have anything leftover after paying bills I'll donate" or how about "I get paid next week, I'll do it then".....and 'then' never seems to come.

For the Nike team this year, we aren't mentors but Captains- we have Team Captains and Mission Captains. Team Captains will be assigned a group of participants and help them fundraise and try to enhance their experience as a Team in Training Teammate. They plan group fundraisers, help the coaches with random tasks (or odd jobs), and attend the weekly clinics for fundrasing, nutrition, etc. Mission Captains are there (training right with us) to enhance the mission experience- to bring mission moments and create a long lasting relationship with our honored teammates. They cultivate our cause and remind us of why we're doing this- something I'm sure will come in handy when we're running 20 miles in the 100+ degree heat.

ANYWAY (I hope you're still with me!!)- I am a Team Captain and I really want to be there for my mentees as much as possible. The sooner I reach my goal, the sooner I can focus my FULL attention on my teammates. This is where you come in and where I would be so thankful for any donations that come in. ::trying not to sound like I'm begging::

I reached my goal so quickly last season and would love to achieve that again. Your support has been nothing short of amazing and inspiring- it feels so great to know that people are here to cheer me on through the highs and lows. Imagine how thrilling it would be for me to able to do that for 7 or 8 other teammates! To be able to share with them the knowledge that we are all doing something (with you) to stop this (as Rick would say) bastard cancer. These diseases need to go away, and soon. With the economy the way it is, the government isn't giving out much funding in the way of new development and research to find cures, so it's up to us to provide the funds.

No amount is too big and certainly no amount is too small. Seriously, every penny counts. EVERY PENNY. This isn't a cheerful funny post, but it's an honest one. I really need your help. Please.

I'll step off of my fundraising soap box for now.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

I stink.


I had a REALLY good workout at the gym this afternoon- I take a cardio-circuit class three days a week. It consists of a lot of cario work (about 45 minutes worth), 10 minutes of free weights and 5 minutes of abs. It's killer. We do base/suicide runs, pliometrics (that's a fancy word for jumping around a lot) and stairs. Oh my lord, the stairs. My gym is in the basement of the building I work in (how convenient!). The downside? My office is 8 stories tall. Add the basement and that's 9 floors' worth of stairs we're running. Some days we'll do them three times in a row, then jump on the bikes and so a mini spin class. You get the picture. When I got back into it after I'd run PF Chang's, I actually passed out in the middle of class because it was so tough (or I was so unprepared). It was 99% the latter but I like to brag it was the former.

Anyway, I've been really intense about this cardio class in hopes that my core will be up to par come training time. I've formed this theory in my head that part of I reason I got injured last season was because I stopped going to cardio class and I let my middle get all soft. When you're running, optimally, your core is engaged most of the time and if your core is weak, other parts start to compensate and injuries happen. That's the super simple way of saying it.

So, without trying to tire myself out TOO much, my goal is to keep going to class at the gym and add the training in when it comes time. I've already made a deal with the instructor though- no stairs on Fridays (at least, not for me). While the stairs are an AWESOME workout, it usually takes a full day to get back to baseline, and with our LSD (Long Slow Distance, you hippies) runs on Saturday, it's just not something I'm willing to risk. The other stuff (weights, jumps, abs) I'm fine with. Just no stairs.

I had one of those "at least I'm not going through chemo" moments today in the middle of class- we were in the middle of 20 base runs (one run counts as running the length of the room and back again) and my legs were jello-0 jigglers. I had a side cramp and was really REALLY tired and I thought to myself "Are you F#@*#@ kidding me? You ran a marathon and you're tired from THIS? What about the patients with Leukemia and Lymphoma? What about chemo and radiation??" So yeah, I sucked it up......I know, it sounds corny right? It's just, whenever I struggle with something and think "I am NEVER going to make it", I do remember why I'm doing it, and the little boos of energy that follows is a feeling I wouldn't trade for anything.

How fortunate I am to get to volunteer to run for those who can't. That *I* am being supported by YOU to do something so amazing- not to run a marathon, but to find a cure. Thanks so much.

Monday, April 13, 2009

God Save the Queen

So, where did the 26.2 mile distance originate from, exactly? (I'm sure this question has just been BURNING in your minds the whole time).

Greek legend states that the distance originated when the messenger Pheidippides (think they called him Dip for short?) was sent from the town of Marathon to Athens to announce the Persians' defeat in the Battle of Athens. The accuracy of this story is in debate, with contradictions stating that he actually went from Athens to Sparta and back again, which would have been over 240 km, not 42. I still like the story. Except for that little part where he collapsed and died after running it (who doesn't feel like that?) but whatever. Details.

The marathon didn't become an Olympic sport until 1896 (women's wasn't introduced until 1984) and the distance that we know today to be the actual marathon (26.2 miles) wasn't finalized until 1921.

This is my favorite part: in 1907, the Olympics were held in London, and the original course had been set and published in the newspaper. The final distance: 25 miles. Then came protests because the last few miles contained tram lines and cobbled streets, so they re-routed those areas and the distance was increased to 26 miles, 586 yards. Then the Royal Family wanted the finish line to be in their immediate view, so the reversed that final lap around the track (you know, when they enter the Olympic Stadium and then run around the track?) to clockwise, and that made the race 25 miles, 385 yards.

Coach Brian told me this story, and how at mile 25, you can hear people shout "God save the Queen!!" because (although as we know now, it's not the *real* reason) if the original course had remained, they would be done by now.

I was SO EXCITED to get to mile 25 when I was running PF Chang's, so that I would get my chance to take part in tradition. And wouldn't you know it- I was so tired at that point, I don't even remember seeing the sign, let alone hearing people shout the salutation. Oh well, maybe next time, right?

Either way, it's a fun story and it's an interesting history.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Another Season!

So the fall season is fast approaching and we're going to begin our recruiting at the end of the month. The actual training will begin in early June.

I highly encourage everyone to attend an informational meeting to REALLY see what Team in Training is all about.

Go to the Team in Training website:

And at the very top, there's a box to put in your zip code ("Find your chapter"). Enter your zip and it will take you to your local chapter (Desert Mountain States, for example)

There you'll find a list of events that your chapter is offering coaching support for as well as a list of dates and locations for the informational meetings.

Endurance training not your bag, baby? I am still urging you to go to these meetings- TNT could always use volunteers- from handing out water to athletes to helping check in participants at the end of an event or even sending out mailings and making phone calls- TNT needs your help. You don't have to sign up to run a marathon to get involved, and the local coordinators will be so thankful to have someone they can call upon.

Last year I worked the check-in tent for El Tour de Tucson- a 112 mile biking event that TNT members from all over the country take part in. I wrote about it here:

To be there front and center helping participants achieve their goals is so amazing. And trust me, the participants really appreciate it. To hear a "Go Team!" when you don't think you can go any further, or to have someone in Team colors hand you water or Gatorade feels amazing. Uplifting is an understatement. And if you're the one helping, it will feel even better. Trust me.

SO, find your chapter, find a meeting close to you and check it out- there's no pressure, but I think it's a good idea to really get immersed in what we're all about.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


I was doing some sobering math problems this morning as I drank my orange juice and pretended that I was feeling better than I really was.

So, my marathon took me 5 hours and 10 minutes (about).

During that time, SIXTY TWO people died of a blood-related cancer.

124 were diagnosed in that same window of time.

At about every half mile (a little less) that I reached, someone died and two people were diagnosed. It's kind of hard to wrap your head around.....

That's too many. Way too many.

I'm on a quest to obliterate those numbers.

Friday, April 3, 2009

And so it begins....

That's right. It's official.

I am a mentor for the 2009 Nike Women's Marathon!

I've got a nasty NASTY cold right now so it was really uplifting to see that my page had been enacted. (I'll make it pretty later, but it's UP!!)

Let's do this.