April 30, 2009


As my title for this post suggests, it's time to celebrate some great news in terms of honored teammates! Teresa Martinez (the cute pregnant woman in remission from CML that I first met when I signed up for TNT) had a baby boy on April 16th and both are healthy and happy : ) Erin Johannson, another honored teammate passed her one year scan Lymphoma-free! And finally I wanted to tell you a little about Beka Malloy, our newest honored teammate who recently had some exciting news herself! In January of this year after a routine blood work-up Beka received some shocking news: her white blood cell count was abnormally high, and her doctor suspected Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML). The next day Beka was admitted to Cottage Hospital, where she actually works as a nurse, to undergo more testing. Ironically, her grandmother had passed away in that same hospital less than a year before from a different type of leukemia so for her, the experience was truly surreal. She spent 3 days at the hospital until it was confirmed that she had the Philadelphia Chromosome which then confirmed that she had this specific type of leukemia. Her 9th and 22nd chromosome were breaking off and making their own chromosome (the Philadelphia Chromosome) which was causing the rapid proliferation of white blood cells. Because this chromosome was isolated, Beka was able to start taking Gleevec an oral chemotherapy that targets only those Philadelphia Chromosomes (and is the same drug, developed in labs funded by LLS, that put Teresa into remission!). Beka has experienced fatigue, bone pain, nausea, and thinning hair as side effects but these have all been worth it—Beka’s blood counts are now on the low side of normal and, even more exciting, she recently entered the first stage of remission!!

Training has been going really well with our runs getting steadily longer. Last Saturday Seattle runners did 2 hours 15 minutes starting at East Beach, running to Leadbetter and up to the Mesa, then back toward the cemetery and the Biltmore. On my way back to East Beach I got a little surprise when I heard my name and turned to see Danielle Stead, a gphi who graduated last year and is a former TNT participant, running behind me! D Stead (as we call her) actually introduced me to TNT my freshman year and ironically I had just been telling Erin about her that morning - small world, right? Danielle and a bunch of other gphi alums were in town for the All-Sorority Volleyball Tournament (ASVT), the biggest greek event of the year. So as soon as we finished our run Sarah and I rushed home to get ready - only to return to East Beach 2 hours later for the tournament!
Having fun at ASVT after a long run!
Track Wednesday wasn't too bad. Coach Neal wanted us to have a "mental" workout, so we did 12 laps (3 miles) straight so that we could deal with the monotony that we could face in our race. We were supposed to run at our race pace (I've dropped mine from 12 min/per mile to 11 min based on how I've been doing during long runs), but couldn't help running faster knowing that we were only doing 3 miles. At practice I was also surprised to hear that it's just about time to get a new pair of shoes! I guess I hadn't realized just how many miles I've already put on them.

On to fundraising! My thank-you this week goes to Mike & Dawn Cooper : ) Also, tomorrow Sarah and I are hosting a Spaghetti Feed Fundraiser at our house!! A few local grocery stores donated some of the food so hopefully we should make a decent profit. So excited! I'll post after to let you all know how it goes. Until then, I will leave with a quote by A.C. Green that I hope you find as inspiring as I do: "Tough times don't last but tough people do."

April 20, 2009

SB Chardonnay 10 Mile Race!!

Exciting news! This past Saturday, April 18th, I ran in my first official race, the Santa Barbara Chardonnay 10-Mile Race!! Our coaches had recommended completing a smaller race before our marathons to get a feel for competitive running, so most of the team signed up and we replaced our usual Saturday training with something a little more competitive and a lot more fun! The race started at Leadbetter Beach in downtown SB and continued along the coast toward the volleyball haven of East Beach, past the zoo and cemetery, toward the Biltmore Hotel, and just into the Montecito area until the 5 mile turn-around point, and then headed back the same way.

We couldn't have asked for a more beautiful day or more perfect conditions for a race. The 400-and-something runners lined up at the start, and at exactly 8am we begun! I ran with 3 other girls from the team which really helped with pacing. The first part of the race was nice and flat and therefore pretty easy. It was strange at the water stops to just grab a cup, chug it as you keep running, and then throw it down and keep going! As we passed the cemetery the course became rather hilly - but at least the hills were rolling so that after you ran up one you got to recuperate while going down another. Going from mile 4 to 5 seemed to take forever! We kept making turns and thinking the turn-around point would be just past the curve, only to find another stretch ahead of us! We reached the 5 mile point at 51 minutes, which was much sooner than I was expected. Going at my usual 12 minute per mile pace, the race should take 2 hours, so that was my goal going into it, but I was clearly quite ahead of that!I was cruising along comfortably until about mile 8. The last 2 miles were pretty tough to finish, but we managed to pull through. I can't tell you how much it helped to have someone running with you at times like that, both motivating each other to keep going. Crossing the finish line, I immediately located the clock - 1:44:18!!! That means I averaged about a 10:26 minute mile - not bad!
Afterward I collapsed in the shade and stretched out. Surprisingly it wasn't my muscles that hurt the most, but my toes! A while back one of them became bruised from running, and since I'm constantly training it never has a chance to heal - and after this race, not only did it turn blacker, but now I'm most likely going to lose the nail : ( I guess ugly feet are the sacrifices of being a runner?
Hanging out at the TNT tent post-race!

Once we had rested up Sarah and I headed out and stopped at the National Marrow Donor Program Resgistration Drive where we swabbed our cheeks and were entered into a database of potential life-savers for those in need of a transplant. What a great feeling, to know that with minimal effort I could save a life! Totally worth it : ) All in all it was a pretty fantastic day! Today I'm a bit sore, but this weekend made me so much more excited for my marathon in June!!

April 19, 2009

Running Against the Wind

Last Saturday's training marked the time divergence of San Diego runners from Seattle and Alaska runners. Since their race is nearly a month sooner than ours, they have less time to prepare, and so from now on they will be running different times than the rest of us on Saturdays. Anyway, we're still tapering back up which meant a 2 hour run for San Diego runners and 1 hour 40 minutes for the rest of us... I happened to be the only one doing a full in Seattle (Sarah had gone camping that weekend) and Alaska which meant that for most of the way, I had to run alone : ( Actually I found it to be kind of a relaxing experience where I was able to think and just enjoy the beautiful morning. I mapped the run after, too, and ended up running about 8.7 miles! It was also a special run because one of the TNT team heroes, Crystal, who is currenty battling blood cancer, was sagging for us.
Sagging it up, solo.
Wednesday was track and we had a pretty tough workout, made harder by the gale-force winds we were having last week! The workout started with the usual mile warm-up and then continued with a "Swedish" group drill in which 5-8 people lined up single-file and run together while the person at the back sprints to the front of the line, then the next, and so on. We did this drill 2 laps (800m) at a time, 4 times, and then 1 lap (400m) at a time, 4 more times! The crazy wind kept up the whole practice and was super hard to sprint against, too. My group runs at about the same pace so we worked well together, but our last lap we sprinted the whole way and I think my lungs just about exploded when we finished!
Leading the pack. Go team!

In fundraising news, big thanks this week go to:
Terri West
Valley High School
Jackie Li
I'm just under $2,500 and 62% of the way to my goal!! Sarah and I have started planning our next fundraiser, a Spaghetti Feed, to be held (tentatively) on May 1st, so hopefully that will be very successful!
The vicious wind kept up the rest of the week and made running on my own super unpleasant and difficult, but luckily it died down by the weekend for my first official race (see next post)!!

April 3, 2009

Pizza Fundraiser & Track!

Another eventful week! On Wednesday Sarah and I held our "Take a Slice Out of Cancer" fundraiser at Gio's Pizza in Isla Vista. We ended up having a great turnout and we'll be getting 10% of our sales. They may not be huge checks, but every bit helps and it was a lot of fun to hang out, eat pizza, and play games! Thank you to everyone who came, we appreciate your support!!

All of our wonderful supporters enjoying their yummy pizza!

Wednesday night Sarah and I went to our first track practice of the season (we couldn't make them last quarter because of class). I think we both had mixed feelings about it; part of us was excited to work on our running technique and turnover time, but the other part was scared that it would be super intense and we'd be behind. Anyway, we headed to SBCC Wednesday night and started off with an easy 1 mile warm-up around the track. Then Coach Neal surprised us with the workout for the evening - a timed 5k!! So instead of a track workout we crossed the street and ran our 3.2 miles along the beach. The coaches wanted us to push ourselves and run faster than our race pace so it was more challenging than usual, but I ended up finishing in 27:30!! That's my fastest time yet for a 5k, running just under 9 minutes per mile.

Some BIG fundraising news... This past week I met and surpassed my $2,000 mark!! This jump was mainly due to a mysterious online donation of $500 from an anonymous donor... So although I don't know the identification of the donor (I have a guess though ; ) I want to send them a HUGE thank you!! I also wanted to give special thanks to my dad for making a donation this week and to my mom who has helped me raise over $200 by holding Tupperware and Candlelight fundraising parties with her friends. So with two months left I'm more than halfway to my goal!

Saturday morning was training of course. Since we did 2 hours last weekend, we tapered down to an hour and a half this week, and I think we were all grateful. We started at Hendry's Beach and ran along the coast toward Leadbetter and the harbor. It was a pretty easy run except that it started out with a never-ending hill that literally lasted for the first 5 minutes! But the upside of that, of course, was going down on the way back : )

It's always so cold at the starting point!Stretching out after a great run.