I must have taken a sharp blow to the head at some point recently....because after running three half marathons for Team in Training, I'm doing it again. Surely I have better things to do with my time than get up every Saturday morning at 6 am to meet a pack of other runners so that we can run mile after mile in the dark and cold.
I'm stepping away from the Chronicles of the FNG(irl) for a moment, because I want to write about my participation in Team in Training.
Team in Training trains everyday people like me to participate in endurance events for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society; marathons, half marathons, triathlons, and century rides (100 mile bike rides). Each participant is then asked to raise a set minimum amount of money (in my case, $1500.00) for the Society. The money raised goes toward research, therapeutic programs, patient services, and advocacy. What's leukemia and lymphoma? The short answer is...it's cancer. It's a blood cancer that can afflict anyone, at any time, and there is NO cure.
Anyone who signs up for Team in Training (or TNT as it's better known) will also have the opportunity to run for an honored patient, or in memory of someone who lost their battle. I'm proud to be running this year in honor of Brianna Blank from Western NY (her dad is here on this site, and he's also a TNT almnus and a former Leukemia Society board member, just like me!) and as honored as I am to run for Brianna, it also saddens me that I'm running in memory of two kids who didn't make it; Tanner Zullo from Albany, NY, who passed away just before his second birthday, and Aidan O'Malley from Chicago, IL , who did not live to see his 9th birthday. Their names will be written on my race shirt, and their faces will be in my mind's eye for every step that I run.
How far am I running? 13.1 miles. When you stop and think about it, you think....hmmm.....13 miles...that's not so bad. Tell you what, go get in your car, turn the trip odometer to 0, and drive until you hit 13.1 miles.....then drive back and look how far you went--and that's in a car. Now imagine running it. Have that image firmly in your head? Great, now imagine running it in the Adirondacks, up and down some pretty mountainous terrain, in some pretty crazy weather (in 2005 it was 92 degrees with high humidity at the START of the race at 8 am....that was BEFORE the sun came out...in 2006 it was 38 degrees and half sleeting/half raining at the start---last year was perfect running weather, but I had shoe problems which caused ostrich-egg sized blisters on my feet at the halfway mark--but I finished!). Now add packs of rabid, voracious black flies into the mix. They grow em bigger in the Adirondacks...and they're meaner....and fast.
Why would anyone challenge themselves to do something like this? I'm doing it because Tanner and Aidan can't. I'm doing it for my friend Ruth from high school, who's a single mother and has been in remission for several years now, but still can't be called "cured" ....I'm doing it for a 16 year old girl that I just met who amazes me with her personality and spirit.......and I'm doing it because I can.
So periodically, you'll see a message from me here to let you know how my training runs are going. Each week the Team gathers at Oh-Dark-Thirty on Saturday morning (if you know me, you know I'm dedicated to this cause, because I don't give up my sleeping-in time for just anyone) for what is so politely referred to as "The Long Run"--which means it's the longest training run of the week. We start with an easy four-miler...and keep bumping up the mileage each week until the week before the race. I like to refer to the Long Run as an opportunity to practice creative cursing. I can drop up to 25 "F-bombs" per Saturday if it's hot or if I'm having a tough running day...or if my shoes are bugging me, or if it's too buggy, or if my mp3 player is acting up, or if I was out of bananas that morning, or if.........you get the picture.
I have a fundraising page if anyone reading this wants to donate (no pressure, but I know where some of you live and park your cars :))
I'm a bit of a klutz, so maybe donate a dollar for every mile that I manage to stay upright and on two feet? (yes, for those of you who are wondering, I did trip and fall during the 2005 run, but that could have happened to ANYONE--and they gave me a SpongeBob Squarepants bandaid at the first aid station... :) Anyone who coughs up $200 or more gets their name written on my race shirt with Brianna, Tanner and Aidan's. It's like you're running with me, without the blisters, sunburn, aching legs and back, or swarms of biting black flies.
Yes, this is going to be hard, but if you think training for a half marathon is hard, try chemotherapy.
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