Tuesday, June 18, 2013

2013 Wrap Up

A couple of years ago, our firm made us take some kind of personality quiz and analyze what the results meant for our teams.  Its been a long-standing joke since then that both my boss and I were determined to be extraordinarily weak in the "finishing projects" department.  Ill let that be my excuse for taking over 2 months to update y'all on the 10k.

It could also be the fact that burn out drove me straight from moving 100 miles per hour for months on end directly into the arms of an Adirondack chair to do nothing but tan and drink beer for the last two months. 

But given that planning for 2014 already started (no - that isnt a joke), I think the time has come to wrap this story up.

So here is your long overdue breakdown of what happened that week in April.

Ten Lessons From 2013:

10. Wearing cowboy boots for 12 hours in the Arthur Ashe Center may not kill you, but it will make your feet sore for weeks. Literally.

9. No matter how carefully you plan, inevitably something will happen that never, ever, crossed your mind.  (Ask me about the trolley-balloon arch situation sometime).

8. Never underestimate the power of coffee at 5:30am.

7. I am pretty sure I will one day be punished for the number of small children I gave cowbells to despite the fact that I knew they would be used to drive the parents of those children insane.

6. My baby brother is the bees knees.

5. There will come a point when you think people have heard everything you have to say.  Then someone will show you that you havent said everything just yet.

4. Everyone should get to do the thing they love best with the people they love best.

3. There is no such thing as a flattering action shot of me running.  (So lets look at Tyler instead.) 

 2. It takes a lot longer to spread yard signs down a mile of road than one would care to believe.

1. “Never underestimate the power of a small group of committed people to change the world. In fact, it is the only thing that ever has.” ~ Margaret Mead

Our Grand Total: 

Y'all helped me raise over $20,000 this year - which is amazing in its own right.  So while Im still slowing cranking out 200+ thank you notes, let me say it here - the generosity and love shown by so many each year baffles the mind.  Together we've now raised over $45,000 in seven years.  And that, my friends, is bananas.

But the real amazing figure?  Its the total for the 2013 Challenge overall.  We kicked past records squarely in the ass and currently stand at $564,737.46 raised in 2013.  Im pretty sure Lauren and I are finally done looking for an accounting error that made the figure so high and are just going with the conclusion that RVA is awesome.  And that everyone is pretty sick and tired of cancer.      

Whats Next:

Im happy to report that Ill be making an encore performance as Chair of the Massey Challenge in 2014.  It'll be my retirement year as I put a bow on whats been an amazing experience with the Challenge for what seems like forever.  I'm even more excited that my powers of persuasion were successful at finagling Worth to sign on as my co-chair.  Dude is one of my very favorites, and Im crazy-happy that Im turning over the reigns to someone with a huge heart, tremendous spirit, and willingness to dance in public.  Important things, people.

And Im leaving you with a song.  'Cause thats what I do.


So, in summary, and on behalf of all the physicians, researchers, patients, and families that your support will touch in the years to come - THANK YOU.  Y'all are allowing research to continue, progress to be made, and hope to flourish.  Our own little miracle right here in RVA.

Until 2014, my friends,


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Where Have I Been?

I've discovered lots of things in the last seven days.  One of them is that is is really.fing.hard. to write about how the most important day of your year feels.  I mean, how do I describe to you what it means, four miles in, when I really want to puke, a random stranger grasps my shoulder, runs up to look into my eyes and says "10 years - you are amazing".  Or how it feels to watch my little brother ask person after person if they would like to sign the Banner of Hope.  Or to have Lauren wish me Happy 10 Year Anniversary from the stage.   Or to have Brianna and her dad - who just 6 months ago I had never met - be there celebrating with me post-race.

I cant.  And that is hard.  Because you've been reading this blog for a long time. 

I've been waiting all week to find the right words - and they havent come yet.

After an event like the 10k, I find that I fall into something of a depression.  All we worked toward, all we planned for, all we wanted - it came and went in a blink.   I cant tell you what Monroe Park looks like at 5:30am on race day.  I cant tell you what Tim and I talk about during miles 4 and 5.  Or how much the sun.really.sucked and killed my race time.  I cant tell you how much $20,000 means to me or to other patients at Massey.  Or what it feels like to know that we set a record this year.  Or how much I already miss the Challenge Committee after just one week away from them. 

The last week has been a really hard one.  But a really happy one too.  And I do have lots to share.  So bear with me as I work through it all.  Because the stories waiting for you are good ones. 

Friday, April 12, 2013

2013 Expo - By the Numbers

Another expo is about to come to a close.  (Yeah - I never work until the end of Saturday night at the expo, preferring instead to spend the night before mentally preparing for the day ahead and relaxing with out of towners - I call it a perk of being a volunteer and not staff rather than simply calling it lazy.) 
Tyler and I are cooking dinner while waiting for Tim (okay - Tyler is cooking dinner) and I just laid out all of our race day necessities in a way that is way too similar to how I used to line up my gifts on Christmas morning.
Today would usually be a Friday Five kind of day, but in light of the significance of this weekend, let me break down the 2013 Expo for you by the numbers:

10 - Hours it took me to realize there was a restroom 5 feet away from our booth and that I didnt have to walk clear across the Arthur Ashe Center to find one.

9 - Number of people who remembered me from their YMCA and followed up their hellos with hugs.

8 - Years I will have run the Ukrops Monument Avenue 10k after tomorrow.

7 -Average number of hours I spent whining about how much my feet hurt after making a poor footwear decision yesterday morning.

6 - Thousands of dollars I am away from $25,151 - Not bad!

5 - Number of bagel halves I consumed today #carbloading.

4 - Number of shirts Tyler scored at the Expo.

3 - Combined pairs of compression socks Tyler and I now own.

2 - Number of people that have promised to harass me until I sign up for the Pink Nation Marathon Training Team.

1 - Nights left until the 2013 Ukrops Monument Avenue 10k.
Best of luck to all the runners and walkers out there!  Dont forget that its still not too late to donate to the Massey Challenge!  And remember to join us at the Massey Mile between 8 and noon and then at Center of the Universe Brewery from 3-9 - all in support of Team Massey.

Because as you all know - Massey cant run without you!

Thursday, April 11, 2013


With opening of the expo looming, Tyler is stuck in Chicago, and I'm left with one less distraction from the emotional aspect of the days ahead.  Sometimes its a good thing that the events surrounding the 10k are so crazy because, like with the Masquerade for Massey, the 10k can bring with it lots of mixed emotions if I start to think about it for too long.

While today I am ecstatic to have raised nearly $19,000 toward my goal, and excited to close out a months-long celebration of 10 years in remission with some amazing people by my side, I also find myself thinking about those who we've lost.  One lady in particular.

Yesterday was my oldest friend's birthday.  Cara was born almost 6 months to the day after me, and we have literally been friends ever since.  Even though we haven't lived in the same place since high school, and although we've definitely had our friendship ups and downs (I mean - we've been friends for almost 34 years - so how couldnt we?), Cara knows me better than nearly anyone in the world.  She knows when something is wrong without even speaking to me.  She understands parts of my childhood no one else really can.  She is one of a handful of people who I know - regardless of when I saw her last - I could call and she would do anything for me.

Cara and I met because our dads worked together, and our moms quickly became best friends:
Thats my mom and Carla working the concession stand at one of Tyler's little league games.

Cara was basically the fourth kid in our family, since we spent nearly every.single.day together.  I am seriously hard pressed to think of a summer vacation day that Carla and Cara werent with us.
We spent a lot of those days with our moms visiting my Nana in Rhode Island
 Cara and me - Probably at my first communion 

Carla was one of those people you couldn't not have a good time with.  If she had her way, she would have rescued every dog on the planet.  She and my mom started a water fight in our kitchen once.  She would drive just about anywhere on 5 minutes notice - just to see what you'd find wherever you were going.

I think what I remember most about growing up with my mom and Carla was all the laughing.  Whenever Carla was around, the room was full of love and happiness.  Im not just saying that.  Its true.     
Cara with Carla and Bill
So its no surprise that when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, Carla stepped right up to help out.  In fact, I'm pretty sure that 99% of why I remember so few details of my mom being "sick" is because Carla helped to make sure my brother, sister, and I were impacted as little as possible.  Carla always took care of us - she was our second mom.

What was a surprise was Carla's own cancer diagnosis just few years later.  And the fact that her battle was so different from my moms.  Where looking at my mom's treatment and recovery, I would have thought science had cancer licked, watching the slow and terrible way that the disease ravaged Carla told another story.  And when she passed away from the disease, it made all to real to me the fact that cancer steals away from us those we need and love far too soon.
Every year during the 10k, I think about Carla.  I hold her in my heart as I run and her memory feeds my anger at cancer.  Because those aren't the only times I think of Carla.  There are so many questions that I have and that I know only she would have the answers to.  There are reality checks I know she would have given me that I had to figure out on my own - and in a much slower way - without her around.  Whenever I get to spend time with her grandsons, I think of how unfair it is that she isnt here to be with them - because that lady loved kids like no other.

I often wonder what her story would be if it were told today.  Would our new treatments and detection methods have allowed her to still be with us? 

Im grateful for Saturday's run not only for the chance to celebrate all the advances being made, or the folks who have survived, but also for the chance to celebrate the lives of those who went before us. 

I love and miss you, Carla.  I know you'll be with Ty and I on Saturday.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Night Before

Its here.  The night before what has become one of the most meaningful three days of my year.  The out-of-office reply is set at the office, Tim and Tyler have beds waiting for them, and I picked up this year's running skirt from Lululemon today. 

This time tomorrow we'll be wrapping up our first night at the Monument Avenue 10k expo.  The Banner of Hope will already be crowded with love notes and encouragement and faith.  We will have put faces to many of the names we have seen sending in donations - we will know their stories more intimately and understand more fully why they joined the fight.
This time Friday we will have run out of "in honor of" and "in memory of" and "survivor" bibs - a bittersweet reality of the expo each year.  The supplies for the Massey Mile will be packed up and ready for their early morning delivery.  We will be settling in to count change and dollars for two hours - watching the thermometer move closer to the half-million dollar mark.

This time Saturday, we will have chalked and unchalked the Massey Mile.  We will have met other survivors along the 6.2 mile course.  We will have danced alongside other supporters to the Killing Daylights - fighting through the happy exhaustion of the weekend.
This time Sunday, Tim will be back in DC.  I suspect Tyler and I will be watching a movie, rehashing the sights of the Massey Mile.  Looking through pictures of the days we just lived.  Holding hearts fuller than they are just in this moment. 

But as much as I know each of these things to be true, I also know each year brings the unexpected.  I am excited to see what these days ahead have in store.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Running Streak Rehash - Week Twenty-One

The last week is here!  How did this happen? 

In really good news, the suspected stress fracture turned out to be tendonitis, so I can keep running and keep this streak going.  Big sighs of relief all around.  But I was ordered to keep it to a minimum until the 10k, so this is all we have this week:

Week Twenty-One

Day 141 Wednesday April 3, 2013 - 1.00 miles
Day 142 Thursday April 4, 2013 - 1.00 miles
Day 143 Friday April 5, 2013 - 1.00 miles
Day 144 Saturday April 6, 2013 - 2.90 miles
Day 145 Sunday April 7, 2013 - 1.00 miles
Day 146 Monday April 8, 2013 - 1.00 miles
Day 147 Tuesday April 9, 2013 - 1.00 miles

Week Total -  8.90
Even though the miles were minimal this week, its hard to complain when many of them were spent along views like this:
So now its on to the home stretch.  Just 4 more runs and this adventure is over.  Seems kind of weird, doesn't it? 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mantra Monday

10k week is here.  The crazy surrounding this week has been nothing short of amazing, as I find things turning on their head once again.  Why does life do that every so often? 

Probably because we need it to.