Sunday, December 13, 2009

Event # 30, Kiawah Half Marathon,Saturday December 12

Event # 30 was positioned to be a special event for a variety of reasons. It turned out to be more than I expected and was powerful, moving and wonderful.

I was asked to be the emcee for the Inspiration Dinner on Friday night. I was truly honored to be asked and humbled by the experience. Speaking to a room full of survivors, heroes, their families and fellow TnT athletes....I only hope I conveyed the message and information needed. Most importantly,I wanted to inspire them and fire them up for their respective events on Saturday.

The event, beyond my speech, and our honored speaker went extremely well. Adrienne "Daisy" Zonneville who was the WNC honored hero captivated all present. The event is dedicated to her and her battle...more later.

So after a great inspiration dinner, it was rack time.....unfortunately, not a lot of sleep was to be 5AM came quickly.

Wake up and off to meet the team. There were 3 TnT teams at the Kiawah events, a total of 205 TnT'ers out there. We raised $525 thousand, and the top 10 fundraisers raised over $62 thousand themselves.....amazing

with over 3000 folks doing the races, about 2/3rds doing the half, the starting line was crowded, but energy packed. at 8 Am we head out and it looks to be a promising event. after mile 1,which was a bit slow due to the crowds, I slipped in with a few guys who were pacing their friend and joined them for the first several miles. along the way - it was an interesting start...dodging some walkers, looking out for alligators in the marshes - yes alligators - and the recurring "Go TEAM" shouts - kept us moving along nicely. The morning was chilly, but not bad at all. Thanks in part to the new Craft hat and gloves that arrived the previous day. kept em on the entire race...light enough to do so - even after I warmed up but not so much to over heat....even though I violated one of my own rules - not wearing something brand new without washing it first, i was soooo glad I brought that gear with me

About mile 5, we saw the first runner coming back our way, the leader for the marathon....I checked my watch and was like "he had to cut the course somewhere...he is flying....sub 40 minutes for his 8 miles" but cheating on his part (for the record - that same guy won....the he kept flying)

Make the turn at 6 and as we're heading back, I see more TnT folks coming out...Go TEAM resounds throughout the crowd...with the energy from the TnT crowds, my pace picks up and we hit mile 8, mile 9.....and then....

there is a sharp stabbing pain on the inside of my right ankle...oh no. what is it, what could it be? i haven't had any pain previously there....damn. so decision time, do I ease up, or do I push it and deal with the issue big race is in two months, so I have time to keep it going.

Hit mile 11 and realize that the energy seems to have drained out of the crowd of runners. whereas two or three miles ago, everyone was encouraging one another "keep it up", "great job", "looking good"...there was primarily silence. No other TnT members heading out on the course at this point to pass along "Go Team's" to keep us moving. But the folks I have honored and remembered here, over the course of the 40 in 40 certainly gave me some extra energy to go through the pain and finish strong.

It was a great race. I finished in about the same time as I did my last half marathon, but given it was a MUCH flatter course, I have a lot of work to do over the next two months.

As I finish I run into a woman from work and a guy from the gym...seemingly random, but given the course, the venue and the proximity to Charlotte, maybe not as random as one might think.

My ankle really starts bothering me again as I walk around, the stabbing pain is getting worse and I realize I need to stretch NOW and possibly look for the medical tent - otherwise this may get as I start to stretch, I look down and what do I see??? a annoying little star-shaped, pea-sized burr that has embedded itself in my sock.....THAT little m-fer was the cause of the stabbing pain in my ankle and it has dug itself into my ankle while I ran. No wonder it hurt like hell....I laugh at myself, yank it out - and all is well.

The event this weekend is dedicated to Adrienne"Daisy" Zonneville. Daisy captivated us all with her story. Diagnosed at the age of 11 with non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, she fought for years and was once again diagnosed with this terrible disease at the age of 15. At that point she was given a 65% chance of survival.

15 years later, to the day, she ran her first marathon. The Kiawah Marathon....her fiancee who trained with her, ran the half. They both finished and had amazing experiences...their spirit, their love for one another and their commitment was evident in everything they showed to us this weekend. Daisy commented during her speech on Friday night, that if she can beat cancer, she's gonna kick this marathon's ass...and she did - and her fiancee kicked the half's ass as well.

Her energy, her determination, her power and spirit make the cause, the fight, the fundraising, the training all that much more worthwhile and meaningful. I cannot imagine the fight and determination that Daisy and the rest of the survivors who ran with us on Saturday have. Their power, their empowered me to realize the next 10 races and the next $20,000 must be realized.

After the race, the rain started - and I watched the crowds dissipate. I knew there were numerous people still out on the course and yet - there would be few to no spectators at the finish line to cheer them in. I took it upon myself to stick around and cheer in as many folks as I could. It may seem self gratuitous to even mention it - but I can't imagine being out on any course running a race, my first, last, or one for or in the memory of a loved one....and coming in to silence except for the ticking of the clock over the finish line.

8 hours in, with the last runner, a TnT teammate, coming across the finish line it was time to wrap things up....

This weekend, for whatever reason, I connected with so many more members of other teams than I have at prior events. I met folks who shared their stories with me about their battles, or the loved ones they have lost.

Event # 30 - in the my heart and mind forever.

To all the survivors, to all the family members, to all the heroes and all the folks we all the folks I met this weekend and in weekends past...prior teammates, coaches, speakers - you are the reason for the 40 in 40. I hope to be able to honor you all appropriately.

30 down, 10 to go - $20,000 raised.

Event # 30 - 1:48:02


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Event #29, Trot it Off 5K, Okemo Mountain, VT Saturday November 28

Yes - a 5K...seemed like SUCH a great idea, in VT for the Thanksgiving holiday - and the only race I could find that was within one hour of "home base", aka my mothers house in Rutland, VT. After getting 9 in on Turkey Day with Sheila, this seemed like a no-brainer...yeah - right.

7 AM wake up, one week after getting back from China - and my clock is still not quite 100% reset, but it's close. Temperature at my mom's house is in the low 40's. My sister Andrea's boyfriend Dave is going to do the race as well, so they meet us at my mom's house around 8. Dave is also my sister's kids cross country coach...and a really fast runner - after getting into long distances (marathons especially) in the past 4 years. I do not plan to run WITH Dave....but rather run the same race. I want to "enjoy the scenery" aka - I will be running a bit slower than him.

As we make our way to the race site, I notice the wind picking up and the temperature dropping. Granted, we're getting into ski resort area, so we also get some hills. It did snow at Okemo overnight, so overall temps have dropped.

It's a crazy course, double backs and muddy road runs and hills....not anything too gradual - some pretty steep grades - but hey - why not?

We head out at 9:45 AM down and right, down some more, then onto the main road....major headwinds...pass a few folks and climb back up for loop two.

back into the headwinds along the main road and then back on the muddy roads....As we approach the finish area, we get another wonderful hill to climb...quads are tired, my left hamstring is really tight - but I pick it up. left turn, then a right - and I see my sister Andrea, and Dave (of course - he is clearly already done....frikkin frackin....) and pick it up a bit to get to the finish.

It's a great event, especially given it is an inaugural event for them and benefits a "fuel bank" to provide fuel assistance to families in need during the upcoming winter with the local fuel (oil, coal, etc) companies matching every dollar raised through the race registrations.

Net - net, good race. My sisters boyfriend kicked my butt...and he is contemplating doing the Bi-Lo Marathon with me in SC in - it will be game on (again) then.

This race is dedicated to Dorothy Emery, a fellow LLS Board member and great woman who has battled blood cancers for years and has survived. She is a strong spirit and wonderful woman who has realized the benefits of the work that the LLS and their researchers have done over the years. Someone whose power, positive spirit and resilience personifies the the power of the LLS.

End of day 25:02. Bring on NUMBER 30!!!! Kiawah Half Marathon in December.

Nearly $19K raised....let's hit $20K by December 31!

Go TEAM!!!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

pics from events 26 and 27 - Huntersville Aquatics 10K and 5K

pics in no particular order from the 2 races this weekend. Thanks to Mike and Megan Tolley for taking the pics....they are few and far between thus far. but they got some great pics of us both (mike ran the 10K and crushed it) and of the Karhu and Craft gear....great stuff - check it out.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Event #28, Dowd YMCA Half Marathon, Saturday November 7

I was on the fence about this event - given another challenging week at work, so when the alarm went off at 5:30 (after a couple untimely calls related to the boat storage alarm in our community at 3:30 and again at 6 AM) the little voice in my head was like....but it's so nice and warm in this bed...and the dog and the cat are sound asleep on you...don't wake them up...come on - a little rest - take it easy today.

Leukemia and other blood cancers don't take a day off - patients and their families don't get a day off because they're tired - or have had a challenging week as they go through rounds of chemo, and other treatments....

6:15 (yes that "conversation" lasted that long) - Up and at em - and out the door at 6:30.

Racing in cooler weather adds an interesting aspect to the events...dressing properly to make sure you're warm enough at the start and as you get going - but not going to overheat as the race progresses...given it was 35 degrees - popped on a long sleeve shirt - a 40 in 40 t shirt - hat and gloves...oh and shorts too...felt just about right at the start.

7:40 - gun goes off and we're headed out. Not sure of the total numbers just yet - but a couple thousand maybe? mile 1 - about on track time wise, mile 2 - picked up the pace a bit to make up some time - mile 3 - right on track - 24 minutes....and then - literally as I look at my watch - it goes blank...battery died...phooey. so - I tag along with other folks who are around me seeing as we're all doing the same pace - I'll let them help me pace so I don't get too ahead of myself.

It's a spectacular day - cool crisp fall day - sun was out - very few clouds in the sky, leaves turning and/or falling from the trees. slide into the zone and check out listening to my iPod...a little Aerosmith, some VH, Violent Femmes, Pat Benatar, Poison, Def Leppard, (must have the eighties represented appropriately) Mettalica, then mile 6 - Clancy Brothers, "Whiskey in the Jar", then Cher...ummm I really need to straighten out this playlist...I seem to have imported some of Sheila's music (Cher - not the Clancy Brothers - we downloaded that for St Pats Day) - then we revert to "my music" all is good in the world again - mile 8 I catch up to a new group and ask them what they're pacing for - their on track for what I was shooting for so I tag along with them - having left my other tag along friends a while back...

Miles melt away and I am feeling good. Start to recognize the surrounding area so I know (between the fact that we just crossed mile 10 and I recognize the area) that we're getting close to home. More fans out here - and they're actually cheering for everyone.

See - odd phenomenon at races. Folks come out to cheer for their son or daughter, husband or wife, friends, partners, whoever...and don't clap and cheer for all the other know what - a little "way to go" or thumbs up or "great job" really helps keep the feet moving...and unless we are almost done - say a mile or MAYBE two from the NOT tell someone "you're almost there" almost is smell the finish line - not two miles away...

Also - there were some great volunteers out today - handing out water and high fiving the runners as we passed - the kids manning the water stops were great about the high fives...those are fun.

Pass mile 12 and am on track and now "we are almost there" head up Morehead - which given the fact it is a rather long drawn out hill has been nicknamed Morehell - especially the last mile of 13 - couple of quick turns and we're heading into the finish. Newsflash from my iPod apparently Justin Timberlake is Bringing Sexy Back...awesome - so happy for him...but I laugh to myself and pick it up the last hill.

Cross the line and feel great. From working to block out some persistent voices this AM and getting here - to the finish line - number 28 with 12 more to go. I was pretty stoked. It was a great run and a well run race. Had the proper level of attire on - great Craft gear keeping me warm - Karhus once again carried me well across the 13 miles.

Got to enjoy some Great Harvest Bread - which by the way - if you ever get a chance to partake - you must. It is downright delicious - whether or not you've just run 13 miles or just woken mm good.

Today's race is dedicated to George Barnett and is in memory of his three children. George works with one of the other LLS Board members. George spoke to us at our last Board meeting. He lost all three of his children to blood cancers in a matter of 3 years. His first two children died from AML, Acute Myeloid Leukemia, and his third child died after a bone marrow transplant to treat Myelodysplastic Syndrome. George is a true survivor - one who has felt the far reaching effects and pain that these terrible diseases can bring to any one of us any day.

Great day, great race, even more important cause.

Great big shout out to Kevin Collins, John McLean and Greg Counts - fellow TnT'ers and coaches and overall great guys doing the Florida IronMan this morning - that's the big kahuna - 140.6 miles...Kevin raised over $10K for LLS for the event - good luck guys! You're gonna do great!



Saturday, October 31, 2009

Events # 26 and #27 - Huntersville Aquatics 10K and 5K, Saturday October 31 (BOO), 2009

Sleep deprivation is usually not conducive to great racing...or much of anything else. After a couple of weeks of challenging work hours - and limited training - that's my fault - I debated between doing the Runway 5K - a 5K on the tarmac at the Charlotte Airport. Cool - right - or these two races...seeing as 10K's in Charlotte are SO rare to find - I decided these were the events to do. Besides - it was essentially in my backyard and if all went well - I could add two more to the list...

I woke up about 30 minutes later than I wanted to - rush to the race and register. It was a gray misty morning couldn't Misty Mountain Hop out of my head on the drive over least it wasn't Paula Abdul again - so there's that.

Ran into Mike and Megan Tolley - Mike works with me at he's had the same work fun I've had - but he's a really good runner- so this'll be a piece of cake for him. Also ran into Dave Leonard a friend (now) but also the recruiter who helped me get to Charlotte and BAC...

10K line up - see a few folks in Halloween costumes - I decided I was one of the following: Lex Luthor, Dr. Evil, Lenin, Bruce Willis, Vin Diesel, or just some bald guy who was out for a little run. The women wearing the wings were in for a lot of fun with those things bouncing around on their backs...I thought to myself...

Down hill start - which is always nice - but usually winds up being faster (for me) than it should be...and as I cross mile 1 just under 7 minutes...I realize yeah - time to ease up on the gas a bit...good course and not too hilly. Around mile 5 my hip starts acting up - probably more of a overall fatigue thing - or lack of training recently thing - but it's not bad. My new Karhu's feel AWESOME...nothing like a new pair of running shoes...seriously - they're the best. I glance at my watch and start is that possible? I'm going to go over 50 minutes?closer to 60? I'd have to do 6minute miles for the next 2 miles to break 50...and then - me - someone who works in a finance role, works with numbers all day every day remembers....its 6 MILES so that would be only ONE more mile - knucklehead

As we turn it towards the race finish - I start to pick it up again - as we had a downhill start - we also have a downhill finish double super duper qualms about a downhill finish...

Cross the line and I've got about 30 minutes between races. It starts to rain - nice - nothing like being sweaty and slightly chilled and getting rained on in 50/60 degree weather...I get to catch up with Mike and Megan - Mike crushed it - as expected in 45...and was heading out. Megan took some pics of us - which once I get them, I will post them to the blog....she actually had a funny idea for us for a costume - seeing as we're working on filing the 10-Q next week - she thought we should have worn a "10" on one shirt and a "Q" on the other... of course seeing as Mike was so far ahead of me - it would have been a lost joke...maybe next year.

Head out to line up for the 5K - As we're lining up - the pace leader comes up and makes us make a path - as there are still a few runners out on the course for the 10K - and they're coming we make a path and as they come through - they get hearty cheers and clapping from those of us lining woman had a look on her face like "what in god's name are you idiots doing in the road?"

As they pass - we regroup and get ready. Same start - downhill and I know mile 2 is a climb - pretty much one mile up a gradual - sometimes steep-ish hill - so at least I know - "Know Thine Enemies" which is always helpful. Many more costumes this time - a cat, a bee, the Flintstones family, a zombie or two - at least I think they were zombies...maybe just really tired.

Make it to mile 2 - and no math needed this time - I know we're in the home stretch. I get a couple "Go Team" cheers from folks as I pass them - with the 40 in 40 shirt I designed (available in the lobby during intermission) I made sure that the 40 in 40 challenge was detailed on the back...for this very purpose - genius. The best way to get the word out about what LLS and TnT are doing is through these types of events. I wish I could do more - and I try...but I can't do it alone.

Head in to the finish and pick it up - a young man was out there with his trainer - and he was slowing down heading in to the finish - I yell over to him - up over this eensty little hill and it's all downhill to the finish...turn to my right and there is a young woman to my side - big smile from her and she's like - I'm hanging with you to the finish...she starts to pick it up - I respond in kind...hey - whatever it takes to get there.

As I think back on the races - there were so many folks out there - doing the 10K and 5K probably a few hundred - all shapes and sizes, all ages and abilities - as with any race really - but it was kind of moving for some reason today - they're all out there doing this for their own reasons - fitness, fun, possibly their own personal challenge...who knows.

Today's races are dedicated Wendy O'Donnell, the sister of Barbara Entwistle, a woman I work with at BAC. She told me about her sister the other day. The prevalence of blood cancers is frightening. It effects so many more people -oftentimes - folks we know - and yet - their strength, their battles and challenges are unknown to us. Here is some information Barbara shared with me.

Wendy O'Donnell lived at Sloan Kettering, fighting her battle for a year. She was diagnosed and died from Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Barbara told me that honoring her here with one of my races would be the greatest thing. Her son would be so proud as well as the whole family. "It was the worst year and best year of my life. We met so many wonderful people. It was very hard going back to "reality" after that."

I hope I did make them proud - and I am honored to honor her with these events. The impact to families is far greater than any of us who have not had a battle such as this to deal with can imagine. I ran for her - in her memory - and did so proudly myself.

End of the day - good races - two more down - 13 to go.

Next up -Dowd Half Marathon - next Saturday.

10K: 48:44

5K: 24:28

Oh - and as a side note - when I was running at a 5:56 pace (clearly downhill) and my heart rate hit 190 beats per minute...I realized (despite the heart rate) it would be a good day...


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Some time off - time to get back on the road

It's been a hectic week at the time off has been welcome - to a degree - but with 15 events left - it is CLEARLY time to get back on a regimented training program. A couple of short runs and spins this week helped get the legs loosened up, but back at it in the AM with a run - a swim on Monday and time to toss the bike on the trainer at home. I found out about my "penalty" in the race - apparently I got dinged for drafting....ironic don't you think seeing as I was complaining about the guy drafting off of me?

Oh well.

I still get psyched about the fact that the race went so well and I had so much fun doing it (nothing like 6 hours of competition to rev one's self up I guess) despite my missteps with planning and prep.

Next up - looks like a 15K next weekend...great prep for a half marathon and even better excuse to get off my butt.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Event # 25 South Carolina Half Ironman, Sunday October 4

Net - net - a GREAT day! 4:30 AM wake up for some breakfast (ensure and oatmeal - lots of it). Got a great nights sleep - which I attribute to the stress of my McGyver activity earlier and most importantly the massage I got the other night.

It was cool - mid to upper 50's at the race site at 5:30 - and the water was 74 - wetsuits baby! After getting set p in transition, body marked etc..and making chit chat with folks - met a couple guys from SC TnT teams - it was 7:20 - time to get this party started....or - get in the water anyways. With the overcast skies - we had ideal conditions for the race. No sun in our eyes on the swim - which can make sighting and swimming in general tricky, and no major threat of unbearable heat. Perfect.

We start at 7:34...and head out - good swim - although at one point I swore I must have made a wrong turn - as there were two extra turns on the swim. But I saw folks in front of me (not necessarily a good means of swimming as if the guy up front makes a wrong turn - we all make it.) But eventually make the final turn and head into home. Swim was really relaxed and I actually felt good the entire way. Except of course at one point when some guy - swimming up along side me managed to grab my head. Not touch it - GRAB it and kind of hold on...what am I a buoy? Dude - get I push him off with my leg...and spend the rest of the swim pondering wtf? Seriously. Make it to the shore and up the boat ramp - promptly slip and almost do a face plant on the slimy concrete...but somehow right myself and get going to T1. For those of you who know me - I am not known for my grace - so not falling was a miracle in and of itself.

Quick change over. Strip off the wetsuit - pop on the riding gear and head out. Now - it's overcast and probably 60 - 65 degrees. But feel comfortable. Spin for awhile and start to pick it up after the first big hill.

The bike course map did NOT do the hills justice. They were much larger and more frequent than they appeared. Still - my McGyver gel flask is helping and the enhance water is really (or so it seems) doing just what it should. Good fuel and good ride. Chatted with a lot of folks on the ride (probably not the best use of energy but still) which helped make it move along. As we're going along I decided to chuck the ride, or break it into manageable pieces, 10 miles down, 20 miles down, 5 more, halfway...damn these hills. One woman and I kept switching position - until around 35 - when I pulled away. Also - right about this time I was thinking - hmmm - not too many have passed me - although the rest of my wave and the one before us was clearly ahead of us....and then....

One guy, 52, another 50, then three mid forties...then three women - 28 - 35 years old...well - there goes that. Oh well. Keep chugging along. Spin, spin, I try to stuff a fuel pack back in the pocket on my tri suit - a guy who is behind me goes "A little higher" telling me the pocket is up just a bit. so I thank him. We trade spaces a few times - me passing on hills - him on the flats....last hill when I see him - he says "$10 bucks you pass me on this hill" I credit the recent bike fitting to my improved cycling speed - so thanks again TrySports - and thanks for getting me over that hill.

Not one to pass up a bet, although I didn't think it would happen - I do...and then I don't see him again.

One guy - kept drafting off me - right after the marshalls passed (the folks who monitor this kind of thing) he'd speed up and get in my slipstream...I can hear him - so I try picking it up - he keeps pace - so I slow down - dude - just pass me - don't cheat...he does - and he's not even in my age group. The drafting rule is in effect for everyone - not just those in your age I pass him we get to mile 50 - I hear someone behind me - it's him AGAIN...fine - draft - I hope you get penalized or disqualified.

Make it into T2 - off the bike and now for the run - the part that has worried me almost as much as the swim due to my recent leg speed issues and the fact that my training has been - well - choppy.

Run starts out well - much better than White Lake last year when my knee flared up and made me walk by mile 2.

So - Mile one down - small bio break - due to all the fuel I took in during the ride - and then mile 2 - so far so good. Miles 3 (past the "wonderwomen" water stop - they were hilarious) 4 and I make a deal with myself.

Self - if necessary - you can walk water stops after mile 7 - a little gift to me for having done better and feeling good thus far. But AFTER mile 7 and only if necessary.

Mile 7 down - mile 8 water stop coming up - grab some water and gatorade - no stopping...up the hill and turn to the final turn around. Mile 9 and here comes 10...make it to ten and take in some water and electrolyte pills...those things were my saviour today...and turn to the second to last water stop. Pass a couple guys I had talked to in the morning, make it to the water stop - and walk through.

Now walking through a water stop in any race can be challenging....well - the getting going part is challenging. But I down the gatorade and water and get going again. A little less than 3 to go. The walk allowed me to get in what I needed versus dumping gatorade all over myself - which as it began to heat up - would have been sticky - and made the drive home less than ideal. My legs appreciated it too.

Mile 11, 2 more. Turn back into the park and start singing (in my head- I probably would have been disqualified or rushed to the medical tent if I sang out loud - what is that god awful noise he's making) random bits and pieces of songs, Beast of Burden, 500 miles, Start me up, White Wedding, Straight Up (yes - somehow Paula Abdul crept in there - not real sure)...walk a bit then get going again...

Make it to the finish area and make the final turn towards the finish line.

SC Half has a lovely hill at the end you have to run up to the to meet the masochist who decided that after swimming 1.2 miles, biking 56 and running 13.1 that we should finish up this ridiculously steep - albeit short - hill.

Cross in a PR time compared to White Lake last year. At White Lake - the wheels fell off during the run, and my swim was slow... there is still room for improvement, but not this season - as tri season is over (for me) and I head into running events for the winter.

Oh - and the dude who was drafting off me on the bike - I made 100% certain I passed him on the run. Draft off this jerk...

This race - as noted in the previous post is dedicated to the memory and extraordinary lives of Bill and Alice Faisst. They're battles with blood cancers did not slow them down and they lived lives that continue to inspire their family and me, although I did not have the honor of knowing them, to this day. Thank you Justine for sharing their story with me.

So - once I figure out what I got penalized for...I may consider adjusting my time by 4 minutes, but at the end of the day

Swim: 38:04
Bike: 2:57:45
Run: 2:07:37

Total - including my penalty 5:52:48

Thank you everyone for your support and words of encouragement. I could not have done it without you - and we would not have raised $17,000 in seven months.

Thank you so much.


Dedication of Event # 25 SC Half Ironman. Sunday October 4

Before I get into race details, I wanted to post an email I received from Justine Faisst, an acquiantence from CA, who joined the "40 in 40 Team" on Facebook and has been an ardent supporter of the cause. She always asks after each event "How'd it go" even though we don't really know one another. Justine lost both of her parents to blood cancers. She sent me an email, which I tried to paraphrase a bit, but was fearful I wouldn't do it justice. Her email in its entirety is below. It honors their memory and the amazing things they did in the face of adversity, in their battles. The battles Leukemia patients are faced with and the impact on their families - is so profound - and unique for each family.

Here is her email. Thank you Justine. Your parents were clearly remarkable.

Bill and Alice Faisst.

My father was born in 1915 in Brooklyn, New York, the only child of German immigrants. His parents moved to San Francisco in about 1921. My father was raised in San Francisco, when to the University of California and then served active duty in the Army from the time he graduated from college until the end of World War II. My mother was born in Sacramento, California in 1914. She was the first daughter and third child in the family. My grandfather worked as a miner, shop keeper and eventually a California Highway Patrol officer. My parents met on the eve of the bombing of Pearl Harbor; my mother was visiting her brother and his family and my father had been invited to join them for lunch (and then dinner) on December 6, 1941. My parents were married in 1946 after my father returned from Europe. My parents were luck to have found each other. My mother never grew tired of my father and my father remained totally enraptured by my mother. My parents raised their three children in the San Francisco Bay Area.

My parents were not particularly remarkable people. Neither of them did anything newsworthy, they worked hard and loved their family, their friends, and their pets. My father was a CPA and a Boy Scout leader. My mother was a housewife, volunteered for school field trips, and always had fresh-baked cookies in the house. After the three of us kids were grown and on our own, my mom went back to college, got her BA degree, and for about 10 years, had a career of her own. During the "empty nest" years, my mom volunteered at Children's Hospital in Oakland. She knit countless hats and booties for the preemie babies. My dad's job was to make tassels for the hats; he had learned this skill as a child working in his father's knitting factory. My parents travelled some, to Europe and Egypt, where I was working in the early 1980's. Despite the time he spent in North Africa during WWII, my dad was left with his mouth open at the site of a woman walking down the street carrying a basket of live chickens on her head! The trip to Cairo was after my father's first bout with lymphoma. At one point, he needed a rest day, so my petite grey-hair mother and I went off to the camel market and pyramids! My mother's urge to travel was greater than my dad's; after the war years, he was happiest being at home with a cat on his desk, a dog at his feet, and a pot roast waiting for his dinner!

My dad's second bout of lymphoma was in 1987. A second course of chemo was more than he could handle. He lived to see me get married, but not much longer.

If there could be a silver lining in death, my mother found it. A few weeks after my father died a neighbor lost her husband. My mother was able to offer consolation and companionship to an old friend. The two ladies checked in with each other every day, shared gourmet meals several times a week, and even went on a couple of far-flung Elderhostel trips. Right after my first son was born, my mom went off to mine opals in Utah. Before my second son was born, she was in scrambling around ancient ruins in Turkey. She also ramped up her volunteer efforts and did bookkeeping for a couple of my dad's former clients. In 1994, my mother's last planned trip, to Thailand, was halted by treatment for multiple myeloma. She lived for about a year and died just a few days short of her 81st birthday in October. In keeping with her character, before she died, she combed mail order catalogues and selected birthday presents for the family members who had not yet had birthdays that year. She wanted to make sure everyone got their "fair share" that year!

We learn from our experiences with cancer that it is a tragedy, but we also learn that there is always someone else worse off. My parents lived long, full lives. They raised their children, they contributed to society, and they used their gifts to help others. They didn't loose a child to this disease, they didn't leave young children behind without a parent, they didn't loose all 4 grandparents to the disease (as my niece did).

As devastating as cancer is to a person and their family, as we go through life we can celebrate the good stories. Both my brother and mother-in-law were successfully treated for early stages of cancer with surgery, without chemo or radiation. We celebrate when friends have their last chemo and radiation treatments, when they have their pik lines removed, when they go from 3-month to 6-month to annual check-ups, when they reach "5 years", when they move on with their lives and run a marathon again. We contribute when our son does a Relay-for-Life or complete stranger takes on a crazy challenge to mark his 40th birthday!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Thank god I plan accordingly - too bad I screwed it up.

So - as mentioned previously I am a bit obsessive with my tri bag gear check. Several checks each time regardless of distance. This week I packed in advance so I could check it once per day and once right before I left today.

Cutting to the chase - about an hour and a half into my 2 hour drive I realize...oh CRAP! I forgot my gel flask - which attaches to my bike so I have solid fuel while riding to go with H2O and enhanced water with electrolytes, proteins, carbs, etc. Oh SHIT - I forgot one of those bottles too. Both of those were or ARE in the fridge...nice and cold for when I return. Oh and when I stop to get gas - I realize a bar plug (a little piece of necessary plastic that plugs the end of the handle bars so if you crash and get pitched forward you IDEALLY do not impale yourself on the open bar end...) has fallen out. Freakin PERFECT!!!

So after not having a gear "expo" at the race, despite my cautious optimism that they may (they did at White Lake last year - same distance, same race company sooooooo I thought, maybe...) I go into McGyver mode, or McGruber, or McMullen-Gyver-Gruber mode.

Look for sporting goods stores, closest with anything like I need is 1 hour + away...too far. I swing through a couple grocery stores - thinking a cake decorating gadget may work for the flask..nope

And then - there on the horizon - the bane of all mom and pop stores existence - Wally World (WalMart).

So - thank you TSA for the 3-1-1 rule...while it usually does not effect me, not a lot of shampoo or conditioner to carry...they have three ounce squeezable bottles - get two. Grab some velcro tape to attach it...grab some black electrical tape to cover my bar end, so it is at least "legal".

See - if the bar end is open, they may penalize me (time-wise) or not let me ride at's those rule - now (shhhhh) it appears closed or plugged - so I'm good.

All gear is set and packed - bottles are filled and chilling in the "MicroFridge" a lovely 70's era item with a "college size" fridge and an antique microwave attached to the top of it.

now I am going to do the Seinfeld-esque clock check, back up alarm check and a potential wakeup call....but given how things have gone thus far - I may rely on technology.

pray the lights don't go to get off my feet and watch whatever is on the tube. 5 AM wake up...and a few miles to get in. BRING IT.

Go Team! I am still FREAKING out.

Friday, October 2, 2009

The Kindness of strangers

So I went to get a LOOOONG overdue massage tonight at the constant recommendations of Kevin Collins and many others in preparation for Event #25 - the SC Half Ironman on Sunday. Many reasons to get one - to obviously relax you, work the acid out of your muscles and in this case - all of that as well as try and get my mind off the race.


So I spent some time talking to this one person there before and ran into them after the massage. I had told them about the 40 in 40 during our conversation. Turns out they are kind of between jobs, working but not in what they ultimately want to do, but they were genuinely interested in the 40 in 40 and TnT.

Went got my massage - and am now mush at this point.

As I was leaving, they came up to me and gave me $50 and said - "to help you reach your goal"

and that was it. No chance to say , "No I couldn't", but I managed a stammering, somewhat choked up "Thank you so much"

A complete stranger - some brief conversation - and quite possibly one of the most generous donations I have received. Not discounting the others, mind you - but it was truly touching and greatly appreciated. The human spirit, the ability and willingness to support someone else in their quest with no chance of recognition...amazing.

Off to recheck my tri bag and try and hit the rack. Have to catch Kevin Collins tomorrow AM at the Race for the Cure - sporting his skirt again and a fresh mohawk!


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Events #23 AND # 24...Hit the Brixx 10K and 5K, Saturday September 26

What started out as just event #23 - turned into a why the hell not...let's do two. On a drizzly dark morning heading in to the race, I knew I needed to get miles in as prep for next weekend's when asked - 10K, 5K or both, I immediately said BOTH...they run back to back, so all I had to do was finish the 10K in time.

Saw Kevin Collins at the race - Kevin is doing Florida IM - the big enchilada a FULL IronMan in a little over a month, raising $10K for the LLS. As part of his fundraising scheme - he set tiers to induce certain incentives...for instance - $5K - he will wear a mohawk leading up to and for the race, once he reached $7,500 - he would wear a running skirt, or "skort"...and not just any skort - his is a leopard print with purple seams down the sides...he was wearing that lovely number today - no mohawk yet - but the skort....and he's at $8,500+. When he hits $10K - he'll color his mohawk purple...can't wait to see pics of the skort, the purple mohawk...all of it. Kevin is alos a TnT coach and a fellow Bank of America associate. All around great guy who goes above and beyond. He'll also be doing Florida IM with John McLean and Greg Counts - fellow TnT Alums. Kevin's fundraising page - as he is still shy of the $10K can be found here - if you are so inclined to check it out and help Kevin along...

As always - I met a lot of great folks along the race and before. I had the honor to meet Scott Campbell. Scott's son Garrett passed away after being diagnosed with Infantile NCL, a fatal neurological disorder that took his life devastatingly in December 2007. Scott and his fellow "Team Garrett" member ran the 10K - some also ran both - and their big event to raise awareness and funds is next weekend, the "Take Flight Triathlon" here in Charlotte. More info can be found here

Scott and I shared a beer after the races (at 9:45 AM...yes ) and chatted a bit. He is a strong, friendly and wonderful individual who is doing so much to not only honor is son but also further work to help others who may be faced with the same devastating diagnosis. As he said, it is part of the healing process and it is remarkable what he has accomplished. I look forward to getting to know Scott and do what I can to support his mission in the coming years.

Also ran into Sarah Hereford - an auditor that we work with at BAC during earnings and the 10-Q process (coming up in a couple weeks - whoo freakin hoo).

So I ran with Kevin for the first mile plus and then he was doing run / walk - as per his training schedule and the fact that he just did a century ride (100 miles) yesterday. Madman. Then went off on my own.

Cool day - the drizzle had stopped - lots of runners on the course and some spectators. Good course - with some interesting hills...the fog shrouded the city so even when we were heading back in, it was difficult to make out the skyline. But all in all - perfect day for a race. Support and logistics were great - so hats off to the folks at Brixx, Run For Your Life and all the sponsors. Got asked about the Karhu shoes by a bunch of folks at the end (of both) and told them they were the easiest to transition into and thus far - some of the best shoes I had run in in a VERY long time...the craft hat, shorts, socks etc...worked perfectly too.

Did the 6.2 miles and geared up for the next 3.1. Also had a chance to talk to Theoden Janes, blogger for the Charlotte Observer, who crushed the course - as he said - "it's on like Donkey Kong" en route to doing the NYC Marathon in November.

Head out for the 5K and it's mostly the same course to begin with - a few new twists and turns and we're headed back in.

At the end of the day - I truly got out of the runs what I wanted to and needed to....better leg speed and maintained an even pace for both races. Right around 8's

Today's race - is dedicated to the memory and in honor of Scott's son Garrett. While he was not struck down by a blood cancer, I feel that in honoring him - the mission and memory that his father and family are honoring - it is appropriate. I am in awe of the human spirit to overcome such tragedy and do something absolutely wonderful with it. So - today's events are in memory of Garrett and in honor of Scott and what he is accomplishing. I wish him and his family all the best - and look forward to seeing him again.

10K 50:51
5K 25:31

Not my fastest for either - but still like I said - exactly what I wanted.

Next up - SC Half IronMan - and it's gonna hurt.


Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Next scheduled event - SC Half October 4

Have to admit it - I am bit nervous about the Half IronMan in two weeks. The training for all the other races have complemented one another by allowing me to get my runs, swims, rides, etc. in appropriately....but as Coach Steve has told us - you might be able to "fake" your way through a sprint, and "make" your way through an Olympic...but a Half - if not properly trained will make you go cryin to your momma....

I've gotten all the components down and covered the distances - but the training has not been as consistent as one would like. So - it's gonna probably hurt.

There - I've said it. And no - I don't necessarily feel any better about it - but I'm gonna do my best to get over this cold that is trying to creep in and get all the rest of my taper training in this next week...and be as prepared, mentally and physically as I can.

What I am afraid of or in fear of right now is sooooo incredibly minor compared to what LLS patients and their families go through each and every day - knowing that through your support we've raised $16K and will make the $40K or more...and help bring light to their lives. ...

Bring it on - just bring it on next weekend :-)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Event #22 Cane Creek Sprint Tri Saturday September 19, 8AM

One word - DELUSIONAL: a fixed belief that is either false, fanciful, or derived from deception. as in - I was delusional thinking I had an awesome swim - and denial now....I DID NOT SWIM THAT SLOWLY...

Seriously - I swear I had an awesome swim today. but according to the powers that be in my race chip, their mats was something like 2+ minutes slower than my past races. BAH! no way...ok - maybe, but i want a recount...great googely moogely...that's not right.

anywho - the TrySports Development series - a series of races geared towards first timers - allows racers to EASE into the sport of Tri by starting at 8 AM vs oh my god early AM... and Cane Creek last year was where I started hatching the idea of the 40 in 40....

early into transition, down to the water and in and off we go - a GREAT SWIM...well - so I thought and up to T1 - swim to bike.

Of course I managed to fidget around in T1 - but got on the bike and got going. good course with some rollers upfront - and then flat and more downhill-ish on the back...kinda like a mullet - business up front, party in the back...

Word to the wise - on the bike - clif bars, no matter how small and delectable - are REALLY hard to eat, wash down and ingest...they are dense little buggers - that I have eaten before on the bike - but especially the "chocolate brownie" variety - egads...

had a good ride and as I was riding along - this 13 year old boy was really hammering and keeping up. i told him so - he was a REALLY strong rider - we'll be seeing him again someday. seriously - that good - he kept up with me going 20 MPH uphill...

T2 - bike to run - quick switch and out we back - again was tight - so it started out slowly, but with a double loop for a 5K - and knowing the course - I knew it would loosen up - which it did around mile 1.

During the day - I saw fellow TnT Alums, Ruben, Lex, Holly and Jen....they all did awesome. And as always - I met a lot of very cool, awesome folks - all just down to earth, friendly and supportive. Try Sports and Setup Events - as always - did an awesome job and I would recommend this course to anyone. Especially if they're looking to have an AWESOME swim...ha ha

Regardless of what my time was - it was a great day for a race - and a lot of fun as always. And of course - another race down in the 40 in 40...22 down - 18 to go.

Got a few miles in (running) after the race - as SC Half is in a couple weeks and I needed the miles - and managed to really scuff up my shoes on the trails - but they still did me right and all the Karhu and Craft gear held up great.

Today's race is dedicated to Liza Bourg - Liza is Wayne Bourg's daughter. Wayne is a fellow TnT alum as well - who just rocked the course at Patriots Half IronMan last weekend. Liza is a great spirit and Wayne is an equally great man...who has accomplished much for his daughter and TnT. Liza was diagnosed with ALL several years ago and thanks to the work of the LLS and all TnT folks around the world, has been in improving health for the past year +. She also had an "extra" role in an American Girl movie. Despite what she has endured, she - when we had the pleasure of spending sometime with her - has such a glowing, powerful and amazing personality - such a great outlook and presence - it is infectious. I am proud to be able to help her and those like her who are battling blood cancers.

So - at the end of the day - total time 1:34:18
Swim - 19:38 (hmmmm)
Bike - 43:59
Run - 26:19

Go Team!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Event # 21 Nations Tri, Washington, DC Sunday September 13

After a long drive to DC and getting through our mandatory briefing, it was off to game day prep. Lots of last minute checks and hydration preparation and proper (are quesadillas proper?) fueling...

Saturday was our day to rack our bikes in transition - by far the biggest transition I have ever seen with room for 6000 triathletes. Followed by some team information, a pre race talk by Dave Scott and a practice swim in the Potomac river. No trees or massive detritus in the river as we practices - but I was glad to have my was CHILLY

Sheila arrived Saturday - after classes - and was awakened by my 3:30 wake up on Sunday AM to get some breakfast in me and gather up my gear for the race. Didn't get a whole heck of a lot of sleep Saturday night - no matter what 3:30 AM is early...

Met the team in the lobby and we got on the bus. Arrived at the race sight in darkness and did final set up in transition, laying out gear for each stage of the race, filling tires, checking water bottles, bio breaks, etc.

Even with 2 hours before the race started - the time flew by as the sun began to rise over the Nation's Capital....

So - with 6000 registered athletes, there were 30+ waves - which is how they start the race. Wave by category (elite, para-athletes, military (special to this event), then age first then women) - every 3 - 4 minutes.

They get us in the water around 7:20...the horn sounds and we're off. My swim is not bad at first - but I soon realize - there are few buoys to sight off of - sighting is where you make sure you're going the right way, in a "relatively" straight line to minimize your time swimming...."shortest distance between two points". As I get to the first turn, I look over my right shoulder taking a breath and there is the Lincoln Memorial....I make the turn and straight ahead is Arlington National buoy, turn and head downstream - so far - besides the two clowns who grabbed my feet and pulled me backwards - not too bad...those two clowns received a swift kick to the noggin by the way...hey all is fair in love and triathlon

As I turn downstream - I don't see a buoy - so I follow the leaders - or the folks in front of me - and then get out from under the Arlington Memorial bridge and still - no I pull up and flip up my fogged up goggles....oh - THERE it - that's a long ways off...hmmm

get back to swimming and finally make the next to last turn - one more stretch then in to "home" and I can get out of the water. Make the last turn and promptly (although unknown to me) start heading more towards shore than the finish...a nice kayaker comes along and yells "LEFT, LEFT"...I look up and am like - " Oh - yeah - thanks....phooey"

Pull myself out of the water after what seemed like an interminably long swim - a bit more tired than I expected to be...and start peeling off the wetsuit and head towards T1 - Swim to Bike...after wrestling with my wetsuit - a lot harder to get off over ones ankles than you might imagine - and get my bike gear on - I head out to ride.

Bike is a couple of loops, one about 5 miles, one about 20...the 5 mile loop allows me to get me breathing down and start to take in some fluids - slowly.

See coming out of the water - especially on longer swims - your blood is mostly in your upper body, you get out and get upright and it "rebalances" itself...often making you disoriented, nauseous, etc. So you need to take in fluids and calories slowly at first - otherwise - you may share your breakfast with the other riders. While sharing is usually a good thing...doing so all over them, their bikes, etc is not so popular.

Head out on the 20 mile section and it is a long, slow gradual climb - with some moderate downhills - but mostly up. Also - with this many riders out there on a relatively narrow course - it is IMPOSSIBLE - not to draft or block - both of which are infractions in triathlon. Drafting - like in NASCAR - is where you get into the "slipstream" of a rider in front of you and let them block the wind and pull you along - blocking is when you are alongside a rider, not allowing them to pass or move out to pass...but try as I might - as well as the thousands of others - it can't be avoided.

Make the 180 degree turn to head back into town - up over one hill and pop into the big ring and get moving...20 mph, 21 mph...25 mph...miles spin off and we're almost into town...I hear a wreck behind me - didn't sound good - and head into the final mile.

As I start to go under an overpass, I notice - water bottles....lots of them - everywhere...a water bottle lawn sale - and I wonder what the....then I hit the same pothole everyone else hit and lose my gel flask - lawn sale...yikes - no popped tire though.

Make it to the dismount line and into T2 - Bike to Run.

As I head out - my back is a bit tight - and someone passes me saying "you were my motivation on the ride" he passed me....great - I motivated you to kick my butt...oh well - off he went and off we went - 6 miles - nice and flat - mostly shaded, and well supported with lots of spectators...awesome.

Mile 1, 2 and 3...chugging along, not my fastest - but one foot in front of the other. I see a lot - and I MEAN A LOT - of TnT folks along the way. Great to see everyone out there.

As I make it to mile 6, I am happy that I will soon be done. It has been a challenging race - not overly taxing - but admittedly, I am getting tired. That fatigue though - is minor compared to what we are working towards eradicating.

Also - as a side bar - there was a man - who in the vein and spirit of "Team Hoyt" did the race with his child.

For those of you who don't know of Team Hoyt, Dick Hoyt has completed numerous marathons (Boston included - as a qualified racer) and competed in the Hawaii IronMan - with his son Rick. Rick was born with his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, limiting oxygen flow to his brain, debilitating him. The Hoyt's continue to work towards Rick's inclusion in everyday life ( and are an inspiration for everyone....

I saw them at the start, the father attaching a raft to himself to swim with his child in tow, on the ride - with a bike carrier/wagon attached to the bike, and in the run - finishing with a smile on their faces...

That and the fact that one of my teammates, Marty Pittman was diagnosed with CLL (Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia) in April and the unending work to be done for the LLS, made me make 110% certain I crossed that line. Marty - whom I met for the first time this weekend - is a great guy full of energy and determination, with a wife and two young boys (7 and 5). His energy, his fight, his power - and the need to continue to raise the awareness of the LLS and their work - made me damn sure I kept going. This event is dedicated in honor of Marty and his fire - his fight, and my ability to try and make a difference for him and countless others. Marty - and the rest of the team rocked the course...and everyone finished.

Now - I don't know this for certain - but while there were 4300 who toed the line at the start on Sunday and about 3900 who finished...I can almost guarantee that all 585 of the TnT athletes out there Sunday finished....because we're not out there racing to win for ourselves, we're out there racing to win against blood cancer.

As was noted from the inspiration dinner, in the average time it took for folks to complete the race, 48 people were diagnosed with a blood cancer...48 people in 3 hours...

Thanks you, Marty, Wendy, Pam, Maggie and Juliene for racing with me this weekend and being so much fun. Thanks a MILLION Tricia and Lynn for keeping us focused and on track and getting us across the line - both at the start and the finish.

Thank you all for your support and kind words. Go TEAM!!!

Swim 35:09
Bike 1:14:58
Run 54:08
TOTAL: 2:51:22

Congratulations to all TnT Folks this past weekend

Two events in two cities or one city, one town....two triathlons two different distances....18 athletes

7 in Washington DC - Nation's Tri

11 in Willimasburg, VA - Patriots Half Ironman

Great job to my fellow Nation's tri folks, Marty, Maggie, Wendy, Juliene, Pam and Bekky...we endured the Potomac - we willingly and legally swam in that river - ick...dealt with the fact there was no way in hell we could not draft or block or anything given the 4300 folks on the course, avoided the water bottle "lawn sale" under that overpass created by the potholes and bumps in the road - although I contributed a gel out there and ran that pancake flat 10K on Haynes Point - along with our nearly 600 other TnT'ers! You guys rocked the course.

Equally impressive job by the TnT folks in VA.

Great Job Coaches Steve, Jenny and Kevin and TnT alum John, Greg, Wayne, Cara, Lindsey, and Shelly - and first timer - Tal....who I suspect had the quote of the day regarding his swim..."No I am not getting out of this water, I am swimming to cure blood cancer" - and fellow TnT sympathizers Marcus and Matt Crow... looked up your times all of you - damn impressive.

Also - of course a great big huge never ending thank you goes out to our coaches who kept after us during the training and kept with us through the race. Wouldn't have dared toed the line without you and never would have crossed the finish. Our unsung heroes - folks we often forget to thank - usually because we are cursing them for making us do a brick after riding 30 - 40 - 50 miles....or another swim drill....kick on side, single switch, triple switch, shark fin....arrrggghhh

I don't know the final tally from the Patriots Half and funds raised but in DC by the Western NC teams but over $2.4 million was raised by all 585 TnT athletes competing in the DC event.

Go TEAM!!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Event #21 - Inspiration dinner recap - Nation's Tri Washington, DC

The Inspiration Dinner was Saturday night - after we got to take a practice swim in the lovely - chilly Potomac River and hear Dave Scott speak - giving us some race tips. I will say this about our teams coaches - we are well advised and prepared - at least based on some of the questions that were being asked during Dave's talk.

For those not in the "world of Triathlons" - and admittedly I didn't know this much about him....Dave Scott is a 6 time Ironman world Champion (Kona - the big one) and the first inductee into the Ironman Hall of Fame. He knows his stuff. and was remarkably personable and down to earth.

During the dinner we learned quite a bit about TnT, Triathlon and the LLS.

While the LLS has been around for 60 years, Team in Training is only 21 years old and triathlons have only been a part of the program for 10 years. Triathlons have raised over $200 million for the LLS. Over the 21 years of TnT nearly 390 thousand athletes have been trained to complete a marathon or half marathon, century ride, hike or triathlon (of varying distances). These athletes have raised nearly $1 Billion over the 21 years....Are you one of them? Do you want to be? there are a lot of great events coming up....

For the Nations Tri - with 6000 registered participants, there were 585 TnT athletes competing This years Nation's Tri TnT athletes raised $2.4 mm for the LLS. The top 3 fundraisers raised $45k

Some of the advice given to us was sound... Stop and take in scenery Lincoln memorial as you make the first turn in the swim...Arlington cemetery at the next turn, Washington memorial, WW II memorial as you ride and run - from vantage points often not allowed or available

Additional advice that pertains to triathlons, marathons, cycling events....
Manage what you can in the moment
Keep the faith in your self and the work done
Remember what you have done through the course of your training

Our Honored Patient Hero speaker was Jake Sulberg from the NJ chapter - at 22 he held the room and audience in his words and battle...

In 2007 after hiking with his family he felt sick, was treated for his symptoms. Later on he and his family went to Italy - after feeling sick once again - a mass was found between his lungs and he saw great sights in Italy only from a small window in a small room for 25 days.
He was diagnosed with Burkitts lymphoma. Throughout his chemo he and his family battled and focused on "getting through this"

Once the first rounds of treatment were completed - he and his family took a 14 hour flight from Italy stopping in Scotland, Iceland, Canada - along the way - he had his first meal of solid food in months, kfc in Iceland...reportedly delicious.

His humor and strength were pervasive throughout the discussion. He recognized what he had encountered and dealt with - and honored so many more who were not able to win this battle.

He also told us as "we were "getting through" our race that when we think we're at the end or going to stop, remember that 48 people will be diagnosed with a blood cancer during the time it takes on average to finish the race.

His words, the humor end energy he filled the room with - kept me going through a challenging but fun event on Sunday...

That and the fact that the 40 in 40 and our work to make it a success was recognized during the dinner. In front of the 585 athletes, their families, friends and coaches Jake, Dave Scott, and Chuck Brodsky - founder of the Nation's Tri - I was honored to be recognized and inspired to persevere. And I hate being in the - a little out of my confort zone there...

More on the race - coming shortly.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Coming up - Event #21...Nation's Tri in Washington DC - Sunday September 13

With an "out of town" tri coming up...I am a bit extra anxious. The out of town aspect just makes it that much more interesting. Pack the bag extra early - and carefully - as I will not have all my home base supplies close at hand...check, recheck and recheck again the bike - clean the chain, check the brakes....must remember my tire pump...

Nations will be my first Olympic distance this year - so that means, a 1 mile (1.5 kilometer) swim, a 25 mile (40 kilometer) bike and 6.2 mile (10 kilometer) reality it is a training race for the SC Half in a few weeks....which will be the second longest event (in distance) to date...

But not looking past this weekend, I get to swim in the Potomac River with 2399 other triathletes, ride up and around Reedy Creek Park, and run amidst some of the nations most memorable, iconic landmarks in and around downtown DC. This is a TnT lots of TnT folks will be there - quite possibly the majority of the field - and lots of great TnT always!

Weekend will be busy, busy, busy....when I get to DC I get to meet the Karhu Rep and chat about the products so far. Go through a MANDATORY pre-race briefing...these are usually optional - one wonders why it is mandatory? catch up with the Team - and then catch up with some friends from ATL who I haven't seen in a long time...

Saturday - another fun filled - jam packed day....we have to rack our bikes in transition Saturday and leave them there overnight - due to parking and traffic logistics - and then we get to have a swim practice - so not just one swim in the Potomac - but TWO!!!

When we lived in DC, I recall a significant amount of detritus floating in that river...some of it sizable - like whole trees - especially after heavy rains - so that should add a new dimension to the swim....

then off to the inspiration dinner, then set up the rest of my gear and triple check the bag and try and get some sleep before the 3:30 AM wake up. The race kicks off at 7 AM...I start swimming (or flailing in the water) between 7:18 and 7:24....based on the age group waves.

It is supposed to be a beautiful day for a race - or some sightseeing in and around DC...which once I get out of the water - it will be - sort of.

The recent bike fitting has done wonders to increase my wattage or cranking power and has helped ease the mild discomfort I was feeling in my knee. Thanks again TrySports! The swims with and without the Team have helped get me properly prepared - or so I think...and my own versions of training - have - well - kept me focused on the event at hand.

So - big weekend - with lots of stuff to do....and some sleep to go get...for now.

Go Team - will try and update as soon as possible on Sunday - or in the interim if anything of interest occurs....

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Did I mention the $16K raised

I am sure I did...but just in far - since this all began, we - yes WE not I - have raised nearly $16 thousand so far in the quest for the $40K I set when I crafted this challenge - in a little over 4 months. That is incredibly inspiring - and I am humbled by the support I have received.

From friends and family, from colleagues at work, from acquaintances, from what one might consider "perfect strangers" we have accomplished so much thus far.

My next step is to approach corporations for monetary support to boost this even further. The $40K was a goal set to tie in to the "40 in 40" theme. It is but a small dent in the needs of the LLS, the patients, their families... to recieve the support and research they need. It is not a required amount, it is not a set amount...if - no - WHEN we exceed that it will make this challenge all that much more beneficial to those who we know, are related to, have met - who have battled blood cancers and lost - and those that continue that battle today.

Do you know of a corporation that is open to the opportunity to do so much more? If so - please let me know. I am pursuing sports oriented as well as health oriented, family oriented, community oriented organizations to help us all surpass this goal.

I appreciate your continued support and kind words - and am humbled by your generosity.

Thank you all..... GO TEAM!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

60 miles and a short brick - great way to start a Saturday

6:45 AM ride start - in some fog - with 17 riders. Coaches Steve, Tricia, Greg and Jenny, Tricia's husband Justin, Jenny's husband Marcus, Wayne, Lindsey, John, Tal, Shelly, Becca (i think), and a couple other guys whose names I didn't catch...

rode out through some heavy fog/mist for the first 30 or so - then it cleared up and turned into a glorious day. got to catch up with some friends I hadn't seen in a while - what else do you get to do when riding for 3 and a half hours or so...

got awesome SAG (Support and Gear) support from Stacey and Abby from the TnT office...they had a guy with them as well - but I am not sure who he was - just someone who wanted to spend the first 4 - 5 hours - early hours of his Saturday riding behind a bunch of folks on bikes I guess...

Followed that with a lovely 10 minute brick - at a good pace. Jenny really pushed me on the return trip in...

had an awesome ride the newly fitted bike really felt awesome....knee started acting up - but not until around 55 miles - which goes to show you how much better it is. My knee used to start bothering me around 15 - 20 miles...thanks again TrySports - looking forward to some time in the mountains this weekend with Sheila, Maggie and Dobhen...and probably a long run at some point.

Thanks everyone for an awesome ride - and for the terrific support from Stacey and Abby...and the guy I don't know....I know - it's bad of me to not know his name - but I kept forgetting to ask.

Most of the folks out today were doing their last long ride before the Patriots Half IronMan in two weeks...they're gonna rock it - they all did awesome.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

Event # 20 half way there. Lake Norman Sprint Tri Aug 23 700 AM

Early wake up call after getting no sleep for the past few days. Butterflies all weekend due to the number of events and the fact that if I were successful I would reach the halfway point in terms of races - and thanks to all of you, nearly halfway in terms of my fundraising goal. In a little less than 4 months..... Half way in about a third of the time!! You are all absolutely incredible. Thank you all.

So the day started off well. All packed and prepped after multiple bag checks the night before and readied my typical pre-race breakfast. Oatmeal (lower sugar maple and brown sugar) and an Ensure shake (yes - ensure - a good friend turned me onto them for races - thanks johnny Murdock) and the combination rocks. 300 good well balanced calories from the Ensure shake and 150 calories from the oatmeal. Lots of water the night before and on the way to the event...

6:30 AM All set up in transition and body marked (where they write your race number and age on you) a few tunes on the iPod to get in the mood and right frame of mind...some Skynyrd, some AcDc, some tunes from the Rocky IV soundtrack, some Stones... met Ben - a first time triathlete who was excited and anxious....just like me - despite the number of races done, the whole getting ready thing can be a bit daunting. Chatted with a few folks in transition, caught up with Ruben, Tal, Scott - some other TnT folks out doing the race today. Got to see Abby at chip pick up...Abby is great - always a smile on her face and cheer in her voice - despite dealing with stressed out triathletes...get to finally meet Theoden Janes, blogger for the Charlotte Observer. He and I have been communicating over the past few months - he's looking for a comeback after getting a flat tire at Latta in June - and is pumped!

The venue and weather are perfect. The water - a bit warmer than bathwater...and at 7:02 we hop, well wade in the water. Wave 1 is already out there crossing the swim course...I'm in wave 2 waiting to get going.

Gun goes off at 7:04 and away we go in wave 2. Lake swims are different than pool swims...and I still need practice...and I realize that early on. See the big difference is three fold....

1. the water is murky and doesn't taste so good (neither does pool water - but it is "relatively
2. there are swimmers in front of you, besides you, in back of you competing for the same space versus a pool where you swim in relatively straight lines
3. there are no lane markers - so you need to "sight" or pop your head up out of the water every couple of strokes so you make sure you are on course, versus swimming out to sea...or the wide open lake in this case

I get through the swim and see Abby Miller, John McLean and Sheila - right there as I head out of the swim...and then Todd Spanish - a neighborhood friend who did the same race on Saturday...comment to Todd "I hate swimming" - his response "well you're done - get on with it"..very true....

I jog the 1/10 mile across the pavement to transition and get on the bike. Up on and out easily and on the course. Make the first turn and I know the hills we are about to face in the first 4 miles, so I shift and adjust accordingly. Up and over the hills and a quick turn onto some more level pavement. Pick it up a bit - but not by shifting...the new bike fit is accommodating my "picking it up" without having to crank much harder....thank you Teelo and TrySports - again.

As I make my way over the 13.5 miles of the shortened (due to construction - not me cheating) bike course I continue to pick it up a's shorter, the run is still only a 5K - so let's see what is left after the 4 other events I've done since Friday night.

Transition to the run smoothly and relatively easily, strap on the Karhu shoes and nice breathable Craft hat - get the race number on and away I go. Up the hill to the run I pass Sheila who is telling me to "go, go, go Sean" I think - what am I doing...and then I remember...I am doing this for so many others who cannot, those who have not been able to, who are battling something more than mere fatigue in their legs. As I crest the hill - I hear "Go Team" again and again...grab some water and I am off...not fast mind you - but I am off.

Make my way across the run course. Mile 1 down, mile 2 down...1.1 to go. Pick it up - and pass a few folks - and get passed myself...but it's not about me - point to point, A to B - several times over today.

As I make the next to last turn to the finish - Todd is there - cheering me on....Todd who woke up with fever and chills the day prior and did the race and got up at 4:30 AM to volunteer today....Abby who also got up - probably at 4:00 AM to volunteer and help check folks in...Lex Erwin - a TnT Alum who raced today and is done...I am inspired...pick it up a bit....head to the last turn...there waiting for me is John McLean - fellow TnT Alum who is doing Florida IM in November who yells at me...."pick it up it's not like you've done anything else this weekend" - while in jest - he is right....compared to those who are battling blood cancers, those who have battled and lost - this is I do pick it up to get to the finish line. I get to stop this challenge for the day in about 200 yards....those patients, families have to battle day after day.

While official times are not in yet - Sheila estimated about 1:28, which translates into approximately a 17 minute swim (on par) a 41 minute bike (tracked with my Garmin (I love that thing)) and a 24 minute run (again thanks to the Garmin) - adding a couple minutes for the two transitions...

Not my best times - but not my worst. But that doesn't matter....I have been out there, I have brought attention to the mission, WE have raised almost $16,000 over the course of 4 months.

I have completed, through your support and belief 20 events, half of what I set out to do over 12 months in 4 months time. We have reached the 40% mark - or close to it - in terms of fundraising in 4 months...ONE THIRD OF THE WAY in terms of the 40 in 40 calendar.

I could not have done this much thus far without the support of you, my family, my friends, my colleagues, your friends, the TnT Team, the folks from LLS, my supportive, appreciative and understanding wife Sheila (and our dog Maggie who gets left out of long runs at this point due to the heat and my schedule) and our cat (Dobhen who gets woken up at crazy hours as she sleeps between my feet).

I am inspired, energized revitalized to get to 40 and beyond in terms of races and more importantly $40,000 for the LLS by the time I turn 40 in May.

Next week is an "off week" no races, just training...September holds for right now 3 more events and at least one biggie in October. I could not have made it here without you - I will not make it without your support, kind words and friendship - and good natured ribbing - but I will keep pressing on.

Today's event, the halfway mark is in memory of Bill Janov, or grandpa Bill, as Sheila's nieces and nephew knew him. Bill was my sister-in-law's step father, who a little over two years ago was diagnosed with Leukemia. Sheila and I went to visit him in the hospital while we were out in the Asheville area - for a TnT event (Fletcher Flyer) that she was participating in. In his words "I feel great but my blood work sucks" those 8 words were a testament to the challenge and battle that Leukemia patients suffer and deal with every day. You never know. We can work for a cure, or cures, we can fight the good fight - but we need a stronger, better more capable army to win. Sadly, Bill passed no more than a couple months later...full of life, full of piss and vinegar (as my dad would say - although...not 100% sure what that meant besides fight and determination) and a die hard attitude that he was sure he could beat this.

As I reflect on the events of this weekend, 5 races in 38 hours, a bit tired, but exhilarated, energized and determined (hell bent for leather - if you will) for the next event and fundraising threshold...I can only recall and reflect on the battles so many have endured, hundreds of thousands each year who are diagnosed with blood cancers...some who win, some who lose those battles. So many families, friends, colleagues who have been stricken. All ages, genders, is indiscriminate.

I appreciate your support thus far. I am humbled by your friendship and belief. I strive to do more.

Thank you. Go TEAM!