14 April 2008
Dear wonderful supporters,
I did it!!! Here's a quick summary of the day for all who have been asking:
1) Unexpected tube (train) delays created anxiety for large numbers of us travelling from west London to east London. In the end, made it in time, but not the best way to start the morning.
2) Rain and hail! About from miles 8-12 it rained - really cold, icicle like rain. I was drenched. A little rain is ok, drenching rain where shoes squooshing not so good. Then got to mile 23 and it started hailing and raining. That carried on until well after I finished, leaving me shivering in my mylar blanket and wet tank top and shorts.
3) The toes - as usual. They held up during the race, but 3 are purple now and at least 2 will be sans toenails in the very near future.
4) Missing Catherine and Gagan and Alison. I missed seeing 3 people who had come out to cheer me on. :(
5) Massive crowds of runners. This was a pro and a con. It was so great to be with so many other runners, and yet I could never get my pace - the ENTIRE race. My arms are bruised and battered from being elbowed by runners in front of me, we were that tightly packed in. There were multiple times in the race that we actually had to stop because we reached a bottleneck and there were too many runners to squeeze through the street. Every time I tried to sprint ahead to find my stride I'd be stopped yet again. This was the third largest London Marathon ever and I definitely felt it. It was particularly annoying that I couldn't manage to get around a guy dressed as a giant teapot and another guy dressed as a Cornish pasty!!! (But they did get lots of cheering, which always helps keep us all going.)
Ok, enough ranting....here's the REALLY, REALLY GOOD!!!!
1) I got a PR!!! Not exactly the one I wanted, but a PR none-the-less! 4:09:45. I will get a sub 4 race yet!!!
2) I saw Pat, Dannielle, John, Angel, and Polly on the course!!!! YAY!!! : ) What a tremendous boost! And amazing that I saw them amongst all the other crowds. (It helped that they had a giant Hello Kitty flag!)
3) Speaking of crowds - WOW! The fan support was phenomenal!!! There wasn't a mile that went by that didn't have rows of people cheering us on - even in the rain! It was the best race I've ever been a part of as far as spectator support. Truly amazing and it carried me through the day. I never even hit the wall b/c I was so distracted by all the people yelling and cheering!!! When I crossed Tower Bridge, I got chills. There were so many people yelling it was deafening. And I happened to cross when the Masai warriors were crossing, so I got to run next to them as they were chanting on one of the most amazing parts of the course! An experience I will never forget.
4) The costumes and spirit of the runners was something to behold. I mentioned the teapot and the Cornish pasty - both who annoyed me b/c I couldn't get past them, and yet, I wouldn't want to be running dressed as a giant piece of food for 26.2 miles. Nearly every single runner was either wearing a charity shirt or a costume. I also managed to get stuck behind (literally) 2 overly confident men who decided to wear thongs - one in the Borat bright green style and the other electric blue. But they also got the crowds going, even if it was a bit painful from my perspective!!! There were too many costumes to list, but a few of note: superheroes (several Mr. Incredibles, Wonder Woman, Batman, Superman), Star Wars characters (Obi One, Darth Vader, Storm Troopers), food items (Cornish pasty - damn him!, baked beans, beer bottle, bananas), animals and animal characters (Pink Panther, gorrillas, Scooby Doo). I probably got elbowed as much as I did because I was so busy looking around trying to take everything in!
5) I've raised more than 1500 pounds for Diabetes UK and money is still coming in. THANK YOU to all who have so generously contributed!!! There were 200 Diabetes UK runners out there, and your donations have all made such a difference. Thank you!!!
I'm about to hobble off now to go show Dannielle and the boys a bit more of London (and then we're off to Paris tomorrow!) but wanted to THANK YOU once again for all your support over the past few months. It's been a really fun experience and we're a few steps closer to a cure for diabetes thanks to your generosity.
12 April 2008
Tomorrow is race day. I'm ready - chomping at the bit really to get out there and do it. In the last couple of days, I've been stopped all around the building at work, received e-mails, phone calls, texts, and even donations from an incredible number of people wishing me good luck. WOW. A huge thank you to all who have been so supportive. It really does make a huge difference, and I am very grateful.
I'm in the process of getting the last bits together - timing chip on the shoe, snacks for the morning, number on the jersey...I actually got on the computer to check the best way to iron letters onto shirts, as my first few letters are not looking terribly impressive. (This is meant to be the easy part, but clearly not for me.) Anyhoo...12 hours from now I'll be getting up and moving toward the start line.
THANK YOU AGAIN to all who have been part of this effort. You are making a difference in the lives of those with diabetes.
7 April 2008
6 days and counting until race day! I'm not normally too nervous for races, but I feel like there's a bit of pressure on this one. Thanks to the successful cake sale at work and the intranet advertising and follow-up article, tons of people at work know about the marathon. (For now, every time staff log onto the internal website, they see me serving cake.) People I don't even know keep asking me about it and wishing me luck, which is fantastic, yet also a bit anxiety provoking!
It doesn't help that I'm fairly determined to set a PR this time. This is probably one of the worst races to try to do this, but I'm pretty confident from my training that I could actually do it. The problem is that this is one of the biggest marathons in the world (so massive crowds) AND it's meant to rain on Sunday. (Some rain can be good, but within reason.) So...we shall see. My last PR was set in Japan when I literally felt like I would bring shame upon my country (as I was sent as representative for my town) if I didn't finish within the 4:30 time limit. I don't quite feel that stressed this time, but definitely want to do well.
In other updates, today was the rematch for the staff vs. young people football game. I sprinted far too much this close to the marathon, but it was great for getting some tension out. On top of that, I scored our team's only goal!!! WOO HOO!!!! And, to be fair, the manager previously mentioned earlier in this blog was very good about passing the ball to me, most of the passes I completely missed. Despite our best efforts, the kids stomped us, winning 6-1. (The kid in their goal laughed hysterically every time we missed a goal or did something stupid, which was fairly often.)
My friend Laura (previously mentioned below) finished her marathon in Rome successfully and has also had her surgery for her recurrent breast cancer. We're still waiting to hear the final results, so please keep her in your thoughts.
My list of diabetic honorees is up to 5 special people now. If anyone else has someone to add to my list, please let me know before Saturday.
Thanks so much for all your encouragement and donations!
1 April 2008
Have I told you recently how awesome my team is? I actually have, but I'll do it again. They are amazing! Today they helped me raise more than 220 pounds (that's about $450!!!!) at my cake sale. WOW!!!! I am completely humbled by their support and generosity. Thank you Asylum Team!!! And thanks to the massive crowds that came out in force to devour the goodies my team made!!!
30 March 2008
Today I finished the last of my long runs before the marathon. It was another 5 am wake up call (which really meant 4 am with the time change this morning) to head to the Kingston Breakfast Run. I managed to finish the 16 miler in about 2 hours 22-ish minutes, which equals out to just below 9 minute miles. I was pretty comfortable the whole time, which bodes well for race day, though you just never know. Every day is different! To try to raise money, I wore my Diabetes UK shirt and carried along one of those collection buckets on the whole run, not realizing that there wouldn't really be good places for spectators. I raised a whopping 2 pounds 40 pence for my efforts - or 3 pounds if you count the 60 pence I used as starter money so people could hear change rattling. Not exactly an overwhelming success. And 40p of that came from another runner!
I'm hoping my next fundraising effort will be a bit more fruitful. On Tuesday (April Fool's Day), I'm having a cake sale at work. (The irony of selling cakes for diabetes research is not lost on me.) I've teamed up with another runner who is raising money for Asthma UK. (He keeps a hilarious blog about his misadventures training for his first marathon at: http://philrunslondon.blogspot.com) I'm sincerely hoping that the goodies I make for Tuesday will look at least a little bit better than this horrific excuse for a birthday cake that I make Pat a couple of years ago. Not one of my finest baking hours. Rumor has it that a few folks in my team are also going to bring some cakes, including some store bought ones, so there should be good options even if mine don't work out! (My team rocks.)
From here on out, it's just easy jogs and getting rest, which sounds very appealing to my weary bones. I'm not sure my feet can take much more abuse either. Pat nearly screamed (in a very manly way, of course) when he saw my disgusting purple/ swollen/ calloused toe missing most of the toenail. Then he noticed the other toe that was also sans toenail. This isn't unusual for me, but my feet are looking particularly vile this time around. Ah...the joys of training!
13 March 2008
Last weekend I ran the half marathon at Silverstone race track. After a 5 am wake up and about 3 buses and a tube ride, I got to the coach that drove us to the Midlands. The race started at noon, which made nutrition a bit complicated, but I just snacked throughout the morning. When the checkered flag was waved to start the race, my stomach was a bit queasy, but I was ready to move after standing around freezing. I was in between the pacers for the 8 min/miles and 10 min/miles, never able to find the 9 min/mile pacer, which was what I intended to do. I took off, and at the first mile was less than 8.5 min/mile. I was a bit nervous that I was going too fast, but tend to do that at the start of races anyway, and figured I would back off as I went.
I never quite backed off. Although my stomach never felt 100%, I kept going, continually being surprised at each mile marker that I was still sub 9 min/miles. And, being on a racetrack, I couldn't help but go "vroom, vroom!" every time I passed somebody. OK, so I did that in my head - I thought the other runners may find that a bit obnoxious if I did it out loud. :) But I heard other racers also talking about following the curves of the racetrack as if they were Formula 1 drivers, which I was also doing. Sadly, not at the same speeds at a race car, but at a decent pace for me!
In the end, I finished in 1:49:05, which is a bit faster than an 8.5 min/mi pace. I was quite pleased with that - now if I can only keep that up on marathon day! Overall, it was an excellent day - cool course, very well organized race, and good weather in the end. (Far better than last year's hail and sleet conditions! I didn't go then, but heard lots from other runners.)
The next few weekends will include longer runs, and then a short taper, and then a month from today the marathon will be here. I'm very excited that Dannielle and her boys will be here from California to help cheer me on! And good luck to Laura who is running in the Rome Marathon this weeked!!!
Thanks again for your continued support!
4 March 2008
This weekend I'll be running a half marathon at Silverstone race track, home of the British Grand Prix. It's going to be a bit of a pain to get there, but I couldn't not do a race there. My father would never forgive me! (We used to autocross together, albeit at much faster speeds than I'll be going this weekend!) I expect it will be a fun and different kind of half marathon experience than I've had before.
As far as my honorees, mostly good news on that front. Pat has stayed healthy, though sometimes stress makes his glucose numbers a bit high and the past few weeks have been very stressful thesis weeks. But he's managing well and doing a good job keeping the numbers under control. Katherine (in picture with husband Stacy) has been really healthy this winter (always a challenging time) and is about to start using a pump to help monitor her diabetes, so please send her some good vibes as she makes this next health care adjustment. (Though so far we've all heard very positive things about the pump.) My friend Laura (not diabetic but still an inspiration) will require surgery to remove malignant lymph nodes - after she returns home from running the Rome Marathon. The good news is that the cancer has not spread, so no chemo, but still please keep her in your thoughts.
Katie, the daughter of a work friend, is a Type 2 diabetic and is my latest honoree. If you have anyone else with diabetes that you'd like me to dedicate my efforts on April 13 to, please let me know. Their names may get inked on my arms and/or legs on race day.
Thanks for all your continued support!
18 February 2008
THANK YOU for all the birthday donations! What a perfect birthday present! Pat and I are very, very grateful.
The training is going well, and I've been training harder for this race than I have for just about any other single marathon than I have trained for before. My new favorite cross training is playing soccer (football over here). I've always enjoyed soccer, but haven't played for ages. I picked it up again when I learned of a staff vs. young people football game recently. One of my fellow managers decided to invite all the male staff to play, and blatantly did not invite female staff to play. You can imagine how well that went down with me. Pat and I started to practice, and I realized how good it is to make me sprint. (I tend to go one pace most of the time and not push myself as much as I could.) Anyway...the game was last week, but I barely got to play as one of my team members unfortunately broke his ankle (badly) as we were warming up! (Too bad it wasn't the sexist pig manager!) There's meant to be a rematch in March, so I'll let you know how that goes. In the meantime, the practice serves as my speed workouts, and I'm up to half marathons on my distance runs.
In other news, Laura's cancer has not spread, so that is excellent news. She's coming through London and I get almost a full day with her before she heads off to Rome to run her race - YAY! And Dannielle and John (and John's friend Angel) are coming to London in April to watch my race. So it's all getting very exciting!
THANK YOU SO MUCH for all your support!
26 January 2008
Around this time 10 years ago, I met Karen and Laura, two women who inspired me to take on the challenge of running marathons and raising money for charity. Karen (on the right) was at an info night for the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society's Team in Training (TNT) program. She gave a speech about her own experience with cancer that was so powerful and so moving that my friend and I signed up on the spot to run our first marathons and raise money for the society. Karen became my first "honoree" and, happily, also a friend.
Through TNT, I also met Laura (on the left), who had fought off Hodgkin's Disease as a teenager. Laura was running her second marathon at the same race where I ran my first, despite the fact that she was battling breast cancer at the time - a cancer likely caused by the radiation treatment she had as a teenager. Laura is truly one of the best cheerleaders ever. I have been so grateful for her pre-race hugs and calm confidence. She even came to Canada to cheer on the IronTeam! She has continually inspired others in TNT for years, and recently signed up to run in the Rome Marathon in March, her first marathon since 1999 when she ran in Anchorage, Alaska.
Laura and I have been trying to coordinate seeing each other - either in London or Rome - around the time for her race, so it wasn't a surprise to get an e-mail from her last night. What was a surprise was the horrible news that her e-mail contained. Her breast cancer is back. She (in typical brave Laura fashion) is still planning on running Rome, and is trying to coordinate her treatment so that she'll feel as good as she possibly can for the race, all things considered.
So...even though I'm raising money for Diabetes UK and would love for you to donate to this cause, I also want to call your attention to Laura's fundraising efforts for TNT. I probably wouldn't be doing this race if it weren't for Laura (and Karen), and she needs all the positive energy and support she can get right now. http://www.active.com/donate/tntgsf/tntgsfLWarren
There is no cure for cancer. There is no cure for diabetes. It's likely that all of us will be affected by one or both of these diseases - either directly or indirectly - during our lives. Please help us find a cure.
6 January 2008
They say it takes 21 days to form a new habit. I'm about a third of the way there. Since moving to England, I've gotten a bit lax with my workouts. First it was because of the commute, then it was recovering from the commute, then it was sheer laziness. But this past week, I've been dragging myself out of bed around 6 am to train. I used to do this all the time, but that was in California. It wasn't nearly so dark or so cold! I also didn't have quite the same motivation then. As soon as I think about Pat and Katherine's daily life-sustaining routines, I quit my moaning and get my running shoes on. Even though I've done this many times before, this time feels different. I have a renewed inspiration and want to give it all I've got.
Here's a picture of my dear friend Katherine with her husband at her most recent birthday. (I thought I could have more than one picture at a time on the site, but my computer skills seem to be lacking. Will continue to try to work on that.) She's one of my inspirations for doing this race and trying to raise as much money as possible for Diabetes UK. (Don't forget to check out her blog at: http://lifebeyondexpectation.wordpress.com/)
THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU to those who have already contributed! We are so grateful for your generosity. (Please check in reguarly for updates on my site.)
Dear Friends and Family,
On 13th April 2008, I'll be racing in the London Marathon and raising money for Diabetes UK in the hopes of getting us a few steps closer to a cure.
As many of you know, in April 2005, six months after moving to England, Pat was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. It was quite a shock to us; at the time, we didn't even know that diabetes ran in his family, not to mention that he was on the older end for getting a diagnosis of what was once known as "juvenile" diabetes.
In February 2007, my friend Katherine was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis Related Diabetes (very similar to Type 1 diabetes). Now she too is learning how to balance her insulin injections with what she eats, while still having to manage the effects of CF. (Check out her blog at: http://lifebeyondexpectation.wordpress.com/)
It pains me that these two amazing people have to face every day of their lives with this diagnosis. With every bite they take, they have to consider how it will affect their bodies. One day of running is nothing compared to a lifetime diagnosis. We are so grateful for the wonderful care Pat got after his diagnosis, and yet, there is still much more work to be done.
Can you please help find a cure? Every penny (or pence!) counts.
Donating through this site is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to sponsor me: Diabetes UK will receive your money faster and, if you are a UK taxpayer, an extra 28% in tax will be added to your gift at no cost to you. Please note that donations through this site are in British pounds. To check out the latest exchange rates, go to www.xe.com.
Thank you so much for your support!!!