Sunday, March 29, 2009

Team In Training Week Eight

Week eight had us all meeting at the Great Northern Mall back near the Regal Cinemas to do what we love, not to shop, but to run Long Slow Distance.
I started out solo running for Morgan Rd. and soon found myself running with Joel and Charlie, then Maureen and Tim. Definetly a good group of people. While chatting with Tim, I discovered that he had run the Disney Marathon this past January. Although disappointed in his final time, he ought to be proud that he finished. He told me that they started busing runners to the starting line at 3AM and by the time the race was over the temperature rose above 70 degrees. Runners of Syracuse are not comfortable in January with such temps. Give us 20 degrees with some snow and ice on the road; at least make us feel comfortable.
As we approached the first water stop, I was alone again. I chose to keep running while Tim, Joel, Charlie, and Maureen stopped. Stopping was probably the wise choice, but I plodded along. The road got whindy and hilly after that first water stop. I passed under a large oak tree and could hear the pecking of a woodpecker; I could not spot him. Soon after, as I approached the Pirates Cove sign, I heard fast approaching footsteps, it was Joel. I couldn't believe he caught up to me. It was good to have company again. Having a running-mate makes a huge difference. Its a check of the will to stay the course. It keeps the mind saying, "If he can do it, so can I."
Right below 481 we stopped for some Gatorade and chatted with Liz who had volunteered for the water stop. I asked her about the gels and agreed to try one for the final dash upon my return from the 14 mile turn around. Joel and I made it to the turn around and looked forward to stopping at Liz's water stop again to refuel for the road ahead until the reaching the original water stop. At the stop, I choked down the vanilla gel with two cups of water; Joel had some Gatorade and we were on our way passing a contingent of runners (Tim, Kristen, Erica, and Cooch) heading for the turn around.
Passsing others in our group is uplifting. We are all in this boat together. As we pass eachother or catch up on a straight-away, the exchange of a smile, a wave of a hand, or just an encouraging word truly does transcend the discomfort of running longer distances. I wonder if that is how the people with blood cancer feel as they struggle, daily, with their affliction. Somedays the long road ahead seems too daunting, but a kind word from a friend or relative gets them through just as their reassurances of feeling better can make a difference for the loved one caring for them, hoping for the best. It is true that we are all in the same boat.
Whether we are running to raise funds and awareness for the LLS, donating our time and/or money, or the face of a disaese, we are all on the same team. Whoever donates to LLS in support of my run is joining the team. You run this marathon with me. Who knows what the future may hold? Your donation could be the difference maker. Your donation could help someone you know who has yet to be diagnosed since many people with blood cancer are diagnosed in their 40's like Jane Spellman.
Please visit my Leukemia & Lymphoma Society donation page at: Make your donation to join my run in honor of jane Spellman and all the people with blood cancer. I will do my best to achieve my goals, to raise the $4,400 and to finish the 26.2 miles. Your support increases my responsibility to do waht I promised. I will not fail you.
As Joel and I reached the ten mile mark, he reminded me of the hobbit Sam who told Frodo as he took one step beyond the Shire, that this step is the farthest he has gone. Joel achieved ten plus miles and completed the 14 he set out to do. He had run the farthest he had ever run. I was glad to be there for his milestone run. While accomplishing this run, we discussed how running allows you to switch into many gears, some high and others low. His gear was in "first" as we approached the final, and first, waterstop, that Mary Beth volunteered to manage. I remember Megan being there also with Carrie, but I couldn't tell for sure because of the "shades". It was a great day for sun glasses. I have got to get sun glasses for summer running. I should probbaly also wear some sunscreen, too.
Well, like all good runs, they must come to an end. This run ended at the Great Northern Mall just where it began. I received an extra jolt of energy once I spotted the "Enter" sign off Morgan Rd. I picked up my pace for a strong finish and even had my photo taken by Missy as I reached the parking lot.
See you all on the road.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Team In Training Week Seven

I must apologize to my loyal readers for posting five days later following our Saturday TNT run at Green Lakes State Park. What a beautiful place to run.
This week the plan was to run 12 miles, 5 inside the park along the hills overlooking the park. Let me tell you, those 2 hills are big, and we ran them twice once in each direction. However, I ran them 2.5 times because I did not pay attention and turned around early only to be sent back by our coach as I cruised on the downside of Hill number one. It is when I run up hills that my mind says, "Why are you doing this. It isn't any fun." I can only send the negative waves back by dreaming of the down hill awaiting me.

I love running down hills for several reason: 1) It gives my legs a rest, 2) It allows me to catch my breath, 3) It helps make up time after plodding up hill and almost dying. When i first starting to run, no matter the elevation, it was like running up hill. I always thought I was going to hit a wall. Yet I ran through it and persevered on to the next mile looking for the next landmark or hoping to return to my car for an iced cold, green Gatorade. Now, after almost a full year of running outside, I am able to run longer and, sometimes, faster than I had ever thought to accomplish. The Team In Training has made it easier to run longer since there is usually some one to run with like running with my good friends of the Lake Effect Run Club.

So as I think about those long and "boring miles" or those "torturous" short races I think about Jane Spellman and the people who suffer from blood cancer. There are times, I am sure, when they feel as though they are running up hill or running on empty ready to drop, but they reach deep inside for that little extra to smile and assure their friends and family its going to be ok. During these trials of life we discover many things, who are the true heroes, who are our supporters, and who needs a lift.

The true heroes are those among us who ignore the pain to put others at ease; the true heroes are those who persevere to the end knowing that its important to fight on, to finish the race because its only by finishing that we finally understand what was accomplished; the true heroes are those who suffer silently and/or who sacrifice themselves for others. I recently received an email from a colleague who shared her sisters story with me. Her sister, like Jane, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Although her sister died a year after diagnosis, she recalled how her sister always smiled and sought to make her visitors comfortable. it was only at night when she could hear her sisters tears. That is a hero. That is for whom I run.
So, if you are able, visit my donation page for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and support my marathon run for Jane Spellman: No donation is too small and will make a difference in the life of a hero, if not today then tomorrow.
On a lighter note, I took the opportunity to try to discover answers to our TNT question list. This is a kist of questions submitted by the runners regarding unique things about themselves. The winner who turned in the most completed list, and with the most correct answers wins a massage from The Spa at 500. I did not turn in a sheet because I only knew two answers, my question and my mentor Tim's question. I asked two others about their question while running beside them, Joel and Celia, and discovered they hadn't submitted any questions. Stymied! Onward and upward. They turned around at the 6 mile turn around and I continued on alone. No one to ask questions of until the water stop on my return to the park.
At this water stop near the canal park, I bumped into a former colleague who volunteered to man the stop. Kevin Conboy, I worked with his aunt and swapped sales positions, kind of, at Abbott Laboratories. Well, feeling exhausted he and another volunteer (I forgot his name, sorry) offered me Gatorade and a trip down memory lane. It was a nice trip. I vented, laughed, and gained a few updates on his aunt/family. It was just enough to get me through to the end. We couldn't do it without the water stops nor the fine folks who volunteer to work them.
Great run. I can't wait for week eight. See you on the road.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Team In Training Week Six

Week six's training run presented ten miles, friendly faces, hills, sights, and aromas of all sorts.
It all began early in the morning, waking up at 6am and driving out to Cazenovia where a nice couple opened their house to us runners for a morning gathering and refreshments following the run. The drive out to Stone Quarry Rd was interesting because the side street where we were meeting did not appear on my GPS. I had to wing it. Thankfully, I saw the Team In Training signs directing us where to go.
Upon arrival, runner's cars lined the street and at least 60 running shoes lay on the entrance floor of the home. I wish I had my camera phone; it would have been a terrific picture to post. I removed my shoes like everyone else, but, as dressing in the dark is always trouble, I had a whole in my sock. The luck of the Irish always falls my why. My big toe poked out screaming, "Hey, how you guys doin." Nevertheless, I survived my embarrassment, said my hellos, and visited the restroom before hitting the road.
As usual, I ran with Charlie and Joel. We agreed, like many others to run ten miles today. The conversation was good. I discovered, at the turn around point that I am one of the few runners who like Sarah Palin. The turnaround point was marked by a Cazenovia resident's mailbox with a picture of Mrs. Palin wrapped in an American flag. It was awesome. I wish, once again, I had my camera phone. I love Sarah Palin. She undestands what it means to be an underdog. She communicated with the American public through an anti-American media that doesn't believe that Americans can overcome adversity. But the media is wrong. We can overcome adversity.
I must overcome the resistance among friends and family who will not support my run. Who believe what I am doing is a "waste of time." I must find ways, therefore, to raise awareness and funds to benefit those who fight adversity everyday, the people who suffer from blood cancer like Jane Spellman for whom I run. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and my buddy Tom have given me an opportunity to step out of my comfort zone to help others by running. I really don't know what that means yet. However, previous Team In Training runners tell me about it often. "It all comes together at the end," they say.
While we ran, we crossed brooks, streams, and a water fall. We ran up and down many rolling hills. We even persevered breathing morning air saturated with the odor of cow manure. But, as the modern philosopher George Costanza opined after stepping into a pile, "Manure is not so bad. It has a 'ma' and 'newer'. " I chuckled remembering that episode of Seinfeld and ran on.
Joel, Charlie, and I ran past a wood mill, corn fields, and a dairy farm. The cows, covered in mud, stood ignorantly starring at us as we ran by. I couldn't resist. I called out, "Moo cow." A "black and white" just looked back silently. I knew the cow wanted me to finish strong; I could sense it. The cow had my back.
We stopped at the second water station for a couple small cups of Gatorade to replenish our lost electrolytes not to be used again. Met two ladies there who gave us refreshment, a smile, and hope for the future. we would see and hear them again as they wrapped up their station and drove by us with a friendly HONK. We reached the Sarah Palin mailbox, paid our respects or disrespects and turned around for home. The second water stop brought us to the lord of the manor who opened his home for us and now served us Gatorade. I cannot say enough about the Team In Training volunteers and the ladies from LLS, Maura and Maureen. They are always available and always helpful. Thank you for being there. Nothing can happen without you guys and gals.
We eventually made it back although the back side of the rolling hills were longer and steeper than they were on the front side.
I hope this latest update on my Saturday training run has been a good one. Please use the link below to support my run and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I am reminded of a country and western song which held out the message none of us should wait for others to do what ought to be done now. If you feel compelled to support LLS, please visit my donation page. No donation is too small and all are appreciated. I will not forget you as I train. It only strengthens my resolve to fulfill my commitment to you who supported me. Jane and the Belinsky family, especially thank all of you who have supported us and who will in the future. We are 25% of the way to our goal of $4,500. The secure donation site is:
See you on the road.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Week Five w/Team In Training

This weekend the Team In Training ran a training race taking advantage of the Tipperary Hill Shamrock Run.

The Shamrock Run is a 4 mile road race in its 4th year. It has grown every year and reached a new high for runners. I believe 2200 runners were registered and 1997 runners actually ran and completed the race.

The Shamrock Run is only 4 miles and would seem like a walk in Burnet Park if it wasn't for the torturous hills. Two huge hills are traversed with in the first 2 miles of the race and, although hard to climb, they allow you to pick up speed and gain some composure before the last gradual and most devastating of hill on Coleridge Ave. leading back to Burnet Park and eventually the finish line.

I started out running within the 7 min/mile group with a friend who run quick; I hoped to stick with her ensuring a great finish, but I couldn't keep up as we completed the first mile, and she was gone. Kim finished the race in under 30 minutes. As I drifted away running down Burnet Park Drive, I caught up to another speedy friend who had gone out too quick. That is the only way I could catch her. We stuck together for about a mile, chatting and listening to the many bands rocking out to Hendrix. As we turned onto Hamilton St., the two nib hills stood before. I let her know that on the second hill I would take off on the decline and gather speed entering the last long gradual hill. I lost Tiffany, she finished well at 32:34. I thank Tiffany for being with me as we approached mile 2 since she has a competitive espree that rubbed off on me.

As I ran past St. Patrick's Church there was a water stopped which I ran by; in hindsight I should have stopped and a a cup of water. I continued to N. Wilbur passing Nibsy's Pub and a contingent of Syracuse Firemen. Then I cut across Tompkins and up S. Lowell passing Coleman's Pub were the gradual hill of death begins its ascent to Coleridge and into Burnet Park for one last loop before crossing the finish line.

I really do not remember much of Coleridge except the desire to either die or walk. I could not quit now. I committed myself to finish well. I slowed the pace and made back to the starting line, which ended the agony of Coleridge hill and swung into the park. I actually grabbed the stop sign pole and allowed momentum to pull me into the park. It begins uphill, then down, then up again passing the Rosamond Gifford Zoo and flattens out before the finish line, It was at that moment I sprinted, passing a several runners and crossed the line at 31:21.

It was over. I could not breathe. I wanted to vomit, but in good form, I had nothing to lose. I drank water, to no avail. I still felt awful. Thank God for G2. That hit the spot and brought me to recovery. I chatted with some friend from TNT, Joel; he ran under 35 minutes. Took a pic with Eileen and Mary Ellen; said hello to Ray and Bob; finally found Erin, who finished in 37:54 beating her goal of 39 minutes and Kristen, who finished 35:56, and Kim who introduced me to Pam. I even found my wife and daughter at the races end. It was a great experience. I can't wait to do it all over again.

The Team in Training had a fantastic turnout and outstanding performance. The Shamrock Run is our first race for us, setting us ever closer to our goal of running a marathon for heroes, the people with blood cancer. For me, this was my first race for Jane Spellman. I was able to compete well enough to finish in the top 350 runners. I beat my goal time by 5 minutes. I ran at my best pace ever at 7:51 min/mile. However, I must always remember why I run. It is to raise awareness and funds for people like Jane. It is for them. Any donation can help researchers find a cure now or in the future so we do not have to run anymore. So, please visit my donation page and make a secure donation at:

To cap the weekend off, we ran just over 13 miles this fine Sunday morning at 11am in Baldwinsville. Since the Team In Training did not have a long run on Saturday, Mark and I ran 13. He needs to prepare for the Knoxville half, and his suggestion to run beyond 9 inspired me to continue my preparation for the Team In Training marathon. I ran those extra miles with Jane and all our sponsors/supporters in mind; all of whom I cannot let down. Thank you for all of your support. I do appreciate it and hope we all cross the finish together.

Thank you for reading my progress toward raising funds and awareness for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with Team In Training. See you on the road.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Another Reason to Support LLS

Little girl fighting rare and deadly leukemia needs your help

Wednesday, March 4th 2009, 2:04 AM
Jasmina Anema must get bone marrow soon to survive.
'Everything became surreal because she's always been so healthy and so wonderful,' said Theodora Anema, Jasmina's mother.
Jasmina was diagnosed with NK cell Leukemia on Jan. 20.
Jasmina Anema turns 6 years old Wednesday, and the birthday party planned for her - with a fashion show, cake and an appearance by singer Kelly Rowland - is a dream come true.
But the celebration could be Jasmina's last.

The bubbly Greenwich Village kindergartner is suffering from a rare and especially fatal form of leukemia that doctors fear will take her life within two months unless she receives a bone-marrow transplant.
Jasmina's family - and celebrities like Rihanna and NBA star Paul Pierce, who were touched by her plight - hope a donor drive Saturday will produce the match needed to save her.
"I need thousands of people to come," Jasmina's mother, Theodora Anema, said Tuesday at NYU Medical Center as her ailing child clung to her neck.

"She's the love of my life."

Jasmina's life was turned upside down on Jan. 20 when a doctor informed her she was suffering from NK cell Leukemia.
The news was crushing. Anema had no idea the minor infection on her daughter's toe was a sign of something so sinister.

"Everything became surreal because she's always been so healthy and so wonderful," said Anema, a fashion designer and single mom.

Suddenly, Jasmina was in a fight for her life.

Daily bouts of radiation and chemotherapy began and quickly took their toll.

Her long locks are now gone. Her mouth is riddled with sores, sometimes so painful she cannot speak. And her immune system has become dangerously weakened.

Worse still, Jasmina's leukemia is proving especially difficult to treat.

"The leukemia is growing faster than the chemo can kill it," Anema said.

Even before the start of her daughter's treatment, Anema knew the battle would be fierce.
Because Jasmina is adopted and has no sibling, finding a donor match - which would most likely come from an African- American - is especially difficult.

Further complicating the search is that African-Americans are underrepresented in the national donor network and their DNA tends to be more varied.

"It's one in a million," Anema said. "We really need the African-American community to step up."

Some big names have already joined the cause.

Moved by a video a family friend made, pop sensation Rihanna has made a public plea for people to sign up as bone- marrow donors - done with a simple cheek swab.
Pierce and fellow NBA star Christopher Wilcox also have also helped get the word out.
Still, a match has yet to be found. For Anema, the waiting and worrying is something she says no one should ever endure.

"I don't want anyone in this world to ever have to wait for a bone-marrow donor, or even to have the uncertainty of finding someone," Anema said. "It's the worst situation to be in."

Jasmina's donor drive will be held Saturday at Public School 41 (116 W. 11th St.) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, contact DKMS, a nonpprofit marrow donor center: (866)-340-3567.