nike women’s marathon 2009 October 19, 2009
you can just feeeeeeel the excitement at the starting line of the nike women’s marathon… 20,000+ women all lined up to race for a cure (and the blue tiffany boxes at the finish line) – it’s a race like no other. this was my fourth year and i loved every minute of it!
here’s our little part of “team hawaii” at the starting line, shivering even in our excitement, just waiting for the countdown to begin… (sorry, you might want to turn down the volume! oops!)
karlee and i got our new ipods engraved with “run like a girl!” at the expo… we ran together (you guessed it, like girls!) til the full/half marathon split at mile 11. it was bittersweet knowing that i was just a couple of miles from the finish but that karlee still had another half marathon to go! maybe next year i’ll try to keep her company for the full!
but i knew that she was in good hands with coaches julie & mike. these two are amazing – they ran with us from the big hill at mile 6 all the way to the end!
i can say for certain that i wouldn’t have been able to run the whole thing without the coaches and leah and karlee running with me. julie truly finds the “yay!” in anything – a dog, the sky, a house, whatever – and it’s contagious. even when there were times that i thought about walking, especially on the hills, i looked around at the other four and just knew i couldn’t stop.
leah, karlee and i at mile 10 before the long downhill to golden gate park
after we left karlee at the split, mike, leah and i continued on through the park to the half marathon finish. we still had lots of energy left so at the final stretch mike turned back to catch up with other team members while leah and i sprinted to the finish. it was the best feeling knowing that we’d really run the whole thing! i’ve always done walk/run intervals for distances, but this season the team really helped me to get to the point where i was able to just keep running, even up those famous hills! i’m so proud of our team!!
when most of the half marathoners were in, we all started taking care of business – getting changed, icing aching knees or joints, and of course putting on our finisher’s shirts and “run like a girl!” pendants from tiffany’s. i was too focused on making it through the line so we missed getting a finish line photo with one of the tuxedo-ed firemen.
…. so of course i snagged one as he was walking by and asked if he’d take a photo with our group. he was nice enough to say yes, but then he got stuck with a line of other women asking for pictures too! haha. oops!
when it was time to head back to the finish line to watch for karlee to finish, marisa and leah came with me and waited it out in the chilly san francisco air. the weather was actually rather warm this year, but with the breeze coming off the bay, it does get cold once you stop running! we danced around in the music at the finish and watched as the runners came in. there was even a marriage proposal! and a few minutes later, in came karlee with mike and julie on either side! wooo hoooo, the whole team made it!
everyone did such a great job this entire season! the race raised over $14 million for the leukemia society (over $92 miles total in the past 6 years)… i’ll be back next year for sure!
thanks again for all your support this year… next up is honolulu marathon – less than 2 months to go! i’m just $550 away from my goal of $4,000 for the season, so if you’d like to help by making a donation feel free to do so here! And if you’d like to see all of the pictures from the trip, click here. =)
leaving on a jet plane October 16, 2009
this is it! in a couple of hours i’ll be boarding a plane for san francisco! this week i bought the new ipod nano (with video!) so that i can take it along to the race sunday. i’m still learning how to work it, and forgive my sweatiness in the video below, but hopefully this will give you a little glimpse into the excitement of what it’s like to be a part of this race.
today i look back on the last few months and how far we’ve come together! your donations raised over $3,400 so far for the leukemia society and hopefully by the time honolulu marathon rolls around in december we’ll be over the $4,000 mark! it’s amazing how many people have shown support this year, knowing the challenges we’ve all had to face with the economy. but i keep reminding myself that cancer doesn’t stop in a recession. people are being diagnosed daily, going through chemo daily, undergoing stem cell transplants, and fighting their way back to health… i can’t say how thankful i am that so many people have joined with me this year to help raise money for this cause. your support means the world to me, and we are moving closer and closer to finding a cure with every dollar and every mile…
off we go… see you in san francisco!!
one week to go! October 11, 2009
last week in hawaii kai we found a box of starfruit next to someone’s mailbox on lunalilo home road. we were (ok, i was) so excited because i love starfruit! we all picked up a few and carried them back with us for the last few miles. then at the end we took silly pictures with them.
i love my team – they make the long runs fun. i must say, our coaches are awesome. they pace us well and slowly creep up the speed so we don’t even notice! haha. yesterday we had our last group long run and finished with a breakfast potluck at the end (complete with mango mimosas – yummy!)
we’ve got one week to go until san francisco, but something tells me we’re all ready and that it’s going to be a blast! this has been my favorite season yet… san francisco here we come!
john kark: post transplant October 9, 2009
GREAT NEWS!!! this is the latest from my friend john kark, after his stem cell transplant…
I got released from the hospital a little over a week ago and everything is going better than expected. The stem cell transplant went pretty smooth. The transplant itself probably only took about 40 minutes. The transplant team came into the room with a bag of frozen stem cells, thawed them out in warm water and transfused them into me. The process was very basic like receiving a bag of blood. They just hang it, wait and watch. An interesting side note is that everyone’s stem cells smell exactly like cream corn. I would smell it coming out of people’s rooms as I would walk the halls. I always loved cream corn but don’t know if I will ever eat it again.
The day of the transplant is called day zero. From day zero they want the blood counts to continue downward which eliminates the current immune system. As those counts proceed down towards zero, the new stem cells start replacing what is no longer there. The counts rise and when they reach fairly safe levels then the doctors are willing to discharge the patient.
I told my doctors that I would be discharged on Day 15 and they laughed at me and told me not to get my hopes up because I could be in there a lot longer. Only one person has ever been discharged on Day 15 and he was his own donor which presents much fewer complications than my transplant.
I had good and bad days after the transplant. When my counts dropped I contracted mucositis in my throat which is an extreme inflation that makes it impossible to eat and difficult to even drink water or talk. They had to switch all of my medications from pill form to IV or liquid. I had a suction tube attached to my bed for when I would wake up in the night because it was hard to breathe, I would stick the tube down my throat to clear the passage. As bad as that sucked, no pun intended, I would always remember the smell of cream corn coming out of the other rooms and know how rough some of those people had it. Someone always has it worse than you.
I was lucky because I was younger and went into the hospital strong and in good shape except for the whole Leukemia thing. The extra weight that I put on right before going in for the transplant helped too. I was committed to staying active on a daily basis walking a mile around the chemo ward every morning and hitting the bike sometimes at night. I tied power bands to a body crain that hung above the bed and created a makeshift home gym to do a full body workout and preserve what little muscle mass I had left. I am a firm believer that when you feel bad the best thing that you can do is change your physiology by getting active. It works. I did not get released on Day 15 but did get my walking papers on Day 19 which was more than acceptable.
So now I have just been taking a lot of meds, eating, sleeping and hiking with my dog. I take a pile of pills everyday to primarily prevent graft vs. host disease. I go to the hospital once a week for tests and have a home nurse that comes and takes blood during the week. I just had my pic line removed from my arm on Tuesday. Now I can lift real weights and start hitting the bags to rebuild what I lost. They said the next 100 days are the “critical days” that will show whether the transplant is a success. I expect it to be. Time for the comeback.
I want to thank everyone for your positive thoughts. They are obviously working.
Ward Centers Festival of Giving 11/6-11/8 October 6, 2009
The “Give 5, Take 5, Send 5” email put me way over in my fundraising goal, so I’ve actually decided to participate in a second event with TNT this season – the Honolulu Marathon! After injuring my knee in 2007, I said I wouldn’t do another full marathon, but I’m so encouraged by all of your support and the way that training has gone this year that I took the plunge and signed up. I’m only about $500 away from my new goal of $4,000 now! The Honolulu Marathon takes place on Sunday December 13, 2009 so wish me luck!
For those of you living on Oahu, I’m doing a fundraiser with Ward Centers called Festival of Giving. It’s $10 for a weekend savings pass that you can use as many times as you like for the weekend of November 6-8. It’s the perfect time to get a headstart on your holiday shopping! There are lots of shopping and dining offers, and you can see the full list here. Most of you probably know, but I work at Red Pineapple in Ward Center near Borders and our store is offering 10% off on all food items, including Dean & Deluca products, with the savings pass. All $10 of your savings pass purchase goes directly to the Leukemia Society! PLUS, if you show $150 of Ward Center shopping and dining receipts with your pass, you’ll receive a $10 gift certificate, so it pays for itself when you use it!
If you’d like to purchase a savings pass or have friends, family, or coworkers who would, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get them to you ASAP!