Guess what arrived in the mail?

Saturday was my mom’s (60th!) birthday, and she and my brother stayed with me for the weekend, so I completely forgot to check the mail until late Sunday night.

Guess what arrived?!

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My singlet! It fits perfectly. Now the big question – will I be wearing it alone or with three layers underneath? It’s just barely warm enough for the precipitation outside to be rain instead of snow, so I’m not holding out hope for a nice, warm, sunny day on April 19. Less than three weeks left to train and hit my $750 goal!

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Little by little

Any professional fundraiser will tell you that you should utilize social media channels in your efforts, but let’s not forget about the power of an email. And people in public relations, like myself, will tell you that a story is more powerful that straight facts.

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Riley (right) and her sister.

On Sunday, March 16, I emailed about 25 family members and friends. I told them the story of Riley and how much she and her family have impacted my life. I knew when I started working here that I would fall in love with the mission, but I was worried that I wouldn’t have as much patient interaction as I did when I worked as a writer for a health care system in Florida – where I interviewed probably four patients a week, managed photo shoots with them, and even nominated one for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. I developed such positive relationships with these people – without crossing any boundaries of course (I declined their Facebook friend requests and kept all my social media channels totally private back then). Here, my role is different but fortunately I still get to meet some amazing patients and their families.

Riley’s story might be sad to some, but to me, it’s inspiring and hopeful. Apparently I made a few people cry, but that wasn’t my goal. I wanted everyone to understand WHY I’m running 3.1 miserable miles on April 19. I wanted everyone to understand WHY it costs money for me to have the privilege of running for Dana-Farber. I also wanted everyone to understand that I’m not asking for money – I’m encouraging you to donate to Dana-Farber in honor of my run next month.

Every hour that ticked by on Sunday after I sent the email made me nervous – no donations were coming in. But by early evening, they started to trickle in. By lunchtime on Monday, I met my $500 goal. I’m now at $620 and decided to raise my goal to $750. I’m confident I can hit it because there’s almost a month left.

Ready ready ready, ready to run

Thank you, Dixie Chicks. Every time I put in my earbuds and lace up my sneakers, “Ready to Run” gets stuck in my head.

I’ve really been slacking on updating. Life has been busy, hectic, and downright stressful. So here’s how my running has been going.

Monday’s run was on the treadmill and it was unpleasant. It’s crazy to me that running on the treadmill hurts more than running on pavement, but I read that because shin splints are caused by heel strike, and you can’t really lean forward that well on a treadmill, it makes them worse. I have to make a conscious effort to lean forward when I run outside but when I do, it makes a world of a difference. I did abs afterward, and they were still sore two days later!

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Tuesday was elliptical. Wednesday was another run day. I debated going to the gym because it was really cold outside, but I decided I’d rather be cold than in extra pain. It was the longest run intervals I’ve done thus far, and I really impressed myself with how good and capable I felt.

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I couldn’t work out on Thursday – Florida played at 4:15 p.m. so I went straight from work to the bar to watch with all my fellow alumni. Friday was one of the hardest days of work in a long time. I ended up working a 10-hour day, and then came home and worked for another four hours or so. I rewarded myself with a glass-and-a-half of wine for dinner. So, no running.

Saturday’s run was awesome. Of course, I’m paying for it now but the two 8-minute runs felt absolutely exhilarating.

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I’m experiencing a new pain. Well, not new, but my shin splint pain is more in my inside upper ankles. I think I might be wearing my compression sleeves too high, and not providing my ankles enough support.

I’m always sure to stretch after running, and have figured out that intense calf stretches are exactly what my shins need. I stand either up on a block at the gym, or on the edge of a stair at home, and let my heels fall below the edge. Oh, it feels good just thinking about that stretch!

I owe a bunch of “thank you” posts and I promise those are coming.

Thank you Kennedys, Aunt Diane and Doug!

Note: I can’t keep up with the donations from you guys! I originally started drafting this post on Sunday, and then the donations just kept pouring in, and I was so overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity that I had to take a breather from posting – but not from running! So here are the next three of many thank yous I owe everyone.1932277_623049851778_1442254999_n

The Kennedys are one of America’s most beloved families, but the Kennedys of Ashland are even better! I met Julia when we were freshmen in high school, and we’ve been friends ever since. Drew also went to high school with us, but we didn’t find out how cool he was till maybe junior year or so. They got married in 2007 and have two of the most adorable children on the planet. The daughter’s middle name is Karen, in honor of Drew’s mom, who passed away from brain cancer in 2011. Karen was one of the cool moms – she put up with a LOT from us kids when we’d camp out in her basement for hours on end.

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I’ll be thinking of Karen as I run on April 21, and I hope you guys can make it out to Boston to watch my sweat my rear off. Thanks Julia, Drew, and family!

549485_10100832815672601_2002034841_nThis Saturday, my Aunt Diane is shaving her head for – you guessed it – children’s cancer research. She’s a breast cancer survivor and a social worker who has turned her experience with cancer into support for others. Running ain’t no thang, but shaving your head as a woman is insanely brave! Please consider supporting her, too. Thank Aunt Diane!

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Isn’t that little guy adorbs? He’s my long-distance boyfriend, Tyler. Also known as the son of my former co-worker Doug. I worked with Doug at the college before I started my job here, and he, Karolina and our boss Nancy made the job not suck a lot less. I think Doug liked me mostly because I came bearing Game of Thrones episodes every Monday morning, and also because I actually knew how to do my job, unlike my predecessor and my first replacement after I left. Doug is one of the hardest working people I know, and he made a really cute kid, so he’s A-OK in my book. Thanks Douglas!

So many thank yous

Yesterday, I got three MORE donations from family members/family friends.

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My mom’s cousin – my second cousin – Linda made a donation in honor of her husband. Frank has been fighting bladder cancer for two years. Bladder cancer has a high recurrence rate, and that’s one of the reasons that one of my events, the Northeast Classic, supports genitourinary cancers research. Thank you Linda, and fight on Frank!

I don’t have a photo of Jeanne, but she’s a dear friend of our family. She lives in the same complex as my mom, and she always comes over to say hi when I’m visiting. It’s because of people like Jeanne that I know my mom has great people watching out for her while I’m 150 miles away.

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Jeanne just lost her granddaughter, Lindsey, this past October. Lindsey fought a long and courageous battle but eventually, the cancer won as it so often does. No one should have to deal with cancer, but Lindsey was younger than me – a mere 26 years old. A quick Google search of her name will show you just how much she was loved – there are dozens of articles about the teacher taken too soon. Thank you Jeanne!

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My Aunt Lori is my godmother. She’s my mom’s only sister, and I spent many long weekends and school vacations with Aunt Lori’s family. Her daughter, my cousin Jill, and I got into way more mischief than two little girls ever should, and she usually let us get away with it without telling my mom. Usually. She moved to North Carolina several years ago so we don’t see her as often anymore, but she’s always willing to support me in whatever I’m passionate about. She donated in memory of my Grandpa, her dad, who passed away in 1991. He dealt with the effects of lung cancer for a long time – working around asbestos before we knew how dangerous they were. I miss my Grandpa every day and am proud to honor him on April 19. Thank you Aunt Lori!

5-minute runs are better than none

I’ve been a real slacker this week. I haven’t post anything actual related to running since Sunday, and I’ve only run twice since then.

The time change always kills me. It doesn’t help that I’ve been insanely busy at work.

Tuesday was absolutely lovely, and it was the only day I exercised. I got home from work with plenty of daylight still left (the ‘pro’ side of losing an hour of sleep) and went for a run.

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It was a really nice run except for the fact that I took a different route and had no idea the sidewalk ended, so I was running on a curvy, wet road for a while. Not exactly ideal for a beginner, but I lived to tell the tale. I covered a total of 2.85 mi with an average pace of 13:30/mi. My app has me running for 5 minutes at a time and I actually didn’t want to kill myself for those 5 minutes.

But this morning, the run was exactly the same interval-wise, and I DID want to kill myself during those 5-minute runs. I’m sure not running (or any other exercise for that matter) since Tuesday played a part as did the insane wind blowing against me for most of the run, but my shins hurt a lot and by the end, my knees and ankles did, too. So I was slower, and actually even paused the app to walk a little longer in the middle. But I did it, and never quit. I only covered 2.77 mi and my average pace was 13:48/mi. Not exactly something to be proud of, but at least I got moving.

How coincidental that the day I reached the halfway point of my 5K training is also the day I surpassed the halfway mark toward my fundraising goal?! Thanks everyone!

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To answer your question, 5K Runner app – yes, I am glad I decided to change my life.

Thank you, Mama!

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My mom is better than your mom in a lot of ways – most recently because she just got me past 50% of my fundraising goal. My mom is the strongest, most inspiring person in my life. This woman literally sat through hundreds of hours of cheerleading competitions on hard, uncomfortable bleachers despite all of her pain, and she did it all for me. Every time I tell her how much it breaks my heart to see her in pain or think about all the health crap she’s put up with since the day she was born, she reminds me that it could always be worse. That’s my mom!

Thanks Mom!

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