Thank You, Julianna, Aunt Lori and Uncle Larry!

The offer of a dozen homemade cookies proved too enticing for three of my generous supporters. I raised $305 in 24 hours – my best day yet aside from one $1,000 donation last month.

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Juliana, MacKenzie, Kathryn, me, and Cathleen at a Dana-Farber Communications Department summer outing

Julianna was one of my favorite people at Dana-Farber, until she abandoned us to go back to Syracuse. Just kidding about the abandonment part, kinda. I was so sad about her departure that we said our goodbyes a day early, before it felt really real. Her last day was the day I was moving into my first Boston apartment from the ‘burbs in Woburn, so we spared the tears. I’m so lucky to have known her and I would not be upset if she just happened to visit Boston on say, I don’t know, April 17th or so… HINT HINT! Julianna is the one who got me to the $2,000 milestone and I am so grateful. Thank you, Julianna! Continue reading

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14 Miles…If They All Count

I’m not feeling as proud of my new longest run – 14 miles – because I followed a run/walk protocol for the entire run. As I mentioned in earlier posts, I was incredibly tight all week. I also really aggravated my hamstring at some point. It was likely on Friday night, when I unknowingly chose a broken Arc Trainer at the gym that wouldn’t incline, so I upped the resistance to make up for it but it was really bothering my hamstring. Finally someone finished on another machine, so I hopped on and immediately noticed relief in my hamstring, but the damage was done. I was going to do three days in a row of the Arc to make up for not running all weekend, but my hamstring was hurting so much on Saturday morning that I knew I just needed to rest it.

I’m proud to say I foam-rolled every single day last week! I’ve never done that in my life. It’s definitely working because I’m finally at the point where rolling no longer hurts. I would say my IT bands are the most sensitive, but they are no longer in pain when I roll. Continue reading

In Memory of Tatyana

I am so honored to announce that I am running the Boston Marathon in memory of Tatyana Abrams, who was a patient at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children’s Hospital. She passed away 2 years ago today, while the rest of us were complaining about digging out from 2+ feet of snow. Let that sink in for some perspective.

Tatyana’s family and I were matched through the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge In-Memory Program. I applied back in November, knowing many of my teammates were applying as well. When I found out I had been matched, I couldn’t email Tatyana’s mom fast enough to tell her how I honored I was and how I couldn’t wait to meet her family and learn more about Tatyana.

I emailed her mom today to check in and let her know I was looking forward to the In-Memory Dinner on February 9. I had no idea that today was the anniversary of Tatyana’s passing. Apparently, my email arrived in her inbox the moment she finished watching this video, which I am sharing with her permission. Talk about timing…

If you watched all the way to the end, did you notice the last thing she says? “You can do it. I believe in you.” I’m going to selfishly pretend that she’s talking to me every time I doubt my ability to run these 26.2 miles in April.

Special thanks to Casey for inspiring me to apply to the In-Memory Program. She was matched with Tatyana’s family last year and has reminded me just how lucky I am to be their runner this year.

Fueling Issues Likely to Blame

I seem to have forgotten what running is, because I haven’t done it since Saturday. I felt fine immediately afterward, but as I mentioned in my earlier post, I’ve been very tight. Like, really tight. It’s not getting better. I took Monday and Tuesday off from running (and Wednesday was a cross-training day) because I’m both tight and rather sore in my left hamstring (the one I injured training for the half). I have foam rolled and used my muscle stick every day. I swam on Tuesday night – my first time doing a pool workout since 2009 when I played underwater hockey at UF. I intended to do this workout one of my teammates recommended. You warm up with 8 laps of easy freestyle, then repeat this sequence: 4 laps with a pull buoy, 4 laps with a kickboard, 4 laps of normal swim.

Except I didn’t “warm up” and just went into right into the sequence, which I did in reverse order. Literally 12 laps and I was dead. Well, OK. I could’ve gone a little bit longer but this young couple was staring at me and the other woman sharing a lane with me. It wasn’t packed but every lane had at least 2 people in it, some had 3. I was in a lane marked “slow” but I was one of the only women not wearing a swim cap (they aren’t required, so why would I? except now I think I want one), so I felt judged and uncomfortable and just wanted to get out. I was sick of them staring at me. As soon as I got out, they got in. They never asked if they could rotate in, so I’m not really sure what their problem was or if there was some pool etiquette I was missing. The woman sharing my lane was very helpful when I told her I’d never used the pool before, she showed me where I could get a kickboard and pull buoy (and how to use the pull buoy – the thing between her legs in the photo below).

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Continue reading

Thank You, Cathleen!

Despite some technical difficulties (the Dana-Farber folks have admitted the fundraising website isn’t that great, but it’s free and doesn’t take a cut of donations like GoFundMe and CrowdRise do), Cathleen is my latest donor!

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At the 2014 BAA 5K!

Cathleen was my Dana-Farber homegirl. She had already been working there for more than a year when I joined, and I knew right away that I could learn a lot from her. When we had to work late night and weekend events together, I got to know her even better and pretty soon, she was someone I considered a friend outside of work – and I have always tried hard to keep my personal and professional lives separate. Cathleen is the one who convinced me to sign up for that first BAA 5K in 2014, which we together!

Cathleen took a new job just six weeks before I did. Those six weeks were the worst of my whole time there, because “my person” was gone! It was also hard because even though I knew I was very close to leaving as well and was trying to focus on the exciting new chapter coming up, work was a lot less fun without her. Continue reading

Longest Run of My Life in the Books

I realize I’m going to be saying this pretty every weekend until the end of March, but I ran the longest/farthest run of my life on Saturday! I didn’t mean to. I meant to run 12 miles. But when I got there, my pace buddies were both talking to Coach Jack about some lower body pain, and he recommended they do run/walk intervals. They were going to run for either 3 or 4 minutes, then walk for 1. I was feeling good (or so I thought) so I wished them well and reluctantly headed out alone. Well, with about 100 other runners but “alone” in the sense that I wasn’t really chatting with anyone.

Within the first 2 miles, I wondered if I was going to be able to complete all 12. I didn’t foam roll at ALL last week. I ran a lot more than I ever have and I prioritized work and sleep and socializing over rolling and stretching. Bad idea. I also didn’t wear shin sleeves because it was a balmy 40 degrees and I didn’t want the added layer under my running tights. Also a bad idea. My legs felt rock hard, like they were stuck in concrete.

Fortunately, by Mile 3.5 when we got to the first water stop, I was feeling better. I thought, OK I’ll run to the next water stop and turn around. Except the next water stop was at Mile 6.5, not Mile 6! That meant I’d be running 13 total miles unless I walked at the end. But I was still feeling really good, minus my tight legs, so I decided to run until I couldn’t anymore. Back at water stop #1, the volunteers told us we only have 3.5 miles to go. Woohoo! I left the water stop with another girl but ended up pulling ahead. Around Mile 11, a guy passed me. Pretty soon I couldn’t see him anymore. Our route was windy (curvy windy, not blustery windy), through a beautiful set of nature preserves. I realized around Mile 11.5 that I couldn’t see anyone up ahead or behind me. I knew there were plenty of people ahead and still a lot of people behind, but there wasn’t a very long stretch of straight road in either direction, so I felt totally “alone.” No big deal. It was beautiful and peaceful. Continue reading