Tuesday, June 26, 2012

TNT in Triathlete Magazine

This morning as I was reading May's issue of Triathlete Magazine I loved seeing the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training featured second in their article titled "Selflessness Through Sport". The article said, "The largest program worldwide to pair endurance sports with fundraising is the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) Team in Training (TNT). ... To date, TNT has raised more than $1.2 billion to fund cancer research and to enhance the lives of blood cancer patients."


Please consider donating to the Leukemia and Lymphoma society by supporting my 26.2 mile marathon. One of the ways you may support my 26.2 mile run is by pledging a dollar amount for every mile.  Click HERE to donate.
$1/mile = $26.20
$2/mile = $52.40
$3/mile = $78.60
$4/mile = $104.80
$5/mile = $131.00

Thank you in advance for your support! Together we can and will find a cure.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

First TEAM Workout

Thursday night, June 21st, I arrived safely back home to Yuba City, California.  When people ask me how long I am here for, I respond with a smile, “I don’t have any plans to leave.”  It’s been almost three days since coming back and I’m still in the period of adjustment.  So many things are different; temperature (at 60 degrees I find myself bundled up and shivering), people, culture, living arrangements, food, etc.   As I was sitting in church this morning, however, I couldn’t help but smile because it feels so great to be back amongst so many loved ones!

Yesterday, Saturday June 20th, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet up with my Placer TNT Team for a joint group workout with the Sacramento TNT Team.  We met at the Nimbus Fish Hatchery and enjoyed a chilly 8 mile run along the river.  Such a stark difference between these 8 miles and 8 miles in Torreon! 
Jana, our campaign manager, is proofreading my letter.

I ran the first 7 miles by myself, but then joined up with two women named Dora and Kelsey for the remaining 1 mile.  Never did I think I’d be running below a 9 min/mile pace and be able to hold a conversation!  I love the improvement I see in my body, health, and running the more I train!

It was so fun to be able to train with about 40 other men and women all working towards the same goal... to run a marathon while raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society.  Every time I came across a team member on the trail we’d exchange a “looking good”, “go team”, or “good job”.  So inspiring!
It was nice to be able to socialize after our workout.

What was even more inspiring was hearing from a woman before our workout who shared her story with blood cancer.  She shared that after having a bone marrow transplant she was told by her doctor that she is now in remission.  Getting choked up, she continued by sharing her appreciation to us for raising funds for continued research and patient support.  She is proof that there are improvements being made and lives are being changed.

After the workout I was able to talk to Jana Greenburg our Team in Training campaign manager.  I had taken a copy of my fundraising letter to get her feedback about if there was anything I needed to add or omit.  It was so encouraging to hear her give me such positive feedback.  To read a copy of the letter you may go here: https://docs.google.com/open?id=0B1FAnBeffG0ySlVRS1ZUdk5kSlE
Jana is an awesome woman!  Go team!

Please consider donating to the Leukemia and Lymphoma society by supporting my marathon.  You may support my 26.2 mile run by pledging a dollar amount for every mile. 

  1. $1/mile = $26.20
  2. $2/mile = $52.40
  3. $3/mile = $78.60
  4. $4/mile = $104.80
  5. $5/mile = $131.00

Thank you in advance for your support!  Together we can and will find a cure.   

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Twelve in 2012 (and final in Mexico)

We are only half way through the calendar year and I’ve already reached my goal… 12 in 2012!  Sadly, however, I will not be running races every weekend once I return back to California since the cost for each race will be about six times as much as they are here in Mexico.  I will, however, still race because it is too fun not to!

Today’s 10k was only okay for me.  The first thing that was different this time around was that I didn’t eat my usual half of a granola bar with peanut butter because I didn’t have any granola bars in my pantry.  The next thing that went wrong is that I started the race way too fast to hold the pace the entire 6.2 miles.  Then, I had a side stitch about halfway through.  Finally, I was zapped of energy because I was tossing and turning the night before.

Although this was not my best 10k ever, I am still happy that I gave it all that I had.  A part of me didn’t mind taking it a little slower than normal because I wanted to enjoy every last moment of my last race in Mexico.  In a mere 4 days I will be leaving Torreon, Mexico in search of a job back home in California.  Many have asked, “Are you sad?”  The answer is that it’s bittersweet.  I am overjoyed to be going back home with loved ones, but I will miss so many things here in Torreon.

A wonderful gift from God was being able to run into Alejandro one more time before leaving Torreon.  In the final two kilometers Alejandro ran up behind me and said, “Animo California.”  Shocked I turned and saw Alejandro’s bright and smiling face.  Once we crossed the finish line he gave me a gift (his bag from the desert run he ran at the end of May) and we took one final picture together.  Some people have an everlasting impact on your life.  This is true about Alejandro.
Alejandro and I first met during the marathon in March 2012.

Now that my races here in Mexico are finished it’s time to focus my attention on my training for the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco.  I am so stoked to return to California, meet my team, and train with them for this event.  I am also really excited that this is my first race for charity.  I will be running the Nike Women’s Marathon to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  

The person I am honoring in my Leukemia and Lymphoma Society run is my Uncle Gene who has so bravely fought his battle with cancer.  He is amazingly resilient and adventurous.

Uncle Gene writes about paragliding, “The Great thing about flying is, I think that sometimes I get so high and the views are so majestic that I look up and just give thanks. From that altitude, I think there is a better chance of Him hearing me.”

Please donate to my efforts of raising lifesaving funds to fight the battle with cancer.  Together we can and will find a cure.  Please help! You may donate to my event at: http://pages.teamintraining.org/sac/nikesf12/strongwells

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Motivation

People have been asking me, "How have you done it?  What's your secret?  How do I get started?"  The answer is... you must do something you've never done before.  I wanted to be healthy, but did not want to change how I was living my life.  Once I did something I had never done before (started running) then I got the results I had never seen before (to be healthy).  If you start small and keep on keeping on through the pain, you will see results.

Check out my journey from obese couch potato 
to marathoner by clicking HERE.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Eleventh Race in 2012

As of today I have 11 days remaining in Mexico.  This morning appropriately was my 11th race in Mexico in 2012.   
There’s only one race remaining; the Father’s Day race on June 17th.  It’s such a bitter sweet feeling.  I am so overjoyed to be returning to my hometown, Yuba City, California, my family, and my friends.  I am, however, sad to be leaving Mexico because this is where I have called “home” for the last two years.  Although this may not sound like a long time to others, it is here I’ve remained the longest since first leaving my hometown in 2003.  In the past nine years I have lived in eight different locations. 

Mexico first made an imprint on my heart back in 2001 when I traveled to Tijuana on a mission’s trip.  Now Mexico has made an even greater imprint on my heart.  It is here in Mexico that I’ve healed, grown, and changed my lifestyle.  I first arrived to Torreon in August 2010 broken, lost, and unhealthy.  Now, in June 2012, I am leaving repaired, found, and healthy.  

      A huge part of me redefining my lifestyle has been finding the joy in running.  If you would have told me in March 2011 that I, Stephanie, would one day use the words “joy” and “running” in the same sentence I would have laughed and called you crazy.  Why do I love running races so much?  Hmmm… let me count the ways:  
  • 1)      The camaraderie amongst the fellow runners.  Very often runners will cheer each other on as they’re running side by side, offer to share fuel, and congratulate each other once they cross the finish line.  Just today I had a male runner who stuck with me the entire five kilometers.  In the remaining push to the end we both exchanged a glance and then began to sprint until we reached the finish line.  Once we crossed the finish line we smiled and shook hands.
  • 2)      The benefits enjoyed from running.  Although I had been going to the gym for a year, it wasn’t until I started to run that I truly began to see such a difference in my body.  My lung capacity, my weight, my heart rate, and my physique were all greatly affected.
  • 3)      The SWAG. (Thanks to Kat I just recently learned this means “stuff we all get”.)  Here in Mexico every time you finish it is very common to receive a medal, a shirt, Gatorade, juice, and fruit.  A fun event complete with SWAG and friends for about 10 USD… can’t get much better than that!
  • 4)      The ability to unleash my competitive side in a safe environment.  Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I am quite competitive.  I can make almost anything a competition.  When I run races I am competing against my previous times, my friends, and every other runner that’s around me.  It’s these competitors that keep me pushing through the heat, the thirst, the pain, the hunger, and the burning lungs.  
How long will I continue running?  As long as my body lets me.  There are just too many great races to be run to stop now.  One can always better their time, find a new challenge, run in a new location.  For this week I am choosing to remember each step I take, listen to each breath I breathe, and take in all of the remaining sights and sounds that Torreon has to offer.  (Yes, even the smog and graffiti.)

My next BIG challenge is the Nike Women's Marathon.  I’m training to run this marathon for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to raise life-saving funds to help those fighting blood cancers. Please help! You can donate to my event at: http://pages.teamintraining.org/sac/nikesf12/strongwells  
 No donation amount is too small. 

Check out my journey from obese couch potato 
to marathoner by clicking HERE.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Happy National Running Day!

Happy National Running Day! Truth be told, I would have never known about National Running Day had it not been my awesome friends at Dailymile. I love Dailymile because it allows me one spot to track my workouts, be encouraged by others, and have a sense of community with like-minded people.

Well... I suppose I better go head out for a run. It is National Running Day afterall. Here's why I run...

Why do YOU run? (Or why do you WANT to start running?)

** Don't forget to please support my fundraising efforts for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by donating. No donation amount is too small. Also, please share my page with everyone you know. Many thanks! **

Check out my journey from obese couch potato 
to marathoner by clicking HERE.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

First Half Marathon

Most people first complete a half marathon and then a marathon, but not me!  This last Sunday, June 3rd, four friends and I completed the 21k Coahuila half marathon!  We left Torreon Saturday morning via rental car and drove the three hours to Saltillo.  We checked into our hotel, picked up our race gear, and then relaxed for the remainder of the day.

The next morning I had my alarm set for 5:15am.  I got up, took a shower (I had to take a shower BEFORE the race in order to do my Spice Girl’s do), and then got all of my race gear on.  We started walking to the starting line at about 6:15am. After walking the approximately 12 blocks to the starting line, we were greeted by a sea of bright orange and green shirts.  It’s a good thing we decided to be original and dress up like the Spice Girls.  Marissa was Baby Spice, I was Scary Spice, Carissa was Posh Spice, Kat was Sporty Spice, and Taryn was Ginger Spice.

After a bathroom stop, it was soon time to head to the starting line.   I usually remain calm all the way up until it comes time to get in the line-up.  It is at this point that my heart begins to race and I get that nervous feeling down deep in the pit of my stomach.  Although I normally only stand in line for about 10 minutes (or less), it always feels like so much more! 

Bang!  The gun is shot and we’re off.  Well, we’re not off.  Only the people in the front can start when the gun goes off.  The rest of us are left to be herded like a bunch of cattle across the starting line.  It’s a good thing we wear chips, because if we didn’t our time would have been two minutes slower.  Two minutes was how long it took for our feet to cross the starting line.
It didn’t take long for us to basically get a slap across the face in the form of a monstrous hill that lasted nearly the whole first three miles of the race course.  It was then that I knew I was in for a real treat.

I took advantage of the downhill, leaned back, and allowed gravity to do its job.  Sadly, once again the course flattened and all of the sudden my legs felt like two huge stumps of lead.  It was then that we were cutting through small, narrow, downtown streets lined with supporters hollering, clapping, and shouting, “Vamos Scary Spice.”  I felt a little surge to go faster.

Shortly after the half-way point two women passed me and asked who Scary Spice was.  I answered and heard a laugh behind me.  Much to my surprise I turned around and saw Marissa.  Shocked I asked, “What are you doing here?  I thought I lost you a long time ago.”  Marissa responded that she had been behind me the whole time, lost me for a bit on the downhill, but then caught back up to me.  Her words were something to the effect of, “The course started downhill and all of the sudden you took off!”

Marissa and I continued on together for only a little bit until the urge to go to the bathroom became too much for me to bear.  (Soon after the gun went off I felt the need to go to the bathroom, but I had been hoping that I could make it to the finish line without needing to stop.)  Marissa commented, “Why don’t you just go behind that wall?” as she pointed to the wall along the street.   I notified her that I would have, had this urge to use the bathroom did not require the use of toilet paper.  I spotted a 7-eleven outdoor bathroom and off I went.

Before I knew it I was headed back onto the race course.  (A small part of me hoped that other runners did not look at me and think, “She cheated.”  I hoped that they would just assume that I went off to use the toilet.)  I was hoping to maybe catch back up to Marissa, but sadly this never happened.

With about 3km to go until the finish line, I assumed we were done with hills.  I reasoned, “Surely the race committee would not design the course to include a hill at the end.  Sadly, I was wrong.  Although the last hill was nowhere near as brutal as the first, it was still brutal enough to make me think, “I’m dying!”  

I had told myself that I was going to continue jogging no matter what.  There was a point, however, that I wondered which would have been faster; my snail-like jog or a brisk walk.  Alas, I chose the snail-like jog.  Normally I try to sprint it to the end.  Although I picked up my pace a little, it was nowhere near my usual sprint.  I had nothing more in me.  I had left it all out on the road.

Going into the race I was hoping for a sub 2 hour time.  After seeing the last hill I knew that it was going to be just out of my reach.  I finished with an official chip time of 2:06:27, but since I stopped my Garmin when I went to the bathroom I choose to think of my official time as 2:04:23.  With the higher elevation and the hills to take into consideration, I am satisfied with my time.  Here are everyone’s results:

#2636 Marissa
1307 / 3036
165 / 739
76 / 346

1405 / 3036
179 / 739
82 / 346

1967 / 3036
338 / 739
156 / 346

2246 / 3036
434 / 739
205 / 346

2334 / 3036
470 / 739
222 / 346

(bib #, name, age category, rank among everyone, rank among women, rank among age category, time at 10.5k, and official chip finishing time)

I’m training to run a marathon for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to raise life-saving funds to help those fighting blood cancers. Please help! You can donate to my event at: 
Don't forget that you may also check out my journey from obese couch potato 
to marathoner by clicking HERE.