Friday, November 23, 2007

NYC Marathon Wrap-Up, Buy Cookies for Charity, the Race to Deliver, and more!

Happy Day After Thanksgiving, or Happy Black Friday (sounds ominous!)

First and always foremost, we STILL HAVE ADDITIONS to the Fred's Team Honor Roll!

Please welcome


who has made the grand total I have raised for the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center a whopping


Of course, Fred's Team and MSKCC accepts donations throughout the year. Click here to learn about MSKCC, Fred's Team, or join the Team (we are at races across America, and moving internationally!)


I received a flyer from Band of Parents, they are an organization of parents with children being treated at MSKCC, they are having a massive bake-a-thon to raise money for pediatric cancer research. I cannot figure out how to transfer the flyer into this blog, and I tried everything, so I'll just print the flyer information for you:

The Band of Parents (, a non-profit
foundation formed by parents of children suffering from a deadly
childhood cancer called Neuroblastoma, invites you to be a part
of our holiday fundraiser and to give new hope to children
fighting cancer.

This holiday, give freshly-baked cookies made using recipes
from the recently published cookbook, Cookies, by acclaimed
cookbook author Sally Sampson.

Our delicious handmade cookies will not only make the perfect
holiday gift but nearly 100% of the proceeds will directly support
children’s cancer research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer
Center. You will feel good knowing your generous gift was
lovingly baked by hand using all natural ingredients, while your
purchase helps to provide hope for children battling cancer.

Cookies will be baked, packed with care, and promptly shipped
to your entire gift list. A card explaining the significance of your
generous gift will also be included.

Please share this unique opportunity to give with your friends,
co-workers, and family.

A gift that tastes as good as it feels to give…

Place Order: November 16th – December 15th

Go To:

Cookies: Citrus Shortbread • Chocolate Chip Oatmeal • Snickerdoodle
Cost: $30/dozen* (plus shipping charges)
*A portion of your purchase may be tax deductible. Please consult your tax advisor.

I'll be volunteering there next week (to help pack, not to bake, so don't worry, your cookie order is safe!!)

Here are the last ounces of juice I can squeeze out of the marathon, and then onto more recent races and such.

On the Wednesday following the marathon MSKCC hosted a reception for the Fred's Team runners. It was really nice --a lot of people came. We had a couple of talks from MSKCC people, then some words from the head of the Rudin Foundation, major benefactors of the NYC Marathon. Mary Wittenberg said a few words, and then some random Team member (no one knew who he was, but he was wearing his finisher's medal) who apparently had not stopped celebrating his marathon finish, ran to the mic and started rambling about something. Odd. Mary very tactfully pulled him away. We had a slide show of shots they took at Mile 17 (I'm not going to post the picture they got of me because, um, let's put it this way: gravity works. Not pretty!) but there were some great shots of Matt, our 2:52 superstar. When you're that fast, you have the road pretty much to yourself, and the cameraman had a field day. Afterwards, a bunch of us went out to dinner.

It's amazing how close you get to people when you're part of something like Fred's Team, and I'm really going to miss seeing everyone on a regular basis. Knowing that Tuesday and Thursday nights would be good for most people, we made plans for a drinks night and a trip to see Matt in MAMMA MIA (Matt is a swing and knew he'd be performing on certain days, so we bought a block of tickets to see his show on one of those days. Alas, the stagehands' strike scotched those plans.) Being with everybody, and also talking with Jeff about my concerns with feeling too good after the marathon, helped vanquish the last lingering doubts and questions I had about my performance.

Yes, I am officially "over it," and am planning my next big races -- the ING Miami Half Marathon on January 27th, possibly also the A1A Half on Feb. 19th. I'll be working in Florida from the end of December through mid-February (the 19th, to be exact!) and want to keep my training up, so when we start up for NY 2008 I'll be in much better shape, and ready to BREAK 4 HOURS, my new goal! I did think about trying to do a spring marathon, but honestly, without the Team support, I don't think I'd have the discipline to train as completely as I should, and it certainly wouldn't be as much fun. I love running, I do, and now that I know what it feels like to run a smart marathon the distance is no longer daunting. But I don't have the need to run other marathons -- yet. NYC is enough for me.

Last Sunday was my first race since the marathon, the Race To Deliver, a benefit for Gods Love We Deliver, an organization that delivers nutritious meals to people with life-altering illnesses, regardless of need, who are having trouble shopping for and preparing food for themselves. I've volunteered for them on and off since 9/11 as a van assistant -- we ride along with the drivers and make the deliveries to the clients -- and my roomie Laura volunteered in the kitchen for 10 years and now works for them. The RTD was the first NYRR race I ever ran, and because it's a cause near and dear to me I'm always happy to run it, and as an added bonus this year I also ran it as a member of the Love Team and raised a little $$ for GLWD, too. They have a West Coast counterpart called Project Angel Food, does the same thing. What a great organization. If you're ever feeling bad about your life, volunteer at a place like GLWD or Angel Food and deliver meals to people, even for a day. It'll put things into perspective.

It was cold on race day -- hoorah! -- and drizzly -- not so hoorah. Laura was out of town, but I went to the pledge tent and introduced myself, then I hid in the tent and stayed warm until things started getting busy in there. I took off my sweatshirt and headed for the starting line. My plan was to start with the 9:00 group and see what happened. Four miles. Pocket change!! I had no idea how I'd do, but my runs during the week were averaging just under a 9:00/mile pace so I figured I'd finish in about 34 minutes. This is a popular race, so it was really crowded, we could barely hear Joan Rivers do the opening greetings (GLWD is one of her causes, she's a major benefactor and yes, volunteers in the kitchen.) The gun went off, and we started shuffling to the start line. Realized I forgot my watch. Well, I'd get my finish time, if not the mile splits. Besides, it's all for fun, I shouldn't be ruled by the clock.

The route is a start and finish on the 72nd St. transverse, you go counter-clockwise up Cat Hill and down the East Side until 102nd St., across the transverse and down the west side, then back across the 72nd St. transverse to the finish. An easy course that gets Cat Hill out of the way early. This is a race that attracts a lot of first-time and one-time runners (they run once a year to be a fundraiser for GLWD) and the hill can be daunting for them, a lot of them tend to walk it and the race stays crowded for a while. I had my special "4-mile mix" on my iPod and pushed ahead. I got a little hot, I was wearing two shirts -- a thermal and the Love Team shirt. I wanted to take the Love Team shirt off but didn't -- gotta show my pride!! I had no idea how fast I was going or what my time was, because I looked down when I crossed the starting line. I was breathing a little hard, but I wasn't struggling. My legs felt pretty good, but my hip had started reasserting itself, nothing huge, just that familiar inside-the-butt ache (side note: probably time to get an MRI and see what's going on there. I doubt it's a tear, because I think I'd really be feeling that a lot more often, and a lot more intensely, but there's definitely something not correct there.)

Coming down the home stretch, and it was definitely not as crowded, I pushed it as hard as I could and crossed the finish line. The time clock was just under 37:00. I still had no idea how I really did, but I knew I had beaten my 34 minute estimate. The GLWD staff was just beyond the finish line, cheering all the runners, and I got a special cheer as a Love Team runner. I felt great -- last time I ran this race I got the dry heaves from pushing too hard at the end (why do I remember these details?) but was instantly cold. I wandered back to the bandshell to get my bag and saw teammate John there, quickly followed by Lynn, Rich, Harrie, and Jason. I didn't know they'd be there. It was fun to see them, and they all had a great race as well. Four miles was such a breeze! We got our stuff and found a diner on the East Side for breakfast. We were freezing, it felt so good to get inside and get some coffee!

Once I got home I checked my time -- 32:35, or an 8:08 minute mile. That's a personal best, and a record speed for me. I can't believe I ran that fast without being chased!

Fast forward to yesterday, Thanksgiving. I spent the morning at GLWD, helping with the deliveries. Clients get Thanksgiving meals for the whole family (incidentally, if a client has children, GLWD also provides meals for the children) plus a gift basket of munchies and other treats. Normally this all goes out by van, and there were van deliveries to the outer boroughs, but in Manhattan on Thanksgiving the meals and baskets are delivered directly from GLWD by groups of volunteers in private cars. Each volunteer gets cards with the delivery addresses and information; my job was to go over the cards and the delivery routine with the volunteers. I worked in tandem with Laura and our friend Fran. It was a lot of fun -- I haven't delivered since school started, but a lot of the drivers and coordinators recognized me and hoped I'd come back soon. And yes, Joan Rivers came in to deliver meals, too. Can you imagine, you're expecting someone to come by with your meal and it's Joan Rivers? That definitely made some Thanksgivings a more interesting experience!

After deliveries, I did my usual double Thanksgiving -- I headed out to Brooklyn to my brother' and sister-in-law's house, where my parents, my sister-in-law's parents, me, and the three little girls had a raucous late-afternoon turkey, with my sister-in-law's famous onion-and-pomegranite relish (sounds gross, tastes amazing!) Tante Marci got to rile the girls up for a while, and when they wore out I headed out to Jersey City for an evening feast with good friends Greg and Tim. Greg is a "reformed runner;" he's the one I ran with at the MSKCC Rock and Run to honor his brother's memory, and the one who helped me get my priorities straight about why I run for MSKCC. I love going to their parties, there's always great people and great conversation to go along with the great food and drink.

So today, thoroughly satiated and needing to work off some turkey and stuffing, four repeats of Cat Hill!

Next race: the Hot Chocolate 15K next Sunday!

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