Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Looking for Donors, Two Product Reviews, and the Merrill Lynch 10K

Today's addition to the Fred's Team Honor Roll is


bringing the total going to the Aubrey Fund to


There's a ways to go before November 2, but I'd love to get a big chunk of money for the Fund now. It would be great to go into training knowing that I had your support, and even better, it would be a boon for Liam Witt, the incredible little guy I'm running for this year (see my previous post for more information.)

Won't you sponsor my NYC Marathon run and give more children like Liam a fighting chance at a normal life? Please click here, or my Fred's Team link at the side and bottom of the page.

I recently contacted Saucony, my shoe of choice, for sponsorship. I haven't heard back yet. I'm hoping for a $10,000 donation from them; it's what I asked for, along with enough shoes to get me through training. I may be a little delusional in hoping they'll read my humble story and help me out. But you never know. I would really love for a corporation or a business or just some nice rich person to give me a major donation for the Fund in Liam's honor. Not that I would stop fundraising, you'll all still get the entreaties, but it would just be so great for Liam and the Fund, and a real boost for the Team. Hint hint. I'd be happy to shill for whatever product you sell, or whatever business you may be in, and I can tell you from knowing so many people who have been helped at MSKCC and from visiting the pediatric ward there, it's an amazing feeling to know that you are playing a part in MSKCC's many success stories.

Okay, onto the running portion of the show! Two product reviews for you, and the Merrill Lynch Bull Run 10K.

First off, the battery replacement kit. In addition to a sexy new Nano, I also have a 30gig iPod Photo (the one they made just before the first Nano came out.) That warhorse has seen me through a lot of traveling. Well, it's almost 5 years old, maybe more, and it wasn't holding a charge as long as it should. So instead of sending it to Apple for a replacement battery, which would have cost Lordy knows how much, I spent $35 for the ipodjuice kit and did it myself. The instructions were very clear, and I will agree with ipodjuice's statement that the hardest and most frustrating part of the whole thing is opening the iPod. But once that was done, it was a fairly straightforward operation, and the whole thing took maybe 30 minutes (20 of those being opening the iPod.) The iPod works great, and it's really holding a charge. Plus they'll take your old battery back and dispose it properly. Thumbs up! If you're remotely handy and need a new iPod battery, check the site out.

Second, since you have all heard me complain bitterly about my hatred of humidity, I decided to invest a little $$ in some BluBandoo products. BluBandoo makes "cooling headwear and accessories." As I need all the help I can get, I ordered a hat (which came with a neckband) and a doo-rag. What makes their products different is that in the bands, there are what feel like granules. When you soak the bands, the granules swell up and it forms a kind of gel. The gel retains water and "coolness" and stays that way for hours. I tried the neckband out just sitting in the theater and I will admit, it felt really good. I have yet to try it in action, mostly because it's in the car and I keep forgetting to take it out and use it. I've been wearing the doo-rag for my last two runs and I'm not as satisfied with it. Maybe it's because the headband is dark-colored, or maybe because it covers my whole head and the material isn't very breathable, or maybe because I don't need the cooling point to be at my forehead (or all three,) but it doesn't cool me the way I think it ought to. I haven't tried the cap yet, but it's white and mesh, so I have high hopes for it. So I will give BluBandoo a thumbs-up, but not for the doo-rag, although it is black and red flames and does look good.

Lastly, the Merrill Lynch 10k. This was a 5k/10k /walk put on by the Boca Raton Road Runners. The pamphlet said to be at Spanish River Park between 5:30 and 6:30am to pick up race numbers and chips for a 7am start. My friend Sean decided to join me, so at about 6am I pulled up into the park and got my stuff. They put their timing chips on ankle straps and give you the whole gizmo, very civilized and nice! I started stretching at a picnic bench, and at 6:30 they started announcing that the race was starting at 7:15. Huh? The guy next to me asked what was up. Apparently their race promotions listed three different start times: 7, 7:15 and 7:30. So 7:15 was the compromise. Great. So Sean and I settled in for the long haul, when what do my eyes spot but a familiar orange-and-purple jersey. A Fred's Teamer! Here! I ran over to him, he was a nice guy named Gabe who used to live up North but was now a South Florida resident. He ran with the Team in 2006, which was my first year. Cool! I didn't wear my Team shirt -- I only have the singlet down here, and I got a little sunburned on my shoulders a few days beforehand, so I wore a shirt with sleeves.

After three trips to the loo (what else did you expect?) they called us to A1A for the line-up. It was a relatively small race, less than 600 between the 5k and the 10k. They sang the National Anthem, and then they said, "Two minute warning." Huh? Still delaying, very annoying. At about 7:20, the gun. This was the first race I've run where they don't time the start, just the end. It wasn't that big a deal for this race, but I prefer a start and end mat.

The route took us down A1A, one of the most scenic roads in the area, from Spanish River down past Red Reef golf course, at which point we turned into a development, one of those Golf and Country Club places. The 5k people turned around just inside the entrance and headed back, the rest of us kept going. I'm a fan of running through developments, especially rich ones; I love looking at nice houses and fantasizing about owning them. But to have a gated community road as part of a race course seemed a little strange to me. Maybe I'm used to Central Park, where you don't deal with that so much. We ran through the development, a very twisty and windy road that led to a cul-de-sac and a turnaround.

I was a bit nervous at the start of the race, with my hydration and humidity issues still somewhat unresolved, but I was feeling really good for the majority of the race. There were four water stops for the 10k, which would have been fine for a 7am start, but as we started late, it started getting hot around 8am and I could've used some Gatorade or maybe one more stop. I walked all the stations and drank every drop of water, but by mile 5 I was starting to feel a little queasy. I was keeping track of the miles with my stopwatch and the kilometers with the Nike+, although I could tell that it was off when it marked the halfway point a good three minutes before I arrived there. I was maintaining a negative split pace (from an 8:50 first mile to an 8:30 fifth.) By mile 6 I was ready to hurl, not from speed but from dehydration. I saw Sean at the finish line and knew that if I hurled in front of him, I'd never hear the end of it. So I sucked it up -- literally -- and gave it a final sprint.

10k in 53:18 according to the chip, 53:11 by my watch. About an 8:36 per mile pace, which is where I want to be right now in my conditioning. When we start Team training I'll be ready for hard work, but with lots of room for improvement.

The Boca RRC semed really nice, they had a pancake breakfast laid out in the park, plus bagels, cookies and lots of water and Powerade. If I'm down here again, I'll try to hook up with them. My times don't mesh with theirs too well, but maybe they'll be doing some long runs in the early AM on a weekend that I can tag along.

Finally, guess what's STILL on Military Trail?

More anon!

Friday, April 25, 2008

My Big News

Greetings, everyone!

First and always foremost, we begin with the inaugural members of the FRED'S TEAM HONOR ROLL:


bringing the total amount of money raised for the Aubrey Fund to


A good start!

Might I add, that for the three years I have been raising money for Fred's Team, Howard has been the first person to donate? Howard, you rock! A special Fred's Team prize will be coming your way (as soon as I get back to NYC and get that prize!)

I know I said I couldn't talk about my very special news about this year's race in my previous post, but that's related to my Fred's Team webpage, the one I have with MSKCC. I can talk about it here, and here we go! Many of you who received my first e-mail blast or followed my blog last year have heard this, but it bears repeating.

About a month before last year’s marathon, I received this e-mail:

Hi Marci - I stumbled across your blog and wanted to reach out to you and thank
you. My sweet, 3-year old son, Liam, is currently undergoing treatment at MSKCC.
He was diagnosed in late February with neuroblastoma and through his treatment
has been nothing less than amazing. My son inspires me every day and I feel like
the luckiest mother in the world to have Liam as my son. The money that the
Aubrey Fund raises has a direct impact on children like my son, and for your
efforts we thank you. Keep up the good work and, again, thank

Gretchen Holt Witt

Through Gretchen I learned that because the field of pediatric cancer treatment and research is a relatively new one (up until about 25 years ago, childhood cancers were treated with smaller doses of the same medicines used to treat adults) many treatment protocols are still considered experimental, as their track records are just now being established. This means that MSKCC cannot charge for these treatments, and that’s where a lot of the Aubrey Fund money goes. Thanks to treatment protocols developed at MSKCC using Aubrey Fund money, the survival rate for Liam’s cancer, neuroblastoma, has improved from less than 10 percent to greater than 55 percent.

This year I am running the race in honor of Liam Witt. As difficult as training has been over the years, it doesn’t even begin to compare to what Liam has faced, and continues to face, as he fights childhood cancer. Gretchen has been chronicling Liam’s journey at, and I encourage you to read it and get to know this remarkable little boy.

If you would like to honor Liam's fight by making a donation to my marathon effort, please click here or on the Fred's Team Home Page link on the right side of this page.

Tomorrow is a 10K at 7am, and I've got some interesting new gadgets to share with you, so I'll be updating you all soon.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Let the Fundraising Begin!!

Ladies and Gents...

I am registered for the NYC Marathon.

I am registered with Fred's Team.

I have some very special news to share with you all soon about my run this year. I'm sure it's okay to say it out loud, but just in case not, I'll just give you a spoiler -- check the new "Important Links" section on the right side of the page.



Yes, I am shameless.

As excited as I am about running NYC Marathon #3, I am more excited about being a part of Fred's Team and raising money for the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research at MSKCC. I want to raise $6,000. My Team webpage says I'm only raising $3,000, but I want to DOUBLE that! Do I have faith that I will raise $6,000? YES, I DO. Not only because it is an important cause, but because I have so many amazing friends, family members, fellow runners, and blog readers across the country and around the world who feel that if a cause is so important to someone that they're willing to put their bodies on the line for it, that's a cause worth supporting.

But Marci, the marathon is in November. Why start fundraising now?

Because pediatric cancer is not seasonal.

My first e-mail blast will be going out shortly. However, if you want to join the Honor Roll now,
please click here, or at the links at the side or bottom of the page.

I'm telling you now, while I am positive that I will finish this year's marathon, and finish strong, it's not going to be easy. I am currently down here in Florida, and I am having a lot of difficulty coping with the humidity. It may just be Florida -- I've had this problem before, where I can't run in Florida heat, but I can in NYC -- but given that the majority of our training takes place during the summer, it's going to get worse before it gets better.

I saw a naturopath last week, and after talking with him about my problems with the humidity and also my PMS (did I mention I was shameless?) we both feel that these may be interconnected. Yes, I am a woman of a certain age, and while I'm still, um, fertile, I think certain changes are on the horizon. It's affecting a lot of things, but definitely my running. I want to be able to get my body back in balance, for my training and for my overall health. The doctor gave me some stuff to take, which I'm taking, and I hope it will work. The biggest problem is -- I'm supposed to take them between meals, on an empty stomach. I have no "between" meals! I eat all day!

I am also trying to adjust by not turning on the a/c at night. It's been kind of cool here in the evenings, and with a fan, a normal person would be okay. I, however, am not normal. I love it ice-cold at night, I have trouble sleeping otherwise. But I'm trying.

If anyone has tips, tricks and advice for dealing with the heat, let me know!!

Did y'all see the Boston Marathon today? WOW! Heading out soon for a run myself, in the heat, I'm so inspired!! And I did sign up for the 10K on Saturday morning, so I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

What A Difference A Couple of Weeks Make!

Wow, it's been two weeks? Thought it was less. I suck.

Big news related to my Fred's Team run is coming. Can't talk about what it is just yet, but I am so excited for it to happen!

And yes, I am officially registered for the Team!! I have not yet begun actively soliciting funds for my Fred's Team run; in fact, I haven't even personalized my official Fred's Team webpage yet (still waiting for permission to post some things) but if you want to make a donation now to help kick-start this year's Honor Roll and my Fred's Team effort, click here!

As of right now, I am the first member of the Honor Roll, with a donation of $100, which was the money I would have spent on opening night gifts for the SUITE SURRENDER and TUESDAYS WITH MORRIE companies and crews.

When I last spoke with y'all, my runs were going horribly, and I was wondering if it was because of the super-humidity or if there was something else going on. I had been sick just before leaving NYC and didn't run for a week, and I didn't know if I had somehow destroyed my endurance in that week off. Well, I got fed up and tried an experiment: I got up extra-early and ran at 7:30am (okay, maybe not early for most people, but I didn't need to get up early that day.) Lo and behold, a planned four-miler turned into almost seven! I'm no doctor, but there was my diagnosis. And luckily, this past week there's been a cold spell, with temps in south Florida hitting the mid-60s. Heaven! I've run every day this week so far except today. I should've run today, but I was staying home waiting for the delivery of my parent's new Lay-Z Boy recliner. It came before noon, but I had already committed myself to a day of sloth. And laundry. I am so relieved to know that it's only a matter of getting more used to the humidity. Of course, I haven't been running real distances, so that part of my endurance IS probably shot, but that's what the summer is for. Maybe I'll try to do a little distance training here before heading back to NYC, nothing too crazy.

Now, if you look at the sidebar you see that I ran seven miles on the 14th. My Nike+ has been acting strangely. First it wouldn't remember my running history, even my last run, although it would have the info and upload it when I sync'ed my iPod. When I look at the runs on the Nike site, they, how do I say it, look funny. They don't dip and curve with the different paces, even though the paces are recorded. Now when I turn to it, it takes forever to load. The Nike+ forums had a bunch of people with the same problem and it was suggested to reset the iPod. Now it seems to be working OK, but the calibration is weird. It was spot-on for the other runs, but the 7-miler I think was more like 6.6 miles. Strange. Anyone else have this problem? I'll pretend like I did a seven-miler at an 8:13 pace, but I think my time is more like 8:30 - 8:40.

All that aside, did you see my run on the 16th? Check out that time. Part of it was the wind. There were sections of the run that were really Marcel Marceau-y, it was that gusty. But on the way back from the run -- a real tailwind! Running with a tailwind is great, it sort of gets you under the armpits and lifts you up a little, is the way I describe it. I think that's why my time was so good. But I was also pushing it a little; I was running a little late and had to get ready for work.

Lastly for this post, and certainly not least, my dad was here this past weekend. We had a lot of fun. Our big task while he was here was to replace the green chair in the apartment. When my grandparents (on my mom's side) passed away a few years ago, we kept their apartment since it was bought and paid for and cost peanuts to maintain. I stay in it when I'm in Florida working. When my grandparents first moved down to Florida from NYC in the 70s, they brought their furniture with them. And never replaced it. After they passed, we got rid of a lot of it, like the blue vinyl garden chair they kept in the den (the metal feet had rusted through to the floor) and the record player / 8-track console. But for some reason, we kept this hideous green chair and ottoman. It was extremely lumpy and uncomfortable, and I don't think anyone actually sat in it for years. My mother finally gave the clearance for my Dad and I to throw it out and replace it. Being that the apartment is on the second floor, I was looking forward to a lot of unintentional comedy as we got the chair out of the place and down the stairs, but since we used a dolly and the elevator, I had to settle for winging the cushions at my Dad from the second floor walkway.

There's a 10K down here next weekend, now that I know I can run in the early AM without too much trouble I'm going to sign up for it (it's at 7:30am next Saturday.)

More anon!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

It's Almost Team Time, Vote for Me at the Runner's Lounge, and My Disappointing Runs

Oh, boy. Not too much to tell you today, but much in the works.

First off, next week I am going to officially register with Fred's Team, and then LET THE FUNDRAISING BEGIN!!

This year I am going to try to raise $6,000. Are you with me??
I hope so, because I can't do it without you!!

Keep an eye on this space here for more info!!

So....."Tuesdays With Morrie" is going really well, we just finished our tech and had our first two previews. Houses are small, but really enthusiastic. Yes, it's the play based on the movie based on the TV show based on the book. It's not as sappy and sentimental as you might think, but it's really full of emotion. Very nice indeed. We officially open on Friday, then we run through May 11. If you're in the Boca/Delray Beach area and want to come see it, it's playing at the Caldwell Theater Company!

Runners (and the people who love them,) I found and joined a running website community called "The Runners Lounge." Founded by a couple of enthusiastic runners from Des Moines, it's a pretty fun site. You can share stories, advice and inspiration. I shared my Fred's Team story and am now up for an "Extraordinary Runner" award. Please vote for me by clicking here (if you're a regular reader of this blog, you probably already know the story!) I don't know what I win, but it's always fun to win something!

As far as MY running goes, I have to say I'm kind of disappointed. Something happened between me getting ill last month and now, and my endurance is totally shot. I can't go for more than 15 minutes without stopping. Here's what it is: it's not that my legs are tiring, even though they are, and it's not like I'm not breathing, because I am -- I think. It's like all of a sudden I just have to stop, and when I do, I realize I'm gasping for breath, my heart is pounding and I'm dripping sweat. I don't think I'm going as fast as my times would indicate -- I'm not sure I calibrated the Nike+ correctly. I am taking my AirAides, and have lots of water and energy drink on me. Even so, I have to keep stopping to catch my breath. It's really disconcerting. Today I tried to slow down, I really did, but it didn't help; I both didn't slow down enough, and I also had to stop literally less than a tenth of a mile from my goal. I just didn't have it in me to run that extra minute.

This has happened to me before, about this same time two years ago. I was also here in Florida, and I couldn't go more than 20 minutes without having to stop and catch my breath. I wondered if it might be allergies, and when I returned to NYC I found AirAides, which did help a lot, and was very helpful here a few months ago. But not now. I wonder if it might be something in the Florida air that does this to me. It's extremely muggy here now, much more so than in January, and more than NYC can ever get (usually!) As regular readers know, I do not do well in muggy weather. And the weather has changed dramatically in the last couple of weeks, which is when this started happening.

Anyone have any good ideas as to what it might be, and ways to overcome it?

But I will keep fighting through, I will even try to get a couple of speed workouts in (hills here are non-existent, and therefore out of the question.) Hopefully I will adapt to the humidity here a little better -- good practice for the summer -- and the runs will get better. There's a 10K at the end of the month that I'm thinking of signing up for, but if I can't break through this wall I may not do it.

More anon,