Sunday, June 28, 2009

Catching Up, and HUGE THANKS

I cannot begin this blog entry with anything other than my heartfelt thanks to all these wonderful people, who answered the call of my previous posts and donated so generously to the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research at MSKCC, supporting my 4th marathon effort and honoring my little pal Liam Witt, who's battling neuroblastoma at MSKCC.

Without further ado, many thanks to


bringing the total raised to far to


Can I ask you to help, by making a donation to my Fred's Team marathon effort, which goes directly to the Aubrey Fund, by clicking here? Over 80 percent of the money raised goes directly to patient care and research. In fact, the Aubrey Fund has paid for the research and treatment for Liam's cancer, and will continue to do so.

Unfortunately, if you read the NY Times today, there's an article about how, in this economy, most research grants are going to "safer" projects. Pediatric cancer, especially rarer cancers such as neuroblastoma, are critically underfunded anyway, and this is a major blow. The Aubrey Fund is literally a life-saver for children like Liam, the only place some doctors can turn to for funding the innovative treatments that have raised the survival rates for neuroblatoma from less than 20 percent to 60 percent in just 20 years. Every penny counts. So please, if you can make a donation, no matter how small, know that it is being put to excellent use.

Liam is doing well, he is back in chemo, and unfortunately, back in MSKCC, as he developed a fever. If you develop a fever while on chemo, you need to go to the hospital, because it could be so much more than just a spot of flu.

Here he is, playing with electricity.

I was going to visit him last week, but I still have a cold that I am having trouble shaking, and that's something I don't want to share.

So it's been a crazy busy couple of weeks -- between work, and Broadway Bares, and starting rehearsals for SLEUTH, and finishing up my transcripts -- there hasn't been time for blogging, let alone running. And there's SO MUCH BACKLOG!!!!!

Here it is, in a nutshell:

BROOKLYN HALF -- I wasn't really trained for it -- and I really hope that doesn't become my mantra, as my mother says I have to break 4 hours this year -- but I figured what the hay. It was my first official half-marathon 5 years ago, and I ran it in 1:59. Those were the days (!) I've wanted to get back to run it ever since, but the timing's never worked out until now. So even though it was the first Fred's Team official long run, I went to Prospect Park to revisit an old friend.

The course was different this year. In years past, the course began on the Coney Island boardwalk, went up and down the boardwalk, then up Ocean Avenue to Prospect Park, and then a loop of the Park. If you're not familiar with Brooklyn, that's 11 1/2 flat miles, and the last mile and a half uphill. Ugh. This year, the course started in the Park, a loop and a half of the Park, then down and across the Expressway to Ocean Avenue, then down Ocean Ave to a finish on the Boardwalk. Much better, although what is it with NYRR and a loop and a half of a Park? That's why I didn't sign up for the NYC Half again this year. That and the $75 fee. For that kind of $$, surely we can come up with a more imaginative course than a loop and a half of Central Park.

I figure the course would be slightly easier, and felt that with one half marathon under my belt already this season, I would be able to get through it comfortably, even without a lot of training. Did I mention the wicked bladder/kidney infection I had had the week before? That's the reason for the lack of training. My kidney was paining so much I went to have an MRI to see if I had a kidney stone. Nope! Turns out, I pulled a back muscle so specificially on that spot that it mimiced a kidney infection (I know all too well what a kidney infection feels like, so believe me when I tell you I was fooled!)

The biggest surprise about this race was that for the first time that I have ever experienced at a NYRR race, some of the stations ran out of water. I know! It was a humid, humid day, and this was a very large race. But wow, I had to actually wait at one station while the poor volunteer poured water as fast as he could, and had to skip another station when it became clear that I wasn't going to get any liquid any time soon. I needed a gel, and had to take it without water. Bleh. And I LIKE gels!

At the finish of the race, very smart of NYRR -- they had bags of salt pretzels instead of bagels. Between the crush of runners and people on the Boardwalk, the finish was a bit of a madhouse, and I decided to head hime instead of wandering. PS: 2:06:18, my second slowest ever. Booo.

ROCK AND RUN/HIGH SCHOOL REUNION: This is the third year of the Rock and Run, a three mile fun run/walk sponsored by MSKCC as a benefit for their programs for cancer survivors. There are so many people on my Team who are survivors thanks to MSKCC, and also people in my family, and friends, that of course I'm going to run! Even if it was the day after my 25th High School reunion...yes, amazing that I am only 29 and went to high school 25 years ago (old joke.)

Let me tell those of you who have upcoming reunions -- go!! I went to the kind of a high school where there were no real cliques, just the people you hung out with a lot. I knew a lot of people in my class -- there were only 200 of us -- and I'd like to think I was friendly with a lot of them, but didn't really know most of them. Well, what the hell was my problem? Now that the years have passed, I realize just how amazing and cool all of these people are, and why the hell didn't I know that before? At our 20th, I got to connect and reconnect with so many amazing folks, and I feel I'm better friends with them now than I ever was.

Our 25th was at the same place as our 20th -- Metrazur. It's a great place for a reunion, I will say, surprisingly intimate given its location in the main room of Grand Central Station. I drank my fair share of the liquor, and then went to the afterparty for a while. Around 2am, I realized I better get home, as I needed to be at the Rock and Run by 8. Oops. I wish I could have stayed longer.

So, still drunk, I stumbled over to the Hudson Piers to meet my Team and celebrate MSKCC and all the great people they've helped.

At the R&R, I also debuted my new toy -- my podcast! I wanted to audiotape my run and some of the events there, and also interview some people about Fred's Team and running. Unfortunately, I learned very fast that I am a rotten interviewer, evidenced when I tried to interview Dan Abrams of MSNBC. Oh, it will be on the podcast, as soon as I get around to it.

I also interviewed some of my Teammates as we ran. I ran with Jill and Deb. They both kept urging me to go ahead, but why? It's a fun run. I was having fun being with my friends. Also saw my old pal Dr. Mark there -- he's a doctor at MSKCC specializing in lung cancer. He was there with his family.

After the run, we went back to the VIP section (yay, Team perk!) for brunch, and general hanging-out while the festivities commenced. I had a good talk with Coach Jeff about my goals for this year, and he promised to kick my arse all the way to the finish line. Bring it on!

Had to leave early, to head out to my brother's house to see my five-year-old niece's first dance recital (!) Five-year-olds doing ballet is little more than jumping up and down and spinning around, but it was absolutely precious.

Of course, the highlight of the weekend, and made all the more precious in light of recent events, was Liam's fifth birthday party on Saturday afternoon. Mom Gretchen and Dad Larry rented out one of the tents at Victorian Gardens (which is the amusement park that Wollman Rink turns into in the summer.) There were about 100 people there, both kids and parents, all brought together by one very special little man. Not to leave Ella out, Liam's little sister, it was a party for her, too. Three big cakes (pirate ship for Liam, princess for Ella, and black-and-white for the adults), wine and beer and finger food, plus lots and lots of ride tickets for the little ones. It was a great, great day. I met some of the family, many of their friends, some other kids from MSKCC, and some of the nurses. Liam looked so great, his hair was all grown in and he had put on some weight. It's really not fair.

Still a little more catch-up to do, which I promise to get to with more alacrity!!

Have a great day,

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