Saturday, January 29, 2011

On the Road Again...

So here is how I am responding to Gretchen's call to action:

Since I already have an entry into the Nautica NYC Triathlon, I'm going to run it as a "Choose Your Own" event for Fred's Team. That way, I can open my fundraising page early (next month!) and start fundraising now, and then once the marathon fundraising page starts in April, I can pick up from there.

So even though I'm sure you've bought lots and lots of cookies, when my fundraising page opens, I hope you will donate to my fundraising efforts as well. All the money goes to the same place -- pediatric cancer research at MSKCC.

Liam's passing has also literally motivated me into action. When I first heard the news, I put on my running clothes and headed to Central Park. I ran up to the bridle path, then around the path -- snow, ice and all. Normally I enjoy running on ice and snow because the precarious footing can make even the dullest route engaging. But I wasn't running for enjoyment.

It was a shortish run -- four and a half miles -- but having part of it on ice made it super-strenuous. It helped get a lot of anger out, and because I really needed to pay attention to my footing, I couldn't really think about much else.

Today was the first Team workout in preparation for the NYC Half. As I've said in prior posts, I'm not running the NY Half, but I'm training with the Team as if I was. So at 8:00 am on a 30 degree day, a little over a dozen of us showed up in the Park for a 7-miler. I only did 6, because the longest I've done to date is 5 1/2.

It was not a great run for me. I find that under 35 degrees I have a little trouble breathing, and that wears me out. I wore a bandana over my mouth, but it got wet and uncomfortable. There's also a very fine line between freezing and sweating. I go from "I need to warm up" to "Holy crap, I'm hot." There is no period of "warm." And when I removed my outer layer, all the layers underneath were wet, so then I'm cold again. Grrr. Need we mention I'm one of the slowest people there? I had to walk three times.

Nevertheless, I'm glad I went. I'm glad to be with the Team, and I'm glad to be running at all.

What I need to do is not compare myself to where I was when I was at my fittest and fastest. I want to be happy with where I am now. What worries me is that I feel I am making a pretty good effort now, and if this is where I am at 80 percent effort, what is it going to take to improve? This is going to be one tough training season. I know I have what it takes to get through it mentally, but do I have it physically? That's the question.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A Call to Arms

True to Gretchen's form, she is both grieving and mobilizing the Prince's army into action. I cannot believe the generosity with which she shared her family and her journey. She embraced the truth that not her child, but no child should ever have to suffer, and at a time when most families would have turned inward and focused 100 percent on themselves, Gretchen was somehow able to find yet another 100 percent, to also focus on a way to help all children fighting cancer. And as she mourns, she is also asking people to not let Liam's battle be in vain.

Cookies for Kids' Cancer is such a simple idea -- have a bake sale, and send the money for pediatric cancer research. I volunteered the first year, when Gretchen thought, "Let's bake 96,000 cookies and give the money to pediatric cancer research." Well, those 96,000 went in three weeks, and raised $400,000. Now the idea is national. There are whole towns holding bake sales. Glad products is an official sponsor.

Here's what you can do to celebrate the life of a boy who took everything that was thrown at him with a smile, and was the embodiment of love and courage:


Go to the website and order cookies. They are delicious, and all the money raised goes to fund research projects aimed at curing pediatric cancers.


The site has great suggestions for how to hold a successful bake sale. If you have children, have a bake sale at their school. Hold a bake-off in your office, or your house of worship.


Or half-marathons, or triathlons -- or anything, really -- as a member of Fred's Team, and inspire people to donate to the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research on your behalf. Host a 5K, and send the proceeds to the Team. Or run on one of Fred's Team's teams, wherever you are in the country. In NYC, entries are available for the Nautica Tri. Contact the Team via the website for more information.

Celebrate sweet Liam's life by doing something sweet. Cookies are, indeed, good for you!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No Words

Dear, sweet Liam Witt, the boy who has inspired nearly every step I have run for the past four years, passed away yesterday from neuroblastoma at the age of 6.

Words cannot express the sadness, and also the fury.

Money is the only reason that a cure has not been found.

Please, please, go to Cookies for Kids' Cancer and buy cookies, or hold a bake sale and send your proceeds to them. Go to Fred's Team and donate to the Aubrey Fund.

Do something.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Liam Update, Buy Cookies, and Getting Into the Groove

I need your prayers for Liam. The news is not good, and it just gets worse. His latest scans were awful. Chemo is not working. This kid has such an amazing spirit, and he never complains, and it's just so unfair that any child has to endure such insidious disease. It's even more unfair that the only thing standing between Liam and a cure is money to fund the research and develop the treatments that he needs. Children's cancers, especially rare ones such as neuroblastoma, have been underfunded for years. Why are we not protecting our children by working to eradicate these diseases?
I am not actively fundraising right now, but if you want to make a general donation to Fred's Team and the Aubrey Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research, just click here and click on the "Donate" link.
Another way to help is to go to Cookies For Kids' Cancer, the organization founded by Liam's mom, Gretchen. You can order cookies, or learn how to organize a bake sale, and send the proceeds to CKC. All the money goes to neuroblastoma research and treatment at MSKCC.

Liam inspires me to train. It will be NYC 2011 and also the Nautica Tri. Possibly the Flying Pig. We shall see.

As for my training, it's been sporadic, but I'm starting to get back into a routine. I did a 40-minute treadmill run and managed not to be bored out of my skull. Even more amazing, I was watching Gov. Christie's State of the State address while doing so. What does that mean? I used the treadmill run to do sprint intervals, getting up to 7.7 mph (unsure of the mile time) for up to 90 seconds at a time.

I did my first loop of Central Park last weekend. Well, almost. I started to walk a little at the 5 1/2 mile, because I haven't run over five in a while, and I'm not making that "oh, it's just a little more, what could it hurt?" mistake again. But I ran the Great Hill non-stop!

Today, I did 20 on the treadmill, not too comfortably -- had a stitch in my side most of the way. Fortunately, I got a phone call from work, and had to stop. Couldn't get back into it, and switched to the bike for 25. Then worked on legs and a little arms for about 40 more minutes. I need to get more pool time in pronto, but have to branch out from the 4-foot long NYSC pool in the Marriott if I really want to start building endurance.

Fred's Team will soon be training for the NYC Half Marathon. I didn't get in -- most NYers didn't -- and I'm not too brokenhearted. I can run a loop and a half of the Park for free, not $75. But I will admit that running through Times Square was pretty cool (I ran this two years ago). I am going to train with the Team, and as we get closer to the date, if a spot opens up through the Team, maybe I'll take it. We'll see.

Finally, last night I was asked to speak at the Fred's Team Half-Marathon Kick-Off over at Sloan, to talk to people about fundraising and offer tips and ideas. I'm not the Team's top fundraiser, but I am the most persistent, as you all know, dear readers, and short of bikini car washes, I've pretty much tried everything to raise money for Fred's Team and the Aubrey Fund in Liam's honor. So it was great to share what I've done with other Team members. And just you wait, because this year, I'm pulling out all the stops...

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Progress? You Be the Judge.

Trying to be good about sticking to a workout plan. I'll give myself a C plus. Here's why:

Monday I sort of overdid it. Went to the gym (for the first time in months, I may add), ran on the treadmill, which I loathe, for 23 whopping minutes at a 9:50 pace. I don't loathe running, I loathe it on the treadmill. I feel like a hamster. It doesn't matter what I have there to distract me, I get insta-bored. I can run the same trail in Central Park 900 times -- and I have -- and while it's mind-numbing, it's not nearly as boring as a treadmill. Anyways, I was proud of my 23 minutes.

But the real reason I was there was to get my arse back in the pool, and after a few stretches, it was my turn in the water, and I had the whole lane to myself for nearly 45 minutes. I was pretty happy at how much I remembered as far as stroke technique goes, and was able to go two laps at a time. Granted, the pool is maybe five feet long (it's a hotel pool, after all. NYSC has a club in the Courtyard by Marriott on 49th Street.) but after a few months away, it was a good start.

Well, it was good that it was overdid, because I had no time the rest of the week to get back to the gym -- or to put it another way, I didn't, until Friday. Teammate and assistant coach David made me promise to go to the gym, and said he'd go with me. So on Friday morning, we went to a gym semi-close to where he works, and close to where I'd be working that day, and he led me through a pretty intense leg workout. As much as I hate getting up early, I know that if I don't work out early, chances are good I won't go later. So I'm glad we went, and I enjoyed the company. Ex-roomie Bill and I used to work out together once a week when he was doing a small group training session and needed an extra gym session. I miss those. As much as I enjoy running solo, I prefer being in a gym with a partner.

Did I say ex-roomie? Yes, Bill moved out in the fall, having found love, and they moved in together in a gorgeous house up in Westchester. So I am solo again, and debating looking for a new roomie. On one hand, I enjoy the company. On the other, I like walking around the house nekkid sometimes. What's a girl to do?

Saturday was supposed to be the Fred Lebow 5-Miler in the Park, but because of the impending snowstorm that ultimately didn't really amount to anything, they postponed it to Sunday AM. Bad news for me, because Saturday night was a dear friend's birthday, and I was not about to not celebrate. Fortunately, NYRR decreed that the race counted towards the 9+1, regardless of whether they ran it, so two down, 7+1 to go. I wonder if it's possible to get the nine races without ever running a single race? Let me test this theory a little more...

So yes, I did indeed oversleep, but did very much want to get a five-miler in anyway. And I tried. But there was just no having it today. I could not get my breathing right at all. I got up Cat Hill and had to stop. Ditto at the Fred statue. At that point, I realized it best to turn it into a three miler and just head back from whence I came. I think that at below a certain temperature, I just am not able to take in enough oxygen or something. That's my hypothesis, at least, because during the Midnight Run, it was 40 degrees and I had no issues. Today's run was 30 degrees, and I had plenty of issues. I am a mouth breather, which I know isn't great in cold weather, and I tried keeping my mouth closed more during the run back, which did help, but it was still a byatch. And the four glasses of wine and champagne last night probably didn't help much with my efforts today, either.

On the non-running front, I bit the bullet and will be going on my first JDate date this week, although after receiving one of the lamest opening lines from JDaters this week -- "You're pretty. I want to take you to dinner" -- I am really ready to get off that site for good. I have had friends tell me that there are other sites that are much less of a meat market for women and aren't hostile to members of the Tribe (and I ain't talking about Cleveland Indians fans). Yes, it is flattering to be told I'm pretty, but coming from someone 20 years older than me -- it just makes me feel, for lack of a better term, icky.

And now, off to continue working on a transcript for the deposition of what I can only describe as the world's most uncooperative witness. Enjoy the following testimony, in which the lawyer handed the witness a financial document:

LAWYER: I am handing you Plaintiff's Exhibit 7. Do you recognize it?


LAWYER: What do you recognize it to be?

WITNESS: A piece of paper.

Such brilliance goes on for nearly eight hours. Ah, the legal profession. Who said it wasn't entertaining?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

New Year, New Me

Like the post says...
It's the New Year, y'all. Time for some resolutions.

First, duh, blog more. To do that, I think I need to write less, but more frequently. One of the reasons I haven't written is because I sit here for hours to write a five paragraph post.

Second, do more, so there's stuff to blog about. So I'm probably not going to stick solely to running, not that I ever really did, but I may end up telling you about some other ... well, let's jump in. I joined JDate. And I hate it. I joined in a fit of desperation/loneliness/stupidity, as my dating life has been really spotty. I figured, what harm could it do? Well, not fifteen minutes after posting my profile, it was like I was chum for sharks. 60-year-old Jewish sharks. Why is it that I seem to attract men 20 years my senior? There is nothing wrong with 60-year-old men, but I don't want to date them. I'm not looking for a 17-year-old, but I want someone closer to my age than my dad's.

Also, every time I would get on the site to look around, I'd get IMed be someone. I hate IM. I won't use it on FB or any of the other social sites. But you can't turn it off on JDate. And I'd get so many e-mail notifications of people who are "flirting" with me, which I find vomitocious, that I stopped checking my e-mail.

That all being said, I did manage to connect with two people from the site, one of whom wrote me to give me his real e-mail because he was as disgusted with JDate as I was. And I will listen to my friend, who told me to stick with it for a month. Two more weeks to go...

There was a third thing I resolved to do this year, and I guess it goes along with No. 2, and that is to find more balance in my life. When I was doing theater, I did it 24/7, which sounds like fun, and a lot of it was, but it was almost all work. I got out of theater because I wanted to actually have a social life and do other things I was interested in. So I switched careers to become a court reporter, and as a newbie, I was still working 24/7 on it. Any time I wasn't taking a depo, I was working on it. Well, I'm two years into it, and have two (!) people who work for me to take some of the time pressure off, and I'm ready to actually enjoy some leisure time.

One of the ways I'd like to spend that extra time is, as the title of the blog says, to run the marathon again. Not running 2010 was dreadful, although volunteering for Fred's Team on the big day was amazing, and completely fulfilling. This year, on the docket is definitely NYC, and definitely the Nautica Tri in August. Possibly the Flying Pig, too. The ever-amazing Coach Ann -- she of the innocent exterior and the heart of a beastmaster -- suggested we train as if we're going to run the Pig, and decide a little later if we're going to do it or not. She's also going to lead coaching sessions for the NYC Half, which neither I nor any NYC runners got into, but which will motivate me to train. With running, as with weight loss, I need a goal. So Ann is brilliant in giving me goals.

I, like everyone else in this world, hit the gym again. I have been running, but outside. Haven't actually lifted or swam or anything in months. So I am going to try to establish a regular schedule of gym stuff as well as getting my mileage back up. I got a 40 minute swim in on Monday, or to put it another way, I spent 40 minutes in the pool. I still remember how to swim from my lessons last year, but need to get the endurance back.

What stinks the most about this is knowing where I was fitness-wise, and not being there, and wanting to be there again. But the only way I'll be able to get there, or even come close, is to get my arse in gear, and suffer through it all over again. Is it the journey, or the destination? Not sure yet. But I promise to let you know.