Monday, November 26, 2007

Week # 2

Week #2 just flew by!! With the holiday on Thursday, preparation for holiday Tuesday and Wednesday, being sick on Friday and traveling Saturday and Sunday, I'm not surprised that my training wasn't as consistent as I hoped it would be. My mileage was a little low, at 15 miles for the week, and that only consisted of three runs - all on the treadmill. Must do better next week!!


Fundraising is going well...I think. So far the website has received $370 in donations. That puts me around 18% of the way to meeting my goal. Hopefully the letters made it out and we'll get closer to the $2,500 fundraising commitment. It doesn't seem like a lot of money, but it makes it more difficult when you have to badger family, friends and co-workers for the donations!! You all are the best!! Also, I've been trying to come up with other fundraising ideas for the holidays, but I'm worried there won't be enough time, I may have to shoot for after the new year. Maybe a cookie party or a recipe exchange? Or I could just throw myself a huge birthday party and ask for donations instead of gifts...did I really just say that?! Of course, gifts are always accepted!! Anyway, if you haven't already done so, PLEASE DONATE!! It's for a GREAT cause!! And you'll be very happy you did come April when you're doing your taxes!!

Hope everyone is doing well. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you're up to - I'd love to hear from you all. And GO TIGERS!!! Mizzou-rah!!

Weekly recap:
Sunday: 5.9 miles
Monday: 3.3
Thursday: 5.66

Total: 14.9 miles

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Giving Thanks

The point of Thanksgiving is to remember the things we have to be grateful for. It's our special time to give thanks... not just for the obvious things, like food, but for the thousands of fortunate moments, the multitude of blessings that we receive each year.

I always thought the concept of going around the Thanksgiving table and listing the things you're thankful for was a little corny. But, with the week I've been having, I think it may help put things in perspective for me and remind me what a great life I have.

So here are some things I'm giving thanks for this Thanksgiving.

  1. My Family & Friends. Despite our disfunctionality, I have a pretty great family. And although we've had a pretty rough time with illness over the last few years, I'm thankful everyone is on the road to recovery and doing well. I'm glad to see my brothers happy and staying out of trouble. I'm thankful my mom has Anna to fuss over and has stopped giving me such a hard time about when I'm going to have babies! I'm thankful for Ryan, Mally and Jigs, who are "home" to me. And I truly believe that I have the greatest friends in the whole world. Yep, they're that fabulous - you know who you are.
  2. My Job. It's challenging, rewarding, interesting, and best of all, it pays the bills. I'm thankful that my job lets me work with some pretty amazing and super-smart people. I have flexibility and freedom. I have lots of opportunity and options. But I'm really just thankful that they haven't fired me yet. ;)
  3. Cupcakes. Seriously, I love them. The frosting, the sprinkles, the frosting. And pretty much all things sweet, including: cheesecake, pumpkin pie, gelato, tiramisu, caramel lattes, Kit Kats, cinnamon rolls, donuts, oatmeal butterscotch cookies, blueberry muffins and Sticky Toffee Pudding Hagen Daas ice cream. I am SO thankful.
  4. TiVo. This is the greatest invention in the world. No longer do I have to watch the shows at the programmed time chosen by the networks. No longer do I have to suffer though commercials, previews and reruns. No longer do I have to search for something to watch when I turn the TV on. Now I have hours and hours of my favorites recorded and waiting for me!! I must watch as much TV as soon as humanly possible before the memory fills up and heaven forbid, not be able to record MORE TV that I didn't need in the first place. I love it.
  5. Mizzou Football. I'm so thankful that Mizzou is kicking some serious butt right now. After years of struggling, my alma mater is finally showing the nation what a great team we have and what a great school MU is. I've been trying to tell you all this! Kansas is in for a major ass beating this weekend. Go Tigers!

Wasn't that nice?! I feel a little better. Now, just to be clear on this point...I'm not grateful for everything. Here are a few things that I am NOT thankful for:

  1. The idiot who mistakenly put my phone number on his Craig's List add to sell his Kubota tractor. I'm getting up to 10 calls a day!
  2. Highway 40 construction. Even though I very rarely have to take Highway 40, just the thought of it angers me. And it makes all the other highways and streets a nightmare to drive on.
  3. Calories. Hate them.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Running For Ryan

As previously mentioned, I'm running the St. Louis Marathon with Team in Training to raise funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This is an amazing organization dedicated to finding a cure for cancer. These days it seems like every single person I know has been affected by cancer in some way. Cancer doesn't discriminate when it comes to race, sex or age — anyone can get cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that half the men and one-third of the women in the U.S. will develop cancer in their lifetimes. It is estimated that about 1.4 million new cases of cancer are expected in 2007, and about 560,000 people will die of the disease.

Losing a loved one to cancer is devastating. Keeping their memory alive is incredibly important. As life goes on, we must never forget the fallen heroes that have bravely battled this disease and honor the life they lived and how they touched our lives in so many ways.

Therefore, I would like to dedicate my marathon to the memory of Ryan Brown, the son of my high school friends Phillip and Andrea.

On March 17, 2004, Ryan was diagnosed with an inoperable brain stem tumor at the age of 3. Ryan went through 30 treatments of radiation by May, 2004. In November he began chemotherapy, but after 9 rounds the tumor quit responding. An MRI in February showed slight growth, so Ryan began taking an experimental oral chemotherapy drug. He responded well until June when Ryan took a turn for the worse. On July 10, 2005, a few weeks after his 5th birthday, Ryan lost his brave battle against cancer and became an angel in heaven.

Ryan was an incredible little boy. He loved his 4-wheeler, soccer, Chuck E. Cheese, his space blaster toy gun, swimming and most of all, his parents. Ryan’s dad Phillip is in the U.S. Army, stationed in Fort Campbell, Kentucky and currently serving a 15 month deployment away from his family. Mom, Andrea, is a military wife and dedicated stay at home mother of Elizabeth (age 3) and Lucas (age 1).

I am incredibly proud and honored to run in Ryan’s memory and on behalf of his wonderful family.

The slideshow below provided by Andrea Brown.

Ryan Douglas Brown
June 29, 2000 - July 10, 2005

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Week # 1 - Only 20 More Weeks To Go!

Well, I've made it through my first "official" week of training for my upcoming marathon. With more than 16 miles under my belt for the week, I feel pretty good about the schedule and the distances...so far. My first group training run was this morning at Grant's Trail. It was really early, but it's nice to have my long run of the week done first thing Saturday morning and have the rest of the day/weekend free. We have a really nice group of runners and I can' t wait to spend some time getting to know everyone.

Despite the mild weather, I only managed to do two runs outside this week. I have a feeling the treadmill is going to have to be my new best friend for the upcoming months...especially since it's dark when I go to work and dark when I get off of work. Jigs (our cat) has finally stopped being terrified of the treadmill and is starting to get pretty curious. She was even curled up sleeping on it the other day. Once I turn it on, she no longer runs away in terror, but she does tend to keep her distance...unlike Mally (our dog). Mally wants to be next to me at all times. Including the times I'm on the treadmill. She's jumped up on there with me a few times, completely taking me out once. She's about to be banned from the basement during runs.

As for the fundraising part of TNT, I think I'm doing pretty well so far. The website has received a couple hundred dollars of donations! That's so exciting. Surprisingly, many of them are from people I've never even met! How fantastic is that!? It's a really great reminder to believe in the kindness of strangers. I sent out about 50 letters this morning to friends and family members, informing them of my race and my commitment to raising money for cancer research. I'm hoping the letters will work and get people interested.

Weekly recap:
Sunday: 3.1 miles
Wednesday: 4.75
Thursday: 4.3
Saturday: 4.0

Total: 16.15 miles

Monday, November 12, 2007

November 11, 2007 - St. Louis Track Club & Special Olympics Half Marathon, 5K and 1/2 Mile Youth Run

A few months ago I signed up to run the SLTC Half Marathon, thinking it would be a good way to keep myself motivated and running after doing the L&C Half in September. I also noticed that there would be a 1/2 Mile Youth Run that morning sponsored by Special Olympics. I immediately called my mom and asked her if Anna would be interested in "running" a race that morning too. She said yes and we signed up.

Let me back up a minute. Anna is my cousin's daughter. She is 3 years old (will be 4 in January) and has spina bifida. She was born with a gap in her spine and is paralyzed from the chest down. Anna is incredibly smart, creative, funny and talkative - but very very shy. We thought a race would be great for her. Here's a picture of Anna - talk about adorable.























Being my mom's only daughter, she talks about me to Anna all the time. My running is one of their favorite topics. She tells her about my races and shows her all my race photos. So Anna was excited that she was going to run her first race. She would practice "going fast" where ever she could - especially through the aisles at the grocery store and down wheelchair ramps. My mom took her to the local high school track so they could do a lap and "train" for the upcoming race. The night before, she even had a pasta dinner to get her necessary carbs.

Race morning came and they were up at 4 am to get ready and drive to St. Louis. Anna told my mom that she didn't realize she'd be running in the dark! Start time for the Half was 8:00 and start time for the Youth Run was 8:45. I was much more concerned with Anna having a good race than me, and I didn't want to miss it, so I traded in my Half bib for a 5K bib and knew I could make it back in time to see her run if I finished in 30 minutes (I'm slow, but that seemed doable). Here's us at the starting line.



Yes, she wore bunny slippers to make her fast (b/c rabbits are really fast).

There was only one word to describe my 5K...HILLY. Man, it sucked. But I managed to finish right at 30 minutes and ran straight to Anna's start line.



At the whistle, she was OFF. My mom ran behind her and helped her go up the hills and over the speedbumps, but she did most of it herself. When they got around the building at the top of the hill, it was a straight shot downhill to the finish line. She was FLYING!!



Seriously, she almost took out that little girl next to her. When she went around the corner, I swear she went up on one wheel! And was smiling the whole time! She crossed the finish line and got her medal. I've never seen anyone so proud of anything. She showed it to every single person we passed. Mom said she even slept with it last night.


I think we'll be doing this again soon!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Team in Training - St. Louis Marathon


Well, I did it!!! I signed up for the Go! St. Louis Marathon!!


As I said below, before I turn the "Big 3-0" next year, I want to take my training to the next level. With a marathon goal in mind, I decided to join area runners in a great cause to raise funds for blood-related cancers. Therefore, I am happy to announce that I'm officially training to run the full 26.2 mile St. Louis Marathon on April 6, 2008 as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training!

Team In Training ("TNT") is the No. 1 endurance training program in the world, which raises funds to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives. I'm completing this event in honor of all individuals who are battling blood cancers, but especially my "Honored Teammate" Jared, a 15 year old Burkitt's Lymphoma survivor from Union, MO.

TNT is rewarding because it not only helps people reach personal fitness goals, but it allows teammates to help others in their battle against blood cancers by raising funds and awareness. My fund-raising goal for the St. Louis Marathon is $2,000. Our local "Gateway Chapter" is proud to have more than 80% of funds raised go directly to the Society for use in funding research and patient services. You can help me reach my goal, by donating at http://www.active.com/donate/tntgmo/saraholtsman

I hope you'll visit this website often and check back frequently to see my progress. I hope to use this training and fund-raising blog to track the miles, goals, obstacles, achievements and every day occurrences. And make sure to leave me feedback!! Thanks so much for your support!