Friday, August 28, 2009

Thank you.

This morning, I was $27 shy of raising my minimum fundraising goal of $1800 for the ING Miami Marathon.

As of tonight, I'm at 100%.

I reached this goal through the support of parents, family, friends and coworkers--and strangers or people I knew only through the Internet. People who heard about my quest to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in honor of Leah Ahladeff, the two year-old leukemia patient who went to preschool with daughter.

I'd like to say getting involved with LLS and Team and Training has made me a better person. I'm not sure if that's true, but it's certainly made me more conscious of my blessings. And one of these great blessings is learning how generous people really are.

It's pretty remarkable.

Anyway, thanks for giving, thanks for forwarding on the link to my blog to other people who gave, and thanks for reading my story.

(By the way, the $1,800 was just my MINIMUM so if you'd still like to contribute, please, feel free!)

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Gotta go. (Indeed!)

Fiber One products are no longer my friends. I'm starting to think plain old white Wonder Bread has gotten a bad rap.

The good news is, the gotta-go feeling is helping me with my speed. I could be jogging along at a leisurely pace, and then all of the sudden I just bolt home. It looks really impressive if you're jogging on the same path as me--like I must be training for some kind of elite race alongside former Olympic contestants. Ha.

Another plus side to my complete lack of constipation: I've gotten to know the 6 am crowd at my local Starbucks. They "run in" for their soy mocha latte chino. I run in (quite literally) for the ladies' room. They are a nice crowd, and they always politely step out of my way.

At my Team in Training meeting this weekend, Runner's Depot is going to give a presentation on all the amazing running gadgets they sell.

Think they sell Port o Potties?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Back from Buffalo

Get out your pom-poms. I'm proud to report that in the past week I accomplished the following:

1. Completed my first Team in Training session, which entailed running for 40 minutes without iTunes. Considering how much I depend on my "Boom Boom Pow" to take me through the miles, this was indeed quite a feat. I was so nervous about running music-free when I first heard that iPods and headphones were banned during training that I asked the ladies I in my pacing group if they had any interest in singing to me. (Probably not the best way to make new friends.)

2. I ran my second 5k in 27:56, beating my first 5k time of 28:15.

3. I ran my second 5k in 27:56 after a night of no sleep, too much wine, and an incredible evening in Buffalo, NY, with my "Gumdrop" girlfriends. We all got together for the first memorial 5k Run for Row, in memory of Matt Row, the husband of our friend Andrea, who was tragically widowed last fall. She has two adorable children. (If you want to read her story, click here to read her blog.)

It was both heartbreaking and joyful for all of us to get together, having traveled from all over the country--hence the lack of sleep and excess of wine. The exhaustion and inebriation caught up with me around the time when I crossed the finish line (I can't thank my friends enough for NOT tagging the race photos of me on Facebook; grabbing at my lower back and scowling, I truly look like I'm on the verge of puking) so it was a really nice surprise to find out I made good time.

I was also really proud of my friends. Most of them hadn't run much prior to this race and worked so hard to transform themselves from walkers to runners, and they all surpassed their goals for themselves: running when they said they thought they'd have to walk most of it; walking when they said they'd probably just cheer us on from the sidelines.

Sometimes you just rise to the occasion. Even when you've had a carafe or two of Cabernet.

But in the future, I think I'll stick to water the night before a race.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Brief update to my shoe-fitting fiasco

In all fairness to Foot Solutions, I feel obligated to provide a brief synopsis of my conversation with the manager today when I called to complain about my orthodics agony.

Manager: So when you say the orthodics hurt your feet, what do you mean?

Me: Well, there was some blood loss...

Manager: BLOOD? What? Are you joking?

Me: There wasn't blood at first, at first they just felt a little uncomfortable, but by the time I was halfway into my three mile run, yes, my right foot in particular was all torn up on the instep.

Manager: You ran three miles in brand new orthodics? You can't tell me you think that was smart, to have tried to run three miles wearing brand new orthodics!

Me: Well, the woman who helped me yesterday told me I would be able to run with them. I asked her.

Manager: What?? [Puts me on hold for about five minutes, leaving me to imagine the nice lady who waited on me yesterday being beaten with a cat 'o nine tails or having her fingernails removed without anesthesia for her mistake.]

Me: Is everything OK?

Manager: Yes. [Sounding slightly breathless.] IF she told you it was safe to run in the orthodics, that was clearly a misunderstanding. You need to walk in them for no more than a half hour the first day, an hour the second day, and so forth, for at least two weeks before running.

Me: And then if I'm still bleeding?

Manager: Then come back to the store.

Because I'm a nice person, I hope the manager wasn't too harsh on the employee who gave me the bad advice. I wouldn't want to see her fired or anything--it's a rough economy. On the other hand, if the manager decided to punish her by making her run three miles with broken shells in her shoes, I would think that was a fair consequence indeed.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Shoe expert, my foot.

Dear Shoe Fitting "Expert":

Maybe it's all fun and games to you to "experiment" with my expensive, custom-made orthodics until we find the "perfect" fit, but I want both my $400 AND my right foot back in its previously uninjured state.

I'm sure you think it's very comforting to me to know that you'll keep "refining" the orthodics until they help rather than hurt my feet, but it's not. Have you ever run with a stone in your sock, rolling around the delicate skin of your arch until it cracks and bleeds? That's what running with your crummy orthodics this morning felt like. I now have a blister the size and consistency of a punctured grape and probably have to skip tomorrow's run. (Or maybe not. I am a bit of a masochist.)

I was sent to you by my orthopedist, who told me, "99% of the time, I agree with what Foot Solutions recommends." I guess I'm the 1% who has to be the token example of human error?

"Foot Solutions," indeed. Perhaps the orthodics you crafted for me were intended to be a "solution" to the shin splints and plantar fascitis that were my chief complaints. I have to say--I did not notice either of those problems today, because the oozing, bloody blister totally distracted me from any other minor aches and pains I deal with during a run. Nothing like agony to make you forget about discomfort.

By the way, if you don't return my call tomorrow I am going to come into your brand new Plantation location and walk barefoot all over your brand new carpet without Band-Aids on. Perhaps the blood stains will help potential customers who are on the fence about forking over their $400 make up their minds.


Bloody Jorie

Friday, August 14, 2009

Bring it on, Miami!

We're back from a week-long trip to Colorado, where my husband and I hiked, drove to the top of Pike's Peak, explored caves and mountains--and where I ran, for the first time this year, without the burden of humidity slowing me down.

It's amazing how much easier it is to run without the sensation that you've got several damp wool sweaters tied around your neck. Running on a breezy path by Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, it took ten minutes before I even broke a sweat--and even then, it wasn't the familiar, blinding sweat of a person trapped for a week in a sauna, but cool, refreshing droplets dribbling down the sides of my face. So pleasant was my run that I actually lost track of time. The only reason I stopped and turned around, in fact, was that I figured it probably would not be a very romantic vacation if I stranded Barry in the hotel room while I kept going till my legs gave out.

Which they did, eventually.

No matter how much I enjoyed running while I was encircling mountain paths or following the Cherry Creek trail in downtown Denver, doubling my mileage led to some major calf, quad and hamstring pain the next day. I pretty much spent the whole week complaining of one leg ailment or another (ah, the sweet talk my husband got to hear this vacation!).

But I'll tell you one great thing to come from my happy trails out West: I'm now pretty certain that I can handle the half-marathon in Miami. January is one of the few months where the weather in South Florida is absolutely lovely, and when you run, you feel beachy breezes rather than the burden of humidity.

I told Barry that I thought I could handle a half-marathon in Colorado, given its glorious weather conditions, today. He then showed me in the Denver Post that there was in fact a half-marathon being held this weekend: up Pike's Peak, more than 14,000 miles above sea level.

Considering I got a little breathless just walking into the Pike's Peak gift shop at the mountain's top, I don't think I'll be able to run up the side of one of the country's tallest mountains anytime in this lifetime.

But for me, being able to run 13.1 miles in flat Florida will be a pretty big victory in and of itself. Especially because I'll be running it for a special little girl...(click here to read about WHY I'm training for this half marathon in honor of Leah Alhadeff and other leukemia and lymphoma patients.)

Monday, August 3, 2009

The little girl I'm running for

I didn’t have a full-fledged case of post partum depression when my oldest child, Jacob, was born, but I was a little bit loopy. It was probably the Percocet—or maybe it was the shock of needing an emergency c-section three weeks early—or the hormones. Or all three. Anyway, two things I remember specifically about my week of wacky mood swings:

1. I was convinced I could hear women in labor screaming in agony and was suspicious that they were being tortured in the room next to mine, even though the nurses assured me there was no way, from my hospital suite, I’d be able to hear L & D;

2. I was equally certain that when they took my tiny, helpless little infant out of my room, they were torturing him, too. Every time they brought him to me to nurse, he had new bandages on his tiny little feet. “Those perverts,” I thought to myself. “Hurting a tiny baby’s feet.”

When I noticed on my third day in the hospital that the bloody bandages were multiplying, I demanded to know where they were taking my son when he wasn’t in the bassinet beside my bed, and what they were doing to them. I was belligerent. So the nurse invited me to come along with her to the torture chamber—where before my very eyes she stabbed his skin with a metal lancet and then began squeezing blood out of his tender little heels and collecting it in a tiny tube.

To test it for jaundice.

Like many babies who have a different blood type than their mothers, Jacob had jaundice when he was born, and the daily “heel sticks” were to check on his bilirubin levels.

Even after they told me this—even after my husband, a physician, reassured me this was all above board—I remember howling in agony that I’d already failed at protecting him from pain. I still remember the sound of his screams.

I remember this, now of all times, now that he’s a healthy six year old boy without so much as a blister on his foot, because it makes me think of the little girl I’m running this half-marathon for. Leah Ahladeff, a former schoolmate of my daughter Rebecca, who is two years old and has leukemia. She’s already been through blood transfusions, chemotherapy, hair loss and bone aspirations—and, of course, cancer itself.

The idea that a child so small and vulnerable could go through all of this makes me recall how I felt that first week of Jacob’s life—like my heart had been ripped out. That I’d do just about anything to prevent such a small, delicate thing from suffering. That I’d rather have them kill me than witness such innocence suffering.

If I could become so distraught over simple blood tests, I can only imagine the hell Leah’s parents have been through. I’m so grateful for my children’s health thus far, but perhaps like many people involved in this cause, learning about how this illness strikes children makes me feel extremely vulnerable—it makes me aware that at any moment, our luck could change.

This thought, more than anything, gives me such motivation to “go the distance” for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Running makes me feel like I am “doing” something. And although my actual performance in the half marathon won’t have an impact on anyone’s health but my own, the fundraising will—and in that sense, I’m doing a lot.

With more time, money, resources and public support, maybe one day I’ll be able to rest assured my own children and grandchildren will never have to suffer what Leah and so many other leukemia patients have suffered. If the next generation has only to contend with heel sticks, what a victory that would be.

If you’d like to support my fundraising efforts for Leah and other blood cancer patients, will you help sponsor my participation in the Miami ING Half Marathon? Even a few dollars goes a long way. Click here to make a donation.