Five months from today, Mark and I will be running our first marathon in Dublin. We are training for this race as a part of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. We have to raise $10,000 in order to participate. At this point, I'm not sure which is scarier, running 26.2 miles or raising $10,000. Of course as I say this, I immediately think however hard this is, it's nothing compared to having a child with Leukemia.
Our inspiration for this race is a sassy, seven year old girl named Tanner Page. Tanner was diagnosed with Leukemia (ALL) in June 2009. She has a very good prognosis and is responding to treatment well. She will finish her treatment this year (girls with Leukemia have treatments for 2 years. it's 3 years for boys). As you can imagine, it's been a very difficult thing for her to deal with on a socially. But when you see her, she's so full of energy and life. It makes me certain if this little girl (and her amazing family) can go through this, then surely we can run a marathon and raise $10,000.
Speaking of the $10,000, what does this money go to? 75% or more of the funds we raise will go directly to support the mission of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). The other 25% will go to cover costs associated with the race and training. LLS funds a lot of researchers. Since they have been participating in research survival rates have dramatically increased. They also use the funds for patient support. This includes (but it's definitely not limited to) co-pay assistance, patient literature, support groups, staff and much more.
We have been involved with LLS for 3 years with the Man Woman of the Year campaign. In 2009, I was a Woman of the Year candidate. The next year I co-chaired the campaign and Mark was a very active campaign volunteer. This year I am serving as the campaign chair and Mark is mentoring a candidate. When we started as volunteers, we didn't have a personal connection. Since then we've met so many people who's lives have been changed because of a blood cancer. It is an amazing organization.
We ask that you please join us in our race to raise vital funds to wipe out blood cancers. Please visit our fundraising site to make a donation.
Going into the race today, I knew there was a chance of rain. All week the time of the rain/storms moved up earlier and earlier. Driving to the race this morning it started to storm. So we put on garbage bags and headed to the start line. The start line was chaotic due to the rain and it still being dark (the race started at 6:30 am eastern time, which is 5:30 am central time). We should have started in corral D, but I think it was more like B. Which means, we got passed a lot in the beginning. And it rained really heavy for the first 4 miles.
Mark decided to walk the race as he's still recovering from an injury (He was able to finish it with little pain -yea!). Gail was a little ahead of us, and we got separated from her near the start. Chrystyna and I struggled the first 4 miles. It was clear our bodies were not recovered from yesterday's run. Talking during the beginning of the race, we realized we probably could have trained better by running long runs on back to back days - if you are ever planning on doing back to back races, I suggest training by doing long runs on consecutive days. The first 4 miles of the race, we mostly walked and weren't sure if we'd actually run much more of the race.
As the rain eased up, our attitudes also improved. We were genuinely having a good time by mile 5, and we stuck to our 2/2 intervals. Around mile 5 or 6 the elevation of the course started climbing and climbing. When we got near the top there was some beautiful views of the river and the city. The last 3 miles of the race were all downhill. Can I just say having the last 3 miles be downhill is a very beautiful thing? We ran most of the last 3 miles straight. It felt good to run down, and at that point, we were afraid if we stopped running we wouldn't be able to start back. It was a light rain or misty from mile 4 to mile 11 and then the rain came back harder.
This race is very well planned out and everyone involved in it from race officials to volunteers had fabulous, positive attitudes. The expo was well organized and attended, especially considering how many races were this weekend. Every runner received an asics tech shirt, asics backpack (which is surprisingly nice) and a poster. This race wins for the best swag! The waterstops were really good. They were every mile. My favorite was a high school football team. They were very spirited and entertaining.
During the race we swore we wouldn't attempt such a crazy thing as two halfs in one weekend again, but within 15 minutes of finishing we had decided we might try it again. There are several things I will do differently next time. But it was a great experience, and I'm very glad we did it. Sometime during yesterday's half, I realized today's race would be my 10th half marathon. All 10 have been completed in the last 15 months. Wow! If you had told me 2 years ago, I would be finishing my 10th half marathon today, I would have laughed.
For my next running adventure, Mark and I will be training and fundraising for the full marathon in Dublin, Ireland (I don't usually say Ireland, but someone thought I was talking about Ohio when I mentioned it the other day) with Team in Training. I'll have a blog with more information about it very soon.