May 14, 2009 by Lauren Mozer
Racing to Save Lives
Welcome to my Team In Training home page.
I'm training to participate in an endurance event as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) Team In Training. All of us on Team In Training are raising funds to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives. I am completing this event in honor of all individuals who are battling blood cancers. These people are the real heroes on our team, and we need your support to cross the ultimate finish line - a cure!
Please make a donation to support my participation in Team In Training and help advance LLS's mission.
I hope you will visit my web site often. Be sure to check back frequently to see my progress. Thanks for your support!
Here comes another one, just like the other one!
May 19, 2009
I just got the notification in my in-box that my website was up and running, and ready for me to use so that could begin my fundraising. I could not wait to log in my first blog entry!
So I again begin my journey towards completing 26.2 miles in the name of raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Of course, the beginning of a new voyage always makes you reflect on where you have come from and what you will change for the better based on your prior experience. I never came back to the website to tell everyone how everything turned out after my first marathon completion, so let me recap for you now: It was amazing. It was hard. Alaska is beautiful.
To elaborate, once the long flight to Alaska was behind me, it was off to travel the country side two days before the race with my TNT DC Chapter mates, giving us an opportunity to really appreciate the area that we were running in. The whole team chartered a bus from Anchorage to Seward, Alaska to take a day cruise out to the Aialik glacier. On the way, we encountered Hump Backed whales, Pods of Orcas, Puffin, Otters and Walruses. None of the hundreds of pictures I took that day do what I saw justice, and it's a bit surreal to look back on them now and think that I was actually there to see it all in person. I implore you to make Alaska a travel designation for yourself at some point in your life.
As is the norm for TNT, they set up a pasta dinner for the participants the night before the race. You get to sit, reflect back on all that you went through to get to this point, and listen to some speeches to remind us why we were really there (to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society) and show us how the money we raised will benefit those afflicted with these diseases. My favorite speaker of the evening was John "The Penguin" Bingham, a columnist for Runners World magazine, and self proclaimed back-of-the-packer (like myself). He gave us helpful tips such as:
"Remember to start the race off slow and just taper, taper, taper," and
"If you start and end in the same day, you did a good job."
The race day itself started around 5:30 am and did not end until 1 or 2 am the next morning. My whole team, plus my childhood friend who I had convinced to do the race with me (Rita - love you dear!), piled into the lobby of our hotel around 6 am. For some, bagels and bananas smeared with peanut butter got passed around for breakfast, while others scampered around to try and find a microwave for their oatmeal. Cameras clicked off like we were headed to prom, capturing photos of a half asleep, semi-anxious crew. We were shuttled to the starting line from the hotel by a very jovial driver who kept laughing about how his handicap ramp was going to get a lot of use later in the day when all the runners finish their race and are no longer able to get up the stairs,
(*Yuck, yuck*) "I can't believe you all can run that whole distance, but when faced with three little stairs, you look at it like you are about to climb a mountain!" (*Yuck, yuck*)
Soothsayer, that one.
About 30 minutes later I was on my way, feeling really good and keeping a steady pace, which continued for the duration of the 26.2. I truly enjoyed the course. It switched terrain throughout the race -highway, trails, neighborhoods - and was mapped out so that you could never see too far ahead of yourself, making you discouraged by the length of race that still lay ahead of you. There were only a few times I had to stop and stretch, but I never felt like I could not finish.
My low point was during the 9 mile stint on the Tank Trail when I nearly screamed out in frustration after rolling over my third rock. The trail was nothing more then fist sized rocks closely laid out on a wide dirt path, causing me to keep a steady watch on my foot placement so I wouldn't sprain/ break my ankle. Sure, I could have dealt with that for a mile or two, but nine? Come on people, seriously, think about that one a bit more next time. I tried to stay in the paths carved out by the runners that came before me, but I was not always lucky with my footing.
The high points definitely out-weighed the low ones though, and seeing all of the purple along the course was tremendously inspiring. Coaches from every chapter were on the side lines, cheering for us, keeping pace with us and making sure we were doing okay, handing out water, and just generally doing anything they could to keep our energy level and spirit up. I have to hand it to the TNT coaches out there, and take a second to THANK them for all that they do for us, they are the backbone of this society. Tina, Rebecca and Chip, you are a large part of why I speak so highly about my experience. I can't thank you enough for imparting your knowledge, encouragement and goofy can-do spirit along to me throughout my training. You are amazing, amazing people.
I chose to upload the posted picture because it makes me laugh every single time I see it. My emotions are written so clearly on my face, "I did it! There's the finish line! I did it! Oh, Thank, God!" Backing up a step, the genius who had us run 9 miles on small boulders (i.e.: the tank trail) also put a very large, very vertical hill in the last mile, with a water stop right before. Since I still had plenty of fluids left in my water belt, I opted to skip the water stop and use my momentum to get up the hill and pass all of those who had to walk it. Zing! No problems there. At the top of the hill I could see the beginning of the high school track that we were to finish on, and heard the cheering crowd. I popped over to Queen's We Will Rock You on my iPod [illegally, of course, since iPods are not allowed during the race - oops ;)] and finished the last leg strong. Although I had been running for 5 hours, I felt like I was floating, and pushed myself to go as fast as my little legs would move. I remember seeing my teammate Julie on the sideline, screaming her head off for me (I'm not sure I ever thanked you for that Julie, it was an awesome feeling to see you there) and seeing the finish line banner. I crossed the finish line at a time of 5:04:15.5 and felt the tears swell up in my eyes. Although I was the one to run it, you all were the ones who had gotten me to the finish line. The words of encouragement when I was feeling over whelmed, and your donations to the society through my fund raising pushed me. All of my joy and exhaustion came out of my eyeballs at that moment in the form of very grateful tears.
The rest of the day consisted of a much needed ice bath (brrrr!), an after party for all of the TNT chapters [to include dancing (which I was shocked I could/ wanted do) and lots and lots of eating (which was absolutely no surprise)]. From there Rita and I went to an outdoor Third Eye Blind concert, and then decided to head back to downtown Anchorage to go out to the bars with my teammates to celebrate some more. All of this took place before the sun went down. How? The race is done on the Summer Solstice the longest day of sunlight for the year. It threw my body clock way off to look around and think it was 6 pm, when my watch read midnight. Craziness. I was just glad to be there during an all day sun, and not an all day night.
I will leave off here, and write more as my journey towards the 2009 Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco begins! (Eleina, get your travelin' shoes on my friend!) I'm sure the challenges of a DC summer will grant me plenty of tails to pass along. Can't wait (well, okay, I sort of can - *wink*)
Until next time!
Finding Inspiration: Here's To Doing It On My Own Terms
May 26, 2009
At one time or another, we are all inspired by something or someone. Over the course of my life, so many things/ people have dropped into my life at just the right moment, and given me the clarity/ support to make the right kind of difference in my life. Granted, the stubbornness that I have been afflicted with since birth will often not let me fully appreciate the "direct guidance" others have so often tried to bestow upon me, more so, my inspiration from people comes from hearing their stories about going through a particular hardship or adventure. Becoming intrigued by it, or wanting to help out - then putting into motion the goal I would like to achieve.
However you are inspired, I have come to the conclusion that inspiration breeds more inspiration, which in turn, breeds more even more inspiration, and, well, you get the idea. After moving into Washington, D.C. back in 2006 I was inspired by all the other over-achievers in the city to become more aware of what was going on in the world around me. No more did I want to rely on my, "well, if I don't know about it, it can't depress me," mantra. So I started to read the free Washington Post Express while commuting to work on the metro every morning. Then it went to listening to NPR while I was getting ready in the morning and reading the W.P. Express. Now it's come to listening to NPR while getting ready, reading the W.P. Express on the metro and, finally, reading the front page (internet page...) of the New York Times.
Now all that was not to show you how smart I am, because, honestly, probably only 50% of what I read sticks with me (if that), and half of my metro ride usually gets devoted to completing that day's Sudoku (I kill Monday - Wednesday puzzles, however, I'm still working on my Thursday and Friday skills). Being inspired to learn more about my ever changing world, has lead me to today's inspiration, courtesy of the New York Times.
This news article is from the perspective of a woman who has gone through surgery for prostate cancer, then on to radiation and hormone therapy, and is finding her footing again through running. Running, the New York City Marathon. Her spirit is upbeat and her view of what she is up against seems saturated in pragmatism. She is training for something I once thought nearly impossible for myself, as a healthy, cancer free (knock on wood) 20-something. Her words re-energize my desire to get out there, and be an advocate for these cancer suffers and their families. To honor my grandmother and all others who are afflicted with Leukemia and Lymphoma. The last few words of Ms. Jenning's article are what really brought it home for me.
But running is all about understanding the body,
relishing what it can do.
And after you've weathered prostate cancer and its treatments, the old aches and complaints of running don't mean much anymore. They can't compare to the pain and fatigue that accompany cancer.
I've spent the past year enduring the forced march that is cancer. Now I want to do a marathon on my own terms.
So, thank you Dana Jennings, for inspiring me today. Your words have gone a long way for me in my new journey. I know I will be thinking of you as I'm out on the trail some early Saturday morning, clunking through the miles, because I know you're out there too, striding through your own training.
And, thank you song-writers, quote makers, adventure seekers and my dear, dear family and friends, for being there in the past to inspire me when you may have not even known that I needed it. Or, even when you did. I hope I can return the favor one day.
Can you believe that I have ALREADY filled up my allotted characters for this year's running blog?!?!
You will still need to make your online donation to me on this page, but please continue to follow my progress by clicking on this link: http://lauren-sf09.blogspot.com/
Thanks in advance for supporting me through your donation to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)!