Dec 06, 2012 by Aimee Quesada
Thank you to all of my coaches for making me a better athlete: Lisa Witler, Mike Kasper, Jim Purvis, Amy Sitar, Alison Carrabba, Syed Rizvi, James Monaghan, Brian Enriquez, Amanda Hughes, Radie K-S, Joel Tse, Claudette Archer, Peter Helling, John Stewart, Ed Gabriels, Molly Balfe, and Eric Wollner, Jasmine Graham.
Thank you to everyone who donated: Alex Guzman, Alison Carrabba, Alison Gilles, Amanda Hughes, Amy Sitar, Ann Mellow, Ashley Moak, Aubrie-Ann Jones, Brenda Mitchell, Brian Enriquez, Brian Garber, Carla Biagini, Carmelo Romano, Carol Checkett, Caroline Sheehan, Catherine Gearity, Cathy Imperato, Christopher Leahy, Cynthia Narozny, David Leahy, Debbie DiGirolamo, Ed and Stephanie Gabriels, Ellen McHugh, Farah Visslailli, Gina Schmeling, Giselle Palacios Delmundo, Hannah durning, Jackie Raleigh, Jacqueline Junttonen, Jamie Mclaughlin, Jasmine graham, Jennifer Appleton, Jennifer Decrescenzo, Jennifer Greene, Jessica Farrell, Jessica Greif, Joanne Schulter, Joel Tse, John Stucki, Jon Collins, Judith Ackerman, Julie Checkett, Kalim Malik, Karelle Messner, Katherine Hedge, Kenny Komala, Kieran Holohan, Kitty DeVita, Kris Bobila, Latisha Griffiths, Laura Solecki, Leigh Finkel, Leslie McBeth, Lisa Witler, Liz Lamanna, Lori Hofmeister, Louis Carrera, Lynn Richardson, Marion Vincent, Mark Castillo, Mary Jane Dickas, Mary Sierra Cordes, Matt Sanislo, Matthew Kao, Meghan Tomczyk, Melissa Renwick, Michelle Marlborough, Mike Kasper, Molly Balfe, Nicole Skyer Brandwene, Pamela Narozny, Patricia Boyd, Patty Giovenco, Rachel Johnson, Ria Curtis, Roger Mumford, Samantha Cassidy, Sarah Hampton, Sonia Cumberbatch, Travis Johnson, Tricia Smith, Trinicia Perch, Tsui Pappas, Vivian Potter, Walter Bobadilla and everyone who bought raffle tickets. Your dollars are saving lives!
Thank you to the wonderful staff at The Leukemia and Lymphoma society for your support, dedication and spirit: Melissa Miller, Meghan Tomczyk, Caitlin Rogan and Jeanette Oswald.
Thank you to my teammmates, friends and family for all of your support and putting up with my insanity. I love you all.
the philadelphia marathon
Nov 26, 2012 by Aimee Quesada
I'm wide awake, one hour and fifteen minutes before my alarm is set to go off. Well, I might as well get this show on the road. I relax in bed for five minutes while I eat a banana and luna bar. I shower, dress and wait for Fabian to rise and get ready. I'm pleased that the temperature was a couple of degrees warmer than originally forecasted. Over my running clothes I'm wearing fleece pajama pants, a hoody and a quilted jacket (all to be thrown away before the start of the race).
We head out to the start. Our hotel is an easy walk to the start coral. We see droves of other marathoners heading in the same direction. It was a beautiful morning. Slightly overcast, which was ideal for running. My nerves start to rise.
I wait in my corral. I scan the hundreds of runners around me for a familiar face. We began to move towards the start line. I strip off my fleece pants. As we creep forward my teammate Farah and I notice each other. We chat about our goals etc as we inch ahead. I throw away the quilted jacket and kept the hoody on until I warm up. As we cross the start, Farrah and I wish each other good runs.
I cross the start line, start my watch and begin my 26.2 mile run.
I’m happy to be runnning. My goal is to go out slow and gradually increase my pace after 10 miles. This is not easy. I pass the first mile mark and I’m running about 20 seconds too fast. I try to focus on slowing down. After about the third mile a settle into my pace. Ignoring the coaches credo, “nothing new race day,” I am wearing compression socks for the first time ever. I get a sharp pain in my left arch. It is a stabbing, consistant pain. Go away! Go away! Go away! I try wiggling my toes. Finally after a mile the pain goes away for good.
At mile 6 my stomach starts to turn. I have stomach cramps for the next six miles. I am thrilled to see the TNT Cheer squad at mile 12. Love them!
Photo taken by Kenny Komala
I’m trying to hold out to use the porta potty until after the half-marathon split because I’m hoping the lines will be shorter then. My stomach wont let me wait so I pull over for a pit stop. I lose four minutes, but I feel better.
At the 13.1 mile split I am still on target for my goal finish time.
The fast runners are on their way to the finish line on my right. I keep my eyes peeled for Fabian. After a couple of miles I see him. He is on his way to a great finish!
The next few miles I try to pick up the pace. I'm feeling depleted, so I start to struggle to go faster. My stomach starts to turn again. I come off of a bridge at mile 18. I hear an angel’s voice. Patty Cakes! She has coca-cola for me : ) I can’t wait to see her again at mile twenty-two. I trek on. Coach Syed sneaks up on me as I approach mile 19. My stomach continues to turn. I tell him how I’m feeling and my concerns about losing steam. he advises me on how to continue taking nutrition. He tells me the top ten reasons why the Philadelphia marathon is better than the NYC marathon. My stomach wont let up. We approach mile 20 and i have to find a bathroom quick. Syed says “Cooper’s” I dash in. The couple at the bar look at me with disbelief. The bathroom is beautiful. I don’t want to leave. But I have 6.2 miles to go. I dash out. Syed sends me on my way.
I feel re-energized. Coach Radie runs up along side of me. I tell her about my woos. She says I llok good. I’m passing people. But not for long. I don’t want to eat. I’m running on fumes. I try to swallow some chews. The 4:30 pace group overtakes me. I hang back with them. then i feel my quads start to seize. I decide to walk it off. i watch as the 4:30 pace group runs off towards the finish line. I fight to get my legs back. I tell myself to run, just run. keep moving forward.
At mile 25 I see the awesome TNT cheer squad. Caroline runs with me. “I’m dead.” “You’re not dead, you’re running,” she replies. “I’m the running dead.” She laughs. I thank her and run on.
As I approach the finish the crowds grow. I imagine collapsing as I cross. Now I can see the finish. I pick up my feet. I hear my name over the crowds. I turn to my right and there is Fabe cheering me on.
I cross. I cry. Thank goodness it over. Get my silver blanket, nedal and some pretzels.
It was a beautiful day and a beautiful course. Despite my stomach problems, I was able to finish.
4:44. 11 minutes faster than my PR. 14 minutes slower than my goal. Until the next time : )
not my typical training/racing post
Nov 17, 2012 by Aimee Quesada
I can’t lie, I am distracted. I find it very hard to focus on the the fact that on Sunday I am running 26.2 miles in Philadelphia.
On october 30th while in the middle of a tempo run, I received the call that my mother’s house was destroyed in hurricane sandy. I ran home, showered and hopped into my brother’s truck in order to go assess the damage. The sight of the storm surge’s aftermath was indescribable. The back of the house was torn off – its contents looked like clothes in a washing machine. One of the craziest things to see was the randomness of the destruction; somehow, my great grandfather’s hand-painted glasses survived within a china cabinet’s flipping onto its back, floating across the house, and having heaps of debris land on it.
We spent the next few days throwing out what had to be and salvaging what could be saved. I wished the ocean had just swallowed the house; it was terrible watching my mom fret over her ruined belongings. The worst part was that pretty much a lifetime of her artwork suffered some degree of damage.
With the power out, we were literally cut off from the rest of the world. i just wanted to shout at the top of my lungs, “HELP.” I wanted the world to know what the storm had done. My mother was not alone, she is one of tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of people who lost everything to sandy.
When I arrived home each night from cleaning my mother’s house, I checked out what was going in the news and also what was occurring on facebook. My teammates, who had raised 2.2 million dollars for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, spent the week in turmoil over outcries concerning the nyc marathon. However, they did not sit on the laurels, passively waiting for a resolution to arrive. They volunteered at shelters, collected donations, delivered supplies. The news of the marathon’s cancellation came at Friday’s end. My teammates shed some tears, but they did not wallow into the shallows of self pity. They organized themselves. They headed out to Staten Island on Sunday in the same buses that would have taken them to the marathon start; however, they were now headed to help those whose lives were turned upside down by the storm. Fabe and i joined them in the afternoon. We helped wherever we could. The destruction is daunting. But every little bit makes a difference.
Back at work on Monday, I was in a funk, and I couldn’t put my finger on it. My boss checked in to see how I weathered the storm. When i told him about my mother’s loss, he said, “that’s depressing.” It was depressing – her loss – the thousands of others losses. Although, I personally had lost nothing, my heart was heavy from the devastation.
My teammates itched to run their marathons. Some signed up for harrisburg, brooklyn, philadelphia, and a handful of other marathon’s around the country.
My birthday was coming up. There are three types of people in this world, people who love to celebrate their birthdays, people who hate to celebrate their birthdays, and people who could care less about their birthdays. I love to celebrate my birthday. But this year, not so much. In fact, I didn’t want to celebrate it at all. Then i was presented with a couple of opportunities. First, a friend’s band was playing on my birthday and donating the cover fare to sandy relief efforts. Second, a friend posted that there was room on a bus to help out in Staten island on Friday. bingo, i couldn’t think of a better way to spend my birthday.
After a day spent on Father Capodanno in Staten Island, the eight margarita's went down really smooth and had me feeling good. Good, that is, until I had to go on my last long eight mile run on saturday. I got through it, showered, and headed to Harrisburg, to cheer on fifty tnt-ers running the marathon on Sunday. We went all out – wigs, beads, boas, sparkle skirts, and a beat-pumping van. We brought New York to Harrisburg to cheer on all of the runners.
Every so often people asked me about how I was feeling about my race. But it was the farthest thing from my mind.
Now it is here. On Sunday I am running a 26.2 mile race. I’m still not focused – haven’t written down my race plan. But I think it will be good.
Thanks to your generosity, I am very close to reaching my goal of raising $6000. The website will be up until November 24th for donations. I know many of you are stretched thin with all your own needs these days. Sandy wrecked a lot of things, but she didn’t stop cancer. Patients still need to receive their chemo, families still need support and, most of all, perhaps now more than ever, we need money to fund cancer research to find a cure once and for all.
Thank you so much for your support throughout my year long journey. I couldn’t have done it without you.
Philly, here I come!
Oct 14, 2012 by Aimee Quesada
Although it was not my first time running 20 miles, it was not a typical training run. Today I ran the Grete’s Gallop 13.1 mile race in central park. Before the race I ran an easy seven miles up the westside with my teammates and my friend Brenda (training for her first marathon).
I wore my TNT singlet with my friends/teammates Pam and Cynthia’s mother’s name Carolann over my heart. Pam and Cynthia lost their mom 15 years ago to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Friday, October 12 would have been Carolann’s 59th birthday. At the same time I ran Grete’s Gallop, Pam and Cynthia and hundreds of my TNT teammates were running the Nike Women’s Half/Full Marathon (NWM) in San Francisco. Today’s training run was a reminder to me that our work is not done. Although we have raised millions of dollars for cancer research, as my coach said, we are still suffering losses. I am honored to have Pam and Cynthia as friends and to be part of an amazing team. I hope that together we can fund a cure and cancer becomes part of our history, not our future.
It was a perfect day for running. The temperature was just right and the sky was overcast. I had never run through the parks on the westside and I was impressed by the beauty. I loved running up the westside with my teammates/friends and enjoyed being part of this cult of good. We broke up before the race and regrouped at the start. We ran the first few miles together and then broke out into our own paces. At mile 4+ the lead runners passed us on their way to the finish line at a 4:30 min/mile pace. Super inspiring. As I approached mile 5 (12 for me) I started to fade. I thought about the name on my heart and my friends running on the west coast. I felt reenergized and negative split my way to the finish of my 20 mile run.
Thank you for all of your support and encouragement. I could not do this without you. 35 days until the Philly marathon. Woohoo!
Next Stop Philly
Sep 21, 2012 by Aimee Quesada
My final event for 2012 is the Philadelphia Marathon on November 18. I have not skipped a beat with my training. This event has special meaning me. Four years ago I found out the week of the Philadelphia Marathon that I had ruptured disc and I was not able to run it. I was devastated. I turned my focus from training to recovering. My recovery took two and a half years, consisting of physical therapy, epidural injections, and a microdiscectomy. Now, here I am four years later, fit, able and determined to conquer Philly : ) This will be the perfect culmination to "My Comeback for a Cure."