May 01, 2012 by Kristen Ouellette
Now that the adrenaline of raceday has subsided (and so has a lot of my soreness in my legs), I'm finally sitting down to blog my last post about the Spring 2012 season, and my first season with Team in Training. For one of the very few times in my life I feel speechless. I feel like no matter how much I try to describe what it was like being on the TEAM, there is no way I can truely put it into words. It's just something that needs to be experienced to understand. I hope that throughout my journey and my blog posts about it, I have been able to give at least a little bit of insight of what it's like to be a teammate, and an advocate for this wonderful, life-changing, life-saving organization.
As many of you know, Saturday was our big race day. It was the day that we've all prepared for, worked hard for, shedded blood, sweat, tears for. My fellow teammates and I joined 30,000+ of our closest friends and strangers to run the streets of Nashville for the Country Music Marathon and 1/2 Marathon. It was hot. I don't know the exact temperature, but I know it was around 80-85 degrees when I finished the race. I didn't meet my goal time for the race, but ultimately running in the race wasn't about meeting a goal time anyway. It was about raising awareness for blood cancers, and raising a boat-load of money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help fund cancer research and ultimately, get closer to finding a cure for cancer! The Tennessee team alone raised over $165,000 for LLS, and nationwide the TNT teams raised over $600,000!! So, when I crossed the finish line with a time of 2:46:32, I wasn't sad, I was proud of what I and my teammates had accomplished!
I want to thank Coach Carey, my teammates, the other TNT Coaches, my "assistant coach" and husband Donald, Brandon (my physical therapist), my friends, family, and all of you who donated to get me across that finish line with a total of $2,466 raised on my own for LLS. I want to thank my honored teammate, Dennis, for being my inspiration for running with LLS and TNT, and ultimately for being a survivor! I couldn't have done it without you all! You all motivated me when I needed it, gave me the high-fives and a pat on the back when I deserved them, were my shoulders to lean on when times got tough, and overall are my heros for helping to fight cancer with me. You all are my teammates, and whether you ran the race with me on Saturday, or you were a name on my back, or you were cheering me on from afar, you're still a part of my team! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! This season was incredible, and that's why I've signed on for a second season as a mentor with TNT.
I'm super excited to start training with more teammates, and take on another half marathon at the Nike Women's Marathon and 1/2 Marathon in San Francisco, CA on October 14th, 2012. I'll be fundraising again for this event, so if you'd like to be a part of my team, but can't make the trip to San Fran with me, I'd be so grateful for your donation to help fight cancer. Please visit my new fundraising page at: http://pages.teamintraining.org/tn/nikesf12/kristen
It's pretty bare right now, but I plan on blogging all about my summer training, my adventures in mentoring part of the team, and any new developments in the fight against cancer.
Now on to the fun stuff.....the photos of race day!
Over 2 and a half hours later.......We did it!!!
Amber and me! Amber ran for her momma!
hahaha, me and my husband....
Me and The Burton's! I ran in honor of Jamie's father, Dennis. Unfortunately, Dennis couldn't make the trip to Nashville for the race, but Jamie, Jeff and their daughter Shay were there to support me at the finish line! :)
Shortly after us half-marathoners were finished, my teammate and friend Kori crossed the full marathon finish line after running her first full marathon! 26.2 miles....AWESOME JOB KORI!!!!!! Here she is with her mentor, her friend and our teammate, Jennaca (who ran a half marathon pregnant!) Great job ladies!!! So proud of you both!
I'm so proud of you all! Cheers to a great season!!
Last GTS of the Spring 2012 season!
Apr 22, 2012 by Kristen Ouellette
I'm shocked at how quickly this season flew by. It felt like just a few weeks ago, I was meeting up with a bunch of strangers to run in the cold weather in an effort to be a part of something bigger than myself and to help an amazing cause and cancer patients and their families. Now, the weather is--with the exception of this weekend--getting much warmer, those strangers are my friends, and although I know some much better than others, we're all bonded as we have a common goal--to kick cancer where it counts the most---out of the body! We've had some great times, some not so fun times (if anyone tells me that they didn't have a rough week during this season, I know they're lying), and ultimately, we've raised a ton of money (over $150,000 is the latest number I heard) and are one step closer to finding a cure for cancer.
Earlier this week, I got a call from my honored teammate, Dennis, and even though he absolutely didn't need to, he generously thanked me and my teammates for all that we're doing. He and his daughter, my dear friend Jamie, are the reason that I even got started w/TNT. When Jamie first told me of her father's diagnosis of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, I had no idea what to do to show her my support. Now, I realize that every penny that I fundraise and every step I take when I'm running is helping a father, a child, a sibling, an aunt, a grandfather, a cousin, a best friend, a stranger, and all people in between fight the awful, terrifying battle against cancer. Without actually being the person to find the cure to cancer, this is the best that I can do to give my support. I may not always be able to run, so I'm going to do it now while I still can. Dennis and Jamie have no idea how much of an inspiration they have been to me. I'm so thankful that Dennis is now doing well and is cancer-free and I am so happy that Jamie gets to have her dad around to ask her questions about how to use his iPhone and how to login to Facebook. ;) It's ok, my mom calls me about her cell phone and Facebook too. Dennis, you're the one who should be thanked for choosing to fight the battle against cancer---you didn't give up and now you're not only cancer free, but you are a SURVIVOR! So THANK YOU! It's an honor for me to be running in your honor.
Yesterday was our last group training session, and we ran a quick and easy 4 miles in the overcast, damp and chilly weather. We were told that it would also be another costume fun run, and although I didn't run in the costume that I brought, I still had to show off the turtle shell to my teammates. Thanks to my colleague Chris for letting me borrow it. :)
I'm very much looking forward to an easy week this week in preparation for the 13.1 miles that I'll be running on Saturday morning and all of the activities that lead up to it. We have an Inspirational dinner on Friday evening with the other TNT teams from all around the country. Coach Jim (a cancer survivor) will be speaking at the event and I know he's going to do an amazing job of giving us that extra last bit of motivation to cross that finish line the following day. :)
I want to thank you all again for supporting me throughout this journey. TNT has really changed my life and I can't wait to be a part of it again for round 2 in the Fall as I mentor new teammates. Unfortunately, I didn't win the Kindle Fire that was being given away a few weeks ago, and therefore can't give one away this time around, but stay tuned because I plan on having some great events and giveaways for the Fall season.
We've worked so hard for what we're all about to do on Saturday, and we're ready! Let's do this thing! My next scheduled update, will be after the half marathon! Eeeeek!!!
Until then........GO TEAM!!!!!
Dashing for Dairy....but then....
Apr 14, 2012 by Kristen Ouellette
Today was my first race since last April's Country Music Half Marathon. I met up with some of my teammates in the Nashville Metrocenter area for Purity's Moosic City Dairy Dash 10k (6.2 miles). My "assistant coach" (and lifelong teammate), Donald, was there to cheer me and my teammates on! He's so adorable! :)
As Donald can tell you, I was a bit nervous on the way to the race, but I was just telling myself that this was really no different than any other training run that I've done throughout the season. I just had a number associated with my name and a time that I wanted to beat. Haha. My goal was to beat my 2010 Bolder Boulder 10k finish time of 1 hour, 12 and 1/2 minutes. My Bolder Boulder time was important because I ran that race with an IT band injury (bad idea), and it was also my first, and so far only race that I've ran at high elevation (Colorado has beautiful terrain, even if I can't breathe well in it). I knew that this race shouln't be a problem and I knew that my training runs have been right on target with beating that time.
To begin the race, the walkers Coach Heather gave the mission moment as she talked about losing her mother at the age of 57 to cancer 11 years ago. Her mother's odds of beating cancer then were very slim but because of the progress in treatment and organizations such as LLS, if her mother were alive today, her odds of survival would be significantly greater.
Then we snuck a few more photos before the race began on the flat, flat course.
Christina and Candace:
We even got Gnash from the Nashville Predators to get a photo op with us! I should have seen if he had some playoff tickets to give away.
Back row (Lto R): Drew, Brian, Lindsay, Shelley, GNASH, Annie, Coach Carey, Coach Jonathan
Front row (L to R): Amber, me, Christina, Candace, Arlyn, Jeanne, and Nikki
Then, it was go time.......and we were racing to the end for some chocolate milk! Or at least, that was my plan.
The finish line is in sight!
My lovely focused face at the very end as I gave it my all....
I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:10:54, and I was so excited to see Donald there cheering me on for my last moments...he always puts an extra pep in my step at my races! :)
Here comes teammate Amber! All smiles!
And then we went to get some chocolate milk..........only to find out that they were out! What?! HUGE bummer, but oh well, my assistant Coach picked up an entire gallon of Kroger chocolate milk on my way home. I'm still a little bitter about the lack of Purity chocolate milk, but I'll get over it by next year's race. Hopefully they'll correct their mistake. And then we enjoyed a few more pics before heading our separate ways for the rest of the weekend.
Monday night, we're having our last team meeting of the season where we will get our race day jerseys, and final information for the race in 2 weeks! It's crazy to believe we just have one more training run of the season, and it will only be 4 miles....then our week of rest and race prep begins. I'm excited to see what next season holds for me....that's right, I'm signing on for a second season, so stay tuned for more chances to win prizes for donations, because I guarantee you that they're coming. More details to tell soon!
Yesterday was our last day to fundraise for the season, and we are still anxiously awaiting word on who won the KINDLE FIRE. In my last week of fundraising, I raised over $200! We are currently awaiting word on who won the Kindle Fire, and if I was the lucky one, I will certainly be informing my highest donor of the last week of donation about it as soon as possible. Thank you all again for donating, following me in my journey, giving me words of encouragement, making sure I knew when there were free bagels in the breakroom at work on Wednesdays, etc., etc. It's very comforting to know that I have so much support behind me pushing me forward to help support others in their fight against cancer.
Much love to you all!
Time is Running Out!
Apr 08, 2012 by Kristen Ouellette
I want to start this post out by saying that the half-marathon is now less than 3 weeks away! Eeeek! Yesterday, my teammates and I completed our last "long" run before the half-marathon. We will now being to taper off on our running mileage in order to rest our bodies for the big race.
But time is running out. Training time is not only running out, but time is running out for fundraising for the season. All donations must be made before Friday, April 13th, and if you donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society online (via this page) between Monday the 9th and Friday the 13th, you have the chance to win a new Kindle Fire! Keep reading for more details on that, but I'll give you a little tease...it looks like this...
(photo courtesy of Amazon.com)
After completing my last week of (scheduled) physiotherapy appointments, I have officially been RELEASED from seeing my new buddy Brandon at Results Physiotherapy. He was great to me an all, and I owe a lot to him for fixing me, but I'm glad I don't have to continue seeing him 2-3 times per week. :) (No offense Brandon if you're reading this).
Teammate Amber began our morning by giving the mission moment. She spoke of her mother who was recently diagnosed last fall with CML but is currently doing well because of new drugs being developed and funded by organizations such as LLS. I haven't met her mother yet, but I can't wait to greet her at the finish line with Amber by my side in less than 3 weeks. Sweaty hugs all around! :)
I was thrilled to have began yesterday's 12 mile run with the team with no leg pain.
Irene and I ran together for the entire 12 miles and I am super thankful for her pushing me when I needed it, because although it was one of my best runs, that doesn't mean it was always easy---especially when most of the second half of the run was all uphill, and running against the wind! This is what our route was yesterday..
Whew! As my mom said, "I'm tired just looking at it!" That's exactly how I felt before we started. If I thought I was happy to have started the run without pain, then I was even happier to have finished the 12 miles, 2 hours and 30 minutes later with just tight and tired muscles, but still no real "pain" to deal with. PT Brandon actually joined our team for a run yesterday and helped my teammates with some of their aches and pains, and needless to say, I gave him a HUGE high-five and a "THANK YOU!" when I was done with my run. Someone also brought us chocolate milk to drink after our run, and ohmygoodness, if you've never had chocolate milk after a long run, you haven't lived life to it's fullest yet. Bold statement I know, but I thought I loved chocolate milk before I ran, and now I know, that I really only liked it before, but after a run like yesterday's I LOVE chocolate milk. Did you know that chocolate milk is really good for runners after they run? It really is, and I admit that I now endorse (but am not compensated for) Kroger low-fat chocolate milk.
All smiles after our run (and chocolate milk in my case)....
L to R: Irene, Amber, Wilco Coach Jim, me, Jillian
Although time is running out for training, I feel ready. I feel more ready than I have for any of the previous half-marathons that I've ran. I owe it all to the great Team in Training program, my teammates, my Coach, and all of my supporters. You all have really made it possible for me to get out of bed to train and work through my sickness and injuries this season, and once again, I want to say THANK YOU for that! Thank you all for being a part of my team!! Now on to how you can try to win a Kindle Fire....
For every $50 I can raise online between Monday and Friday of this week, I will receive one entry to win the Kindle Fire. I want to give you all a chance to win it instead so, if I win the Kindle Fire, I'm going to give it to the person who donates the most money this week between Monday at 12:01am & Friday at 11:59pm Central time. If there's a tie, I will have a third party draw a name out of a hat (nothing fancy here for the tie-breaker). So, don't just sit there, send in your donation! And remember, it has to be an online donation via credit/debit card.
On the agenda for next Saturday.....I run my first Moosic City Dairy Dash 10k with some teammates in preparation for race day! I can't wait!!
Best TEAMmates ever!
Apr 01, 2012 by Kristen Ouellette
It's no April Fool's joke that I think very highly of my TEAMmates, but this week proved as to why they really take the cake (no pun intended).
Tuesday evening after work, full-marathon runner Kori and I went on a 9 mile training run together. I don't usually like to run in the evening after working all day so I'm thankful to now have a running buddy if I need to get my run in after work hours. It was a great run with great conversation, and I'm very inspired by Kori and all of the full-marathon TEAMmates. I am on the fence about whether or not I would want to run a full-marathon someday but I know one thing, if I do, these are the people I want to run it with. They really are champions!
I had a few physiotherapy appointments again this week and I'm certainly improving. My left quad/IT band actually feel like two separate muscles again and are not rock solid anymore (they're strong, but not stuck together...yay!) I am still having some soreness in my inner thigh but I'm hoping that by next weekend I will be very close to being fully healed and hopefully will be released from PT. I'm very happy to have been able to get in both of my weekday training runs this week as it's been a struggle the past few weeks.
Yesterday was of course our weekly GTS run, this time starting at LP Field. TEAMmate Drew gave the mission moment, as he spoke about how his mother passed away from lung cancer, and how his family is surrounded by cancer. He spoke about how he not only runs for all of them, but how he runs for himself as he knows that what he's doing now, just may end up saving his life someday. I couldn't agree more with him...none of us are safe from this terrible disease...no matter how healthy we try to keep ourselves. Cancer does not discriminate.
I admit that yesterday's run was definitely not one of my best. I woke up feeling very tired, and honestly for the first time since I've been attending the GTS runs, I thought about just staying in bed and doing my own 8 mile run later in the day. However, I'm glad that I chose to get out of bed, and go run anyway. Even though I walked a lot more than I had planned, I kept remembering Drew's mission moment, his reasons to run, and also thought about a "pin" I've seen on Pinterest.
It was probably one of the warmest days that we've had so far this year and I know that some of my worst runs have been on warm days. Me and the heat don't get along too well. I'm hoping it was just one of "those" days, in which I needed some additional rest. I confess, I may have stayed up too late Friday night waiting to see if I won the big Mega Millions jackpot. Silly me! We did come by another race that was happening downtown, this one benefited St. Jude's Children's Hospital. It was funny to see the spectator's faces as we came running toward the finish line, but then divertered around it.
I completed the 8+ miles with my TEAMmates and then dug right in to the early birthday cake that Kori made me (contray to the rumor that TEAMmate Ted may be spreading, I did share the cake. ;)) I don't know what I enjoyed more....the delicious sweet taste or the phrase she wrote on it! AWESOME!
See what I mean by having the best TEAMmates?!
Time is running out for making a donation to my fundraising efforts for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. As I've mentioned before, I'm so thankful for all of the funds that have already been donated and have helped me raise my minimum and personal goal of $2,000. In my last post, I mentioned that for my birthday, the only thing I want is a cure for cancer, and the only way that can happen is with your help. So, please, make that donation if you haven't already. A $5 donation can make a big difference, and it means that I have your support. I'd love to wake up on my 29th birthday on Tuesday (April 3rd) to see a flood of donation notification e-mails in my inbox with encouraging messages from all of you. The race is just over 4 weeks away, and I can't wait to show you all just what your donations and words of encouragement have meant to me! Because I know I tell you on this blog, but I really need a way to show you, so I'm trying to come up with a special way to showcase your donations on race day! Please stay tuned to see what I come up with!