Final Training Update

The Training Update I didn't want to write...
May 06, 2014 by Lyda Hawes

Running is one of those weird endeavors that is filled with disappointments, yet those of us who are drawn to running keep coming back anyway. In 2012 the New York City Marathon was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy and 2000 runners took to Central Park to run their own personal marathons. It's a sport where people intentionally submerge themselves into a bathtub full of ice water to alleviate the aches and pains that come with their training. I haven't met an endurance runner yet who hasn't had their share of injuries. When people ask me why I keep doing this insane sport, I'm not sure I have an answer that would make sense to any otherwise sane person. I just know that in spite of all the set-backs I cherish the time I have out on my feet, alone or with friends, carrying myself through the miles one footfall after the other.

This has been a tough season for me. There have been the usual aches and pains, plus some less usual ones, and there has been one niggling hip issue that didn't seem to want to go away. I learned on Friday that I have small stress fracture in my femoral neck (or as I like to say because it sounds more dramatic, "I broke my femur.") There is no amount of ice baths, ibuprofen, physical therapy or stretching that can fix this one and running on it is absolutely not an option. So, it is with a heavy dose of disappointment that I must withdraw from this year's training season.

My own physical challenges aside, I am so proud of the force of nature that is this group of donors. Together you have raised a sizable chunk of change in the fight against blood cancer. What you have done has helped friends like Yanni literally still be alive to be a mom and wife, you've helped friends like Jenney have a father to raiser her, and your work will ensure no more fathers like Nigam have to lose their 5-year old daughters.

My disappointment is temporary. I will run again. And because Team in Training is so awesome, your donations will be credited to my fundraising for next year's summer season. So I will get to take all of your support and encouragement with me when we get back up, dust ourselves off and start all over again.

 

If you break your neck, if you have nothing to eat, if your house is on fire—then you got a problem. Everything else is inconvenience. Life is inconvenient. Life is lumpy. Learn to separate the inconveniences from the real problems. You will live longer. ~Robert Fulgham

 

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Down but not out
Apr 20, 2014 by Lyda Hawes

Having done this a few seasons, I have come to expect the inevitable aches and pains that come along with pounding the pavement for miles at a time.

 

I have had sore calves, sore feet, strained my gluteus minimus (who knew we even had a "minimus" version of that muscle??). I thought I had pretty much seen it all. Of course, this season it stood to reason that I was in for a completely unexpected and new challegne to throw my training out of whack. This year, I got handed a kidney stone.

 

I was very lucky compared to some who have had kidney stones, but it's still a very un-fun problem and it kept me off my feet running-wise for a time.

 

It was with some trepidation that I set off for my long run on Saturday. Would I be able to complete the entire 130 mins scheduled for today or would I have to tell my running partner to set coordinates for where to come back and find my lifeless body?

 

My problems were but a blip on the radar and honestly wont impact my training much, if at all. I cannot begin to imagine the toll it takes to fight blood cancer over many weeks and months and the restrictions that places on having a "normal" life.

 

Saturday morning we heard the story of Jenney's dad, who thanks to the drug regimen produced in part with research $$ from The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, was able to work half days during his treatment. He got half-normal and a longer lease on life. When I think about what he must have gone through, it puts my own (really very good) health into perspective.

 

So, I got back out on the trail and ran my full training run because I want Jenney's dad, I want all the dads, to have all-normal.

 

“Respect your body. Eat well. Dance forever.” ~Eliza Gaynor Minden

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Hoodie of Grattitude
Mar 24, 2014 by Lyda Hawes

Thanks to my awesome team of donors, I received this cool TNT hoodie. You cannot buy this - it must come from having a certain level of donations by the cut-off date. I am very lucky and very thankful to have such an amazing community of support on this journey with me!

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Spring Showers
Mar 09, 2014 by Lyda Hawes

I'll be honest, this year's training season has gotten off to a rougher start than usual. I have no major complaints, but it seems like the weather has been a little worse than normal and my aches and pains have set in a little earlier than expected. I'm having a hard time getting training runs in on the days I don't work out with the team because of my new job/commute. I could go on, but I'll spare you the shared agony with this <insert whining here> placeholder.

It was a fellow teammate who brought me back to my senses. I had posted the picture above to Facebook from the parking area for one of our Tuesday night team practice with a caption about getting wet during our run. My friend April, also on the team, saw it and said it made it a bit harder for her to get in her own car to come to practice. In fact, she was sitting in her car debating what to do when she thought of her dear friend, Steve Palesch. Steve lost his battle with blood cancer just over a year ago. She wondered what he might have said to her had he been in the car and with a bit of a chuckle realized he probably would have opened the car door and given her an encouraging boot to the butt. So, she showed up and we ran together in the rain. Getting out of the car into the cold, wet, and dark night was not an easy choice, but at least we had the choice to make.

I think sometimes it is easy to get distracted by the small inconveniences of life. In fact, it's probably a great sign when your biggest complaint is that you had got to run in the rain. I originally signed up with Team in Training so that I could run a marathon, a huge personal dream of mine. I also thought it would be *nice* to honor a colleague of mine who was a blood cancer survivor. I had no idea I would be so transformed by the experience. I don't need Team in Training in order to train for a half marathon, but every time I learn of yet another person affected by this disease (including a mother who told us about her 2 1/2 year old getting chemo treatments last Saturday...) I can't imagine NOT coming back.

I am also incredibly lucky to have such supportive friends and family on this journey helping me wage war against blood cancer. How can I stay in the car when so many of you have donated, yet again, of your time or money? So, I got out of the car and will keep getting out of the car, getting out of bed, getting out of my self-induced pity party, putting on my running shoes and getting my butt out on the trail.

"Oh, believe me, I'm not disciplined everyday in this weather, but TNT days are about kicking cancer's ass one soggy mile at a time." ~April Rauch

 

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Where does the money go?
Feb 09, 2014 by Lyda Hawes

After sharing that I will be running off to San Diego in my last post, a friend asked me how much of her potential donation would be going to the "running off" part and how much would go to fighting blood cancer. I thought that was a terrific question and one that others may have on their minds as well. I also think that donors should be careful about giving their funds to any organization that is not willing to answer that question. I appreciate that many of you have many demands on your time and money, so I want to be fully transparent about where your funds go when you choose to donate here at my request.

 

The Short Answer: 77.6 cents of every dollar you donate goes directly to research and patient services. Here is the breakdown from LLS (http://www.lls.org/#/aboutlls/financialinformation/):

 

Is that good or bad? LLS is an Accredited Charity with the Better Business Bureau and they receive 3 out of 4 stars from Charity Navigator (a site that ranks charities), so all in all I would say that is pretty good.

 

And it will get better... One of the things I admire about LLS is that they are not content to rest on their laurels. In speaking with a local campaign manager, I learned that they have a goal for 2014 of improving the ratio to 80 cents from every dollar going to the cause and they will aim to increase that even more in 2015 to 85 cents.

 

How are they keeping expenses down?  Well, for me, it means that I will (gladly) cover my own airfare and transportation to San Diego, and I will share my hotel room with 2 other participants.

 

But, where does the money really go? In researching the answer to my friend's question, it was important for me to not just talk about dollars and cents, percentages, and fancy pie charts. How does the money you are helping me raise help real people? So, I asked one of the most real people I know, Yanni Robel, who also happens to be a blood cancer survivor, how the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has affected her personally.  I couldn't say it any better than she says it herself, so I'm sharing her words directly:

"I am the living proof what all the money you raised for LLS for. My first medicine, Gleevec, was majority funded by LLS during the research phase and it gave me a chance to be "normal" (did 5 marathons, 10 half marathons in the last 2.5 years) and waited for the last generation of drug to be available to me for my specific mutation. Not only that but the First Connection program that LLS have really help newly diagnosed survivor to help navigate the fear, concern and worry because you will have someone that "been there done that" help and talk to you about it. In short, LLS have been an integral organization for me as a patient. Please consider to donate. No amount is too small. I thank you. My daughters thank you, and my family thank you"

 

"It Lets Me Live Indefinitely." Yanni also shared this short video in which she appears (in a very cute Minnie Mouse hat) with her friend and fellow survivor, Matt, as he talks about the impact Gleevec has had on his life...

 

What we do matters. Yesterday, a very brave young 9-year old named Zach lost his fight with Leukemia. No matter how many times I participate with Team in Training events, I will never get used to learning about young people dying from blood cancer. With all the advances in medicine today, 9 year old boys still die from this horrible disease. I keep running because I don't know what else to do in the face of such injustice. I believe in the LLS and I believe the money we raise does, in fact, matter.

 

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