Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Weekly Goals

In addition to the much-loved iPod, David gave me a triathlon journal for my birthday. I've been filling it in daily, and really like it. This week I've set 3 goals:

1. Swim: 2 x :10 continuous
2. Bike: 5 x Prospect Park loop (16.75M)
3. Keep track of what I eat

I'll let you know how all of that goes!

Monday, I swam after work, then did a Pilates class. Both went well. I still seem to have some difficulty swimming alone - I lose motivation. But I did swim a continuous 10 minutes, so check one of those off!

Last night we had a 5.5M GTS run. The route took us in various directions around Central Park, including two short-ish uphills (FAST!) and once around the lower loop (1.7M). I never thought I'd say it, but I actually like running! I felt strong throughout the run, which is great, because that's almost race distance!

Of course, it's hard to measure pace - at least, it was hard to measure pace, until my fabulous new GTS arrived! It's a birthday present from my brother, Garth, which will work well with the performance monitor watch & heartrate monitor he bought me for Christmas. Such a clever fellow. Speaking of heart rate, that's another thing I'm going to start tracking more regularly - both resting and during activity.

Sunday, June 27, 2004

My First Flat, and the Magical iPod

Update from the last few days...

Last Wednesday at our swim GTS I had a major technique breakthrough. I think I might actually *get* the 2-beat kick. I'm psyched to practice on my own - will go to the pool at Eastern Athletic after work tomorrow.

Saturday morning our GTS time changed to 7:30. Yes. AM. In Central Park. I woke up at 5:40 and lugged my bike on the subway into Manhattan. The workout was to be 2 loops around the park (~6 miles each), then a 30 minute time trial (TT) of the lower loop (1.7 miles). Coach Scott explained that a time trial meant we were to repeat the loop at our fastest sustainable pace for the allotted time.

Off we went. I biked with Kari and Melissa. At one point, a man riding near me pointed out that my back tire needed air. When I had an opportunity, I asked Kari if she had a pump (I hadn't brought mine). She did, and happily pulled over to help. Well. We had no idea how to use her pump with the valve on my tire, and within seconds we had succeeded in completely flattening the tire. I told Kari to continue her workout, and I walked back to the TNT fountain to find a coach. Fortunately Assistant Coach George was there and happy to help. We changed the tire as though it were a flat - effectively, I had my own private flat tire clinic! I still had time to complete the 30 minute TT (I did 4x around the lower loop in about 26 minutes).

Our scheduled solo workout for today (Sunday) was a 50-minute run. After a 2-hour nap this afternoon, I strapped on my brand new pink iPod mini (a birthday present from David) and set off to run around the park. I completed the whole 3.35 mile loop in (drum roll, please!) 34 minutes. I know! I was shocked. It was all about the music. Since I finished in such record time, I continued running and did part of the inner loop, to add on 11 minutes. I *booked* on that run. I'm really psyched about it.

Thursday, June 24, 2004


Len is my friend Stephanie's best friend's husband. Here is his story.

Len was a third-year law student, about to take his 1st semester exams, when all of a sudden he developed a pain in his side (which he thought was from lifting a bag of heavy kitty litter!) and some blurring in one of his eyes. He thought that the problem with his eye was that his glasses prescription was too weak, so he went to LensCrafters to see the optometrist. She was concerned and advised him to go see his doctor, who in turn, did some tests and discovered that Len had CML (chronic myelogenous leukemia).

Luckily for Len, his father is a prominent doctor in Knoxville, so he immediately had access to great care. He was started on Gleevec, which is a relatively new drug that has shown good short-term results; however, given it's recent introduction to the market, there is little evidence as to whether it provides any long-term benefit. Anyway, his doctors advised that a bone marrow transplant was the best course of action, so he got on the list to get matched with a donor. Eventually, one was found, and he and Janna went out to Seattle, which is home to one of the best bone marrow transplant facilities in the country. (They have a 75% success rate, versus other hospitals, which average around 30%.)

He got the bone marrow transplant and spent about six months in Seattle getting additional treatment. Finally, in September 2002, he came back to Knoxville. He was declared officially in remission and was able to restart law school in Spring 2003. However, in May, he went in for a routine blood test, and the doctors discovered that the cancer was back, this time in the form of AML (acute myelogenous leukemia). He restarted chemo, was doing okay and was about to be released from the hospital, but then developed this awful fungal infection that left him in a wheelchair and covered with horrible sores.

In May, he went out to Seattle again to see his transplant doctors, to see if a second bone marrow transplant could be done. However, given the state of his immune system, the doctors there said that there was nothing more to be done, and told him that he only had one to two months to live. He is now back in Knoxville, in the hospital. He got one more round of chemo, and everyone is waiting to see if his blast cells can be kept at bay long enough to give him a retransfusion of donor bone marrow cells at Vanderbilt Hospital.

All through this, he and Janna have been so amazingly upbeat and positive. Of course, there have been really low times for both of them, but in general, they are an incredible testament to the power of optimism and hope in these sort of devastating situations.

Connection to the Cause

Every Saturday, before we start our GTS, we have a "Connection to the Cause" moment. One of the mentors, or honored teammates, says a few words or tells a story about his or her own experiences with blood cancers.

I don't have a personal story to share. I had a good friend in high school who was diagnosed with leukemia - she's in remission now, and we've lost touch. I signed up with Team in Training because I wanted to train (with coaches) for a triathlon, and I figured I could raise the money because my friends are a generous group (it's true, you are!). Since I've been fundraising, though, I've learned a lot about how blood cancers have touched the lives of people around me. I'm going to start sharing those stories with you, because they are what inspires me to get up at 6am and haul my bike to Central Park for a time trial. Really.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

The X-Factor

Tonight's run involved a :10 OAB warmup, then 4 x :10 OABs with a set of squats and lunges between each. Each of the workout OABs started at Bethesda Terrace and went in a different direction, loosely forming an X.

I am happy to report that running doesn't suck for me anymore! I felt great after the workout, and even during the following set of core exercises.

Now, with all this exercise, can someone please explain why I've gained about 7 pounds since I started this whole training thing?

I'm going to have a slice of pizza and think about that.

Monday, June 21, 2004

Happy Birthday To Me!

It's my 30th birthday! I'm blowing off all training activites, and consuming many baked goods. There'll probably be some wine later, too. Whee!

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Fundraising Update: 57%

That's right, I'm already 57% of the way to my fundraising goal! I'm thrilled about it, and I can't believe how generous my friends & family have been. Thanks everyone, you guys rock!

2nd BRick

A woman I work with gave me a 1-week pass to New York Health & Racquetball Club, so on Friday after work I went to the pool there. It's a pretty small pool (55'), but nice, and wasn't at all busy. I did about 3/4 of the prescribed workout so that I could fit it into the 30 minutes I had.

Yesterday morning we had our first GTS BRick. And, our first GTS in Prospect Park! I almost felt guilty sleeping until 7am, and I arrived at the meeting point 1/2 hour early. We biked 10 miles (3x around the park), then ran a 20 minute OAB. The goal, as always, was pacing - turn around after 10 minutes of running and make it back to the starting point in another 10 minutes. I did it! Running after biking is *hard*, but I enjoyed the practice, and I'm looking forward to more BRick sessions. Coach Ken led us in a core session afterwards, and I was home by 9:30, sweaty and happy.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

One Month In

Hi! I know, sporadic updates. But I'm back!

Tuesday night was my first GTS after the Canada hiatus. Lucky me, we did hill training! Whee! We were instructed to jog from Bethesda Terrace down to the start of the Bridle Path near Tavern on the Green, then continue on the Bridle Path to the 3rd underpass. That underpass is the bottom of a hill. We then had to run to the top of the hill and continue to the SW corner of the resevoir, turn around, and run back to the underpass. Lather, rinse, repeat - 3 times. After the 4th uphill, we continued around the resevoir (1.6 miles), then back to the starting line. Total: 4.4 miles.

It was tough, but we did it! Kari & I ran together, and kept each other company at a pretty steady 11 minute mile pace. As I'm sure I've mentioned before, it's much easier to run with someone than alone. After the run we had about a 45 minute core session.

Last night, I missed ANOTHER swim practice for a work thing. I later dreamed that I was in the pool, and Coach Ross was watching my lane, and laughing at me. I clearly need to spend more time in the pool!

Tonight's agenda was my first BRick (Bike/Run). I followed the training schedule faithfully, despite a massive downpour/thunderstorm. I biked 2x around Prospect Park (30 minutes), then ran just under a mile (10 minutes). The coaches were right: It's a lot harder to run when you get off your bike!

Tuesday, June 08, 2004


Click on this link to donate!

O Canada

I'm in Waterloo, Ontario - about 100km SW of Toronto. I've been here since Saturday afternoon. On Monday, my godmother Sunny had surgery to remove a nodule in her lung. We didn't know when she went into surgery whether the nodule was benign or malignant.

And now we know: It's benign! Read: Not cancer! We're all thrilled. And tired.

On the training front: I ran for about 25 minutes on Sunday (it was pretty hilly). Yesterday I waited nervously in the hospital. Today I ran 5.4km (to the hospital) in really muggy heat. It was fantastic. I actually like running now! Tomorrow morning I'm going to swim, as I haven't done that since last Wednesday, and I will try to go at least once more this week.

Unfortunately being in Canada means I'm missing the GTSs this week, but I've left instructions with my mentor group to take notes for me at the swim session tomorrow night.

Saturday, June 05, 2004


This morning I biked more than I have in years - 17 miles! It felt great. It was a timed practice. We met in Central Park at 8am, and were told to cycle for 1:15. I made it twice around the full park loop (6.02 miles) and once cutting across at 102nd St. (about 5 miles, without all those big hills at the top of the park!). It was great. I rode more or less with Kari, a girl in my mentor group. I love clipless pedals! It's amazing how much more power you can get from your legs when you have full range of motion - i.e., the upward, forward, and backward pulls actually help, not just downward motion. I also love hills, I think they're going to be a strength for me once I've built up my quads.

Friday, June 04, 2004

Morning Run

Just back from a morning run around Prospect Park. It's gorgeous out there.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

GTS Swim #3

Last night was our 3rd GTS swim practice. It was awesome. We practiced some breathing, and there's more scheduled for next week's session (which unfortunately I'll miss). Last night I had dreams of swimming these really perfect long, powerful strokes, so I'm much more optimistic (and less convinced I'm going to drown!).

This morning I meant to get up and go running - really I did - but when that alarm beeped at 6:15 I couldn't even think of dragging myself out of bed. Plus it was pouring rain, although, after Tuesday night I really can't use that as an excuse.

Anyway. No run this morning. Tomorrow I'll probably run in the morning. We have a cycling GTS on Saturday morning, and I have a flight to Toronto on Saturday afternoon at 4:30.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004


Last night, we had a GTS run in Central Park. We met around 6:15, just in time to see the sky darken ominously. We stowed our bags under Bethesda Terrace, and as Ross was instructing us to run along the bridle path (20 minutes out, 20 minutes back), it started to rain. And thunder. As we jogged to the Tavern on the Green to start the OAB, we had the first bolt of lightning.

Practice went on, and we ran anyway. It was awesome.

The bridle path is noticeably easier on the joints for running. I settled into a good groove and knew from the beginning of the run that I'd be able to run the whole thing - no walking. I set my watch timer for 20 minutes, and enjoyed the rain. The park was beautiful last night - really green and lush, and the colours were super-saturated thanks to the overcast skies.

When my watch beeped at 20 minutes, I turned around and reset the timer. I was still in the groove, and knowing that I can run around Prospect Park without any walk breaks really helped keep me going. I checked the timer periodically and kicked it up a little when I was about 4 minutes from finishing.

Then, 4 minutes went by, and I wasn't back at Tavern on the Green. In fact, I had no idea where I was. That's right - I got lost, on the bridle path in Central Park, in the middle of a thunderstorm. And, I kept right on running.

I think I ran for another 15-20 minutes before I realized I was on the East side, at the South gate of the reservoir. That's about 15-18 blocks north of where I should have been, and on the wrong side of the park (we'd run up the West side). I still don't know where I ran. From this map, it looks like on my way back I continued running beside the reservoir at the W 86th St. Reservoir Bridge, instead of going straight. I eventually ended up at the E 86th St. Reservoir Bridge, where a nice woman gave me directions back to Bethesda Terrace (on the left side of this map).

I think I probably ran for about an hour, although I stopped timing after the first 40 minutes. I knew the bag watch would go until just after 7:30, and I had nothing with me - no money, no Metrocard, and no way to get home. I had already decided that if I got back and everyone had left, I would call David (collect) and ask him to have money ready to pay for my cab. But that would have sucked, and that was good motivation to keep running to get back!

Lessons learned:
- Pay attention to landmarks on the way out (or leave a trail of PowerBar crumbs)
- ALWAYS carry $20 on any training excursion

I arrived back at Bethesda at around 7:40, over an hour after we'd started. Lots of people were still around (I heard another girl got lost, too). At that point I mostly tried to sneak in unnoticed, as I was coming from exactly the wrong direction. I got home around 8:30, cold and wet and tired, and feeling completely awesome.