Wednesday, December 31, 2008

All Done

As 2008 comes to a close it is a time of reflection and of renewal as a new year begins.

I am sure this is probably true of all years, but this year seemed to have so many more changes and challenges.

In January, Kelly's testing showed that her leukemia has returned with a vengeance. her marrow was producing 1% abnormal cells (blasts) on Jan. 4th, by Jan. 10th, it was producing 80% blasts. Kelly had just turned 19 the day before getting this devastating news.

I can remember reading an e-mail later that month that Don had sent and going upstairs to talk to Sue, shaken and crying. I told Sue I have to go to Seattle to see Kelly. It was such a powerful feeling and I followed my heart's desire and I made plans to go in Februrary.

I flew out to Seattle on February 7th and got to be part of an amazing once in a lifetime moment.

Kelly's parents had written to Kelly's transplant donor, Emily asking her if she would consider coming out to Seattle to meet Kelly. This was one of Kelly's goals in life was to meet Emily. Emily's trip coincided with mine and her flight landed 30 minutes after mine. What a moment that was to be able to see them meet for the first time. They fell into each others arms, laughing, smiling, crying. Friends that shared an irrevocable bond with each other.

Emily had signed up to be a bone marrow donor when she was in college. Her selfless act gave Kelly almost 5 years of being free from her cancer. If you haven't signed up for the bone marrow registry, I would encourage everyone reading this to do it. You might save a life.

I am still amazed when I think about the odds that Emily would have planned her trip at the exact time that I was going. That was providence.

I also got to meet Fenway Bark on this trip. Fenway is a service dog that visits families at the Ronald Macdonald house. Fenway was incredibly attached to Kelly and her entire family. Fenway and his owner later flew from Seattle to come to Kelly's service.

It was hard for me to say good bye to Kelly. I didn't want to have a meltdown and make it hard on her. We talked about some of the things she wanted to do on a trip we had planned to take her on in the fall in New York. I hugged her goodbye, told her I loved her and that we had a date in New York and I would see her then.

I am so grateful that I was able to see Kelly again and have the special memories of our last visit together.

Later that month it was Adam's senior high school musical play, Ragtime. Adam had one of the leads in this play. What a treat it was to finally see him in a role where he could showcase his talents.

I can remember on opening night during the first number where you could clearly hear Adam's voice. Adam wasn't even miked during the end of this song and his voice clearly stood out. His voice rich and reasonating with promise.

Three magical nights for us to cherish. My cousin Scott happened to be in town on a business trip and he got to see Adam on opening night. That was a nice surprise.

My mom's brother Jim and sister June flew out to attend the play as well adding to the richness of this event for all of us.

March 14-Kelly's dad called to tell me Kelly had taken a turn for the worse. Kelly had fought so long to get home. They had been home less than a week and finally the pain got so bad she had to go to the hospital. Her organs were beginning to fail.

March 16-Running of the Green 7K. I knew this would probably be the last race I would run while Kelly was still alive. I wrote this note to Kelly afer the race.

Dear Kelly,

I had quite an emotional run this morning at a Saint Patricks day race. I had a hard time getting it together during the first two miles of the run. I felt so sad to think of you in the hospital and kept fighting back tears while I was running. I decided at the two mile mark, this was not how I wanted to honor you today. Told myself I was going to hold my head up high and fight for you all the way to the finish line just as you continue to battle. I passed so many people in the last two miles. I celebrated your incredible spirit and my love for you all the way to the finish line.
I so wish I could visit you right now. You are in my thoughts and prayers and in my heart at all times.
I love you so much. You are my hero! I am so incredibly proud of you.

March 17-My cell phone rang as I was driving to work. My heart sank as I knew Don was calling to tell me the words I never thought I would hear.

We drove to Cut Bank later that week to attend Kelly's service. I had the ultimate honor to be one of Kelly's pall bearers and help lay her body to rest.

We stayed right next door to Don and Patty. One of their neighbors opened up their house to us as they were out of town. That was nice as we have often talked about how nice it would be to be closer. So at least for a couple of nights we were next door neighbors.

Sunday morning I got up and ran to the cemetary to visit Kelly before we left. As I was running back home I saw Don and Patty leaving to take Marcy and Travis to Great Falls. I thought that was really neat, waving a hello to my neighbors as if that was something we do all the time.

March 24-I made a new friend, Shayna who becomes an important part of my support system. Shayna read a post about Kelly on a blog and asked Dane for my e-mail address. Shayna has been incredibly kind to me. We are good friends, we just haven't met yet.

April 4-I post my first ever blog.

April 18-I had quite the experience one night driving home from a board meeting, running out of gas which has brought me back to church for the first time in years.


April 22-Laiken Kenwood(Shayna's team hero) passes away.


May 3-Furry Scurry to benefit the Denver Dumb Friends League-Rocky shows his skills at the obstacle course. Be white, hardly move :)




May 10-Kickoff for TNT fall season, a call to arms and legs for Kelly.

May 15-Laura celebrated her 21st birthday. Adam graduated from high school.




May 17-Training starts for the Denver marathon.


July 11-Patti Kaufmann passes away. Patti was a colleague on the LLS board. She was the driving force of the LTN campaign.

August-I run in the Georgetown to Idaho Springs 1/2 marathon. I make a friend for the day on the course(Katie). We run most of the race together, pulling each other through the bad spots and have a great time going back to the finish line to cheer in the rest of the TNT team.

September 2-Run into my sister Jan at Panera Bread. We have a nice visit. I had run a Park to Park 10 mile race earlier that morning and stopped there to drink some Ice tea. Looking back, this is the first time I felt like something was not quite right with me physically.

Later that day we find out that our cousin Jim died in a plane crash in Ohio.

The financial meltdown on Wall Street begins to unfold.

I finally get to meet my friend Dane who is in Boulder for the Boulder marathon.

October-My emotional meltdown continues. I feel so fearful about being able to do the Denver marathon.


Kelly's parents send me one of Kelly's bandana's and a locket before the race. Something of Kelly's to treasure forever.

I am able to finish my 16th marathon for Kelly. I find out later that I probably ran the marathon with a possible tear in my hamstring.

All signs point to Barack Obama carrying Colorado. Who needs pollsters? Just go for a run and count the signs in the yards. I run in many different neighborhoods and I haven't found an area yet that doesn't lean to Obama.

November-Sue, Laura and Adam go to the polls together on election day. Barack Obama becomes the first African American to be elected as President of the United States.

Laura and I continue our tradition of running in the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving day together.

Western Union cuts 4% of it's workforce. Layoffs feel more real than ever before as I know many of the people that are laid off.

Testing, testing, testing begins for all of the physical problems I am having.

December-I run in the coldest Jingle Bell run ever. Brrrr!

I spend almost the entire day on my birthday this year at the Doctor's. I had a biopsy procedure, a visit to the Cardilogist and a visit to the orthopedic doctor. Not much of a chance to do anything in between appointments. Probably a very typical day for Kelly and her family over the years.

That night my sister and I go to see the Jersey Boys at the Denver Center for Performing Arts. The theatre is packed so at least for now it seems the entertainment industry hasn't been impacted by the economic downturn.

Christmas Eve lights run-Far fewer houses seem to have lights out this year. People seem to have really cut back in this area.

Like many families, we really cut back on Christmas giving this year. I think this may actually be a positive impact as the focus should be on relational giving, family, what matters most.

I have met many new wonderful people this year through TNT, Daniel, Jeraylyn, Catherine, Sarah, Alison, Ryan, Katie, Brittany...That has been one of the best things about Team in Training is getting a chance to know so many people all sharing the same commitment, learning their stories.

I was able to reconnect with my cycling coach, Gary who moved back to Colorado.

I saw another dear friend, Kerrie at Ragtime. Kerrie teaches math at Adam's high school. Kerrie and I rode together in 2003 and 2004 on the TNT cycling team. I was so happy to see her that night, starting to hug her and then immediately started crying over Kelly. It is so nice to have people in your life that totally understand and support you.

Some year I will have to write down my new years resolutions. I think the only one I actually kept was to attend a Yoga class. I started that in January and I am actually still practicing Yoga.

I did surpass my mileage goal for the year, but that was not really a resolution. I picked 1,776 miles in honor of our country. So many of the miles I run were not run with intent. They were run as junk miles as I became a hostage to my run log.

So I ended this year with one last run which was like so many others to meet a mileage goal rather than running for enjoyment.

Time passes so quickly. I hope I spend next year more wisely, living with intention, moving from the shadows to sunlight. Living joyfully as Kelly chose to do.

As Keegan would say about 2008, "all done".

Friday, December 26, 2008

Ha Ha Ha Yoga

I went to a Yoga class last week that was quite interesting.

The instructor has been teaching Yoga for 30 years and has taught all over the world. I am not sure if he is a regular instructor at this new 24 HR fitness center. This was the first time I have seen him. I hope I get to take another class with him.

He told us that there are 8.4 million different Yoga poses. 1 pose for every species above and below ground. I don't know who did the counting and documentation for that. Trivia to impress your friends.

We spent quite a bit of time on stretching hamstrings. He kept coming over to try and correct my pose. No bending your knee he admonished me. It was quite funny as my body doesn't move that way...

At the end of the class, he had the small group of people(12-15) get into a semi circle and we ended the practice, practicing laughing. It is the first time in my brief time as a Yogi(11 months) that the practice didn't end with a Shivasana pose.

It was interesting to watch the people in the group as he instructed us on the laughing "pose".

Some people totally got into it, didn't hold anything back.

There were two people that felt a bit uncomfortable with this and watched rather passively.

The instructor was undaunted and kept extolling the virtues of laughing. Deep belly laughing, he would throw his head back and laugh and laugh and laugh.

Even the reluctant Yogi's had to laugh a little bit and overcome their fear of letting go.

One obvious observaton about laughing.

It is impossible to feel depressed and sad when you are laughing.

I have a friend at work that must be the world's happiest person. She is always laughing.

Children laugh all of the time. They are not prone to hold on to their feelings of sadness.

I have always envied adults that have the ability to be child like. They seem far happier, still open to the wonders of life.

I hope I see this instructor again as I really need to perfect this new Yoga "Pose".

I was one of the two in the class that need help with this pose. I think this is far more important than keeping my knee straight.

Ha, Ha, Ha!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Words you are not ever quite ready for

I have spent most of the last week running to and fro the doctors office for various procedures.

I have had two appointments with an orthopedist sandwiched in between a MRI exam.

Last Friday, I started off the day at my family doctor to have a needle biopsy of a skin lesion.

After that I had an hour or so to kill before heading back to the Cardiologist to pick up a halter monitor to wear for 48 hours. Hoping that under less controlled conditions that this device might be able to detect any sort of palpitations, arrhythmia etc. It will be a week or longer before those results come back.

After getting that hooked up it was back to the orthopedist to get the results of the MRI.

The diagnosis is that there is a slight tear in my left hamstring at the insertion point of the ischial tube. The very good news is that there were no tumors detected by the MRI. That was one of the things he was considering as a possibility.

Here are my choices.

1. Stop running.
2. Stop cycling.
3. Continue running and live with the pain.
4. Get a steroid injection.

I won't be in any hurry to try #4. There is a risk with that procedure that could leave to nerve damage in my foot if the needle hits the wrong spot.

#3 is not much of an option to consider as the pain has become harder to deal with and basically running isn't really any fun right now.

#2. I was quite surprised to hear him say that. I was semi prepared to hear him say to stop running. The cycling puts more pressure on the sit bone(ischial tube) so I guess in a way that makes sense, but to have to give up both running and cycling at the same time is not something I was prepared for at all.

#1. The $64.00 question is always how long do I need to stop for and there is never a clear answer. 4-6 weeks and then try and resume the running slowly. He said not to jump in with a 100 mile week. That should be pretty easy as I have never even come close to that.

I am struggling with when to stop running. I had set a mileage goal at the start of the year(1,776 miles and I am less than 20 miles away).

I hate the thought of having to rehab again and lose all of my conditioning and endurance. I have had to do this so many times in the 10 years I have been running. I guess I must be a slow learner because I keep having to take the same test over and over again.

My family doctor called me this evening with the results of the biopsy. I was surprised to get the results so quickly. I didn't think I would hear until Christmas Eve.

Words I wasn't prepared for. The lesion was cancerous, but they had gotten all of it. Nothing to worry about. Happy Holidays.

That was a lot of information to get in 30 seconds.

For now, he will just monitor to make sure there is no recurrence. Just make sure to always wear sunscreen, hats, sunglasses. Something I haven't always been diligent about as I should be.

After weeks of various testing it seems most of the bad things are being ruled out. If the heart monitor testing comes back normal than in some ways I will be back to square one, no closer than when all of this testing started in understanding the fatigue and feelings of malaise.

It could all be stress related which in some ways would be weird since exercise is supposed to be a stress reliever.

On a funny note, I told Sue that the doctor was recommending no running or cycling for 4-6 weeks. She said, what about your family? How will we put up with you?

More words I wasn't quite ready for....

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Jingle Brrr Run

The weather didn't bother this hearty runner.



Check out these two awesome looking runners sprinting to the finish line. Cold weather didn't bother these two friends! They were so much fun to watch, arms pumping, legs kicking. They didn't leave anything out there at the finish.




This is one of my favorite events to run in and as a person that suffers from Arthritis it is also an cause I love to support.

This is a fun run, everyone gets bells to put on their shoes and it is so fun to listen to the sound of the bells as you are running. Lots of pets come out for a best costume contest.
I hope we get better weather next year. I can't wait to do this with Keegan.

I have run this event every year since 1999 with the exception of 2005 when I had a broken foot.
This was a first for me this year as it is the first time I have run this event without Laura. Laura had shoulder surgery the Wednesday before the run to repair a torn labrum so she wasn't able to come this year.
This was the coldest Jingle Bell race I have ever done. It was so cold this during the run my eyes were watering and at one point I couldn't blink. My eyelid was frozen shut.
Sadly the cold affected the race day turnout. There were a total of 531 participants in the run and 5K walk. Some years this race has had over 1,500 participants.

Kudos to everyone that was either brave or crazy enough to come out and support the Arthritis Foundation. I know which category I am in.




Sunday, November 23, 2008

What a week

This was a week filled with many different thoughts and emotions, fear, sadness, relief(sort of), ambivalence, uncertainty...

First off on the medical front.

Results of the CT scan came back good. The nodules that had been detected on the earlier chest x-ray have been there for years and are not growing.

Blood work and chest/CT scans show no indication that the sarcoidosis has come out of remission.

I had a thallium treadmill test on Wednesday. This is a treadmill test where you are injected with a small dose of nuclear medicine which helps monitor the blood flow to the muscles of the heart and would help pinpoint any abnormalities or possible indicate a form of coronary disease.

Naturally when I was on the treadmill my heart did not skyrocket. The test normally takes 10 minutes to reach the target heart rate and I went well past the 10 minute mark before I reached the target heart rate of 152 bpm. My EKG was completely normal and I tested at the high end of the fitness level for people that are 30-39 years old. They also told me that my heart rate of recovery was very good. Most people recover about 10-20 bpm and my heart rate had dropped to 100 in 60 seconds. Now this is all very good news as it ruled out any form of coronary heart trouble.

Unanswered still is what is causing all of the aching legs, rapid heart rate, cramping, feelings of malaise. Not sure at this point what the next steps the doctor will take or if there will be further testing he might pursue.

One of my worst fears came to pass earlier this week at work. There had been a flurry of "fire drills" going on at work, numerous cryptic requests from upper management for information.

Thursday morning, the first wave of layoffs in my company began. There were five people in my suite who received the bad news that their jobs had been eliminated. 60 positions in Denver had been eliminated and 200 across the company. There seems to be no end to the bad news. Layoffs are part of the daily news, but it never seems real. Thursday it became real. I lost a colleague that I had worked with for 17 years. We had played golf together over the years. He was a trusted friend. The first day I started my job as a programmer in 1991 this person went out of his way to welcome me and offer his support. When I considered taking another job years ago, he was a trusted advisor in a decision I agonized over.

While I survived the first round of layoffs, I am sure there will be more to come. Our stock was trading around 30.00 in August and last week closed around 11.00.

It will feel strange at work for some time if it ever feels normal again.

I will miss my friend and many other colleagues that I didn't get a chance to say goodbye to.

What will this week bring?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Krazy Baby runners at the TTTS 5K

Laura and I ran in a 5K last Sunday, to benefit TTTS(Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome).



There was an option to enter as a non twin team so I registered us in the non twin division.



This is a really fun race, lots of families and it benefits a great cause. There were over 100 young girls there who belonged to Girls on the Run.



I think I saw Laura for all of the first 25 yards of the run and she disappeared from sight. We basically go to the race together. Laura waits for me at the finish line and then we drive home together. Every opportunity to do this with her is a treasured memory.



Anyway I named our team Krazy Baby runners in honor of my great nephew Keegan. I guess what made the team name even crazier is we ran without Keegan. Krazy baby runners without their crazy baby.



The part that was interesting as running as a team was that together we were much stronger than apart.



Laura was 6th out of 47 people in her age group.

I was 13 out of 44 in my age group.



As a team we finished 3rd!



I think that is true in so many things. We are always strengthened when we stand together, supporting one another.



Challenges are far easier together.



I thought that was pretty neat and it always helps to pick a faster partner when racing :)

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Aftermath

Aftermath: The outcome of an event especially as relative to an individual.

It has been almost three weeks since running the Denver marathon.

I have no regrets about the physical aspect as it relates to the outcome. I don't think I could have done any better than I did on that day. Sue had asked me in days leading up to the marathon, how would I define "winning" for this marathon?

George Sheehan who wrote a column for Runners World had a couple of definitions he used to describe winning.

"Finishing is Winning" and "Winning is doing the best you can with what you have".

I finished and think I did the best I could with what I had on that day.

John Bingham's signature quote states, "The Miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start".

The courage to start begins weeks and months before race day. Although as these physical problems continue I almost feel like it was a minor miracle that I was able to finish.

I finally gave in last week and actually went to see my doctor and start that process of discovery. Something is not right. Even when just doing easy running for just 30 minutes or so, I am just exhausted. My heart rate is alarmingly high.

It could be that my sarcoidosis has come out of remission. The aching in my legs and the chronic fatigue feel much like it did when I was first diagnosed eighteen years ago. This could go a long way in explaining why I have no stamina, and all of the mysterious body aches.

Sarcoidosis is an auto immune disorder. For those of you that watch the TV show House, the doctors like to float the name out there quite frequently until Dr. House rolls up his sleeves and saves the day. I find that comical that it is mentioned so regularly on that show. There is no good treatment for it and in some ways the only treatment(steroids) can be worse than the disease itself.

So now the process starts, blood work, ACE test(Active converting enzyme). If the levels come back high that is a good indication that the Sarcoid is active.

My doctor called me on Friday afternoon to schedule a high resolution CT scan.


The disease eventually resolves itself with or without treatment and goes away as mysteriously as it announces that it has decided to stay as a unwanted, rude guest.


At least if the Sarcoidosis has come out of remission, I know what I have to deal with.


I can deal with that aftermath.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Meeting a friend for the first time


I am so far behind in my blogging.

I finally got a chance to meet Dane Rauschenberg when he was here in Colorado in September for the Boulder Marathon.

Dane and I have become cyber space friends. We had been corresponding over the internet for almost 2 years before the opportunity came that we could finally meet.

I was hoping he would be a guest speaker at the Denver marathon, but it didn't work out so off to Boulder I went. I wasn't going to pass up this opportunity to finally meet face to face.

I took up a garbage bag full of old running shoes. Dane was collecting old shoes to donate to a charity so not only did I finally get to meet Dane, I got rid of some of the clutter in my house.
I am hoping that Dane will be able to meet Kelly's sister, Marcy at the Seattle marathon in 3 weeks. Marcy is running her first 1/2 marathon!
We had a nice chat, talked a bit about running. Talked about Kelly. Dane commented to me that Kelly was a fighter.
Dane had been kind enough to send Kelly a picture of himself running for her birthday last January. It said, "You keep fighting, I'll keep running".

She did and so has Dane.


Saturday, November 1, 2008

Random thoughts

Strange weather. I have lived in Colorado my entire life. I can't ever remember a year where we haven't had any snow, not even a trace in September and October.

Halloween was nice for the trick or treater's. There were so many times when Laura and Adam were growing up where they had to wear coats of their costumes.

Laura was a guitar hero this year. I can't remember the last time I took a picture of her in a Halloween costume.



I saw a stretch limousine as I was out running last night. Was this for the little trick or treater's or the grown up revelers? I never saw anyone get in our out. I passed it several times as I ran back and forth through the neighborhood.

I went to early voting on Thursday and it still took 90 minutes. Great to see so much interest this year.

I have never ever received so much junk mail as I have in the last two weeks.

Adam and Laura will be voting in their first presidential election on Tuesday.

My first presidential election there was no CNN, MSNBC, Fox news. Got the results from the main networks.

I went to a Halloween potluck at the LLS office yesterday. The TNT staff decorated their area as black widows. Spiders everywhere, fog for special effects.




The Light the night staff had a Pirate and Ninja theme. Pirates never talk to Ninjas. Evidently that is a rule. I am not sure how the banana fits into the overall theme.



I was one of the judges for best decorations, best costumes.

High spirited trash talking between the groups. The poor little TNT bear was being pushed off a plank by the pirates. The Light the night staff told me not to take it personally and let it influence my vote.



Nice to see the staff in such high spirits, having fun with each other.



Adam started a new job today working for Game stop. He gets a discount at Barnes and Noble. His mother is quite excited about that.
We have taken a new(old) dog into our house. We now have 3 dogs and a cat.

Laura is apartment hunting with a high school friend. We hope Laura can take the cat with her when she finds a place.

I got my official Slattery's running club shirt this morning. Free wicking running shirt when you complete 7 runs. The run was moved from Monday night to Saturday morning at 10:30. 6 people were at the run this morning. Weird time for a run.

Daylight savings ends today. Sue's favorite day of the whole year.

I hate this time of year. It gets dark so early.

I have only ran one time the entire year inside on a treadmill and that was for a charitable cause last January.

Some of my favorite road races are coming up, Turkey Trot, Jingle Bell run for Arthritis, Steve's Rudolph Ramble, Resolution run.

I have only raced 7 times all year. I usually race over 20 times.

I filled up my car today for 33.00. 4 months ago that was 55.00.

I remember once having my Aunt stop for gas where an attendant put the gas in the car, checked under the hood and cleaned the windows. Aunt June put .50 in and got 2 gallons.
My grandparents bought their house in Fairmont Minnesota for 1,000.00

I wish I could talk to my Grandmother about what is happening on Wall Street. She lived through the first great depression.

She would be so interested in the election this year.

My grandmother almost died when she was 49. She lived to 108. She said eating Bran and drinking 8 glasses of water a day is the secret to longevity.

Keegan is a crazy baby. Rocky loves Keegan.

I voted along party lines and cast my ballot for the TNT girls. Shhh.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The marathon I never wanted to run













I was talking to a friend of mine at work last Thursday before I left work and I was telling her I was still struggling with my grief about Kelly. Kelly always seemed to sense when I needed to hear from her. I would be struggling, feeling discouraged and I would get home from work and suddenly an e-mail from Kelly would be in my in-box. I had made a special folder just to store Kelly's e-mails so I would always know when a new one came. My heart would leap every time. How did she know I needed to hear from her?


I got home Friday afternoon after running some errands and inside my mail box was a special delivery letter from Don and Patty(Kelly's parents). Inside the envelope was one of Kelly's bandanna's and a locket with a picture of her pinned to her bandanna. Kelly's parents wanted me to have something of hers to treasure before the marathon. That was so neat.

This was the marathon I hoped I would never have to run. A marathon where I was running in Kelly's memory instead of running in her honor. I have crossed the finish line of 15 other marathons, running for Kelly, running to honor Kelly. Can I do this? Can I finish what I began for her? The finish line awaits, 26 miles, 385 yards from the start.



My training has been off for weeks, my emotions are completely off kilter. For the first time before a marathon I really feel like I might not finish. I am so edgy. I have the emotional stability of a two year old the entire week before the marathon. I have the same feeling of dread I used to have before I fly. I know this is completely irrational and yet I can't shake it.




I have a picture of Kelly, Sarah and Laiken on the back of my singlet and ribbons with their names alongside their pictures. I also have a wallet sized picture of them I carry in a pocket of my running shorts.


The race started right on time. I lined up very near the end of the runners and walkers, took me about 8 minutes to cross the start line from when the elite runners had started. They would almost be at mile 2 before I crossed that start line. Now that it is finally race day, the irrational fears are gone. I am still not sure that I can do this. However, I know that barring a catastrophic event I will finish what I start. To borrow a made up word from my friend Dane , I have a lot of stubbornocity in me.


I crossed the mats at the start line and began running. What would the day be like, what would unfold over the vastness of 26.2 miles?


Most of the day was very quiet. It was rather strange, I don't think I talked to anyone during the entire marathon other than a couple of TNT coaches, shouted some Go Team to my teammates during the marathon. I usually strike up a conversation with someone for a period of time, but today was different.


As I had planned, miles 0-5 I ran as a tribute solely to Kelly. The start of the race takes us through lower downtown, Larimer Square, past the 16th street mall, Pepsi Center, Coors field, back through parts of downtown and then heads east up 17th avenue towards City Park. The first 5 miles pass fairly quickly. I am alone with my thoughts about Kelly, enjoying our time together.



I pass the 5 mile mark and mentally make the transition to running the next 5 miles in tribute to Laiken Kenwood who passed away on April 22 at the age of 13.



Earlier last week KFRG radio was doing a fund-raiser for Londa Lima Children's Hospital in California. This was a fundraiser that Laiken had participated in prior years and the radio station had a wonderful tribute to her. I got to hear her grandmother, her mother, and friends talk about her life. In so many ways she reminded me of Kelly. She lived her life in dignity, never complained about why she had cancer, cared more about others. At the end of the tribute I even got to hear her voice. She sounded so much like Kelly did at that age. It was almost like listening to Kelly again. I had tears pouring down my face as I got to hear her sweet voice.


I ran on thinking about Laiken and her family, about my friend Shayna who was doing a 1/2 marathon in San Francisco on Sunday. Shayna was walking for her mom, for Laiken and also for Kelly and so many others. More on that later.


Miles 5-10 route the runners into City Park for a couple of miles and then we head back out west on 17th avenue and then turn towards the south towards Cheesman Park. I saw one of the TNT running coaches(Wendy) as we ran up a hill towards Cheesman. Wendy asked me how I was feeling. I told her I wasn't having a very good day. She said she could tell from the look on my face. I was at mile 9 and I was already spent. I was 17+ miles from the finish line. I tried not to think about that. One foot in front of another. Focus on Laiken. I entered the park and saw my wife Sue, cheering for all of the runners. I asked her where the kids were and she said they were on the west side of the park.


I passed the 10 mile mark and began my tribute mile to Megan Dickey. Megan was a teammate of Laura's on her club swim team who had died a year ago also at the age of 13 from bone cancer.


Check out the tribute Megan's friend Jenni Greenwald is doing for her at http://www.lovelets.org/


I have often wondered if Jenni might have met either Mason or Bradan during her visits to Children's Hospital.
I ran on for Megan.







Picture in Cheesman Park. Picture of Kelly and Sarah on left of singlet, Laiken on right.

I saw Laura and Adam near a point in the park where I run with my nephew Keegan on Thursday night's. Luckily today I don't have to run today pushing a baby jogger. I asked my kids, "whereishe" about Keegan. Keegan says that all the time when he asks where Laura(LaLa )is. It sounds like one word the way he says it.


I pass the 11 mile mark and begin my tribute mile for Patti Kaufmann. Patti was a colleague of mine on the board of trustee's that passed away suddenly this summer. Patti was the driving force for the Denver, Light the night walk. The walk grew from 300 walkers in 1998 to over 6,000 last month. Revenue from the walk this year is 800,000 and counting. Patti was a very kind person. She never wanted to talk about her illness. Her focus was always on helping others.


12 miles, almost halfway. I begin running this next mile for baby Melina. Melina was diagnosed at the age of 3 months. I can't get my head around that. How is that possible? This is a really hard mile. It totally sucks to have to run a mile in memory of a 10 month old innocent baby girl. So sad. Her Mom is so sweet. I feel overwhelmed.


Mile 13-We are now running on one of my favorite parts of the course as we head east on 7th avenue past some beautiful homes on tree lined streets. I run this mile in honor of Brandon Hickey. Brandon is about the same age as my nephew Keegan. However Keegan is healthy, Brandan has an extremely rare form of AML. His disease is the first documented instance of this form of AML in 21 years. His Mom is hopeful that if Brandan survives that it will make it so much easier to help others that follow. I will see Brandan later in the day on the course. More to come on that.


Mile 14-I run this mile in tribute to Mason Bernard who is the team hero for the fall marathon team. Mason's mother Catherine is a teammate of mine this season. Coincidentally, I see Catherine running east on 7th avenue as I am running west. I shout out to her and Marianne, another TNT teammate that they look great. Catherine hurt her knee/IT band during our last long training run and has literally done no running for 3 weeks, but here she is. Running for her son, running so that Mason can cross his finish line with a cure. Catherine reminds me so much of Kelly's mom. I thought that was pretty neat that I saw her during Mason's mile.


Mile15-16. I had dedicated these miles to Brittany Ross and Kelly. Brittany is one of the team heroes for the Winter team. Brittany is a very fun, upbeat young woman. She loves her TNT runners. Who does she remind me of? Brittany and her family have raised over 100,000 doing TNT events. I had dinner with her a couple of weeks ago. She was telling me she had no bone marrow at one point during treatment for 275 straight days. Any kind of infection would have been fatal. Here she is now, about to graduate from college. Amazing.


Mile 16-Memories of running for Kelly on her 16th birthday, a birthday Brittany wasn't supposed to live to see.


Sue and I were at the PF Chang marathon on Kelly's birthday that year, we celebrated her sweet 16 birthday. Sue was the world's happiest marathoner that year. Kelly was so healthy at that time. It seemed like the cancer had been turned away forever....


Mile 17-18-I ran these miles for Sarah Larson. Sarah was one of Kelly's best friends. They both underwent transplants in 1999. The oncology nurses couldn't tell them apart. They both loved collecting Eeyore trinkets. I got to meet Sarah at Kelly's graduation in 2007. In a way I ran for both Sarah and Kelly, celebrating their friendship. What a bond they shared, yet they were just like other teenage girls. I don't think either of them let their experience with cancer define who they were.


At some point during mile 17, I saw Brandon Hickey and his mom at the east side of Washington Park. They had come out to cheer for the TNT runners. Brandan had a purple shirt he was wearing that said cancer survivor. It was so big on him. He looked like a little ewok. I hope he outgrows that shirt.


Shortly after seeing Brandan and his mom, a young lady yelled out to me. Go Team, I love you. Thank you for saving my brother in-laws life. I have never had anyone say anything like that to me before during a marathon. I almost started to cry as I tried to sputter out a thank you.


Mile 19-20. Back into Washington Park. I see Sue, Laura and Adam again. It is always a nice boost to see your family on the course. I am so tired now. I start talking out loud in my head to Kelly, ask her to stay with me. I start to cry a little. I had promised Kelly years ago when she relapsed in 2000 that I would run for her as long as she needed me. Now it is me who needs her, for as long as I am running.


I pass the mile 20 mark. I am at symbolic 1/2 point of the marathon.


The next five miles I run as a tribute to Rose, Molly, Marcy, Patty and Don. Kelly's family, my family.


At some point, think it was right after the 20 mile mark, I started to take roll call for everyone I was running for that day. I had my entourage, my team angels, Kelly and Laiken, Megan, Patti, Melina, my team heroes, Brandan, Mason, Brittany, my honorary team hero Sarah. When I would get the next mile I would add a new name, Rose, Molly, Marcy, Patty, Don. I had an awesome team propelling me to the finish line.

Mile 25.


I saw Mighty Mason with his Dad somewhere during this mile.


I run this mile for my family. They have been such a big part of this journey with me. I realize I have about 5 more minutes of running to go and I will be done. I am going to finish and I just start to let my emotions go, all the pain and sorrow for all of these months. I have cried so many times about Kelly and yet not really cried. Maybe this was what the day was all about, letting it go, feeling the sadness so I could finally move forward and learn to live joyfully as well. I am running and crying, really crying and out of nowhere the TNT head coach runs alongside me and asks me how I am doing.

I tell her I am okay, but I am losing it emotionally and incredibly she says come on you are almost done, you can do it. RATS. I don't need someone to help me run in. She keeps exhorting me to pick up the pace. The cleansing moment has passed and now I am racing for the first time all day. It was a rather ironic ending to the day and to top it off, I forgot to shout "God save the queen". Now I have to run another marathon.


I really can't describe all the emotions I felt as I crossed this finish line. Some of it was relief, it was finally over. I spoke at TNT kickoff for this season on May 10, 23 weeks ago. It was a long journey to reach this destination. I am so glad I was able to finish the race for Kelly and for everyone else I ran for on Sunday. I ran almost the same time I did two years ago at this race. Two years ago, I was so disappointed in the time I ran that day. This year I have no regrets about that aspect. I ran to the finish on fumes. I was out of gas at the 9 mile mark. I had to finish if I could for Kelly. I still choose to feel like I am running to honor Kelly, her memory as well for what she means to me and to so many others, but mainly I run in her honor. After all, I am Kelly's runner. That is what I do.

After the race was over I saw one of our team heroes, Sharon and asked her if she would mind a hug from a sweaty runner. That helped me a little bring some of the emotions back to the surface. I stood off to the side for a minute or so after that and just cried. I went over and hugged my wife and kids and cried softly.


I was able to check in at the TNT tent and chat with a couple of people and make it back to the finish line just in time to see Catherine Bernard cross the finish line. She was able to run the entire race without walking. These parents of kids with cancer are tough!



Catherine is just left of the TNT head coach wearing the white hat. It was a very touching moment to watch her finish. Her friends that did the 1/2 marathon ran in with her and are clapping for her.

Catherine with Mighty Mason share a priceless moment together after the race.



Rebecca Russell, our awesome chapter executive director and me after the race. Rebecca always willing to raise awareness for TNT is wearing a purple wig.


I am going to wash my singlet and then pin the pictures and ribbons I wore that day during the marathon and get a frame to put it in.





This is my friend Shayna(far left) and Cathie Nicolson. Cathie is one of the awesome girls on the TNT staff. This picture was taken at the Pasta Party at the Nike marathon in San Francisco.

Thought I would share this story from Shayna about Kelly.
Also... The strangest thing happened... I was wearing 7 TNT bracelets when I went to San Francisco... The one with Kelly's name was one of them... I was planning to send you the bracelet with the nametag after the race... And I had this amazing reunion with my boyfriend (whom I hadn't seen in 3 months!) at the airport, then we all went to the expo, then to Alcatraz... And it was when we got back from Alcatraz when I realized I was missing a bracelet... And of course, it was Kelly's... She jumped off my wrist at some point... I don't know if she's at the expo, or on a trolley car, or somewhere on Pier 39, or on Alcatraz Island... I just know that she decided to stay in San Francisco... I'm sad that I can't send you the bracelet, but glad that she's somewhere fun! :)

Knowing Kelly, I am pretty sure she decided to do some shopping at Pier 39.




Saturday, October 18, 2008

Run 26.2 for Kelly

The start of the Denver marathon is a little over 11 hours away.

For those that are inclined, please pray for all of the people that are running on Sunday to reach the finish line safely. I would ask for you to pray for me to be courageous when the pain and fatigue set in. I have so many reasons to want to run well tomorrow. I am not sure if my body will follow what my heart desires. I hope I can be at peace with whatever the outcome is tomorrow.

I am going to break the race into segments and do all that I can to honor those that I run for. While I am always running for Kelly, I have others that I want to honor tomorrow.

Miles 1-5 for Kelly.

Miles 6-10 for Laiken Kenwood. Laiken was the team hero for Shayna Hefner who is friend of mine that is running a marathon in San Fransisco tomorrow. Shayna has been a wonderful source of support for me throughout this year.

Mile 11 for Patti Kaufman and Megan Dickey. Patti and Megan both passed away on July 11 a year apart.

Mile 12 for little baby Molina who was diagnosed at 3 months, gone at 10 months.

Mile 13-14 for Mason and Brandan, age 5 and 2, local team hero's for fall and winter teams.

Mile 15-16 for Brittany Ross and Kelly. Brittany was diagnosed 3 weeks before her sweet 16 birthday. She wasn't expected to live to see that birthday. She was told she wouldn't see her prom, graduate from high school, ever to to college. Brittany will graduate from college next May, turns 24 in January.

This is my 16th marathon for Kelly. Sue and I did the PF Chang Rock & Roll marathon on Kelly's 16th birthday on January 9, 2005. That also happened to be my 9th marathon on January 9th.

Mile 17-18 for Sarah Larson. Sarah is one of Kelly's best friends. They both underwent transplants in 1999. Sarah is in her senior year of high school.

Mile 19-20 for Kelly. Kelly lived 19 full years. Mile 20 is considered the 1/2 point of the marathon where runners hit the wall. I will need Kelly to be with me, to push me past the wall.

Mile 21 for Rose , Kelly's youngest sister. Rose is a very gifted writer. Her insight at the age of 13 is amazing.

Mile 22 for Molly, Kelly's middle sister. Molly is funny, upbeat, and funny, Did I mention funny?

Mile 23 for Marcy, Kelly's big sister. Marcy is also a wonderful writer, creative, sensitive, gifted with a beautiful voice. Marcy is training to run in her first 1/2 marathon in November. Marcy is married to a wonderful young man, Travis and they have two wonderful little boys that Auntie Kelly adored.

Mile 24 for Patty, Kelly's amazing Mom, loving, faithful to all of her children. Sue and I have both learned so much from Patty about practicing gratitude.

Mile 25 for Don, Kelly's Dad. Don is so faithful to his family, never ever wavered during Kelly's illness about where he needed to be. I have shared some amazing hugs with Don over the years.

Mile 26 for my family who continue to support and encourage me as I have struggled so much this year since Kelly died.

Last 385 yards-I hope I remember to shout out "God save the queen" since this is why we get to run the last .2 of the marathon.

To Don, Patty, Marcy, Molly and Rose,

I love you all so much. I am so grateful to be a part of your family, to have been able to share in this incredible journey with Kelly.

To Kelly,

I miss you so much. I am so honored to be one of your runners, grateful for all the ways you touched my heart, for all of the things you taught me. You are my hero and inspiration, always and forever. Tomorrow when I whisper your name, I know you will be with me as long as I need you.

I love you!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

TNT Mission day

Check out the video here that CBS4 filmed of the TNT mission day on September 27.

http://cbs4denver.com/video/?id=48020@kcnc.dayport.com

If you look closely you can see a picture of Kelly and Emily together taken at Red Robin. For those of you that may not know this, Emily is Kelly's transplant donor. Emily flew out to meet Kelly last February. Her plane landed about 30 minutes after mine did that day so I got to share in the amazing moment when Kelly and Emily met for the first time.

There is also a short piece about Mason Bernard who is the local TNT hero for the fall team this season.

Mission day was an incredible experience. There were about 40-45 of us running that morning and every single person shared the reason why they were running.

Some were running simply because they could. Many had personal connections.

One young mother spoke about losing her 10 month old infant daughter.

Catherine Bernard is running for her son.

There is a grandmother on the fall team running for her grandson.

One of the mentors, Alison is running for her mother, Mary.

One young gal said she was running because she could and also because she didn't think it was fair when young people got cancer. It made her mad.

Elly Valas who I am honored to serve with on the board for the Rocky Mountain chapter was running for her the light of her life, her late husband and for her best friend Patti Kaufman who passed away in July of this year.

So many others, too many others we run for.

I run for for Laiken, for Patti, for baby Molina, for Mason, for Brandan, for Brittany, for Sarah, and always and forever I run for my hero-Kelly.

Friday, October 3, 2008

16 to 16



There are 16 days left before I run my 16th marathon.

I am feeling something less than confident at this point. I feel like I have been training for this marathon for such a long time. TNT kickoff meeting was May 10 and we are in week # 21 of training for this marathon That is simply too long for me.

I took advantage, or so I thought of this extended training season and did six rides with the TNT cycling team and one ride with the TNT Triathlon team. Interestingly, I think I ran better when I was riding 30-60 miles on Saturday and then doing my long run on Sunday. It seems all I trained myself to do was to run on tired legs at an easy pace. Even when I stopped riding and started to focus on running, I never seemed to get any zip back in my legs. Every run has a sameness to it, a feeling of sluggishness, listlessness.

The last three weekends I have run, each run has felt worse than the previous week. I usually have one clunker of a bad run when I am training for a marathon and than bounce back. I am doing worse than the stock market right now :)

I didn't eat anything before running two weeks ago and I realized at the 5 mile mark I was out of fuel. I ran out of gas on my own two feet. You would think I would know better than to attempt a 16 mile run without eating. I got in big trouble with my wife over my new training plan.

I am not sure how much of the malaise I am feeling is physical and how much is mental/emotional. There are times I feel like something isn't right with me physically. I feel exhausted at times. I have more than my share of aches and pains than what I normally feel.

My knee still doesn't feel 100% at this point. I have had chronic pain in my left glute for the last 3-4 weeks(Pirformis syndrome) and have had some nagging pain which feels very similar to an injury I have had before(Osteitis Pubis). Earlier this week, I woke up with a terrible pain in my left calf. I had a visible bulging knot in my calf. It was really painful. So on the physical side, I have a lot of issues.

Mentally and emotionally, I think I feel even worse than all the physical ailments. It is hard to say how much of the physical problems have been manifested by the emotional heartache of this year.

There are times when I just don't feel like I am strong enough to get through this run. I never thought the day would come when I would be running to honor Kelly's memory. I have made this distinction in my mind that I am still running to honor her life, her courage in this battle against cancer and I a really am not running in her memory. Yet. . .

I remember when I was training for the Calgary marathon in 2001, being so afraid seven years ago that I would be running in her memory instead of in her honor.

Now that day I was so afraid of 2,614 days ago is now just sixteen days away.

I am going to paraphrase something my friend Shayna posted in her blog.

So, regardless of who is or isn't at that finish line, I'm still doing my 26.2 miles in Denver in the memory of my dear sweet Kelly and also for Laiken Kenwood, baby Molina gone at 10 months...for Patti Kaufman.

I run to honor Sarah Larson, one of Kelly's best friends who is an AML survivor of 9 years.


I run to honor Brittany Ross, one of the Rocky Mountain chapters team heroes, another AML survivor.

I run to honor little Mason Bernard, age 5 who is in week 32 of a 104 week cycle of chemo therapy treatments.

I run to honor Brandan Hickey who has a very rare and dangerous form of AML.



I don't feel very courageous right now, but I will keep trying. I will keep running. What else is there to do?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Journey matters

This isn't at all what I had planned on writing about tonight, but it is close to one of the posts I have been thinking about. I have a lot of things I have started this year and haven't finished. I have half a dozen or so unpublished, unfinished, incomplete posts. I probably have about that many books I have started and haven't finished. Unfinished grief work as my sister Jan would say.

I read a short, but very good book about leadership tonight that was written by Marilyn Carlson Nelson. She is a former CEO of Carlson a global group of companies such as the Radission and Regent hotels, T.G.I. Friday resturants.

This is an excerpt from a speech her daughter wrote as a senior in high school.

"Do you ever have the feeling you are constantly getting ready for somthing? In the morning, hurry up, rush, get ready for school, get ready for work, get ready, get ready, get ready. Set goals, work towards them".

She goes on to talk about a quote from the Frenchman named Montaigne, "The journey not the arrival matters.". To him the journey was what we should treasure. Life is a journey we all embark on and in a sense never finish.

"We should all live and love each day-the bad ones as well as the good. Today is so valuable, it should be lived and enjoyed".

"Life is always so fragile. What if. . . just what if something happened to you today? What would trouble you the most. . . an abrupt ending? Unfinished studies? Unplayed games? Unperformed dramas? No...I'm willing to bet it would be unsaid words, incomplete relationships and unfullfilled promises".

"Each one of us is only given one journey. But if we enjoy it to the fullest. . . every, every minute of it, one journey is enough".

Juliet Evans Nelson was killed in an automobile accident during her freshman year in college shortly after writing this speech. Another life cut short, another young person full of love for life that understood the importance of choosing and living life as fully and richly as possible.

I think this was something that Kelly and her family understood and embraced so there wouldn't be unsaid words, incomplete relationships.

So many things for me unfinished. There is always another day to complete them, or is there?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Light the Night with hope and love for Kelly and Laiken






I have been to three Light the Night walks over the last couple of weeks, one in Longmont, Denver and Boulder.



I was a team captain for the Denver Light the Night on September 25. There were over 6,000 walkers at the Denver walk which was a new record.

Sue, Laura, Adam joined me along with our niece Kristin and great nephew Keegan, my Mom and sister and two new friends we met at New City Church, Jerry and Carol.

Before the walk there was a remembrance ceremony to honor those that have left us too soon because of this disease.

The chaplain from the Denver Hospice center read a beautiful poem during the ceremony. He was kind enough to let me have his copy of it.

And if I go,
while you're still here...
Know that I live on,
vibrating to a different measure

--behind a thin veil you cannot see through
You will not see me,
so you must have faith.

I wait for the time when we can soar together again,

--both aware of each other.

Until then, live your life to its fullest.

And when you need me,

Just whisper my name in your heart,

...I will be there.


I think that is what Kelly and Laiken would want us all to do, live our lives to their fullest each and every day. Though those that love them miss them so much, they will always be in our hearts.












Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Six months ago




Six months ago I got up to check my e-mail fearing there would be an e-mail that would take all my courage to open and read.

No new news about Kelly. I had received an e-mail late Sunday night from Kelly's Aunt Linda saying that the doctors thought she had just a few hours left.

I left for work very early that morning. As I was driving to work, my cell began to ring. I knew it was about Kelly. I fumbled to answer the phone in the darkness. Kelly's dad was on the phone. My heart sank as Don told me that Kelly had passed away early Monday morning. It was news I had expected, thought I was prepared for it. Still it didn't seem possible. How could this be? We talked briefly. Don asked if I was planning on coming for her service. We had discussed this and decided as a family that we were all planning on attending. Don asked me for a favor, would I be one of Kelly's pallbearers? Kelly and her family always seemed to find a way to give more to me than I gave. What an honor for me to be able to do that for Kelly, for Don and Patty.
We said our good-byes. I told Don that I was going to cry so I pulled my car over on the highway and did exactly that until I felt calm enough to drive.

The rest of the day is a blur. I stopped at Panera Bread which I like to do in the morning and read the paper. Somehow I managed to lose my prescription reading glasses between there and work. I never found them again.

I got to work, told a couple of my friends that Kelly had passed away. Bev and Brenda were very supportive of me. They knew how much I loved Kelly.

I missed my friend Bernice that morning. She was out of the office that day as it was her wedding anniversary. Bernice and I had talked back in 2001 when Kelly was expected to die about the possibility of a miracle occurring with Kelly's health. Bernice always called Kelly, "our little angel" and in many ways that was what she was to many of us, especially me. I always felt like Kelly was my guardian angel. How did she sense when I needed to hear from her? I would be feeling low and suddenly there would be an e-mail in my inbox from Kelly. My heart would leap each time I would see her name in my inbox and every time she would lift my spirits.
Years ago, Adam and I were driving home from Fort Collins and somebody side swiped our car going 75 miles and hour and never even slowed down. It felt like the car was going to roll and then it righted itself. To this day, I think that Kelly's guardian angel saw what was about to happen and steadied the car. The state patrol officer we called looked at our car and told me we were lucky to be alive.

I went in to my manager's office and told him that Kelly had died and started to break down again. I wrote a short e-mail to my staff and left for the rest of the day.

I stopped on the way home and went running, hoping that somehow that would help give me some peace. Running was always my special time with Kelly. We had run thousands of miles together over the last nine years. I cried during most of the run that day.

Six months ago the sky was overcast, the weather chilly, rain mixed with snow.

Today, the sky is blue and around 80 degrees. I ran again today, no tears while running. I still feel sad. I am glad Kelly is free of her cancer. I just wish that could have happened in her earthly life here with us.

I miss her so much. I think most of all, I will miss her smile, her utter sweetness in the way she lived her life.

I am so lucky that I got to be a part of Kelly's life for nine years. She will always be my hero and my love for her will always be safe in my heart. That is one thing that cancer can't touch.











Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Six degrees of clicking

A couple of thoughts about six degrees.

Six degrees of separation refers to the idea that, if a person is one step away from each person they know and two steps away from each person who is known by one of the people they know, then everyone is an average of six "steps" away from each person on Earth.


Kevin Bacon founded SixDegrees.org which is about using the idea , "that we are all connected to accomplish something good".

To expand on that are we an average of six "clicks" away from each person in cyber-space?

How can we click to accompish something good? I do believe we are all connected to accomplish something good.

Because I clicked on a website, I started a cyber space friendship with Dane Rauschenberg, a young man who in 2006 ran 52 marathons in 52 weeks and raised over $40,000 for a charity that benefited people with disabilities. We started corresponding about running, my experience as a charity runner, the special friendship I had with Kelly. Dane was kind enough to send Kelly an autographed picture of him running for her birthday last January. Dane knew that Kelly was very ill and he was one of the first people I reached out to when Kelly passed away in March. I had sent Dane one of the links about Kelly and he wrote a blog about her. If you get a chance look for the post he wrote on March 24, 2008.

http://danerunsalot.blogspot.com/2008_03_01_archive.html

Someone else was clicking in cyber-space, reading Dane's blog. The title of Dane's blog that day caught Shayna's eye and after reading the article about Kelly, she did some more clicking and asked Dane for my e-mail address. Shayna sent me a very kind e-mail offering her support the same day Dane posted his article about Kelly.

Shayna and I have stayed in touch and she is one of my best friends in cyber space. Shayna is also a multiple TNT participant. Shayna lost her Mom to cancer and has also endured the loss of her team hero, Laiken Kenwood about five weeks after Kelly's passing.

So Shayna and I have become friends because we both read Dane's blog, in different states. We are linked together by a common interest in endurance running, share the same passion and commitment in being relentless in providing hope and inspiration to those we love and serve.

Shayna has been an unexpected source of comfort and continued support for me as I have struggled through my grief this year. Amazing the good someone can accomplish with a few clicks.

Dane had a very short post on his blog tonight and I just love this quote.

"There are many things we can't do, trying is not one of them".

I think that exemplified the way Kelly and Laiken lived their lives. Not trying was not an option for them. Not trying is not an option for Dane, for Shayna or for me.

Keep clicking, keep moving forward, keep trying. I know Kelly and Laiken would want us all to do that.

Please check out Shayna's blog. She has a very touching article about Laiken and Kelly on her blog.

http://walkerchick-relentlessforacure.blogspot.com

Relentless for a cure.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

1,278 miles

A post having nothing to do with anything, but numbers.

From June 1-August 31 I ran 622 miles.
I rode 656 miles over the same period of time.

I ran a total of 84 times

Average run 7.41 miles
Shortest run, 3.1 miles(5K)
Longest run , 20.2 miles
Average week-47.8 mile

I ran the most miles I have ever run in back to back to back months

June- 191
July- 206
August- 225

This is a huge amount of miles for me and each one of these months might just be a weeks worth of running for an elite marathoner.

622 miles = 100 10K runs
622 miles = 23.74 marathons

1,278 miles

Where could I have gone if I took a road trip?

1,282 miles to Edmonton Canada
1,277 miles to San Francisco California
1275 miles to Chattanooga Tennessee
1265 miles to Portland Oregon

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Loss upon loss



We were shocked and saddened to learn that my cousin Jim Monahan died in a plane crash yesterday in Ohio.

Jim married his high school sweetheart Holly when they turned 18.

Jim was an avid pilot, flying for over 40 years and never had an accident.
One of Jim's favorite assignments in flying was bringing our troops home from the middle east.
This has been a year filled with so much loss. I think I am ready for 2009.
Please keep Jim's family in your thoughts and prayers. Jim's daughter, Jennifer is about to have a baby girl. I am so saddened to think at this time of great joy that the family has to mourn the loss of a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a grandfather.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Running with Katie's

I have an interesting streak going. The last two races I have struck up a conversation while running with Katie. Different races, different Katie's.

I ran the Georgetown to Idaho Springs 1/2 marathon 3 weeks ago and ran with a young girl named Katie who is a TNT teammate that is training to run the Nike Women's marathon in San Francisco the same day as the Denver marathon. It is always fun to find someone that is running about the same pace as you are. Makes the miles and time so much more fun. Katie recently graduated from Denver University. I am always so touched when I see young people already involved in serving the communities they live in. We probably ran off and on together for about 10 miles and really helped pull each other to the finish line. We both ended up running faster then we would have if we hadn't run together.

Today I ran a 10 mile race called the Park to Park. The race takes a beautiful tour of 4 city parks in Denver, City Park, Cheesman Park, Aloma Placita park and ends in Washington Park. It hits some of my favorite parts of the city to run in. In addition to the tour of the parks, you get to run in quiet, tree lined neighborhoods. Even on a hot day, this wouldn't be bad with all of trees that protect you from the sun.

While running through Cheesman Park, I met another Katie. I was wearing my purple TNT singlet and she asked me how Team in Training was going. Turned out that Katie was a former coach of the New York chapter. She obviously could have run much faster, but opted to spend the rest of the run with me. We chatted about the New York city marathon, triathlons(She has completed an iron man event(2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run). She gave me some tips on nutrition and a supplement that is supposed to help you sleep better. She was appalled when I told her how little I am able to sleep. She said there is no way my muscles can repair themselves with so little rest.

Laura-You will very interested to hear this. Katie is friends with Darra Torres. She says she is absolutely not cheating. Cut the volume of training by 50%, sleeps more, and has a trainer stretch her two hours a day.

I was so glad that Katie struck up a conversation with me. I knew after the first three miles that my time goal for the day was a fantasy. I had nothing in my legs. Guess I was still tired from my long run on Saturday. It was nice to be able to let go of the outcome and just enjoy the beautiful day and the good company.

Thanks Katie's. I enjoyed running and getting a chance to talk with you.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

The fascination with the .2

The distance of the marathon is not 26 miles, but 26.2 miles.

  • The modern Athens Marathon commemorates the run of the soldier Pheidippides from a battlefield at the site of the town of Marathon, Greece, to Athens in 490 B.C.

  • Legend has it that Pheidippides delivered the momentous message "Niki!" ("victory"), then collapsed and died.

  • The Athens Marathon is recognized as the original marathon course and it's the same course used in the 2004 Olympics held in Athens.

  • The first modern Olympic games were held in 1896 in Greece.

  • The legend of Pheidippides was honored by a 24.85 mile (40,000 meters) run from Marathon Bridge to Olympic stadium in Athens.


  • At the 1908 Olympic Games in London, the marathon distance was changed to 26.2 miles to cover the ground from Windsor Castle to White City Stadium, with the 2.2 miles added on so the race could finish in front of royal family's viewing box. This added two miles to the course, and is the origin of the Marathon tradition of shouting "God save the Queen!" (or other words relating to the Queen) as mile post 24 is passed.


  • During all of my long training runs, I always try and end up with a .2 after whatever miles I have run for the day. My family gave me a Garmin watch for Christmas two years ago and it is a great way to track how far you are running and it helps me make sure I complete the all important .2.

    Last week I ran 19.2 miles. That leaves only 7 more miles.

    Today I ran 20.2 miles. That means on marathon day I only have to tack on 6 more miles.

    Somehow that seems so important to tack on the .2 in training. Have to do that during the marathon so might as well practice running those last 385 yards.

    I have yet to shout, "God save the queen" during my training runs. That would be weird. Maybe I will try to do that at my next marathon :)

    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Meet Mighty Mason


    I have a favor to ask to everyone that is reading my blog.

    Mason Bernard is our team hero for the Denver marathon this fall. Mason is six years old and has A.L.L. Mason is pictured directly in front of me. His Mother Catherine is seated next to him on the right side of the picture.

    Please check out his website and leave Mason and his Mom, Catherine a word of encouragement or please pray for them.





    Catherine is one of my teammates that I will be running with in the Denver marathon this fall.

    Does Catherine want to run a marathon and spend time away from her Mason and her family? I would think that would not be her first choice. Does Catherine want to do everything possible as a Mother for her son? I have no doubt as to the answer to that question.
    Mason just started kindergarten and is already missing school. This disease is so relentless, the toll on those we love and their families can't be measured.
    I will be honored to be running with Catherine this fall, running for Mason, running to honor Kelly, Laiken and Patti's lives, running ever closer to a cure.
    Catherine-I know you feel alone at times, you are not.
    Mighty Mason, you rock!
    Kelly-I love you, miss you so much. You will always be my hero!
    Relentless for a cure!

    Sunday, August 24, 2008

    Running with Keegan and the girls

    I have recently started running with Laura, my niece Kristin and great nephew Keegan. We found two free running clubs, one runs on Monday's and the other on Thursday's. These are low key 5K runs where the club serves free pasta afterwards.

    This is a great way to meet people that have similar interests and to become involved in the Denver running community.

    Kristin made a bunch of new friends at the run last Thursday. She is very outgoing so I think it would be impossible for her to go somewhere and not make a connection.

    I have been pushing Keegan in the baby jogger so that gives me a whole new perpsective on running. The course we run on Monday's is really hilly so that really adds a challenge to hill running.

    Kristin really had a great time on Thursday and was actually looking forward to the next run. It is really neat to be able to share the love I have for running with her.
    When I got done running on Monday, Keegan and I spent a bit of time looking for bunny rabbits and in this search got a glimpse of an awesome sunset. A camera just never does justice to what you see with your eyes. It was gorgeous.
    My running buddy, Keegan.






    Blood-Commodity or Community asset?

    I learned some very interesting facts about the blood business as the LLS board meeting this month at Bonfils.

    Bonfils support 200 health organizations in U.S. and all over the world.

    There are 76 Bonfils like orgs in the U.S.

    Red Cross collects 40% of blood donation in U.S.

    Bonfils collects 48%

    Hospitals account for remaining 12%.

    Doubled amount of blood stored at Bonfils in preparation of the DNC next week.

    Red Cross threw out 485.000 units of blood collected after 9/11.

    Bonfils processed more blood after Columbine shootings than N.Y. City did after 9/11.

    Approximately 200 registrants have occurred as part of the Light the Night marrow donor registration

    Bonfils is able to waive the donor registration fee at the Light the Night walks.

    7,000 registered marrow donors in Colorado.

    300 million people in U.S. Only 70 million are eligible to donate blood.

    Only 4% of population will donate.

    97% of population will receive a transfusion.

    The safest blood transfusion is no transfusion. Incredibly the biggest risk during transfusion is receiving the wrong blood type.

    Blood management programs are critical.

    Cost of unit of blood is $225.00, after transfusion cost varies from $1,700 to $2,400 for a single unit.

    Platelet transfusion $75.00 apiece, one patient could require as many as 25 a day.

    Globalization-Other areas are more willing to pay for blood than here in U.S. Competing across the world for blood supply.

    Bio tech firms in New York are willing to pay $700 for the $225 unit of blood.

    Is blood a commodity or community asset? The answer is both.