Are You Spartan Tough?

As you know I am marathon crazy.  I have not done many other races because I am trying to get to my goal of a marathon in all 50 states.  However, the trend of themed and obstacle running events does get me excited.  I participated in an obstacle race a few years ago and had a blast.  It was like getting to be a kid for the day.  Plus, the kids thought mom playing in the mud was pretty cool.

muddy

Have you done one of these races?  I would love to hear your experiences. If not, check this out and see what you are missing.

 

If you would like to try one, the wonderful people of Spartan are very generous and offering a discount to all of my Miles For A Cure readers.  All you have to do is click this link and you can register with a 15% discount.

 http://bit.ly/spartanwarrior

Or would you like to WIN a FREE entry?

Click the link below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Now check out these great new shoes from Reebok made just for you Spartans.

SR_altbizcard__horizontal_manrun

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Impossible

I have been trying to write this blog for some time now.  I think I was trying too go to deep with it.  Since my Dad passed away I have a few songs that I like to listen to and one of them is by Kutless called “What faith can do.”  In this song there is a specific phrase that caught my attention, “Impossible is not a word. It’s just a reason for someone not to try.”

I hear all the time, “I am not a runner,” “I am not built to run,” or “I just can’t do it.”  The best advice ever given to me was, “When you decide you can run, you will be able to run.”  It is our nature to make excuses, giving ourselves reasons we do not need to run or exercise or eat more nutritiously, or whatever it is that we may want to succeed in.

When you make up your mind that you can do something, you will be able to achieve it.  One of the reasons I absolutely love the marathon is watching people cross the finish line.  With each foot that steps over the finish line you witness a lifetime goal that has been accomplished.

Midway through every season of training it just gets hard.   You begin to lack motivation.  This is the point I send my team what I call the “Kick in the butt” email.  In this email I remind them what this is all about, to remember the original intention for starting.

My last long run, it was hot and I was miserable, the last thing I wanted to do was run.  But then I thought about my Dad and all he went through in his last six months.  No amount of aches or pains from running could ever compare to his battle.  So as I ran I imagined the millions of others still fighting there battle with cancer and imagined carrying them with me across the finish line.

Take the step to make a change in your life or someone else’s.  Impossible, a word so overused by many who want to achieved something but sell themselves short.  Excuses are a cover up to what we are of afraid of trying in fear that we might fail.  Conquer your goals!

 

(the phrase quoted is in the 2nd verse)

I would love to hear back from you on your goals you are achieving.

le Tour de France

I will admit I am a Tour de France addict.  I watch all 21 stages every year.  I do fast forward some; I promise I do not watch the entire 5 hours a day.  I just love it.  There is just something about these guys that ride 2,200 miles in 21 days.  I am always amazed at what the human body can do.  And I do pride myself that this year Texas (rider Lance Armstrong) beat Wales (rider Geraint Thomas). 

 

This year the last stage had to be my favorite.  Lance Armstrong is again retiring from cycling, but did not go out without a bang.  He did not win his eighth title for the Tour de France, but what he tried to do for cancer was inspiring.

Each stage his team, Team Radio Shack, wore there red jerseys with the radio shack logo and a yellow strip at the end of the sleeve for his cancer foundation, Livestrong.  On the last day of the tour when they enter Paris his team came out with their new jerseys.  These jerseys were black with the radio shack logo on front, but on the back bore the number 28.  28 represents the 28 millions people in the world suffering from cancer. 

 

Once the race was on the way the race officials threatened to disqualify the team if they did not put back on their approved racing jerseys.  The team put the old jerseys on top but the race officials were still not happy that their race numbers were not visible and again threatened to disqualify them.  So all the riders sat on the side of the road and replaced their race number onto their old bibs.  Sadly they had to change but the publicity they got Sunday will far out weigh their having to change.

 

Lance Armstrong may not have won the yellow jersey for himself, but his team Radio Shack took first among the teams.  I have to believe this past Sunday that awareness for cancer was mentioned around the world. 

My part with Team in Training seems so small in comparison to his reaching the world, but I know that as we each take a stand to make a difference against cancer we will soon find a cure.

Still Surprised

As many of you know my husband has not been to fond of running.  He loves Rugby and Rowing, but NOT running.  Well he has decided to run a half marathon!  Below is his story of why he wants to begin this journey.

Once upon a time……

It was the best of years; it was the worst of years…….

It is a truth universally acknowledged……

Captain’s log, star date ………

Who am I kidding, I am not about to write a classic piece of literature like Hans Christian Anderson, Charles Dickens, Jane Austin or even offer a profound retelling of a frontier encounter such as the infamous Captain James T. Kirk. I am simply trying to describe and share my experiences through this journal.

For today I am beginning a journey!

As most men, I believe that I can fix anything or at least attempt to make it right. I have to, don’t I?  However I have discovered that I cannot fix everything. As a Pastor I have spent many hours with family members who are grieving the death of a loved one. I have trained in fields of bereavement counseling, taken courses on stress disorders, sat in seminars dealing with community trauma, stood at the side of an interstate supporting families involved in fatal accidents and I have lost grandparents, aunts and close friends. Yet, when my wife of 12years lost her father to a blood disease, I found that all my training and experience didn’t work in my dealing with her grief. His death was not out of the ordinary in terms of my professional experience, but I was not able to operate from within my professional boundaries. In this instance I was just a husband and son-in-law who could not fix the pain my wife was experiencing. This is the reason behind the beginning of my journey that I am sharing with you. I cannot take away my wife’s pain but I can make a difference. So I decided that my only option was to do something tangible. So I decided I would run the half marathon with Team in Training. I have chosen to run the Disney Wine and Dine Half on October 2nd.

I am not a runner! I have been involved in many sports; Rugby, Cricket, Rowing, Soccer and Golf (okay I know that last one is a stretch). To run was part of the game or a necessity for preparation, conditioning and match fitness. To run was never something I just did because I wanted to, it was never a goal unto itself, it was because I needed to, in order to achieve another goal. My wife Jennifer has been coaching marathon teams for several seasons. Her primary work is with Team in Training, a fund raising wing of the American Leukemia Lymphoma Society. The motto for the team is “from couch potato to marathoner in four months”. I don’t think I would go as far as saying that I am a couch potato but I am not as active as I have been or should be.  So here I go!

To support Sam in his fundraising efforts follow this link.  http://pages.teamintraining.org/cfl/diswine10/jknighthvn

Finish Vertical

Today was another fabulous day.  I got something I always wanted, my whole family in their running shoes.

 

This morning we started out with our Kick-off for our upcoming Team in Training season.  Sam actually got to take part as a participant.  Of course I was bubbling with pride that my running finally rubbed off on him.  Below is a picture of my new team minus a few people.

 

But the absolute most awesome part of the day was that my three kids all participated in a road race.  Gwyneth did the kids race with her buddy Gavin.  And believe it or not they both took second place.  She got it for the girls and he got it for the boys. 

                          

                   

Cinnone and Gethin participated in their first 5K.  Cinnone ran with my friend Tina and Gethin ran with me.  He took off.  He ran the entire first mile and did it in 11 minutes.  Then he slowed a bit and completed his race in 40 minutes.  The funniest part was when he ran by me saying, “I do not feel the pain in my legs.”  Cinnone finished her race in 50 minutes.  Both times are amazing for their first 5K’s.  As a mom I am so proud of them. 

                          

As Gethin and I were approaching the finish line we ran past a man that was 81 years old.  He cheered Gethin on and said how proud he was that such a young man was running and then he said , “The most important thing is that you finish the race vertical.”  So that is the advice of the day…finish vertical.

An Amazing Day

Today was just an amazing day.  I know this is not about running or nutrition or anything close for that matter, but I just had to share my day with you.

My friend Tina and I were given the opportunity to volunteer our time at Kennedy Space Center serving food in exchange for an up close view of the shuttle launch.  As most of you know I love shuttle launches.  Just as most of the others this one was just as amazing.

We arrived at KSC at 7:30am to get our badges, which make you feel so important.  Then we got our special T-shirts that said “Shuttle Launch Team,” that was just the icing on the cake.  Below is a picture of my friend Rachel and I in our special T’s.

                   

We served a lot of people for the next few hours and then as promised we got the most amazing view of the launch.  So here are a few pictures so you can see too.

The shuttle Atlantis on the launch pad awaiting her final voyage.

 

Here is where we heard and felt the roar. AWESOME!!!!

Look closely here and you can see the rocket boosters falling off.

When all was said and done it took four hours for us to drive 39 miles home.  But this was a great time as well for Tina and I to chat and yawn and then laugh.  

As with the last launch it was bittersweet.  I did not get to tell my Dad about it.  He did not get to listen on the other end of the phone in hopes to hear the roar with me.  But I did get to hold his camera and remember all the wonderful picture taking opportunities we had together.  It was all fantastic.

A Must Read – “Marathoning for Mortals”

My all time favorite running book is “Marathoning for Mortals” written by John Bingham.  It is an absolute must read for any runner, especially beginners.  This book was not only inspiring but had me laughing the whole way through.  The book gives tips for running that all beginner marathoners need to know as well as training guides. To view this book click this link to John Bingham’s website www.johnbingham.com/store.html#books.

 

John Bingham is also known as “The Penguin.”  He has completed 45 marathons and has brought up the rear in most of them.  He got this name by his waddle when he runs.  He, like most of us, are not out there to try and win the marathon, but to have the most amazing time you can while on the course.

Running the marathon or half marathon can be for so many things.  There are very few who run with the intention of winning.  Some of us want to set a new PR (personal record), weather we admit it or not I think we all want to do this at each race.  Other reasons marathons are ran are to see the sights, such as in the Disney races, runners get to see the “behind the scenes” of the parks.  As with Team in Training we run to raise awareness for blood cancers.  There are many different organizations represented during the races, but I will say I think Team in Training is the best! And others who run just like to dress up and have a ball.  But one thing all runners share is that we like the bling – the medals.

John Bingham has a quote that can be found throughout his books, blogs, columns and even T-shirts, “The miracle isn’t that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start.”  So what are you waiting for, get started.

You can visit John Bingham’s website www.johnbingham.com and learn more about his books as well as get training tips and much more.

As John would say,

“Waddle On”

Doug, A True Hero

Over the course of several posts I want to introduce you to some of my heroes.  Obviously, my Dad was my biggest hero, but there is someone who is pretty close to him on my list of heroes.  His name is Doug.

 In October 2007, Doug was diagnosed with CML – Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia.  He has two young children and a wonderful wife.  I met Doug through Team in Training when he was trying to earn his Triple Crown.  Team in Training has three programs the marathon, triathlon and the century ride, and when you complete all three then you receive the award of the Triple Crown.  Doug was the first honored hero from our chapter to receive this award. 

In November Doug found out that his medication was no longer working and that he would have to have a bone marrow transplant.  In December he began to search for a bone marrow donor.  This is very different than it use to be for the donors part.  Now it is very much like donating blood.  As a team we all decided to get tested.  To be tested all you have to do is swab the inside of your cheek.  This is a very easy procedure and by doing so you can save someone’s life.  I encourage you to go to this website and sign up for the registry.  www.bethematch.org

Doug was able to find a 9 out of a 10 match and is currently undergoing his treatment.  For the transplant Doug had to go into the hospital for quite a lengthy procedure.  He underwent four days of chemotherapy followed by two days of other treatments to prep for the transplant.  Then the transplant was given and now he is in the waiting process.  He has to remain in the hospital for 32 days after the transplant.  He is currently at Day 13. 

As you can imagine this is a long and painful journey.  I ask that each of you pray for Doug and his family as he come through this transplant.  To follow his progress you can go to his website www.dougstransplantjourney.webs.com/apps/blog/ where he is daily updating on his progress.  There is also a place where you can make a donation to help his family financially.

                                                         

The Most Asked Question

The question I get asked most often is “How did you get started running?”  I often question if this comes from their wondering if I am crazy for running or a secret desire they have to run themselves.

For years I had that secret desire to want to run, but I told myself what many of us say, “I am just not built to run.”  Well there are very few people who are actually built to run in the Olympics or to actually win the marathon.  But the only thing that keeps the rest of us from running was the best kept secret.  One day a friend and I were walking and she looked at me and said, “Jen when you decide you can be a runner, then you can be a runner.”  That hit me like a ton of bricks.  So after a while I decided I could be a runner. 

I began running around my half mile block.  I would run one length and then walk the next.  I will admit once I got to the other end of each block that I ran I wanted to roll on the ground and gasp for breath.  It did get easier (really you cannot say you hate running till you can go more than three miles, but that is another post).  I’ll never forget my first two mile run; my oldest daughter rode her bike right beside me and encouraged me the entire way.  Then the mileage just grew from there.

Once moving to Florida I decided to take running to a new level and sign up for a race.  I began with a 15K (9.3 miles).  I was hooked.  So I signed up for a half marathon.  I was not as prepared as I thought I was and it was the worst race experience ever.  I promised I would never run again.  Sam, my husband, then bought me running gear for Christmas so I felt I had to run again and wanted to run a marathon. 

I thought it would be best to join a running group to try for that distance.  While searching I came across the fantastic group of Team in Training (a fundraising program of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society).  As I began to look into their program I was also receiving emails about a sweet girl in Texas that was undergoing treatment for Leukemia.  Then one day the two collided. I received a call from the Team in Training office about there upcoming season and later that day I received the email that this young girl lost her battle.  I took this as my sign to take the step and join. 

This has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.  I have made friends that I will have for a lifetime and friends that understand what it is like to see someone go through cancer treatments and lose there battle. 

So my secret desire to run has got me across many finish lines and each one carries its own stories, emotions and accomplishments.  I cannot close without encouraging you.  Whether it is to run or whatever your secret desire is to do.  Decide you can do it and make a difference.  You will not be disappointed.

finish line

My New Blog

 

In effort to begin a website to honor my Dad (more info below), I have also decided to enter the world of blogging.  So as I pondered what on earth to talk about to open a blog I thought I should talk about one of the things I am most passionate about.  As you can probably guess that would be the work of Team in Training.  We are getting ready to launch a new season.  Janice Sklar and I will coach the coming season which includes the new Disney “Wine and Dine” Half Marathon as well as the amazing Half and Full Marathon in San Francisco, the Nike Woman’s Marathon.  This marathon is unique in that along the course you not only get water and sports drinks but you also get chocolate.  And if that does not peak your interest this might; instead of the much deserved medal each finisher will receive a Tiffany necklace given to you by the San Francisco Fire Department dressed in Tuxedos. 

This season a few of us will also be joining forces with Virtual Team in Training and flying across the pond to run the Dublin Marathon.  I would like to send a personal invitation to each of you who have ever considered running a marathon or half marathon to consider joining the Team.  I also want to send an invitation to any of you who have ever wanted to make a change in yourself while helping others to consider joining the Team.  I cannot express what a life changing experience Team in Training made in my life.

The way Team in Training works is each person who signs up fundraises on behalf of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  In exchange for you efforts you get: I must say awesome coaching, a mentor to help you fundraise and guide you, and expenses paid for your marathon.  Team in Training is the number one endurance training program in the country.  The money raised through the Team in Training program goes to furthering research for blood cancers and for patient support (this past year we passed the $1 Billion mark).  Participants also make lifelong friendships.

Ok, no more excuses.  This is your time to make a difference.  Not just in your life, but in the lives of so many fighting blood cancers.  If running is not your thing they also have programs for Triathlon, Century Rides (100 miles bike rides) and Hiking. You can log onto www.teamintraining.org and find out all the info you need to know.  If there is not a local chapter in your area (such as Orange, Tx) then you can join through virtual Team in Training and join us for the fun at one of our events.

No words can ever express how amazing this program is and what it does for so many fighting for there lives. As you may have imagined, with the passing of my Dad my passion for this cause only grows stronger. So make the decision and be a HERO!

As I continue the blog I hope to answer the numerous questions that many of you send to me through emails.  I will send out my favorite recipes as well as some of favorite exercise programs.  The blog will also be used to keep you all updated of the progress of Team in Training.  I am so excited of many of the upcoming events I have planned and I look forward to sharing these experiences with each of you.

The website www.milesforacure.com (still under construction) and blog are in memory of my Dad.  Through the sale of items on this website proceeds will benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  I hope you will subscribe to the blog and come back often to look around and shop for a cure.