Monday, August 24, 2009


A couple of months back I signed up for the Philly LiveSTRONG Challenge 5K.  There were so many reasons as to why I signed up:

  1. I’ve been a fan of Lance Armstrong ever since I read his first autobiography. 
  2. I love to sign up for runs and I needed another 5K to set my sights on breaking my current PR.
  3. Being part of something huge would be a plus.

Little did I know, at that time, would number 3 eventually be my number 1. 

My inbox was flooded with emails from the organization with fundraising tips, info on upcoming Challenges, the latest news on it’s campaign to ‘go global’ with the cancer fight, etc.  I read almost every email and clicked on every link.  I was motivated to spread the word, raise awareness and raise money.

I teamed up with a fellow co-worker/friend and we focused on motivating our peers to join us in the fight.  We eventually became a team of nine with over $2000 in donations. 

My motivation had deep roots…  Earlier that year a superior of mine had lost her young daughter to cancer.  I witness the devastation that the disease had caused this innocent family.  As a Mom, it hurt me deeply.  Every night, for weeks, I cried as I put my beautiful daughter to bed.  I prayed that I’d never see my family go through such turmoil, that I’d never see my daughter go through physical pain…that I’d never live to the day in which I saw my daughter go before me.   Part of me felt guilty that I had a healthy family; the other part of me was downright angry that this was happening at all. 

I was determined to help out in some way…

A few weeks before the Challenge, that heartbroken mother visited me at work with a donation in hand.  After accepting the much appreciated donation, in memory of her daughter, she opened her palm and presented me with a white ribbon.  Written across the ribbon was her daughter’s name.  I immediately knew the history behind the ribbon – another co-worker had pinned it to her shirt before the Lehigh Valley 1/2 Marathon.  Names of those being remembered or honored were pinned to her shirt.  My mission was to carry her name on through the next race. 

I because just a tad annoying with my solicitations, but when you believe in something…you’ll push it so far.

This past Saturday morning I checked the donation list and had raised $600 for the Challenge.  I was thrilled to smash my original goal of $250.  After heading down to the LiveSTRONG Village to pick up my packed I headed home to pick up Ava and hit the Wal-Mart for yellow ribbon and pins. 

That night, with butterflies in my stomach, I wrote names on 12 ribbons; names of people who were remembered and honored by the donations I had collected.  I carefully pinned them to my shirt and eventually went to bed.

I was jolted out of bed just a few hours later by a buzzing alarm clock.  I got ready, woke up the rest of the fam and headed to Blue Bell.  It took some time for me to get centered – thousands of people, lots of signs to read, a dull headache and more butterflies.  It wasn’t until I kissed Marcus and Ava that I was able to take a decent breath and walk to the start line.

Starting the race took longer than expected.  After a 30 minute delay and waiting for all the cyclists to go before me, I said a short prayer and hit the pavement.  It wasn’t my motivation to post a good time that kept my legs moving…it was the fire in my belly – which I guess killed off the butterflies!  I was experiencing so much emotion during the run that I couldn’t stop moving…at one point I was running a 7:38 minute mile.  Maybe that doesn’t sound too fast to you, but I’m not even 5’2” with even shorter legs…THAT’S ROCKET SPEED FOR A SHORTY LIKE ME! 

Towards the end of the run I passed my team leader, but decided to hang back a little for us to cross the finish line together.  It was quite poetic…and cheesy, I guess…  We did this together; it only seemed right to finish together.  We crossed the line and I stopped my watch at 27:17…it happens to be a PR.  :)

Before I headed back to my family a familiar voice shouted my name and I immediately scanned the crowd.  An old co-worker behind the finish line was waving at me with a huge smile on her face.  I learned a few months ago that her young daughter has been fighting Leukemia.  A mutual friend had made a donation to me in her daughter’s honor.  I proudly walked over to her and displayed her daughter’s ribbon…she was so excited…even took a picture.  She didn’t care how sweaty or stinky I was…she reached over the fence and grabbed me for a hug.  It was great.  I was proud that day. 

I found my family and most of my team…we all felt so great, in so many ways. 

On the way home I reminded my husband that I also ran in memory of his mother.  I never had the opportunity to meet her, but she must have been an amazing woman.  After all she raised him.


***It’s been over 15 years since I lost my grandfather to lung cancer due to asbestos exposure, but his memory is fresh in my mind.  I still glance at the picture I have on my nightstand of us dancing at my aunt’s wedding.  I remember him asking the photographer for that shot.  It saddens me that he didn’t see me grow up, get married and see his beautiful great-granddaughter, but I know he’s watching.  I hate that my grandmother is alone because his life was cut short.  But the only thing I can do is remember…and keep moving forward. 



Sunday, August 16, 2009

To Podcast or Not To Podcast

By now, almost everyone knows that I have an iPhone.  It’s complicated to explain why I express so much excitement over this phone.  Those with one understand.  It’s not really a phone…it’s a personal assistant, a competitor and a friend.  Perhaps, I’ve gone a little overboard, but regardless…that’s me.

So when the iPOD first came out a few years ago I most definitely wanted one.  Sure the colors were awesome and yes, I was driving a Volkswagen Beetle, but aside from that screaming stereotype, I was tired of going to the gym with my one hundred year old Sony Walkman.  It wasn’t the embarrassment of being seeing in public with my beloved, bright yellow Walkman, rather it was so annoying to find a tape worthy of being played while I worked out.  All my music were on CD or some type of non-tape format.  :)   It was so time consuming to make a mixed tape and more of a headache to fast forward to the next song when I wasn’t in the mood for it. 

My hubby, boyfriend then, bought me a SanDisk mp3 player for my birthday in 2003.  It was AWESOME.  I was so excited to put whatever I wanted on it…AND THEN WALK PROUDLY INTO THE GYM.  That mp3 player sustained my music need until early this year.  I started running not too long after I had Ava in February 2008 and only naturally, when began to build my endurance I was running for longer periods of time.  Did I tell you that my mp3 player had only 512 storage?  Yeah.  This didn’t allow for enough flexibility to skip one song…over the course of an hour I’d be at the top of the play list again.

SO…I was in a position to possibly get an iPOD.  Why was I so hung up on this?  I don’t know.  I didn’t drive the Beetle anymore and I had been eating meat regularly for at least 4 years…what gives?  There were so many options…and they came in shiny colors.  Sold!

But, for whatever reason, the hubby was anti-iPOD and I would up doing research on all other devices outside Mac.  I found a great video mp3 player and purchased it…I wouldn’t call it ‘settling’ because I fell in love with it.  With 16G of storage it blew my other one out of the universe. 

Get to the point.


Hubs comes home one Monday evening with an iPhone.  I’ll spare you the silly details, but wow.  What an amazing little piece of technology.  It was like the start of a new relationship; we were attached at the hip, always looking at each other, sneaking away to be alone…trying to learn as much as we could about the other.  Glorious.  During the early stages of my journey I discovered that this phone is more than a phone…it’s an iPOD, too.  Hmmm, loop hole!  The next discovery down iPOD lane was the podcast.  I heard the term a million times; I knew what it was, but I had never experienced it for myself.

Well, knock me down…there are a boat load of podcasts out there.  Self help, cooking, fitness, science, religion…the list is endless…and can get quite bizarre.  I subscribed to a few podcasts and was blown away.  I get a weekly yoga podcast, so I can take a class whenever I want.  I also subscribed to a running podcast (the format is brilliant) which I enjoy thoroughly.

During the running podcast, the caster goes into some detail about the broadcasting of it.  It sounded detailed, but I think he’s just meticulous…so why couldn’t I do this?

Sometimes my mind gets ahead of me and I dream up these fantastic scenarios until reality slaps me in the face.  I have so much to talk about…I think the podcast would be a great venue for me…but…really?  What would I talk about?  How long would I talk?  How often would I broadcast?  Could I potentially offend people?  or even worse, break some sort of copyright laws?  So many questions.

Maybe I should just stick to the infrequent blogging?