Monthly Archives: August 2012

A bone marrow update (of sorts)

And the update is…well, there really isn’t an update.  I’ve been waiting to hear back from my donor coordinator, and haven’t heard anything.  Which means either the patient is doing worse (hoping and praying that’s not the case), or that the doctor hasn’t decided if a transplant is warranted at this point. 

Either way it’s frustrating not to know.  I understand, though, that not everything works out the way we expect.  When I first got the call, I assumed I’d be donating in early August.  Life has a way of reminding you sometimes that you’re not in control, that no matter what you expect, you’ll probably get a different result.

I keep  finding I’ve forgotten all about the fact that I’m waiting to donate.  I’ll be sitting at a traffic light, or almost asleep in bed, and it will hit me.  The single thought that dominated my consciousness eight short weeks ago, the idea that I couldn’t stop thinking about, that caused a hot rush of tears when I would start to consider it.  The reminder that I’m still waiting to be a donor, that any time I could get a call that says “let’s go!  The process starts today!”

It almost feels like I had a really vivid dream – you know the sort.  The ones that seem so real when you first wake up, that you can imagine that you’re still in that world.  But as you fully wake up, the dream is already starting to fade in the morning light.  That’s where I am, in that half-awake state between the dream and reality.  The reality that not everything works out the way we imagine, and sometimes we’d rather live in the dream world just a bit longer.

I’ve rambled on long enough.  I have a house to clean, laundry to fold, and hopefully a 2 year old who just went to sleep for a few hours so that I can actually get those things done.

Until next time, I leave you with a question.   How will you make a difference today?


And the big winner is…

Katharine Mulfinger!

If you follow this blog, you should remember I posted a challenge a few weeks ago. 

Katharine came through, BIG TIME.

She didn’t pick one person.  Or two.  She picked four (so far) of the LiveUncommon race teamers to donate to. 

And what’s more awesome?

She’s a LU race team member.  So, she chose to donate her own money to her teammates – while she’s still working to raise money for her own goals.  Very Uncommon Indeed.

And while I’d love to say that my little challenge raised hundreds of dollars, I wasn’t actually sure if we’d even broken $100.  But, I just added it up, and so far, we’ve raised…drum roll…$105!!!!!  Yep, $105 has been donated to LiveUncommon from this challenge.

And the challenge isn’t over.

How will you make a difference today?  Can you beat Katharine?  Could you make a $5 or $10 donation to her efforts today?  Remember, I’ll match any donation you give, all you have to do is comment on this blog and let me know who you donated to.

OUCH! Race – (almost) Half Marathon

Yesterday, I ran my first official half marathon of the year, the OUCH! Half Marathon.  This was another of the LiveUncommon Race Team events, and it was awesome.  This was the second year for the event, which actually consists of three races (a 5k, a 9k, and half marathon).  In my opinion it’s pretty ambitious to put on a half marathon – this distance requires lots of support, volunteers, and hard work to do it right.  I like to think I kind of understand this, for a few years I have worked on the race committees for two local 5k events, and I know how hard it can be to adequately support and staff a 5k course with volunteers, let alone three separate races, one of which covers 13.1 miles.  But they did, and overall it went fairly smoothly. 

The goods: not bad for a small race!

The race started and ended at a hospital, and all money from the race went to their wound care/diabetes care center.  They raised over 18,000 dollars for the center, which I think is amazing.  Especially considering that this was a very small race – about 60 half marathon runners participated.  I have no idea how many runners did the 5k or 9k races.

At the beginning of the race, I started running with Emily, one of my LiveUncommon teammates, and a fellow Deere employees.  She mentioned that she had already run 7 miles (she had 20 on the schedule).  Note: she is a ROCK STAR.  She asked what my goal was for the race.  I told her my goal for this summer was a sub-2:00 half marathon, but that I wasn’t sure this was the race for it.  Emily volunteered to try and pace me, so I figured I’d go ahead and try for it.  We took off at what felt like an easy pace, and turned out to be sub-8:30’s for a while.  Against my better judgement, I figured I’d go ahead and take it, and bank a little bit of time for the finish, knowing there were crazy hills coming up.

There were plenty of water stations, I forgot to count to see if they actually had the advertised 7 on the course, but it felt like we hit one every 2 miles, so I think they were all there. Since this was a half marathon course through neighborhoods, there were several turns (which is always good to keep from getting bored).  The good:  it seemed they had a volunteer at every cross street to help to stop traffic and keep the runners safe.  The not so good:  Several times on the course we weren’t sure which way to turn, and oddly enough there wasn’t someone there to direct us.  Luckily there were a few runners ahead of us within sight so we were able to figure it out.  I’d recommend for next year that if they can’t have a volunteer at every turn, that they put up a few signs at the turns just so we can see which way to go.  It would have been easy to make a wrong turn in a few places.  Even a simple yard sign with an arrow would have been plenty.  A few times also, the police (there were so many officers on the course, this was GREAT!) had to tell us which way to go.  I am so thankful for everyone who was out there on the course, and I told each one of them thank you as we ran by.  (I hope that wasn’t too annoying to those around me…)

Emily and I actually talked and sometimes laughed the whole time.  Even the Belmont hill (which was as steep and painful as advertised) didn’t seem too bad once we were up it.  Several times I could hear fellow teammate and coach John in my head telling me that if I had the energy to talk and laugh, that I wasn’t running hard enough.  Thanks, John… 

During the race Emily kept asking how we were doing, and I was checking my watch.  Oddly enough, each time we’d pass a mile marker my watch was showing that we were 0.3 mile or so behind (when we crossed the 11 mile marker my watch said 10.7, for example).  But also each time, I would see that we were well under the 2:00 pace.  In fact, when we hit 9 miles, I looked at my watch and realized that even if we ran the last 4 at 10:00/mile pace, we’d be done under 2 hours.  That was a pretty good feeling.  Emily’s legs were starting to tire (undoubtedly!) and so were mine. 

We came in to the finish, and I was thrilled to see a 1:52 on the clock.  Later when I checked my Garmin, I realized it said I had run 12.77 miles.  A few other people also had a similar result on their watches, so I think it’s probably unanimous that the race was short of a half marathon (13.1 miles).  But…even if I had walked another half mile, I could have still finished under 2:00.  So I’m taking this as a PR, and hoping that I can repeat or do even better at the QC half marathon in a month.

I’m pretty proud of myself, and so thankful to Emily for talking with me for two hours.  Had I been running alone, I’m sure I would have slowed down.  I guess it’s just further proof that I am a social runner.

Taper = Love

Still no takers on my offer.  I’m kind of surprised.  Come on, people!

I love taper week.

Today was the kids’ first day of school, so I left work early to pick them up off the bus.  I was sitting here at home, thinking about what to make for dinner, when I had the thought:  “I should run tonight.”  Followed quickly by: “I wonder how far is on the schedule?”

I checked, and lo and behold, a blissful 2 mile run!  2 miles!  That’s almost like not running at all!  Then I have two days off before the half marathon on Saturday.  (Which will be much needed since I’ll be working long hours at work the next two days, the last thing I’ll need is to worry about squeezing in a run).

So I have full plans for how I will successfully taper the next few days.  They look something like this:

Tapering at it’s best

And I am not planning on feeling guilty at all.

One simple request

This will be a short one, because I’m on my phone typing and because it’s 10 pm. Yes, folks, she’s up late tonight!

I haven’t hit you up for fundraising dollars in a while. The truth is, I haven’t needed to. People have come through and have donated to the LiveUncommon cause in my name. And for that I’m deeply grateful. I have personally thanked each of you who has donated, you mean that much to me.

So for those of you who haven’t yet donated, or who might be looking for a way to give yet a little more to our community, I have a simple request.

Go to this site and look at the list of amazing people who have signed up to be on the LiveUncommon Race Team. Pick one who hasn’t yet met his or her goal, and donate to them. It can be as little as $5, I promise you they will appreciate it.

Then come back here and let me know if you donate (you can just post a comment here). I’ll match your donation to that person. Plus, I will send you something special in return. It won’t be much (I still have to figure out what it will be), but it’s the least I can do.

Go now. You won’t regret it.

3 half marathons, a 5k, and an ultra

Although I have totally forgotten to mention it on the blog, I actually am training for several upcoming races.

August 18: OUCH Half Marathon ( with the LiveUncommon Race Team.

September 23: Quad Cities Half Marathon ( with LiveUncommon.

October 27: Lagomarcino’s Cocoa Beano 5k. ( Running, followed by chocolate? No brainer. Hands down my favorite race the last two years.

November 3: Tyranena Beer Run 1/2 Marathon ( This may be the race I’m most excited for. It’s held at a brewery in Wisconsin, and the race is followed by a pasta and beer party.

But today I made a decision to do something which I have been wanting to do for a really long time. I am going to pace/crew my running mom friend Tara at the Heartland 100 ( on October 13. I am so excited. Tara is an amazing ultrarunner, and I am excited to get a chance to experience an ultra, help her meet her goals, and just have fun. It will be so awesome to have this experience, I am beyond excited. Tara blogs at – although I think she has taken some time away from the blog this summer. I’m looking forward to learning more about the “crazies” that run ultras, and getting an opportunity to share my experience here on this blog. It’s going to be fun.

I am a social runner

So, the home computer is still not fixed.  But, problem (somewhat) solved, I finally gave up and am using my work laptop to update this blog, before anyone who has been reading it gives up in a fit of frustration.

Ha.  Frustration.  Funny I’d choose to use that word.  It’s typified most of my runs lately.  My runs have felt less like the relaxing “me time” that I remember, and more like, well, torture.

Yeah, I said it.  Torture.  I might be going through some sort of running slump.  I’m sure my dailymile pals are sick and tired of seeing me post about another “blah” run.  Yes, “blah” is an option in dailymile.  I’ve used it a lot lately.


I even bought new shoes – not entirely because my runs have felt blah, but partially.  And hey, I’ve made it 100% clear that I am a shoe lover.  So I thought new running shoes might be just what I needed.  So I took advantage of a great deal online and ordered the Brooks PureFlow shoes.  For the record, they are pretty great.  But they didn’t help my running much.

Aren’t they pretty? And purple?

In what seems to typify my running lately, I headed out for my long run on Friday morning (last week, yes I am behind).  I was planning to run 11 miles.  1.5 miles into the run, I was faced with this:

Are you kidding me?

So I did what any reasonable runner would do.  I crouched down and crawled under the tree.   But, in a way, it felt like life was trying to throw obstacles into my path:  “Ha!  See if she can make it through this!”   

This was the third or fourth week in a row that I had headed out for my long run and felt blah.  Always the engineer, always analyzing for the root cause of the problem, I started trying to remember the last time I had felt good on a run.  Struggling to think of a good run, it felt like it had been forever.

Then it hit me. 

During marathon training, I did many of my long runs with the LiveUncommon group.  I always had someone nearby to talk with, to complain to, and to distract me from the run.  Those runs were fantastic, and I looked forward to them, excited to head out for a run of 15+ miles.  But those runs that I had to do on my own?  The 19 and 20 mile runs?  I did those alone.  And they stunk.  Sure, I got through them, and I felt better when I was done, but there was definitely something different.  And that something different was company.

I’ve always enjoyed the solitary run.  I like going out and heading for a run, enjoying the time away from the kids, away from work, away from everything.  But somehow, lately, I haven’t been enjoying them quite as much.  And I miss my friends.  I miss having a group to push me to run faster or farther than I would alone.

So I guess I have to face facts and admit it.  I like running with people. Now I just need to make it happen.

%d bloggers like this: