Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Swann Update: Where are they now?

You'll probably recall last summer when Randy and Sarah Swann made their big accomplishment of finishing their first half marathon in Seattle while raising funds for Susan's Foundation. This year they've stepped up in a big way again and have sponsored the last .2 miles of my Seattle marathon experience this year. I thought you'd enjoy an update on the adventures this family has been up to in the last year: Since our race last year, we have had some ups and downs. Sarah had some really weird heart problems and got a pacemaker, but she is fine now. Randy is about to finish his first year as a Special Ed teacher and he is loving it. We are again expecting. Baby #2 is due in the middle of August. Sarah says she she feels like she swallowed a watermelon whole. We have been taking a break from big running due to the pregnancy and the complications we had with previous pregnancies, but we are really missing running. We plan on restarting our running after the baby is born. Sarah can't wait to start training on the many, many hills in our new town. We did get to run the one mile fun run at Susan's Run this year and we are looking forward to next year's race. Jolee also ran the one mile run (her first race). She ended up running about 1/2 of it, pretty good for a 20 month old! We are doing fantastic and we are thrilled to support Anna as she tackles Seattle. We loved it and we are sure she will also. It is a beautiful run!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

One Weekend Away

My motto for this fundraiser has been the same for awhile, "It's Not About the Running". Yet, especially lately I find myself reflecting on Facebook posts and blog updates, where the topic is almost always running related. In some respects this makes sense, it is a Marathon 50 fundraiser after all. But I also don't want to lose sight of the real purpose for this fundraiser- to benefit the work being done by the Susan Mortensen Turley Foundation to benefit young adults with cancer.

The foundation was established in memory of my cousin, Susan. And while it is an extremely personal cause for myself and family, I know that not everyone had the honor of meeting Susan the 25 years she spent here with us. (If you haven't taken time to read through Susan's blog, I promise you it will be time well spent.) Consequently I'd like to find more ways to make this cause relatable to more people. Given that more than 70,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. alone- I know this is a cause that touches many more people than just my family and friends blessed to know Susan. If any of you have ideas on specific ways I can make this happen, I would love to hear them.
One way Susan's Foundation is meeting its' mission is through a program called One Weekend Away . This program provides a no-cost opportunity for young adults with cancer and their family to escape the pressures that living with cancer can bring, and spend a restful and relaxing weekend together in a peaceful and beautiful location.

For some this weekend will be an opportunity to rest and re-charge to fight a successful battle against their disease. However, given that 10,000 of those 70,000 young adults will end up losing their battle with cancer, for many families this weekend away opportunity may one of their last family memories together. At a time when both finances and time are strained due to medical costs of treatment, I can't imagine a better gift to give a family during this difficult time.

There are so many great organizations working hard to fight cancer- particularly through research on ways to better treat or prevent the disease. This is all extremely important work, but of course work that won't be completed tomorrow. Susan's Foundation has chosen to recognize this and take a different route to support young adults with cancer while this important medical research continues. In the words of Susan's Foundation,
"We can't cure their disease, but we can provide relief and support during their battle".

The donations to sponsor marathon miles through this fundraiser go directly to support Susan's Foundation and this program. Thank you all for your past and continuing support!!

White Rock Centennial Half Marathon

Running fast is FUN!!!

Big half marathon race yesterday was a blast!! Held in celebration of the 100th anniversary of White Rock Lake- the centerpoint of the majority of DRC training runs over the past few years. The temps were a little warmer than I would have liked given my body's apparent aversion to heat, so I wasn't sure how the actual running would go. Having missed out on the Rock n Roll Half in March, this was the first time I'd attempted racing in months.

Because both the running mileage and strength training had been going well this season, there was a little part of me that wondered if trying for a PR (personal record) would be possible, but I knew it would be a real long shot so I didn't talk it up. Below is a photo my friend, Bill Borowski caught pre-race with great friends and repeat mile sponsors, Max and Denise Davis. Regardless of how the running went that morning, I was thrilled to get to see so many running friends I had missed so much this year.

I kept the same 'run 3 minutes-walk 1 minute' strategy I'd been training with, and tried to keep the speed for both segments as fast as I could. This worked great the first 3 miles, but I wasn't sure it would last. It was hot, hard to breathe, and by mile 6 or so I wondered if I'd have it in me to keep it up. Thinking about my fundraising purpose, goals, and all the people I have supporting me helped me pull through several tough times I wanted to give in to a slower pace.

I also had the encouragement of many great friends, some of who were running the race and others who came out to cheer us on. I know there's no way I could mention everyone here if I tried-- but every encouraging word and smile I came across was appreciated on a level I'm not sure they'll ever really know. This is always the amazing thing about races for me- the opportunity for being reminded how many great people there are in the world, and how lucky I am to have so many of them in my life.

At mile 11 the heat was hitting me hard, as was the wind and the feeling of nausea building in my stomach. But there was too much encouragement from friends at the end for me to give in. Just when I thought I didn't have the PR in me, there would be a shout out from another friend to keep me going.

In the end I crossed the finish line with a time nearly 9 minutes faster than I'd ever run a half-marathon. After recovering from the immediate post-race feeling of stiff muscles and an unhappy stomach- I realized that I felt great. Running fast was fun! I just may try to do it more often. :) And the finish line party was the perfect place to relax and celebrate with Roxanne and family, and even more friends.

So how about it, dedicated fundraising followers? Is a 9 minute PR worthy of a donation to sponsor a Seattle marathon mile? I hope so. :-)

22 mile training run coming up in 2 weeks, and still 15 more miles needing sponsors for Seattle! After yesterday I'm confident both can be accomplished!! :-)