Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Because Cancer Doesn't Care About Setbacks

Did you know?

  • One in every 330 Americans develops cancer before the age of twenty.
  • On the average, 36 children and adolescents are diagnosed with cancer everyday in the United States.
  • On the average, one in every four elementary schools has a child with cancer. The average high school has two students who are current or former cancer patients.
  • Cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children under the age of 15 in the United States.
  • Childhood cancers affect more potential patient-years of life than any other cancer except breast and lung cancer.
  • The causes of most childhood cancers are unknown. At present, childhood cancer cannot be prevented.
  • Childhood cancer occurs regularly, randomly and spares no ethnic group, socioeconomic class, or geographic region. In the United States, the incidence of cancer among adolescents and young adults is increasing at a greater rate than any other age group, except those over 65 years.
  • Despite these facts, childhood cancer research is vastly and consistently underfunded.
Source: ALSF

In celebration of Childhood Cancer Awareness month, Alex's Lemondade Stand's founding corporate sponsor, Volvo, has announced that they will match all donations made to Team Lemon fundraising pages. Support me and double your impact in the fight against childhood cancer. This means a $25 donation becomes $50, which funds one hour of childhood cancer research.

If you were considering donating some spare change in Justin's memory, now is the time. Please consider donating to my Team Lemon page here.

Thank you, as always, for your love and support.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Back in service!

My hip and knee were tight, but nothing I couldn't handle. We'll see how tomorrow goes, but so far I'm feeling good!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hippy dippy

After two doctor appointments, x-rays, and an MRI, I have been diagnosed with greater trochanteric pain syndrome and a hip flexor strain. Despite the long and scary names, I am still cleared to train for the marathon, and go back for a follow up appointment the week after the race. I am to go to physical therapy 2-3 times a week for 6-8 weeks for “dynamic core stabilization, hip flexor and hip external rotator stretching and strengthening.”

The doctor said it will not necessarily be pain free to run, but with physical therapy and modifying my running plan from 4 times a week to 3 times a week, things shouldn’t get worse. If the pain becomes unbearable, I can make an appointment for a cortisone shot. That is definitely a last resort though.

This is some great news, since my doctor was very concerned it was a stress fracture. Thank you to everyone that listened to me freak out over having a broken hip before 30. The MRI proved that my bones are nice and strong, even if my tendons were inflamed and angry with me.

From here, I modified my running plan, and sent it over to my Team Lemon coach to get her feedback. During my two week vacation, the fall weather has arrived. I’m so glad not to miss my favorite running season. Best part – not having to wake up at 6 AM to get a run in without melting.

Less than five weeks to go!

Thursday, September 13, 2012


Here we are, 5 ½ weeks out from the marathon, and I’ve been sidelined.
Sometime last week I noticed I had a little hip pain that would work its way out if I warmed up and/or stretched. I took a couple days off before the 16 miler, and took the long run nice and slow. We started with a 5 minute warm up, kept the pace when running around a 12 minute mile, and made sure to walk every 5 minutes with a 1 minute walk break. My only concern was finishing in under a 14 minute mile, which is the pacing requirement. We did the 16 miles at an average 13:35/mi pace. Goal accomplished!
Monday was a scheduled rest day. I noticed my hip was sorer than before, but you’d think everything would be sore after 16 miles. Then Tuesday Dan and I went out for an easy 4 miler and I noticed the pain was way worse. Running made the pain shoot down from my hip, down my inner thigh, and to my right knee. We kept it to a simple walk, and stretched that night. Yesterday I woke up and the pain was worse, and more focused on my knee. I called the Rothman Institute and set up an appointment with a Sports Medicine specialist, and went on a walk later that night.
Today I woke up and the pain is almost exclusively in my knee. I asked my resident exercise expert about the pain moving and she said:
Haley:  your body compensates for itself, so your knee and quad muscles are probably taking more of the stress and taking it off the hip
Fabulous. So now what?
I started researching some injury-adjusted marathon plans. Sunday was 7 weeks from the marathon, so here’s the internet recommended plan:
Injured 5 to 8 Weeks Before Marathon
 Recovery Time
 Up to 1 Week
 Pick up with current training week @75% of recommended volume for one week. Then resume normal training.
 1 - 2 Weeks
 Pick up with current training week @ 50% of recommended volume for one week and 75% of recommended volume for a second week. Then resume normal training.
 2 - 3 Weeks
 Pick up with current training week @ 50% of recommended volume for one week and 75% of recommended volume for a second week. then resume normal training. The limited time to complete training will make meeting your goal difficult. I would strongly recommend reducing your goal or going to an alternate marathon.
 4 Weeks or more
 Difficult to recover from and still run your goal marathon. Consider an alternate marathon.

I am hoping that by the time my appointment rolls around on September 20, I will be recovered and will only need to ask for prevention advice and hope the doctor agrees with the 1-2 weeks plan. Normally I wouldn’t go to the doctor, just rest, but being so close to the marathon I don’t want to do anything stupid. In the meantime, I bought The Stick to help stretch out my muscles, and will be starting these circuits at the gym to try to prevent detraining.

What happens if I get bad news from the doctor?
I have always said I will not let the marathon cause permanent injury. I will not train and run hurt. I will happily go to DC and cheer on Dan and Patty on the sidelines. Since my appointment is after the deferral date, I will probably lose my bib money. Upsetting, but I’ve lost more money at the casinos. From there, depending on how I heal up, I have a few options:
·         The Harrisburg Marathon or Richmond Marathon would be my best bets. They’re only 2 weeks after the Marine Corps Marathon, so I wouldn’t be that far off track.
·         The Rehoboth Beach Marathon is December 8. This would be a good option if I really feel like I’ve lost my training, especially since I’ll be working during the Philly full and the following weekend is Thanksgiving.
·         I could decide screw it and ask Team Lemon if I could use the money I’ve raised so far to count toward the Florida Keys Ragnar Relays. It's not a marathon, but it's a unique event that requires a lot of training!
The planner in me feels more comfortable knowing there are other options; that all my training wasn’t a waste of time. I’m going to be positive though and assume I will still be good to go for October 28. Keep your fingers crossed for me!
Have you ever been sidelined by an injury? How did you get past it? Got any old wives’ tales or pieces of advice to share?

Monday, September 10, 2012

No one knows what to say about a beautiful boy who died.

Yesterday, Dan and I ran 16 miles. We actually had a good time. We ran in Medford Lakes, hid Powerades in my dad’s mailbox, and followed every Courtesy Route sign we say until the Garmin said we could stop. It was the first time in a while I enjoyed running, that Dan enjoyed running with me, and that running the marathon actually seemed possible.

I was set to have a happy blog post today, and then while reading my celebrity gossip blog I came across this article:  Ronan's Mother Responds To Taylor Swift Song
Curious, I clicked the story... and then I started skimming. I tried not to read too much about Roman’s story. I already knew it. We all do. Life is wonderful until a brain tumor suddenly invades a child’s brain, and then the world might as well stop spinning. I didn’t need to know the particulars of how cruel and unfair cancer was to this little boy. I didn’t want the guilt of knowing we had Justin for 11 years; the world only had Roman for 4. How have I been lucky enough to be given 27, and hopefully even more?
I couldn’t stop thinking about Roman and his bright blue eyes, eyes as bright as Justin’s. I read the song lyrics and cried. The song was written about Roman, but for all parents that have had to bury their babies. For all of us that have been touched by little angels, that have prayed for miracles, that are left behind.
President Obama declared September National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month on August 31. Thanks to Taylor Swift, maybe now more money will be raised for pediatric cancers. Regardless, I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other, hoping it inspires others to donate in memory of Justin, Roman, Alex, and all the other children who’ve lost their lives to cancer.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Race Recap: Disneyland Half Marathon

So here’s my disclaimer: I went into the whole Disneyland experience thinking it wouldn’t be as magnificent as Disney World. I don’t know why. If anything Disneyland should be better than Disney World. After all, it is the original; the framework to making Magic Kingdom “The Most Magical Place on Earth.” As a Disney lover, I should be paying homage to the resort Walt actually saw to completion. Instead, I was afraid I’d spend the entire trip saying, “Well in Disney World…”

I was right. I couldn’t help it. Disneyland is the perfect snapshot of Disney World; it has all its greatest hits. I had hoped for more Disneyland originals in terms of the rides and shows, but they were far and few between. It did make it easy to determine what rides to check out, and allowed up to maximize our day between the two parks. It’s a snippet of the Disney World experience though, and it left me wanting more.

 Aw, it's so tiny and cute!

Since I was comparing Disney World to Disneyland, I couldn’t help but contrast the Disney Princess Half to Disneyland Half. The Disney Princess Half was everything I had hoped, which is good considering the price tag. The Disneyland Half rarely matched up. This isn’t to say it was a bad race – on the whole, it was a fun race, and if it was in the Philadelphia area, I’d sign up again. I wouldn’t, however, go all the way across the country to do it again.

I loved how close and convenient it was to get to the starting line from all of the area hotels. We had to walk through Downtown Disney, and a lot of the food places were open at 4 AM, ready to feed and caffeinate us. I wish Disneyland had told us the businesses would be open, but that’s okay. They could have and we just missed it. The finish line was also next to the start line, which made it an easy trip “home” in time to shower and check out. An easy start/finish is crucial to the experience, especially when you need to be in your corral by 5 AM.

The race itself was pretty boring. The first couple miles were through the two parks, and then it was all industrial roads until we hit the Anaheim Angels stadium. After that it was more boring roads until the end. Running through the stadium was probably my favorite part, even if it was really crowded. The course was also pretty narrow, and with 17,000 it really stressed me out. There were a lot of spectators out cheering for us, which was awesome, but I was expecting more of the Disney flair. The characters that were out were limited, and on the whole the race was less dramatic than the Princess. Probably because the race was on public roads and not Disney World on ramps, but still – don’t tell me Disney doesn’t have enough money to put a pirate ship in the middle of the road!

That being said, I wouldn’t have been able to see any of it anyway. We were running into the sun the majority of the time. Looking at my official race photos, you’d think I ran the entire race with my eyes closed:

I wanted to buy the photos, but I’m not sure I can justify $99 on photos of me sleep-running.

The Coast-to-Coast medal was absolutely worth pursuing, because I doubt I would have made it to Disneyland otherwise. Dan and I had a blast in the parks, and I PRed at the race by over 10 minutes!