The Countdown Begins….

The countdown has officially begun, Marathon Monday is just around the corner. It’s apparent all of the city, in the time between my walk home on Friday and Saturday evening they started to put infrastructure for the banner above the finish line and some of the bleachers…..the family meet up areas are posted…….Just as the city continues prepping for the marathon, we are continuing to get ready to run are a few common questions that we’ve been getting regarding the final days before the run.


5) Are we still training? This week is the end of a taper. During training we built up the miles to our longest pre-marathon run of 20 miles on 3/29, since then each week we’ve seen less mileage.  This week there are short runs and bike training sessions planned for Monday-Friday. Saturday and Sunday we rest!

4) What will we eat? This has been a common question for most of our training. How do we fuel ourselves for the number of calories we will burn? How to we eat to feel good for our long runs?  The easy and short answer is that the week before the marathon we’ll be avoiding fatty food and booze, opting for a little bit more carbs and lots of fluids. Dana-Farber holds their own pasta party Sunday night where we’ll do a small, but carb-heavy meal and head to bed early. Monday morning I’ll probably have some oatmeal with protein powder before we leave the house and then a protein bar with some carbs about 90 minutes before the race. We’ll be  wearing belt packs to store energy gels for along the marathon route and the race provides Gatorade and water at every mile.

3) What will we wear? Part of this is weather dependent—but I have to say that I have made a couple of awful mistakes with our previous marathons—most notably when we ran the Nappa Valley Marathon. For that race, I accidentally packed my super old worn out running shoes, rather than the ones I trained in, and brought only a tank top and a long sleeved shirt instead of the t-shirt I planned to run in. I did some early morning calculations—would it heat up enough for me to go light and sleeveless or would it stay cold enough that the long sleeve shirt would be ok? (I chose long sleeved and ended up sweating my bum off.)

For this year, the one thing I do know is that we’ll both be sporting is our Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge singlets.


The more fun component of this is a fairly new Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge tradition. We start running at 11:15 (the elite runners start at about 9am)….BUT we get on the bus to head out to Hopkinton at 5am. The weather changes dramatically in those 6 hours. Here’s the thing—the BAA restrictions make it so that we can’t bring anything extra with us on the bus. For every item we bring, we have to decide whether to run with it or toss it. So what do you wear at 5am to keep yourself from freezing in the wee hours, but something you don’t like enough to keep? Enter the Ugly Sweatpants Contest. The instructions are: dig deep into your closet, stop by the thrift store, or peruse the clearance aisle at your favorite low priced store. Find the ugliest set of items you can throw together and wear them in the morning. Don’t worry, almost 500 of your team mates will also be similarly garbed. Then as you head to the starting line, toss aforementioned articles and they’ll be donated to a local charitable organization.

Stay tuned for more pics.

2) What are you worried about most? Well, besides some sort of problem that pops up ending in public humiliation, I would have to say the weather is the biggest factor. The 10 day forecast is out, so now we can start obsessing. Will it be a cool, crisp, partly-cloudy 50 degree perfect running weather day? Or, will mother nature throw something else away (as if the horrific winter weather wasn’t enough.) There are endless possibilities for the way in which the weather can cause problems. Torrential down pour. High winds that make you feel that you’re not going anywhere (we had that two weeks ago on our long run.) April snow?—unlikely, but not unheard of, given the winter we’ve had. And then there’s the real worry: will it be hot? We’ll be starting at 11:15 am, which means we’ll finish in the afternoon, the hottest point in the day. And frankly, “too hot”, is barely warm for non-runners. An article from Runnersworld cites a French study that says that 43.2F is perfect, and a New York Times article reported 41-50 degrees.

This is what says right now for Marathon Monday: High 58 degrees, mostly sunny

And then there’s the Weather Channel:


1) How’s the fundraising going? There are multiple ways to look at this:

This past week the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge staff announced that as a team we have reached over $3.2 million dollars. This leaves roughly, $2,500 per person to reach the overall team goal of $5.2 million dollars for cancer research. So that leaves Mark and I with 5K left. Honestly, that’s a great running number to shoot for, but still a LOT of money.

I just checked our fundraising page and as of right this minute we have reached $10,623.00. We’re really proud of this and incredibly grateful for everyone who has come to our events, played College Basketball Brackets for Cancer Research, and just donated….however we are still a *wee* bit short of our $20K goal.


The bright side of this is that there’s still time! At the very least we’d like to help get the DFMC team to their finish line—so donate today if you haven’t already!

If you are still looking for another way to help then PLEASE click “share” on our Facebook posts. Sharing our posts is incredibly helpful and spreads the word on this great opportunity to give to cancer research. Many people want to help in funding cancer research but are unsure of what a legitimate, effective way to do it would be. Sharing our posts goes a long way toward making people aware of this opportunity to donate money to cancer research where 100% of their donation will be used to fund research.

As a final note: if you’ll be watching runners along the course on Marathon Monday and want to know when to be ready to shout our names, wave and cheer us on or if you just want to follow us in spirit— there are some good options. The BAA puts out an app and you can watch on their website and you can also sign up for text messages with updates when we pass certain intervals on the race.

My favorite is the “athlete alerts” text messaging system. Text updates work on any cell phone service (Verizon, T-Mobile, etc)–you do not need to have an AT&T phone…they just coordinate the service.

The fine print is “You will receive up to 8 texts per bib numbers and data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Text HELP for help.”…/participant-inf…/att-athlete-alert.aspx

Beginning on March 17, there will be three different ways to sign up for AT&T Athlete Alerts.

Rachel’s bib number: 26112

Mark’s bib number: 26339

TEXT – Simply text the athlete’s Bib Number to 234567 using your US mobile phone. You will then receive an sms text response with instructions on how to submit a runner’s bib number. You will receive up to 6 texts per bib number. Message & data rates may apply. Text STOP to cancel. Text HELP for help. Available on participating carriers only. Privacy Policy at:

EMAIL – Continue to the registration page for the AT&T Athlete Alerts on the race website. Sign-up using your mobile phone number for SMS text message updates, or by entering an email address for email updates. Click here to sign up now.

ONSITE – If you prefer to register in person or have any questions, representatives will be available in the Bib Number Pick-Up area at the John Hancock Sports & Fitness Expo on Friday, April 17, from 12:00pm-7:00pm, Saturday, April 18 from 9:00am-6:00pm, and Sunday, April 19, from 9:00am-6:00pm.

If you register a mobile phone online, you will receive a message asking you to confirm your intention to receive updates from the 2015 Boston Marathon AT&T Athlete Alerts. Once you’ve completed registration for AT&T Athlete Alerts, you will receive text updates courtesy of AT&T and the Boston Marathon when your runner has crossed the following points on the course: 10K (6.2 miles), Half-Marathon (13.1 miles); 30K (18.6 miles) ; 35K (21.7miles); 40K (24.8miles); Finish (26.2 miles)

Registration through the B.A.A. website will close on Sunday, April 19, at 6:00pm. However, AT&T is pleased to announce that registration via mobile phone text messaging (for US mobile phones only) will remain open during the marathon.

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Mark’s Email from Earlier This Week

So, I may have taken over the blog for the most part, but Mark has been a better e-mailer. As he writes for a living, I figured I’d put his email here as well. 🙂

THREE WEEKS from today is the Boston Marathon! Five months have gone by fast and I can’t believe it’s already time for Rachel and I to decrease our training miles in prep for the big day.

I have to admit when I started on the Dana Farber team a big part of my focus was on the appeal of running the Boston Marathon. It seemed like an amazing opportunity and the most exciting next step in running long distance races. However, over the last five months I’ve had the privilege of training with other Dana Farber teammates, many who are also Dana Farber patients and cancer survivors, and I have realized that I have the opportunity to do something much more important than finish another race.

Through the Dana Farber volunteers and teammates, I have met people and families who have endured challenges greater than I can do justice to in this email. Years after completion of their cancer treatment, or for some, after the passing of a loved one, these individuals continue to come back to the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge team each year and volunteer or run in memory of a loved one, in part because of the amazing work that Dana Farber does in supporting cancer research.

The programs supported by the DFMC team are those in very early stages that are not yet able to attract government or private sources of funding. The funds donated to the DFMC team are what keep many amazing, early-stage research programs from running out of money and shutting down.

As you have no doubt heard me say before, EVERY SINGLE DOLLAR that you donate to the DFMC team goes to supporting research. No money is taken off the top to pay overhead costs. Giving to DFMC is one of the best ways of knowing that the money you donate to charity in a given year actually goes to the cause you want to support, and given that each of us has been impacted by cancer in some way, through personal experience, loved ones or friends, it is easy to see why supporting Dana Farber’s work is so important.
Thank you to those who have already donated to our DFMC page or have come out to support us at our events over the last five months. Any donation that you can offer, in any amount, is greatly appreciated.

Our page can be found at:

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We are really serous about this run

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post that has said much of anything. I now have a much greater appreciation of all of those blogs that I find when I’m googling things like “protein pumpkin pancakes,” “low sugar granola” and “crock pot butternut squash and bean soup”….There are a multitude of amateur and professional writers populating the internet everyday, with an end result allowing me to find a recipes for the ingredients in my fridge, an opinion on how to treat my hip pain or what fundraising events raise the most money at any moment. I am not quite as adept at maintaining the flow of information. I have, however, been mentally writing this post for the last several months, because I’ve had this thought continue to pop into my head over and over: We are really serious about this run.

It first crossed my mind on Christmas Eve. For those of you have been watching, this was long before the incredible onslaught of snow that New England has endured. In fact, the beginning of the winter was so warm and snow free, I had been thinking that we were getting an excellent year to train for Boston. As I walked home from work in the cool, but tolerable and pleasant weather, picking up a few things from the small shops that line Charles Street, it started to rain. I still owed my training plan a 4 mile run, but given that it was a light misty rain, I thought, “maybe I’ll give it an hour, and see what happens, this is New England after all, it’s bound to change.” A hour later, instead of blowing over as I’d hoped, the light and tiny droplets and turned into a full, heavy pour. Prior to being accepted to the DFMC for this year’s marathon in Boston, I might have taken that as a sign that I should just stay home, warm and comfy, with a glass of wine…..but I didn’t stay home. I threw on my running gear, tied my shoes and ran. And I ran fast, blowing down Commonwealth Avenue feeling my shirt gain weight as the wicking fabric held on the cool rain, stomping through puddles and continuing on with water sloshing in my shoes. It didn’t matter that I was getting soaked, that it was holiday, that I worked a full day….I was going to get every bit of training in.

This has been, no joke, our most thorough attempt at marathon training. When we were accepted to the DFMC team in September, I gave some hard thought to what might make us successful in our two pronged goal: 26.2 miles and $20,000 for cancer. I had put on 15 pounds since our first marathon and that needed to go– so we gave up alcohol and eating out for 8 weeks and I meticulously watched everything that went into my mouth. Every time I walked past the counter of goodies at work I resisted, I stopped buying snacks and got used to having a hardy bag of carrots mid-day. We also needed to start getting in shape, , so I downloaded a  12 week long 10k training program to complete before our official 18 week Boston training program began and it became a no excuses plan. These runs were a commitment. Since that time, we have run in “feels like minus 11” weather with the wind blowing us backward. We have run on the treadmill for over 2 hours because the snow was so dense you couldn’t walk outside. We’ve run over and over the ice-covered Newton Hills trying to stick to the thin sliver of exposed pavement left on the carriage roads that pass up and over Heartbreak Hill and down to the Newton Firehouse. On many weekends, this has been the only place that was clear and “safe” for us to run (with “safe” in quotations because there are a few segments that route where the carriage roads were complete covered with uneven snow and it was a choice between risking a sprained ankle on the bumpy slippery ice or running on the road with cars whizzing by.) We learned that our cell phone batteries do not last over 11 miles, in sub 30 weather, and that it is still possible to run with three pairs of pants, but it feels a bit heavy and miserable. This is not to say that our training has been perfect, it has had a couple of hiccups: we both got the flu– there was no running when Mark’s had a fever of 101.9F—and there were a couple of blizzards that really did make it impossible to get out and do the full long run (in fact, we signed up for TWO 20 mile races and BOTH were canceled), and my old friend, Mr. RightHipPain has made a few appearances, but for the most part we have stayed the course.

Mark and I have put a similar effort into the more important goal—fundraising. We have put on four events. In November, the Children’s Piazza in Beverly opened their doors and provided coffee, tea, free passes and the use of their waffle iron (not to mention getting us a waffle batter donation) for “Waffles and Wonderment.” I spent enough time planning our January event, Sips and Sweets, that I felt that I was planning a second wedding reception, right down to using my sewing machine to perforate drink tickets, spray painting wine bottles sparkling black as centerpieces and making my own labels and signage—but we had an amazing night where local businesses’ donations of delicious sweets were paired with generous pours from Sip Wine Bar and Kitchen. We painted Boston skyline for charity with the Paint Night for Innovative Cancer Research in February and then headed back to man the waffle iron at the Piazza for Brunch and Play in March. In each of these events, generous vendor donations have meant that participants have gotten MORE than the value of their admission price and we’ve been able to mail in money for cancer research. The profits from these events combined with our friends, family, and coworkers’ magnanimous contributions, now total over $8,000 and we are a little over 40% of the way to our goal. As a team, the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge is about half way to the goal of 5.2 million dollars. In Boston terms, that means that we’re in Wellesley and haven’t even started the climb of Heartbreak Hill or reached the city streets.

Along the way, we have there are many people who have made this experience more powerful. My cousin finished chemotherapy at the beginning of this year and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that as he regains his strength that the rogue cancer cells will not reappear. At our group runs we’ve met a woman who beat cancer twice, a father who has run for his daughter for the last several years and the inspiring volunteer who lost her son at 8 years old son to cancer after three years of treatment including chemotherapy and arm amputation. She has met us for every frosty, miserable run with smiles, hugs and oatmeal cookies, and has shared her family’s story in a way that makes me want to do even better. Outside of the Dana-Farber events, every time I tell someone I’m running for cancer research I learn about their mom, sister, uncle, or brother, friend or colleague who has fought or is fighting cancer. It brings the American Cancer Society’s statistic home: one in three women and one and two men will have cancer in their lifetime. The research that the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Cancer Research supports is crucial to changing these numbers and changing peoples’ lives. And that is why we are so serious about this particular race. There are so many people battling this problem, from the patients fighting with every bit of energy they can muster to the scientists spending long hours at the bench creating new medications, strategies for treatment, detection methods, and preventative measure. The very least that I can do is to continue to put one foot in front of another and call others to the front.

So with that, please hear my battle cry and donate. One hundred percent of all money raised though the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge goes to cancer research. One hundred percent goes towards discovering ways to understand, prevent, treat and cure cancer. Do this for yourself, your loved ones, or someone you know. Know that in asking you, I’m not just sitting around, I’m working heard so that your every dollar means something in minutes per mile and steps on a long well trodden course.


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Brunch and Play for The Dana Farber Marathon Challenge

The wonderful and amazing folks over at the Children’s Piazza in Beverly have agreed to host us again to help raise money for cancer research. Come and bring the whole family out for a great time and delicious food!

On Sunday March 29th between 9:30am-12:30pm, come, drop by The Children’s Piazza and enjoy Sunday brunch, quality time with your kids and the tax deductible joy of contributing to a GREAT cause:  Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

For just $10 per adult and $5 per child
– All you can eat hot belgian waffles & yummy toppings bar!
– All you can drink Dean’s Beans Organic Fair Trade hot coffee and cold brewed iced coffee
-Two Leaves Organic hot tea & Tazo iced tea
-Grown up music in the background
-A ton of active, imaginative and creative play spaces including non-toxic wooden structures made right here in New England, a fully stocked arts and crafts room and a protected space for crawlers and early walkers to cruise around in.

To attend, donate through our website and bring a printout of your confirmation to the event or bring cash or check to the event.

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Seven Things I’ve Learned from Planning Our Charity Event

Sips Logo 2

As many of you know, Mark and I have our biggest charity event coming up. It’s not that ALL of our events aren’t a big deal and that you shouldn’t come to them all, but this one is the one that I have been thinking about since before we APPLIED to the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge. I put the idea in my application.  If you’re looking for event info, where to go, how to get tickets, etc,  please click “Events” in the Title Bar above or click HERE.

For me, this has been reminiscent of wedding planning–working with the venue, conceptualizing decorations, working out menus, coordinating with food vendors, thinking about who is coming and when. Who has promised to come versus who has bought their ticket? This also comes with the extra work of having to get donations for most of of the things that will be at the actual event.

So now, the day before before the big event, here are some of the things that I’ve learned along with a few little previews.

  1. There’s a template for almost everything you want to print, if you just google it. Just few:
    1. Wine Bottle Label Template–this is the one I used,Wine-Bottle-Table-Number-Template, I’ve already forgotten where I got it, and for some reason can’t find it again. I had to play around with it a lot to make it more than simple table numbers and modified it a lot for the final product….but then I also used it for some table tents by moving the text to the bottle of the page and folding the printed card stock in half.
    2. Round Sticker Template-This is from PaperSource and works perfectly with their labels. You can find them HERE . I guess the secret to share is that we’ve used these before–they were the seals on our the envelopes for our wedding invitations.
    3. Table Tent Template- also from PaperSource (HERE) however instead of using their table tent templates, we just printed these on to the same cardstock used above, and then cut them with the tiny paper trimmer that we bought when we were doing invitations for our wedding.

The drink tickets, when you see them, were entirely of my own creation, as were many of the graphics that we used on the templates. Or at least they were modified from different items in many ways. As I was creating these things, spending hours obsessing after work, I often thought “Maybe I should have been a graphic designer.” Of course, the “modifying” graphics and not always creating completely new art work probably rules that out.

IMG_8727          IMG_8726         IMG_8721

    1. Pinterest is pretty cool.  I’ve been a hold out for a very long time. Sure, I’ve looked at what they’ve allowed me to see without an account and found a few neat hairstyles….but it has genuinely been helpful for event ideas, how-to’s etc. I know the rest of the world knew this already, but I am now willing to accept its utility as fact. For instance, there’s this little gem:
  1. “Easy” perforation for tickets? Using your sewing machine. Works better if the paper is a little thicker
  2. I’ve learned which of my friends are the booziest….ahem, most supportive.
    1. Provided empty wine bottles. Helped empty wine bottles.
    2. Bought tickets immediately. I mean, anyone who bought tickets is a friend, but thank you to those people who bought them early. It helped quell some of the “Will people really come to this event??!” anxiety!
  3. I probably wouldn’t really want to be a wedding planner if my nursing career didn’t work out. This has taken so so much time. For those of you who have planned weddings recently, you know what I’m talking about. However, much like wedding planning, I’m hoping that this day and event will be beautiful, things will go smoothly, and happy things will come out of it. Just in this case, the result is money for cancer research.
  4. People can me amazingly generous. I’m talking about the vendors—many of them have been incredible! Union Square Donuts was SO quick to say yes to donating donut holes and talked to me on the phone for quite a while about how much they love what they do. FancyPants Baking Co. encouraged me to EAT a whole bag of cookies and then told me about their plans to run a 1/2 marathon (there, Maura, now you have to do it!) Angela from Garment Valet has shown SUCH exuberance for the event, and again, was an ecstatic “Yes!” from the beginning. Oakleaf Cakes threw in the cupcake stand, delivery and set up. Many of the vendors also reposted our events!
  5. I married a great guy. I knew this one already, but a huge project like this is a reminder. Who is willing to drive 20 minutes away to the Home Depot to find specific color of spray paint I had envisioned, even though it might not actually exist? (This is instead of just grabbing what’s available from the place nearby after I hemmed and hawed over it for no less than 10 minutes.) Who has enough patience to loop around Michael’s Crafts no less than 3 full times, as I poke, prod, and examine each item, contemplating necessity and price? And then he’s willing to pay separately for a craft item, because I have a 50% off coupon, but it’s one coupon per customer. Who is willing to engage in a conversation about exactly what size cellophane bags should be purchased and is that better aesthetically and than a cupcake liner (this conversation has happened more than once…..and he actually has an opinion)? Who else just goes with it and helps when I set out a bunch of things to spray paint, drill, cut, glue, tape and print all the while trusting my “artistic vision”? Who helps me make lists so that we know exactly what to bring? Who offers to take tickets at the door so that I can socialize? Yup, he’s pretty great.

So those are just a few of the things that I’ve learned.

If you’ve made it to the end of this blog post, here’s a special preview of our wine pairing menu! We’ve also got five gluten free sets of sweets–only two are spoken for at this time!

Sips Pairings Labels

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How’s the Training Going?

So, one of the most common questions Mark and I get these days is “how is the training going?” Often times, there’s only enough time for me to give a quick “It’s going great!” or 1-2 sentences about what we’re up to. THANK YOU for asking! It’s nice to have the support!! For most people two sentences is probably more than enough information, but for those who are interested, here’s a more in-depth answer about what’s going on with our training for the Boston Marathon.

The base training for each of the marathons we’ve trained for thus far has been an 18 week training program that’s available online from “Hal Higdon” titled “Novice 1” (you can find it HERE, but I’ve also attached it below.) How’d we decide to use this one? A) it was free and B) it said novice. And frankly, even after three marathons, I feel like novice is still the appropriate descriptor, so why fix what’s not broken?

If you take April 20th, 2015 and go back 18 weeks, that brings you to December 15th.  Now, I can hear you saying, “So you’re not training yet???” That’s not completely true. While I would love to sit back at home, eating bon-bons, swirling a glass of wine, and thinking, “Don’t worry, I’ve got plenty of time, the 18 weeks hasn’t started yet!” this is not the case. You see, I would like to avoid embarrassment. This will be our most public marathon attempt (did you know that you can get my bib number and get time updates as I cross certain points on the course??!!) and even the novice marathon training plan requires a good base of cardio. You can see that you have a 6 mile run the first weekend of the program. So, in addition to the 18 week training program, I tacked on an 8 week, 10K (6.2mile) training program to our schedule, just to get me in the habit of sucking it up and going out to run on a regular basis. I’m on the 7th week of the 8 week training program, running on a regular basis and am finally at the point where running feels good most of the time. It’s hard to believe that this is just the pre-training period.

As for what we do for training: I mostly run around Boston in the afternoon/early evening, Mark generally runs in the mornings before work and we do long runs together on the weekend. I try to get to a spin class once a week, and do yoga at home or in a class at least once a week. This does not always happen. Life is crazy and I would love to be that regimented, but there the ideal training, and then there’s what we do in practice. Once the 18 week period starts, Dana-Farber offers group runs on the weekends, where 100 team members can show up to run and they have a volunteer staff to make sure that there’s water, gatorade and peanut M&M’s along the way. This is *amazing* (the last three we’ve done it on our own and have relied on water fountains, pit stops along the way and water bottle belts.

Beyond the usual weekday runs, lately we’ve done a couple of fun runs and races. On Thanksgiving, we did the 4 mile Gobble Gobble Gobble which starts/ends at Davis Square in Somerville among 2998 other runners (probably more –because there were some bandit runners, ahem, Megan Brady!!) and it was probably my fastest race ever. Then we were away for a wedding outside of Chicago and ran from our hotel to Millennium Park and back on a super cold Monday morning, prepared to jog all over the city-only to find that the guide for our running tour had totally forgotten us—so we just ran back to the hotel. Three+ miles in the cold was enough.  Next week we do the Jingle Bell run, which has been a long time favorite—I’ll be decked out in my elf hat, red golf pants, and ugly Christmas sweater, running beside varies Santas, sleighs, reindeer, etc.

So that’s what we’re up to!

Top two pics: Boston Run

Bottom 3 pics: Chicago’s Millenium Park, the “Bean” or “Cloud Gate”

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Hal Higdon Novice 1 Marathon Training Schedule:

Week Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 Rest 3 m run 3 m run 3 m run Rest 6 Cross
2 Rest 3 m run 3 m run 3 m run Rest 7 Cross
3 Rest 3 m run 4 m run 3 m run Rest 5 Cross
4 Rest 3 m run 4 m run 3 m run Rest 9 Cross
5 Rest 3 m run 5 m run 3 m run Rest 10 Cross
6 Rest 3 m run 5 m run 3 m run Rest 7 Cross
7 Rest 3 m run 6 m run 3 m run Rest 12 Cross
8 Rest 3 m run 6 m run 3 m run Rest Rest Half Marathon
9 Rest 3 m run 7 m run 4 m run Rest 10 Cross
10 Rest 3 m run 7 m run 4 m run Rest 15 Cross
11 Rest 4 m run 8 m run 4 m run Rest 16 Cross
12 Rest 4 m run 8 m run 5 m run Rest 12 Cross
13 Rest 4 m run 9 m run 5 m run Rest 18 Cross
14 Rest 5 m run 9 m run 5 m run Rest 14 Cross
15 Rest 5 m run 10 m run 5 m run Rest 20 Cross
16 Rest 5 m run 8 m run 4 m run Rest 12 Cross
17 Rest 4 m run 6 m run 3 m run Rest 8 Cross
18 Rest 3 m run 4 m run 2 m run Rest Rest Marathon
Posted in cancer, charity, dana-farber, Running | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

“I would like to run for DFMC because: ….” Why we’re running part II

It seems like I’ve left up the Waffles and Wonderment pic a little too long and it’s time to get writing and updating again.

However, I posed this to Facebook, but it deserves a second post:

Mark and I want to say a giant “THANK YOU” to everyone who helped make Waffles and Wonderment for The Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge happen!

Thank you to those who donated, came, ate and played! Thank you to Stephy’s Kitchen in Beverly MA for donating waffle batter, thank you to Mark Preiss for wielding the waffle iron with your characteristic perfectionism so that each waffle was golden deliciousness (except maybe that first one when we switched over to new batter…sorry about that!) Most of all thank you to Charae D’Ambra and The Children’s Piazza for sharing your space, brewing coffee, tea, handing out free passes and taking the time to advertise and give advice…… and for considering doing this again in the spring–we are so lucky to have you on our side!

 Next, I said that I was going to share parts of our application that gives insight into why we are running, and also specifically why Dana-Farber. My first blog post outlined some of the intellectual reasons-we love the distribution of funds (100% to cancer research), it’s widely applicable, a well run program. The next excerpt from my application outlines a couple of intellectual reasons, but also few of the more emotional reasons that we’re running

I would like to run for DFMC because:

…I worked in a lab studying HSV mediated apoptosis in cancer and non-cancer cells during my undergraduate studies and after I graduated. That work and just the basic knowledge of how some cells step outside of their normal cell cycle, highlights for me that the complexity of discovering and designing treatment let alone “cures” and how essential funding research is.

…as a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner, my practice and my patients benefit from cancer research.

…my grandmother died of pancreatic cancer before I had a chance to meet her, and I can see the ways in which this loss has shaped (and still affects) my mother and her siblings’ lives.

… I had an abnormal breast finding on exam, mammogram and ultrasound, which lead to biopsy, so I know the intense terror of waiting….and waiting…and waiting…before the results came back negative.

…the results weren’t negative for one of my coworkers and for our friend and neighbor. Both of these women received amazing care and treatment for their breast cancer at Dana Farber and are survivors today.

…a dear family member looks so worried. “P” has been the family caretaker for as long as I can remember. When someone is in trouble or needs anything, she is right there to help. When I was in college, she used to slip me $20 bills whenever I came home and tell me that she was proud of me. Several months ago, P’s son son, was diagnosed with stage III colon cancer. He had just closed on his first house, was excited about all of the plans he had to make the place his own home and two weeks later he had a diagnosis and was starting treatment. While his surgery went well, the cancer had gone through his colon wall and there were four positive lymph nodes. P describes the roller coaster of treatment- one day he has energy and eats everything in sight, but for the last few days, he’s only slept and takes two bites and is done. His white blood cell count is low this week, so she tells me that she encourages people to send cards—so that they don’t have the possibility to bring germs into the house, but so that they can still show their support. His next chemotherapy treatment may be delayed and they’re vigilantly watching to make sure he doesn’t get a fever. He’s too weak and to tired to do any of the home improvements that he looked forward to. P says, “I’ve never been so sad in my life.” I know that the funds that I raise will take a while to find their way from bench work to treatments to clinical trials that might make a difference, so it’s unlikely this run or this money will change my cousin’s course. However, it’s programs like this that have supported research to discover the treatment we have available today, and that may reveal more focused, effective, treatment with fewer symptoms, so families like mine and patients wont have to endure the pain, nausea, fatigue, and uncertainty of treatment.

…Boston is our hometown. We have run marathons around the world, but it’s time to bring all of the time, effort and hard work that goes into marathon training back to Boston in a meaningful way.



As an update–I went to a fundraiser for my cousin last week. Tons of people came, donated, ate spaghetti and entered raffles. It was an awesome show of support. When I told P about this post (she asked about what I had said in my application, because I had asked her permission to discuss all of this), she said, “I’m still proud of you, I talk about you all the time.” My cousin’s treatments have been spread out to every 3 weeks because of his platelet founds–same number of treatments, just for a longer time period.

If any of the above reasons resonate with you or you’re thinking about your own reasons to support these research efforts, please head on over to our fundraising website:

Also-please head over to our event page! Sips and Sweets for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge is coming together!!

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