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Monday, October 26, 2009

Why I Am Running 26.2 Miles...Again

I am running 26.2 miles in memory of my Aunt Nancy Wolfson, who lost her five-year long battle with ovarian and endometrial cancer in February 2007. Although my Auntie Nancy never married, she always considered me, my sister Lindsey, and my cousins Sara and Amanda as her own children. She was a role model, a second mom, a friend and a fighter. Of all the very important lessons that Auntie Nancy taught me, the most important one was how precious family is. With that, I learned that other things may change us in our lives, but we start and end with family. Auntie Nancy showed me how to love unconditionally and to each day remind the people in my life how much I love them and how much they mean to me.

I am also running in honor of my grandmother, Marion Wolfson, who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May 2009. Fortunately, her cancer was found early, and with a positive outlook on the future, I am very thankful. My Grammie lives life a day at a time with both courage and determination, which are the same traits she passed on to my Auntie Nancy. Her genuine character displays a constant love for life and for everyone around her. Grammie is a kind-hearted, compassionate and strong individual, and most importantly, a very special grandmother.

My Auntie Nancy fought her battle with cancer until the very end. I am running in memory of the extraordinary person that she was and the incredible legacy she left. I do not know if I would have had as much time with my Auntie Nancy after her diagnosis if it were not for the Dana-Farber Cancer Insitute in Boston. For many reasons, especially this one, I am running with the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge Team to raise money for the Claudia Adams Barr Program for Innovative Cancer Research. This is the same research that provided my Auntie Nancy with experimental treatments throughout her battle with her disease.
Neither of these stories about cancer are unique ones. Cancer attacks everyone around us – parents, loved ones, siblings, and children. In addition to running in memory of my Auntie Nancy and honor of Grammie, I am also running in honor of all your loved ones who are currently battling, have battled, or have unfortunately lost their fight to cancer.

I know many of you questioned my sanity last year for running 26.2 miles, and are wondering why I have decided to partake in this journey again. I know I will be faced with five months of crazy weather conditions, aching body parts, and feelings of uncertainty. But I also know what brought me to this point - Grammie and Auntie Nancy's love, determination and courage, and my goal to reach the the ultimate finish line: A World Without Cancer.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

It's Official!

I finally received the email that I was hoping for any day now, saying:

"You've been accepted to the Dana-Faber Marathon Challenge (DFMC) team in the 2010 Boston Marathon!"

Such great news. Such a great cause.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009




Monday, April 20, 2009

I'm Off....

Today when I leave for Hopkinton, I will be wearing my Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge singlet.  On the back of my singlet are the names of two people whose battles with cancer remind me of what race I am really running in today.  I run to honor the memory of my Aunt Nancy.  I know that although she lost her battle, she would be proud to know that I am doing what I can in hopes that others may be cured.  I run in honor of Jaden Cabrera.  I know that no one in their entire lifetime should have to face what Jaden faced in his childhood. 


Running a marathon is hard.  Fighting cancer is harder.


As I have said before, the battles these two individuals have fought, with cancer are not unique ones.  Cancer attacks everyone around us – parents, loved ones, siblings, and children.  The back of my friend Kristan’s singlet says “In Honor of Too Many.”  Like Kristan, unfortunately there is not enough room on our singlets for the names of every person that we know touched by cancer.  In addition to running in honor of the people on the back of our singlets, I also running in honor of all of your loved ones who are currently battling, have battled, or have unfortunately lost their fight to cancer.   

And so with that, I am off to run in my first marathon EVER.  See you at the finish line.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

This Is It.

I am having a hard time figuring out what I want to say in this blog, considering my thoughts are all over the place. 

In less than 12 hours I will be off and running in my first marathon, EVER.  I have heard from many veteran runners that they constantly find themselves jealous of first time marathoners when they get to the starting line. Only once in your lifetime can you say that you are running your first marathon, and I am overcome with emotion when thinking about this.

I will have to blog before I leave at 5:30 AM, since I am simply unable to write much right now.  I am inspired, motivated, and determined to finish the Boston Marathon tomorrow.  This is the most incredible feeling.....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

One Step At A Time

My wonderful DFMC teammate, Tyler gave me great advice to think about as I journey through 26.2 miles on Monday.

Left foot. Right foot. Repeat.


4 Days, 20 Hours, 20 Minutes, 40 seconds until April 20th.

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Shoutout From My Cousin Eric.

Our amazing cousin Eric gave me and my sister a great shout out here!  

This summer, Eric will be riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge.  The PMC raises money for life-saving cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through an annual bike-a-thon that crosses the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The PMC mission is to provide Dana-Farber's doctors and researchers the necessary resources to discover cures for all cancers.  If you want another good reason to support Dana-Farber research, Eric gives you a good one here.

I will have the support of my cousins Eric & Liz, and their incredible kids Cole and Tess at the 10k mark in Natick.

This time next week, I will be celebrating with my DFMC teammates our amazing accomplishment of completing the Boston Marathon.  I realize I should not jinx myself by talking about finishing when I have not even crossed the starting line, but with the amount of inspiration and motivation I have, 26.2 miles will be a cake walk next Monday!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Almost There....

Today I am feeling inspired and determined.  Please help support me as I am only one week away from my FIRST marathon!
Donating is just one click away!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Mapping It Out


Monday, April 6, 2009

Mind Over Matter

Today I find myself confronting all of the crazy emotions that have been running through my head.  I believe that reality has truly set in about the fact that in two weeks I will be running my first marathon. Back in October, I struggled with the idea of running 13.1 miles, and now that these months of training have flown by, I am once again confronted with the same emotions.  This time, though, I am trying to grasp the fact that it is not 13.1 miles.  Who is crazy enough to run 26.2 miles?  I guess I am.

The main emotion I feel is uncertainty due to the fact I have been training with a silly injury.  How did fluid get into my knee anyway? I can not explain how strong the pain can get, but this is something I have learned to deal with with the assistance of my incredible physical therapist.  I make sure that I perform specific stretches and ice my knee on an everyday basis. And we can not forget my dear friend Ibuprofen, for if it were not for this incredible medication, training would be far more difficult.

I am nervous.  I am eager.  I am exhausted.  Above all, I am determined to get to the starting line in the best shape I can.  I have been working towards getting my legs strong enough to get me through the race. It is a fear of the unknown that has honestly been getting to me lately.  I am concerned that I will begin to feel pain in my knee somewhere between miles 5 and 7, but it could work out different.  As a result of an extreme adrenaline rush I will surely experience, I may not even feel the pain, which I am truly hoping will be the case. 

"Mind over matter. Mind over matter."  These words play in my head every day and I know will continue to do so throughout the marathon.  I realize that willpower can overcome any physical obstacle you may be confronted with.  When you have an important goal, but have an obstacle in your way, it is imperative to not let yourself down and overcome, overcome, overcome!

I remember last year I would give my sister, Lindsey a hard time, ALL the time.  She would talk about the marathon constantly, and if we happened to get off topic, something about the marathon would manage to sneak its way back into the conversation.  It was crazy to me then, but now, I truly understand why she did this.  The marathon has completely taken over my life.  It is the first thing I think about when I wake up and the last thing I think about before I fall asleep. The reason for this is because I am so proud.  Every year since I was little I would go watch the marathon with my Mom, Dad, and Linds.  It became a tradition to watch it in the same spot in Wellesley, and soon enough my grandmothers, aunts, and cousins were in on it too.  I never quite understood why people chose to run such an insane amount of miles, but even when I knew this, I always wanted to be one of those crazy people.  I always wanted the historic Boston Marathon written in my book of accomplishments, so I could look back and say, "yeah, I ran Boston. What did you do"?

The amount of motivation I have to get myself through to the finish line continues to amaze me.  I can not help but think about my Auntie Nancy, who has given me the courage, strength, and determination to get me through these months of training.  Aside from Auntie Nancy, my inspiration also comes from my 6-year-old Patient Partner, Jaden Cabrera.  He instantly stole my heart from the minute I met him.  Jaden was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma, an uncommon type of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma that commonly affects children.  Today, Jaden is in remission.  During my miles of training, I think about this enthusiastic and warm individual who gives off such incredible energy. I admire Jaden's strength and bravery, knowing that he has been through far too much as a child.  At the end of the day, Jaden still has that beautiful smile on his face, which makes this journey for me all the more worthwhile. I am extremely proud and humbled to be running in honor of this courageous young boy.  He too gives me the strength, determination, and courage I need to get me through 26.2 miles.  Knowing that Jaden, his mother and father Jenny and Jose, and his sister, Talia will be at the mile 25 marker, will get me through to that point.  Seeing all of the other Patient Partners and Dana-Farber cheering teams will also motivate me to get to the finish line.

Although I am nervous, eager, and exhausted, I am also strong-willed, and to be honest, this is what I need to accomplish my goal.  In 13 days I will face the biggest challenge of my life, and I am ready for this.  This marathon means EVERYTHING to me.  For all of my friends and family that have shared in this training experience with me, I want to make them proud.  I want to represent Dana-Farber in a proper, well-deserving light. The institute provides treatment, hope, and love to individuals in need.  Most importantly, I want to make Auntie Nancy and Jaden proud, since these two individuals have motivated me to reach the ultimate finish line: A World Without Cancer.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Commitment Is Everything.

"Commitment to the body machine.  It was as critical as the commitment to the goal itself."
- Richard Christian Matheson, "Third Wind"

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Monday, March 16, 2009

Life Is Good.

Nothing but good news!  The MRI results showed that I have fluid under my right knee, but this is something I can handle with the aid of physical therapy.  Only five more weeks.  Life is good.

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Waiting Game....

As I sit here and wait for my MRI results to tell me the diagnosis of my knee injury, I can not help but focus on the many countless thoughts that are running through my head.  I ask myself everyday what it is that I want to accomplish in these next months.  It is easy; I want to pass my nursing boards and I want to run the marathon.  I am not giving myself a choice on either of these, since I WILL accomplish both.  It is hard for me to explain how difficult this setback has been.  I have dedicated myself to an incredible training schedule, and it is now the daily, constant focus of my life and I would not want it any other way.  As I sit here and wait, with these endless thoughts running through my head, one thought stands out above the rest.  I am running the Boston Marathon in 37 days, 21 hours, 7 minutes and 17 seconds.  But hey, who is really counting?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Where There Is A Will....

"The body does not want you to do this.  As you run, it tells you to stop but the mind must be strong.  You always go too far for your body.  You must handle the pain with strategy...It is not age; it is not diet.  It is the will to succeed."
- Jacqueline Gareau

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Two Years Later.

Two years ago today I got the phone call that I knew was coming.  It was from my father telling me that my Auntie Nancy had passed.  Prior to this phone call, two days before, both Lindsey and I went to see Auntie Nancy for what was our last time.  Although some family members were hesitant about us doing this, we knew in our hearts how important this was.  Nobody can prepare you for the moment you have to say goodbye to someone for the very last time.  For me, this was the most difficult experience of my life, but when looking back, I realize how important it was in getting me to the point I am at today.  

Today, I have the courage, determination, and strength I need to get me through each day, and I thank Auntie Nancy for this.  By all means, I am not saying that there is no struggle involved, because there is.  It still hurts to go through milestones and experiences without her there.  Sometimes I want to pick up the phone to tell her exciting news or to have one of our ridiculous conversations, but then reality sets in. Although I still struggle at times facing this reality, one thing remains certain.  The courage, determination, and strength she provided me with has allowed me to work towards one very important goal.

The goal is to run 26.2 miles in honor of the extraordinary person that Auntie Nancy was and the incredible legacy she left.  I have gone into the marathon training experience with an open mind, knowing that I will have my good runs and my bad runs, but at the end of the day, I know where my motivation comes from.  It comes from my role model, my second mom, and my friend.  It comes from my Auntie Nancy, with whom has provided me with everything I need to reach the ultimate finish line: A World Without Cancer.

I am missing you today, and everyday, but I know you are always watching over me.  I love you.