Catch up

27 July 2014

Dear Adoring Fans,

Do you ever get really behind on things and try to catch up starting with the oldest things first and you never seem to get caught up? Yeah, me too. I am going to start with the newest thing today and work my way backwards.

I’m training for triathlon #3 with Team In Training! On September 7, 2014 I will be in Washington, D.C. to compete in The Nation’s Triathlon. It’s a 1500m (.9 miles) swim, a 40km (25 miles) bike ride, and a 10k (6.2 mile) run. I’ve been training all summer and am down to the last seven weeks before the event (remember way back in the first paragraph when I said I was behind on lots of things? Ummm. Updating my blog and getting going on my fundraising is high on that list.)

So here’s the important part: my goal, as always, is to raise funds to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. This season I am aiming high: $5,000. We are already halfway there, but I have a deadline of August 17 and need your help to reach my goal. PLEASE CLICK HERE TO MAKE A SECURE, ONLINE DONATION TODAY.

(Fun fact: Since my first event with TNT back in 2005 together, dear fans, we have raised over $36,000 to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Holy cow! Let’s go for an even $40,000!)

Here’s the other important part: I do these events in honor and memory of an awful lot of people. That list is why I keep coming back for more events, and why I keep asking you for money. My personal “honored teammates” are my friend Jan Riggs (Jan will be at the triathlon with me in September! Huzzah!) and my Uncle Kenny, as well as my friend Robb, all pictured in the header image of my blog.

But last fall, just before the Nike Women’s Marathon (race report coming! I promise!) I found out that Jude, the two-year-old son of my friend and teammate Barb, had been diagnosed with leukemia. Barb’s mother had Hodgkin’s disease at 23 and although they successfully treated it, she passed away years later from a secondary cancer that resulted from the treatment for Hodgkin’s. When I heard that Jude had been diagnosed it just seemed like a cruel joke. But Barb and her family have taken it in stride and I’m happy to say that Jude is doing really well. He just finished the first phase of his treatment and has moved on to what they call “maintenance.” That sounds better, but it’s still pretty awful: 5 days of steroids each month, oral chemo, monthly spinal taps, regular doctor visits–and this all goes on for three more years. It isn’t what a two-and-a-half year old should be doing. So in addition to doing this for Jan, Kenny, Robb, and all of the others on my list, I am dedicating this triathlon to Jude, especially.

Jude enjoying a rocket pop.

Jude enjoying a rocket pop.

My training is going pretty well, if a little sporadically. I was in Colorado earlier this month for about a week and a half, leading a young birder camp for the American Birding Association. This Wednesday I head into the field again, this time for 2 weeks here in southeastern Arizona, to co-lead another young birder camp. I didn’t get to train at all when I was in Colorado, and I suspect I won’t do much more than one or two runs during this next camp, but I’m trying to make up for it beforehand (question: does birding count as cross training?). Here’s what this past week’s training looked like:

  • Saturday: 28 mile bike ride, 2 mile run
  • Sunday: rest
  • Monday: TURD (Totally Unscheduled Rest Day)
  • Tuesday: 8 mile run, 1400m swim
  • Wednesday: ??? Can’t remember. It is all a blur…rest day, maybe?
  • Thursday: 29 mile bike ride
  • Friday: 8 mile run
  • Saturday: 2 mile run, 1950m swim.
  • Sunday: 26 mile bike ride, 2 mile run
Look, Ma! There's water in the Santa Cruz!

Look, Ma! There’s water in the Santa Cruz!

Fundraising Update: We’re getting there! So far, thanks to your generous support, we have already raised $2825 this season, 56% of my ultimate goal of $5,000 by August 17, 2014. Please consider making a donation to help support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in its mission to find a cure for blood cancers. Any amount helps, from $5 to $500–just click here to go to my fundraising page to make a secure, online donation (or contact me if you’d prefer to send a check). And if you are unable to make a financial contribution, your moral support is just as welcome.

That’s all for now–stay tuned for more, and thank you. THANK YOU. Thank you for your continued generosity, for your encouragement, and for your unending support.

Go Team!

jennie_signature

Triathlon!

Jeez, but I have neglected this blog. I owe you a race report from San Francisco last fall, as well as just an all-around update on what I’ve been up to lately. For now, though, here are some highlights:

  • I am in the midst of training for the 2014 Nation’s Triathlon in Washington, D.C. on September 7, 2014.
  • I am doing this race in honor and memory of so many people. The list sadly continues to grow each year: my friend Jan (who will be coming to my race this year!!), my Uncle Kenny, my grandfather Arthur, my great aunt Ruth, my friend Robb, and all of the many people you have asked me to run/ride/swim in honor or memory of. I continue to do races and fund raise for them all. This year, in particular, I am training for Jude Anderson, the two-year-old son of one of my teammates here in Tucson, who was diagnosed with leukemia as I was training for the Nike Women’s Marathon last fall.
  • How can you help? My goal is to raise $5000 by August 17 to support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society–one month from today! We’re already more than halfway there. Please take a minute to make a secure, tax-deductible donation. (If you’d like to send a check, just email me).
  • I’ll write a real post soon.
  • THANK YOU!

Jude enjoying a rocket pop.

Jude enjoying a rocket pop.

finisher

Me at the end of the 2011 Nation’s Triathlon.

Thar’s a Bahr!

Weekly miles run: 28.7
Total mileage this season: 444.55
Fundraising total: $3150 (63%)
Bears encountered: 2
Awards received: 1

Dear Adoring Fans,

I found out last week that one of the women that I run in honor of, who has already successfully battled both lung and breast cancer, was just diagnosed with lymphoma. I have a big, long list of people in whose memory and honor I run, but this past week I have been thinking about her in particular.

I usually save my fundraising update for the end of my post, but in light of that, I am going to jump right in and ask for your support, because it is so, so needed. At the beginning of this season I said that I wanted to raise $5,000 to bring my total raised for TNT since 2005 to $25,000, for the 25th Anniversary of TNT. Well, I finally sat down and did the math, and friends, to date, since 2005, together we have raised $35,659 to help find a cure for blood cancers. Can you believe that? Words seem inadequate, but thank you, just the same.

This season, so far we have raised a spectacular $3,150. That’s well over half-way to my goal of $5,000. Thanks so much to everyone who has donated last month to help me reach my mini-goal of $3,000. My next goal? To reach $4,000 by midnight on October 4, 2013–THIS FRIDAY. That’s just a measly $850–surely we can do it. (And fair warning: my next mini-goal will be to reach $5,000 before gun time on October 20). If you have already donated, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. If you haven’t yet, please consider making a contribution to help find a cure. No amount is too small, truly. It all adds up.

I’ve been traveling quite a bit for the past month and a half, which has made getting my miles in a little bit challenging. For a few weeks I was contemplating dropping back to the half marathon distance, but now that I’m on the other side of most of my travel (as well as my long run yesterday), I’m excited to run the full marathon on October 20th.

In early August I got to spend time in the field co-leading VENT’s Camp Chiricahua, working with my friends Michael and Louise to lead a great group of 13 young birders from across the country, exploring the birds and habitats of southeastern Arizona. It was a great group, and there are so many good memories, but here are a few of my favorites (click on any of the images to make them bigger):

Ringtail! We found this little fella one night when we were out herping/owling.

Ringtail! We found this little fella one night when we were out herping/owling.

Baby greater short-horned lizard. Is there much cuter than this in the world, I ask you? I think not.

Baby greater short-horned lizard. Is there much cuter than this in the world, I ask you? I think not.

Western Hercules Beetle. This male flew in and hit me square in the back. He was big.

Western Hercules Beetle. This male flew in and hit me square in the back. He was big.

Blue-throated Hummingbird at the Southwestern Research Station, Portal, AZ.

Blue-throated Hummingbird at the Southwestern Research Station, Portal, AZ.

Hiking at Cave Creek.

Hiking at Cave Creek.

Just before camp started I found this sweet girl roaming the streets of my neighborhood. It was a long story, but she is now in a good home.

Just before camp started I found this sweet girl roaming the streets of my neighborhood. It was a long story, but she is now in a good home.

From Camp Chiricahua I headed to California for a visit and to spend my birthday with C. My birthday was a low-key affair, but celebrated with a delicious dinner and some kayaking the following day on Lake Almanor. I was honored to receive one of the 2012 Partners In Flight Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Bird Conservation, and although I wasn’t able to be at the conference for the awards ceremony (on my birthday, no less), they patched me in and I got to hear the entire conference sing me happy birthday. It was actually pretty neat, and although of course I would have rather been there in person, this was a close second. Some friends accepted the award on my behalf and then brought it back to California and after transferring it to about three different folks, they got it to me. (For the non-birder readers among you, that is a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, a bird that I have worked with in both Sonora and Arizona).

I couldn't be at the conference in person to accept my award, but through the wonders of technology, I was able to be there on the phone.

I couldn’t be at the conference in person to accept my award, but through the wonders of technology, I was able to be there on the phone.

One of C’s coworkers is a runner, she gave me some ideas for routes for my long runs while I was up there visiting. I decided on a 16 mile route where I parked my car in the middle and then ran 4 miles out and then 4 back to my car, refueled, and ran 4 miles out and back the other way. The first four miles went great. I turned to head back to the car and at about mile 5 I heard a loud crashing in the woods. Now, the woman who recommended this route told me that she’d seen a bear there, so that is immediately where my head went. The only other thing that would make that much noise running through the woods is a person, and there weren’t any people around. I got a little nervous and initially slowed down and talked loudly to the bear, telling it to move along. After a minute or two I realized that I needed to get back to the car one way or another, so I kept running. At mile 7, I looked up and saw what I thought was a large boulder in the middle of the road, maybe 25 yards ahead. “That’s funny,” I thought. “I don’t remember driving around a large boulder. ” Well, of course, the boulder then raised its head and looked at me, and a black bear and I were staring each other in the face. It promptly turned tail and loped off into the woods, and I was left behind, running down the road and talking loudly to myself/the bear as I went. “Oh BEAAAAARRRRRRR! I’m HEEEEEEEERRRRRRRE, running down the ROOOOOAAAAAAAAD. It’s just me! How about you stay in the woods and I’ll stay on the road and we’ll all be good?” I think I also sang The Bear Song (if you’ve been to Girl Scout Camp, you know the one). Well, suffice it to say that I did not get eaten. But after that 8 mile adventure, I didn’t feel comfortable running down the road for another 4 miles and back, so I drove to another spot with a road that got some traffic (and hence not many bears) and finished the run.

The weekend after my birthday C and I drove down to Monterey, where we went out on a pelagic trip with my friend Debi of Shearwater Journeys. I have spent plenty of time on boats in the Gulf of California, but this was my first pelagic on the Pacific. The weather wasn’t the best, but I still saw four new life birds, as well as a couple of life mammals (blue whale–good heavens, they are large! and Risso’s Dolphin). I did a beautiful 14 mile run along the ocean and into Pacific Grove, got to spend a night visiting with friends down in Davenport and Oakland, and generally enjoying the California Coast.

Pelagic!

Pelagic!

Black-footed Albatross--lifer!

Black-footed Albatross–lifer!

After returning to Arizona, I took a whirlwind trip to Lakeside, Ohio, to lead a young birder event at the Midwest Birding Symposium for the American Birding Association. (I also did a 16 mile run while there and was reminded about that thing called “humidity.” At the end of my run I looked like I had just stepped out of a swimming pool.) Flying to the east for a long weekend isn’t something I generally recommend, but the event was a lot of fun, and I was so impressed by the young birders who participated.

Ethan Rising, Nathan Martineau, and Doug Whitman at the 2013 Midwest Birding Symposium.

Ethan Rising, Nathan Martineau, and Doug Whitman at the 2013 Midwest Birding Symposium.

Now I’m back in Arizona for three whole weeks. Three whole weeks! I almost don’t know what to do with myself! This weekend was our longest training run, and I ended up doing 21 miles, and feeling great! I ended up with a nice blister on one of my toes, but considering the fact that I was out there running for 3.5 hours, that’s not too bad. I’m going to head out for about 7 miles later this evening, and then the taper will officially begin. The week before the race, assuming the government doesn’t shut down, I’m headed down to Chiapas, Mexico, for a bird conservation conference. I get home from that and immediately turn around and fly to San Francisco for the race. More whirlwind!

This is what 21 miles looks like.

This is what 21 miles looks like.

So that’s what’s been going on in my life lately. How are you?

August!

Weekly miles run: 37
Total mileage this season: 212
Fundraising total: $1795 (36%)

Dear Adoring Fans,

Well, apparently two consecutive blog posts is all I can manage. I skipped the month of July entirely in terms of blogging. Fortunately, I more or less kept up with my training, even though I wasn’t writing about it.

It’s been a busy summer, so in some ways it isn’t a big surprise to find ourselves here in August already, with the marathon just two months away. In other ways, where did the summer go? I’ve been traveling a ton since I last wrote. On some of those trips I managed to get in runs; on others, not so much. The field season and marathon training don’t always go hand in hand, but I’m mostly making it work. The monsoons are definitely here, which means we’ve had some cloudy days (good), but the humidity is high (bad–my coach said it was 66% today, which I know, I know, my eastern friends will scoff, but it is enough that every tiny bug that I ran into on my run this morning stuck to me). Overall, it’s been nice running weather, though.

Before I get into any of that, though, I want to update you on two things:

  1. My Honored Teammate, Jan: after a very rough winter and spring that involved lots of time in the hospital, I am very happy to share that Jan is doing much better and is well enough to travel and enjoy some much needed vacation with her family this month. Every time I feel like slowing down or walking on a training run, or when my alarm goes off at 4am and I don’t really feel like getting out of bed to run, I think of everything that Jan has had to go through and just keep going, because I can, and because the money we are raising is making a real difference.
  2. Fundraising: There’s a more complete update at the end of this message, but the long story short is that we are 36% of the way to my overall goal of $5,000. I am trying very hard to reach this goal in the next three weeks, so If you haven’t yet, please consider joining my team by making a donation.

Okay. On to the pictures!

In early July I made a trip up to Mineral, California to visit C. and Louie the Dog. Louie’s hair has grown out a lot since his shave back in March, and with the weather warming up, he was getting pretty hot on our walks, so we brought him down to Chico for another haircut, this one not quite as drastic. (Aside: if you are looking for a groomer in the area, we were really happy with Carol’s Dog Grooming).

In late May/early June I headed up to Mineral to visit C. and Louie (posing for before-and-after pictures here).

In late May/early June I headed up to Mineral to visit C. and Louie (posing for before-and-after pictures here).

In the middle of July I drove up to Albuquerque for a meeting at my regional office. On the way I stopped off at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge to look for the Rufous-necked Wood-Rail that had showed up about a week earlier. This is a bird that is normally seen in Central and South America and it was the first record for the United States. It even made the CBS national news!

Rufous-necked Wood-Rail!

Rufous-necked Wood-Rail!

My friend Michael drove all night from San Diego to see the wood-rail, and after seeing it and doing a little more birding at the refuge, he and his friends turned around and drove back.

My friend Michael drove all night from San Diego to see the wood-rail, and after seeing it and doing a little more birding at the refuge, he and his friends turned around and drove back.

In late July I spent a week in Colorado, co-leading the American Birding Association’s Camp Colorado, a field course for young birders. This is one of my very favorite things I do each year, and this year was no exception. We had a wonderful group of 20 talented young people from across the U.S. and as far away as South Korea, and we spent the week exploring the birds and habitats of Rocky Mountain National Park and other spots in Colorado. Before camp started, I got to visit with some friends, which was an added bonus.

Can you believe I have known these two goofballs since they were two?

Alani (in the suit) and Samuel: Can you believe I have known these two goofballs since they were two?

It was great to get to visit with Matt one evening.

It was great to visit with Matt one evening.

I stumbled on a swift fox family while I was scouting locations for Camp Colorado and managed to get this video (and play around with iMovie a little bit–apologies in advance!)

A bullsnake pokes its head out of a tree at the Crow Valley Campground, Pawnee National Grasslands, Colorado.

A bull snake pokes its head out of a tree at the Crow Valley Campground, Pawnee National Grasslands, Colorado.

Horned Lark, with lunch.

Horned Lark, with lunch.

Common Nighthawk, by day.

Common Nighthawk, by day.

Campers looking for Mountain Plovers and Burrowing Owls.

Campers looking for Mountain Plovers and Burrowing Owls.

Hiking in Phantom Canyon.

Hiking in Phantom Canyon.

Bighorn sheep!

Bighorn sheep, Rocky Mountain National Park.

The last day of camp at the airport--the Georgia contingent prepares to head home.

The last day of camp at the airport–the Georgia contingent prepares to head home.

As wonderful as bird camp was, I didn’t have any time to run, but once I got back to Tucson I jumped right back in. This week I ran almost 40 miles, including two 12-milers. My runs at the beginning of the week were a little rough, but by this morning I was feeling good and had a great 12.5 mile run, including lots of hills, which is good practice for San Francisco.

Me and my Team after our long run this morning. Can you tell I just ran 12.5 miles?

Me and my Team after our long run this morning. Can you tell I just ran 12.5 miles?

Fundraising Update: After a spectacular start, things have slowed down a bit, but together we have already raised  $1750. That is 36% of the way to my overall goal of $5000! Thanks so very much to everyone who has donated so far. I have a fairly significant birthday coming up at the end of the month, and there is nothing I would like more than to reach my fundraising goal. If you haven’t yet, please consider joining my team by making a donation to help support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in its mission to find a cure for blood cancers. Any amount helps, from $5 to $500–just click here to go to my fundraising page to make a secure, online donation (or contact me if you’d prefer to send a check). If you aren’t able to make a financial contribution, you can help by sharing my website with your friends and family. And moral support is always appreciated!

Go Team!

jennie_signature

Monsoon Teaser

Weekly miles run: 30
Total miles run this season: 58
Fundraising total: $1250 (25%)

Dear Adoring Fans,

A blog update two consecutive weeks in a row! Alert the press!

With the summer temperatures creeping up, we are starting our long Saturday runs earlier and earlier. Today we met at 5:30 (which meant getting up at 4:30), and honestly, it was so hot by 7am that I wish we’d started even earlier. I think next week we’ll push things up to 5am.Today we started to increase our  mileage, running for 90 minutes (which for me is about 9 miles). The longest I’ve run since last December is about 6 miles, so the last three or so miles were not the most fun I’ve ever had, but I finished. I ran with some of the women from my team on the way out, and then with my friend Rick on the way back (thanks for walking with me when I needed a break, Rick!) But I’m not complaining; I can feel myself getting back into the swing of things, and my mid-week runs have been feeling better and better and I’ve been able to go farther in the same amount of time. I’m not quite back to my standard pace, but I’ll get there. Tomorrow I have a 60 minute run on the schedule, so although I am sure my legs will be a bit tired for the first few miles, it’ll feel good to do some running and get the kinks out.

At the beginning of practice this morning we were all gathered up to do some stretching and hear news and updates. Each week our coaches give a little prize to the teammate who has made the most progress on his or her fundraising in the preceding week, and I was happily surprised to hear my name called! So thank you to all of you, loyal fans, for your generous support. I got some snazzy new shoelaces and energy chews, which I will definitely make use of as the season progresses.

Incentive to find a cure for cancer!

Incentives to find a cure for cancer!

Rick and Jennie post-run.

Rick and Jennie post-run.

After I got home I was able to do my very favorite thing after a long run: I took a shower and then took a nap. Oh, it was so, so nice. And then I drove over to my favorite post-run place to eat and I got a bowl of my favorite soup for lunch, so I’m feeling pretty contented right now.

Not completely awake after my nap.

Not completely awake after my nap.

The other bit of excitement here in Tucson is that we had the first rain of the season. Yesterday morning when I went out for my run I could really feel the humidity (aside: when I say it is humid in Tucson, I mean it was Tucson-humid–that is, the humidity was 31%.  I know that this is not REAL humidity, but work with me, people). Running in humidity isn’t near as much fun as running when it is dry, even when it is only 31%. This afternoon I woke up from my nap to see all of these Face.book posts about rain. I looked outside. It was partly sunny with no sign of rain at my house. I stepped outside onto the front porch and everything was dry, but it had that hot, wet pavement smell. You know the one? It reminded me of childhood summers, waiting underneath the eaves of the house for the rain to stop so we could keep on riding Big Wheels or bikes or playing wiffle ball. But I didn’t see any rain. About a 1/2 mile away from my house, though, as I drove to get lunch, the first fat raindrops hit my windshield. It was just a few at first, but then there were enough to use the wipers. It was more like a short drizzle that, in the words of my friend Rick, mostly just turned the dust on your windshield into mud, but it counts as far as I am concerned. It rained here in Tucson today.

Monsoon? Not quite, but soon!

Monsoon? Not quite, but hopefully soon.

Fundraising Update: We’re off with a bang! So far, thanks to your generous support, we have already raised $1250 this season, 25% of my ultimate goal of $5,000 by August 1, 2013. Please consider making a donation to help support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in its mission to find a cure for blood cancers. Any amount helps, from $5 to $500–just click here to go to my fundraising page to make a secure, online donation (or contact me if you’d prefer to send a check). And if you are unable to make a financial contribution, your moral support is just as welcome.

This is truly team effort, and I couldn’t do it without you.

Go Team!

jennie_signature

It’s heating up in Tucson…

June 9, 2013

Weekly miles run: 19
Total mileage this season: 28
Fundraising total: $1140 (23%)

Dear Adoring Fans,

The last time I wrote I was just about to head out into the field to trap vultures with researchers from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary. It was a little more challenging than we’d hoped, but by the end of the week we successfully placed satellite transmitters on six adult Turkey Vultures; we also captured three Black Vultures, who got wing tags, but not satellite transmitters. You can read all about it on The Vulture Chronicles blog, along with seeing some of the photographs that I took (look for the June 2013 posts in the archives if the posts aren’t on the top). I’ve posted a few of my favorite pictures below. I’m also happy to report that there was minimal vomiting (by both the vultures and the researchers, although the landowner had a few close calls when we were dealing with decomposing calf carcasses…)

I didn't realize Turkey Vulture feathers were so iridescent.

I didn’t realize Turkey Vulture feathers were so iridescent.

Here's a front view of the harness that we put on each of the birds--this will hold the transmitter securely on, but doesn't hinder the bird's movement, ability to molt, etc. Researcher Marc Bechard hand makes each harness, including cutting that little leather tab out by hand.

Here’s a front view of the harness that we put on each of the birds–this will hold the transmitter securely on, but doesn’t hinder the bird’s movement, ability to molt, etc. Researcher Marc Bechard hand makes each harness, including cutting that little leather tab.

Here's a view of the transmitter on the bird's back. Marc also makes those copper crimps by hand, cutting them from a piece of copper tubing and carefully filing down any sharp edges. The harness is made of teflon ribbon, and he uses waxed dental floss to sew the ends together once everything is adjusted perfectly. Then he slips the copper crimps over the knots and squeezes them down; this prevents the bird from picking at the ends.

Here’s a view of the transmitter on the bird’s back. Marc also makes those copper crimps by hand, cutting them from a piece of copper tubing and carefully filing down any sharp edges. The harness is made of teflon ribbon, and he uses waxed dental floss to sew the ends together once everything is adjusted perfectly. Then he slips the copper crimps over the knots and squeezes them down; this prevents the bird from picking at the ends.

Researcher Jean-Francois Therrien demonstrates the patterning on the underside of the wing--when you see a Turkey Vulture in flight, the white trailing edge to the underside of the wing is one of the characteristic field marks.

Researcher Jean-Francois Therrien demonstrates the patterning on the underside of the wing–when you see a Turkey Vulture in flight, the white trailing edge to the underside of the wing is one of the characteristic field marks.

I got to hold the final bird of the week--this is Ed, named for Edward Abbey, who wrote, "If my decomposing carcass helps nourish the roots of a juniper tree or the wings of a vulture–that is immortality enough for me."

This is me, holding the final bird of the week–Ed, named for Edward Abbey, who wrote, “If my decomposing carcass helps nourish the roots of a juniper tree or the wings of a vulture–that is immortality enough for me.”

We had some visitors to the trap site, and here I am talking (in Spanish) about how to identify Turkey Vultures and how the satellite transmitter will help us better understand, and ultimately better conserve, these important birds.

We had some visitors to the trap site, and here I am talking (in Spanish) about how to identify Turkey Vultures and how the satellite transmitter will help us better understand, and ultimately better conserve, these important birds.

After the vulture researchers left, Christopher was able to take a few days off of work and fly down to Tucson for a visit. It was too short, but still wonderful to get to spend some time together here (I’ve mostly been going up to visit him since my schedule has more flexibility). We went on a beautiful hike up on Mount Lemmon one day on the Butterfly Trail. Did you know there is the wreckage of a fighter jet up there? Neither did we. From what I’ve been able to find online, back in 1957 a squadron of fighter jets was returning to Davis-Monthan after spending the day doing maneuvers in New Mexico. Two of the jets collided mid-air above Mount Lemmon. Both pilots ejected to safety and were rescued the following day; one of the jets crashed on the mountain (the one we found) and the other one somehow straightened itself out after the pilot ejected and flew itself UNMANNED all the way to a rancher’s field somewhere near Truth or Consequences, New Mexico, where it crashed. Apparently flying without a pilot is easier than landing without a pilot.

Here's one of the two big chunks of plane that we saw--the remnants of an engine, maybe?

Here’s one of the two big chunks of plane that we saw–the remnants of an engine, maybe?

Photo opp in front of the fighter jet wreckage.

Photo opp in front of the fighter jet wreckage.

The scenery was spectacular--Red-faced Warblers everywhere, Black-headed Grosbeaks singing, cactus in bloom...

The scenery was spectacular–Red-faced Warblers everywhere, Black-headed Grosbeaks singing, cactus in bloom…

But isn’t this supposed blog to be about marathon training? Oh, right. The marathon!

I generally take things slow in the winter months in terms of training. My cousin Chris and I ran a half marathon in New Orleans in December 2012, and since then I’ve run a little bit, but not much, and never more than about 4 miles at a go.

Jennie and Chris: Ole Man River 1/2 Marathon Finishers!

Jennie and Chris: Ole Man River 1/2 Marathon Finishers!

So my first week back in the saddle, so to speak, was a little rough. I was slow. The weather was hot. I was in the field for a week, getting up at 3am and spending the day in the sun, hauling dead cows and trying to trap vultures (aside: it is easy to make that sound awful, but it was really a pretty fun week), so I wasn’t running. Two Saturdays ago was our first official team practice, and we were supposed to run 60 minutes. It was longer than I’d been running, but 60 minutes? I wasn’t worried. But here’s the thing: it turns out that when you don’t run regularly, it isn’t quite so easy. It’s not quite like riding a bike. More like falling off a bike. I’ve been running marathons and doing other events with Team In Training since 2005. You’d think this would have sunk in by now.

New kicks!

New kicks for a new marathon season!

The long story short is that yes, I ran for 60 minutes, but it was hard, especially the final twenty minutes (~2 miles). My runs during the week before that run had been similar–slow and difficult. My legs felt like lead, I was breathing hard, and I was slow. But. That run two Saturdays ago was just what I needed to make sure I got out for all of my weekday runs this past week. And you know what? When you get out and practice, you get better, it turns out. Go figure. I got faster with each run during the week, and this morning our Team got together for our weekly practice and we ran 60 minutes again. What a difference! It took me a few miles to warm up, but once I got my rhythm I felt great. I’m still not quite up to my normal pace, but I was about six minutes faster than last week for the same distance. That felt good.

Fundraising Update: We’re off with a bang! So far, thanks to your generous support, we have already raised $1140 this season, 23% of my ultimate goal of $5,000 by August 1, 2013. If you have been thinking of donating but haven’t gotten around to it, don’t be shy! Make a donation to help support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in its mission to find a cure for blood cancers. Any amount helps, from $5 to $500–just go to my fundraising page to make a secure, online donation (or contact me if you’d prefer to send a check). And if you are unable to make a financial contribution, your moral support is just as welcome.

This is truly team effort, and I couldn’t do it without you.

Go Team!

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Nike Women’s Marathon Take 5!

Dear Adoring Fans,

I am writing this from a Holiday Inn in Casa Grande, Arizona. I’m here for the next few days helping researchers from Hawk Mountain Sanctuary with a vulture research project. Over the next few days we’ll be trapping Turkey and Black Vultures and putting satellite transmitters on the Turkey Vultures to track their movements. I’ve never had a vulture in the hand before, so it should be exciting, if a bit smelly. Ideally there will be little to no vomit involved (vultures have this truly charming defense mechanism whereby they yack all of the dead stuff they’ve been eating all over you. Effective? Yes.) So tomorrow morning at 4am we’ll be heading over to the trap site, and fingers crossed, before lunch time hopefully some of the transmitters below will find a long-term home strapped to the back of a few vultures.

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These solar powered satellite transmitters weigh just 45 grams. We’ll be attaching them to the Turkey Vultures so we can learn more about their movements.

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Turkey Vultures are our primary target.

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We may also catch some Black Vultures (both are present in the area).

But I’m not writing to you to tell you about vulture vomit. In fact, this is mostly just a placeholder post until I have time to sit down and really write about what I’m doing, but I was too excited to wait. In the meanwhile, here is what you should know:

  1. The 10th Anniversary Nike Women’s Marathon is happening on October 20, 2013, and I will be running in it (it will be my 5th time doing this race)! (!!!!)
  2. This year, 2013 is the 25th Anniversary of Team In Training. In honor of this momentous occasion, I am trying to raise $5,000 to help find a cure for blood cancers. This will bring my “lifetime” total raised for TNT to $25,000 since I started doing events in 2005. Can you believe we’ve raised that much together over the past nine years? Can you believe I have been doing this since 2005? Amazing.
  3. I need your help, dear friends, to reach this goal. Please consider making a secure, online donation at the link to the right. No amount is too small, and together we can do so much. You can make a secure, online donation here.

Thank you, as always, for your wonderful support. And stay tuned for more details, both about my training and the vultures!