JND Team In Training Update: 31 July 2011

Dear adoring fans,

Jennie and Heather, 7/23/2011

It’s Sunday afternoon here in Tucson, and I am relaxing after a weekend full of all kinds of training. Last Saturday morning (a week ago) I got up bright and early for a 26-mile bike ride with some friends from the TNT cycle team. When I got to the parking lot at the beginning of the ride I had the lovely surprise of seeing my friend Heather, who I rode El Tour de Tucson with last November. I hadn’t seen her since then, so it was great to catch up and get to ride together again. It was a beautiful day for a ride–slightly cloudy, so it wasn’t too hot, and amazing views of the mountains as we rode around northwest Tucson. Later that day afternoon I hit the pool for a 1500 yard swim (somehow swimming in this hot summer weather never seems like that much of a chore…)

Jennie and Coach Rick, 7/24/2011

The next day was a “brick” workout, which means I stacked two sports on top of each other–last Sunday, it was a 21-mile bike ride immediately followed by a 4-mile run. I rode with my pals from the DooDah Road Club, a great group that just radiates goodwill, friendliness, and welcome. My friend Sergio also joined (even though it meant getting up early two days in a row, and even though I have now probably embarrassed him my calling him out in public).  I could tell within the first five miles that Sergio can kick my butt on the bike, but he mostly held back and let me keep up with him. My friend and TNT coach Rick organizes the DooDahs, and after our ride he and I immediately laced on our running shoes and set out for a 4-mile run (this is the brick part of the day). Rick is doing The Nation’s Triathlon with me in September, so we’ve been swimming together pretty regularly and keeping track of each others training. The first mile or so of the run was tough. My legs felt really heavy. But I kept on (it really helped that I was running with Rick–the funny thing is that he said the same thing to me; we both ran faster and farther than we would have done had we been by ourselves–let’s hear it for training partners!) and we ended up having a great run. We started and ended our run at my house, and as we got back, sweaty and hot, I remembered that I had some great Popsicles in my freezer. Yum!

This weekend I did pretty much the same thing as last weekend. I went for a great Saturday morning ride (26 miles) and a 1000 yard swim in the afternoon. This morning I did another ride/run brick. On Saturday our group was small–just me and the three TNT cycle coaches for El Tour de Tucson. Coach Mike I.,  Coach Mike W., and Coach Eric. We had a nice, but hot, ride up on the northwest side–a few hills thrown in for good measure, but nothing too crazy. This morning I rode with Rick and the DooDahs again, a nice, easy 22-miler along the Santa Cruz and Rillito rivers. I followed this up immediately with a 3 mile run, and I have to tell you, friends, the run was hard. I finished in about 27 minutes, so I was happy with the time, but I struggled.

Jennie with Coach Mike W. and Coach Eric, 7/30/2011. Go Team!

My legs felt a lot better starting out this week (compared to last week’s run), but all the same, it was hot and (for Tucson, at least) humid. I didn’t start my run until probably around 8:30am, which if you’ve ever been to Tucson in late July you will know: this is too late. But I sucked it up and kept on going. It’s nothing compared to chemotherapy, right?

In non-training news, this past week (and this coming week) I am dog sitting for my dear friends Tiffany and Richard. Some of you may remember Pinta from back in 2005, when I was training for my first marathon with TNT. Tiff and Richard were gone for much of the summer and I dog and house sat for them (Pinta made an appearance or two on my blog back then). They’ve since gotten another dog (Cass), so I have these two lovely ladies keeping me company for the next little while. We’ve been having a great time in the early mornings at Himmel Park and in the evenings at the 6th Avenue dog park. It turns out that I am somewhat allergic to them, unfortunately, but the allergy medicine I got at Wal.greens seems to have taken care of things.

Jennie and Pinta then: summer 2005

Jennie and Pinta now, 7/24/2011

Jennie and Cass, 7/29/2011

Fundraising Update
Many thanks to everyone who has donated to my fundraising campaign. This is truly a team effort, and I absolutely couldn’t do this without your support. So far together we have raised an amazing $1435, 36% of my goal of $4000 by August 15th (of course, I am happy to accept your donation after this date, as well). If you haven’t already, 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 on the link on the right 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 donation, your moral support is just as welcome.

Until next time!

Still kicking!

So I created this new WordPress blog so things would be easier and more straightforward to update, and here it has been more than a month since I posted. Yeesh. I hereby publicly promise to do better in the future!

Evidence that I do, in fact, occasionally ride my bike. Or at least stand next to it while dressed in spandex.

But things are great! I just got back from a 31 mile bike ride with some TNT alumni. It was a beautiful, cool morning (well, cool by Tucson standards in July) and Coach Mike took us on a nice route with out too much traffic and just the right number of hills for a girl who hasn’t been riding her bicycle as much as is good for her! I’d forgotten how much I love riding my bike, especially with my Team.

Other than not riding my bike enough, my training is going really well. I’m swimming at least twice a week and running most mornings, so if I can work in some cycling from here on out, I think I’ll be in good shape for The Nation’s Triathlon on September 11.

2011 Camp Colorado

2011 Camp Colorado participants

Lest you think all I do is train, I also got to spend ten days in beautiful Colorado at the end of June/early July. The American Birding Association hired me to co-lead a young birder camp–Camp Colorado–so I got to spend eight days basically birding and hiking in many of Colorado’s different habitats. Not a bad way to spend your vacation! It has been a few years since I did anything young birders, so I really enjoyed being back in the field with this group. (Read a more complete synopsis of camp here.)

Photo taken shortly before an epic hail storm that drove us down the mountain very quickly. And painfully!

I spent the weekend after camp ended visiting Colorado friends, which was really great, and am looking forward to going back up in mid-August for the Rocky Mt. Folk Festival in Lyons.

Fundraising update!
So far we’ve raised a stupendous $1260 to help find a cure for blood cancer–thank you to all who have donated so generously! That 30% of the way to my goal of $4000. What’s that you say? You want to join the club? It couldn’t be easier. Just click here to make a secure, online donation. If you’d prefer to send a check, just contact me for details. This is truly a team effort, and I couldn’t do it without your support.

Before I wrap this up, I want to share with you something that happened to me today, something that just really reinforced for me the reason why I have been part of Team In Training since 2005. As we were waiting in the parking lot before we started riding this morning, another cyclist rode up and said, “I just wanted to come over and say thank you for saving my life.” It was Steve, a leukemia survivor and the honored teammates of one of my marathon coaches. Steve’s leukemia is chronic, and for him that means that while so far there isn’t a cure, he is able to live a relatively normal life, thanks in large part to research supported by groups like The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. But the catch is that the future is uncertain. Right now he is in great health, but he is playing a waiting game, waiting to see when the cancer will make its move. The hope, of course, is that by the time this happens, someone will have made an important discovery that will continue to keep things in check for Steve (or for Jan, my honored teammate, who is battling multiple myeloma). Jan, Steve, and the many others on my list of honorees are why I keep doing these events. Who knows what might be discovered this year, or next year, or the year after. But we need the money to be able to support this important research. It is literally a life or death situation. Your donation has never been more important–$5, $50, or $500, it all makes a difference.

Go Team!