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.

2011 Nation’s Triathlon Race Report!

Dear Adoring Fans,

This race report is long, long overdue. Maybe even long, long, LONG overdue. I promised myself I would write it by the end of September, and then October, and then November, and then before the end of 2011, and here it is January 2012 and I’m only now getting around to it. Yeesh.

Before I get into the race report, though, I just want to thank you all for your amazing, ongoing support of me and my fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This year, with your help, we raised nearly $4,000, and since 2005 together we’ve contributed somewhere in the neighborhood of $20,000 to help find a cure for blood cancer. That is no small feat. And it is pretty amazing to think about how small donations can add up so quickly. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your support. I truly could not do this without you all.

Okay. On to the race. If any of you have been waiting on the edges of your seats to hear how things went, wait no longer! Grab a seat and maybe a refreshment or something. We are taking trip back in time to September 2011…(insert time travel sound effects here).

Jennie and Melissa at North Lookout, Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.

This year’s Nation’s Triathlon took place on September 11, 2011. Through a fun coincidence, I had a work-related meeting a few days before the race in eastern Pennsylvania, at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary (where I had an internship in the mid-1990s). Through an even more fun coincidence, my good friend Melissa was also at the meeting, so we got to spend a few days together there helping with strategic planning for Hawk Mountain’s education program. It was really nice to be back there after so many years, see faces I hadn’t thought about in a long time, and to just enjoy the beauty of the Appalachians.

Jennifer Nell and Nellie Clare at the pasta party (just for reference, Nellie is the little girl in middle picture in the header of my blog, standing behind her father, my Uncle Kenny).

From Hawk Mountain Melissa and I drove down to D.C. for my triathlon, where I met up with my friend Christopher, who’d taken the bus down from New York to come cheer me on, and my Aunt Mary and cousin Nellie, who live nearby. The night before the race was the traditional TNT Pasta Party/Inspiration Dinner, and Christopher, Mary, and Nellie were my guests. My friend Rick Karl, one of the coaches for our Tucson Team In Training, was also there doing the event with me (you’ve met him here on the pages of my blog before), so it was really nice to be surrounded my friends and family at the dinner.

Sunrise before the start.

Race day dawned nice and clear (you might remember last year it was incredibly rainy on the day of the race). In 2011, however, you might remember the excessive amounts of rain that the eastern U.S. had in the late summer and early fall. Because of this, the Potomac River, where the swim is held, was too dangerous to allow them to set up the swim course, so the race directors made the difficult decision a few days prior to the race to cancel the swim portion. Building the docks and placing the buoys general takes two or three days of work, and during that time the current was just too strong. It was disappointing after having spent so many hours in the pool training over the summer, but I certainly understand the decision. So instead of a swim-bike-run, the race would be just a 25 mile bike ride followed by a 10k run (6.2 miles).

Travel Buddah and Travel Rubber Chicken get up early to wish me luck.

I got up early, ate my normal breakfast of cereal and a banana, got dressed, grabbed my race bag, and took the shuttle to the transition zone and start/finish line. It was a lot more crowded this year than I remember it being last year, with much longer lines for bathrooms and even just to get into transition to set things up. For those of you who are not familiar with triathlons, there is an area called ‘transition’ where you hang your bike and set up all of the gear that you will need for the rest of the race, so you can transition from one sport to the next. In this case, since there was no swim, everyone started ready to ride their bikes (they allowed you to have your helmet on and I think you could even wear your cleats in the corrals, if memory serves, but I just had my socks and flip flops on. I wasn’t trying to win anything and the thought of running in my cleats any more than necessary just didn’t sound fun.) We were divided into corrals based on age, and I have to say, for as many people as there were, this part went really smoothly. Since normally we would have been lined up on the dock, getting into the water to start, they instead led us up to the entrance of the transition area and let us run in in groups of 10 or 15 every 15 seconds or something like that. As they let each wave run in to get their bikes and run out the other end to start the race, the next wave would be lining up. It was actually quite orderly.

Waves of races move toward the start line.

Waving to Aunt Mary and cousin Nellie.

My bike ride was fine. I was slightly slower than last year and for the first half I just felt like I couldn’t quite get into the right gear and get going. It seemed like everyone else in the race was passing me and I was surprised that I wasn’t in dead last! After I hit the turn around point and headed back, though, I got a nice surprise when I spotted Mary and Nellie standing on a bridge above the roadway, holding a huge American flag and screaming my name as I rode underneath them. I waved and smiled like a mad person and that gave me the nudge that I needed to kick it into gear. The rest of the ride felt really good and I finished in 1 hour, 22 minutes, and 42 seconds. It was a little slower than I’d planned for, but fine.

Feeling strong on the run.

T2 (the transition between bike and run) went quickly and before I knew it I was out on the course in my running shoes. I spotted Christopher as I made the first turn onto the road—big smiles and waves to each other and I was on my way. Before I got to the first mile marker I hear a familiar voice screaming, “Jennie!! Jennie!!” I look over and it is Kelly Klein, from Camp Willson, my first job after college. She was standing there with her family. I knew she was going to meet me at the finish line, but seeing her on the run course was just fantastic. I was off to a great start. I ran my first mile in under 9 minutes and just kept going from there. I saw Kelly and her family again around mile 2, and then I just put my head down and went for it. Each mile ticked by and I didn’t really seem to be slowing down and felt good. I somehow missed the 4 mile marker (they told me later it had fallen down), so I was really surprised to all of a sudden be at mile 5 when I was expecting mile 4 (I was intentionally not looking at my watch until each mile). Suddenly I only had 1.2 miles more to go, so I just went for it and ended up with a personal best for the 10k: 53 minutes, 40 seconds. Overall race time: 2 hours, 21 minutes, 55 seconds. I came in 89th in my division, but I am not sure out of how many people that was. Still, I was really pleased with how it went, especially my run.

At the finish line I quickly found Rick Karl, who had also had a great race, and Christopher, who was smiling from ear to ear. Kelly and her family were waiting at the TNT tent, so we had a short visit, and Melissa and her friend Chris also came and met us at the TNT tent. It was just a great race.

Jennie and Rick at the finish line.

Chris, Jennie, and Melissa at the finish line.

Kelly and Jennie at the finish line. Kelly is the person who introduced me to Team In Training back in 2005, when she trained for her first marathon with them and sent me her fundraising letter. I thought, "Kelly is going to run a MARATHON? Wow! I wonder if I could do that?" The rest is history. What a treat to be able to have her there at my race this year!

My double triple crown! (one marathon, one triathlon, and one century ride for TNT, times two...and then some, in my case!)

After visiting with everyone and getting something to eat, Christopher and I headed back over to transition so I could gather up my gear and drop my bike off to be shipped back to Tucson. We had to wait forever and a day for the shuttle to take us back (we waited nearly an hour, no kidding), but when we finally got back to the hotel we had something great waiting for us: my brother John and his family was driving back to North Carolina from Massachusetts, so we managed to meet up at the hotel after the race and have lunch together, which was really nice.

Nina, Jennie, Freddy, Ben, and John (I swear I was just squinting at the sun, not being annoyed at the photographer.)

It was also interesting to be in Washington, D.C. for September 11th. When a woman from the D.C. Triathlong Club sang the national anthem at the start of the race, with the Washington Monument there in the background, I felt a little emotional, in a way that surprised me a bit, and I found myself getting a little choked up. I felt glad to be in a place like D.C. for the 10th anniversary of 9/11, and I think we all felt  a real sense of of solidarity and unity.

Here are a few more highlights:

Did you know the Lehigh Valley is where they make Peeps, Hot Tamales, and Mike & Ike's? Me either! Photo taken at the Allentown, PA airport.

World War II Memorial

Christopher and Jennie at the WW2 Memorial.

Abe.

C3PO

Julia Child's kitchen.

For the smart aleck who asked if the swim portion of the race was going to be in the reflecting pool. The answer is: no.

After spending Monday morning seeing some of the sights of D.C., Christopher and I caught the afternoon bus to New York. Rather than try to describe everything we did in words, I’ll just take you on a pictorial tour of some of the highlights:

Rockaway Beach.

Rockaway Beach.

Ding dong! The Book of Mormon on Broadway--totally lived up to the hype and then some.

Tiffany stained glass at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Visiting with cousin Evan and his daughter Etta.

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Staten Island Ferry.

Statue of Liberty from the Staten Island Ferry.

Ground Zero and the new World Trade Center

Dinner with Amanda.

It was a great race, a great trip. Thank you for your indulgence, and also for your patience in waiting for the write-up!

But the most important part of it all, the biggest thing I have to thank you for, is that together we raised $3,905 to help find a cure for blood cancers. That is pretty darn amazing if I do say so myself. Way to go, Team!

So what’s up next for me? I am thinking about doing a half marathon here in Tucson in March with the TNT Alumni team, and later in 2012…I’m not sure. I know there is an event that I will be doing, but I just haven’t decided what it will be yet. It has been awhile since I’ve done a marathon and I’m feeling like I might be ready for another. I do love triathlons, though, so I’m not sure–maybe one of each? I also know that I will be doing a half marathon somewhere with my cousin Chris, who was unable to participate in Nation’s with me in 2011. All of that is to say, stay tuned to this blog–there will be a JND TNT event in 2012. Details to follow…

Warm wishes for a peaceful, healthy, and happy 2012!

JND Team In Training Update: 5 September 2011

Dear Adoring Fans,

Well, this is it–five more days until the race! I shipped by bike off last Thursday and am officially in the pre-race taper, basically just marking time until race day on September 11, doing a few short workouts, but nothing too strenuous. I went for my last long-ish run this morning (6 beautiful miles in Reid Park on a cool, overcast morning–oh, autumn, how you tease me when I know full well you won’t really be here until October…) and am planning on a short swim tomorrow with my friend Rick (who will be racing with me next Sunday in Washington, D.C.) and then on Wednesday I fly east!I know you’ve seen  your share of red-faced, post-workout Jennie pictures this season, but here’s one more for good measure, taken after my last brick workout–30 miles on the bike, 6.2 miles running:

Jennie and the next-door neighbor's daughter, post-workout (and mid-popsicle).

That brick (it was more like a sandwich—25 miles on the bike, 6.2 running, 5 miles on the bike to get home) helped me understand why you do the bike before the run in the triathlon. I mean, I get the order of the sports–you don’t the swim to be last because you don’t want a bunch of tired people getting into the water. Same goes for the bike. But after this workout I realized another reason to run AFTER the bike ride–your feet swell when you run. I knew this, but apparently didn’t put two and two together. By the time I had ridden 5 miles home my toes were numb inside my cycling shoes because they are smaller than my running shoes and don’t have the same give. Live and learn.

I’m combining the trip for my triathlon with a pre-race work-related meeting at Hawk Mountain Sanctuary (where I was an intern in the mid-1990s). The Broad-winged Hawk migration is in full swing, so with a little bit of luck I’ll get to enjoy the beautiful sight kettles of hawks migrating over the Kittatinny Ridge. To make it even better, my friend Melissa (hi, Melissa!!) is also going to be at the meeting and is going to come with me to D.C. afterward for the race. We’ll fly into Allentown on Wednesday evening and then rent a car and drive down to D.C. early Saturday morning, and the weekend is all about the race: on Saturday getting set up, and on Sunday doing it! After the race I am taking a week of vacation time and heading up to New York to visit friends and family, so I’m really looking forward to that, too.

I’ll post a full race report as soon as I can after I get back from my trip, and in the meanwhile I’ll post pictures and short updates on Facebook (send me a friend request if we aren’t already connected) and/or Twitter (follow canicas).

How Jennie feels when she thinks about the triathlon...

Fundraising Update
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your overwhelmingly generous response to my request the other week. I sent out my email at 10pm and when I woke up at 5am the next morning over $500 had already been donated. Over the course of the next four hours, you amazing people donated over $1200 to help find a cure for blood cancer. Even more wonderful is the way that your incredible response inspired several of my Tucson TNT Teammates to use a similar approach with their own fundraising efforts. Your generosity multiplied itself in the fundraising of my friends. Thank you feels like a very inadequate way to express how grateful I am for all of the support that you’ve given me and to LLS since I started with TNT in 2005. You are all the best!

So where are we now? I am proud to say that to date we have raised an amazing $3600 to support the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s mission to find a cure for blood cancers. We are 90% of the way to my goal of $4000, just $400 short. If you have been thinking of donating but just haven’t gotten around to it, now’s the time. 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). If you can’t donate yourself, or if you have already donated, please consider posting a link to my blog on your Facebook page or forwarding the link to your friends and family.  In so many ways this is truly team effort, and I couldn’t do it without you.

Until next time!

Jennie’s TNT Training Update: 25 August 2011

Dear Adoring Fans,

I’m going to cut to the chase: I need to raise $600 by tomorrow. That is 24 of you making a $25 donation, 12 of you making a $50 donation, or just six of you donating an incredibly generous $100 (of course, any amount you are able to contribute is extremely welcome). Last year the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, through donations like these, was able to invest $72 million dollars in blood cancer research. And since 2005, with your support, I have raised nearly $20,000 to help find a cure for blood cancer. Please help me continue to raise money for this vitally important cause. If you have been thinking about making a donation, please click on the link to the right and do it now. My birthday is this Sunday and I can think of no present I would appreciate more than your generous support to help find a support LLS in their quest for a cure.

Okay, I will step off of my fundraising soapbox now and give you a few highlights from the past week. I took a bit of a break from training to head up to Colorado with my friend Christopher to visit friends and go to the Rocky Mountain Folks Fest.The festival was amazing, as always. Some of my favorites were the Carolina Chocolate Drops, Mary Gauthier, Anais Mitchell, Girlyman, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Red Horse, Bob Weir/Chris Robinson/Jackie Greene, and Jackson Browne, among many other amazing musicians. We also got to spend some time visiting with friends old and new, which was really lovely. Below are a few photographic highlights:

Rainbow on the road into Taos, NM. 8/16/2011

Kenneth! (Christopher's brother's dog).

Birthday lunch at Chipotle with Alani and Samuel (their birthday, not mine. Happy Birthday, guys! So glad we got to hang out!)

Staying cool in the St. Vrain River with Alice.

Self portrait in the sea of tarps after the land grab.

Jennie and Christopher enjoying the show.

Training Update
I did optimistically bring my running gear with me, but didn’t actually get out to run a single time for the entire week we were in Colorado (Bad Jennie!) We got back to , Arizona in the wee hours of Tuesday morning after driving straight through from Boulder, so I took Tuesday off from training, too, but have jumped right into things since then, with a hot 7 mile run yesterday morning with friends Sergio, Carolyn, Louise, and Clyde and a great swim this afternoon. This weekend I’ll be getting up early to do a long bike/swim brick, and next week I bring my bike up to Tempe to be shipped to the event–hard to believe it is just a little over two weeks away! I have some miles left to run/bike/swim between now and then, but overall am feeling good and prepared for the race–more on that next week! Here are a few pictures of some of the great folks who have helped get me to the start line by running and riding with me this summer:

Carolyn, Sergio, Louise, and Jennie, pre-run.

Clyde, post-run. Drool, drool, drool.

Jennie and Sergio mid-bike ride last week.

The Official Fundraising Update!
Okay, I jumped the gun a bit at the beginning of this post by asking straight away for your donation, but here’s the overall update. Since I last posted we’ve raised a total of $2235–amazing! Thanks so much to all who have donated so far. My overall goal is to raise $4000, but I need to get to $2850 by the end of the day tomorrow, so anything you can do to help make this happen will be so greatly appreciated. If you can’t donate yourself, or if you have already donated, please consider posting a link to my blog on your Facebook page or forwarding the link to your friends and family.  In so many ways this is truly team effort, and I couldn’t do it without you.

Until next week!

JND Team In Training Update: 11 August 2011

Wow, how did it get to be August already!? It’s Thursday evening here in Tucson, where we’ve been experiencing unseasonably cool weather. Last night I got home from work and instead of having to turn on my air conditioner, I just opened the windows and door and enjoyed the cool evening breeze. It’s also been overcast in the mornings the last few days, so I’ve been able to get in some longer runs without having to get up at the crack of dawn.

Last Sunday I got together with my friend Sergio for a bike ride. I tried to take a picture of what I mostly saw on this ride, but it is a little hard to see. Look for a teeny, tiny dot down the road. That is Sergio.

Sergio makes Jennie eat his dust. 8/7/2011

Sergio is faster than me, but he very graciously waited for me to catch up an numerous points on the 25 mile ride, and even took my picture for all of my adoring fans:

Jennie around mile 20, at Sunrise and Craycroft (Tucson in the distance)

We are actually friends (see picture below), even if he is faster than me on a bike. Also, it is much more fun to ride with a friend than to ride alone. Thanks for the company, Sergio!

Sergio and Jennie, 8/7/2011

After our ride I had planned on doing a short run, but by the time I got home at 8:30 it was hot and sunny, so I nixed the idea and just took a shower instead. I’ve been having a good week training wise (well, all around, actually), with two 7+ mile runs (this morning I did a beautiful 7.2 mile run early in the morning and a 2100 yard speed workout in the pool later on). I am feeling good and ready for the race, excited about doing it with my cousin Chris (hi, Chris!), and happy that my Aunt Mary and at least some of my cousins will be at the pre-race inspiration dinner with me again. For those of you who are new to my blog, Mary is my Uncle Kenny’s wife (I run in memory of Kenny), so it really means a lot for them to be there with me.

In non-triathlon news, next week I am headed back up to Colorado, this time with a friend to go to the Rocky Mountain Folks Festival. I go to this festival just about every year and am excited to go see Sweet Honey in the Rock, Girlyman, and many, many other amazing musicians, to wade in the St. Vrain River, eat Boulder Ice Cream, and spend time with my dear friends Rochelle, Bryan, and their kids. I won’t be able to swim or bring my bike, but I am definitely bringing my running shoes and hope to get in at least a few runs while I’m there. Stay tuned for a “Highlights from the Festival” post, coming next week!

Then I get back and it is just two more weeks until the triathlon in D.C.! I just can’t believe how quickly this summer has gone by. But that brings us to….

The Fundraising Update!
Since I last posted we’ve raised an additional $550, bringing our current total to $1985, 50% of my goal of $4000 by August 15th (of course, I am very happy to accept your donations after this date, as well). We are half-way there, friends! So far 28 of you have donated (including one lovely friend who has donated twice–you know who you are!) Who will be next? YOU, perhaps? If you have been thinking of donating but just haven’t gotten around to it, please don’t wait any longer. 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 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.

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

Until next time!

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!