Image 01

Running For More…

The personal blog and website of Kristen Cincotta

Archive for the ‘Run for the ROC’ Category

Race Recap Flashback: Running for the ROC at the Publix Georgia Half Marathon!

Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013

Publix Georgia Marathon and Half Marathon display at the Expo!

If you read my mid-year running recap, then you know that I’ve been doing a great job in my races thus far this year. However, I’ve done a terrible job about writing about my races here, even the big ones. So, I’ve declared this Race Recap Flashback week. This week, I’ll be recapping both the Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure and the Peachtree Road Race. But first up, my Run for the ROC at the Publix Georgia Half Marathon!

Throughout most of 2012, I had a little voice nagging at my brain and at my heart. It kept saying the same thing: “I want to run a half marathon. I KNOW I can run a half marathon. I need to run a half marathon.” As I got more involved with the Atlanta Track Club and the local running community, that voice got louder and more persistent. So, sometime in November, I decided to bite the bullet and register for the Publix Georgia Half Marathon, right here in Atlanta. This race course comes within blocks of my house. I’ve cheered for many friends over the years as they’ve conquered these miles. The race is almost always on my birthday weekend, which also happens to be St Patrick’s Day weekend. If any race was going to be my first half, it had to be this one.

So I was settled on the race. I also knew that I wanted to jump back into the fundraising game and raise some money for a breast cancer charity, something I’ve gotten away from more than I’d like over the last two years or so. After considering a few options, I ultimately decided to dedicate my efforts to a specific cause that was near and dear to my heart: the Give Hope a New Home capital campaign to build the new regional oncology center at Upstate Medical University (aka “The ROC”). For those who are new around here, the ROC is where my mom has gotten her breast cancer treatments since 2007. The team there has been fantastic and I was ecstatic to have this opportunity to support them in something this important. It took me a bit to figure out how I was going to run this fundraiser, but eventually, a great woman named Terry Shenfeld helped me set up a fundraising page on the campaign’s website and I was off and running (so to speak…)!

Pre-Race

I’m not going to go through all my training and fundraising leading up to the race. Suffice it to say, I ran a lot (including a course run two weeks before the race), and I pumped my fundraiser as much as I could, both through social media and fundraising emails. So let’s zip ahead to the weekend of the race…

The Saturday before the half was a big day for me – it was my birthday! I’m normally the type that wants to make a big deal out my birthday. However, with the half the next day, I opted to keep things quiet and running-focused. I spent the morning doing one of my favorite things – recruiting new members at the ATC booth at the race expo. It was really fun and motivating to talk to everyone about their race goals, especially knowing that unlike in previous years, I was part of this conversation. Once I was done with my shift, it was time to pick up my race packet and hit the rest of the expo. I’m always a bit “splurge-y” at expos, but this year, I was particularly indulgent; I mean, it WAS my birthday. All together, I left with some new socks, some new running tops, a race-themed t-shirt, Clif bloks for during the race… and lots more that I’m forgetting because it was months ago. It was a lot. I was feeling confident and very much like a “real runner”.

… And then I got home and I got NERVOUS. I wanted everything to go perfectly and I was suddenly worried about all of the details: would I make it to the start on time (because, hey, last year I mis-read our Peachtree wave start times and we got there late… )? Would I be too hot (what is this heat wave in March)? Would I be too cold (but wait, what are those pre-race temps doing in the upper 40s and low 50s)? Would I be able to find Mike along the course (because I had a problem with that at the Hot Chocolate 15k)? Serious pre-race jitters, I tell ya. I was also trying to make a shirt to wear during the race and the iron on transfer just would NOT work, which was really stressing me out (I ended up just printing the graphic below on paper and pinning it on). All in all, I was feeling super anxious about this whole thing. But here’s the great thing about running: the race starts whether you’re ready or not. And when it does, you either step over that starting line or you get left behind. And no matter how nervous I was, I was not getting left behind. So I headed to bed relatively early and did my best to sleep.

My shirt back (click to enlarge)

My shirt back for the race (click to enlarge)!

The Race!

I’m sure my alarm clock went off at some godawful hour of the morning and I’m even more sure that I was wide awake long before it started bleating in my ear. I quickly got dressed and had my usual pre-race breakfast (whole grain english muffin with peanut butter and jelly and a glass of Nuun). I pinned my race bib on the front of my shirt and my “Run4ROC” information on the back, wrangled Mike into the car, and we were off. Because we had such a hard time with parking before the Hot Chocolate 15k, we had planned for Mike to just drop me off near the starting area (Centennial Olympic Park) and then he headed out to his first planned spectating spot where he napped in the car until the race got to him. Out of my paranoia, I got to the starting line REALLY early. I wandered around the area, checking out the finish line chutes, taking pictures, and warming up a little bit. I even had someone mention to me, upon seeing my shirt, that they had family that had been treated at the ROC in Syracuse, something that was completely unexpected down here in Atlanta. I took it as a good sign for the race to come. A little more stretching, a quick snack on a Clif bar, and it was time to line up with my start wave.

Ready to go!

Going into this race, I had two time goals in mind: my “I won’t be disappointed if I at least finish in… ” time was to run sub-2:30 and my “I THINK I can actually finish in… ” time was to run sub-2:20. My plan for the race was to get in front of the 2:30 pace group early on and just focus on staying in front of them. Since this was my first half marathon, I figured trying to focus too much more on pace other than that was probably a recipe for disappointment. So when I got to my start wave, I positioned myself alongside the 2:30 pacers and was ready to go. After a short walk up to the starting line, we were finally off!

The first half of this half wound through downtown Atlanta, and then up through Old Fourth Ward, Little Five Points, and Inman Park, one of my favorite neighborhoods.  Those first few miles felt EASY and I was able to get in front of the 2:30 pace group right out of the gate, just as I had planned. In fact, I was running so easily that the first time I saw Mike, I commented to him that I was worried I had gone out way too fast. The temps were perfect, the hills were manageable, and the vibe was, honestly, somewhat peaceful. At one point, we were running towards the sunrise and was struck with the thought that while I had seen plenty of sunrises on St Patrick’s Day from celebrating my birthday over night, this was probably the first one I’d seen from this side of morning. It was a beautiful morning for a run, that’s for sure.

Cruising along mid-race!

The second time I passed Mike was just after the six mile marker, at which point I ate some Clif bloks. I tried Gu on one of my long training runs and HATED it, but the bloks I could work with. Luckily, I was ready to fuel right when I saw Mike because I couldn’t get the package open and needed him to help me. Lesson learned for next time – open the package pre-race! After that, we headed up into the Virginia Highlands and Midtown, the area of town where I live and do the majority of my training runs. Between the bloks and the mental boost of running on my “home turf” I was feeling GREAT as I headed into Piedmont Park. Even better, I knew that after I left the park, there were only four miles left. Four miles? I can do that!

Yeah, I only thought those four miles would be easy. It turns out, those four miles were pretty much all uphill. Or at least, that’s how it felt. Juniper Street, you are NOT my friend. However, I knew that I had been trucking along at a solid pace and hadn’t really walked at all outside of the water stops (which was big deal for me mentally). I definitely didn’t want to blow my strong first eight miles by wussing out on the last four, so I kept pushing even as my legs grew tired. I focused on the people who I had chosen to dedicate each of my miles to and let them carry me up those hills. I also starting searching for this family of three little girls that were giving out high fives every half mile or so. Each time I’d see them, they were lined in height order so that I could just run along and high five all of them. I must’ve been running near whoever they were supporting because not long after I passed them each time, they’d hop on their bikes with their dad and scoot up the course. I must’ve high fived these girls seven or eight times in those last four miles. It was a great distraction!

Before I really knew it, I found myself making the last turn onto Marietta Street and starting the last uphill climb towards the finish. My legs were exhausted by that point, but I knew I wanted to finish strong. Suddenly, I found myself behind a cop on a bike following someone pushing stroller – completely strange. Then I realized – this was the last “runner” from the 5K that had stepped off not long after the last start wave for the half! That was motivating – I really wanted to “lap” that last 5k-er. Just as I was passing the 5K caboose, I starting hearing sirens and the screaming at the finish line got noticeably louder – could this be for me? Yeah, definitely not. It was the FIRST finisher for the full marathon. As much as I wanted to pass that last 5k runner, I did NOT want to get passed by any of the full marathoners. So, I dug deep, gave it everything I had left and pushed across the finish line, approximately three strides ahead of the winner of the marathon. YES!

All in all, it was fantastic race. I ran well throughout, took in everything I could along the course, and really enjoyed myself. Even better, I KILLED my goal time. My final time was a 2:14.10 – almost six full minutes faster than my big goal. I was ECSTATIC and ready to celebrate!

My Results!

Fundraising Results

As excited as I was about my race results, I was even more thrilled with how well my fundraiser went for the ROC. When I kicked things off at the beginning of March, I set my goal for this fundraiser at $1000. I challenged my friends and family to donate in various amounts corresponding to mileage or my time goals and had hoped to reach my fundraising goal by the end of March, two weeks post-race. Well, everyone responded so generously that I didn’t even need that long. By the time I took my first steps in the half marathon, I had already raised $518 – and that was in just two weeks! Even better, within a week of my race, that amount had ballooned to $1218, well past my goal. At that point, with an eye towards my planned fundraisers for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the American Cancer Society later in the year, I chose to stop actively promoting this fundraiser. However, even that didn’t stop my phenomenal support system from donating. As of April 15th (the last update I received from Upstate), I had raised $1513 for the ROC’s Give Hope a New Home capital campaign.

I can honestly say that I was blown away by everyone’s generosity. The ROC and their staff are near and dear to my family but I wasn’t sure how broadly this cause would resonate with others outside of the Upstate NY area. As it turns out, I had nothing to worry about. Many people expressed to me that they were thrilled to have the opportunity to repay Upstate for the great care they’ve given to my mom, to Marcia, and to many, many others. I have no idea how far $1500 will go towards the new cancer center. I know it’s small potatoes compared to the donations from people who get whole wings named after them. But friends, together, we got Upstate $1500 closer to making the new oncology center a reality, which is more than most people can say. I believe strongly in paying it forward, especially when it comes to charitable endeavors. By helping to make the new ROC a reality, we are helping to give others a better chance at a cancer-free future.

As part of my fundraising challenge, I said that anyone who donated more than $100 would be able to dedicate one of my miles during the race to anyone they chose. I also said that I would wear their honorees name on my shirt during the race. While I received ten donations of $100 or more as part of this fundraiser, I received the majority of them after the race. Since I couldn’t recognize those donors and their honorees during the race (as you can see on my shirt image, above), I definitely wanted to give them a shout-out here. So, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to my $100+ donors:

  • Nicole Anderson – One of my #3DayTweeps friends. Nicole asked me to dedicate mile 11 to her aunt, Marilyn Duncan.
  • Julie Brock – My #3DayTweeps bestie. Julie asked me to dedicate mile 4 to her grandfather, LTC Walter P. Schlagel, who passed away earlier this year. During that mile, as I was thinking of him, I noticed I was running near a man carrying an American flag. I lost him after that mile and didn’t see him again during the race. I took it as a sign from Julie’s grandfather to keep pushing forward.
  • Kathy and Mike Cincotta – My wonderful, supportive, endlessly generous in-laws.
  • Kate and Joel Jackson – Another of my #3DayTweeps friends and an Atlanta running buddy. She swears she’s going to get me to run a full marathon with her soon.
  • James Lee – A friend of mine from graduate school. James is getting married this fall!
  • Pam and Sean McCormick – My mom’s youngest sister and her husband. Sean has recently started running too!
  • David and Laura Ostheimer – David is a long time colleague of my mom and he and his wife have been some of Mom’s strongest supporters over the years!
  • Claudia Reeves – My aunt on my Mom’s side. Claudia made her donation in honor of her friends “The Big Ladies”.
  • JT Shoemaker – A graduate school friend who is one of our rocks here in Atlanta. JT made his donation in honor of his mother Janet, a breast cancer survivor who has been incredibly kind and supportive of me throughout Mom’s journey.
  • And finally, Dr. Jonathon Wright, my Mom’s and Marcia’s long time oncologist at the ROC. Dr. Wright also sent me a lovely email about how tough and inspiring my mom has been as a patient. He has given my mom phenomenal care over the years and I will keep that email always.

I also would be absolutely remiss if I didn’t acknowledge my other donors, all of whom helped me to far surpass my fundraising goals: Anne Marie DeSimone, Dom Gambardella, Marsha and Dean Griswold, Jeff Kostusiak, Dawn Mazzanti (who was my first donor!), Jim McKeever, Jennifer and Bill Rabbitt, Faren Shear, and Laura Scholz and her husband Tim Long. This group represents a hodge podge of friends and family from all the various corners of my life. I am strengthened and inspired to keep running for more because of all of you and the wonderful mash up that is my life.

Closing Thoughts

Ultimately, this race and this fundraiser were phenomenal successes for me and have given me huge motivation to keep going with this type of “charity racing”. I can’t wait to get out there again for the AllState 13.1 half marathon this October, when I will be running for the American Cancer Society!

Victory!

Note: If you would like to see all of my pictures from the Publix Georgia Half Marathon, please click here. Also, as far as I know, the link is still active on the ROC website if you would still like to make a donation to this worthy cause!

2013 Mid-Year Check In Part 2: Goals Update

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

While you’re here, please click over and read the first part of my mid-year update on my running!

Back at the beginning of the year, I set a number of goals for myself for my running, my fundraising, and breast cancer advocacy in general. Then I finally got around to blogging about those goals at the beginning of March. Today, in the interest of public accountability, I’m going to write a bit about my progress (or lack thereof) on each of my goals.

Celebrating after completing my first half marathon in March!

Running Goals

  • Sub-30 minutes 5K – DONE. Seven times. Because I’m an overachiever, apparently.
  • 10K PR – DONE. After three years of progressively slower Peachtrees and one promising 10k last fall, I shattered my 10k PR at this year’s Peachtree, dropping my 10k PR from a 1:05:29 to a 1:01:02!
  • Complete two half-marathons – Halfway there! I ran the Publix Georgia Half Marathon on March 17th, a race that is still on my agenda to recap. I’m also still planning to run the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon in October.
  • Complete eight SEVEN Atlanta Track Club Grand Prix races – To date, I’ve finished four ATC Grand Prixes: the Peachtree City 5k in January, the Hearts and Soles 5k in February, the Spring has Sprung 8k in April, and the Dekalb-Decatur 4 Miler in July. I also had every intention of running the Women’s 5k in March that was called off due to lightening at start time. Because the ATC had to cancel that race, the magic number for “completing” the series is now seven races, which means I need to finish three more. Right now, it’s looking like that will be two 5ks in August and the Singleton 10 Miler in September.
  • Volunteer ten times for the Atlanta Track Club – Back in March, I was able to volunteer for the ATC four times in the span of about three weeks. However, due to my work schedule, I haven’t been able to fit in any volunteer opportunities since then. I was hoping to pick up a few more during the Peachtree Expo, but alas, all of the Expo volunteer ops that weren’t during my work hours were taken before I was able to sign up. With two big race expos in the fall (for the Atlanta Marathon and the Thanksgiving Half Marathon), I SHOULD still be able to complete this goal. I just need to be more proactive about signing up early before the shifts I can work get filled by others!
  • Total annual mileage of > 750 miles – I’m doing GREAT with this goal so far. As of July 13th, I was at 420 miles – 56% of the way to 750 miles. Provided my ankle doesn’t act up (it’s feeling much better after a week of rest!), half marathon training starts again tomorrow. 750 miles is easily within reach!

Fundraising Goals

  • Publix GA Half Marathon: Raise at least $1000 for the Upstate Medical University Capital Campaign by March 31st. – DONE. Thanks to the generosity of my friends and family, I actually raised over $1500 during this fundraiser. Details coming in my race recap later this week!
  • Race for the Cure: Raise at least $500 for Komen Atlanta between April 1st and May 31st. – FAIL. I didn’t actually do any fundraising for the Race for the Cure. I wish that I had. I was VERY busy in April and just never made the time. However, I had a great experience as Safety Chair, which I’ll ALSO be recapping later this week, time permitting.
  • Peachtree Road Race: Raise at least $1000 for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation between June 1st and July 31st. – This fundraiser is technically still ongoing, so I can’t say that I missed my goal yet. However, I’ve only raised $155 thus far and I’ve pretty much stopped promoting this fundraiser. If you would still like to donate (which I would greatly appreciate), you can do so here. Otherwise, stay tuned for a “lessons learned” post in early August about why this fundraiser fell apart and what I’m going to do differently the next time around.
  • AllState 13.1 Half Marathon: Raise at least $1000 for the American Cancer Society between September 1st and October 31st. – I’m still planning to do this fundraiser and have high hopes about reaching my goal. In fact, I’m actually hoping to reach at least $1500 to make up for dropping the ball on my BCRF fundraiser.

Advocacy Goals

  • Weekly fundraising updates and monthly training updates here on my blog – Obviously, this hasn’t happened. But hey! Two posts in one week this week. Hopefully, this will be the start of some more regular updates. Regular blogging will also probably help with some of my fundraising goals as well!
  • At least two blog posts per month not related to my races or fundraising to continue to spread the word about the need for more cancer research funding and how everyone can get involved. – Again, this hasn’t happened. See above.
  • Volunteer with Komen Atlanta or other local cancer not-for-profits at least six times this year (beyond my Race for the Cure and Community Grants commitments). – In all honesty, I kind of forgot I set this goal for myself. So far, I’ve only been able to volunteer with Komen Atlanta once outside of my Race for the Cure and Community Grants committee work. However, there are a lot of “cancer awareness” observances and events in September and October, so you can expect to hear about some more volunteer work then.

So that wraps up where I’m at with my goals for 2013 – still plugging away and relentlessly optimistic, as always!

How are you doing with your goals for 2013? Do you have any tips for successfully sticking with your goals?

2013 Mid-Year Check In Part 1: Racing Recap

Monday, July 15th, 2013

So, it turns out that finding time to blog while working full time is a little harder than I anticipated. But that’s ok, I love a good challenge. I promise to keep trying to find time to blog if you all promise to keep finding time to read what I write. Deal?

Running in the Publix Georgia Half Marathon!

Back in early March, I wrote about my goals for 2013 which included goals for running, fundraising, and advocacy. One of my advocacy goals was to get back into blogging, including both weekly fundraising updates and monthly training updates. To date, I have written zero of those blog posts. Whoops. So over the course of two posts this week, I’m going to try to get caught up a little on what should have been in those posts. Tonight, I’m going to focus on a general running update for the first half of 2013 and Wednesday night, I’ll have a post up looking specifically at my progress on those goals I posted about in March.

(Update: you can read Part 2 of my mid-year update on my goals for 2013 here!)

But First – A Recap of My Running History To Date

For those who are new, I sort of started running back in the spring of 2010, when I used a Coach to 5K program to train for the Atlanta Race for the Cure and then stretched myself out for the Peachtree Road Race 10k. And then I took a nasty spill on a run and got busy at work (I was still in grad school at the time) and well, I stopped running for about six months. Then I kicked things up again in January 2011 when I realized that writing my dissertation meant A LOT of inside time sitting on my butt. So I signed up for Atlanta Track Club’s Women on the Move 5k training group, which I rolled right into their 10k training group for the Peachtree. I also sprinkled a few other races in there as well. And then after the Peachtree, I realized I had to buckle down or I would never finish my dissertation. So I stopped running again. Ugh.

At the beginning of 2012, I made it my goal to sustain my running throughout the whole year. For the first half of the year, I trained regularly but took a fairly relaxed attitude towards my races. I had fun with friends at the ATC Grand Prix races and the Color Run, walked the Race for the Cure with my family, got muddy in the Warrior Dash, and just generally was laid back about the whole running thing. It was more about running consistently at that point, rather than running better. And you know what? I didn’t get better! I was consistently around the 32 minute mark for my 5Ks and I ran my slowest Peachtree ever that July. And the week after the Peachtree, I ran a particularly miserable 5k as part of the Beltline racing series. And that was when I got fed up with my lack of progress.

After that Beltline race, I starting setting some real goals for myself, starting with my first double digit race mileage – an early fall 10 miler that was part of the ATC Grand Prix series. I put actual speed work on my training schedule, starting running more regularly with the Phidippides running group on Thursday nights, paid attention to my diet and how different foods affected my running, and started mixing in some strength training and yoga. In short, rather than burning out in the fall like I had the previous two years, I kicked things up a notch. And slowly but surely, I started seeing some improvements in my racing – I set a 10k PR that September and beat my goal time in the 10 miler by more than 10 minutes. So, encouraged by my success, I put some big goals on my calendar for 2013…

Racing in 2013 – Suddenly, I’m Speedy!

So that brings us to this year, which has been by far my best running season to date. I continued to build on my hard work and success in the fall and have been shredding my PRs left and right this year. Seriously: I’ve set NINE new PRs so far in 2013. NINE. I’ve set PRs at EVERY distance that I’ve raced this year: 2 miles, 5K (three times!), 4 miles, 8k, 10k, 15k, and half marathon! Granted, a few were because those distances were new for me (2 miles, 8k, 15k, half), but five of them were legitimate, “I’ve never run this fast”, PRs.

Not only have I suddenly become a speedy little mid-packer (because let’s be honest, I’m still not setting land speed records over here… ), but I’m also enjoying running more than ever. I’m getting to know more people in the running community here in Atlanta and look forward to seeing new friends at my races. I don’t feel like I’m stressed out on my runs even though I’m clocking much faster paces even on my training runs. Everything has really been clicking for me this year and I’m optimistic that it will continue this fall. I’ve scaled back on mileage over the last couple months as I’ve focused on building speed going into the Peachtree (always a “benchmark” race for me), but now I’m ready to build distance again as I start training for a fall half marathon and a pair of 10 milers. It should be a fun fall, provided I can stay injury-free!

(Which, well, maybe not. I rolled an ankle on my run last Thursday and then somewhat stubbornly raced an ATC 4 miler on it on Saturday morning because I wanted the Grand Prix finish. I’ve been hobbling around ever since. The pain comes and goes and seems to be the most pronounced when my ankle gets stiff or I try to move side to side. Hopefully, a few days of ice and rest and I’ll be as good as new. But you never know.)

Highlights from the first half of 2013

  • Running my first sub-30 minute 5K in January
  • Finishing my first half-marathon in March
  • Taking part in the Phidippides Boston Tribute Run in April and hearing the stories from our local runners who were there. It was a terrible thing that brought us together but a powerful and meaningful event to be a part of.
  • All those PRs. I mean, seriously.
  • KILLING it at the Peachtree after three straight years of progressively slower finish times

Lowlights from the first half of 2013

  • Losing my racing partner to injuries, twice – Mike had an achilles injury that kept him mostly sidelined through March and is currently dealing with a knee injury that is likely to keep him out through the first part of August.
  • Two DNSs – we bailed on the ATC Resolution Run on January 1st due to amazingly bad weather and then the ATC Women’s 5K was canceled right at race time due to lightening.
  • SO. MUCH. RAIN. I’m pretty sure we’ve only had three race days with blue skies. Craziness.
  • And now this ankle thing. Hopefully it will be short-lived.

Quick and Dirty Race Recaps

FYI: You can find all of my race times on my race results/schedule page here and all of my race pics here. I’m also going to writing some “Race Recap Flashbacks” in the next few days or so in order to properly cover the Publix Georgia Half Marathon back in March, the Atlanta Race for the Cure in May, and the Peachtree.

Race 1: Hot Chocolate 15k (1:36.36)

While I had been targeting this race since last fall, I wasn’t able to secure a number until just over a week before the race. As a result, I hadn’t really properly trained and tapered before this longer race. It turns out that it didn’t matter – the weather was unseasonably warm for January, I loved the course, and I finished quite a bit faster than I was expected. LOVED all that chocolate at the end too, even though the temps were pushing 70 degrees!

Race 2: Peachtree City 5K (29:09)

My first ATC Grand Prix race of the year and definitely one of my best. I was expecting much on this insanely cold morning, and out of nowhere, I FINALLY ran a sub-30 minute 5k. And not only did I run a sub-30 min 5k, I beat it by A LOT. Even though this was a low key, small race, I’m sure I’ll never forget it. This was a major, major milestone for me.

Race 3: Hearts and Soles 5K (29:11)

Second ATC Grand Prix and another wicked cold morning. Came super close to my PR from the previous race which was really encouraging – this race proved that my first sub-30 minute 5k wasn’t just a fluke!

Race 4: Publix Georgia Half Marathon (2:14.10)

I’m going to write a longer recap on this one soon, I PROMISE. But briefly: everything about this race went about as perfectly as I could have hoped for. The weather was great, I ran well throughout, I high-fived a ton of little kids, and I beat my A Time Goal (sub-2:20) in my first ever half-marathon. Add to that a smashing fundraising success and well, it was FABULOUS birthday for me!

Race 5: Northwestern Road to the Final 4 5k (28:47.19)

We had been planning to run the Color Run this weekend and then got shut out because I waited to long for us to register. It actually worked out for the best, though, because we got to run this 5k (which benefitted the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs Cancer program) instead. As my 3-Day family had lost one of our own the day before, it just felt right to run a charity race like this in her honor. Bridget’s spirit carried me along and I was able to set my second 5k PR of the year.

Race 6: Spring has Sprung 8k (48:13)

After the half marathon in March, I had been hoping to run the 15k distance for this race, my third ATC Grand Prix. However, life intervened a bit and without any longer runs in the book since the half, I decided to scale back and stick with the 8k. Even then, I didn’t have high hopes, so I was pretty pleased with my final time.

Race 7: 420Fest 5K (28:32)

This was the first race in our self-styled “Festival” race series. All of the neighborhoods here in Atlanta have street festivals at various times during the year and most of them have some sort of road race as part of the festivities. We made it an unofficial goal to run as many of these festival races as we can this year. This was the first of those races and one I was particularly excited for. This course is very similar to the Atlanta Women’s 5k that was canceled back in March – a course I’ve PRd on twice before. Clearly, this is still my lucky course – I set my third 5k PR this year!

Race 8: The EIS 2 Mile Prediction Run (17:06)

Easily the least traditional race I’ll run this year (it was on a Tuesday night!). This tiny race was part of the CDC’s annual EIS Conference and started as an opportunity for the incoming and renewing EIS officers to get in their physical fitness requirements. For fun, this race was a prediction run, meaning the runner closest to their predicted time wins. Seeing that the course went partially off-road and forgetting I’m running faster this year, I predicted 19 minutes. Then I finished in just over 17 minutes. Whoops.

Race 9: Inman Park Festival Rocket Run 5k (29:39)

This was my 3rd race in eight days, plus I also participated in the Boston Solidarity Run and a charity walk for Lupus awareness in that same time span. So by the time we got to this race (the 2nd of our Festival Runs), I was EXHAUSTED. Plus, this neighborhood is particularly hilly. Mike and I took it fairly during this race. I didn’t PR but I was still able to stay sub-30 minutes. After all of that racing, I considered this a victory.

Race 10: Lauren’s Run 5k (28:55)

This was a charity race benefitting CURE Childhood Cancer. It was also REALLY rainy that morning. I logged my third sub-29 minute 5k of the year and happily headed home to warm up!

Race 11: Atlanta Race for the Cure

I didn’t actually run this race – I was the Safety Chair. I will be recapping my experiences soon though!

Race 12: Virginia-Highlands Summerfest 5k (29:45.9)

The third of our Festival Races. This course was CRAZY hard – hills after hills after hills. This was also our first really hot race of the year, which is actually really late for Atlanta. I was really frustrated by how poorly I ran in this race but felt much better after hearing that other runners struggled just as much. JUST squeaked in under 30 minutes for the seventh time this year.

Race 13: Braves Country Father’s Day 4 Miler (38:17)

After setting PRs at the 2 mile, 5k, and 8k distances this year, I REALLY wanted a 4 mile PR in this race. I also remembered loving this course last year – it ends behind home plate at Turner Field! – so I went into this race with high expectations. I also wanted redemption after my crummy Summerfest race. When I busted across that finish line and saw 38 minutes on the clock, I was STOKED.

Race 14: AJC Peachtree Road Race 10k (1:01:02)

I’m going to do a Race Recap Flashback on this race as well. After three years of progressively slower times in the Peachtree, I didn’t just set a Peachtree PR. I BLEW away my 10k PR, dropping over 4 minutes off my time. It was rainy and muddy and I loved every second of this giant party of a race!

Race 15: Dekalb-Decatur 4 Miler (38:34)

This was the race I ran this past weekend on a sore ankle. My race plan was to run as strongly as I could until my ankle couldn’t do any more and then walk the rest. As it turned out, my ankle held up for the full distance and I only missed my PR by 17 seconds, which was kind of shocking to me. However, my ankle really started to ache shortly after the race ended and it hasn’t been the same since. So while the race turned out great, it probably wasn’t my smartest move. Oh well.

So that’s the first half of 2013, in a nutshell. I had no idea I’d raced 14 times (plus the Race for the Cure and a Lupus walk) already this year until just now. That’s probably a few races more than is ideal but hey – I’ve been on a roll and I haven’t wanted to stop. Hopefully this ankle thing won’t lay me up for too long and I can get back out on the roads soon. Fall half marathon training starts soon!

With my brother-in-law Matt and Mike before the Peachtree!

Don’t forget to check back later this week for part 2 of my mid-year check in – my goals update!

 

Running for the ROC!

Monday, March 4th, 2013

On March 17th, while the rest of the country is drinking green beer and celebrating whatever small percentage of Irish heritage they can claim, I will celebrate by running my first half marathon – the Georgia Publix Half Marathon – 13.10 miles in honor of my mother and her ongoing, inspiring fight against Stupid Cancer.

Since her breast cancer diagnosis in 2007 and recurrence of Stupid Cancer in early 2010, my mom has received the majority of her treatments from the phenomenal team at the Upstate Medical University Regional Oncology Center (ROC) in Syracuse, New York.

In appreciation for the wonderful care my mom has received, I am dedicating this half marathon to the Upstate ROC team and raising funds to support the Give Hope a New Home capital campaign to build a new Upstate Cancer Center. Opening in spring 2014, this state-of-the-art outpatient facility will expand and improve care and services to cancer patients like my mom, my best friend’s mom, Marcia, who passed away from breast cancer in 2009, and adults and children throughout upstate New York.

My goal is to raise at least $1,000 by the end of March. Here a few ways to support me:

  • Donate $100 or more (yourself or with others), and I will dedicate a mile of my race to whomever you would like. I will recognize them here on my personal website (www.kristencincotta.com/tag/Run4Roc) and wear their name on my race shirt. I am reserving the first mile for Marcia and the last mile for my mom. That means there are 11 miles up grabs!
  • Donate per mile: $13.10 ($1/mile), $26.20 ($2/mile), $52.40 ($4/mile), $104.80 ($8/mile – also lets you dedicate a mile!), or any other multiple of 13.1. I am going to finish!
  • Use your donation as motivation for me to run faster: donate a dollar amount for every minute I run under 2 hours and 30 minutes (my goal time.) For example, if you pledge $5 per minute under goal time and I finish in 2:18, you would come back to this site the week after the race (March 18th) and donate $60. If you want to go this route, let me know your pre-race pledge via email at kscincotta@gmail.com

You can make your donation in one of two ways. If you prefer the simplicity of donating online, simply click over to my fundraising page on the Foundation for  Upstate Medical University website, scroll to the bottom, and fill in your information. I promise, it’s all very legitimate and safe. However, ff you would prefer to mail in a check, please make your check payable to “Foundation for Upstate” and address it to:

Foundation for Upstate
750 East Adams Street
Syracuse, NY 13210

If you go this route, please be sure to write “Run4ROC” in the message area of the check so that it is recognized as being a part of my fundraising efforts. Please note that all donations (online and via mail) are 100% tax deductible.

This fundraiser is different than the fundraisers I’ve done in the past. There are no fundraising minimums required for my race entry and I’m not trying to earn any awards or prizes. I simply want to raise some money for a local organization that deserves our support. I’m so grateful for the high quality care that my mom has received from Upstate’s ROC team during her 6+ year battle with Stupid Cancer and I want to return the favor in my own way. My mom won’t be the last woman diagnosed with breast cancer. I can only hope that every woman is able to receive the cutting edge treatments and care that my mom has received from the team at the ROC.

Please join me in honoring her caregivers and helping to make the new Upstate Cancer Center a reality for cancer patients across upstate New York!

Where I’ve Been and Where I’m Going – Goals for 2013

Monday, March 4th, 2013

So… I got a new job, blogged about getting said new job, and then promptly got so busy at said new job that I haven’t blogged anything in over two months. Whoops.

Ultimately, while I’m bummed that my blogging has slid by the wayside, I think it’s probably okay. I really want to build this short term fellowship opportunity with the Injury Center at the CDC into a full time job and a life-long career in public health, so disappearing down a hole to really focus on my work for a bit is exactly where my primary focus SHOULD be right now. For those who are curious, it has been going well. My project is really starting to take off and I continue to really enjoy both the type of tasks I’ve been assigned (and in some cases voluntarily taken on) and the type of thinking required to complete them. It’s been a challenge, but one that I’ve found very motivating. And I L-O-V-E being a part of the CDC community!

IMG_1632

This binder was my best friend for a while back in January.

I should also point out that while I haven’t been blogging, I haven’t completely given up my breast cancer activism either. Back in January, I spent a somewhat delirious week and a half absolutely buried in Komen Atlanta Community Grant applications, followed by a fascinating evening listening to really smart, engaged women discuss the merits of the various grantees. It was a great experience throughout and even though the final grantee list for 2013-2014 hasn’t been posted yet, I’m already looking forward to doing it again next year. I’ve also been attending committee chair meetings for the Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure that is fast approaching (May 11th – have you registered yet?). My committee work has been basically non-existant thus far (as Safety Chair, there isn’t much to do until closer to the race date), although that will change this month when my responsibilities really kick in. However, it’s been eye-opening to sit in and listen to the behind-the-scenes chatter of how all of the pieces come together for race day.

The other thing that has been eating up my time in early 2013 has been running. I have been running my butt off this winter. I’ve already notched two PRs and came dang close to a third one, all the while training for my first half marathon that will take place just 12 days from now (EEEK!). I’ve spent a little bit of time over on my Kristen Runs pages updating my race results thus far and I’m in the process of updating my 2013 race schedule as well. You can be sure that I’ll post a quick update once that’s all set, hopefully by next weekend.

All of which brings us nicely to what I HAVEN’T been doing and how I am about to rectify that, starting tonight. And that thing is FUNDRAISING.

Back in January, I had big plans for a post about New Year’s Resolutions and my personal training and fundraising goals for 2013. And then one thing (work deadline!) led to another (grant reviews are due!) led to another (I need to update the race results from last year first… ) led to another (business travel? what’s business travel?) led to another (the dog ate the furniture!)…. and it just never happened, despite having actually set my goals for 2013 weeks and months ago. I wasn’t honestly sure I was going to even dedicate a blog post to my goals this year, but then tonight I saw that no less than Dean Karnazes wrote on Runner’s World that for fitness goals and resolutions, March is the new January, so I’m taking it as a sign. Plus, I clearly need some public accountability since I’ve been slow to get off the ground with some of these. So, without any further fanfare, here are my 2013 goals for (1) Running, (2) Fundraising and (3) Advocacy:

Running Goals

Celebrating at the finish line of the Hot Chocolate 15K in January!

  • Sub-30 minutes 5K – Not to spoil the ending, but I’ve already done this TWICE this year after never breaking this barrier before!
  • 10K PR – Because I’m SICK of getting slower at the Peachtree every year.
  • Complete two half-marathons – I’m definitely running the Publix Georgia Half Marathon on March 17th (my birthday weekend!) and I’m planning on running the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon in October on Mike’s birthday weekend as well.
  • Complete eight Atlanta Track Club Grand Prix races – I really want that sweet end of the season shirt. We’ve completed two already!
  • Volunteer ten times for the Atlanta Track Club – This isn’t a random number; there are end of the year gifts for volunteering ten or more times and I’m annoyed that I didn’t know that last year.
  • Total annual mileage of > 750 miles – This is notch up from the 600 something miles I ran last year. With my half marathon training, I’m well on pace to hit this goal!

Fundraising Goals

Advocacy Goals

  • Weekly fundraising updates and monthly training updates here on my blog
  • At least two blog posts per month not related to my races or fundraising to continue to spread the word about the need for more cancer research funding and how everyone can get involved.
  • Volunteer with Komen Atlanta or other local cancer not-for-profits at least six times this year (beyond my Race for the Cure and Community Grants commitments). In particular, I’d really love to get more involved with the American Cancer Society.

So those are my goals. Out there for everyone to see and read. I have always been a very goal-oriented person. When I set goals, I intend to do everything in my power to achieve them, even when things get tough and the world seems to be working against me. I WILL reach each of these goals, even those I’m already behind on.

Speaking of which… if you just read my goals, you hopefully just said to yourself, “Wait, if you’re trying to raise $1000 for this Capital Campaign thing by the end of March, why haven’t I heard anything about it???” Well, the reason you haven’t heard anything about it is because it took longer than I anticipated to get everything for that fundraiser up and running. But the good news is, I’m finally ready to kick off that fundraiser, which I’m calling “Run for the ROC“. And I’m doing it TONIGHT, in my very next blog post!