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Running For More…

The personal blog and website of Kristen Cincotta

Posts Tagged ‘3 Day Tweeps’

DetermiNation

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Sometimes, in both life and running, it is about reaching new highs and achieving personal bests. And sometimes, it’s just about putting one foot in front of the other and getting through the commitments we have made for ourselves. It is about the DetermiNation to see the thing through.

Ready!

Ready!

Tomorrow is the Atlanta Marathon 10 Miler. I am running it to raise money for the American Cancer Society through their DetermiNation mini-series program. I called my fundraiser the #Run4Results because I am inspired by the great results that the ACS has had in the fight against cancer to try to achieve the best results I can. As with all of my races, I am going to run it to the best of my ability in the moment. But that “best” will be far from my personal best.

In the last few miles of the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon earlier this month, I started to develop a twinge on the outside of my right knee. That twinge grew into a full blown IT band problem on my only other long run between then and now (a 9 miler two weeks ago). I haven’t been able to run more than 2.5 miles since then without it hurting immensely. Making matters worse, I learned on that rather awful 9 mile run that running through the knee pain caused me to alter my gait in a way that re-aggravated the left ankle injury that I never let properly heal in July. I spent over a week after that long run alternating between a seriously aching knee and a seriously aching ankle.

Since then, I have taken it VERY easy with my running. I have run only three times, and never more than three miles at a time, for a total of less than nine miles in two weeks. Even with that easy schedule, I’m still hurting. So tomorrow when I toe the starting line, I know that I will be running headlong into a painful situation. And I am going to do it anyways.

I am not required to run this race tomorrow. In fact, the smart thing to do would be to skip it altogether. But I made a promise to myself and to all of my supporters in my #Run4Results fundraiser that I would run this race and I want to live up to that promise.

In the last year, I have watched as some of my nearest and dearest have continued to fulfill their obligations while facing much more significant challenges than a sore knee and ankle. I have watched my mom face every new cancer treatment and every new setback with a resolute determination to just keep fighting. I watched my father-in-law face his own cancer diagnosis and treatments with a stoic steadfastness that is inspiring. I watched the running community come together and resolve to keep racing in the face of the Boston Marathon bombings. I watched my friend Julie struggle through an endless battle with plantar fasciitis to complete as many miles as possible during the Boston 3 Day this summer. And just this week, I have watched that same friend say good-bye to her mother after her sudden passing, something that shook all of us who know Julie and her mom Pat to our core. Watching Julie persevere in the face of a pain I can only imagine has been inspiring and has made my injuries seem downright trivial.

So, in honor of my loved ones, I will attempt to do as they have done. I will keep fighting. I will be steadfast in my determination. I will resolve to make it to the finish line. I will persevere and I will reach the finish line. This will not be my best run. In fact, it may very well be my worst. But without a doubt, it will be one of my most meaningful races.

If you would like to support me in my #Run4Results fundraising efforts, you can still make a donation to the American Cancer Society in my name at the link below. I am less than $100 shy of my goal of raising $1000. Please consider making a donation in whatever amount is right for you and helping me reach my goal. More importantly, your donation will help so very many others as they persevere through their personal fights with cancer to achieve their goals, something far more important than my race tomorrow.

ACS Determination Logo 2

Please click on the image above to visit my fundraising page and make your donation!

Race Recap Flashback: Atlanta Race for the Cure

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Welcome back to Race Recap Flashback week! I have already recapped my Run for the ROC at the Publix Georgia Half Marathon, which you can read here, and I’ll be posting my recap of the Peachtree Road Race over the weekend. Tonight, it’s all about the Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure, which took place over Mother’s Day weekend back in May!

Every year, the Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure is on Mother’s Day weekend. Because much of my breast cancer advocacy is inspired by my mom’s fight with breast cancer, that makes it especially meaningful for me. I was even able to walk last year’s event with Mom, which was a whole new experience for me. The Komen Race was also my first EVER road race that I actually ran, again making it an extremely important event for me all around. If I had run the race this year, it would have been my seventh event here in Atlanta and my ninth (tenth?) Race for the Cure total.

But, of course, I didn’t run the race this year. I didn’t walk it either. Instead, for the first time, I was actually on the race planning committee, where I served as Safety Chair. And because I was committed to making sure everyone else had a safe race, that meant I couldn’t run the race myself. However, because as Safety Chair I wasn’t anchored to a particular area of the race site, I was really able to take in all of the aspects of the event. So, since this isn’t a traditional race recap, I’m going to do this recap a little differently too. It’s going to be a photo recap!

(Sidenote: If you want to see any of the pictures here in a larger view, just click on the pics themselves or on the link to the album at the bottom of the page.)

So, to start, I had to be at the race site at an absolutely heinous hour of the morning. However, I love this event so much that I was wide awake long before my alarm went off. My first order of business after I got to the site was checking in with my girl Julie who was responsible for assigning everyone their walkie talkies. I also had to get a picture of us together (even though it was still totally dark) to mark our three year “In Real Life” friend-a-versary (and our 4th Race for the Cure together)!

Pre-race shot with my girl!

From there, I did a quick tour of the race site and helped get my Grady medical teams ready to go. Then, it was back down to Julie at “Central Command” to fetch one of my favorite little people: her daughter Niblette. I was also able to capture this beautiful little moment of them:

LOVE THEM

My next “assignment” was to hand out our special Pink Honor Roll t-shirts (and coffee!) to our top 100 fundraisers, which Miss Niblette was kind enough to help me out with:

Pink Honor Roll shirts!

With my super helper Niblette

With the rest of the volunteers assigned to the Pink Honor Roll tent

I also had some visitors while I was working in the Pink Honor Roll tent:

Some of my #3DayTweeps before the race, including my friend Pam (in blue), Anne Marie (in the bandana), and Anne Marie’s daughter Liza. Niblette walked with them during the race.

Mike came and hung out with me before he went to actually run the race. Since I had to be there so early, he actually ran TO the race before running IN the race.

Not long after that, Mike headed down to find some of his work colleagues who were also running the race while we broke down the Pink Honor Roll tent. From there, it was time for me to make my way to the starting line, checking out the sights along the way:

Mike with his colleagues Lisa, Brandon, and Justin before the race. Go FFG!

Some last minute stragglers picking up their race numbers.

More of our great volunteers working hard before the race.

I also made one last check in with some of my medics, where I commented that things had been really quiet on the safety front thus far, including during the one mile fun run. They told me to me to NEVER say that because it’s basically tempting fate. As you’ll read later, I really should have listened to these guys:

Some of my phenomenal team from Grady, waiting for the race to start.

After that, I headed right to the front of the crowd and made my way up onto the starting platform. I’ve ALWAYS wanted to see the race from up there and I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity. I was able to get some GREAT pictures!

The MASSIVE crowd of racers waiting to start…

And with a word from the Komen Atlanta Executive Director Cati Stone (in the pink shirt), our racers were off and running!

Racers making their way towards the start as the large crowd pushed forward. And hey look! Even though I didn’t see him AT ALL, I totally captured Mike in my picture (left side, blue t-shirt, behind the folks in the pink “Thing” shirts)!

Racers flooding across the 17th Street Bridge

And of course, making their way along the crowd were my bike medics! Go team!

Once everyone was safely out on the course, I took a shortcut back through Atlantic Station and down to the finish line area. I met up with Julie again and captured this great shot of her with the banner she designed for our Survivor Tent when we went in to grab water bottles:

We love our survivors AND those who are surviving!

Like I said: Survivors AND Surviving!

I also took some time to check in with some of our local community grantees:

As a Community Grants Review Board Member, I felt extra proud of this group!

At this point, I figured I should head to the finish line and try to catch Mike, who I missed by a couple minutes. However, it didn’t take me long to find him and we were able to catch up for a few minutes. Unfortunately, though, that was all we had because my walkie talkie suddenly started barking my ear – someone was having an asthma attack at the finish line and I needed to head over there. So off I raced into the crowd, thinking I’d see Mike again in a few minutes. By the time I got there, my Grady folks had already taken care of things. So I stopped to chit chat with one of the bike medics to find out what happened and have her fix my walkie. As she was taping up my radio, I commented to her that it was probably the most first aid she’d have to deliver all morning, which, of course, jinxed us AGAIN.

As it turns out, while we were chatting, things were getting ready to go a little crazy on the safety and medical front. Over the course of the next 45 minutes, my medical team had to provide additional care for the person with the asthma attack, as well as a woman with a broken arm and FOUR people with severe dehydration. Apparently, since we had been expecting rain and overcast skies, folks weren’t prepared for what ended up being our warmest morning of the year to date and failed to hydrate properly before and during the race. Needless to say, I was QUITE busy during this period and didn’t take any pictures. You don’t really want to see pictures of people scared and in pain anyways.

Thankfully, my volunteer medics from Grady were true professionals and handled everything VERY smoothly. In the end, everything calmed down and, eventually, I was even able to help everyone else break down the race site post-event. I am also really glad that I ignored the repeated reassurances from the experienced members of the planning committee that “there’s never really any incidents, so Safety Chair is an easy gig” and made sure I had a solid emergency response plan in place BEFORE the race. We had more incidents in this one 5k than they’ve had in the previous three Atlanta Race for the Cure events combined.

Our race chairs, Jess and Liz, celebrating the end of a successful event!

From there, it was off to brunch with Mike, Julie, Niblette, and some of my #3DayTweeps friends and then home to a well-earned nap. It was a long day, but a very fun and fulfilling day!

Posing with some of my team at the end of the race. I really can’t say enough about how great they all were to work with! Thank you Grady EMS!!

So that pretty much wraps up my 2013 Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure experience. It was definitely challenging in new and different ways, but it was also fantastic to get to experience so many aspects of this year’s event. I am ABSOLUTELY planning to come back and take part in the Race Planning Committee again next year. Our new Executive Director has some big goals for us to grow and improve our event and I could not be more excited to help her make them a reality.

See you again in 2014, Atlanta!

PS – If you would like to see ALL of my pictures from the Race for the Cure, you can find them here.

Gone, But Never Forgotten

Friday, April 5th, 2013

I know that I still owe everyone a recap on my first half marathon and an update on the results of my Running for the ROC fundraiser. Those posts will be coming, soon. But tonight, I wanted to talk for a minute about Bridget Spence.

Bridget, featured in an ad for Komen for the Cure

Bridget was a member of my pink family. I never had the privilege of meeting Bridget, but as part of the extended 3 Day family, I felt like I knew her. I think a lot of us felt that way. She was so open and honest in her blog, My Big Girl Pants, it was hard not to feel like she was an old friend. Today, we all received word that after a long battle with breast cancer, Bridget passed away last night surrounded by those who truly did know and love her best.

Bridget’s cancer was similar to my mom’s. As similar as a cancer can be, I guess, when it strikes a woman in her early 60s and a young lady in her early 20s. Both of their cancers were/are HER2+, a protein marker that we didn’t even know was a thing until the last two decades. The discovery of HER2+ cancers quickly led to the development of Herceptin, the drug that both my mom and Bridget credited with extending their lives far beyond what used to be expected for Stage IV metastatic breast cancer.

Herceptin is a different kind of drug. The HER2 gene causes cells to express extremely high levels of cell surface receptors that promote improper, aggressive cell division. Herceptin is an antibody that gloms onto those receptors, effectively blocking them from promoting cell division. Unlike other chemo drugs, which interrupt universal cell division processes (and therefore target ALL dividing cells in the body, leading to those side effects that are commonly associated with cancer treatments), Herceptin only affects the cancer cells that are over-expressing these receptors. As a result, it is tolerable for far longer than most chemo drugs. My mom was on Herceptin for the entire first 18 months she was being treated and has been on it continuously since her cancer came back in early 2010. From what she wrote, Bridget was on it for most of her 6+ years of treatment. Herceptin is not a cure in and of itself. Instead, Herceptin keeps the cancer at bay so that individuals like Mom and Bridget can live their lives. Herceptin turns metastatic breast cancer into a chronic condition rather than an immediate death sentence.

Herceptin first gained FDA approval 15 years ago. That’s not that long ago, as far as biomedical breakthroughs go. But scientists aren’t generally the sort to be contented with one breakthrough. Herceptin isn’t perfect. So scientists and the organizations that fund them started asking “What’s next?”. And what was next is TDM-1. TDM-1 is a new drug that is a hybrid of two cancer drugs that we already had: Herceptin plus a super potent molecule of traditional chemotherapy. On its own, that chemo molecule is too damaging to be used in medical care, even for metastatic cancer. It just wouldn’t be tolerable at the doses you’d need to give to get full coverage of a cancer that has spread throughout the body. But! Stick that molecule of super chemo onto a Herceptin molecule, and it’s the equivalent of adding a honing device to missile. Suddenly, the chemo bomb is delivered directly to the cancer cells. That means that far less of the chemo needs to be given to have the same anti-cancer effect. All of the potency, relatively minimal cellular collateral damage. This is what a I truly believe is the future of chemotherapy. And because of Herceptin, HER2+ breast cancer is the first one to have a specific antibody-chemo conjugate that targets it.

TDM-1 was approved for use by the FDA on February 22nd, 2013, when it was rechristened “Kadcyla”. It was in clinical trials last summer when my mom was told that the current treatment she was on might be the last one available to her once her cancer outsmarted it. These last few months have been stressful, wondering what would happen first: would Mom’s cancer would wisen up to the taxotere she was taking and become resistant or would TDM-1 get approved? Thankfully, the clinical trials were successful and the FDA, recognizing the potential in TDM-1, expedited the approval just in time. Mom’s cancer hasn’t yet outsmarted the taxotere. But a few weeks ago, the taxotere outsmarted her lungs and caused significant fluid accumulation, making it unsustainable as a cancer treatment.

Mom will start Kadcyla in a few weeks, if not sooner. And because of Bridget, my mom knows what to expect of this brand new drug. That’s because brave, strong Bridget was in the clinical trials for TDM-1.

When your parent is diagnosed with cancer and you are told that it will be okay, because there are treatments available, you are relieved. You probably don’t give much thought to the people who came before you, who tried all of those experimental drugs and surgeries before we knew what they would do. When you’re told there may not be any more treatments available, it is terrifying. You are obsessed with the clinical trials: who’s in them, what are they experiencing, is it going to work???

You almost never get answers to those questions. Because of Bridget and her honesty, I did. And more importantly, my mom did. That kept Mom fighting so that she would be here for the day that TDM-1 became a reality for her. That’s why Mom is still here, feeling strong and optimistic about this next phase of treatment.

Bridget gave me the greatest gift I have, and probably will ever receive: more time with my mom. That is a priceless gift. In her final blog post back in December, Bridget asked that we not forget her. I know that I absolutely never will.

When I Ran for the ROC at the Publix Half Marathon in March, I dedicated one of my miles to Bridget, knowing that she had made the courageous decision to end her treatments. Tomorrow morning, I will run the Northwestern Mutual Road to the Final Four 5K benefitting the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs Cancer program in Bridget’s name. It is the very least I can do to honor someone who has given me so much.

Getting Back on Track with #NHBPM!

Friday, November 2nd, 2012

So…

After a really dedicated month or two of blogging, I sort of fell off the regular posting train there, didn’t I? And during Breast Cancer Awareness Monthno less, when I had so many topics that I wanted to post about it. Alas, after a few months of relatively low key unemployment, my October got REALLY busy. Busier than I’ve been since my dissertation defense last December. Here’s just a sampling of what I was up to in October that kept me away from writing:

Taking meetings on The Hill!

  • I spent four days in Savannah with my family celebrating both my husband & a cousin’s shared birthday and another cousin’s wedding. It was a BLAST.
  • I spent three days volunteering at and attending the Network for Public Health Law conference here in Atlanta, networking my tail off and learning so much about this fascinating aspect of public health. If you follow me on Twitter, I was blowing it up with conference tweets there for a bit using the hashtag #PHLC2012.
  • I spent four days in Washington DC taking a series of informational meetings on public health careers within the federal government and government affairs that a long time friend and colleague of my mom’s generously offered to set up for me. I also got to see some of my closest friends from Atlanta, almost all of whom have relocated to DC over the years, including their cutie kids Alice and Soren!
  • I also had a series of informational meetings with folks working in public health here in the Atlanta area that came out of my networking at the NPHL conference.
  • I took part in a number of public health related webinars and web/twitter chats, something I’ve been doing regularly since last spring in order to learn as much as I can about the current state of public health and the big challenges facing those working in the field.
  • I volunteered at two health fairs on behalf of the Atlanta affiliate of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, helping to hand out important information on breast health care, mammography, and breast cancer, something I’ve been doing now for about seven months.
  • I volunteered twice with the Atlanta Track Club, helping them prepare for the Atlanta Marathon and Marathon Relay that took place on October 28th. I LOVE getting to know people in the Atlanta running community and being a part of these events even if I wasn’t running – so inspiring!
  • Speaking of running, I ran in the Winship Win the Fight 5K to raise money for the Winship Cancer Center at Emory University. I also walked in the American Cancer Society Making Strides event in Marietta and ran in another local race as well.
  • I cheered on my friends on the last day of the Atlanta 3 Day for the Cure, which unfortunately overlapped with my DC trip so I couldn’t take part on the other days.
  • And in the midst of all that, I got the worst head cold I’ve had in years that is still with me more than two weeks later. Ironically, I’m pretty sure I picked it up from the Health Policy Director for the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions committee.

Meeting “new” friends and #3DayTweeps at Closing Ceremonies for the Atlanta 3 Day!

Plus I was still trying to keep up with my usual job searching and training activities throughout all of that. As I said, it was a crazy busy month and I’m honestly not surprised I got sick in the middle of it. I haven’t been out running around like this in a pretty long time. And with all of that going on, something had to give and that something was my blog, just for a bit.

BUT! Looking at my calendar for November, things look a lot calmer. Things seem to maybe, possibly, be settling in on the job search front (no more details for now until things are more definite… ) and I’m not planning to attend any races or big advocacy events in November. In fact, the only really big thing on my calendar is my husband and I’s first trip home to New York for Thanksgiving in nine years. So my big goal for this month is to pick up where I left off with my blog. Which brings me to #NHBPM

#NHBPM is the Twitter hashtag associated with WEGO Health’s National Health Blog Post Month. WEGO Health is an online network of health activists that I’ve been keeping up with primarily via Twitter over the last few months. WEGO’s primary goal is to connect health activists using social media platforms  and to help health bloggers especially by providing useful resources and inspiration. WEGO Health also sponsors weekly twitter chats focused on various challenges facing online health activists that I’ve found pretty interesting, including one on breast cancer activism last week.

Inspired by other November writing challenges, like NaNoWriMo and BlogHER’s NaBloPoMo, National Health Blog Post Month is WEGO Health’s latest initiative to help foster conversations amongst the health activist community of which I consider myself a member. The challenge is relatively simple in concept: 30 health-related blog posts in 30 days. To help with this challenge, WEGO Health has set up different writing prompts for each day of November that I’m mostly going to try to stick to. I say mostly because I’ve looked over the prompts and there are some days where I’m just not inspired by either of the prompts that were given. So on those days, I’ll go “off script” a bit and instead post on the topics that I’ve been meaning to write about for a long time now. Knowing myself and how I work, I can already tell you that I won’t necessarily get a post up every single day either (like, uh, yesterday… ). But it’s my goal that by the end of November, I will have written and posted 30 different blog posts relevant to my little corner of the health activist world, which is breast cancer research advocacy.

Since I’m a day behind already, I’m going to roll my #NHBPM response for Day 1 right into this blog post. For each day of this challenge, there are two prompts and as bloggers, we’re challenged to reply to one of them. So, for Day 1 the prompt I’m choosing to start with is:

Why I write about [my] health…

First and foremost, I should note that I differ from the majority of WEGO Health’s bloggers because I generally don’t write about my own health (other than talking about my training for events) and I definitely don’t write about my experiences with a given health condition from the perspective of a patient. While I do choose to focus my efforts on one particular disease (breast cancer, natch), I instead write my blog from my perspective as the daughter of a cancer survivor, a biomedical health researcher, and a passionate research advocate. As I’ve dug further into the breast cancer advocacy community, I’ve come to realize that, through no fault of their own, health research advocates, while well meaning, are often ill-informed about the actual process and needs of biomedical research. Rather, I think this mis-information is the fault of scientists who have done an exceptionally poor job advocating for themselves and educating the public about why science and health research is so critical if we want to live in a world with breast cancer. Or diabetes. Or Alzheimer’s disease. Or any of these diseases that are stealing our loved ones from us far too frequently. So as a biomedical research scientist (I studied neural/immune control of heart function as an undergraduate and Alzheimer’s disease and mild cognitive impairment for my doctoral work), I decided it was time for me to heed the advice of Ghandi and be the change that I wanted to see in the world.

Ultimately, I have three primary goals that I’m working towards by writing this blog:

  1. I want to be the best advocate I can be by learning as much as I can about the current state of breast cancer research, funding, and policy. Researching and writing this blog helps me achieve that for myself.
  2. I want to help my fellow advocates be the best advocates they can be by helping them to understand the biomedical research community and its needs from an insider’s perspective. I don’t think I do this nearly enough, and I want to change that.
  3. I want to inspire those who are currently on the sidelines to get into the game when it comes to health advocacy, whether they choose to focus on breast cancer in particular or not. We are all human beings walking around in vulnerable bodies, which means we all stand to benefit from a better understanding of public health best practices and from more/better biomedical research. I hope that by highlighting various ways to get involved in advocating for improved health education, greater disease awareness, and increased research funding, I can motivate others to join me in my efforts.

So that’s why I choose to write about health issues. Hopefully with each post that I write, both throughout #NHBPM and beyond, I’m getting closer to achieving those goals!

Fantasy Olympics Wrap Up!

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

I know that the London 2012 Olympic Games have long since come and gone, but I would be remiss if I didn’t update everyone as to the final standings for our Fantasy Summer Olympics League benefitting members of the #3DayTweeps!

Ultimately, our league was made up of 29 paid teams, although thanks to the generosity of our family, friends, and fellow #3DayTweeps, we actually raised $370 total. That amount was divided into a $145 prize for our overall winner (equal to half of the $290 collected as entry fees) and $225 that was distributed amongst the walkers and crew members who helped recruit participants for our league fundraiser ($145 in entry fees plus an extra $80 in bonus donations). In the end, the five registered walkers who participated each received a donation of $30 and the three registered crew members each received a donation of $25 (because Nicole Anderson generously re-donated her portion back to the walkers). Those donations were all made on August 9th, just in time for the Chicago 3 Day in which many of the participating tweeps were walking and/or crewing.

So, in conclusion, the following #3DayTweeps received donations from this fundraiser:

Walkers
Julie Brock
Val Daniels
Laura Davis
Bernadette Massey
Cheryl Pochapin

Crew
Lyle Deckowitz
Anne Marie DeSimone
Alison Glancz

As for our overall winner, I am thrilled to announce that a fellow #3DayTweep, Jennifer Carbary and her team, Save the Toucans, were ultimately victorious in our Fantasy Olympics League! That means that Jen is the recipient of the $145 grand prize. Because Jen had already reached her fundraising minimum for her 2012 3-Day walk in Michigan, she requested that I hold her prize money to donate to her 2013 fundraising efforts, which I have since done. Congratulations Jen and what a great use for the $145!

In case you were interested in how your team ultimately fared, the COMPLETE final standings for our Fantasy Olympics League were:

Gold Medal Save the Toucans Jennifer Carbary 1856
Silver Medal Lyle Lyle Deckowitz 1847
Bronze Medal Shannon Miller JT Shoemaker 1787
4 Alison Alison Glancz 1759
5 Bernadette Bernadette Dohmen 1725
6 Henry’s Picks Laura Davis 1685
7 Z Team Kizo 1678
8 Croatian Water Polo Helmets Kristen Cincotta 1649
9 I love the oylimpics Dustin Davis 1597
10 Irish Car Bombs Joel Jackson 1569
11 Team Batman! Anne Marie DeSimone 1568
12 Julie Walks…all over the medal count! Julie Brock 1551
13 Wes Wes Lyons 1531
14 Cheryl Cheryl Pochapin 1503
15 Fruitcakes Kate Jackson 1487
16 Pinkalicious Nicole Anderson 1485
17 wile e. wolverines Michael Cha 1459
18 Casondra Casondra Clement 1440
19 Bryan Bryan Miller 1417
20 Valcinda of Stokesdale Valerie Daniels 1396
21 Rikki Rikki Noel-Williams 1375
22 SHOEt for the Gold! Matt Shoemaker 1348
23 Mike Mike Cincotta 1344
24 Lisa Lisa Brewster 1343
25 Medals for Mimi Jen Rabbitt 1340
26 Cinvaldia of Stokesdale Cindy Adams 1332
27 Go Sis!! Nancy McKeown 1306
28 Mylia Mylia Liddell 1299
29 PKS Warriors Gretchen Peters 1261
30 Team Big Sis Kristin Moreland 1256

 

Our league website is still public and can be found here, in the event that you want to look over the results in more detail. In particular, you can find the “ideal” fantasy team of countries that would have accumulated the highest possible score here. Relatedly, my good friend JT Shoemaker (who finished third overall) did a tremendous amount of work calculating all of the point totals and updating the site on a daily basis. Please join me in thanking JT profusely for his efforts – I could not have run this fundraiser without him!

And with that, I think this Fantasy Olympics fundraiser is complete. I could not be more thrilled that every penny of the $370 that we raised is going to help 3-Day walkers and crew members reach their fundraising goals and, as a result, will be put directly into the fight against breast cancer.

Thank you for playing along! See you again for the Sochi 2014 Winter Games!

Fantasy Olympics Update – Results as of Day 6

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

No Olympics spoilers here, I promise!

Just a quick update today on our Fantasy Olympics league that I am running as a fundraiser on behalf of a number of my friends walking/crewing in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day. As of the completion of the events on Thursday, North Korea and South Africa are still proving to be Tier 4 powerhouses and our previous leader, Nancy McKeown is still holding strong with 514 of 802 possible points. As for the rest of the top five, things currently look like this:

Rank Team Name Player Name Total Points
1 Go Sis!! Nancy McKeown 514
2 Henry’s Picks Laura Davis 510
3 Rikki Rikki Noel-Williams 509
4 Bryan Bryan Miller 499
5 Team Big Sis Kristin Moreland 492

As a reminder, you can view the full standings for all 29 teams on our Fantasy Olympics League website. We are updating the results on the website each morning (usually around 10am) to reflect the results of the previous day’s events (so no spoilers unless you scroll down to the actively updating medal count widget from NBCOlympics.com). While six full days are already in the books, there’s still an entire week of competitions left to go. And with a lot of the action shifting from the pool to the track and with all of the team tournament event medals left to be awarded, it’s still anyone’s game to win!

Thanks for playing along and GO KENYA/JAMAICA/ETHIOPIA! Let’s win this for Team Croatian Water Polo Caps on the roads and the track!!!

PS: If you’re an Olympics Super Fan like I am, you NEED to be reading fellow Olympics Super Fan Samuel Jackson’s twitter feed. It is EVERYTHING you want it to be.

Fantasy Summer Olympics League – A #3DayTweeps fundraiser!

Tuesday, July 17th, 2012

Update: Entries for this fundraiser are now closed. Thanks to everyone who signed up and good luck over the next two weeks!

On July 27th, the entire world will turn their eyes to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics! The Olympics will run for two weeks and will conclude on August 12th at the Closing Ceremonies. Back in 2010, I ran a Fantasy Olympics league as a fundraiser for my team for the Breast Cancer 3 Day. While I’m not walking myself this year, I had so much fun with my previous Fantasy Olympics fundraiser that I’m running a league again this year on behalf of my fellow #3DayTweeps!

If you are interested in entering our #3DayTweeps Fantasy Summer Olympics League fundraiser, here’s the basic run down of how this is going to work. Every person who enters our contest will be asked to select 18 countries to be their “Fantasy Team” for the entire Olympiad. However, you can’t just choose any 18 countries. We have ranked all of the countries that have qualified athletes based on both their previous performances and their predicted results in London and grouped them into six “tiers”, with the top tiers being known Summer Olympics powerhouses and the lower tiers being long shots to medal at all. When you select your team, you will be asked to choose a select number of countries from each tier to compose your team. Then, throughout the Olympics, we’ll keep track of how many medals each of your countries wins for your team. Points will be awarded based on what color medal is won and will be weighted based on the tier of the country that won it. The point scheme will be as follows:

Gold Medals = 5 points x Tier Level
Silver Medals = 3 points x Tier Level
Bronze Medals = 1 point x Tier Level

In the end, we’ll figure out whose Fantasy Olympics Team has accumulated the most points to determine an overall winner for our contest!

If you would like to enter a team in our Fantasy Olympics League, simply click on this link and follow the instructions:

Enter the #3DayTweeps Fantasy Olympics League!

The above Survey Monkey link will lead you through the selection of your Fantasy Olympics team. At the conclusion of the selection process, you will be redirected back here. Then, using the handy Paypal “Donate” button below, you can make a small donation to the #3DayTweeps for the Breast Cancer 3 Day.

The donated money will be split evenly among the following #3DayTweeps who are helping me with this fundraiser:

Julie Brock (@JulieWalks) – Walking Chicago, crewing Atlanta
Bernadette Massey (@kiss316) – Walking Dallas
Anne Marie DeSimone (@amdesimone) – Crewing Atlanta
Laura Davis (@LDavis1800) – Crewing Chicago
Lyle Deckowitz (@lyledeck) – Crewing Cleveland, Chicago, Atlanta, AND San Diego
Cheryl Pochapin (@6puma) – Crewing Chicago, walking Michigan
Nicole Anderson (@nhanderson) – Crewing Chicago AND San Diego
Alison Glancz (@glancz) – Crewing Boston, Chicago, Atlanta, AND Arizona
Val Daniels (@sbux27) – Walking Chicago, crewing Atlanta

For this fundraiser, we are asking for a minimum donation of $10 per entry to be considered eligible for our cash prize. Feel free to enter as many teams as you would like. The prize amount will be equal to half the amount of money collected for this contest. If either myself or any of the #3DayTweeps listed above happens to win, the full value of the money collected for the contest will be donated to the participating tweeps.

Entries will be accepted until Friday, July 27th at NOON. Don’t hesitate – enter now! I will post a link to the “official” league website that my truly great friend JT is setting up for us once it is up and running. Periodic results updates will posted both on the league website and on this blog every 2-3 days during the Olympics and the final winner will be notified on August 13th. The final results will be posted here shortly thereafter. In the event of a tie, a name will be drawn out of a hat to determine the winner of the cash prize.

For more information about the Breast Cancer 3 Day, please visit the official website atwww.the3day.org. All of the latest news and information about the London Summer Olympics, including the previous medal totals for each country, can be found at http://www.london2012.com/ or http://www.nbcolympics.com/.

Thanks for playing Fantasy Olympics with us!  This should be a really fun fundraiser so please pass along the information to anyone that you think might be interested in joining our league.  The more entries we get, the larger the cash prize we can offer and more importantly, the more money we can raise for a wonderful cause!

Images are courtesy of http://www.london2012.com/ and (c) LOCOG

Neither myself, this fantasy league, or the #3DayTweeps are in any way officially associated with the London Olympics games. Please don’t sue me!

Kristen RUNS Update!

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

Running in the Resolution Run 5K (in the blue shirt & pink shades), alongside Mike (blue shorts) and Julie (pink running skirt).

When I first starting writing this blog, back when it was still hosted over on Blogger, I was using it primarily to keep my Breast Cancer 3 Day supporters informed about my ongoing training and fundraising efforts. In 2010, I expanded it a little bit and started talking about some additional breast cancer advocacy events that I was taking part in. Most of these events were centered around various walks in the Atlanta area (Relay for Life, Race for the Cure, Breast Cancer Network of Strength Walk to Empower), making the Kristen Walks blog title very fitting. However, around that same time, I started to get more into running, with the dual goals of running both that year’s Race for the Cure and the Peachtree Road Race. In the time since then, I have become quite an avid runner, taking part in numerous “competitive” and “fun run” type races, almost to the point where I might have to change the name of my blog!

As I’ve gotten more involved in the Atlanta running community, the running that I’m doing these days often has nothing to do with my cancer advocacy efforts. In order to keep everything here on the actual “Kristen Walks” blog portion of my website relatively on topic, I decided to sequester my running “stuff” on this website under the “Kristen Runs” tab at the top of the page. Over there, you can find my racing plans for this year, recent and past results, links to some useful running resources around the web that I’ve found, and of course, my running photo albums. However, as I’m about to head into a series of races that are focused more on fundraising (and just plain FUN!) and less on actual racing, I thought this would be a good time for a (relatively) brief recap of my 2012 running season so far!

2012 Race Results To Date: The “Competitive” 5K Season

My first four races this year were generally smaller, non-fundraising events, most of which were put on by the Atlanta Track Club (ATC) as part of their Grand Prix series of races. Because of that, I’ve been thinking of this stretch as my “competitive” 5K season, focusing primarily on rebuilding strength and stamina in my legs after a long, stagnant period while I was writing my dissertation last fall and improving my personal times. I’m certainly no speed demon and I’ve never entered a race with the goal being to beat anyone but myself, but I’ve entered each of these first four races with specific goals I wanted to accomplish for myself. Thanks to a solid training plan and some hard work, I’m proud to say that I’ve hit all of my early running goals, setting me up for a really fun spring and summer of racing.

Race #1: ATC Resolution Run 5K:

Goal: Set a baseline 5K performance to build on in 2012.

This ATC Grand Prix race took place bright and early on New Year’s Day. My running through the fall and early winter had been sporadic at best and non-existent at worst, so I had zero expectations for this race. I just wanted to give it my best effort and use that as a baseline going forward. I ran this race with my fellow #RunningBadass2012 (our “team” nickname) Julie and my husband Mike. I wasn’t totally pumped about my 34:34 final time, but as I said, I knew I had to start somewhere. The accomplishment here was starting the new year on a positive, healthy note and setting my baseline. Only faster times from here on out!

#RunningBadasses2012 (Kate, Julie and I), freezing our bums off before Hearts and Soles

Race #2: ATC Hearts and Soles 5K:

Goals: Run the whole race, with no walking breaks. Improve my time from the Resolution Run.

This race took place on February 11th and had a fun Valentine’s theme. I had just gotten home from a wonderful 10-day vacation with my mom the weekend before and while I did get in some miles on the “track” on my cruise ship, I was a little concerned about how I was going to fare in this race. It was also FREEZING cold and drizzling rain as we waited for the race to start. So for me, the biggest goal here was to simply run the whole thing and hope that translated into a faster time than at the Resolution Run. Running a full three mile race was a HUGE goal of mine last year and it took a solid three months of training to achieve it. I was really eager to get back to that stage for this race. Julie and our third #RunningBadass2012 Kate had similar goals for this race as well. So, in the spirit of the race, I threw my heart into it, gutted out the full 3.1 miles without walking and was rewarded with a 33:08 final time. Things are looking up!

Race #3: JLA ShamRock ‘n’ Roll 5K:

Goal: Beat my time from this same race last year (so, sub-32:26).

While technically this race did have a charity component (raising money for the Junior League of Atlanta), I didn’t enter it for that reason and therefore, didn’t think of it as a charity race. Rather, for the second year in a row, Mike’s office sponsored a small team and I ran this race alongside them. Last year, this race came up on the calendar towards the end of my Women on the Move training group and I had high expectations to run the whole thing, only to be defeated by an unexpected large hill in the middle of the course. This year, I was armed with knowledge about the course and together with my success at Hearts and Soles, I knew that this was going to be a good race for me – and it was! I felt strong throughout the race and was thrilled to cross the finish line in 32:00 flat, knocking a full 26 seconds off my time from last year!

Celebrating two 5K PRs after the Women's 5K!

Race #4: ATC Atlanta Women’s 5K:

Goal: Set a new 5K PR, which I set at this same race last year (so, sub-31:22).

This is the first time I’ve ever entered a race solely focused on setting a PR and as soon as I vocalized to Mike that that was my goal, I got really nervous about actually being able to hit it. Running sub-31 minutes meant close to (or under) 10 minute miles for the whole race, which was faster than I had been training. But I had felt really strong on my training runs and at JLA, I was familiar with (and LOVED) this course, and I really wanted to see if I could hit that PR knowing that it’s going to be awhile before I run another competitive 5K. I set off with my fellow #RunningBadasses2012, steadily increased my pace over the course of the race, blasted through the finish line at a dead sprint and was THRILLED with my 30:19 PR!!

Over the course of these three months, I’ve managed to drop 4 minutes and 15 seconds from my 5K time, something that I’m incredibly proud of. My fellow #RunningBadasses2012 have likewise seen similar improvements in their times, making our “partnership” successful all around! So, with my new PR in my back pocket, it’s time to look forward to the next three months of running: new distances, new challenges, and maybe a chance at a new 10K PR as well.

Oh, and in addition to my own races, I’ve also volunteered at two additional races this winter/early spring: the inaugural Intown 10K and the Publix Georgia Marathon. I’ve started compiling my photos from my various race volunteering experiences in this album, in case you’re curious.

What’s Next for 2012: Charity Race Season!

While I do have at least one other competitive race on my calendar between now and July (the ATC Father’s Day 4-miler in June), it’s time for me to get focused on the real reason that I started running again: to help raise money for cancer charities, especially those focused on breast cancer and especially breast cancer research. For me, the Charity Race Season is marked with a series of races where having fun and doing good is far more important than running fast. The first of these “fun runs” (and in this case, it really was insanely fun!) took place last weekend: The Color Run!! This 5K road race wasn’t a fundraising event per se, but it did raise money for one of my favorite local causes, the Children’s Hospital of Atlanta (or CHOA). A number of my friends who are new to running/exclusively walkers also did this “run” with me as part of Team Twitter ATL which made it all the more fun! Being super familiar with the route around Piedmont Park (where I run almost every day), I chose to jog between the color stations and then wait for my teammates to run through each of the color stations together. As a result, I was able to get a ton of great pictures both out on the course and at the big color party at the finish line. It was a really fabulous way to spend the morning and it was the perfect way to kick off Charity Race Season!



Team Twitter ATL on the route (L) and celebrating at the finish line (R)

Now that most of the colors have been washed out of my hair, I’m starting to look ahead to the rest of my charity race schedule this spring and early summer. Namely, the charity races I’ll be running this “season” are:

(1) the Atlanta Race for the Cure (May 12th), a 5K benefiting the Atlanta affiliate of Komen for the Cure

(2) the Warrior Dash (May 19th), a 5K-ish mud run benefiting St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital

(3) the Peachtree Road Race (July 4th), the world’s largest 10K road race, which I’m running this year to benefit a cancer charity that is still TBD while I’m still setting things up over on Crowd Rise.

For each of these races, I WILL be actively fundraising. Because these events all overlap, I’m actually going to be fundraising for all three of my selected charities simultaneously, with a specific fundraising goal for each one and a larger goal to encompass all three events. I’ll be going into more detail about why these charities/events and how you can donate in my next blog post, so keep reading!

And that, I think, wraps up my running recap for 2012 to date! I’m going to continue updating the Kristen Runs pages over the next few months and I’ll be writing up official training, fundraising and race recap posts for each of my charity races as well. I’m getting really excited for this stage of my race calendar and even more excited to be sharing my progress with my blog readers again!


Who knew running could be this much fun?!

 

It’s Dissertation Crunch Time. And It’s Not Pink.

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

Greetings, friends!

I know it’s been a very long time since I’ve blogged. However, that thing that I wrote about early last winter? Well, it’s still going on. I am STILL working on my doctoral dissertation.

Still.

*SIGH*

Back then, I thought I was into writing “crunch time”. I really did. But man, I had NO idea what I was talking about. I have spent the last however many months analyzing new-ish data, reanalyzing old data in light of the new data, writing my final manuscript, reading, planning, writing dissertation chapter outlines, collecting references, rewriting my final manuscript, making figures, writing dissertation chapter after dissertation chapter, rewriting my manuscript AGAIN… It really just doesn’t end. I have a goal defense date penciled in on my calendar. (No, I will not tell you when it is until it’s final, I don’t want to jinx it.) I have to finish and submit my dissertation four weeks before my defense. And somehow, before I defend and am done with graduate school forever, I also need to find a job. Which requires a resume. D’oh.

So what I’m saying is, this period I’m in right now? This is for really real CRUNCH TIME. I have deadlines backed up onto deadlines. I have 37 hours worth of things on my to do list every. single. day. As much as I pride myself on my ability to multi-task and try not to become too singularly focused on any one thing at a time, right now, I just need to focus. And that means putting the pink “Do Not Disturb” post-it note back up on my blog. I need to get this done and I need every minute of my own time for myself in order to get it done on time.

As for my current activities with the Komen 3 Day for the Cure community, well, they’re in limbo. Here’s the rundown:

1, I will not be formally taking part in any of the 3 Day events this year. I was hoping to be able to throw a hail mary pass late this summer and possibly be able to walk here in Atlanta with Team Twitter Atlanta this October. But there just won’t be time to do any fundraising or training (even just for fun with my local Tweeps!) before my defense. I can barely keep up with my life and my writing without trying to prepare for a 3 Day event. It is just going to be impossible this year. Next year, though, I will be back with a pink vengeance!

2, I WILL be out walker stalking the Atlanta 3 Day in my hot pink wig and cheering on all of my friends, you can count on that!

3, I will only be able to make minimal updates to the #3DayTweeps website in the coming weeks. I am hoping that my fellow moderators over there can have my back a little and keep things going smoothly in my relative absence. But for now, if you need something from that site, please, please be patient! We do everything (including adding new Tweeps!) by hand and it is a time consuming process. I’m not complaining, but I am asking for patience. To my fellow tweeps, feel free to update that blog on the front page whenever you want! The #3DayTweeps community that we try to foster through the site is what we all make it. If I need to duck out for a few weeks, I have full faith that you all will keep it going in my absence.

4, 3 Day Mug will only be going to a handful of events this year. She blogged about her plans earlier tonight, which you can read about here. Eventually, all of the Mug pictures from last year (as well as my pictures from the 2010 Boston 3 Day!) will make their way online. But not anytime soon, alas.

5, If I find myself with a few minutes here and there, I may tweak this site a bit. This is still a really new website for me and I have a long list of changes and upgrades I still want to make. I also have at least three blog post ideas per day that I am itching to write, but there just isn’t enough to research and write everything I would like. Or anything I would like, truthfully. Like I said: CRUNCH TIME. If I’m writing anything these days, it has to be related to my manuscript and/or my dissertation.

6, Finally, I will probably be making myself pretty scarce on my various social networks for the next few weeks. I’ll be following the various 3 Day events on Twitter as best as I can, but during the week, I’m probably not going to be tweeting much. I’m almost definitely not going to be able to get into the long sprawling conversations with my #3DayTweeps and other friends that I enjoy so much. I’m also going to be something of a ghost on Facebook. I find Facebook particularly frustrating if I can’t read “everything”, so it’s just better for me not to try. If there’s something critical posted there that you think I really need to see, send me a message and I’ll check it out. Otherwise, I won’t be there much.

Oh, and I have a Google+ account now, but I haven’t really played with at all yet. I cannot wait to get my hands on that sucker though, it looks great!

So I think that covers all of my bases. I’ve been feeling pretty stressed this week just thinking about how I can possibly fit in everything that I would like to do and still finish my dissertation on time. And the truth of it is that I can’t. So I’m going to become a dissertation hermit and bang this sucker out once and for all. Oh, and rewrite that manuscript one last time. And get a job.

*Sigh*

Thanks for understanding, friends. You’re all invited to the party when I’m finally done!

 

Weary but determined,

Kristen

Credit to PhD comics, as always.

The Atlanta 3 Day Tweeps Training Walk!

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

One of the greatest things about the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure is the community of people that are involved in it.  3 Day people are optimistic, supportive and wonderful.  And that spirit of community expands far beyond the 3 Day event itself.  This past year, I have met so many great 3 Day walkers and crew members through Twitter.  Chatting with these great ladies and men is like getting a hit of 3 Day spirit every day.

Recently, a number of us Atlanta “tweeps” (or people on Twitter, for the uninitiated) got to chatting and we decided to meet up for a training walk.  We all decided to head up to the Silver Comet Trail this past Saturday for a nice nine mile walk between the Floyd Road and Mavell Road trailheads.  Due to scheduling conflicts, many of the ladies were unable to join us.  However, there were four of us that braved the rain and made it out on Saturday for our walk: myself (@kscincotta on Twitter), Julie (@knittingbagel), Lilly (@gphigirl) and 3 Day newbie Pam (@lilshadetree).  And of course, we were joined by a famous guest for our walk: Mug (aka @3DayMug)!  

After a few weekends of long solo training walks, it was a very nice to have some people to talk to.  We had a great chat during our walk and had a lot of fun, even though we had to dodge a few rainstorms along the way.  A little ice cream from the Silver Comet Depot post-walk and some incredibly nice gifts from Lilly rounded out an excellent morning of training.  It was truly the best way to spend my last weekend of training before the Boston 3 Day for the Cure in a few days!  Thanks ladies!

You can check out more of my photos from our training walk in this album on my Picasa page or in the slideshow below.  Enjoy!

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