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Running For More…

The personal blog and website of Kristen Cincotta

Posts Tagged ‘BCRF’

#Run4Results Fundraising Update!

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Hello friends!

Cruising into the finish line - still standing! (Photo courtesy of MarathonFoto)

Cruising into the finish line – still standing!
(Photo courtesy of MarathonFoto)

Tonight, I spent a few hours doing one of my favorite volunteer gigs – working the Atlanta Track Club membership booth at the Atlanta Half Marathon Expo. Between being surrounded by all of that running goodness and the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday later this week, I thought it was appropriate to log on tonight to write a quick update on my #Run4Results fundraising for the American Cancer Society and to express my gratitude to everyone who supported me in this fundraiser!

So, without further adieu, I am THRILLED to share that I passed my fundraising for the #Run4Results! When I set out to do this fundraiser, I was running as well as I ever have, but was coming off some disappointing results from my #Run4Research fundraiser. Then my computer crashed and with it, my hopes of reaching my $1000 goal for this fundraiser in time for the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon at the beginning of October. However, as I wrote here, I regrouped and refocused and despite the development of some injuries that hampered my running, decided to target the Atlanta Marathon 10 Miler as my fundraising “goal race”. I quickly sent out some fundraising letters explaining what I was doing (which you can read here) and started pumping my fundraiser on social media.

On race morning (which was VERY chilly), my fundraising stood at $912. Not quite at my goal, but well beyond 75% of my overall goal, which was where I wanted to be on race day. So going into the race, I felt pretty confident that I would get there. Sure enough, over the next couple weeks, a few last donations trickled in bumping my fundraising up to where it currently stands now: $1052.30!!

After my relatively easy #Run4ROC fundraiser in March and my really tough #Run4Research fundraiser in June and July, I really wasn’t sure how this last fundraiser would go. Ultimately, I learned two important lessons:

1. With fundraising, you get out what you put in. The donations for this fundraiser really came in bunches – one bunch when I started the fundraiser, another bunch when I ran the AllState 13.1 half marathon, a huge influx after I sent my fundraising letters, and a few last donations after I ran the Atlanta Marathon 10 Miler. Clearly, when I put in the effort to write and share about what I was doing and why, people responded. Donations aren’t made because you wished for them. You have to put in the elbow grease to get the word out there. I’ve learned this lesson many times over the years and clearly, I needed to learn it at least once more.

2. My friends and family are incredibly generous. This is the third fundraiser I’ve done this year. I haven’t added up the total amount raised yet (that’ll come in December), but it’s somewhere in the range of $2750. That’s HUGE. I couldn’t self donate anything close to that amount of money. I was only able to meet my $1000 goal for #Run4Results and reach that larger fundraising total because of the generosity of all of you. So, extra special thank you to all of my wonderful #Run4Results donors: Pam and John CincottaCarolyn and Dustin DavisJanice Eaton and Sam CincottaDeb and Jon EhretLianne ForseyJay and Carole FurrDot HighfieldJanet and Tim Shoemaker, Caitlin Thayer, and both of my parents, Karen and Roger Sager.

I also wanted to give a special shout out to a few especially generous donors, either in amount or frequency of donation (or both!):

  • Andy Carr, my main man at the Atlanta Track Club who also donated to my #Run4Research fundraiser
  • Brandi Hanback, a colleague of my Mom’s who has been incredibly supportive of her throughout her cancer saga
  • Kate and Joel Jackson, who also donated to my #Run4ROC fundraiser
  • Dawn Mazzanti, who donated to all three of my fundraisers this year which is just absolutely above and beyond
  • Laura Scholz and Tim Long, who ALSO donated to all three of my fundraisers and ran the 10 Miler with Mike and I
  • Faren Shear, who also donated to my #Run4ROC fundraiser
  • Nancy Torkewitz, my aunt who thinks she donated anonymously but didn’t which is why I get to publicly thank her!
  • Laurie and Larry Yaw, who also donated to my #Run4ROC fundraiser as well as to my mini-fundraiser for the Atlanta Making Strides event

I am humbled to know that so many people support me in my efforts to do something in the fight against cancer in general and breast cancer specifically. Together, we truly are making a difference. When I am giving thanks this Thursday, much of that gratitude will towards everyone who has helped me to reach so many of my fundraising goals this year!

ACS Determination Logo 2

Because I have met my fundraising goal for the #Run4Results, I am not actively raising money for this fundraiser anymore. However, I am still quite a bit short of my fundraising goal for the #Run4Research, benefitting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. That fundraiser is still open and active. If you would like to contribute and help me reach that goal by the end of the year, you can do so here. Thanks!

#Run4Results Fundraising Update!

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

We are now just under three weeks out from the AllState 13.1 Atlanta Half Marathon, which means that it is time for a little fundraising update!

To date, solely through the power of social media, I have raised $234.30 towards my goal of raising $1000 for the American Cancer Society, which is a fantastic start. Early donations make all of the difference when it comes to fundraisers like this. They give me hope and momentum that keeps me pushing to raise more money and I personally think that these early donations add legitimacy to my fundraiser, possibly encouraging others to make donations as well. So, to everyone who has donated so far, THANK YOU.

In particular, I have to recognize my four generous donors by name: Andy Carr, Faren Shear, Kate Jackson and her family, and Dawn Mazzanti and her family. All four of these wonderful folks not only donated to my #Run4Results fundraiser, but they have ALL donated to at least one of my other fundraisers this year as well. Dawn, in fact, has donated to all three fundraisers that I’ve run this year. Even more astonishingly, Faren, Kate, and Dawn are all fundraising for their own events this year too, which makes their generosity extra meaningful to me (clicking their names will take you to their fundraisers). So again, THANK YOU, to each of you for getting the ball rolling for me for this fundraiser!

I also wanted to take a minute and give a shout out to Cheryl Pochapin, who read my #Run4Research Lessons Learned post last week and was moved to make a late donation to that fundraiser. Cheryl is ALSO currently fundraising for her own event (and again, clicking her name will take you to her fundraiser). With Cheryl’s donation, my #Run4Research fundraising total has just barely edged out my #Run4Results fundraising total to date, with a total of $235 raised for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. So thank you Cheryl!

As for my own ongoing fundraising efforts, my overall goal still stands at $1000. However, I would be thrilled to reach my intermediate goal of $750 by race day, which is Sunday, October 6th. That means I’ll have to work a little harder to keep the donations rolling in, but if you’ve read this post about my less than successful #Run4Research, then you know that I’m already planning to do just that. So that’s the target I’m aiming at: $750 by race day!

To get there, I will be sending out my fundraising letters THIS WEEK to let my non-social media inclined friends and family know about my efforts. If you don’t get one, either via email or snail mail, let me know and I’ll send you the information. I’m also going to be posting my first piece about why I chose to focus my efforts on ACS. Hopefully between the two, I can really start to bring in the donations. If not, I’m going to have to start thinking about other fundraisers I can run and other sponsors I can bring on board. Stay tuned!

Finally, in addition to my 75% by race day goal, I would LOVE to get to $300 by the end of this week. If I can get to the $300 threshold, ACS will send me a DetermiNation singlet to wear for my race, giving me the opportunity to continue to draw attention to this great organization. I’m just $66 away from reaching this benchmark – can you help me get there today?

 

ACS Determination Logo 2

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

Thank you for all of your ongoing support!

Fundraising Lessons Learned from my #Run4Research

Sunday, September 8th, 2013

Early in the year, I decided that in 2013, I would try to raise $1000 for three different cancer organizations in conjunction with my three biggest races of theTime for Research Alarm Clock year. First, I ran for the ROC  at the Publix Georgia Half Marathon back in March and had AMAZING success with that fundraiser, ultimately raising $1513. Coming off of that high, I thought that my second fundraiser, my #Run4Results for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF) in conjunction with the Peachtree Road Race 10k would be just as successful. However, that fundraiser just never took off the way I had hoped that it would. In the end, I was only able to raise $205. For my third fundraiser of the year, the #Run4Results, which I launched a week ago and which benefits the American Cancer Society, I wanted to make sure that I do everything I can to recreate the magic of my #Run4ROC rather than repeating my less than successful #Run4Research. To that end, I’m going to take some time here to hash through what I think were the major lessons of the #Run4Research fundraiser that kind of wasn’t.

Lesson 1 – It Takes Time, Time, Time

I launched the #Run4Research on June 17th. The Peachtree Road Race was on July 4th. That means that even though I planned to continue the fundraiser for a few weeks post-race (and, in fact, you can still make a donation here if you’d like!), I really only gave myself three weeks before the race to generate awareness of my fundraiser and pull in donations. Then I went and developed a killer infected tooth that required an emergency root canal about a week before the Peachtree. Honestly, with as much pain as I was in, I was just not in the right mental state to be promoting my fundraiser. At that point, I was hurting so much, I wasn’t even sure how well I was going to run. Ultimately, I promoted my fundraiser for about a week, let it falter for a week and a half, tried to pump it again right before the race, and then kind of gave up when the donations just weren’t there.

So the lessons here? Give myself more time, both before AND after the race. I know from my years with the Breast Cancer 3 Day that people need time to hear about your effort and decide to donate. Sometimes they want to save more to make a bigger donation. Some people like to wait for pay day or the next time they pay bills. Some people just plain forget. Plus, things are going to come up on my end (like that toothache) and I need to be prepared for that. So this time around, I gave myself a full month before the race to raise awareness of my #Run4Results (which is probably still not quite enough) and I’m committing myself to continuing to promote this cause for a full two weeks post-race as well. With the #Run4ROC, I got the majority of my donations in the week after my big race because seeing my tweets and Facebooks posts and Instagrams from the race reminded them to donate. I’m sure if I hadn’t gotten discouraged and basically given up, I could’ve pulled in some more donations immediately after the Peachtree as well. So – more time pre-race to raise awareness and more time post-race to let people make their donations.

Lesson 2 – Just Like Training, Consistency is Key!

I already touched on this, but I was just NOT consistent in promoting my #Run4Research. I would tweet and Facebook about it regularly for a few days, and then completely go silent for days. In this era of social media, you have to say something repeatedly and then say it again if you want it to stick. There are just too many other things vying for people’s attention. If I don’t mention my fundraiser in some capacity on a regular-to-constant basis, people who have every intention of donating will forget. I’m guilty of this as well – I see fundraisers that others are doing and think “I should donate to so-and-so’s fundraiser!” and then completely forget when I don’t see constant reminders. So – consistency, consistency, consistency. Look for lots of posts, tweets, Facebooks, Instagrams, emails, whatever. It’s coming!

Lesson 3 – Move Beyond Social Media

All of my most successful fundraisers have included one key element – I sent out fundraising letters through both email and snail mail. Heck, my parents used to make me write a letter about why their co-workers should buy my Girl Scout cookies before they would take the order form in to work. I have been writing fundraising letters and distributing them in any way I could think of since I was a tiny person. So, what did I NOT make time to do for the #Run4Research? Yeah, I never sent any fundraising letters. No emails and definitely no snail mail. I tried to do everything through social media and it didn’t work. I also didn’t bother to try to plan any other type of fundraiser either. No raffles, no contests, no events. I can’t say that I will have time to plan any big fundraising events for my #Run4Results, but I AM going to get back to what I know works the best for me – those fundraising letters. I just can’t expect everyone to come to my social media sites and make donations. I need to bring my cause to them. If I want my friends and family to go to the extra effort to support me, I need to go the extra mile to ask them directly.

Lesson 4 – Connect the Dots

And by connect the dots, I mean two things: I need to draw the connection between what I’m doing (running until my legs feel like spaghetti) and what I’m asking them to do (donate, donate, DONATE!) and I need to highlight my connection to the organization that I’m fundraising for. Let’s take each of these in pieces, starting with the second one.

When I set out to accomplish my three big races/three big fundraisers plan, I spent a lot of time deciding which organizations I wanted to fundraise for. I knew that I wanted my organizations of choice to be cancer organizations, and I wanted at least one of them to be explicitly a breast cancer organization. I wanted reputable organizations with solid track records of doing good work. I wanted at least one organization to focus primarily on research because I’m a research scientist and I wholeheartedly believe that research is our silver bullet to ending cancer forever. I wanted there to be some structure for running a fundraiser on behalf of each organization to already be in place. And I wanted to stay away from Komen, not because I don’t support them (because I obviously do) but because I’ve focused almost exclusively on them in the past and knowing the growing public fatigue towards Komen, I wanted to use my efforts to spotlight other organizations. So that is how I landed on my three organizations: the ROC (my mom’s oncology center), BCRF (a breast cancer foundation focused primarily on research), and the American Cancer Society (highly effective and diverse organization with a great structure in place for the fundraiser).

For the #Run4ROC, I had to put in a little extra effort to get the fundraiser itself set up since there wasn’t really a model already in place. However, my connection to the organization I was fundraising for was readily apparent. My mom has been getting her treatments at the ROC since 2007 and they have been tremendous to us. Many of my potential donors also had friends and/or family who had been treated there and those that didn’t wanted to extend their gratitude to the staff there for taking such excellent care of my mom. I didn’t have to work very hard to sell people on why donating to their capital campaign was a great thing to do.

For the #Run4Research, though, I over-estimated both the general awareness of BCRF AND the trust that folks had in them. A lot of the big breast cancer organizations have been hit pretty hard in the press lately and they are all feeling the pinch because of it. While I know that BCRF isn’t perfect, they are a VERY good organization. And they do put their money where their mouths are – in 2012, they donated 91 cents of every dollar raised to breast cancer research. In promoting my fundraiser, though, I never really made it clear why I had chosen them. This should have been an easy sell – I was a biomedical research scientist and I’m currently a public health research scientist. If I can’t sell people on the importance of funding research (especially under sequestration when federal funding for research is super tight!), then no one can. And somehow, I failed to make that connection. I can’t expect my potential donors to do the leg work to research an organization they’re not familiar with. I need to be the one to do the leg work and bring the facts to them if I want them to donate, especially since this was my second fundraiser of the year.

And speaking of leg work – I also think I need to draw the connection between my running and my fundraising a little better. With the 3 Day, it was fairly easy to draw that line – if I didn’t reach my fundraising minimum, I didn’t get to walk. I had skin in the game to make my fundraising successful, as it were. With the fundraisers I’m doing this year, that isn’t the case. I was running the Publix Half Marathon whether my #Run4ROC fundraiser was a success or not and I was running the Peachtree regardless of what happened with my #Run4Research. I tried to connect my fundraiser to my running by suggesting amounts for people to donate (like donations per mile or per minute of time), but I’m not sure that worked as well as I’d have liked.

For me, the connection between my running and my fundraising is this: I’m working HARD to prepare for this race. Because of social media and email and all of that, I can draw as much attention to my training efforts as I want (Hey! I ran 12 miles on Saturday!). And in drawing attention to my training efforts (Did I mention it was HOT when I ran 12 miles?!), I hope that I can take that little spotlight I’ve claimed for myself (TWELVE MILES!), and redirect it onto a cause that needs as much of a spotlight as it can get (How about a $12 donation for my twelve miles?). I’m not delusional here – I know that I don’t have the clout (or even Klout) of a celebrity when it comes to drawing attention to a cause or an organization that I care about. But through this blog, my many years volunteering for breast cancer organizations, and my personal experience as a researcher, I think I’ve built a little bit of credibility when it comes to highlighting organizations worth supporting. And, well, I’m really good at being loud. If I can use my loud voice and my legs to draw attention to a cause that matters deeply to me, I’m going to do it. I think I just need to make that more clear in my fundraising efforts!

Translating the Lessons to Action

So given all that, here’s what I’m going to do differently to make my #Run4Results just as successful as my #Run4ROC:

1. Start earlier and stick it out longer. The AllState 13.1 Half Marathon is on October 6th. I’ve already started raising awareness for my #Run4Results and I’m committed to keep it up for at least six weeks – four weeks pre-race and two weeks post-race.

2. Promote my fundraiser and highlight my efforts towards it more consistently. I’ve already been highlighting all of the training that I’m doing to prepare for this race in my weekly training posts. I’m also going to start including a brief fundraising update in each of those posts as well as dedicated fundraising updates every two weeks. I’ve also got at least three posts planned over the next four weeks highlighting the great work of the American Cancer Society. Which brings me to action item #3….

3. Highlight the great work of the American Cancer Society. I chose them for my third fundraiser for a reason. I’m going to use this blog to tell you why.

4. Send out fundraising letters. I’m planning to send out one set in the next week or so and one set in the week immediately following the race. I’m going to send primarily emails but I’m also going to use snail mail to reach some family members who aren’t as comfortable navigating the online world (aka: my grandmother!).

It’s going to take a bit more commitment to make this fundraiser a success than in the past but I’m ready to give it the same time and effort that I’m giving to my training. After all, while all this sweaty running might draw some eyeballs, it’s the donations that will ultimately lead us to a cure (or cures!) for cancer.

ACS Determination Logo 2

Please consider supporting me in my #Run4Results at the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon to benefit the American Cancer Society by making a donation today!

Running Month in Review: July

Monday, August 5th, 2013

Back when I posted my goals for 2013, I mentioned that I wanted to write monthly running recaps as a way of keeping myself accountable and maybe, just maybe, enticing a few people to make donations to some of my ongoing fundraisers after seeing how hard I’m working to prepare for my big races. A few weeks ago, I covered the first six months of 2013 all in one post. This post is the first of my shorter monthly recaps!

With my friend Cliff, my race date for the Dekalb-Decatur 4 Miler

July in Atlanta is usually hot. Super, crazy hot. And also humid. This year, though, it has also been insanely rainy. At one point, I read that it had rained something like 21 out of the first 23 days of the month. Unreal. However, all that rain wasn’t completely unwelcome. First, it made the usually unbearable summer temps much more tolerable. Sure, we missed the sun, but for running, you really can’t beat an overcast day. Second, both Mike and I spent a good chunk of the month rehabbing injuries. In Mike’s case, he tweaked his knee shortly before the Peachtree and ended up taking three complete weeks off from running to let it recover after that race. In my case, a week after the Peachtree, I was finishing up a short training run and rolled my ankle right across the street from my house. I think my initial ankle injury was pretty mild, but after racing on it at the Atlanta Track Club’s Dekalb-Decatur 4 Miler just two days later, I was really hurting. After “internet-diagnosing” myself with a mild high ankle sprain (and possibly a regular ankle sprain as well), I took a complete week off to recover and then slowly eased back into running over the following week, aided by a lot of ice and KT Tape. My ankle still isn’t 100% back to normal, but it’s strong enough to finally start training for my next half marathon – the AllState 13.1 half in early October!

Training

As you can tell from my little intro, there wasn’t much actual “training” that took place this past month. For the first week, I was tapering leading into the Peachtree. Then I had one week of light running in between the Peachtree and the D-D 4 Miler which ended with my ankle injury. The following week was supposed to be Week 1 of a new half marathon training cycle and was instead spent with my ankle on an ice pack. And the last full week of July was spent easing back into running, following a modified half marathon training plan. Starting tomorrow with Week 3, I’m going to do a weekly post focused on my half marathon training. However, because those first two weeks were pretty minimal, I’m just going to quickly run down the details here.

Half Marathon Training Week 1 (July 15th – 21st)

Planned workouts:

  • Monday – Core strength
  • Tuesday – 3.5 mile easy run
  • Wednesday – 6 x 400s at the track + Core Fusion yoga (1 hour)
  • Thursday – 3 mile easy run + whole body strength
  • Friday – Rest!
  • Saturday – Rest!
  • Sunday – 3 miles

Actual workouts:

  • Sunday – 3 miles, which were not entirely ankle-pain free

Summary: Ran 3/9.5 planned miles, plus I skipped my speed work, two strength sessions, and yoga. Boo.

Half Marathon Training Week 2 (July 22nd – 28th)

Planned/Actual workouts:

  • Monday – Rest! Not a typical rest day, but my ankle needed it after my short run on Sunday
  • Tuesday – 3.5 miles before work + upper body strength after work, both of which got done
  • Wednesday – Planned to go to Core Fusion yoga (an Exhale gym here in Atlanta offers free classes outdoors at Atlantic Station on Wednesday nights). However, it was raining, I had a work presentation the next day that I needed to finish, and I was pretty nervous about all that twisting and balancing on my bum ankle. Ended up deciding to skip yoga for another week. I also usually do speed work on Wednesdays but I decided after my Sunday run to wait another week before adding that back in. So I didn’t technically skip that run.
  • Thursday – 3 miles before work + core strength after work. I finished the run but bailed on the core strength for no very good reason.
  • Friday – Rest! I like to leave Fridays for rest days both as a treat at the end of the week and to have a back up day in case I have to skip any workouts at the beginning of the week. I also race a lot on Saturday mornings, so a built in rest day on Friday makes planning around races a bit easier.
  • Saturday – 3 easy miles with Mike and Shenanigans. Mike’s first run in three weeks!
  • Sunday – 7 miles. My ankle was finally starting to feel strong at the end of the week, so I decided to push it with a Sunday Long Run Day. Happily, this was mostly ankle pain-free.

Summary: Ran 16.5 miles (all planned) and completed one strength session. Skipped one planned strength session and yoga, and chose not to do speed work.

Training Stats for July

  • Total miles run in July: 55.8
  • Total runs in July: 15
  • Total cross-training sessions: 5 strength sessions

Racing

I raced twice in July – the Peachtree Road Race on July 4th where I set a big 10k PR and the ATC Dekalb-Decatur 4 Miler on July 10th, my fourth ATC Grand Prix race of the year. You can read my recap of the Peachtree here and you can read my quick blurb about the D-D 4 Miler in my mid-year running recap post, here.

And that wraps up July!


Ending the month on a high note - colorful, new running shoes!

Ending the month on a high note – colorful, new running shoes!

How was your training in July? What races did you complete? Do you have any go to moves for strengthening ankles post-injury?

Race Recap Flashback: The 2013 Peachtree Road Race!

Tuesday, July 30th, 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 the Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure, which you can read here. Tonight, I’m wrapping up this short series with my recap of the Peachtree Road Race earlier this month!Peachtree Road Race Logo

When I first started to get an inkling in my brain that maybe I wanted to give this running thing a shot, I knew that I had to run The Peachtree. I mean, you aren’t truly an Atlantan, let alone an Atlanta Runner, until you’ve run those six sweaty miles down the center of our fine city. For those who aren’t familiar, the Peachtree isn’t just a local 10k. It isn’t even just a big holiday 10k (it takes place every 4th of July). It is the world’s largest 10k. It is MASSIVE. And it is the one holiday event across the entire calendar that Atlantans truly rally around. The whole city is buzzing about it for weeks in advance. So yeah, before I even knew what a race bucket list was, this race was on my race bucket list. I also wasted no time crossing it off my race bucket list – just two months after I finished my first “running” 5k at the 2010 Race for the Cure (I had walked others), I ran the Peachtree. And I’ve run it every year since and I plan to continue to build my streak for as long as geography and our finances allow.

The 2013 Peachtree was our fourth straight Peachtree, and this one was a little special – my brother-in-law Matt (Mike’s brother) came down from New York to run it with us ahead of his birthday and a weeklong art course at SCAD. So even though the Peachtree is getting to be old hat for Mike and I, this year, we got to experience through the eyes of a newbie once again.

[Sidenote: Have I mentioned that my BIL is a crazy talented artist? Because he is. Click on over to his Facebook page and look at some of his work. It is truly phenomenal!]

I also decided that for the first time, I wanted to incorporate a fundraising component to my Peachtree efforts. I thought about using Crowdrise to support one of the “official” Peachtree charities, but none of them really clicked with me. So when I was putting together my goals for 2013, I decided that I would use the Breast Cancer Research Foundation‘s Time for Research model to raise money for something very close to my heart – breast cancer research. I posted about my fundraiser in mid-June and called it, fittingly enough, the #Run4Research.

From there, it was time to train (which I did a lot of!) and it was time to spread the word about my fundraiser (which I didn’t do enough of, it turns out). And then, it was suddenly time for the race…

Pre-Race

As savvy veterans of the Peachtree, Mike and I chose to have our race bibs mailed to us. It might cost a little extra, but it’s worth it to avoid the crowds at the Expo. Plus, you get that fun surprise in the mail in mid-June when you find out your official start wave. In the past, I’ve still wound up at the Expo because I usually volunteer there with the Atlanta Track Club. However, because the 4th fell on a Thursday this year, the Expo was on Tuesday and Wednesday – both work days for this girl. So that meant no volunteering this year. All in all, I was pretty resigned to not making it down to the Expo…


Rows of race bibs at the Expo!



… and then my BIL decided to come run with us and my good friend Julie generously leant him her number (she has been dealing with a heinous case of plantar fasciitis and was saving her feet for the Boston 3 Day at the end of the month). However, Julie chose not to have her number mailed to her which meant that after work on Tuesday, I still found myself fighting traffic to get to the Peachtree Expo. As it turned out, it was fortuitous that I had to go down there because we also needed MARTA cards to get to the race start. And Nuun. And I picked up a new tank top on clearance from Big Peach. And I splurged on my first ever Sparkly Soul headbands. Among other things. Like I said in my #Run4ROC recap post, I should NOT be left unattended at race expos. After about an hour of wandering around in my high heels from work, I headed back home to finish cleaning before my BIL got there the next afternoon.

The night before the race was COMPLETELY different than the night before the Publix Georgia Half. Before that race, I was a nervous wreck. But this time, I was confident. I knew I was well trained, I know the course very well at this point, and I’d been running great all year. Our only real concern was the forecast – all of the weather folks were forecasting not just rain, but torrential downpours right at starting time. So, just like everyone else in the city, we were a little worried, although more about the race getting canceled than getting rained on. But, not being capable of controlling the weather, we instead set out our stuff for the next morning, peppered Matt with all of our best tips for the race, and headed to bed at a relatively early hour.

The Race!

Well, actually, first we had to get to the race. We stepped out the door to begin the 1.5 mile trek to the nearest MARTA station around 6am and were not terribly surprised to find it sprinkling. So staying dry for the race lasted about three minutes. Oh well. We took our short cut through the post-race area in Piedmont Park which we WERE surprised to find we had to show our race bibs to enter. The ATC had notified all of the runners that they were increasing the security presence around the race following the events at the Boston Marathon and they were not kidding. The entire finish line area was absolutely lined with uniformed policemen, which honestly, was sort of comforting to see. We took our annual pre-race peak at the finish line itself, then zipped across Peachtree to the MARTA station.


Peeking down at the finish line!

Usually at this point in the morning, we end up standing in a hot, sweaty MARTA station waiting for a jam packed train to come by for about 45 minutes. But, someone was looking out for us this year. Just as we walked onto the platform, a completely empty train pulled up and we were able to walk right on. I mean, I got a seat on the train. A real, whole seat. That NEVER happens on Peachtree day. So up we went to Buckhead where we deboarded into the flood of racers. Security again was noticeably tight. They were letting people out of the stations in waves in order to control the crowd and keep an eye out for anything suspicious. We’ve never seen them do that before.


Riding MARTA to the race in my patriotic Sparkly Soul headband!

Soon enough, though, we made it to our start wave. Because Matt was using Julie’s number, we ended up starting back with him in Wave P. The later start afforded us plenty of time to stretch, go to the portapotties, snack on some Clif Bars we brought, and just generally take in the scene. We were a little concerned that with the weather, a lot of people had decided to stay home, especially when we were able to get on a train so easily. That fear was completely unfounded. The portapotty lines and the crowds in the corrals were just as huge as always. Plus, the rain had basically stopped by the time the later waves were approaching the start. Before we knew it, we were passing underneath the huge flag marking the starting line and were on our way.


The crowds at the starting line, which is all the way up there under that American flag



Our little group before the Peachtree – Matt, me, and Mike

The boys both took off pretty quickly once we got across the start, which I expected. Mike is MUCH faster than I am, and Matt wanted to try to run with him for as long as he could hold on. Thinking ahead to the big hills in miles 4 and 5, I chose to start a bit conservatively and just enjoy the easy downhills of the early parts of the course. I also was doing something I don’t do often during races – I was running entirely based on effort, rather than a pace tracker. Because of the rain, I didn’t want to chance it with headphones, so I left my phone (and with it my RunKeeper app) off. I just settled into a comfortably hard pace that I thought I could hold and moved along through the first part of the race. I waved at the giant red tube dude that’s always in the middle of Peachtree early on, yelled out a greeting to Newbie, the New Balance mascot in front of their store, dodged the flying freebies from Moe’s (t-shirts and frisbees, not burritos, I promise!), and just generally enjoyed the kookiness of the Peachtree spectators. Like I said, Atlanta always rallies around the Peachtree, and even with the rain, this year was no exception.

Going into this race, I had some pretty big time goals. After clocking progressively slower times the last three years, I REALLY wanted a Peachtree PR (that would’ve been sub-1:06). As this is my only planned 10k for this year, I also knew that if I wanted to reach my goal of setting a new 10k PR this year, this was the race where I would have to do it (that would’ve been sub-1:05). And the one big thing standing between me and those goals was Heartbreak Hill. Heartbreak Hill is a sneaky beast of a hill. For the first three miles or so of this race, you’re cruising mostly downhill. Then, just before you reach the Shepard Center, you come upon a blind curve. And around that curve is Heartattack Hill. It comes out of nowhere, you’re usually tired because you went out too hard on the early miles, and, just when you think you’re at the top of it, there’s a second peak just beyond it. It’s a mental challenge, to be sure. I’ve never made it up it without walking… until this year. I made it all the way to the top of not just that first peak, but the second peak as well. I made myself hold onto until I reached the next water stop before I gave my legs a short breather while I hydrated.

From there, the race covers a series of rolling hills that basically don’t stop until you reach the finish line back at Piedmont Park. My legs were really tired by this point, but I felt like I was having a strong race and that I was probably within reach of my time goals, provided I didn’t let myself wuss out over the last two miles or so. Once I spotted the sign for 17th Street, I knew I was getting close. The race turns off of Peachtree and towards the finish on 10th. I started counting the cross streets, willing my legs to keep going. I also kept reminding myself that this part of the course was more of my home turf – just like I did during the half. As I pushed down 10th Street, I could just barely make out the numbers on the clock, which read something like 2:11 and some odd seconds. I distracted myself with some quick math based on the clock at the start and suddenly I knew: I was WELL ahead of my PR pace. Once last kick to the end and it was locked in. A new, HUGE 10k PR of 1:01:02!!


Walking into Piedmont Park after crossing the finish line!

Post-Race

After the race, I did what I always do after the Peachtree. I grabbed a not-at-all cold bottle of water from a volunteer (hey, you try icing down 70,000 bottles of water all at once!), and headed for those coveted t-shirts. However, it became quickly apparent that this trip across Piedmont Park was a little different from in past years. You see, while we had all forgotten about the rain during the race, the ground at the park had not. And after 60,000+ people had tromped across the same swatch of grass in the span of just over two hours, it had become one giant mud pit. It was ridiculous. It was also a good thing I had already decided to replace my running shoes post-Peachtree, because there was no way they were surviving all of that mud!


Matt and Mike after the race

Because of all of the mud, we didn’t really stick around too long after I met up with Matt and Mike. They gave me a quick run down of their races (Mike had finished in a speedy 50:46 despite a nagging injury that would sideline him for over three weeks post-race while Matt finished in 53:37 despite relatively little training) and then we decided to start making our way out of the part. We made a quick stop at the ATC Member’s tent to pick up our finisher’s gifts (aluminum water bottles with the shiny new logo!) and then walked up the Beltline to the post-race party at Phidippides. I don’t even think we really grabbed food at the park this year. We just wanted to get out of the mud and get to the party, especially since the rain was starting to make a reappearance.

The Phidippides party was great fun, as always. Hundreds of sweaty runners (who were also all caked in mud), free food and beer, good music… what’s not to like? I even won a giftcard to the Hard Rock Cafe! Which, honestly, I forgot we even had one of those here in Atlanta. But hey! More free food. Plus, I got to geek out when I spotted Jeff Galloway (Olympian/winner of the first Peachtree/founder of Phidippides) giving a tour of the store and catching up with Bart Yasso (the “Chief Running Officer” of Runner’s World Magazine). All in all, a great way to finish the Peachtree and start our 4th of July celebrating!


Bart Yasso and Jeff Galloway at the Phidippides Post-Peachtree party

Fundraising Results

Yeah, about that fundraiser. When I posted about my #Run4Research in June, I had every intention of pushing this fundraiser to make it just as much of a success as my #Run4ROC fundraiser in March. But life just got in the way of this one. Not to make excuses, but about a week after I launched this fundraiser, I developed a severely infected tooth that required a root canal a week before the race. I was in a ton of pain and I wasn’t really in the mood to cheerlead my fundraiser. The donations were also slower to come in than in the past, which was discouraging. Altogether, I kind of lost my juice for this fundraiser, something that I really disappointed in myself for. I will be writing an additional, more detailed, post about what I think went wrong and the lessons I learned next week. I also have every intention of making my last fundraiser of 2013 even bigger to make up for my woeful effort on this one. But as far as this fundraiser is concerned, I dropped the ball.

BUT! That is not to say that I didn’t have any donations at all. In fact, four donations were made to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation via my fundraising page, which together with my starter donation brought the total raised to $155 – about 15% of my overall goal! Each of those donations lifted my spirits immensely and I’m sure will be used by BCRF in the future as they continue to wage the war against breast cancer. So thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to the following people for making donations to this fundraiser:

  • Andy Carr, an ATC staff member that I got to know while volunteering at packet pick-up for the Women’s 5k and who’s become one of my Twitter buddies.
  • Crystal Elster, one of my #3DayTweeps friends who’s father has run the Peachtree (FAST) every year for something like 35 years. After four years of trying to catch up with her at the race, we finally saw each other at the Phidippides post-race party this year!
  • Katie, Jesse, and Alice Schank, some of our closest Atlanta friends and their adorable daughter. The Schanks are moving back to Georgia at the end of this year, so maybe we can run this together next year!
  • And lastly, Laura Scholz and her husband Tim Long, who ALSO donated to my #Run4ROC. They’re good peeps, truly.

My muddy post-Peachtree legs say THANK YOU!!

Closing Thoughts

 All in all, this race was a huge success for me, running-wise. I had a great race from top to bottom and truly felt like a veteran racer the whole way. However, I would’ve loved to have capped that victory off with a fundraising success as well. I have no one to blame but myself for that and I intend to do better next time. This was a good reminder that to be a successful charity runner, you need to put the effort into both parts: the running AND the fundraising!


Commemorative finisher’s medals that we were able to get for a little extra at registration. LOVE them!

Note: If you would like to see all of my pictures from the Peachtree Road Race 10k and the surrounding events, please click here. Also, the link to donate to BCRF is still active and will remain so until I choose to take it down. If you would like to make a donation to this great cause, please either click here or on the big clock up in the left hand corner of this page.

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?

Happy 4th of July!

Thursday, July 4th, 2013

It was a little wet, but we successfully completed the Peachtree Road Race 10k today – the 4th time for Mike and I and the first time for my brother-in-law Matt! I’ll be back with a full recap later, but for now, I’m off to a soggy backyard party to eat picnic foods & pie!

Happy 4th of July everyone!!

Our little group before the race!

Our little group before the race!

PS – Even though the race is over, my Peachtree Road Race fundraiser for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (aka my #Run4Research!) is still ongoing! You can make donations through the end of July. Click on the image below to visit my fundraising page today!

Clicking on the image will take you to my fundraising page too!

Running for Research with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation!

Monday, June 17th, 2013

Back in March, I ran for the ROC. Peachtree Road Race LogoThis July 4th, it’s time for my next big fundraising race of 2013 – I’ll be Running for Research at the Peachtree Road Race with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation!

For my second big fundraising race of the year, I am choosing to focus my efforts on raising money for breast cancer research. I chose BCRF for this fundraiser because while many breast organizations do great work and raise money for research, BCRF is one of the few to focus on funding research as their primary mission. In fact, this year, BCRF is funding $40 million dollars in breast cancer research, research that will change the future for all of us. As a scientist myself, I know the power of a dollar. Research is very expensive and sometimes the return on investment isn’t great. But when those breakthroughs happen, they are worth EVERY SINGLE PENNY. I firmly believe that the only thing that will end breast cancer as we know it is research. Research on prevention. Research on better diagnostics. Research on better, less devastating treatments. Research on survivorship. Research dollars will make all the difference.

So, let’s work together and raise some of those research dollars today! As I mentioned, I am doing this fundraiser in conjunction with my running of the Peachtree Road Race on the 4th of July, the world’s largest 10k. This will be my fourth year running this iconic Atlanta event, and my first time tying in a charitable component. Just as the race is huge (60,000 runners!), I want my fundraiser to be huge as well. That’s why I’m setting my goal for this race at $1000 by the end of July. Here are a few options for how you can help me get there:

  • Donate the amount of money needed to sponsor research for the time I’ll be running this race. Based on my training and previous races, I’m estimating it will take me about an hour to make my way from Buckhead to Piedmont Park. BCRF estimates that on average, one hour of research costs $50, so that’s a great starting point for a donation. If $50 isn’t right for you, you can sponsor 30 minutes for $25 (the minimum donation required through BCRF’s Time for Research program), two hours for $100, six hours for $300… you get the picture. This is an excellent way to give your donation a tangible value!
  • Donate per kilometer or per mile. The Peachtree is a 10k, which is the equivalent of 6.2 miles. You can donate $2.50 per km for a $25 donation, $5 per mile for a $31 donation, or hey – donate $62 and honor the distance both ways!
  • Donate to dedicate a mile. As with my previous fundraiser, if you donate $100 or more, you can dedicate one of my miles to anyone that you wish to honor. I will recognize them on my personal website (www.runningformore.com) as well as on my shirt on race morning (provided I have your info by July 1st). Because I am reserving the first mile for Marcia, my best friend’s mom, and the final mile for my mom, there are only four miles to claim, so if you want to do this, donate soon!

To support me in my Run4Research, please click on the link below to visit my personal fundraising page on BCRF’s Time for Research website and follow the instructions to make an online donation:

http://www.timeforresearch.org/run4research

It’s really as easy as that! 100% of the funds donated through Time for Research go to the BCRF, who currently spend 91 cents of every dollar on breast cancer research and awareness programs. All donations are tax deductible. Please be aware that Time for Research does not accept mailed in donations at this time.

Please donate whatever amount is right for you. Every donation is step towards an end to breast cancer forever. I know many of you donated to my Run4ROC in March, and I will be asking for donations again this fall when I run the Allstate 13.1 half marathon to benefit the American Cancer Society. I’m asking a lot of all of you this year, just as I’m asking a lot of myself as I sweat it out in the hot Atlanta sun training for each of these races. I appreciate every cent that we are able to raise together for this important cause and for this great organization that often gets overshadowed by some of the better known breast cancer groups.

As I noted with my Run4ROC fundraiser, this fundraiser is different than the fundraisers I’ve done in the past. While I am using the BCRF’s Time for Research structure to host this fundraiser, 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 the most powerful weapon we have against breast cancer – RESEARCH. I have seen this power firsthand, both with my own work during my lab days and now with my mom – the chemo drug that she is currently on was only approved by the FDA this spring. Through research, we are literally building the path forward for those living with metastatic breast cancer as they are walking down it. I don’t want anyone to ever come to the end of that road because we didn’t fund critical research when we could have. No one should ever have to hear “I’m sorry, there are no more treatments for you” and yet, for too many women, that is still a reality. The ability to change that is in our hands right now.

Clicking on the image will take you to my fundraising page too!

Thank you for your continued support of me and my fundraising efforts – together, we will end breast cancer forever!