Image 01

Running For More…

The personal blog and website of Kristen Cincotta

Posts Tagged ‘Shenanigans’

Welcome to the world, Dash!

Friday, August 22nd, 2014

Seventeen days ago, my husband Mike and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary by welcoming this guy into the world:

 Dash 20

As most of you know by now from social media, his name is Dashiell Reeves Cincotta and we affectionately call him Dash. Although my pregnancy was easy, Dash’s birth was not. I don’t feel comfortable sharing all of the details of his birth story in this public forum, but suffice it to say, three days of contractions (two days worth of which were induced following my water breaking) does not make for fun times. The length of time between when my water broke and when Dash was born also led to some nervous moments immediately after he arrived as well. Thankfully, everything turned out for the best and everyone has been doing well since then.

We have now been at home for two weeks, slowly figuring each other out and learning our new family dynamics. My mother-in-law was here for the first week and was hugely helpful, especially when it came to letting me catch up on sleep and recover from labor and delivery. She was joined by my father-in-law and brother-in-law last weekend, making them all Dash’s first visitors. While it was great to be surrounded by so much love and support, I think that by the time everyone left, both Mike and I were ready to be on our own as a small family and try to find our own new routines. The past few days have been a wonderful mix of happy baby snuggles (I could let this guy sleep on my chest for days!), frustration over seemingly cause-less baby wails, proud parenting victories (no crying during bath time last night!), and a love between all of us that grows exponentially with each passing day.

Dash 22

During the time since Dash was born, the world said good bye to Robin Williams. His passing led to a lot of discussion about the need for open dialogue around depression. In that spirit, I can honestly say that while things get better every single day, being a new parent has been a hard adjustment for me. I knew it would be physically exhausting, but the emotional toll it has taken has been a surprise. The best way to describe how I feel is this: I feel homesick. Not for a place, but for other times. I loved being pregnant and now realize that I wasn’t prepared for it to come to such an abrupt end. Our lives pre-Dash were easy and free, if a bit quiet in recent years. Shenanigans was the center of our universe for a very long time and I hate the idea that she is feeling neglected due to a change she had no say in. The thought that I can never go back to those times hurts my heart immensely, as it always does following a major life change. I also miss my mom more than I thought humanly possible. Knowing that, for the first time ever, my life has moved on to a stage that she will never be a part of makes everything that much harder. I am leaving her behind with my old life and that thought breaks my heart on a daily basis.

All of that being said, with each passing day, things get a bit easier. Sleep certainly helps, as does having a wonderfully supportive partner. I’ve also done better this week about getting outside for some fresh air and exercise most days. I can’t wait until next week when I can start running again, even though I know it will be challenging. Writing things out, as I’m doing here, also helps me to make sense of things. Returning to some of these old habits is a helpful reminder that not everything in life has changed and even those things that have changed, haven’t necessarily changed for the worse. Life just looks a bit different now and that’s ok.

As for Dash and I, we’re taking things one day at a time. We fall deeper in love with each other by the minute and I find that if he sleeps for too long, I actually miss him. Even with all of the emotions that I’ve been wrestling with, I have rarely felt overwhelmed by Dash himself. Holding him and realizing that I really do have the ability to comfort and soothe this tiny person in a way no one else does has been incredibly reassuring. I am genuinely amazed that he finds my singing voice soothing. Spending time looking into his big, curious eyes and feeling him snuggle into me has been very comforting to me in much the same way that holding Mike’s hand has always made me feel better in times of stress in the past. I already find myself wishing Dash would grow slower and stay this tiny forever, even as I simultaneously long for the days when he can take care of himself a bit more. I have not for one second regretted our choice to become parents.

Dash 27

I promise that not all of my blog posts going forward will be quite this personal, or even this Dash-heavy. But since I know a lot of people are checking in on me and are curious how I’m doing, I thought I would share a more thorough update. From here on, though, things will be back to blogging business as usual, as time and Dash allows. Next week starts my official “training” for the Atlanta Half Marathon on Thanksgiving Day, so you can expect to see training updates popping up regularly (hopefully weekly!). I’m not fundraising for this race, since completing this race is enough of a challenge for me at this point, but I always have my eye on the cancer advocacy world and will try to mention different events and opportunities as I learn about them. I’m already thinking about posts around the Stand Up to Cancer telethon on September 5th and both the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Atlanta walk and the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure in October. I’m also confident that I’ll be tying on my Komen Atlanta and Atlanta Track Club volunteer shoes soon enough. So there will be plenty to write about in the months to come. Plus you never know when I’ll throw in some Dash updates, so definitely check back regularly.

For now, though, a deep and sincere thanks to everyone for their well wishes and supportive words. While we haven’t been able to respond to everyone’s texts, tweets, emails, phone calls, cards, and Facebook messages, we have read and appreciated every single one!

Dash 16


All of the gorgeous photos in this post were courtesy of Allison DePalma Photography

Half Marathon Training – Week 5

Monday, August 19th, 2013

This is part of my weekly series tracking my training for the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon. To read the rest of my training posts, please click here.

Happy Rainy Week 5!

From my morning at the track!

From my morning at the track!

Normally, I’m a sunshine weather kind of girl. I get cold when it’s 73 degrees outside. I like it hot. There’s a reason I moved south after growing up in Upstate New York. I almost always prefer sunshine and hot temps. Almost. The big honking exception to that rule is when I’m running. When I’m running, I want it to be gray, cool, and usually a little wet. Running in the rain makes me feel like a true #RunningBadass. Running just feels easier when it’s cool and wet outside. Normally, that is not a forecast one gets down here in Atlanta in mid-August. But lo and behold! This weekend, Mother Nature decided to give us southern runners a treat. From late afternoon on Thursday until noon on Sunday, our temps didn’t get above 70 degrees. And it was a perfect drizzly gray all weekend. It was like March up in these parts. Not great for normal summer weekend activities, but oh! The running! It was wonderful.


Core Training for Runners at Phidippides. We were supposed to have class outside, but a pop up thunderstorm forced us all inside. I think I found my next pair of running shorts while I was doing some Superman holds!

[Unrelated: I’m looking for new running shorts. I’ve been running in Nike tempos FOREVER and I am O.V.E.R. them. I want something more streamlined and less puffy. Anyone have any favorites they’d like to recommend?]


4.57 miles before work

Nothing exciting to report about this run except that it was cool and refreshing outside. A great first run of the week!


8 x 400m intervals at the track with 200m walk intervals in between and an approximately 0.85 mile warm-up and cool down jog back and forth from the track. 4.61 total miles, all before work.

Some of my strongest intervals to date. The weather was cool again and I was able to nail my goal paces. Really, really stoked about this run.

I also FINALLY made it back to Core Fusion yoga at Atlantic Station after work, even though I was bugged by some soreness/inflammation in my first two toe joints of my left foot all day. It felt wonderful to stretch out again, although those toes were really aching and it was really apparent that my ankle stability has weakened. Time to do some targeted ankle strengtheners again!


A couple pics from yoga on Wednesday night, courtesy of the Atlantic Station twitter feed


2.77 easy miles with Shenanigans before work

Took it easy and was pleasantly surprised that my toes didn’t hurt at all when I ran, even though they were super sore in bare feet or in ballet flats. Shenanigans, however, had some GI issues during our run and we ended up slowing WAY down in the middle mile or so. I think it was the lack of fuel before our run. I’ll need to remember that she needs some quick carbs before morning runs too. Dogs – they really are just like us!




3.92 miles with Mike and Shenanigans in the wonderful drizzle

Fantastic family run! We only ran four miles, but in that short distance, we ran through an arts festival, a farmer’s market, a race course for a local 5k, a wedding being set up for later in the day, and a Soccer in the Streets event. Shenanigans did particularly great. Normally, that many distractions would be too much for her to handle, but she was a little running machine on Saturday. I think she wanted to make up for having two bad runs in a row. Also, due to a serious planning failure, we ran out of dog food the night before, so she had a mix of rice and peanut butter before this run instead. Apparently, that’s her power breakfast!


9.13 miles with Mike

Sunday Long Run Day was back with a vengeance! For the first eight miles, the cool temps had me feeling invincible. I felt like I could go on forever. On that last mile, though, my legs started to feel it. I guess that’s the point of the long run, though – push one mile past what your legs think they can do.

Oh, and I tacked on an upper body weights session after we finished because I was feeling like a beast. And also I didn’t due to it earlier in the week when I should have and I really wanted to get in all eight planned workouts.

All in all, a great week. If only I could dial up this running weather when I strap on my sneakers and then switch it to bright sunshine once I’m done!

Total Planned Miles: 25.1

Total Completed Miles: 25 (just missed!)

Total Cross Training workouts: 3/3 

My view during my intervals on Wednesday morning. Loving the panoramic function on my new phone!

My view during my intervals on Wednesday morning. Loving the panoramic function on my new phone!

Half Marathon Training – Week 4

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

This is part of my weekly series tracking my training for the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon. To read the rest of my training posts, please click here.

While my half marathon training went pretty well in Week 4, this week was also marked by one unlucky thing after another. But in the end, I mostly completed all of the workouts that I had planned. It helped that this was a “step back” week in my training where I get a bit of a break, mileage-wise. That reduction in mileage allowed me to move some things around and still get in all my workouts, despite some weird bad luck, as you’ll see.


Rest day!


2.03 easy miles before work with Shenanigans + core strength session

I had planned to go four miles, which is about Shenanigans’ max. However, on this particular morning, despite it being 6am, it was a bit warmer than I had anticipated and definitely warmer than Shenanigans is used to. Not completely surprisingly, after about a mile and half, Shenanigans decided she was done. As in, she refused to go in any direction but back to our house. So I headed back home earlier than planned and got in a quick core strength session too.


4.24 miles as part of a 40 minute tempo run

I was able to average a 9:09 pace on this run which is pretty darn fast for me. I was STOKED with this effort. Then I got home and realized I stepped in dog poop at some point near the end of my run (NOT from Shenanigans). Yes, in my new, blue shoes. SUPER unimpressed. I also had planned to attend Core Fusion yoga at Atlantic Station after work, but it was canceled due to rain for the umpteenth time in a row.


Busted Phone

The saddest sight in the world to a social media junkie like me. Cue the sad trombone.

2.1 easy miles after work to make up for Tuesday + a whole body strength session

Heading into this week, my plan was to run my 40 min tempo during the Phidippides Thursday night group run (I find running with the group helps me push/sustain my pace) and not run at all on Wednesday. However, when Shenanigans aborted our run on Tuesday, I planned to make up these two miles at Phidippides instead. Then it looked like it was going rain when I got home after work. Not wanting to miss out my last two miles, I attempted to dash back out the door and bang out these two miles. Of course, being “unlucky running week”, something else had to go wrong. As I was rushing to put my phone in my armband and get out the door, I dropped it on the floor and absolutely SMASHED the screen. UGH. Luckily, we were due to replace our phones anyways, so I only have to be “broken phone girl” for a few more days. Anyways, back to my training – I did still finish those two stinking miles, albeit faster than I intended. I channeled my frustration over my phone into my legs, I suppose. After I got home, I also did a whole body strength session. More frustration channeling. There are worse ways to work through a bad mood, I suppose.


Rest! I probably should have made up my yoga session after work, but, well… Friday. [Yeah, basically the same as last week… ]


5k race; finished in 30:58

Raced in the ATC Jog Days of Summer 5k, my sixth Grand Prix of 2013. Jog Days is widely acknowledged to be one of the hardest courses in the Grand Prix and my time reflected it, breaking my streak of sub-30min 5ks this year. Oh well. It was still a course PR by over a minute and it still counts as a Grand Prix finish!


6.21 hot, sweaty miles with Mike

It was SUPER humid on Sunday morning. My legs were “all trot, no pop”. I think dealing with all of the annoying little things this week took a toll, especially combined with that tough race on Saturday. Next week, things WILL be better.

As you can see, there were some annoying things that I had to deal with this week. Nothing really bad about my running, just a lot of annoying things surrounding my runs. After all my bad luck earlier in the week, I was fully expecting to have to race in a downpour on Saturday and to fall on my face during our long run on Sunday. Seeings as neither of those things happened, I suppose you could say my luck is turning around. Now I just have to take advantage of that and make this week the best I can!

Oh, and I HAVE to be better about getting in some yoga. I’m starting to feel the lack of stretching in my joints and muscles. You guys will hold me to that, right?

Total Planned Miles: 17

Total Completed Miles: 17.68

Total Cross Training workouts: 2/3 — no yoga this week, again. 

Half Marathon Training – Week 3

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

Welcome to the first dedicated weekly training post for this half marathon training cycle!

For those who are trying to keep track, I’m currently training for the AllState 13.1 Half Marathon, which takes place on October 6th. I’m following a 12 week training plan, which makes this past week (July 29th – August 4th) the third week of this cycle. However, if you read my July recap, then you know that my first two weeks of training were pretty minimal due to a lingering ankle injury from the beginning of July. Thankfully, my ankle seems to be getting stronger every week, making this my first week back in full training mode.

First run in my new shoes!

However – before I jump into a run down of my training from last week, I thought I’d give a quick run down of what a typical training week looks like for me so that all of you following along have something to compare to. Generally speaking, I try to follow a modified version of a Hal Higdon training plan (I skipped the first two weeks to give myself something of a taper at the end) which I honestly plot out months in advance. I find that I’m less likely to skip runs or other workouts if I made the commitment to myself a long time ago to do them. I always tell myself that even though I don’t want to do a given workout on a given day, I must’ve had some good reason for putting it on the calendar, which makes me more likely to stick with it. Mental tricks!

As for the training itself, I try to run 4-5 times a week. I usually only run four times if I’m between training cycles and five times when I’m training for a longer race like I am now. I aim for one long run (usually on Sundays), one short easy run (often with my dog Shenanigans!), one or two medium distance/medium effort runs (one of which I’ll sometimes replace with a weekend race), and one day of speedwork. For speedwork, I alternate between intervals at the track (I run on the packed dirt/gravel track at Piedmont Park) or tempo runs (-ish. I’m not great at managing pace.). I don’t do hill workouts because, well, all of my runs are pretty hilly here in Midtown Atlanta. I also try to get in two strength training sessions per week (mostly using free weights here at home), with the goal of completing two core workouts, two full body strength workouts, one lower body and one upper body workout in a three week period. And finally, I try to squeeze in at least an hour of yoga per week. I find that when I start skipping yoga, my knees and ankles really start to ache from all that running. So yoga is a must-do for me! Altogether, that means that if I’m really on the ball, I will complete eight workouts in seven days. As you’ll probably see over the coming weeks, that doesn’t always happen. But I always try!

So, how did this past week measure up? Actually, pretty decently! For the first full week of half marathon training (which was actually the third week in my plan), it went really well!

  • Monday – Core Strength for Runners class at Phidippides. This is a new class that Phidippides has starting offering in addition to their weekly group runs and I really wanted to check it out. It was a great workout (especially for free!) but it was a little more focused on the lower body than I’d like for a core workou. I’ll definitely be back though!
  • Tuesday – 4.15 miles in the morning before work. First run in my new blue shoes!
  • Wednesday – I had planned to run intervals in the morning and then head to Core Fusion yoga at Atlantic Station after work. However, it was absolutely pouring rain when I woke up. So instead, I hit the treadmill after work (my office has a gym) and skipped yoga. I ended up doing 7 x 0.25 mile repeats with a 0.1-0.15 mile active recovery in between plus a 0.75 mile warm up jog and a 0.6 mile cool down jog for 4.01 total miles. Running on the treadmill was actually a blessing in disguise since I could really control my pace on the intervals (something I desperately need practice at!). I felt so great post run that I also did my standard core strengthening workout after my run. I had planned to do lower body conditioning for my second strength workout this week but because the Core class had already worked my legs pretty hard on Monday, I did a more targeted core strengthening workout instead. For a day that started with rain, Wednesday was a great success!
  • Thursday – 3.28 easy miles in the morning with Shenanigans before work
  • Friday – Rest! I probably should have made up my yoga session after work, but, well… Friday.
  • Saturday – Raced in the ATC Atlanta’s Finest 5k! Ended up finishing with a 29:03 time which I was really happy with.
  • Sunday – 8.19 miles with Mike, followed by an afternoon playing in the pool with my friend Julie’s daughter. Nice to be back in the Sunday Long Run Day groove!

All in all, it felt great to push through a real week of training. I mixed in a new class, some treadmill running, and runs with both Shenanigans and Mike. I LOVE when I can mix things up like that!

Total Planned Miles: 22

Total Completed Miles: 22.73

Total Cross Training workouts: 2/3 — no yoga this week. 

How was your training this week? Are you training for any big fall races?

Running For More on National Running Day!

Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Me and my best girl enjoying our morning run today!

Me and my best girl enjoying our morning run today!

Happy National Running Day!

Celebrated on the first Wednesday of June every year, National Running Day is a day for runners everywhere to stand up and yell “I’m a Runner!” and tocelebrate the inherent craziness that goes along with that. There are group runs in cities across the country, race discounts to be found everywhere, and for many running and fitness bloggers, lots and lots of giveaways. Last year, I celebrated by going for a short run and then blogging a little bit about why I’ve come to love running so much. This year, I’ve got something bigger up my sleeve. This year, I’m unveiling my new blog name!

As of today, my new blog name is:

Running For More

So, why the new blog name? Well, Kristen Walks just didn’t feel right anymore. I picked that name back when my main breast cancer advocacy work was centered around the Susan G. Komen 3-Day for the Cure. I walked the the 3-Day three times between 2007 and 2010 and I’ve been a fairly visible member of that community ever since. However, in 2009, I got it in my head that I was going to try to run the Komen Atlanta Race for the Cure (with no idea how to train, it didn’t go well). Then in 2010, I decided I wasn’t just going to run the Race for the Cure again (with a training plan and everything!), I was going to Couch to 10K it all the way to my first Peachtree Road Race 10k. In 2011, staring at months of sitting on my butt writing my doctoral dissertation, I decided to be proactive and signed up for the Atlanta Track Club’s Women on the Move 5K training group. And the Women’s 5K race. And Race for the Cure. And Warrior Dash, because mud is fun. And the ATC’s Peachtree training group. And the Peachtree itself. So clearly, this running thing was becoming much more of “a thing”. That led to last year when I ran 18 different races, many of them with a charity component. I was officially a (self-declared) #RunningBadass.

Predictably, after I started my job late last year, I didn’t have as much time to blog. And when I did have time to blog, I found myself mostly wanting to write about running. Not about running in terms of “how to be a runner” or anything like that. There are plenty of bloggers that are much more knowledgeable about that sort of thing. I wanted to write about my training and my races, even when they didn’t have anything to do with my cancer advocacy. I felt that way even more strongly once I decided to try to do my own fundraising for my three big races this year, without the structure of an organization like Komen to guide me. Running is what I’m doing now and running is the major form that my advocacy is taking. In addition, with my position at the CDC, I have to be very careful about the public health and science information I post in public forums like this lest it be perceived as representing the CDC’s position on, well, anything. (To be clear: All the opinions and factual interpretations here on the blog are mine and are based on my professional perspective only. They are not necessarily representative of the CDC’s position on anything.) I also now have restrictions on my ability to persuade people to lobby the government, also on pretty much anything. So beyond the fact that I just plain don’t have time to research the types of posts I was starting to write last fall (like these), out of an abundance of caution, I decided to move away from any kind of post that could be potentially problematic. So that leaves me with writing about my running. Which meant that Kristen Walks as a blog name had to go.

So, how did I land on Running For More? I know this is going to come as a surprise, but it came to me on a run. I was running intervals on the track at Piedmont Park, to be specific, on a hot, dusty night. I had recently added new songs to my running playlist, and one of them was Melissa Etheridge’s song “Running for Life”. On her website, Melissa writes that:

Ford asked me to write a song for their “Race for the Cure” initiative to raise funds and awareness for breast cancer charities. I wanted to write a song that was personal; climb into people’s emotions and portray a woman who has had breast cancer but is out of it. The first verse is about a survivor. The second verse is from my own experience and the last verse is for those who have not been diagnosed or don’t know anyone with breast cancer yet. We are all running for answers and to make the situation better.

I’ve probably heard this song hundreds of times. I find it incredibly inspiring and always have. I also relate to many of the lyrics:

I run for hope
I run to feel
I run for the truth
For all that is real
I run for your mother your sister your wife
I run for you and me my friend I run for life

Those are all reasons why I run, which was what struck me during this particular run. So as I made my way around the track (probably not as focused on my pace as I should have been during speedwork), I started to think about whether any of those lyrics could work as a blog title. And none of them felt quite right. They didn’t quite encompass enough. They are all reasons I run but none of them are THE reason that I run. And then I got to the last lines of the song:

We will be running as we have before
Running for answers
Running for more

BINGO. Running for more. It was perfect. So I raced my butt home (ok, I had just done intervals – it was probably more of a trudge) and did a quick Google search. Miraculously, I didn’t find a single other blog using the name (if there is one, I apologize!). Even more astonishing, the URL was available. It was fate. And a short ten minutes later, it was mine.

So, what does Running For More mean? (I’m into the rhetorical question thing today!) To me, it truly encompasses all of the the things that I’m running to have more of in my life:

  • More AWARENESS of the need for more breast cancer research funding. And cancer funding in general. All biomedical research, really.
  • More EDUCATION on the risk factors for breast cancer, things you can do to protect your health, and the early signs and symptoms that something might be wrong.
  • More FUNDING for research, educational outreach, patient support, political action, and so many other aspects of the fight against breast cancer.
  • More HEALTH for myself so that breast cancer and other chronic diseases don’t steal years from my life like they have from my loved ones.
  • More EXPERIENCES through participating in great events, running in fun races, and volunteering for wonderful organizations.
  • More FRIENDS like those I have met through my advocacy and running.
  • More FUN!
  • And most importantly, more TIME. Time with my mom, time for other moms, time for everyone. Cancer has shortened too many lives. I’m O-V-E-R it. Through running and all those things I listed above, I’m running to give everyone, including myself, more time.

So those are the topics you can expect me to (try to find the time to) write about on here in the coming weeks and months. A lot more running, but still holding on to the best stuff from before. I’m excited about this. I hope you are too!

 2013 National Running Day Image

PS – Hey, graphic designer friends! I would love a new logo for that upper left hand corner, as well as possibly a new banner pic for the splash page. Anyone want to help me out?

Training Partner Down!

Friday, July 9th, 2010

Oh noes!  I am sad to report that this past week, my most loyal training partner Shenanigans has been felled by an injury.  

Shenanigans and her hot pink bandage

Rest assured, it is nothing serious.  She split one of her claws so that the nail ripped completely away from the nail bed, which while quite painful is far from life threatening.  The vet had to remove the nail almost completely though, leaving poor Shenanigans bandaged and hopping about on three feet like a bunny.  Thankfully, with some pain meds and rest, she will be just fine.  However, she is going to have to sit out training with me for the Boston 3 Day for the Cure for at least the next week.  I guess I’m just going to have to talk to myself on these last few training walks…

Wishing you a speedy recovery Shenans!  It is lonely having to walk without you!

Search for Pink Bandages

Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

The Shenanigans Bunny wishes everyone a very happy Easter holiday!

Also, Shenanigans wishes I would take these silly bunny ears off of her already before the other dogs in the neighborhood start laughing at her.  At least I didn’t make her wear them on our training walk on this beautiful spring day!

Happy Easter to everyone that celebrates it and Happy Opening Day of the baseball season to everyone!  Go Yankees!


Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Over the past few weeks, the weather in Atlanta hasn’t been that great.  We’ve had a few really nice days, but mostly it’s been cold and rainy.  And that means I’ve had a lot of cold, gray and wet training walks.  But over the last two weeks, there has been one thing that has consistently brightened up those dreary walks:

I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for these cheerful flowers because they are always in bloom around my birthday.  They also signal that spring is definitely here.  Right now, my neighborhood is absolutely littered with daffodils in bloom.  Little pockets of yellow can be seen everywhere.  So today, I decided that if I was walking three miles on my birthday, I was going to do something fun with it and take photos of all of the lovely daffodils on my training walk.  Enjoy!

Please click to enlarge the photos.
To see more pictures of our “Daffodil Walk” around the Morningside and Virginia Highland neighborhoods of Atlanta, please visit this album on my Picasa page.  
If looking at all of these photos has you excited for spring gardening, please consider purchasing some of your garden plants through our collaboration with Flower Power Fundraising.  Half of the value of your purchase will be donated to our team for the Breast Cancer 3 Day!  For more information on this fundraiser, please see this post on our team fundraising blog.

Shenanigans surrounded by daffodils

Bark for Life, benefitting the American Cancer Society

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Yesterday, Shenanigans and I had an excellent opportunity to shake up our training for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure – we participated in the Bark for Life event to benefit the American Cancer Society!  The volunteers explained to me that this was a test event for the American Cancer Society to see if they could take their successful Relay for Life formula and translate it into an event designed around our four legged pals.  The ACS recognizes the important role that our pets, and dogs in particular, play in our lives especially when facing something as daunting as a cancer diagnosis.  Bark for Life was designed to honor the unconditional love and compassion that our dogs offer us while raising money for an important cause.  All in all, it was a really fun event as you can see from all of my pictures below.  Shenanigans and I are already looking forward to doing it again next year!

The first thing that we did upon arriving at Piedmont Park was to register for the event.  Registration was only $10 per dog, although additional donations are certainly welcome.  Each dog that took part in the walk was given a special welcome packet consisting mostly of fresh dog treats and flyers from the event sponsors.  In the grand tradition of charity events everywhere, the dogs were also given something special to wear for the event:  Bark for Life bandanas!

A cute little poodle modeling the Bark for Life bandana

The bandanas fit a little better on these bigger guys!

Following registration, we had some time to explore the vendor area.  There were tables set up selling all kinds of things to benefit the American Cancer Society, including home made treats for both people and pups, official Bark for Life t-shirts and other assorted things.  I even spotted some Bark for Life leashes and collars for sale.  If you’re interested, you can purchase some Bark for Life items in the American Cancer Society store at this link.

Bark for Life t-shirts (L) and leashes (R) in the vendor area (L)

Support Bark For Life!

As with all Relay for Life events, the Bark for Life walk started with Opening Ceremonies.  Opening Ceremonies featured a number of speakers who focused primarily on the role of dogs in lives of all of us, but of cancer patients and survivors especially.  The speeches were very moving although the dogs (including Shenanigans) were getting pretty restless at that point.  Motivational speeches don’t mean much to dogs, unfortunately.

Opening Ceremonies speakers

With the conclusion of Opening Ceremonies, it was time for the walk to officially begin.  Unlike the Relay for Life, which usually lasts for 12 or even 24 hours, the Bark for Life was only a one mile walk.  Our walk took place around the Active Oval at Piedmont Park, which is usually off limits to dogs, something the Bark for Life organizers failed to plan for.  In the future, I think a lap around Lake Clara Meer might work better.  Regardless, we all trooped up the steps and headed out onto the jogging path for a short lap. 

A team of Bark for Life walkers and their dogs (L) and the walkers passing in front of the Midtown Atlanta skyline (R) 
Click to enlarge all photos.


Even the little guys got to take part!

Much like with the Relay for Life, the route for the walk was marked with hydration stations and signage from the American Cancer Society.

Hydration station (L) and Signage on the route (R)

All in all, Bark for Life was a really fun and unique event incorporating two of my passions: walking with my dog Shenanigans and raising money for cancer research.  We got to support a great organization while knocking off a couple miles of 3 Day training.  A great way to spend a Saturday morning!  I can’t wait for next year!

Mike and Shenanigans with the Relay for Life sign (L) and Shenanigans and I before the walk (R)

To see all of my photos from the Bark for Life, please visit this album on my Picasa photo page.


You’re Invited to the American Cancer Society Bark for Life!

Friday, March 12th, 2010

As I’ve said a few times, when it comes to cancer research and awareness, every little bit helps, regardless of where it comes from.  So today I wanted to give my fellow Atlanta residents a head’s up about an event that is happening tomorrow and that I just learned about today:



This is from the official website for the Bark for Life:

Bark For Life is the canine version of Relay For Life, the American Cancer Society’s signature activity.  “Bark” contains all of the elements of its human counterpart – opening ceremony, laps around the field, games, entertainment, and fundraising opportunities – compressed into a fun-filled Saturday morning.

Relay For Life’s motto is “Celebrate. Remember. Fight Back.” Bark For Life embodies the concept of Celebration – a celebration of life and of unconditional love, and of their ability to empower us through our relationships with our pets.  By dedicating a morning to our furry friends and the special role they play in our lives, Bark For Life offers the entire community an opportunity to actively engage with the American Cancer Society in the fight against cancer by raising awareness and needed funds for continued research, programs, service, education, and advocacy.

Our canine companions offer us joy, security, and compassion. Your participation in Bark For Life honors these important family members, while supporting the life-saving mission of the American Cancer Society.

Bark For Life provides an irresistible way to “take a bite out of cancer.”


The Bark for Life is taking place on Saturday, March 13th from 9am to 1pm.  The event is being held at Piedmont Park in Atlanta, GA.  If you are interested in participating, registration costs $10 and will begin at 9am at the Picnic Shelter.  The relay itself will begin at 10:15am and is a one mile walk around Piedmont Park.  For more information, including the event schedule, participation guidelines and canine etiquette expectations, please visit the Bark for Life website.

As you guys know, my number one training partner for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure is my lab/collie mix Shenanigans.  I’m always a little sad when the 3 Day rolls around and she can’t be out there walking along with me, especially since she trains so hard for it.  I think the Bark for Life event sounds like a great opportunity for both of us to help out in our community and I hope that you’ll think about coming out for it as well!


Shenanigans on the Silver Comet Trail, during a training walk for the 2008 Breast Cancer 3 Day


Special thanks to the folks at Highland Pet Supply for letting me know about this great event!