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I am a World Rocker!

Due to the Olympics & Paralympics as well as some minor injuries during the summer, I slacked a little on my running. I will have to run/walk my next half marathon in 2 weeks. The cold this week didn’t help either.

But, nonetheless, I am a World Rocker! And I have the medal to prove it!

To be a World Rocker, you either run a Rock ‘n Roll Marathon/Half Marathon in Europe and one in North America or two in Europe. Running the Rock ‘n Roll half marathon in Edinburgh and the Rock ‘n Roll half marathon in San Diego qualified me for this honor. And I finally received the medal in the mail.

I am going to run one more Rock ‘n Roll half marathon this year, in San Antonio, TX. This should qualify me for the Rock Encore medal.

I am taking the medal collection this year to a new level. 🙂

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My team – my friends

I thought I’d show you some of my team photos from the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll marathon weekend. This is the Austin team (South Central Texas chapter of Team in Training).

I found some of my best friends in this team. Nothing makes you bond more than sharing our personal moments, raising funds for a great cause together and sweat like hell together.

During the inspiration dinner, John Bingham – a friend of Team in Training – gave his speech. He is always fun to listen to. My favorite quote of this night was something like this:

“You are not getting value for money if you finish the marathon in under 3 hours. You have 7 hours to finish, use it. Get your money’s worth.”

I leave you with this today and some photos of my Austin team.


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San Diego Rock 'n Roll Half Marathon – race recap

I am going to come out with this right away. No point beating around the bush here. I really don’t care for the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll half marathon course.

showing off my medal

I ran this race in 2010 and around mile 5 I remembered that I didn’t like the course then either.

Everything was perfect. The weather was perfect. Overcast with clouds. Not too cold. Not too hot. I was injury-free. My legs felt great. I was ready to go. And despite this being my 16th half marathon, I acted like a newbie… 🙂

My original plan was to run with the 2:15 pace group. But then I got caught up with having my Austin friends around and decided to run with some of them. Probably my biggest mistake.

Miles 1-3 – Going out way too fast keeping up with my running friends Arek and Jessie.

Mile 4 – We are entering the highway area. We are now running on the freeway concrete for the next 4 miles. I start to remember why I didn’t like this course in 2010.

Mile 5 – I have a melt-down. I never reached the bite-me stage this early. But I am pretty much done with the race at this point. The concrete of the freeway is getting to me. I am hating running. I am hating the race. I never want to run again. Ever.

Mile 6 – My friend and Team in Training coach, Rob, gives me a big hug and walks with me for a while. I finally get my composure back and decide to move on to get this race over with.

best running friends: Amanda, Jessica, Arek, I, Jessie

Mile 7 – My running friend Jessica comes up to me and helps me through the next 1.5 miles. She shows me where she used to live in San Diego and this will be my fastest mile today. 9.16 min/mile – that’s freakishly fast!

Mile 8-11 – I am trying to find a rhythm and just fail. We are finally off the freeway and running becomes bearable again.

Mile 12 – The 2.15 pace group catches up with me (I started in an earlier corral). At this point I decide to keep up with the pace group and finally find a rhythm. The last mile is perfect. Perfect speed. I find my rhythm.

Mile 13 – Finish in sight. About time! Loving running again. But not this course. San Diego, beautiful city, but your Rock ‘n Roll half marathon course sucks. Never again!

Despite really not liking the course, there were a lot of positive memories. I love the Team in Training coaches on this course. There are plenty and they look out for all of us. A few ran with me for a short while making sure I was doing ok (they must have seen the look on my face…).

Despite all the suckiness of this course, I ran my second fastest race ever, even though I walked quite a bit. My running pace must have improved. 2:23:28.

I loved seeing so many Team in Training runners out there. 2,500 purple jerseys. What a team!

post-race recovery: a massive chocolate milkshake, burger and fries

And of course, post-race recovery. There is no better guilt-free pleasure than a large chocolate milkshake (this one consisting of a gallon of chocolate ice-cream), a burger and fries.

The plan for my next race is to run with the 2:15 pace group. Please, my dear friends,  remind me of that! 🙂

Loving running!


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One mile at a time…

I am back!

It’s been a great trip to California with lots of mixed emotions. And I can’t do all my emotions and adventures justice in one post, so I am going to post about all my adventures in chunks over the next few days.

Let me start today with why I went to San Diego.

Cancer is so limited…

I have been running with Team in Training for over 4 years and participated in 5 seasons as a fundraiser. This year I raised over $2,500. The reason why I come back year after year – even now that my team is in Texas and I am in London – is the people who are Team in Training and the cause.

When I started my first season with Team in Training in 2009, I didn’t know anybody who was affected by leukemia or lymphoma. But I was captivated by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society whose mission is to cure cancer and improve the lives of patients and their families. 75% of their funds go to patient care and research. That’s a lot more than many charities do.

Over the past few years, I have gotten to know that many of my friends were affected directly and indirectly by leukemia and lymphoma and other cancers. So, there is no reason to stop fundraising now.

My jersey on San Diego showed 13 names.

Ruben – we were Team Ruben. Ruben passed away last fall. He was a dear friend of my Team in Training coach, Stephanie. Stephanie created Team Ruben to honor her friend and raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in his name. Our team raised close to $200,000 and LLS is naming a grant in honor of Ruben.

Jay – a friend and fellow Team in Training buddy, who was just diagnosed with lung cancer.

Rachel – a fellow Team in Training buddy, who was a member of our 2010 San Diego team and who has just learned about the relapse of her leukemia.

Peggy – a friend and Team in Training buddy, who is a breast cancer survivor.

Lisa – a friend, who is a breast cancer survivor.

Derek – a friend and Team in Training buddy, who is a lymphoma survivor.

Denis – my friend Chantal’s dad, who is fighting cancer.

Pierre – my friend Annabelle’s dad, who passed away this March fighting leukemia.

Antoine – a 7-year old boy, friends with Annabelle’s family, who passed away earlier this year fighting blood cancer.

Normand – my friend Alexandra’s dad, who passed away 3 years ago.

Darron – a friend, who passed away last summer fighting a brain tumor.

Andrea – my high school friend, a cancer survivor.

Julie – Sandi’s (flamidwyfe) friend, who passed away 7 years ago fighting CML.

I missed a few names on my jersey, but I will tell you about these awesome people as well.

Rose – fellow blogger happyhippierose, who is a lymphoma survivor.

Jackie – Peggy’s sister, who is a fighter. She was diagnosed with CML 7 years ago and with breast cancer 4 years ago. She keeps fighting and is an inspiration to all of us.

Cariann – a fellow Team in Training member. Cariann was part of our 2010 San Diego season. She was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer at the beginning of last year. The cancer was diagnosed late and the aggressive treatment was affecting her. Peggy and my friend Rob kept in touch with her when she moved back to San Diego to be with her family during her treatment. They invited Cariann to our Team in Training inspiration dinner in San Diego this past weekend. Cariann joined us and was thrilled to be there and share the evening with us. Very sad news reached me though on Friday as Cariann lost her fight against cancer and passed away.

There are many other people who deserve to be mentioned and I am sorry that I am missing some. Cancer is a horrible disease and we need to keep searching for a cure!

I will be back fundraising next year to honor survivors and to run in memory of those who lost the fight. We need to find a cure for cancer.

One mile at a time.


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Diamond Jubilee – Royal Barge Gloriana

So, of course, I will be missing the Diamond Jubilee celebrations as I will be in sunny California running the San Diego Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon.

But living in a Royal London Borough on the river Thames has it perks. The Royal barge Gloriana is being restored and prepared for the Diamond Jubilee right here in Richmond.

It’s a beautiful ship boat  barge.

Apparently there will be a crew of 18 oarsmen on this barge this weekend, but no member of the royal family.

There will be a pageant of 1000 boats sailing down the river on Sunday and this beautiful barge Gloriana will be leading the pageant.

I am a little sad of missing the festivities, but I have seen quite a bit of decoration along the streets where I live and I have already marked the day when the Olympic torch comes through my neighborhood.

Enjoy the photos! Click on the them to enlarge them. It’s worthwhile this time. 🙂


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London Bupa 10,000 – a race in the sun

Today I ran the London Bupa 10,000 with my running buddy S and another – I don’t know – 30,000 runners.

On my journey to the race – one of these typical London journeys: you arrive at the station, the station is closed, all trains are suspended and you need to fend for yourself (I am digressing…) – so on my journey I had 2 thoughts (actually 3, the third one was related to London Transport and included bad language, so it didn’t make it on my blog…). Anyway, I made it to Green Park in time.

First, it was sunny and getting hot. I was starting to plan out my race strategy. Bearing in mind that I’ll be running a half marathon next week, I figured I should go with the flow and take it easy. Good, first thought sorted.

My second thought was “what a bummer”. I am pretty sure a few fellow bloggers were running, wouldn’t it have been a great opportunity to meet up? Well, I’ll be running the British 10k in London in July – maybe anyone is running that one and we can have a little bloggers’ reunion? Give it a thought.

In Hyde Park after the race showing off my medal

The race started off quite well. Plenty of charity runners, many people in costumes despite the heat. I was wearing my Team in Training jersey with my name on it and had a few encouraging shout outs! It was great! I love the spectator support during these races! I had a really great day today, so I don’t want to dwell too much on the negative, but there were only 2 water stations on this 10k course. Now, in normal British weather (cold, damp) it may have been sufficient, but in the heat (and more importantly with the sun beating down from close to its highest of the day), it was just not enough.

Dear Bupa 10,000 organizers: you put on a great race, but PLEASE add water stations when it’s this hot!

The race had kilometer markers rather than mile markers which I first thought to be annoying, but then I quite liked the speed at which you arrive at each new marker. Due to the heat and lack of water though (and my upcoming half marathon), I decided not to risk an injury and took it just a little slower than I trained for. After the race, S and I headed to Hyde Park for a picnic in the shade. Apparently, there was another race in Hyde Park. Busy running weekend!

Happy race day!


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Today is Jay's Day!

Our teammate and former coach, Jay Taylor, is beginning the next phase of his journey to full recovery today at MD Anderson in Houston, TX. He was recently diagnosed with stage 4 cancer.

 I have known Jay for over 4 years and he has been a running buddy for my very first half marathon and a few subsequent races. We most recently ran a race together in Anchorage, Alaska, last summer. He has been relentlessly running and fundraising for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for many years.

I’m donating $10 in his honor to LLS through my fundraising page.

http://pages.teamintraining.org/sctx/rnr12/tkudla

Will you please join me?