Marathon 25 – 5 days away!

When I sit back and think about it, I am truly astonished!

The Quarter Century mark!  I know there are people out there who have run hundreds of marathons.  You know, those 100 marathon clubs, and such.  Well, with my marathon this weekend, I feel like I am really hitting a pretty significant milestone.

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The All American Marathon this Sunday will be my 25th marathon.  What began as a simple quest, pushing myself further than I ever thought possible, has turned into quite the passion.  It all began in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina in 2012.  My first marathon.  Races, places, I’ve been a few places since that first one.  My journey has taken me to 8 different states.  Of course I’ve run the majority of my marathons in my home state of North Carolina, but I’ve ventured out a few times.  ;). Tackling America’s Toughest Road Marathon in Virginia, enjoying plentiful neon at the Rock ‘n’ Roll Las Vegas marathon in Nevada, running past Moose at Big Cottonwood in Utah, being cheered on twice by millions of spectators in Illinois at the infamous Bank of America Chicago Marathon, running high up in the Rocky Mountains in Colorado, and most recently taking a running bite out of the Big Apple at the TCS New York City Marathon.  Many, many more inbetween.

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Yes, the journey continues.  Still loving it, still competing, and doing more pacing.  I’m not shooting for the elusive Boston Qualifier this weekend, I am pacing instead.  I will lead the 4:00:00 group to a fun finish for my 25th this Sunday.  I’m getting very excited!  The All American Marathon this Sunday is a milestone to celebrate for me.  It also kicks off a new chapter.  Where will the next 25 take me?  The possibilities are endless!  Cheers!

Wimbledon Fanatic

I have been a tennis player most of my life.  Long before running became a passion of mine, tennis was my life.  I first picked up a tennis racquet at about the age of eight.  I lived in a household of tennis players, and quickly became quite a good player over the years.

When I was growing up, I played every chance I got.  I loved it.  I loved learning, and I loved getting better at it.  We played as a family.  We played doubles, we played singles.  I played all the way though Junior and Senior High School on the tennis team.  My Senior year I played #2 singles, and finished my high school tennis career with a record of 16-2 that final season.  I made it to the State Qualifying tournament one year.  I played in several local tennis tournaments, playing men’s doubles and mixed doubles.  Actually winning three tournaments before I hit 21 years old.  I loved it!

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I also watched a lot of tennis on television back then.  I loved watching John McEnroe, and Jimmy Connors.  Andre Agassi, and Pete Sampras.  Loved watching Steffi Graf, and Martina and Chrissy.

Once I got married and started my own family, I had much less time for tennis, or even watching it on TV for that matter.  I never lost my love for the sport, and even joined a USTA men’s tennis team several years ago when I once again dove back into the sport.  With age comes injuries, and I’ve spent the better part of the last few years with some pretty exhausting tendon issues in my elbows due to work, so I haven’t been able to play hardly at all.  This past Spring, I watched several of my sons tennis matches at his High School, and it really made me yearn to get back out on the tennis court again.  Here is a photo of him from the local newspaper.

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Well, in honor of Wimbledon, this morning my son and I got out on the tennis court.  Probably the first time I’ve played in the last year or so.  It felt so good.  We had a blast.  The best news?  My arms feel good still.  The last time I played my elbows instantly hurt after a few rallies, and I could only play for about 15 minutes.  Today though, a full hour and a half, no pain.  Pretty stoked about it.

Because of my long time connection to tennis, and my new found love of running over the past several years, when I decided that I wanted to find a charity team and fundraise for a chance to run the New York City Marathon this year, my choice was clear.  I was a big fan of American tennis professional James Blake years ago.  He’s retired now, but started a foundation to honor his late father who died of gastric cancer.

This is James at Wimbledon….

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He played with a lot of passion, and made it to #4 in the world at one point in his career.  He was always fun to watch.  I decided to join the charity team, and will be representing the James Blake Foundation when I run the New York City Marathon this year.  I pledged to raise at least $3,000 for this cause, which provides vital resources in finding a cure for cancer.  The research that goes into the effort is funded by donations.  It is very important work that they are doing, and I couldn’t be more proud to be a team member for the 2015 race.

I have been reaching out to family and friends, soliciting donations for the past few months and have made some great progress.  Funds have come from all over, from runners, and tennis fans, from strangers, bloggers and even my closest family.  As of today, 6/30/15, I have raised a total of $1,245.  Nearly the half way point in my efforts, I am asking for more help and donations for this fine charity.

Please help me to reach my goal.  It feels so good to give, so won’t you please consider a donation today?  Please share this post on your own blogs, or share in other ways so that I can reach as many potential donors as possible.  I thank you!

The link above takes you directly to my fundraising page where making a donation it so simple and quick.

Thanks again!

Running for The James Blake Foundation

I am running the biggest marathon in the world this year!  The TCS New York City Marathon!

This dream only came true because I joined a charity team raising money for cancer research.  Running for a reason, as they say!

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I will be running the marathon with the James Blake Foundation charity team.  I began my fundraising quest a couple months ago, and have raised nearly a third of my goal.  I am trying to raise at least $3,000 for this worthy cause, and every donation helps impact the life of cancer patients through incredible research happening everyday.

I kicked off my fundraising efforts with a personal donation of $100, and have so many donors to thank already!  You, too, can help.  Won’t you please consider a donation today?

I am using The Crowdrise fundraising platform, and making a donation is super easy, and all donations are tax deductible.  If you click on the link below, it takes you directly to my personal fundraising page, and your thoughtful gift to this amazing charity is just seconds away.

You can also help me by sharing this blog post on social media.  Share it on your own blog, or on Facebook, or Twitter.  I would really appreciate it, as I want to try to reach as many potential donors as possible.

So?  What do you say?  Will you please make a contribution and share today?

Thank you!

Chicago X 2

It’s all luck of the draw, right?

Here are some important facts…  I’ve entered four race lotteries in the past five years.  I put my name in the hat for the 2012 NYC Marathon, results?  Didn’t get in!  I put my name in the hat for the NYC marathon for 2015.  Results?  Didn’t get picked.  So, from the state in which I was born, my record is 0-2.

I entered the lottery for the 2014 Chicago marathon.  The results?

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I entered again this year, and BOOM!  The email came early yesterday morning, that low and behold, I am IN, again!  So my record for Chicago?  2-0.  Chicago must be my kind of town!

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I can go back!  I had the time of my life in Chicago last year, and I would love to return.  Now, I just have to figure out how I can do it.  I would love to be able to get lined up again with the thousands of runners, and experience the million fans alongside the course.  I just now have to look at my budget, and figure out if I can swing it.  And, I won’t in good conscience, head off to Chicago unless I meet my fundraising goal.

You see, for those of you that missed my posts about NYC.  My utter disappointment in the fact that I didn’t get chosen again for New York, I decided to look into running for charity.  I reached out to a charity foundation that had some meaning to me.  I reached out to the folks at the James Blake Foundation, a charity raising money for cancer research, and they accepted me onto their marathon team.

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I had to pay for my race entry (it wasn’t free), and I accepted the challenge to raise a minimum of $3,000 for this charity.  I kicked off my fundraising with a $100 personal donation to the charity.  To date, through the generous donations of friends, family and fellow runners, I’m nearing $1,000 toward my fundraising goal.

But, I can’t reach my goal without more help.  Help from folks like you!  People reading this blog post, folks I interact with through social media.  Will you please consider a donation in any amount to help this cause?

You can donate by clicking on the following link…  Thank you!

Running for Cancer Research

The big news?

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Yes, I am running the TCS New York City Marathon this year!

No, I didn’t get in through the lottery.  But, I am still one of the lucky one’s.  I have received a spot on a charity team.  Not just any charity team, but one that is making progress and fighting the great fight against cancer.

I am running for the James Blake Foundation.  You can read more about the foundation and its efforts here:  http://www.jamesblaketennis.com. They are dedicated to cancer research and finding a cure.

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As a tennis player for most of my life, it was important to me to find and raise money for a charity that was meaningful to me.  James is an unofficially retired tennis pro from the United States whose highest ranking was World #4 back in 2006.  James was always the epitome of what a tennis player should be.  Highly competitive, good natured and someone young tennis players could respect and look up to.  He was, and still is a great representative of American tennis.

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In 2008, James established the Thomas Blake Sr. Memorial Research Fund to support cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.  The fund is named in memory of his late father who passed away from gastric cancer in 2004.

So, my contribution to James’ important charity is a $3,000 donation.  I can only reach this goal if I have help.  I am reaching out to all of the amazing readers of my blog, asking for assistance in any way.  If you can contribute $10, $20, $100 or any other amount, this fantastic charity will benefit in so many ways.  Your generous contribution will get me closer to running the five boroughs of New York City this November 1st.

I still can’t believe that I am going to run the New York City Marathon!

The following link will take you to my fundraising page on CrowdRise.  Please take a moment and donate, and leave in the comment section a thought or memory of someone you may have lost to cancer, and know that your donation helps in the fight.

Click here…  http://fw.to/aDhm3AC

Thank you readers!