Friday, September 26, 2014

Running Update:
7.6 mi
7.6 mi
20.4 mi
7.5 mi
5.0 mi

     The Hartford Marathon is two weeks from tomorrow!  Did my longest run of the season last weekend, so I’m in taper mode now (though still have 14 miles to run this weekend…)

     Hartford will be marathon #7 for me.  At this point in training usually I do find a little bit of dread creeping in to my psyche.  Marathons hurt!  And recently that got my Ob-Gyn brain thinking:  running a marathon is not unlike childbirth.  Months of preparation, physical challenges, dietary restrictions and other deprivations leading up to a single life-changing event.  (Not to mention the similarities in the post-event recovery:  sore muscles, abrasions in unpleasant places, days before you can walk normally…)
     Like giving birth, running a marathon seems worse the second (and every subsequent) time around because you know what’s coming.  In preparing for your first marathon (or childbirth) you are blissfully ignorant.  Yes, you have done your homework and heard the horror stories, but you still lack first-hand knowledge of the mental and physical anguish involved.  Then, just like after the birth of a child, you are on an emotional high after the first marathon, and somehow, after the physical hurts have healed, the memory of the pain fades and you only remember the triumphant end result.  And in a few months you’ve forgotten all about the misery and sign up for another one.
     For your second (and every subsequent) marathon (birth), you do well through the first few months of preparation.  The event itself seems distant.  As the last few weeks of training (or to the last few weeks before your due date) approach it suddenly hits you—you have to run an actual marathon (push an actual baby out) again.  You think, “Oh yeah.  Dang!  I forgot about that part.  Why did I sign up for this?” 
     And just like birthing babies, with every year you age marathoning  gets harder and harder.  “AMA”, the abbreviation of the obstetrician’s euphemistic “advanced maternal age”, could easily stand for “advanced marathon age”.
     Food for thought!

Jane/NF Update:
     Busy week for Jane.  She had her monthly check up with pediatrician (normal), monthly blood work (mostly normal), and 6-month hearing test at Yale (mostly normal).  We return to NIH in two weeks (two days after the marathon!) for a quick visit—just physical exam and blood work.  It won’t be until our next big trip to NIH in December that Jane will have an eye exam, EKG, echocardiogram, and MRI.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Running Update:
9.1 mi
5.0 mi
15.0 mi
Less than a month until the Hartford Marathon!  I’ve got a 22 mile training run planned for next weekend and then I get to taper.

Jane and NF Update:
Yesterday was the 2nd Annual NF Walk in Putnam, CT!  It was the first official NF event we’ve attended as a family.  Todd and the kids always attend my running races, but usually I am the only person at these events fund raising for the Children’s Tumor Foundation.   The NF Walk was attended only by people supporting the Children’s Tumor Foundation!  At first Jane seemed a little self-conscious.  I don’t think she knew what to expect (nor did I, for that matter…), but shortly after we arrived the walk’s organizer, Rhianna Curotto, gave Jane a NF Hero cape and streamers, and she was off!

Face painting

Showing off her butterfly

By the Quinebaug River

Aunt Anne came all the way from Boston to walk with us!

Aunt Anne and Grandma Ag

The walk was an out-and-back stroll along the Quinebaug River, and our family walked in the middle of the pack.  When we reached the turn-around point, Jane noticed that the parade was being led by three kids holding a CTF banner.  She asked, “How come they get to be up front?”  I told her there was no particular reason, that she could walk up front if she wanted.  Before I knew it she had gone up to the trio and asked if she could help carry the banner, too!

After the walk we enjoyed a cookout and raffle.  Jane spent the rest of the event dressing up in the photo booth and taking pictures with her new friends.

Dressing up for photos

Each person at the walk who has neurofibromatosis was given a medal.  Jane was happy to accept hers.

Jane won a basket of crafting items, including a small photo album.  That night, after we were home, she put all her photo strips in the album and carefully labelled them “NF Walk 9-13-14”.  She pointed to the pictures and said, “This girl had the tumor, too.”  I think, in her own way, Jane was very happy to finally have met other children affected by NF.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Running Update:
6.0 mi
5.0 mi
12.6 mi
8.0 mi
3.2 mi
10.9 mi
5.0 mi

Hot and humid—ugh!  Usually the beauty of training for a fall marathon is that the weather becomes more and more compatible with running as you get into the most intense part of your training.  Not this past week!  I was spoiled by such a cool, dry summer—I’m not acclimated to running in heat and humidity this year!

Done with our first race of the fall:  the New Haven Road Race on Labor Day:

At the start

Nearing the finish

Crossing the finish line
(An illustration of how, when I run long distances, I keep my left index finger pointed.  I don't know why...)

Once the NHRR was over I started breaking in a new pair of running shoes!  Each pair lasts about 500 miles.  I figure I’ll be able to get at least 100 miles on this pair before the Hartford Marathon on October 11th.

But before the marathon, I’ll be attending a new (for me) kind of NF event:  the 2nd annual NF Walk in Putnam, CT!  The whole thing is organized by the head of the Connecticut Chapter of the Children’s Tumor Foundation, Rhianna Curotto.  It will be the first NF event that we are participating in as a family—even the kids will walk!  I am looking forward to meeting more Connecticut families affected by NF.  Here is the website for more information:

Jane Update:
Back to School!  The first few days of school have gone well.  Everyone seems to like their teachers and their classes.  We’re looking forward to a great school year.

NF Update:
Since being back at school Jane has received a number of compliments on her new haircut.  We had to cut her hair short because the AZD6244 has caused it to thin considerably, but the pixie cut seems to suit her.  Another curious effect of the medicine is that it is making her hair grow blonde!  You can actually see the first stripe of blonde hair that started back in March when she began taking AZD6244.  While blonde hair certainly isn’t a bad side effect, it does freak me out a bit that Jane is taking a medicine powerful enough to change her hair color :(

Finally, don’t forget to donate to our 2014 campaign for the Children’s Tumor Foundation!  If you can’t remember if you’ve donated yet this year, ASSUME YOU HAVE NOT, and donate again :)