Tag Archives: Leukemia Lymphoma Society

Driving Forces

“Never, never, never quit!” – Winston Churchill (paraphrased)

What inspires you? I ask this because I wonder if you are like me, in that you need almost daily motivation to keep you moving towards whatever goals you have in front of you.

A friend of mine once told me that I inspire her. While she was not specific I assume she meant it regarding exercise, and not something like blurting inappropriate comments at work (which I have done) or burning down the building with microwave popcorn (something I almost did). It made me pause because we have been friends for a long time and frankly she knows what a dumb ass I can be. But it also had the reciprocal effect of inspiring me back. I mean, if I am someone’s inspiration, then it motivates me to keep trying.


Finish line with Shari – Fox Cities Half Marathon, September 2009

In turn, I have been inspired by a lot of people in my life-mostly friends and family. Like my dad who began running in his late 40’s or my mom who used to walk six miles a day. My friend Dawn who helps me to be more accepting of myself or my friend Amanda who gave me the courage to go after a job I was afraid to reach for. Or my friend Shari, who asked me to run a half marathon with her, planting the seeds of belief and confidence in my ability.

My second half marathon, the Cellcom, I ran as a member of Team In Training for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, as a way of giving back for the research that saved my daughter’s life (she is a survivor). I had to fundraise, and for every donation I received, I asked if the donor had someone they would like me to run for. As the list grew, I became inspired by people who couldn’t run for themselves, and every step in every training run became a prayer for loved ones on my list. For my friend Lee, who was dying of pancreatic cancer (Miss you, Lee!), a co-workers sister newly diagnosed with liver cancer, a co-worker’s niece, a friend of my sister’s, a friend’s daughter who had already passed…the list was long. But each person on it kept me training, thru injuries, discouragement, and fatigue, until the day of the race.

Cellcom 2011

My shirt with all the names on it from the Cellcom Half thru Team in Training in 2011

My friend Vicki was recently diagnosed with Primary Progressive MS, for which there is basically no treatment nor cure. But instead of giving up, she has done her research and now uses a specific food plan, exercise, and natural supplements to help her keep moving forward. I am sure she has down days, but it’s not evident in her daily Facebook posts or in the positive way she greets these new challenges in her life. Reading about her journey (you can read about it too, here- Kickin’ MS) reminds me that each day is a gift and an opportunity for me to choose a healthy lifestyle.

Last November my good friend’s differently-abled nephew asked me to be part of his running team in the 2013 Bellin, through the My Team Triumph organization. This organization places differently-abled Captains with a team of Angels, who do the physical running while pushing their Captain in a myTEAM TRIUMPHspecially designed stroller. However, it is the Captain who provides the heart and spirit that fuels the legs of the angels, and I can already tell that Joey is high-octane! I want to be in the best shape I can for this event, not only to make it fun and memorable for Joey, a courageous young man who has faced more obstacles in his 26 years than most of us will face in a lifetime, but to have a physical body that can match the joy and determination he brings to the table.

I have this framed Erma Bombeck quote on my desk from the year I ran the Cellcom:

When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say “I used everything You gave me”.

It was a Christmas gift from Shari, and I refer to it often when I want to quit. It reminds me of why I am here, why I try, why I keep fighting. I want my life to count. I don’t want to look back on time spent frittered away, but on a life where I have invested the gifts given to me by God, and turned a profit for His glory.

My final request in this post is to ask that if you found inspiration in my words, that you would return the favor and tell me what inspires you! What drives you? What are your talents? How are you using them or how do you wish to use them? Hopes and dreams will remain hopes and dreams unless you speak them into being. Let me hear from you!


Black Friday

Black Friday

Well, at least they are running…

Oh yes, I just shamelessly used the words “Black Friday” in my title, knowing it might give my blog a few more hits.  But for those of us trying to maintain a healthy weight, the day after Thanksgiving can indeed feel like Black Friday, should one be so stupid as to step on the scale.  Therefore, instead of being out shopping with the Crazies, I am at home, drinking coffee and writing an exercise entry in my blog.


Oh yes. This is exactly what I look like drinking coffee. Uh huh.

If you are like me, you know the holiday season can wreak havoc on the best laid plans of healthy eating and exercise.  In the long, dark days of winter, it’s very easy to choose sleep over an early wake up call to the gym, or to just go home after a late day at work, and watch the Big Bang Theory while eating your dinner instead of bundling up for a walk or run in the dark.  So, now is the time I encourage you to add some spice to your normal routine.  Boredom is the number one killer of exercise programs!


“You can’t make me go to the gym! You can’t make me, you can’t make me, you can’t make me!”

The first thing I did this year was to join the Y.  I haven’t belonged to a gym in over 3 years, choosing instead to utilize the gym we have at work with my co-worker workout buddies.  Very cheap (free) and it’s always more motivating to know someone else is depending on you to be there.  But lately, we find more and more excuses not to go.  It seems like such a chore – depressing even – and if one person backs out, it sucks the motivation from the rest of us.

Joining the Y has brought some spice back into my workout plans.  I can join a spin class, hit the pool, jiggle my love handles in Zumba, or run on the indoor track (so thankful I won’t have to think about running across ice patches this year).  It was just enough to bump my brain out of hibernation mode.  If you already belong to a gym, but are bored and find yourself not going, try creating an at home program.   Or find ways to exercise outside – like snowshoeing or cross country skiing if you have snow, or biking, running and/or walking if you don’t (be sure to read some articles on cold weather exercise.  There is a good one here:  ACTIVE.COM).  Or join a new gym – maybe one that offers some things you don’t have at your current gym.



The next thing I did was purchase an Ipad, which led me to justify said purchase by figuring out how to use it for reasons other than playing Spider Solitaire or Siege Hero.  I started looking for good workout apps, and found a few worth mentioning:  Daily Workouts, IPersonalTrainer, and Workout Trainer.  I’m not going to review them today, but brought them up because it was in my search for workout apps that I ran across a video called Plank Workout for Flat Abs and Toned Arms, led by a cute, perky girl who made doing a plank look oh-so-easy, even while adding in weights and arm movements.


Even perky while planking!

Further investigation brought me to more videos and then her website –Blogilates.com.  Oh my goodness – so much more perkiness (really, I am 48 years old – not much of me is too perky anymore) and sweating.  Seems an odd combination, but this girl has some killer moves.  Her name is Cassey Ho, and despite her everlasting good mood, or maybe because of it, I absolutely love her workouts.  They challenge my strength, they teach new moves to this old dog, and they make me sweat like a pig.  (Hmm…maybe that last bit wasn’t very appealing…).

Plus, she makes new videos all the time!  And she has a clothing line!  And she has a monthly workout calendar.  And she has recipes.  And meal plans.  And inspirational stories.  And icing on the cake –  she is FREE (although you do have to subscribe to her newsletter for access to some things, like the workout calendar).

Her videos are about 10-15 minutes long, so perfect for those days you need something quick.  Or you can do two or three in a row, or you can do what I did.  I went thru a few of her videos, pulled out the exercises I wanted to try, and created an hour long workout routine that we did in the gym at work.  Holy sweat balls of fire.

And my last bit of advice – sign up for an event that will make you start training.  It doesn’t have to be grandiose (but it can be, if you want) – maybe as simple as just wanting to get personal best, or try something new.  Need some inspiration?  There are a lot of charity events and Team In Trainingorganizations (like My Team Triumph or the Leukemia Lymphoma Society Team in Training) you can work with to add some meaning to your training.  I have found I train better knowing I am running for someone who can’t run for themselves.  It adds a spiritual level to my workouts, and reminds me to be grateful and humble.

And that my friends, is that.  For now…