Tuesday, February 11, 2014

A long overdue update

The training season is flying by and there have been a lot of ups and downs.  I was off to a strong start and then we had our first round of the polar vortex cold.  I ran multiple days in the single digits with negative wind chills and ended up getting myself sick.  I've been battling this cycle on and off with the snow, ice, or sub zero temperatures all affecting the training schedule. This past weekend our Dana-Farber group run had to be revised as the original course had too much snow and was unsafe for us to take.  Instead we did hill repeats on Comm Ave from Boston College down to the Newton firehouse and back.  It was challenging and I had the "pleasure" of running heartbreak hill twice with temperatures in the teens, avoiding patches of snow and ice.

So much of this distance running is a mental game.  Yes your body gets tired but your mindset is what really helps to push you through or can defeat you.  There have been quite a few times out there I've doubted myself, wondered if I can really do this, and questioned my sanity for being out there!  But every time I start one of those thoughts, I'm reminded of how far I have come.  I think about why I'm doing this, not just for myself but for such a good cause.  I think about all the people who are behind me, supporting me, encouraging me.  I look around at all my wonderful Dana-Farber team members and think of all the people who are counting on us to do this, to fund their research and help find newer, better cancer treatments until we find the cure.  There is something incredibly powerful in all this and that is what I think about on those frigid mornings amongst all my fellow runners.

My family has had good news as well.  Valerie's treatment through Dana-Farber is going very well.  In October she went in for her follow up CT scan and it showed her tumors had shrunk 30-40% already, in less than 6 months!  Her December check in was just blood work but those showed her liver function at almost normal levels and the tumor markers in her blood are half of what they were in October.  We are all so thankful that her treatment is working so well and so quickly.  Her next check up will be the week before the marathon and we are looking forward to seeing even more improvement.

The fundraising I am doing goes directly to Dana-Farber's Barr Research Program.  Here is just one example of what this research has accomplished in the fight against cancer:

Breast Cancer: Discovering New Treatments - Explaining how drugs like Tamoxifen have improved breast cancer survival rates by 33% in significant numbers of women, leading to the possible discovery of additional treatments with even better outcomes for breast cancer patients.

Myles Brown, MD, used Barr funding in 2002-‘03 to discover the way estrogen works in normal tissues and breast cancers, resulting in the first genome-wide map of all genes that estrogen controls. This has enabled scientists for the first time to understand why certain drugs have been so effective in treating breast cancer, including the 33% improvement in survival for women whose breast cancers respond to estrogen. Dr. Brown’s work is now expected to lead to new drugs and treatments for cancers that target critical pathways in breast cancer. His team has used this information to discover new ways to treat breast cancers that don’t respond to Tamoxifen. 

Since my last post, I have run 16hours, 37minutes and 33sec for a total of 82.36 miles.

My fundraising efforts have so far raised $2,745 which is 30.42% of my goal.  To support me and Dana-Farber, visit my fundraising page to make a donation.

Thank you!

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