Saturday, March 31, 2012

Rome is over, on to London

I apologize that it has taken me almost 2 weeks to post the Rome Marathon results, but life and work sometimes get prioritized in front of the blog. Better later than never.

The good news is that I completed marathon #3 in a time of 5:31:26; the bad news is that I completed marathon #3 in a time of 5:31:26. I know, I know.... I will be mightily chastised by friends and family who are following the "12 in 12 in 2012" marathon journey race by race; the goal for this year should simply be to finish each race. Still, that "type-A" in me rears its ugly head from time to time. I just keep telling myself that a finish of 12 events should be achievement enough.

And so, I can report that I am now 25% complete of the marathon events for this year, and I have achieved 53% of my fundraising status. Onwards and upwards.

First step of the weekend was to pick up my marathon number at the Rome Marathon Expo. A wonderful event, great marathon gift (back-pack) and a fabulous atmosphere. Entering into the race hall on Saturday morning!

Rome marathon expo
In my dreams.....

Rome marathon expo

Hachie Gal and "Romeo" the Rome Marathon mascot. Kinda looks like he is giving me the Hawaiian hand signal "Mahalo" which means "greetings" or "take care". Fingers crossed the race would indeed turn out that way.

Rome marathon expo

I had also decided early on that the race colors for the weekend would be "green and gold", as I would be definitely be "flinging my green and gold afar" on this day. Given Baylor's outstanding sports achievements in the last year, this bear donned her BU colors for pre-race/race events in honor of the "March madness" of Baylor's basketball teams.

Sic' em Bears!

Race morning found me literally a 5 minute walk from the start (and finish) at the Roman Coliseum. Does it get much better than that?

At the start of the Rome marathon

The course was basically a flat one, but the cobblestones for the first 4 miles and last 4 miles were "killers" on my the soles of my feet.  I never wanted to finish a race more.  On the other hand, it was as if the Rome tourist board had designed the course, because I ran past all the famous sights:  The Colieum, St. Peters' Square, the Vatican, the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, Plaza Navona, the Forum, Circus Maximus, etc.  Nothing quite prepared me for the moment when I entered St. Peters Square and the eruption of noise from the crowd that ensued.  It was truly amazing.

My recap would not be complete without a BIG thank you to the road crew for the day, lovingly dubbed the "Three Amigos":  Budman, Mike and Matt.  Thanks guys - I owe you!


Finally, I met for the first time one of my Italian work colleagues who I have only spoken to on the phone.  Thanks, Flavio for coming out to say "hey" and congratulate me on the race.

Holly and Flavio, my HP Rome buddy

Next up:  Virgin London Marathon on Sunday, April 22nd!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Last post before Rome!

Before I sign off for the weekend run, thought I would answer a few questions I've received from folks who want to follow the weekend run:

Q:  Where is the start and finish of the race?
A:  The Coliseum...does not get better than that.

Q:  What is the course like?
A:   The course is basically flat, but the cobblestones at the start and end of the race are killers. I am told to watch for the occasional "bump" and be prepared for some additional unfamiliar soreness after the race. Set out as if by the Rome tourist board, runners will see all the famous sights along the run.

Q:  What are the expected weather conditions on Sunday?
A:  Sunny, high of 67 degrees F.

Q:  Will the Rome Marathon be on TV?
A:  The Rome Marathon marathon will be broadcast live (9:00-12:00 CET) in more than 70 nations. The race will be broadcast, with a comment in English, on: Supersport South Africa (30 countries); Zuku Africa; Sport Plus France (France), EBU (all European countries), Band Sports Brazil (Brazil), VTR Vive Deportes Chile (Chile), Nova (Greece and Cyprus), KZ Sport 1 (Kazakhstan), Direct TV (Latin America).
Plus, on the Youtube channel of La7, official TV of the 18th Rome Marathon -

Q:  What if I want to come out and cheer you on along the course?
A:  Well, there will most likely not be too many of you out there besides the Three Amigos, but if you do come out, you can download the Rome Marathon Spectator Guide.  Designed to cheer runners on or entertain spectators before the race, as well provide finishers and friends alike with a celebration-concert or to warm them up before the start, they take place in more than 20 locations along the course and beyond.

Taking it one step at a time!

To tweet or not, that is the question

I remarked a while back to a work colleague/girlfriend/Texas co-hort (you know who you are) that I was a moderate user of social media. She laughed at me.  When I thought about it, I suppose daily postings to facebook, 2 blogs, linked in and work social media sites would indicate I am more than a moderate user. 

As I reflected on this, I thought "When is enough social media...enough?" (OK, that sounded seriously like something Carrie Bradshaw would pen).   Interesting question, though...

True, it is a great way to catch up with friends and family (whether separated by distance, timezone, or simply years).  It can be used for good in social change or to drive businesses forward.  It serves a myriad of communication purposes, too.  I could go on and on.

However, there are times when I wonder if I really need to know what is on someone's grocery list, or about someone's bad hair day. There is also an element of narcissism that springs to mind.  I am probably guilty of this offense at some point in time as well. Still, when I think about whether I need to actually jump on the "tweet" bandwagon, it is not for these reasons I delay.

Harking back to my MBA and citing the technology adoption lifecycle, I am not sure if I would typically be termed as an early adopter or late adopter...I am certainly no innovator or laggard (even that term sounds awful).  I'd probably settle on "early majority" accepter (more conservative but open to new ideas, active in community and influences others).  Still, tweeting has been around for a while and in the mainstream, so I would normally have taken tweeting on board by now....No, I don't think I can cite this as the reason for not tweeting either. just feels like one "more" thing to keep up with.  When coupled with work and personal email, multiple mobile phones, etc., can we possibly be "too plugged in"?  Did I just age myself with that question?

So far, I have resisted the need to tweet, how about you?

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

My "remembrance" team

As I near the day for marathon #3, I can't help but think of those friends and family members that have been touched by cancer in some way.  For many, they have personally endured the physical and emotional trauma that accompanies this disease; for these individuals, I raise a toast to their perseverance and determination and celebrate the victory achieved.

For others, they have "fought the good fight" and we can only remember them fondly in our hearts and minds as well as their determined struggles against cancer.

Today, I pause to thank those friends, family members, and work colleagues who have donated to Cancer Research UK in my "12 in 12 in 2012" marathon quest, and to recognize the people in which they have donated in honor or memory of.  I am conscious that there are many supporters who did not share their personal stories with me and this represents only a small sample but I thank you all on behalf of Cancer Research UK.

As is my practice, I take a small print-out of these names with me to the start of every marathon.  As I wait patiently at the starting line for the announcement that the race has commenced, I pause briefly and remember each person by name. It is an honor and privilege to run on their behalves and I feel their presence and encouragement throughout the day.  I won't let them down.

In some instances, I only know them as Susan's mother or John's friend.  For privacy reasons, I will not share the full name if I do know it, but I want each person to know they are  remembered today as well as on marathon days (you know who you are).  If you would like to add someone to my list, please let me know.

So, in no particular order, my "remembrance" team:

*  Memory of Nancy Sartain Robinson - died of breast, bone, brain cancer
*  Memory of Peggy Sartain - cancer survivor/pediatric oncologist
*  Memory/honor of all the Sartain women - tough old broads
*  Memory of Amy F., Holly Y.'s Chi-O Sister - breast cancer
*  Memory of Cris T.'s grandparents
*  Memory of Ken S.'s father 
*  Honor of Dena S. - cancer suvivor
*  Memory of Dena S.'s family member
*  Memory of Mihail T.'s mother - breast and lung cancer
*  Honor of Nicholas B. - cancer survivor
*  Memory of Andrew D.'s father
*  Memory of Ian R.'s mother
*  Memory of Nina C.'s mother - ovarian cancer
*  Memory of Simon S.'s friend, Okko M.
*  Memory of Kieran J.'s mother - breast cancer
*  Honor of Roelf B, currently battling cancer
*  Memory of Marilyn B.'s daughter, Linda - leukemia
*  Memory of several of Anastasia Z.'s family members touched by cancer
*  Memory of Yvonne B.'s father
*  Memory of Paul D.'s father (Martha's father in law)
*  Honor of Oana S.'s mother in law currently fighting breast cancer
*  Honor of Birgit vR's HP colleague battling brain and breast cancer
*  Memory of Hicks' family:  (1) RH's grandmother - breast cancer, (2) RH's aunt - breast cancer
*  Honor of Hicks' family: KH's grandmothers who are breast cancer survivors
*  Memory of Debi B.'s friend, Karen K.
*  Memory of Carolyn P.'s grandmother, mother (Corrine B.), aunt (Grace A.), sister (Grace Marian), and cousins (Nancy R. and Peggy S.)
*  Honor of Jim K., Waxahachie friend - prostate cancer survivor
*  Memory of Brian A.'s mother
*  Honor of Nancy A.'s good friend, Mary C., who is currently battling breast cancer
*  Memory of Christina T.'s parents
*  Memory of Cynthia and Paul D's Granddad Pye, and father-in-law, Ken
*  Honor of Cynthia and Paul D's Aunt C and Sister L
*  Memory of Peggy R.'s mother
*  Memory of Pallavi G.'s grandmother
*  Honor of Dee C. currently successfully fighting cancer
*  Honor of Fiona F.
*  Memory of Jennifer M.'s mom
*  Honor of Baylor boys Scott H. and Matt C. who both beat testicular cancer
*  Honor of Greg P. - testicular cancer survivor
*  Memory of Jerry E.'s brother
*  Memory of Jimmi P., Waxahachie buddy
*  Memory of Terry G., Waxahachie neighbor
*  Honor of Jan F., Waxahachie friend
*  Memory of Justin C.'s mother - breast cancer
*  Honor of Sue O.'s friend, Danielle H. battling brain and bone cancer

"Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail.! - Confucious

Taking it one step at a time!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

"12 in 12 in 2012" Tuesday Update

Can't wait to run Sunday!  Feeling so much more rested than last month, and quite a bit more pysched to run given the fact I feel energized. In the deep dark corners of my mind, I think I knew Seville was not going to be my best day.  Banish that thought now...on to Rome!

Besides rest, the small aches and pains, including that right two, third toe blood blister, are nicely healed.  Fundraising is continuing but has slowed in recent weeks; currently, I am sitting at 45% of target fundraising goal with 9 months left.  PLEASE consider sponsoring me with a donation for Cancer Research UK if you have not already done so:

The "consultant" in me has now taken to keeping a perpetual "marathon" suitcase packed, given I have a running event every 3-4 weeks.  Another slight process improvement in the overall "12 in 12 in 2012" marathon experience.

I have also found some really great articles by Hal Higdon on running multiple marathons...practical advice and a few sample training schedules for weeks "between" races.

Finally, I will be well supported this coming Sunday with a FAB-U-LOUS road crew that I am dubbing the "Three Amigos"...husband and 2 bro-n-laws....

The biggest question I don the Texas state flag running shorts this weekend or move on to a Baylor color theme?  thoughts?

Taking it one step at a time!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Viva Roma!

Maratona di Roma looms large on the horizon, Sunday, March 18th at 8:00 AM to be precise.  It is incredibly hard to believe that marathon #3 in the "12 in12 in 2012" is already here. 

This month, I find myself feeling slightly more rested (that is an understatement compared to February); the watch word for the last 4 weeks has been "sleep"!

I am looking forward to a small but mighty road crew for Sunday (Budman, Mike, Matt and perhaps an Italien work colleague) to cheer me along the race course.

Speaking of race courses, it is no doubt that the Rome Marathon has one of the world's most charming racecourses of all marathons. More than 500 landmarks enrich the 26 miles, with the start and the finish of the marathon being at THE Coliseum.  Could there be a more dramatic venue?  Let's hope I do not suffer the same fate as many of those who found themselves fighting for their lives in the coliseum though!

More on race day as the week progresses.

Taking it one step at a time!