Friday, February 28, 2014

The Thing About Goals...

Goals are important.  They keep us moving forward.  When training for a marathon, I like to break the ultimate goal (26.2 miles) in to 18 weeks of smaller goals.  Over time, the weekly mileage increases to condition us for race day.  I keep a print out of my training schedule handy and find it very satisfying to cross off my daily runs/workouts.  A visible, tangible record of my accomplishments for the week.

For the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge team, my teammates and I have an additional goal.  We are charged with raising money to benefit the Claudia Adams Barr program in Innovative Cancer Research.  In a nutshell, the Barr Program is critical for conducting basic research, which is not eligible for federal funding until well along in proof of principle. The program enables leading-edge, highly-innovative research up to the point that it may be possible to attract government or private support. Barr Investigator awards help advance the professional development of Dana-Farber’s newly appointed Instructors and Assistant Professors who otherwise lack seed funding to test hypotheses and bring promising studies forward in completely new areas of research.

I am proud to report that, over the course of my 4 DFMC races and my 2014 fundraising to date, I have raised $50,367.55!!! 2008: $10,245.55; 2010: $10,001.00; 2012: $13,686.00; 2013: $15,440.00 I am more proud of these totals than any of my marathon finishing times.  Losing a loved one to cancer is a very powerless feeling.   It has been so amazing to actually DO SOMETHING to honor my Mom and my In-Memory Partner,  Jonathan Smyth.

So…this all being said…I have set a lofty goal for my 2014 DFMC fundraising--$15,000!  We have done it before and we can do it again!  As of today 2/28/14, my Barr Program total is $995.00.  I have a lot of work to do over the next 1 month 20 days and 21 hours!  I realize that, in reaching out to you,  I am “tapping the same well” as I have over the past 4 races.  You have all been so generous!   If you can, please consider a small donation to help me reach my goal! 

And if you have already donated, THANK YOU!


Monday, February 24, 2014


Three treadmill workouts in a row.  Truly dreadful.  The “dreadmill” (props to my friend Dawn for that moniker).  This winter is KILLING ME!  It is supposed to be WARM this weekend (if you call 40s warm), so I will get outside and finally get in some outdoor mileage.
I wanted to pass along some exciting news! First, a little history…  The DFMC has a program in which runners can partner with families who have lost a child to cancer and run in their memory.  Last year, I partnered with the Smyths—a family formerly from Sudbury, MA (like myself).  Their son Jonathan lost his battle with neuroblastoma in January, 1998 and is buried 2 gravestones down from my mother, Patty Shields, in Wadsworth Cemetery in Sudbury.
Last marathon season was such a special experience as I had the support of not only all of my friends and family, but of the friends and family of the Smyths. Marie, Jonathan’s mom, and I maintained regular contact over the course of my training and I was thrilled to have Katie Smyth (Jonathan’s older sister), a graduate student at MIT, as my guest at the DFMC pre-race pasta party.
For the good news… Katie Smyth has joined the DFMC team this year!  Although the Smyths have been part of the Partner/In Memory program since 1997, this is the first time the family has had a runner of its own!  I am so excited for Katie as this will certainly be an amazing year to run her 1st Boston in memory of her brother. I am crossing my fingers that Marie and family can make the trip to Boston this year to cheer us on!
Please keep Katie, Jonathan, Patty and I in your thoughts over the next few months as we gear up for April 21st!


Monday, February 10, 2014

After The Apocalyspe

This past week has been a challenge.  Due to an ice storm, my family lost power, heat and hot water for 3 full days.  Kids were out of school for three days.  Scrambling to get to work.  Strategizing how to even get a shower.  Running has not been on the top of my priority list.

“Flexible” is not my middle name.  I like things to be a certain way.  I like predictability.  I often eat the same thing every day.  When it comes to marathon training, I follow the same training schedule year after year to a “T.”  This training season has been humbling.  Rain, Ice, Slush, Snow, Black Outs.  Mother Nature, not Amy, is at the wheel for sure.

I often catch myself in a panic.  “I haven’t run all of my training runs this week!!!!  Will I be able to finish the marathon????”  Then I collect myself and realize, “Yes.  I’ve done it before.  I’m training and doing the best I can.”  Plus, I have two guardian angels pulling me along!  This training is not about me.  This training is about my mom, Patty and my In-Memory Partner, Jonathan.  I can cope with the elements.