Grand Canyon 2011

Meet My Family: Farmer Jess, the Green Duchess

I’ve come to realize lately that the central theme of this blog is not running. It’s grief, and what we do to take the grief life has given us and transform it into something meaningful, even beautiful and empowering. That’s what running with Team in Training is doing for me this year.

This is the first in a series of posts about how blood cancer has affected my family, and what each of us has done with the grief life has handed us. We have lost 5 of our own to blood cancers – people who loved us and raised us, whose absence is deeply felt. When you donate, you give us hope. You let us know we are not alone.

Today, I’d like to you to meet my cousin, Jess. She lost her mom, Marge, to a short and brutal battle with lymphoma in January 2013. We spent many a fun summer together at Grandma Julie‘s house before we lost her to multiple myeloma. Here is Jess adventuring with Marge in 2011.
Grand Canyon 2011
Jess has done something out of the ordinary to honor her late mother’s memory. She started Green Duchess Farm. When you’re in New Jersey, check out her naturally grown eggs, herbs, chickens and turkeys.


Jess at her farmer’s market booth in 2014, wearing her late mom’s favorite hat. The logo was designed by our talented aunt, Anne.

Here’s what Jess has to say about Marge, and why you should donate to LLS:

“She was not only my mother, but my best friend. She set a high standard of the type of person I want to be. She instilled in me a deep love for plants, animals, and nature. She showed me how to live life with dedication, passion, and fortitude. The pain of the loss of her gets easier to bear each day but I am always reminded of her, in the things we enjoyed together and things we thought we would do in the future.

I always thought that she, who had endured so much struggle throughout her life, was invincible. I know now that is not the case for any of us. I find myself warning my loved ones that I too may fall victim and be taken too soon. I want to live a full life in order to carry on her legacy of selfless volunteer work, teaching of children, loving friendship, and joy of life. Every disease has it’s charity fund now. How does one choose which to support? Are they not all deserving? I don’t know, but it would mean the world to me if someone was moved by our story and decided to donate to LLS. Hopefully one day, researchers will find a way to prevent losses like ours.”

–> Donate Here <– 

Training Update

Yesterday was a cutback, meaning we only ran 90 minutes. The weather has turned cool here, and I actually had to wear gloves at the beginning because it was slightly over 40 degrees at 7:00 AM when I started. (GLOVES! Are you kidding me, Mother Nature?)

I’ve been having this problem lately where I get incredibly cranky and tired after my long runs, no matter how strong I felt during the actual running. To distract motivate myself, I’ve been bribing myself through long runs with Spotify playlists and trying new fuel gel flavors. They have some pretty crazy flavors. (Salted Watermelon GU gel is surprisingly good.) I tried a new fuel packet on my run yesterday that was supposed to be an all natural version of Nutella, but it squirted everywhere when I opened it and then it stuck to the roof of my mouth after I ate it.

This is why the coaches always remind us to test these things out before race day; you don’t want to find yourself running down the crowded course with brown goo all over your hand, smacking Nutella in your mouth like a dog who stole a peanut butter sandwich, losing precious speed… which is pretty much what happened to me yesterday. But I was alone in the woods, so no witnesses.

Speaking of dogs, our teammate Stacey stopped by at the end of our training run with her and Coach Mike’s 14-week-old English Setter puppy, Ezra. Little Ez gives awesome hugs. It was a wonderful treat to play with a puppy after a long run!
Donor Shout-Out!
Special thanks to my sister, Kate, for her donation and unending moral support. (You might know her as the other bald-headed baby in this post.) Where would I be without you, my dear? :)

Hope for Patients with a Lethal Form of Leukemia

Want to see something really cool that your dollars have supported? Check out this exciting new study from the New England Journal of Medicine. (Yay science!)

As always, the work they do goes beyond blood cancers, too: “Dr. Graubert notes in his commentary that the approach taken by the doctors on the study, tailoring treatment based on molecular profiling, could provide a paradigm for treating patients with other high-risk cancers.”

YOU helped make that happen.

If you haven’t given yet, there’s still so much important research to be done. Science needs you, and patients need you! Donate here.

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - Team in Training

My Favorite Running Mantra

Earlier this week, my lovely friend and TNT supporter Barb L. sent me this story from The Moth. In it, Peter Sagal (Runner’s World columnist and host of NPR’s Wait! Wait! Don’t Tell Me!) tells the story of running the Boston Marathon as a guide for a blind man. He quotes Winston Churchill, who famously said, “If you’re going through Hell, keep going.” It’s a powerful story, and it was just the boost I needed this week. Thanks, Barb!

Little does Barb know, my favorite running mantra is actually “keep going.” Simple, but it keeps working.

Off to bed – tomorrow morning’s training is a cutback day for the whole team. I only have to do 90 minutes. Who knew that would EVER sound like a break? :)

–> Donate Here! <–


Jen’s TNT Purple Challenge Update: Real Men Wear Tutus

Remember that TNT Purple Challenge I posted on Monday? It just got more interesting.

My husband, Alan has upped the ante further: he has pledged to match my outfit accessories while he cheers me on at the race in San Francisco, PLUS he will actually run in those same accessories at a 5k with me in November. 

Have I mentioned yet that he is the best husband ever? And that you could vote to have him wear, say, a purple cape to match the tutu, wig, and feather boa? It takes a strong man to pull off those accessory choices, and I know he can do it.

So now you’ll get to see us in silly race gear not once, but TWICE this fall. Such value! You know you want to donate now! 

Supporter Shout-Outs!

Huge thanks to Rob & Katherine, Jenny H., and Kay & Peter for your donations and support. You guys rock! We’re now at 19% of our goal. September 30 will be here before we know it – please tell all your friends to donate – help me and the hubs look as silly as possible in San Francisco. Special thanks to Alan, Jenny, Jess, and Kate for sharing the blog post this week! You all keep me going when the goings gets rough.

–> Donate Here <–

Stacey got this adorable pic of my hubby Alan waiting with us in the starting corral.

Wouldn’t this handsome man look great in a matching tutu?

In honor of #BloodCancerAwarenessMonth, I’m posting every day to spread the word about why people like me are running for Team in Training – to help find cures and support those affected by leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Join the effort here and follow the blog for updates.

Happy Birthday Julie, and: A New Challenge!

It’s September 8, 2014. Today my Grandma Julie would have been 95 years old. We lost her to Multiple Myeloma in 2003. I didn’t realize how lucky I was to grow up with all 4 of my grandparents around, and each of them had a profound affect on me – especially Julie, who was a huge part of my life. I still miss her every day.

Blood cancer has touched so many people in our family, and I’m running my first half marathon to honor their memories: Julie, her daughter Marge, her sister Irene, her brother Harry, and Harry’s son Adrian. The physical challenges of training for a half marathon are nothing compared with the strength it took them to fight cancer. 

Why do we runners even do all these races to raise money? To get fit? I could do the treadmill by myself at the gym, then just write a check to a charity and be done with it. But, Daniel Burnham said it best: “Make no little plans; they have no magic to stir men’s blood and probably will themselves not be realized. Make big plans; aim high in hope and work, remembering that a noble, logical diagram once recorded will not die.” 

I’m doing this damn race to save lives. The stakes are big. And you know what? I will do WHATEVER IT TAKES to raise as much money as possible. Even make a complete fool of myself in front of tens of thousands of people by wearing really goofy fabulous attire during the race. (I think Grandma Julie would totally approve, because after all, she and Irene were once models and appreciated looking good.)

Here’s the thing, though: I need YOUR help to do it. So let’s make a deal and call it The Purple Challenge.


  • If we raise at least $1,000 by Sept. 30, I’ll wear the purple tutu again during the Nike Women’s Half Marathon.
  • Getting it up to $2,000 will add a purple wig to my race outfit. 
  • $2,500 adds a feather boa.
  • $3,000 or more? You all get to vote on an additional accessory. (A fascinator? Bowler hat? Fairy wings? Cat ears? If bobby pins will hold it in place for 13 miles, I’ll wear it.)

Every donation, no matter the size, is important. You will all get a picture of me running the streets of San Francisco during the race in this special outfit you have helped to build. (Also: I get to wear sparkly stuff, so everybody wins.)

Together, we have the ability to make life better and even save lives of blood cancer patients. 

 LET’S DO THIS! Donate Here.

If you’ve already donated, thank you! Please tell your friends!

L to R: My twin Kate, Grandma Julie, me (flashing a baby peace sign??), and Grandma Evelyn.

L to R: My twin Kate, Grandma Julie, me (flashing a baby peace sign??), and Grandma Evelyn.


Saturdays Are For (Very) Long Runs

In honor of #BloodCancerAwarenessMonth, I’m posting every day to spread the word about why people like me are running for Team in Training – to help find cures and support those affected by leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  Join the effort here and read on.

Races are coming up fast, and our training runs are getting longer. I was supposed to do 10 miles yesterday, and then I kind of lost track of the halfway point. It turned out to be my longest run EVER at 11.7 miles. Amazingly, I felt pretty good! (Until later in the day, then I felt horrible and wanted to punch things.) Here’s a gallery of images from the run.

Thanks to everyone for your cheers and donations along the way. Simply put, YOU keep me going. You have no idea how much it means. Please keep it up!

–> Donate Here <–

COMING TOMORROW: A big announcement! (Oh, what could it be??)