Saturday, October 6, 2012

"Running for more"

I run for more meaningful miles

Miles are inherently meaningful.  To run, just like so many other things in life, it takes drive, dedication, and commitment.  That goes for anything, not just marathons.

This means running marathons have a few more steps than those laid out by Barney Stinson (see excerpt from the How I Met Your Mother episode, "Lucky Penny")

One phrase commonly used when talking about DetermiNation is: "Make your miles more meaningful."  This alliteration doesn't only roll off the tongue, it really sums up the experience.  DetermiNation hasn't made running, my miles, meaningful; it's added more to what was already there.

I've been thinking about how to really sum up how DetermiNation does this for quite some time now.  It really is a lot of things that come together to provide the extra meaningfulness.  I knew there would be a way to sum it up, but I couldn't figure out how to say it.

And then the past few days happened.

With the countdown shrinking I'd been talking to more people about the marathon, about running with DetermiNation.  And from those I spoke to, I heard stories.  A story about a child who beat the odds and became a cancer survivor at such a young age.  Stories about woman and her life that make it as though I can feel her presence.  Stories about those who recently lost their battle.

Tomorrow the thought of these stories will make the marathon more than a marathon, will make the marathon more meaningful.  Stories I remember, stories I've been told, stories currently happening...they provide reasons to stay strong, reasons to keep going, reasons to run.

I run for more birthdays!

You may have seen some of the ads where the American Cancer Society refers to themselves as the "official sponsor of birthdays."  What a lovely thing to promote, birthdays.  And it's really accurate.

The ACS works to help people stay well, get well, find cures, and fight back.  I've described some of the specifics of each of these initiatives in my other posts.  All of them allow for more birthdays.  
...More birthdays for those who undergo screening and catch cancer early.  
...More birthdays for someone receiving a new cancer treatment that will cure their disease.  
...More birthdays for those who commit to a healthy lifestyle and put more life in their years.

Not only is the ACS working hard to make more birthdays possible.  They're having some fun with it.  Check out for new ways to wish a happy birthday and sing to your friends and family.

If you'd like to support the ACS's mission with a donation, you can do so via my personal fundraising page.

Thank You!

Thank you for reading my blog.  It has been incredible to share why I run and allowed me to reflect and stay energized in preparation for the Twin Cities Marathon.  I'm excited for tomorrow!  I can't wait to toe the line with the thought of so many people, and so many stories, that give me such a meaningful reason to run in the fight against cancer.  I can't begin to express how much I appreciate the encouragement, support, and love that have gotten me here - ready for race day.  Here we go!

October 7, 2012 - Twin Cities Marathon - I run for hope... I run for life

Sunday, September 30, 2012

"Running for Answers"

I run because there aren't always answers

Why is an 18 year old diagnosed with cancer, before he even graduates high school, just when he's about to embark on his bright future?

Why is a mother and wife lost before she can get to know her beautiful grandchildren?

How can a woman be clear of cancer and not 6 months later it's back and more aggressive than before?

These are just some of the questions I've asked over the past decade.  They, and many others, remain unanswered.

In a lot of ways cancer doesn't make sense.  There is a great deal we don't know about the science of cancer.  And there is a lot we don't understand about its presence in the lives of those we know and love.

I don't expect to learn the answers to questions like the ones above; why cancer happens to a particular individual will never make sense.  I do, however, have hope that we will be able to answer other questions about cancer.  I believe in the community of great and passionate scientific minds that are constantly asking questions and pushing for answers.  I support the American Cancer Society so they can support these scientists.  Because of them, one day we will no longer be plagued by the "why" questions.  These scientists will not answer them for us, but their discoveries will mean we won't have to ask them in the first place.

I run for the ACS to find answers

It seems that most people are aware the American Cancer Society funds cancer research.  It's for good reason that the ACS's role in cancer research is so well recognized (although it's not the only way they spend the dollars they raise, as I've been describing in other posts).  The way in which they are dedicated to finding cures is truly impressive.

Since the 1940s the ACS has invested over $3.6 billion in the work of researchers who study cancer development, cancer treatment, and related biology.  In that time they have provided funding to 46 people who went on to receive a Nobel Prize.  Impressive to say the least!  See the list and learn more about their work here.

There is currently over $7.1 million in active research grants in the state of Minnesota alone.  I'm proud to say this includes 5 projects at Mayo Clinic.  If you're interested in learning what kind of research is being funding and where, check out the details here.

The pay-out from these investments are measured in the advances that have been made in cancer treatment, the preventative measures becoming more common place, and the decreasing rates of yearly cancer deaths.  As the science continues to advance we'll continue to see the effects in our families and our communities.

If you'd like to support the research and other programs of the American Cancer Society, please visit my personal fundraising page to make a donation.

Monday, September 24, 2012

"We will be running as we have before"

I run as part of team DetermiNation

When I was in 7th grade I was on the cross country and track teams.  These experiences would good in their own right, but not in a way that made me want to continue the following year.  My preteen self definitely didn't think I would ever be part of a running team again.  Soccer was more my thing.

Over a decade later I inadvertently proved by younger self wrong.  I say inadvertently because I feel I joined a running team without really thinking of it that way.  I signed up for the Chicago Marathon DetermiNation program in the spring of 2011 and focused on it as a way to honor those in my life affected by cancer.  Upon starting this endeavor, I was set up with a online training program, was part of a marathon class, and ran with a running group.  I was surrounded by a great group of others who were running, but it wasn't really a team.

A couple days before the Chicago Marathon, my family and I traveled into the city to face the craziness that is the marathon expo and attend the DetermiNation dinner.

I entered the dinner feeling like an independent runner, one of the 45,000 signed up to run 26 miles through Chicago.  I left the dinner feeling like a person on a team, a valuable member of a 700-person crew who collectively had thousands of reasons to be running and had raised over $1 million in support of the American Cancer Society.

Through my experiences with Relay For Life I had felt a connection with friends and classmates that comes from having had some sort of exposure to cancer and its effects.  I never imagined I could experience a similar connection with people I was meeting for the first time, but being part of team DetermiNation did just that.

At dinner I heard others' stories and reasons to run, some of which were very similar to mine.  On race day, I met other DetermiNation runners before and after the race and was cheered on by supporters I had never met just because of the blue singlet I was wearing.  In seeing that DetermiNation blue we instantly knew something about each other.  It eased the sharing of stories and brought to the surface a commonality we otherwise would have never discovered.

I feel honored and proud be a part of team DetermiNation have run with that team in Chicago and be preparing for Twin Cities be making my miles more meaningful wear my singlet proudly during many races and training runs share my story have watched fellow DetermiNation teammates take on a new challenge in honor of those they love

I run and so does the ACS

In 1985, Dr. Gordon Klatt, a colorectal surgeon, walked and ran around a track in Tacoma, Washington for 24 hours.  He invited friends to join him along his journey in exchange for donations to the American Cancer Society.  In the process he raised $27,000 for the ACS and inspired an event that would be come to known as Relay For Life.  (for more details about the history, click here).

Relay For Life grew in the decades that followed.  The overnight event brings communities together to celebrate cancer survivors, to remember those who have been lost, and to promote ways to fight back against this disease.  IT is now held in every state across the country and elsewhere outside of the US.  It's a powerful event in which participants form teams and take turns walking a track all night.  The track is lit through the darkness by luminarias, candlelit bags in honor of those who've been affected by cancer.  Various activities and entertainment are planned and money is raised to support the mission of the ACS.  Visit to learn more about events near you.

DetermiNation started in the 90s as a program called Charity Runner.  The American Cancer Society made it's first running presence at the Chicago Marathon.  In exchange for their runners of all abilities fundraising for their organization, the ACS provided training and race support.  Over the coming years the program would change names and expand to races around the country while maintaining its supportive partnership with its participants.

DetermiNation is truly a means through which to make your miles more meaningful.  It fosters a memorable running experience that allows runners to honor loved ones and support an organization that does so much to advance cancer research, education, and support.  If you have a personal connection to cancer, I encourage you to consider doing your next, or first, race with DetermiNation.  Find out more about how you can at

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"And if you ask me why I am still running, I'll tell you I run for us all"

I run for everyone

Statistics are a funny thing.  We're bombarded by proportions and large numbers over and over: '4 out of 5 dentists recommend...' or '1 billion served...' or '60% of the time it works every time.'  And they're supposed to have meaning, to carry weight, to reflect the state of something?  Well, they are all meaningful, except for maybe the last one, in the right context.  It's the context that is key.

Numbers and stats about cancer are no different: 70,000 young adults are diagnosed with cancer each year, 11 million cancer survivors will celebrate another birthday while nearly 580,000 Americans will die from cancer this year.

These big numbers describing the extent of cancer effects sure do hit hard.  But at the same rate, those numbers, that quantity of individuals, is difficult to comprehend...they need context. 

70,000 young adults... like a classmate who was diagnosed with cancer our senior year of high school

11 million more birthdays... like a family friend's father who has celebrated two more birthdays since his cancer diagnosis

580,000 will die from cancer in a year... like that 4 month span in which my mom lost 3 friends to cancer

When you take these statistics and apply them to personal experiences, to the things you know, they become very real and comprehensible.  70,000...11 million...580,000 are not just numbers they are thousands, they are millions of people who are someone's classmate, father, friend, child, sibling, mentor, and so much more. 

I run and fundraise in honor of the relatively few (compared to the millions) in my life who've been affected by cancer because they are, in a way, the millions.  It's obvious that everyone affected is an individual with a community of some kind, not just a number.  But it takes a moment to really step back and understand that fact, to understand the statistics as more than hard hitting numbers.  That large number that we can't quite comprehend is the same as the small number we do know.

And so by running in honor of loved ones, I run for us all.  I run for those I've met, for those I haven't, for those who've been diagnosed with cancer, and those who will be. 

I run for Cancer Prevention Studies that affect us all

The American Cancer Society has a long history of supporting large scale prospective research studies, called Cancer Prevention Studies.  These studies, started in the 1950s, have revealed important links between environmental and personal factors and cancer.  

Cancer Prevention Study I (CPS-I) conducted from 1959-1972 revealed the link between tobacco use and cancer.  And as we all know, this discovery has directed education, public policy, and changes to our environment.  

In CPS-II, started in 1982 with follow-up ongoing, links between obesity, physical activity, and nutrition and cancer have been revealed.  We now know that obesity increases risk where activity and a balanced diet can decrease risk for certain cancers.  

And there are more specifics that have been gleaned.  To learn about the other cancer-related discoveries by Cancer Prevention Studies go here.

The next big one is ongoing.  Cancer Prevention Study-3 is currently recruiting individuals age 30-65 who have no personal history of cancer to participate.  The time commitment is minimal and the potential benefit is huge.  Consider being a part of history and the next big discovery in our knowledge of cancer risk and development.  To learn more about participation, check out the CPS-III webpage.

To support the American Cancer Society in their efforts to better understand why cancer happens consider making a donation, every dollar makes a difference.  You can do so at my personal fundraising page.

Thank you for your reading my blog!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

"I run for life"

I'll run for a lifetime

Last summer I took a marathon training class.  We met weekly to discuss the various aspects of training for an running marathons, half-marathons and other races.  The topics included nutrition, running strategy, strengthening, streching, and so on.  At our last class, Lin, the course coordinator, delivered a wonderful pep talk and send-off.  She reassured us that we were prepared, reminded us to really absorb all aspects of the experience, and encouraged us, regardless of what unexpected challenges may arise, to keeping moving forward whatever the pace may be.

The community of runners I've become part of includes people who started running at various stages in their life, from grade school to well into adulthood.  I've ran with people who have children my age and watched a, nearly, 71-year old run his 71st marathon.  It truly is inspiring to see the various ways running (or cycling, or swimming, or any other activity) weaves itself into someone's life and becomes a value, a passion that stays with that person.  Seeing such a thing in others has enhanced appreciation of an active lifestyle and led me to a personal aspiration - to run for life. 

I don't know what lies ahead of me, or what my body will allow me to do years or even months from now.  But I do know I will heed Lin's advice and keep moving forward, be it a run, jog, mosey, walk or otherwise.

I run for Stay Well initiatives

The American Cancer Society is dedicated to helping people stay well, knowing that it will decrease their risk for certain cancers and live a full life.  Healthy behaviors, such as avoiding tobacco, eating right, and staying active, have been associated with a decreased risk for certain types of cancer.  Additionally, various screening tests are known to be effective to finding cancer early or before it has a chance to start.

The ACS not only played a large role in these discoveries but has committed to translating the knowledge into action and decreasing the incidence of cancer.  I encourage you to check out "Stay Healthy," one of the main pages on their website,  You'll find a number of different programs that are available to you to help you on a journey to stay well.  In addition to those programs there is extensive education and implementation strategies related to avoiding tobacco, eating healthy and staying active, being safe in the sun, and finding cancer early.

I hope you find this information useful and feel empowered to affect the modifiable cancer risk factors in your life.  Please share with others, we truly can change the course of cancer.

If you'd like to support the American Cancer Society's mission to help people stay well, get well, find cures, and fight back, please consider making a donation via my personal fundraising page.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

"I run for you and me my friend"

I run for community

"We are travelers on a cosmic journey, stardust swirling and dancing on the eddies and whirlpools of infinity.  Life is eternal, we have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share.  This is a precious moment.  It is a little parenthesis in eternity."  
-from The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I think it's incredible to look back on life and reflect on the experiences and the people who have been a part of the journey.  Everything, whether briefly or forever a part of our lives, can impact who we are and what we will become.  The beautiful, the memorable, the challenging, and the indescribable moments are precious aspects of eternity.

I am both amazed by and thankful for the experiences and the people who have played a role in the running part of my life.  Here's to you, friends, strangers, mentors, family, and fellow runners...

...for inviting or encouraging me to take on a race, for running races with me, or just signing me up since I was coming to town

...for tri-ing as a team

 ...for training with me, short and far distances, at all paces (sometimes many within one run, on purpose or not!)  

...for offering advice, sharing personal experiences, and being a running and morale coach

...for coming out to watch me run, giving me a place to stay pre- and post-race, waking up early, eating bland pre-race dinners, and taking sweet pics that are usually better than any of the professional ones
...for being a fellow runner sending encouragement from near and far, providing good luck phone calls and notes, and sharing your own running stories

...for running races so I can come watch you or joining me to watch our friends with plenty of yelling, cowbell ringing, and jumping fun

...for making DetermiNation an incredible team to be a part of and for sharing your personal reasons to run

...for being part of an incredible, invaluable running community.

I run for ACS communities

The American Cancer Society commits itself to connecting those who have cancer with mentors, support staff, and others with cancer.  It's part of their mission to help people get well.  And through offering support in various ways, the ACS is helping people get well in the physical, emotional, mental, and social aspects of wellness.  If you know someone facing cancer, consider sharing info about the following programs:

"I Can Cope" Classes - free cancer education program for those diagnosed with cancer and their families and caregivers; available in communities across the country and online

Online Communities and Support - a way to connect with others who are facing or have faced a cancer diagnosis

Reach to Recovery - where women dealing with breast cancer can connect with a volunteer who can give support related to the diagnosis, treatment, and other associated concerns

Man to Man - provides community-based education and one-on-one support for men with prostate cancer and their families

Patient Navigator Program - individuals who work in areas with cancer treatment centers and are available to meet one-on-one to help plan for cancer treatments and other aspects of a cancer diagnosis (find out more by calling 1-800-227-2345)

To support these programs and the rest of the American Cancer Society's mission, consider making a donation through my personal fundraising page

Monday, August 27, 2012

"I run for your mother, your sister, your wife"

I run for loved ones

Neither my parents nor my brother and I have had to personally face a cancer diagnosis, and for that I am truly thankful.  But that's not to say that cancer has not closely touched our family.

My Grandma Ruth was the first person I knew that battled cancer.  I remember going to visit her in Missouri the summer before I started 6th grade.  We were blessed to have timed our visit when she was feeling relatively well.  But this was merely the calm before the storm, as about a week later her passing brought us back to send her off to her eternal home.  I honestly don't recall much of what was going on or what I felt, aside from being confused.  I didn't understand what cancer had done to her body and how she could have been there, seemingly better, one moment and then gone so soon.

      Dad and Aunt Becky - I run for your mother

In the years that followed hearing of others' cancer diagnoses and battles was no longer foreign.  It was affecting children and adults in our lives and our community.  My cancer related vocabulary was growing.  Things like tumor, surgery, chemotherapy, hair loss, remission, metastases, survivor, and lost battle became loaded words and phrases associated with a certain amount of intense reality.  And with this knowledge the word "cancer" alone could trigger the what-ifs, the fear, and the hope that all of these terms evoked.

luminarias made by my mom
Days before I began my sophomore year of college a close family friend was diagnosed with a brain tumor and an unexplainable flood of emotion and disbelief struck.  During my last year of PT school, when my godmother was diagnosed with leukemia, the flood hit again.  At each of these times in my life it was unreal to me that these women, who had known me since birth, who had loved and supported me and my family, had to face the relentless wrath of cancer.  A wrath that I now understood but in some ways wish I didn't.  Cancer had come too close and I knew what could be just on the horizon.

Relay For Life, Olmsted 2012
Both Sharon and Myrna were lost too soon, after hard fought battles lasting only months.  I know their spirit lives on in their families and friends.  I am honored and blessed to have known them and cherish the many memories we shared, especially in the last months of their earthly lives.  I have found solace in supporting programs and organizations that are taking a stand against cancer and its effects.  I do so as a tribute to their lives knowing they are with me every step of the way and with the hope that fewer and fewer people will be have to face what these women and their families did.

      Amy S. & Matt R. - I run for your mother;  Bob - I run for your wife
      Amy L. & Matt S. - I run for your mother;  Bill - I run for your wife 

I run for Strides Against Breast Cancer

Strides Against Breast Cancer is a walking event held in communities across the country.  It is a program of the American Cancer Society that specifically honors those affected by breast cancer, promotes breast cancer-related screenings and education, and supports research about breast cancer.

A number of Strides events are going on this fall around the country.  Check out the Strides Against Breast Cancer page to find an event near you and learn how to get involved.

To support Strides and other programs of the American Cancer Society, please consider donating via my personal fundraising page and making a difference in the lives of those affected by cancer.    

Friday, August 17, 2012

"I run for the truth, for all that is real"

I Run for my story

"A good movie has memorable scenes and so does a good life"

"When we look back on our lives, what we will remember are the crazy things we did, the times we worked harder to make a day stand out"
-Donald Miller, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years

In Donald Miller's most recent book, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, he explores the idea of our lives being like stories, like movies where our experiences are scenes in our lives.  He contends that the same principles that make a movie interesting and exciting make one's life interesting and exciting.

It seems to be that one's story is what is true and what is real in her own life.  Running doesn't make my story, but its part of it.  Running provides challenge, interest, excitement, memorable moments... much of what Donald describes as elements of a good story.  Being part of DetermiNation, training for a race, setting goals, and dedicating it all creates one of my substories.  And running a marathon is definitely a crazy thing that makes a day stand out :-)

Running has really added a lot of special things to my life; from the things I've learned about myself to the people I've met along the way to new cities I've explored on the move.  Here's to more memorable scenes yet to come!

Marathon Substory: Towards the end of the Chicago Marathon I wanted to make a memorable photo by looking excited as I passed the cameras.  Well, I managed to get my arms up but can't say my facial expression reads excitement :-P  But it's still one of my favorite photos from that day.

I Run for the ACS so they can provide the truth about cancer

"Learn About Cancer" is one of the main tabs on the American Cancer Society's homepage.  When clicked it will direct you to a wealth of cancer-specific information meant to help people understand and deal with their cancer diagnosis.

The cancer-specific categories provide information about what the cancer is, how it may be treated, related research and clinical trials, and ways to connect with others who have the same diagnosis.  In addition to the online resources, free informational brochures about prevention, diagnosis, and treatment are available to order.  Plus, the ACS has specialists ready to chat with you via a 24-hr hotline (1-800-227-2345) or daytime online live chat.

The topic of cancer breeds a lot of questions and the support of donors and volunteers allows the American Cancer Society to provide answers.  Consider contributing to their efforts via my personal fundraising page.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

"I run to feel"

To be worn out is to be renewed. -Lao Tzu

As I start writing this it's not much before 8 am.  And it's a Tuesday.  During the course of my marathon training plan that means I just ran the 2nd longest run of my week and did it pushing and recovering from various paces.

I feel exhausted, and I feel energized.

I suppose you could say running gives me a good feeling (and makes me feel like singing along with Flo Rida)

When I started running pseudo-regularly it was primarily out feeling obligated, definitely not because of a good feeling.  I didn't want to learn about all the muscles that were getting flabby during PT school - as one therapist I shadowed described her time in grad school.  So I ran, but I didn't enjoy it.

But then I ran my first 5k and felt the runner's high.  Then I ran as a way to explore a temporary home during a summer clinical.  Set a goal for another 5k, and hit it.  Started increasing the distances I was running.  Took on a half marathon with the help of an encouraging friend.  And then another half, a 10k, a 10 mile... And just kept going. 

What once felt like an obligation became part of me and my routine, my stress relief, a time to meditate, a vehicle for setting and achieving goals, a commitment to my own health, and a surprising new passion.

Running is a balance, it embodies yin and yang.  It's not necessarily easier than it was when I started but I've developed an appreciation of how the tough and enjoyable aspects balance one another.

I run and push myself when I feel weak so I can feel strong.

I run when I'm tired to I can wake up for the day.

I run in masses of people to run for individual goals.

I run to feel worn out, I run to feel renewed.

I Run for Look Good...Feel Better

Much like Hope Lodge, Look Good...Feel Better is a support program of the American Cancer Society that helps individuals as they are going through cancer treatment.

Look Good...Feel Better partners with volunteer beauty professionals to help women deal with some of the physical side effects of treatment.  Through group and individual sessions or education materials women can learn how to take care of their skin and nails, deal with hair loss that come with a cancer diagnosis and treatment.

Know someone who could benefit from this program?
Call: 1-800-395-LOOK (1-800-395-5665) 
or visit: or 

Interested in supporting Look Good...Feel Better and the other ways the American Cancer Society is taking on the fight against cancer?
Consider making a donation via my personal fundraising page

Thursday, August 2, 2012

"I run for hope"

When the world says, 'Give up'
Hope whispers, 'Try one more time'

This quote is another thing gleaned from my participation with Relay For Life in college.  Our staff partner, Heather, had it as part of her email signature, and for good reason.

Hope is a theme that radiates out of Relays.  It's the essence of why so many gather to walk overnight and raise money for the ACS.  It provides that extra fuel needed to push forward in the face of uncertainty, fear, and grief.

Joining the DetermiNation team last year was a new way for me to experience that hope in the fight against cancer.  While running the race, I was strengthened by the thought of those I know who have been affected by cancer and I was strengthened by hope.  In a way, my dedications reflect the past and present of cancer as it has touched my life, and hope is the future.

Hope is staying committed to the fight against cancer, year after year, until it's over.

Hope is the thought of a day when no one will have to deal with the challenges my loved ones faced because of cancer.

Hope makes facing difficulties possible.

Hope never gives up. 

I run for HOPE LODGE

The American Cancer Society offers a number of resources and programs to help those facing cancer and their families.  One of them helps make traveling for cancer treatment possible and is aptly named Hope Lodge

Hope Lodge is a place for patients and their families to stay, free of charge, while undergoing treatment at centers away from home.  The 31 Hope Lodges around the country offer a homey environment and additional resources and support for those facing cancer.  Check this out to find out more about what Hope Lodges offer and where you can find them.

We have one right here in Rochester!  In fact, Gordon Severson reported on the Sandra J. Schulze Hope Lodge and other ways ACS funds are being used locally in part of his series of stories that led up to his participation in the Med City Marathon with DetermiNation - Reason to Run, Part 3

Want to help support Hope Lodge and other programs of the American Cancer Society?  Consider making a donation via my personal fundraising page

At the Hope Lodge for race weekend dinner with Med City DetermiNation runners, cancer survivors, and their supporters

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Fun with Fundraising!

Donations from friends and family are invaluable to my participation with DetermiNation.  To add a little fun and additional "thank you" to any financial contribution you are able to make, I've decided to add a few incentives, of sorts, to certain donation amounts.  Check them out below and donate at my personal fundraising page

Donation Incentives
Any amount – you can request race dedications to people you know who have been affected by cancer.  I will fill out dedication ribbons to wear on the back of my singlet.

$20 – I’ll make (and ship, if needed) a batch of one of the following homemade treats for you:
---Granola/energy bars (oats, coconut, peanut butter, honey, nuts, dried fruit)–2 dozen
---Cookies with baking chips (chocolate, butterscotch, etc) of your choice–3 dozen
---Banana bread with streusel topping–4 mini loaves

$26 – Entry into the “Guess Beth’s Split” pool which includes a chance at winning $50, see details below 

$40 – A batch of homemade treats AND an entry in the pool

Group donations are welcome; associated incentives can be split evenly among the members of the group

Guess Beth’s Split Pool 
This year my personal running goal is to run a consistent race at a steady pace.  You can be a a part of that by entering the pool. 

By donating $26 or $40 (or some multiple thereof), you get to:
1. Select a mile
2. Decide if I will be over/under relative to my average race pace 
---Don't tell me that part though!  I'll put you in contact with a third party (my friend, Allie) to keep track of this until post-race to avoid any bias in my running :-) 

Post-race I’ll determine which guesses were in the right direction.  Of that subgroup of guesses, the individual/group that chose the mile where I was closest to my race pace gets a $50 gift card (or multiple ones that add up to $50) to a retailer of their choice.

So, you want to choose which mile you think I’ll be best at keeping my pace but a little off in one direction or another. 

If there ends up being any miles where I am exactly on pace (within 1 sec of average), those who chose those miles will receive a $10 gift card if they predicted that I would be faster than my average pace.

To help guide your choices, here are some details about the race and my running:
1) I don’t run with a GPS watch and will be manually keeping my splits, starting when I cross the start line (chip start) and hitting for splits as I pass the mile flags (I’ll try my best to minimize human error :-)).  All times will be rounded to the nearest sec
2) My 2011 Chicago Marathon mile splits are below (keep in mind I’m hoping to run a smarter/more consistent race than I had that day :-))
3) I will do short walks at some water stops (probably 4 to 6 of them), not sure which ones but that may slow down my pace at those miles (see water stop locations on the race course map:
4) There’s a gradual hill in the course, from about mile 20-23.5 with 160 ft of elevation gain.  I’ve heard from past marathoners that it can be tough
5) Up to 12,000 people run this race, so less of a crowd than at Chicago.  However, I will be starting somewhere in the back 2/3 of the field, might be a little crowded at the beginning.

Chicago Marathon 2011 ~*~ Finish Time = 3:55:56 ~*~ Pace = 9:00 min/mile