It’s official!! I will be participating in the NYC Marathon on November 6, 2016 as part of the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation (MMRF) Team For Cures. Multiple Myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer and has one of the lowest five-year relative survival rates of all cancers. While there is no cure currently, great progress is being made.
I raced in the 2015 IRONMAN Lake Placid 2015 and the IRONMAN World Championship 2015 on the MMRF Team For Cures and I am so grateful for all of the support received. I raced on the team because my aunt lived with Multiple Myeloma and to remember a friend. We said goodbye to my Aunt Mary this year in March and it is important for me to continue the journey with the MMRF Team for Cures.
With 92 days to train and race I appreciate the opportunity to particpate in the NYC Marathon. I am grateful to pursue a passoin of mine to help raise awarness and funds for cancer research. Those who’ve followed my triathlon and Ironman journey know that running is my weakest sport. The NYC Marathon will be my first standalone marathon. I’m super excited about my goals and new challenges ahead! I hope that by racing a full marathon it will not only challenge my body but challenge my mind. I will enjoy and appreciate the journey ahead.
The work ahead of me? Race 26.2 miles and raise awareness and funds for the MMRF. Training for this event may be a challenge, but nothing compared to the challenges faced by patients with multiple myeloma. Multiple myeloma is the second most common form of blood cancer and, sadly, has one of the lowest five-year relative survival rates of all cancers. But while there is no cure, great progress is being made.
In fact, thanks to the important work of the MMRF, the world’s leading private funder of myeloma research, the FDA has approved ten new treatments in just 12 years, a track record that’s unparalleled in the world of oncology. These drugs have almost tripled the lifespan of myeloma patients. And now the MMRF is funding additional treatments in various stages of development, giving hope to tens of thousands of patients and their families.
The Goal: Please help me raise funds for the MMRF!
The MMRF is one of the most highly regarded cancer foundations in the world. An outstanding 90% of the total MMRF budget goes directly towards research and related programming. And the MMRF is in the top 1% of all charities, having earned Charity Navigator’s 4-star rating for the past eleven years in a row.
You may follow my training and fundraising progress on my blog and on yogapeach.com and facebook.com/yogapeach. Please support my participation in the 2016 NYC Marathon benefiting the MMRF. Your donation is tax-deductible and will go directly toward the research and development of a cure for cancer. I appreciate your help to get there. Please contribute whatever you can. It all adds up! Thank you for your support and generosity.
I miss you. 365 days since you left. One year ago tonight. But you are not gone. I do not think that a day has gone by that I have not thought of you. The things that I am most passionate about remind me of you. You inspired me…you still inspire me. Your love for life, activity, adventure, and love. I still remember the sound of your voice. Sometimes I still look back at the door you used to walk through when we’d meet with our dogs. You know I have not been on my bike once without thinking of you and have heard your voice in every race. I just read our last Facebook chat today, two days before you passed away. Our last words… “I love you.” It is heartwarming to read all of the messages on your Facebook page today and the impact you had on others. Thank you for all that you taught me. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for encouraging me. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for being someone I look up to. Thank you for being someone who still inspires. Thank you for being my friend. You are not here but you are not gone. Memories do not fade. There is a beautiful road called Remembrance. We will keep your memory alive forever. Forever remembered, Kara. I love you.
8 1/2 weeks of training have come and gone so quickly which means it’s time to pack! But before I forget, Taperhas been awesome! Packing your gear bag for Ironman takes more thinking and organization than packing for a regular vacation. One of my clients, who I adore (HI if you’re reading this!), said to me at our recent appointment “Vacation?? That’s no vacation, Keli!” when I explained to her what this trip entails…fairly early bed times, very early mornings, no cocktails, light swims, bikes and runs every day, and racing 140.6 miles in the Ironman World Championship one week from tomorrow in Kona, on the big island of Hawaii. This is a DREAM COME TRUE vacation to me!
There’s a lot of stuff to pack and my Ironman suitcase is as full as my other suitcase. I think about packing in terms of each leg of the race and visualize myself at each stage of the race as I write my packing list. I also glanced back at my previous Ironman race reports (great advice, coach!) to see if there was anything I wished I had in previous races. Packing well in advance has helped me tremendously this time around. I packed everything non-race related 7 days ahead and I’m pretty sure that’s a record for me. I organized all of my Ironman gear on a towel 5 days ahead, making sure to place everything back on the towel immediately as I finished each day this week’s training. I came across the 16 Things You’ll Forget to Pack for Konatoday on Ironman.comand can you guess which item I forgot? My race belt… which I never wear. I don’t like the feeling of a belt around my waist while running and usually just pin my bib to my tri top. Looks like we need to wear our bib for the bike too due to winds potentially blowing our race stickers off our bikes (whoa!) I also used a tip from my friendEllen that makes me feel even more prepared. When we arrived Ironman Lake Placid 8 weeks ago she already separated her five race bags into large zip lock bags when she packed. Brilliant. It’s already done and all I have to do is double or triple check them before putting gear in each of the Ironman bags. It’s going to make things that much easier and save time. Both suitcases are packed and zipped as of last night, two days to departure. I feel calm and prepared. Now that packing is complete can you guess the final item on my “To Do” list this evening before departure tomorrow morning? Take a guess. I will tell you when I update you on the flight tomorrow…
Yes, YOU reading this. You’re beautiful and you have every reason to live. There is a reason you are here. There are so many things to be enjoyed in this thing called life. Today is World Suicide Prevention Day and I think it’s important to talk about to raise awareness about something people may not talk about too much. I have a personal connection to this cause with someone who matters to me and have experienced loss due to suicide. I am sure some of you have too.
If you know someone who seems like they might be struggling, it’s so simple to reach out, talk to them, or just be there. But sometimes we don’t see it. And they don’t ask for anything. And then it’s too late. Have compassion for all people and treat people with kindness. We never really know what anyone is going through. Everyone goes through a battle at some point in life and you may know nothing about it. Compassion and empathy can go a long way and you never know what difference you might make. If you know someone close to you thinks about suicide, please direct them to crisis lines like the National Suicide Prevention Hotline (1-800-273-8255) and encourage them to seek help. Be someone they can reach out to without judgement. Tell the important people in your life just how important they are. Don’t assume that they know. Because there is a good chance some don’t know.
Just remember that life, although challenging at times, is very beautiful. You matter. You were given this life to live it.
Aloha, this week I started getting excited and then THIS arrived in my inbox yesterday. I completed registration this morning and the screen read in capital letters “CONGRATULATIONS, KELI. YOU ARE REGISTERED TO PARTICIPATE IN THE 2015 IRONMAN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!” So I guess this is real now.
I can’t believe how fast week 3 of training went. If it keeps going this quick 47 days to race day will be here very soon. It feels like I just summarized week 2 yesterday. Week 3 rocked just as much as week 2. I’ve loved every day of training so far and I keep looking forward to each day ahead. My week 3 training plan which said “picking it up a bit” on it certainly was true. I enjoyed the challenge. I know I’m training harder and more effective now that I have a coach and plan. I am starting to visualize my new goals every day. I learn a valuable lesson through each Ironman I race and I always set new goals with each one…and I don’t necessarily mean the time that I’ll cross the finish. I set lots of personal goals through my training and race day. If I don’t have new goals, what do I work towards? Wouldn’t I just sort of just check out of whatever it is I’m doing? Thomas Carlyle said “A man without a goal is like a ship without a rudder” and it’s true. I am motivated by challenges that sometimes may seem slightly out of reach. Racing the Kona World Championship wasn’t even in the realm of possible outcomes two years ago when I started this sport, and it certainly wasn’t in the list of possibilities when I raced my first “one-and-done” Ironman. It didn’t even really become a possibility until three months ago in late May. Thank you to everyone who helped make this possible and for your support to the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation. If you’d still like to make a donationyou can. I’m giving away one free 2015 Ironman or Ironman 70.3 race entryof your choice for donations made through September 5.
Monday’s 4300 meter swim was long, challenging but FUN! Possibly my longest swim ever. I felt full of energy the rest of the day. Saturday’s 55 mile ride (and short run) was the farthest I’ve ridden since Ironman Lake Placid which took place one month ago this weekend. The bike is definitely my biggest challenge. The highlight of this week was of course yesterday. Sunday I was scheduled for a long run but instead had the chance to race North East Triathlon with my friend Jim who raced his first triathlon since his transplant in 2013. This was an awesome day and one of my favorite days of the summer. I appreciate my coach shifting my training plans in order for me to race North East tri. I’m still working on my bedtimes, aiming to be sleep no later than 11:30pm. Last week going to bed wasn’t consistent being anywhere from 7:45pm to 1:30am.
Somehow it’s almost 10:00pm so I better wrap this up. Bed tonight should be right now. I hope to start my 2 hour and 15 minute run early. Hopefully I won’t keep waking up at 3:00am hungry. Almost every night last week and I ended up eating Greek yogurt and juice in the middle of the night. I think we’ve figured out how to overcome that for this week. Training is a blast so far and overall I am happy with where I am. No matter what happens it’s important that I blog consistently every week until Kona. On the topic of staying motivated, blogging helps to measure my progress which also provides motivation. Have you heard some people say to never look back at the past and to always move forward? For most things I agree, but when it comes to measuring our progress on things that are important to us sometimes taking a look back is necessary and productive. If it weren’t for tracking my own progress through my blog I don’t think I would realize how far I’ve come. Thank you again to everyone who helped me reach my goal with the MMRF and who helped make the Ironman World Championship possible. 47 days…
Continue to push your boundaries of what you think is possible and you will find that almost anything is possible. Ironman…”Anything’s possible”
Kona IRONMAN World Championships 2015training kicked off today! It feels a little unreal that I am already documenting my next Ironman training before writing myIronman Lake Placidrace report. It takes me a few weeks to fully reflect and write my Ironman race reports so I haven’t even started it or posted my photo album yet. Give me another week or so. After an “express 7 day recovery” I find myself training for Ironman World Championships with just 67 days to race day. IRONMAN…World…Championships. The golden M-dot. I am smiling as I type. A little background for those that are new to Ironman. For a little over 35 years the IRONMAN World Championship has brought the world’s best athletes together. Two years before I was born the idea to challenge endurance athletes combining the three toughest endurance races in Hawai’i were joined together totalying 140.6 miles. The 2.4-mile Waikiki Roughwater Swim, 112 miles of the Around-O’ahu Bike Race and the 26.2-mile Honolulu Marathon—into one event. On February 18, 1978, 15 people came to Waikiki to take on the IRONMAN challenge. Now, according to Ironman each year more than 90,000 athletes across the world compete for slots to the Ironman World Championship with approximately 2,000 invited to the starting line. Every full distance Ironman offers a minimum of one qualifying spot per age group for the world championship. The only other ways to get to the starting line is by the old lottery where 100 lucky people win a slot, the Legacy Program which grants another 100 randomly selected athletes who have completed at least 12 full distance IRONMAN races a slot, or by being invited through a very limited number of charity slots. Somehow I am one of those very fortunate people who will race the Ironman World Championships 2015.
On July 26, 2015 I raced Ironman Lake Placid on the Mutilple Myeloma Research Foundation Team for Cures.I look forward sharing so much about this incredibly meaningful experience in my race report in the weeks to follow. And of course thank so many of you who are reading this for playing such an important roll in the journey. I hope some people will follow and join the team next year. Everyone has their personal reasons for racing an Ironman but this one was an experience that can not be compared to my previous Ironmans. I decided to race on the Ironman Lake Placid charity partner MMRF Team for Cures because of a family connection to Multiple Myeloma. I learned from the MMRF in June that I had the potential to qualify for a slot to Kona by being one of the top fundraisers for the MMRF. The fundraising requirement is $5,000 to race on the team although I set a goal the day I signed up to raise $35,000 to celebrate my 35 years of life. Once I learned there was a chance to race Kona, I was determined to not race this once in lifetime opportunity but to use this opportunity as an incredible way to raise more awareness and funds for the MMRF. To combine something I am so passionate about…Ironman…with the world championships to educate people about Multiple Myeloma and raise funds for the MMRF. I was dedicated to making this happen and visualized it every day. Last Saturday evening my Kona Ironman World Championships dream became reality when they announced my fundraising total of over $41,944.92 at the MMRF reception.I was informed that I had earned a bib to race Kona so long as I crossed the Ironman Lake Placid finish line. Sunday evening Kelley of the MMRF was at the Ironman finish line to place the medal around my neck and congratulate me with a hug. I remember hearing “Keli, it’s official, you are going to race Kona!!!” Those who know me probably think I was screaming and jumping for joy but I was nearly frozen when I heard those words and I think all I said was “thank you.” There were so many emotions after this experience I didn’t know what to feel. Kelley worked closely with all of us on the MMRF team and it meant so much to see her in that moment crossing the finish line. The day after the race and over the past week my Facebook inbox was flooded with messages asking if I’m excited about Kona and how I will train for it. Truth is, I was overwhelmed with the messages and even a little frustrated and sad the first few days. So much “Keli is going to Kona” talk and I was not ready to think about why, to reflect on how it happened, or to think about the training ahead. I just wanted process the race that was just completed and to rest and recover those first few days. There were so many messages about Kona but let’s remember what is bringing me there. Please remember my entire purpose and goal to begin with. Yes, I have felt extreme gratitude this past week but I can’t tell you that excitement was a major first emotion. I am so happy to have this chance to race this dream but what kept going through my mind this past week was the reminder of why I signed up for Ironman in the first place this year. It just kept playing over and over again in my mind. Do you understand what I mean? Fortunately I have had conversations with those who played a significant roll in the experience to make me see accept things a little different now. This may be a reward for raising awareness and funds for the MMRF, but I want this to be so much more. I want to race Kona World Championships and continue with the MMRF once again up until race week. I hope this time around I am able to educate people and companies on the outstanding work of the MMRF and hope that some will sponsor my efforts to race world championships by making contributions to the MMRF. I know that great things are possible with this and that GREAT things come to those who go after their dreams. I promise to keep going and have asked for my MMRF Team for Cures page to remain open for the 8 weeks leading up to world championships.
So Kona…I am going to Kona….KONAAAAAAAAAA!!!!! On Saturday, October 10, 2015 I will race my fourth Ironman since beginning triathlon almost two years ago. It’s incredible to go back to old training blogs and review what can happen over such a short period of time. So what now? How does one properly recover from an Ironman and a yet train with just 8 weeks to world championships? I’ll admit…it’s slightly overwhelming putting together a short training plan, get right back to training without the ideal amount of time for recovery /training, book flights/accommodations/bike transportation, figure out funds, and so on but I will make sure this entire experience is pure joy! I will document and share as much of it as possible, I will to continue my efforts for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, and I will do my best to be good to myself in the process. Today’s training began easy with just a 60 minute slow run mid day at 90 degrees. It felt fitting considering it will be hot in Hawaii. It’s real now and I feel excited. I look forward to really focusing over the next 8 weeks on an intense plan and improving some areas of training which I will get to in my next blog. Dig deep, dream big, and make your moments count. Ironman is more than just swim, bike, run. It represents life. Ironman teaches me so much in the process. Being able to pursue my passion for Ironman for something larger than myself has been one of the most meaningful experiences yet. When you finish an Ironman it becomes part of you for the rest of your life. They have all been life changing. Ironman reminds me that we can achieve so much more than we ever thought we could. Thank you to all who played a roll in this journey, thank you to those who supported the MMRF, thank you to the MMRF, and thank you to those who will continue in my journey. See you in 67 days in Kona at the starting line of Ironman World Championships 2015!
Remember your WHY! It may not be easy every day, it takes dedication, and may even take some sacrifices but it will all be worth it. Remember why you tri. This is a hello to my Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation Teammates on my coffee shop work break! Thank you to everyone who is able to support my goals with the MMRF, it all adds up. Just 46 more days to reach the goal. support.themmrf.org/goto/yogapeach
While I was at the Broad Street Runexpo it occurred to me that I’ve got to do something different in order to stay entertained. Maybe looking out for hot guys at every mile could be interesting, but I was pretty sure that’s been done before. Sure enough, Kelly Roberts ran the NYC Half Marathonlast yeartaking selfies with hot guys and Philly.com picked up the story and mentioned “Ladies, I think I see a hottguysofbroadstreetrun in our future…” So thanks, Kelly Roberts and Philly.com for inspiring me on this one. I am not sure if I’ll do selfies or just take pictures of the hot guys but I’ll figure it out as I go. Considering this is America’s largest 10-Mile Race, I do not expect it to be a challenge to spot 10 hot guys, mile by mile, racing Broad Street Run. #broadstreethotguys