Monday, January 31, 2011

3M Half Marathon - the results are in!

In my last post (see HERE), I was previewing the 3M Half Marathon that I'd be doing on behalf of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation. I asked folks to consider a donation, and included a challenge for myself to see how far under 1:40 I could get. The race was held yesterday, and Ishani and her family actually came out to cheer me on... that definitely provided some extra motivation! Here's a pic of Ishani (on left) and her sister Monisha holding up the ALSF banner at the race:

So, I am happy to report that the race went very well and I finished in 1:31:16! It was a lot of fun to test myself at the half marathon distance as a stand-alone event, and that extra motivation came in handy by about mile 8 or so...  For any of you that would like to help the ALSF cause and provide some hope to Ishani and the kids like her, just click HERE. Oh, and for the sake of the challenge, I guess we can say that I beat the 1:40 by 8 minutes  : )

Thank you!

PS:  Quick overview of the race:

It was pretty warm and humid for January (even in TX), with starting temp around 65 degrees and nearly 90% humidity; but a great course that is mostly downhill (point to point). The first 4 miles I just tried to maintain a steady pace and watch the HR, since that section has more uphill grade and I didn't want to burn myself out too early. I was pleasantly surprised to see I was holding around a 7:00/mile pace, and felt good.

Right around mile 4 there is a big downhill section that lasts a couple of miles, and I tried to keep the same relative effort; but allow the pace to pick up naturally with the downhill. That worked out well, and I was able to cut some time. Then things leveled out a bit for the next few miles, with some gentle rolling action. That can be a mentally challenging part of the race, as the adrenaline and excitement have worn away and you still have a way to go before the end. The Garmin came in really handy during that section, as I was able to use the pace and HR readings to keep myself on track.

Finally, I reached the final 3 miles, which is mostly downhill grade. At that point, I just let myself take off like I was starting a 5K; and didn't hold back. I had set an in-race goal for myself just before I reached that section to see if I could break 7:00/mile; and that became my focal point. It got a little tough on mile 12, but when I saw the finish line I had enough left for a final sprint and finished with 1:31:16; which works out to a 6:58/mile pace : )  And here's a pic with me (the blur of yellow) crossing the finish line:

Fun day, and thanks again for the support!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Time to talk about Alex and Ishani

It's been a while since I've done much to promote the cause of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation (ALSF); other than the footers on some of my posts; so I thought it was time to revisit that topic. As a reminder, ALSF is an organization that battles childhood cancer, started by the vision of a 4 yr old girl named Alex. Her own fight with cancer made her determined to do something about it, and that determination led to the establishment of this great organization.

My own involvement with ALSF comes by way of another determined young girl named Ishani that I met through a friend. Ishani is 7 years old and has already had to battle cancer twice in her young life, yet still maintains an amazingly positive attitude.It's hard to get to know somebody like that and not be inspired to do something to help.

So... I'll be running in the 3M Half Marathon on January 30th, and in order to help promote the ASLF cause, I'll be wearing my "Team Lemon" ALSF yellow shirt/hat (see pic below). Besides raising awareness, I'm also hoping to raise a few dollars (every little bit helps!!!), and I have a plea for you and a challenge that goes along with it...

The plea is to make a donation of any size, which you can do through this page. For Ishani and the other kids, it really does means a lot when they see people making donations, whether it is $5 or $50... it just lets them know that somebody out there cares about them and what they're going through.

The challenge that I have is tied to the plea, and is in regards to my expected pace/time. A fast and quite difficult pace for me would be to average 7:20/mile; which translates to completing the half marathon in about 1:36. I'd love to be able to get my time down to 1:30; but that would require a 6:52 pace; which just isn't going to happen : )  To make me work at it, though, maybe you can pledge a donation tied to my pace... For example: $5 if I break 1:40, and then an additional $1 for every minute I get underneath that. That will provide some extra motivation for those last few miles when the mind keeps telling the body to slow down!

Regardless of whether or not you make a donation, I'd love to have you leave a comment with a note of encouragement for Ishani and the other kids, and maybe say a little prayer when you think of them.

Finally, if you want to see more information about ALSF, Alex, Ishani, and pediatric cancer in general - click HERE.

Thank you for your support!

Help the kids!

Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation: to find a cure for childhood cancer for kids like Ishani ... Please help them by donating HERE

Hope For Kidz: program to help educate children in Haiti