Glorious Weather for the 2015 Seattle Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon

Glorious Weather for the 2015 Seattle Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon

 group_start_webWe had a fantastic time at the Seattle Rock’n Roll Half Marathon several weekends ago!   While we had a smaller showing at this event, our presence was just as strong as always!  Our team consisted of 9 veterans and 3 Team Transplant transplant rookies…and from the looks of things…our team is going to be in great shape for many seasons to come!

·         Our team was led by two of our rookies…Liver recipient Steven Philips and Lung recipient Cliff West both had remarkable debuts…both were UNDER the 3-hour barrier!   Steve clipped Cliff by a little over a minute with a time of 2:53:29 over Cliff’s 2:54:49!   The challenge is on, my friends!

·         Our next finisher was liver recipient Mari-Jo Fraser.  While she may not make it to many practices, she is always someone we can count on to make it to race day!   Despite having her training time squeezed by baseball practices and games; and attending her sons’ sports activities…she still managed to complete the 13.1 miles in 3:05:29!

·         Our next finisher was Joyce Jackson from the NW Kidney Center!    Joyce has become a regular member of our group…and her commitment to practices has clearly been paying off…Her time of 3:10:57 is almost 11 minutes faster than her time back in November for the Seattle Half!

·         Lenard Yen, liver recipient, was next across the line…Len is another who’s always up for a good race.  He had another fantastic day finishing the course in 3:17:21…and I’m certain that he made sure that those around him enjoyed every single one of those 3 hours and 17 minutes along the way!

·         Greg Eisen, one of our kidney transplants and another very committed team member, was not far behind, finishing in an excellent time of  3:35:01—15 minutes ahead of his time for the Seattle Half last November!

·         Close behind was another one of our 2015 blue chip rookies….Lung recipient, Kimberly Nunes, paced by Diana Cutler, made her Team Transplant and half marathon debut with an outstanding time of 3:38:30!

·         Liver recipient, John Martinez, who just gets stronger each season followed with a very fine time of 3:57:19—his 2nd time to dip under the 4-hour mark!

·         Congrats to Luan Majeed, Pia Dizon, and Angela Wagner who also participated in the half marathon!

We also had a crew who decided to take a step back this season and focus on a shorter distance…Nancy MacNeil (liver) and husband, Bruce; Dennis Cole (heart) and wife Carol Lynn; Jon Baird; and Susan Isoshima all competed in the 8K!  I’m sure that next season they’ll notice benefits from all the quickness they gained from doing a shorter, faster race!

I also want to say thanks to our awesome race day support and cheering crew!  Ron Adkins was there for the start to check folks in and stayed…along with Dick Fitzgerald… until our last finisher had crossed the line and was accounted for!    Dixie Service along with her son Gavin,  Carla Trulson Essenberg and Dave Trulson, and Micah Gwinn all provide very spirited support out at mile 8!   Leslie Olson was there to cheer  everyone on over the final stretch before entering Memorial Stadium!  Your energy and support made all the difference in the world!

And…finally…thanks to Jon Baird for his awesome post-race celebration planning!    With Janette Morantes out of town, he had some very big shoes to fill, and he more than made the event special for us!   Thanks to the party helpers…Susan Bussell, Susan Isoshima, Mike Gave, and Lenore and Steve Miller…Thanks to Luan Majeed for her help with the invitations…to Maggie Kim for making sure that all of our checks were on time and went to the right places…to Tami Sadusky for coordinating the new logo on the gargoyle (Congrats to the Bakery Buns!)…and  to Michael Bailey who made sure the yard was cleaned up and the house paint dry so that once you all arrived, you could go to town with the setting up!

Big Backyard 5K Fun!

Big Backyard 5K Fun!

We had a fantastic time last weekend out at the Big Backyard 5k!  We had about 30 people participate and while we were not the largest group represented, we did get a nice shout out from Brian, the race director, at the post-race awards ceremony…
I want to make sure to mention to Team Transplant…If you’re looking for inspiration, go to these guys…It’s incredible what they’ve all gone through to be able to do this 5k race!
I’m thinking next year we need to work on taking top honors for the number of team members (which means we need to recruit about 60 more people to come out and join us!:-)
Other memorable moments from Sunday…
  • Susan Bussell, RD and core member of TT Homeland Security, ran by me at mile 2 and said, “I need to slow down….”  She was way off her predicted pace, and while it may not have been in the best interest of her team, she managed to place 2nd in her age group and picked up a cookie medal for her efforts!
  • Dennis Cole, heart recipient, as he gave me his keys before the race, said…”I’m afraid the extra weight will affect my pacing.”   And afterwards, when he found me to retrieve his keys…his comment was, “I guess I should have kept them…I could’ve used the extra weight to slow me down.” 
  • Janette Morantes, RN and core member for TT Homeland Security, commented as she ran by me with her dog, Enzo, “The key is to not let him get in the grass!”  (We’ve all seen what happens when Enzo goes to the grass…he lays down and doesn’t move!:-)
  • Tom Richardson, father of living kidney donor Willie and grandfather of living kidney recipient Jack Frank)..
After the race, he said…”Willie asked me what I was going to run, and I told him 44 minutes.  He said, ‘you should put down 41.'”   
“What did you put down?”   I asked.
“Oh…I went with 44,”  he said…shaking his head.
 “What did you end up running?”  
“40:30,”  he said with a sly grin.
Huge thanks to Janette Morantes for showing up early to put out a cone so that everyone would know where to meet; Kudos to our Team Captains: Glenda Roberts–Team Hope; Tami Sadusky and Mike Anthony-Team Fig Newton; Susan Isoshima and John Baird–Team Spare Parts; and Lenard Yen and Mark Scott–Bakery Buns;  and anEXTRA BIG THANK YOU to John Baird for once again treating us to his special version of Nieman Marcus chocolate chip cookies!
I’m still waiting for all the results…and will let you know as soon as possible who the proud guardians of the gargoyle will be!
Great job, everyone!
Seattle Marathon 2013 – Team Transplant Recap!

Seattle Marathon 2013 – Team Transplant Recap!

In case you missed it, we had an absolutely fantastic time 2 Sundays ago!   Amazingly…it did not rain.  I repeat…it did not rain.  Every weather forecast you saw predicted 90% chance of precipitation…but…I’ll say it one more time… it absolutely…positively…100%… did not rain!   And from the number of participants out on the course, it seemed that there were a lot of people who chose to stay home rather than risk a cold, wet, early morning 13.1 mile slog over Seattle hills…but …incredibly…that didn’t happen in our group (despite a Facebook post from one of our team members who lives South of Seattle, stating that she was not going to show up if the weather turned out to be as…and I quote…. ” #$%*^@”  as predicted…. but even she showed up.)

And…not only that…you were all on time!  I’ve never had everyone show up on time before…maybe all the people who opted out due to the weather made traffic and parking less of a hassle?  Whatever it was…it was awesome!  We got a couple of team pictures…you all had some slack time to talk, discuss strategy, recap your holiday events…hit the port-a-potties…

Our finishline support showed up early…Thanks to our heart guys…Ron Adkins, Dick Fitzgerald, and Dennis Cole!  Susan Bussell was at Channel 9 at 6:45am to pick up the banner for her cheering station at Mile #9…and we had nearly 30 people helping Luann Majeed with our water station at mile #2 and they were all on post at 5:45am….

Thanks to all of these folks for the fantastic raceday support….
Finish:   Ron Adkins, Dick Fitzgerald, Dennis Cole; U Prep volunters; Niamh Kieran, Leslie Olsen

Water station:  Luann Majeed; Shelby Shagle; Nancy Smith and family; Dixie Service; Starla Sage; Maggie Kim;  Seth Hennesey and his son, Alistair; Linda Benefiel; Bridget O’Connor; Molly Simms; Kimberly Scheer; Turner Prewitt; Karen and Stephen Kringle;  Heather Adkins; Kyle Mignalia

Mile 9 Support: Susan Bussell, Kalpa Ramanathadan, Michelle Mazzei, Chris Lee, Meleesa Wyatt

Expo:  Tami Sadusky and Mike Anthony, Marty Chakoian, Mary Meister, Cindy Weber, Ameen Tabatabai, Dixie Service, Alicia Boyd, Chesca Ward, Colin Rines, Vanessa Whitacre, Karen Kringle

Post-race Party:  Vanessa Withacre, Luann Majeed, Glenda Roberts, Ken Sutha, and Janette Morantes
And congratulations to all of our racers…Overall, we had 44 participate in the half marathon–24 were transplant recipients, living donors, and pre-transplant!
Jennifer Herlihy (Liver Transplant)
I think this might’ve been #20 for Jennifer…Hard to keep track!   Great job, Jen…and thanks for being such a wonderful example of good post-transplant living!
She’s also now featured on the UW Medicine Homepage:  Hit the 4th button:

Alvin Valencia (Kidney transplant)
This was number 11 out of a goal of 12 for the year.  He’s counting it as his November race and has something else planned in December to make it one a month for 2013!

Shirley Schultz (Liver)
Great to have Shirley back and looking so strong…she’s finally made it to the sub-3 hour club.  And if anyone had a chance to take in the Puget Sound Christmas Progam, it’s obvious the conditioning prepared her well for her performance…look for pictures soon on Facebook!

Mari Jo Fraser (Liver)
Somehow Mar Jo has continued to squeeze training into her busy life and was able to finish another half marathon….though it sounds like she’s “enjoying”  a little downtown now that the race is over…

Jon McLees (Liver)
Jon surprised me by showing up for our last Leschi practice (He also did this to me about 11 years ago…he was right out of transplant and wanted to do the race but didn’t show up until our last Leschi Practice…amazingly …he finished the race that year!).  It’s wonderful that he continues to be committed to the team despite living outside of Seattle, going back to school, having car problems, and starting a new job.   Great to have him out there with us!

Mark Scott (Liver)
Once again, Mark made the Seattle Half a family event.  So fun to see him including his son, Patrick!

Mark Rosinbum (Liver)
Mark is one of our original team members…He is the only one who’s participated in every Team Transplant Seattle Half Marathon…Congrats on lucky #13, Mark!

Lenard Yen (Liver)
What can I say about Lenard?…the guy runs UP Galer!   He continues to blaze trails over on Vashon…can’t wait to bring Team Transplant to the island:-)

Terry Way (Liver)
Terry is another original team member who also makes training a family event by training and racing with his wife, Katy….though I’m not sure she’s been the best influenced based on an alleged text photo of him enjoying a Starbucks latte during the race.

Katy Folk- Way (Living Kidney Donor)
Katy had a brilliant performance…I think she may have even PR’ed…all this despite an unauthorized stop at a Starbucks along the way.

Ronnie Hoglen (Liver)
Another huge improvement…Ronnie took nearly 45 minutes off his time from last year…just think what these guys could have done if they hadn’t stopped at Starbucks!   Next time you’re all turning your cards over to me before the race!

Micah Gwinn (Kidney)
Micah is always tough…his training partners now head to Arizona in November so Micah’s left to do the half marathon on his own in November…  It doesn’t matter though…he shows up no matter what the circumstances and walks his heart (er..kidney??!) out!;-)
Suzanna Moran Litwin (Kidney)
It’s so fun to have Suzanna back after a 3-year break…her finish time of just over 3 hours definitely says that she’s back and stronger than ever!

Ameen Tabatabai (Liver)
This was number 4 for Ameen, and though he’d hoped to run, a knee issue slowed him down a bit this time.  He made up for it later, however…when he announced that he had been awarded one of the Mary Gates scholarships at UW!

Glenda Roberts (Kidney)
Despite some back issues that limited her training, Glenda made it through the 13.1 miles and in a time comparable to what she’s done before!   Once she gets her back ironed out, watch out…those times are going to fall!

Anu Ramanathadan (Kidney)
Anu succumbed to a blister at mile 10…and while I know she was disappointed,  it was a phenomenal performance up to that point!  Next time, Anu…we’ll get you through the final 3.1!

John Martinez (Liver)
John is another one who just continues to improve…his time this year was over 20 minutes faster than he’d previously done on this course!

Jonathon Baird (Liver)
Jonathon is one of our most consistent finishers…I think his training was slowed a bit this season with work commitments but he still managed to finish just over the 3 hour mark!

Greg Eisen (Kidney)
Greg is another very consistent performer with all of his Seattle Half Marathon times falling within 10 minutes of each other.  Look for a big breakthrough soon!

David McCarthy (Living Kidney Donor)
David is one of our living kidney donors…he finished in 1 hour and 45 minutes!   I guess living donors can do okay too:-)

Brian Lee (Liver)
I love having this guy on the team…he just continues to improve…he joined the sub 3 hour club with his performance here. Not only that…he was 11th overall among the male walkers!

Dave Lawson (Kidney)
…and speaking of loving to have someone on our team…this Dave was just transplanted this summer and had the audacity to show up and finish SECOND overall among the male walkers!  This is good stuff, everyone!
Dan Lee (Liver)
Dan travelled all the way from Alaska to join us…he scheduled his medical follow up for the week after the race just so that he could be a apart of the race!  He turned in another amazing performance by a rookie…made only more amazing by the fact that he was just transplanted this year!

Evan Klima (pre-kidney transplant)  
Evan trained for the FULL marathon while also requiring dialysis…He not only finished 26.2 miles in just under 4-1/2 hours…he was called in the next day for a kidney transplant!!/photo.php?fbid=549107741849635&set=a.341663252594086.80662.328724140554664&type=1&theater

…and to everyone else who raced…my apologies if I missed someone (and I’m pretty sure I did)…THANK YOU SO MUCH for training with us and representing us!

Marty Chakoian, Janette Morantes, Susan Isoshima, Julie Sprinkle, Niamh Kieran, Andy Deckert, Mark Scott’s family,  Mike Bailey, Shirley Schultz’s friend, Cal Sturdivant, Joe and Imelda Florenda, Laura Elliott, Sara Curtis…and Marcella Sanmartini…who is one of our UWMC volunteers and a very committed Team Transplant member for the past 10 years…and who WON the women’s 70-74 age group!
Again…thank you so much for a spectacular season and another amazing year of Saturday mornings filled with fitness and that great Team Transplant camaraderie…I so  appreciate all of you and your commitments to the team and to living a healthy lifestyle!

Be sure to mark your Saturday mornings starting in March 2014.  We’ll start up training again…this time for the Seattle Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathon in June…I’ll be sending out some very exciting updates soon!

Have a warm and wonderful holiday season, everyone!

Schedule Update – April 19

Schedule Update – April 19

It’s been quite a week….and I’m not sure the usual “Go Team!” introduction is appropriate. The events in Boston on Monday were quite tragic and strike a little too close to home for anyone training for a big event right now…

Having run Boston, I can tell you that it’s a very special experience. It’s a prestigious field…people have earned their way to participate by running a qualifying time…It attracts people from all over the world as one of the “World Marathon Majors”…It has an iconic history with “The Duel in the Sun” ( a legendary race between Alberto Salazar and Dick Beardsley)…”Boston Billy Rodgers”…”Heartbreak Hill”…and the “Scream Tunnel” at Wellesley.

And while I’ve run races that I thought were more impressive or in which I’ve run much faster times, it became clear to me after I’d run Boston that Boston was THE big deal! I ran it exactly 10 years ago…at a time when I had some pretty lofty goals for myself. With my elite start, I got to stay in the Fairmont on Copley Plaza only blocks from the finish line…I got to take a special bus to the start…and got to hang out in a cemetery with real bathrooms before the race. As with many Boston’s, 2003 turned out to be a warm year. By mile 6, I was right on my goal pace but already feeling dehydrated…then I got a side stitch…The screaming crowds at Wellesley did nothing for me…by the time I reached the halfway mark, I was desperately looking for excuses to drop out (could I pretend like I twisted my ankle?) The water stations couldn’t appear soon enough for me.

But something happened around mile 16. I looked up at the leader board, and I was in 15th place! Obviously…others were having a rough day too! I could’t drop when I was about to actually PLACE at Boston! My once-in-a-lifetime disaster of an experience was turning into a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment! I had a renewed sense of purpose…but it wasn’t all rosy from there…mile 16 came right around the time ! I was going to hit the hills…and long story short…everything you’ve heard about the Newton HIlls is true…they weren’t pleasant,. But… honestly, the pounding I took going down was much worse than the struggle to get up them. My quads were exhausted from all of the work they’d done to pull me uphill…and then were commanded to support and control my entire body as I came back down. Then…to add insult to injury…they had to pull me up another one…..and then escort me down again.

Over the final 6 miles of the race, I managed to pass 2 more women…one who’d been an Olympian in 1996…As I wound my way through the streets of downtown Boston, I knew the worst thing I could do was stop or start walking. If I did…I was done. There would be no more starting up again. Each time I approached a corner, I prayed that once I rounded it, I’d be rewarded with the finish line.  When it finally happened and a finish line appeared before me… I! was completely taken by surprise…I didn’t actually think the race would ever end. As I did my best to charge over the final 200 meters to give some show of a finishing kick, I felt kind of sad that it was all over. I envisioned all of the people who had tread before me…both that day and in the many years prior… I’d just joined this incredible list of people…Joan Benoit Samuelson, Kathryn Switzer, Rosa Mota Uta Pippig, Lisa Weidenbach, Cosmas Ndeti, Bob Kempainen, Catherine Ndereba, Ingrid Kristiansen, Fatuma Roba…all of these people I’d read about and admired for so long…it felt like they were right there finishing with me that day.

I crossed the line….I downshifted to a walk which quickly became a stagger….I was greeted with a complimentary space blanket and bottle of water….I got my very gentle finisher’s massage….and headed back to my hotel which…fortunately…was only a couple blocks away. I tracked down my father, a miracle considering the crowds of people in the finish area, and after I’d showered and recovered enough to venture back outside, he and I went out for a post-race steak dinner …there was no way I could choke down anymore pasta…I did consume a celebratory libation, but kept the wait staff very busy refilling my water glass.

Looking back, I remember feeling somewhat dissatisfied with my performance…my time was not what I hoped for, and I really struggled at times in the race…but I did end up placing 13th overall. I won some prize money, and probably more rewardingly, received a glass dish with a tiny Boston emblem tastefully etched into its side. From where I sit now…I wish I could have been able to appreciate it more.

In the days that ensued…I heard from former college roommates…high school classmates…I got notes from people I didn’t even know. My hometown newspaper back in Kansas mentioned my placing…the Seattle TImes even made note of it! And while I’d competed in several Olympic Trials and! run times 10 minutes faster…placing at Boston is what got people’s attention.

That’s probably why it was chosen as the target on Monday. It gets people’s attention. In fact…this week I found myself once again being contacted by people I hadn’t heard from in a really long time. Several classmates called to make sure I was okay (It turns out I was out of town…but at a conference in Las Vegas)…my neighbor across the street realized he hadn’t seen me in awhile and called to see if I was in Boston; and another neighbor to whom I’ve probably spoken twice in 15 years…stopped when he saw me in the yard and said, “I hear you run marathons.”

As we move forward with our training…I hope that through the tragic events on Monday, you can focus on the true meaning of the Boston Marathon…Up to this point, the Boston Marathon has been the hallmark of perseverance that marathons have come to symbolize …and for some, this has taken on truly life-altering meaning in the past few days; it has set a standard for setting goals and having the discipline to accomplish them…; it embodies the pure liberating energy and empowerment that comes from the benefits of exercise; and it reminds us to celebrate the “Big Deals” in our lives…whether it is walking 4 miles for the first time or placing at the the Boston Marathon or reaching your 10-year transplantaversary… with those who are close to you.

When it’s all said and done… these are the things that are going to be what matter and lead to the experiences that deserve the most attention.