Archive | January, 2014

Examples per ACS

Running with Cancer – Part 2 The “Moderate” Runner?


Note: I’m writing a series on my bout with ovarian cancer and how my running was affected by it and helped me deal with it. You can read Part 1 for a little history on my running and cancer here.

I’ve focused on running throughout my whole cancer journey. Okay, I obsessed over it. When I went for my 2 week follow-up with the surgeon, I asked him first about when I could run again and left out all the other questions about work and driving! Oops! Same thing with my initial visit with my oncologist – I wanted to know if and when I could run.

Why was it my priority? What made it so important for me? Mostly for the reasons I stated in the Part 1 post but also because it gave me a sense of control…over something, anything instead of feeling controlled by cancer. It gave me something to focus on when I was terrified they would find cancer and what stage it would be. It gave me something to focus on while I was recuperating from surgery. And it gave me something to focus on when I learned I would have chemotherapy. I felt like my life was out of control and running gave me something I COULD have control over.

So now I could run again but what could I do? What should I do? I had told my oncologist about signing up for the Tinkerbell Half Marathon (which would happen after my fourth round of chemo). She didn’t shoot that idea down and in fact, she thought it was  a great one. She said she loved when her patients were marathoners and half marathoners. Okay, great!

But…neither my oncologist nor my surgeon gave me specifics on what I could or should do. What I’m comfortable with was just too vague. But I couldn’t really find out a whole lot except that exercise was encouraged for cancer patients because it helped combat the fatigue and tiredness from chemotherapy. Could I do TOO much? Should I be cautious? Should I run as fast as I could or slow as molasses? What is an excited runner girl supposed to do?

I started looking around and I didn’t find a whole lot. There was this from the American Cancer Society’s Answers To Common Questions section:

“Research strongly suggests that exercise is not only safe during cancer treatment, but it can also improve physical functioning and many aspects of quality of life. Moderate exercise has been shown to improve fatigue (extreme tiredness), anxiety, and self-esteem. It also helps heart and blood vessel fitness, muscle strength, and body composition (how much of your body is made up of fat, bone, or muscle).”

So I knew that I should do something but what does moderate mean? Is running slow moderate? Could I run tempo runs? Could I lift weights? I found more information on their Guidelines page:

Be physically active
• Adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity activity each week (or a combination of these), preferably spread throughout the week.
• Children and teens should get at least 1 hour of moderate or vigorous intensity activity each day, with vigorous activity on at least 3 days each week.
• Limit sedentary behavior such as sitting, lying down, watching TV, and other forms of screen-based entertainment.
• Doing some physical activity above usual activities, no matter what one’s level of activity, can have many health benefits.

Okay, more information is good. But still…what is moderate? What is vigorous? They also had this chart to help figure that out:

According to this chart, running is vigorous. Hmmm…

Running slow and easy doesn’t seem vigorous to me. I decided to consider it moderate and see how I did. I found another article from the American College of Sports Medicine – Exercise During Cancer Treatment that gave more specifics about what to watch out for:

Individuals undergoing cancer treatment should:
•Obtain approval from their oncologist (cancer doctor) before starting an exercise program.
•Have vital signs (temperature, pulse/heart rate, blood pressure, respiration rate) monitored regularly. If participating in moderate-to-vigorous exercise, have their blood pressure and heart rate monitored before, during and after exercise to ensure that participation in exercise is appropriate and safe.
•Exercise with a partner, caregiver or exercise professional for safety reasons.
•Avoid public fitness facilities and activities (e.g., swimming), where there may be an increased risk of exposure to viral and/or bacterial infection.
•Avoid swimming if undergoing radiation therapy treatments or if they have an indwelling catheter (a tube that goes in the body), such as a central venous catheter or peripherally inserted central catheter.
•Stop exercise and contact their doctor if they have any of the following symptoms during exercise or after an exercise session:
– Disorientation, dizziness, blurred vision or fainting
– Sudden onset of nausea, vomiting
– Unusual or sudden shortness of breath
– Irregular heart beat, palpitations, chest pain
– Leg/calf pain, bone pain, unusual joint pain or pain not caused by injury
– Muscle cramps or sudden onset of muscular weakness or fatigue

And also from that page, this section on when to take precautions:

•Anemia (low red blood cell count): If the red blood cell count is low, the body’s ability to carry oxygen to the tissues is reduced. Exercise may need to be scaled back and possibly avoided.
•Neutropenia (low white blood cell count): If the white blood cell count is low, the body’s ability to fight infection is reduced. Exercise should be avoided if there is a fever above 100.4°F (>38°C).
•Thrombocytopenia (low platelet count): If platelet count is low, there is an increased risk of bruising and bleeding. Avoid contact sports or activities with high risk of injury or falling. Report any unusual bruising or symptoms, such as nose bleeds, to a doctor.
•Side effects such as vomiting and diarrhea, and symptoms such as swollen ankles, unexplained weight loss/gain, or shortness of breath with low levels of exertion may make exercise unsafe. Check with a doctor before exercising.

Ok, great. I could all that. I now felt like I had enough to go on. I decided that 2 5K runs during the weekday would be good and I’d let myself do a longer trail run on the weekends. While the combination might be more time than I’d been allotted per the guidelines, I hoped the combination of “moderate” 5K runs and more vigorous trail runs would be okay. I would just listen to my body day to day and do what I felt I could. But I have to tell you, I sometimes wanted to do more!

This was the plan through mid-January and it went pretty well. I wasn’t pushing myself too much and really just having fun. I was tired but not overly so, though I sometimes felt the same kind of tired after a 5K run that I used to feel after a 20 miler which was frustrating. I ran when I could and rested when I felt I needed it. Mostly, the pattern went like this:

  • The day after chemo I could run and feel tired but okay.
  • Then chemo would hit me and I would take the next 4 or 5 days off from.
  • Then on the 6th or 7th day after chemo, I would feel I could run again.
  • Then I would resume the schedule I set above.

But in mid-January, I got the racing bug and started thinking about my plans for 2014. What if I did more? What if I added pilates or yoga or weight training? What if I ran a little faster sometimes? What if…


Click Here to read Running with Cancer – PART 3: One Day at a Time  

And don’t forget, if you missed Part 1, you can read it here:

Running With Cancer – Part 1

If you’ve been through cancer and chemotherapy and are a runner, I would love to hear how it went for you. Please let me know in the comments or email me at the link below.

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Running With Cancer – Part 1

RIF #5 Lisa Gonzales

Note: I am going to be doing a series on my bout with ovarian cancer and how my running was affected by it and helped me deal with it.

2013 was supposed to be a big year for me. I had big plans – streak through at least October to complete a 1 year running streak, run 3000 miles, and lower my marathon PR to sub 4…and hopefully qualify for Boston. 2013 was going to be stellar!

Or so I thought. Things didn’t go exactly as I’d planned. Life is funny that way.

2013 started off okay. I wasn’t getting where I wanted to be  though so I hired a coach and that helped. But I was tired most of the time. I felt like I was overtrained even though I wasn’t really doing that much. I was frustrated. I kept telling my friends I was tired and nauseous and that something didn’t feel right but it never felt serious enough to go to the doctor.

Then in July, I found a bump in my abdomen. It felt about the size of a lemon and I went to have it checked out. By the time I had an ultrasound and then an MRI, it had grown to the size of basketball! I had surgery on September 30, 2013 to remove it and that’s when I found out I had Ovarian Cancer.

The C Word.


However, I was one of the lucky ones. Every year, about 22,240 women are diagnosed with Ovarian Cancer and 14,400 women die from it. There is a 93% 5 year survival rate if it is caught in the early stages but only 15% of the women are caught this early. I am one of the 15%. My cancer was Stage 1C. I was very lucky.

I haven’t always felt lucky. I have had the “why me?” thoughts. I’ve been resigned and numb. I’ve been scared and sad. And I’ve been angry. So very angry. Angry because my life changed in one instant. Angry because I’d been doing everything right – eating right, exercising, taking care of myself – and I was still caught in cancer’s vicious web.

One reason I was angry at cancer was that it took running away from me. Everyone said that my health was the most important part and that I could/would run again. But here’s the thing. Running is the way I deal with emotions and stress. At the one time in my life when I needed it most, I couldn’t run. First because my doctor was afraid the cyst would burst and then because of the surgery to remove it. For 10 long weeks I couldn’t run. I had no outlet for all the things I was feeling. I couldn’t do anything but go for short walks and sit on my backside.

I felt trapped.

And of course, running not only helps me wash away the sucky parts of life but it is just plain fun! There’s nothing I love more than running trails and exploring new places and meeting new people. Running is how I celebrate life! I had to give up 3 marathons and a half marathon I’d signed up for. Because of cancer I missed out on the opportunity to explore Utah and Tennesse and to have fun on Halloween. I missed seeing my friends from around the country at those races. It took so much from me. Did it have to take the fun too?

No, running isn’t everything but at a time in my life when I was scared and angry, it would have been nice to have the joy running and breathing in fresh air. I especially missed being out on the trails. Oh, how I missed the trails.

My surgeon released me to run on November 26th and I may or may not have done a happy dance. His advice to me was to do what I was comfortable with. I had already talked to my oncologist about running and she encouraged me to run through chemotherapy. I decided I would start running again on Thanksgiving. It seemed like the proper day to restart running. I had a lot to be thankful for but I was most thankful I could finally lace up my running shoes again.

I didn’t do much that first run. I’d told myself I would take it easy and run walk for a mile or two depending on how it went. Well…I might have been a LITTLE bit excited and ended up running the whole first mile. Oops! But I did smarten up and run/walk the mile home. The pic above is from that run. Was it easy? No. Did things hurt? Yes. Mostly I was surprised at how tired I was. And maybe a little sad at how slow I was. But I was happy too.

I felt free again!

Just one run and already I felt lighter. And I felt relief. I felt like I was me again. It felt so good to be outside and moving and breathing fresh air. It was wonderful.

But oh, I had so much work to do. I was basically starting over. I’d only been out from running for 10 weeks but most of August and September was just 1 day streak savers (because I’m stubborn and hoped I could finish the year!). I had a long way to go to get back to where I was when I set my PRs. In some ways starting over is easier than starting from scratch because you know what to do. You’ve done it before. You can do it again.

In some ways, it’s harder though. Because I remember what it was like to run 20 milers. I remember what it was like to run sub 8 minute miles (fast for me). I remember how much fun marathons and half marathons and a so hard you want to puke 5K are. I’m impatient to be that runner again. I want to feel that strong and fast right now.

But I am ready to do the work. Bring it on!

The big problem is…what does that work look like? How do athletes with cancers train? Should they train while battling cancer? That is the 24 bazillion dollar question…

Running With Cancer Part 2: The Moderate Runner

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Galen Rupp Sets New American 2-Mile Indoor Record

Galen Rupp has had a good month. This past weekend he set the USA 2-mile indoor record with a time of 8:07.41. He broke Bernard Lagat’s record of 8:09.49 set last year.  Rupp had held the record prior to Lagat with a time of 8:09:.72

Earlier this month on January 16th, Rupp broke the American 5000m record with a time of 13:01.26.

More Details on Rupp’s Historic 2-Mile Record at Runner’s World

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North Korea Flag

North Korea Marathon Now Open to Americans If…

Well you have run a marathon in every state and on every continent. And now you can run a marathon in North Korea. There is only the slightest catch as you will find out below.

North Korea has opened up the Pyongyang Marathon to recreational runners, including Americans, for the very first time. That’s right, now you can run a marathon in North Korea if you finish it in 3 hours or less. If you are still running after three hours you will be shot forced to quit (unless you traveled into the country with Dennis Rodman. He will then sing you Happy Birthday and call on special favors from North Korea’s Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un…and you will still be forced to stop at 3 hours).

North Korea’s human rights record has been described as one of the world’s worst by the U.S. State Department, which recommends against all travel by American citizens to North Korea.

North Korea has detained at least seven Americans since 2009, including Kenneth Bae, 45, who was arrested in November 2012 while leading a tour group. He was accused of crimes against the state and sentenced to 15 years of hard labor. He was moved to a hospital last summer in poor health.

As noted in the article, the 3 hour cutoff is faster than every qualifying time for the prestigious Boston Marathon.  A rough estimate of 0.000005% of Marathon Maniacs would be able to finish the Pyongyang Marathon in less than 3 hours.

You’d probably be better off signing up for the cheaper, more scenic, and challenging Cummins Falls Marathon on February 22, 2014.

Posted in International, Marathon, Running0 Comments

Chris Solarz

Chris Solarz Sets 12 Hour Treadmill Record with 77.07 Miles

Hedge fund manager Chris Solarz ran 77.07 miles in 12 hours on a treadmill to set a new record with the Guinness Book of World Records.

“This was the most physically demanding of all of my six Guinness records,” Solarz said. “I knew that the record was just within my reach but I would need to get in the best shape of my life. After I put in 150 mile weeks for two months, I knew I could do it, but I still needed to execute. I had a perfect day and ended up breaking the record less than seven minutes before the 12 hour mark!”

He beat the prior record of 76.68 miles set in 2013 by Eusébio Bochons in Switzerland. Solarz did not leave the treadmill for the entire 12 hour period and ran at an average pace of 9 minutes and 20 seconds a mile.

Solarz owns a handful of other Guinness World Records.

Read More about the new 12 Hour Treadmill World Record

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Houston Double Finisher Medal 2014

Houston Double Challenge Medal (2014)

This is the medal the finishers of the Houston Double Challenge received on January 18-19, 2014 in Houston, Texas.

Runners who completed the ABB 5K on Saturday and either the Houston Marathon or Houston Half Marathon on Sunday received this cool Double Medal. Congrats to RIF #48 Stephen who ran the 5K and the half marathon in Houston this weekend! Check out his half marathon and 5K medals:


[medal photos submitted by RIF #48 Stephen Griffin – follow him on Twitter @stepheng73]

Posted in 5K, Featured, Half Marathon, Marathon0 Comments

Houston Marathon Medal 2014

Houston Marathon Medal (2014)

This is the colorful medal the finisher’s of the Houston Marathon received on January 19, 2014 in Houston, Texas.

Congrats to RIF #280 Suzy who PRd the marathon!


[Medal submitted by RIF #280 Suzy Spiceland. Follow on Twitter @bookaroo32]

Posted in Bling, Featured, Marathon, Medals0 Comments

Goofy Challenge Medals 2014

Goofy’s Race And A Half Challenge Medals (2014)

These are the medals the finisher’s of the Goofy’s Race And A Half Challenge received on January11-12 , 2014 in Walt Disney World, Florida.

Runners who completed the Walt Disney World Half Marathon on Saturday and the Walt Disney World Marathon on Sunday also received the Goofy Challenge medal. Lot of fun bling!


[medal photo submitted by Carol Goodwin – follow her on Twitter @BellyDanceCarol]

Posted in Bling, Featured, Half Marathon, Marathon, Medals0 Comments

Louisiana Marathon Medal 2014

Louisiana Marathon & Half Marathon Medals (2014)

This is the finisher’s medal for the Louisiana Marathon that took place on January 19, 2014 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Here is a pic of the Louisiana Half Marathon medal, front and back:


[Medals submitted by Terry Williams, follow on Twitter @TerryMcWilliams, by Naomi Pipes, follow her on Twitter @NaomiPipes, and my James Pipes, follow him on Twitter @jameswpipes]

Posted in Bling, Featured, Half Marathon, Marathon, Medals0 Comments

Maui Oceanfront Marathon Medal 2014

Maui Oceanfront Marathon Medal (2014)

This is the fun finisher’s medal for the Maui Oceanfront Marathon that took place on January 19, 2014 on the island of Maui in Hawaii.

The cool thing about their medals is that they pick a different fish/ocean creature for the medal each year. You can see prior years here:

Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon Medal (2013)
Maui Oceanfront Marathon Medal (2012)
2011 Maui Oceanfront Marathon Medal

Congrats to RIF #1 Joshua who was 2nd in his Age Group at this year’s marathon!


[Medal submitted by RIF #1 Joshua Holmes. Follow him on Twitter @bayou]

Posted in Bling, Featured, Marathon, Medals0 Comments

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