Weekly training review - August 27-September 2nd

This was an excellent week. I love back to school, I love upping my training load, and I love spending time with friends and training partners. Love! 

Monday was a nice easy run with Kim and the Sole Sports crew. Tuesday was my first experience with Ai who teaches yoga and spin at The BAR Fitness; a 45-min aerobic endurance spin class followed by 30mins of relaxing yoga was most welcome, and I have signed up for unlimited yoga and spin at BAR through February. Wednesday as a reverse brick for me: instead of a bike-run workout common for triathletes, I did a run-bike workout. I started with my first track workout at 5:30am. OMG - I love the track, even if all that happens is that young kids and superfit adults whip past me. For the first time, on the track, I felt like a real runner, and this is despite having run umpteen 5k, 10k, 15k, and half-marathon races over the past few years. Then I joined Mark and Max for some hills in Ahwatukee on our bikes; they did hill repeats, I did hill 'peats' (one time up instead of multiple times), and it was excellent. Thursday as a very short, slow run with Majid over at Sole Sports, and Friday was an off-day prior to our long-run on Saturday. Cue a blue moon at 5am on Saturday morning, at the San Juan Trail in South Mountain Park. The whole Team Chances crew was there for either 15mi or 2h45mins. I was there for 2h45mins, not least because the San Juan Trail, though beautifully paved, is rolling hill upon rolling hill and so very demanding for a runner (and also for a cyclist; to date, all my experience with the San Juan Trail had been on the bike). I started off at a very slow pace, on Coach Loken's advice. As a result, I felt pretty strong throughout. Though I managed only 10.75mi in 2h45mins, I enjoyed the run very much. My lungs felt good, my legs felt good, and my feet felt pretty good for the whole workout. And, let's face it, there's nothing quite like being back home at 9am with that much exercise already under your belt! Sunday was a long ride with Mark through Scottsdale and Fountain Hills. As is clear from the picture, I loved it! 45mi in 3+ hours is not a great average speed, but the route was hilly and it was hot out and my feet were sore from the run and my butt was sore from the saddle; lots of excuses, I know, but we had a wonderful time!


Why you should consider supporting Chances for Children AZ - and me

I’m running the New York City Marathon in November 2012 as a member of Team Chances and I am inviting you to be a part of it with me.

In the past four years, Chances for Children-Arizona ( has assisted in providing running programs to over 3000 students from a number of elementary schools in the Phoenix area. This local not-for-profit organization targets at-risk youth, who may not have physical education at school, or who can’t afford to participate in after school sporting opportunities. It is Chances for Children’s mission to grow these programs in schools and youth programs throughout the state with the intention of eradicating obesity among our youth and improving their life chances. Team Chances will help raise money to grow these programs. My favorite part of this program is the PROACTIVE approach – affecting change that will last a lifetime.  It is easy to sit and grouse about problems with our youth – from obesity to gang activity – but this is an opportunity for us TOGETHER to do something very tangible – NOW.

You all know that I have struggled with my weight, and my health, since childhood. I wish Chances for Children had existed to help me out. For more about my story, have a look around blog on this site. But this is about the kids.

Here’s how you can help us out:

The I REALLY DON’T WANT THE AZ LEGISLATURE DECIDING HOW TO SPEND MY MONEY! Program – $200 or $400 or however much you like

Make your taxes go where you want them to go, and come out ahead! Chances for Children is registered in the state of Arizona as a SELF-CHARITABLE ORGANIZATION so that means your donation is eligible for an ARIZONA TAX CREDIT, and there are 3 fantastic reasons for you to consider making a contribution:

  1. Arizona state tax credit ($200 for individual filers, $400 for joint filers);
  2. Federal tax donation ($200 for individual filers, $400 for joint filers); and
  3. kids will benefit directly thanks to the awesomeness of Chances for Children.

See below for more information about how the tax credit works for you and for the kids. And note that the tax credit applies no matter how big or small your contribution! All contributions are tax deductible and will be acknowledged as such in a letter to you from Chances for Children. 

The BUY A MILE!  Program - $50

Yes, 25 (Mile 26 six is mine!) lucky people have the opportunity to sponsor the mile of their choice (first come, first served) of the marathon for $50.00. Pick your favorite mile and make it yours! (Just let me know which one you have picked. I will add your name to the map on this site. A map of the course is available online at:


The opportunity to CHANGE A CHILD’S LIFE FOREVER is yours for only $1.00 per mile and remember, you don’t have to run a step of it! I’ll be doing all the hard work, and your donation will make it all worthwhile.

The HEY – THAT IS REALLY COOL OF YOU Program - $1.00 - ?????

Anything, literally anything, would help – and will go DIRECTLY to help our kids. 


Once you have decided that this would be a terrific thing to support, there are several ways to sponsor me:

Online donations:

Mail-in Contributions can be sent to me at 1838 E Ranch Rd, Tempe AZ 85284 or Chances for Children directly at 9399 S. Priest Dr., Tempe AZ 85284. If you donate by check, please put my name on the Memo line.

REMEMBER!  If you choose the Buy A Mile, I need to know which mile you want!

This opportunity, however lofty the goal, to help children in such a direct and positive way is an honor I simply could not refuse – please join me! Thanks in advance for helping me—and thousands of schoolchildren!


For those who are unfamiliar with how a tax credit works, it means that after calculating your annual tax return, you get to apply the Chances for Children donation as a tax credit. So you are given credit for having paid those taxes (in the form of a donation). For example: let's say you owe $1200 on your state taxes. By making a donation of $400 to Chances for Children, your tax liability will be reduced by $400 which means you would owe only $800. And if you are expecting a refund on your AZ State taxes, you will in fact get the money back as well!

For the federal tax deduction, instead of paying taxes on all of your income you get to subtract the donated amount from your income before you calculate what you owe in taxes. (For example: if you are in the 15% tax bracket, a $400 donation will save you about $60 in federal taxes, and if you are in the 27% tax bracket, you will save about $108).

Both of these combined then, actually have you come out ahead financially by donating!


HITS Palm Springs - my first 1/2 ironman

Folks, it's official. I am now registered to participate in the HITS Palm Springs 1/2 Ironman on 1 December 2012. This is super exciting for me, as I have wanted to complete a half but have not been in shape for it. Initially, my goal for this year was to participate in Mountain Man in August, but I wasn't ready. After taking a look at my travel schedule in September and October, I decided today that I won't be fully prepared for SOMA in October. So I will run the 3rd leg of SOMA as part of a relay, and postpone my 1/2 Ironman debut until December. We are all booked into a gorgeous casita with a special paws program for Lola, and I am jazzed!


Anthem Sprint Tri - in reverse

Yesterday I had a blast racing the reverse-order Anthem Sprint Tri. While a triathlon conventionally is swim then bike then run, a reverse tri does just that - reverses the order. So we ran, biked, then swam. For the record, the swim is in a 4.5' deep pool to minimize the likelihood of drowning!

Stacy B. raced with me - we racked our bikes together, cheered each other on, and finished exactly 13 seconds apart. And she finished second in her age group (or, as she puts it, her "weight class"), an awesome finish given that it's her first solo triathlon in 6 years.

We are thinking of doing SOMA 1/2 Ironman as a relay: Stacy in the water, her hubby Pat on the bike, and me on the run. This for three reasons: 1. I may not be completely ready for a 1/2 Ironman by October, but I will be by December and so can run one then (the HITS half in Palm Springs); 2. I want to stay injury-free for NYC; and 3. relay races are awesome. Period.

One last thing - I am obviously heavier and less fit now than in some of the "work-in-progress pictures" below. That's why I didn't call them "after pictures". But I am feeling great and have a super outlook, so I know I will re-realize that look again soon!


Pure awesomeness - Chances for Children AZ

Chances for Children AZ in 3 minutes - well worth your time! And if you are able, please consider a donation to Chances for Children AZ as I train for the New York City Marathon on 4 November 2012. Maybe a dollar a mile - so $26.20. Maybe less, maybe more. It all adds up, and it all makes a positive difference in our world.