Friday, November 23, 2012

Running for Family

First and foremost, thank you to everyone who purchased a Thanksgiving dessert package.  Kristen and I made a lot of baked goods this past week, raising a total of $490 for my run with the DFMC team.  These purchases, along with the many other generous donations I've already received in my first two weeks of fundraising, have resulted in $1500 towards my goal of $6500. If you have yet to sponsor me, and would like to, please make an online gift or mail me a check made out to Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge.  And be sure to stay tuned for details on our next batch of holiday dessert packages!

Thanksgiving usually makes me think about family - this is probably true for most people.  I'm geographically removed from my own family and haven't been able to spend a single Thanksgiving with them in 11 years.  But I've fortunately always had a great group of people welcoming me into their homes.  A year ago, I spent the first of what will be many with Kristen's family, for instance. This came towards the end of a long year in which I got divorced, changed jobs, lost and made some friends, started dating Kristen, and ran a lot.  And only a week before Thanksgiving, I ran the Philadelphia Marathon.

I'm not sure who put the idea in my head, but in each of the last 6 miles of that race, I focused on someone special in my life, all of whom provided me with an incredible amount of support and love when I needed it most:

Mile 21: My friend, Maia, who was at the time in the hospital dealing with a health scare (and who I recently learned may be a "3rd-to-distant cousin" of mine, based on our 23andMe genetic profiles!)
Mile 22: My brother, Eric, who was always willing to listen
Mile 23: My dad, who always knew what to say
Mile 24: My mom, who always knew how to make me feel loved
Mile 25: Kristen, who already felt like family, and who was waiting for me at the finish line with a hug and a tear in her eye
Mile 26.2: Me, because I worked hard to be there and deserved to enjoy crossing the finish line

A year later, I'm once again taking time out of my busy days to reflect on the amazing people I've had the privilege of knowing over the course of my lifetime, and hoping they are all doing well. Family, I suppose, is where you find it, and I feel incredibly lucky to have so many people falling into that category.

In 5 months I'll be running another marathon, and rest assured I'll once again be concentrating on a few people in my last few miles.  Who will it be?  I'm not 100% sure yet.  When I applied for DFMC, I noted the character and integrity that my grandfather seemed to embody-- so, while I'm out logging my miles this winter, I'll be thinking about the people in my life who inspire me in that regard.

Oh, and since people are asking - I haven't been running all that much (too busy with bootcamp, basketball, and baking), but I did just run 7 miles at a 7:33 avg pace.  I suppose I'm feeling pretty good at this point.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Thanksgiving Bake Sale

Thanksgiving is only two weeks away, so what better time than now to start lining up some amazing desserts to go with your turkey?  We are offering a limited number of Thanksgiving dessert packages as described below.

All of our dessert selections are homemade from the finest and freshest ingredients.  Proceeds go directly to Dana-Farber in support of my run in the 2013 Boston Marathon.
  • Orders are processed on a first-come, first-serve basis
  • All orders must be placed by Friday, 11/16
  • You must arrange to pick up your package from our home in Somerville on either Wednesday afternoon, 11/21 or during the day on Thursday morning, 11/22 (Thanksgiving Day).  If you are unable to make these times, please speak up and we can figure it out.
  • Payment must be collected at time of pickup, in the form of a check made out to Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge
Place an order by sending an email to and include your contact information, the package you'd like to purchase, your dessert selections, and desired pickup time.

Here are the packages:

PackageDessert Selections# AvailablePrice
Turkey Trot1 pie/cake + 1 cookie or 1 candy      3$65
Thanksgiving Feast    1 pie/cake + 1 cookie + 1 candy3$85
Black Friday Fuel*1 cookie + 1 candy5$40

*We'd be happy to arrange shipping for anyone living outside the Boston area for Black Friday Fuel, but unfortunately will not be able to do that for the packages including a pie/cake.

Dessert selections can be made from each of the categories below.  For example, if you were to purchase a Turkey Trot, you could order a carrot cake and pumpkin cookies.  Someone else might order a Turkey Trot and order an apple crumb pie and caramel shortbread bars.

* 9" Apple crumb pie: Your traditional apple pie – elevated!  Buttery, flakey crust, topped with tender, sweet apples, finished with a crunchy crumb topping.  Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

* 9" Carrot cake: You won’t find any nuts, coconut, or raisins in this version – sweet carrots, spices, and cream cheese icing make this cake a crowd favorite without overwhelming the senses.

* 12 Salted Caramel Chocolate Shortbread Bars: Salted caramel and chocolate – a perfect pairing made even more decadent by the addition of a perfectly buttery shortbread base.

* 12 Mini Pumpkin Whoopie Pies: These generously spiced whoopie pies, filled with rich brown butter icing, taste like fall!

* 12 Apple, Pistachio, Ginger Blondies: The perfect bar cookie for fall, these blondies are packed with sweet dried apples, spicy candied ginger, and crunchy pistachios.

* 12 Pumpkin cake pops: delicious vanilla cake pops, enrobed in white chocolate, dressed up to look like pumpkins.

* 4 Caramel apples: fresh, crisp apples, dipped twice – first, in chewy caramel, then in chocolate – and finished with chopped nuts, chocolate, or toffee.  You’ll receive two dipped in dark chocolate, and two dipped in milk chocolate.

If you are unable to order any desserts at this time, please note that we'll be offering additional holiday dessert packages over the coming months.  Or, if sweets just aren't your thing but you'd like to support my run, please donate!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Born Ready

On April 15th, 2013, I’ll have the honor of running the Boston Marathon with the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge (DFMC) team.

When I first applied to run for the DFMC, I was of course excited about the possible opportunity to run in perhaps the most sought-after foot race in the world-- an experience that I’m sure I’ll never forget.  I had a pretty compelling application, not unlike the one I submitted two years ago when I fundraised for Dana-Farber and ran the 2010 B.A.A. Half Marathon: my grandfather had passed away earlier in the year due to complications arising from prostate cancer, and I wanted to run in his memory.

“In his memory”... that’s just what you say in these sorts of things, right?  Sure, I’ve thought of my grandfather a lot over the past few years.  He was a huge part of my life growing up, and I’ve missed him since he’s been gone.  But it wasn’t until now that I really understood what that phrase meant.

Earlier this evening, I was talking to my wife, Kristen, about the idea of this blog, and wondering what I should name it.  After spending too much time laughing at suggestions like “milesandsmiles” and “igottheruns”, Kristen finally asked me, “well, why did you want to run this race anyway?”  It didn’t take very long for me to start drawing on memories of my grandfather, racing through the plethora of his famous quotes, and feeling mesmerized by vivid images of him still locked in my brain.  I soon forgot about the blog, my fundraising goals, and the race itself.

I suppose that my experience of training for the Boston Marathon is a reason to stop and remember my grandfather.  I have a lot of old pictures-- in photo albums in my basement.  David E. Cook (the one I care about, anyway) has no Facebook page.  And as time goes on, I’ve found it more difficult to remember specifics (so it goes, I guess).

All that being said, in the words of my grandfather, “I was born ready” to start my training and raise awareness of the amazing things being done by the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to improve patient care and advance cancer research.  If you’d like to follow along, I’ll do my best to share stories about my grandfather and keep you up-to-date on my training.

If those aren’t reasons enough to pay attention, stay tuned for information about baked good packages that Kristen and I will be preparing and selling!  All proceeds to benefit the Claudia Adams Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

In the meantime, if you’d like to make a donation to my fundraising effort, please do so here!