Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'm Running to Save Lives


For the past few years I have had a personal goal to run a half marathon. Last year when I was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis, I became concerned with not only my treatment options for this disease, but also whether my body would be able to handle the rigorous training regimen. Thankfully, I’ve responded very well to treatment and am very fortunate to live with minimal to no pain on a daily basis.  I understand that the availability of my own viable treatment options is not only due to investments made into scientific research of diseases, but also due to social awareness programs to spread information regarding these diseases.

Because of my unique situation, I know firsthand that scientific research can give people back their lives, and for those diagnosed with blood cancer, research advancements can literally make the difference between life and death.  This is why I am running the Surf City Half Marathon with the goal to raise $2,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by December 20, 2011.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is dedicated to curing leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma, and improving the quality of life for patients and their families.  I am asking for your support for my participation in this incredible event to raise funds for more effective treatment and on-going research to stop blood cancer from taking more lives. With your donation, you will help advance LLS’s mission to FIND A CURE! Seventy-five percent of all funds raised go directly to research, education programs and patient services.

We do our team runs on Saturday mornings- early Saturday mornings. The past couple of weeks it has been rainy and cold when we've gathered in the park for our workout.

When my alarm goes off and my bed is so warm I draw inspiration from Kimie to get my butt in gear.

Kimie is the OC/IE Spring Team in Training honoroed hero. She is an energetic and charismatic six year old. You would never suspect that behind her infectious giggle, Kimie is battling a rare subtype of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

When Kimie was 4 years old and preparing to start kindergarten, the lab tech that did the processing read the requisition slip wrong and did a peripheral smear of her blood. He noticed that her white blood cells looked abnormal and instead of throwing the slide away and admitting he'd done the wrong test, he sent it to pathology.

Her primary care physician confirmed that she had 9% blast cells and referred the family to oncology. As a nurse, Kristine Metcalf (Kimie's mom) was in shock because Kimie did not have any symptoms of a child with leukemia- she wasn't pale or bruised and had tons of energy.

Kimie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma, which fortunately has a 90% survival rate with proper treatment. Kimie's doctor admitted her the next morning and she had a bone marrow biopsy, surgical placement of her port-o-cath and started chemotherapy. She spent the next week in the hospital without complications until a second blow was dealt.

When Kimie's bone marrow results came back her doctor informed Kristine that Kimie had more than they originally thought. In additional to ALL, Kimie has a rare subtype called AF4/MLL. For this type of cancer the prognosis is only a 30-40% survival rate and is typically associated with infants.

Because Kimie is not an infant, there is no known treatment protocol. Kimie falls outside of known treatment parameters.

Kimie has been treated with aggressively and her cancer has been in remission over a year. She will continue her maintenance routine over the next year and a half and then stop all treatments.

This morning Kimie was at practice (in her dino costume) with a huge smile on her face, giving us all a little extra motivation to run through the rain. Every time I feel a little tired or think my run is a little too difficult, I draw from Kimie's effervescent energy because I know that with every mile we are coming closer to a cure for her and millions like her.

To donate to this cause:

1. My website. Enter the amount you wish to donate. Click “Donate Now!” and you will receive an e-mail confirmation immediately and tax receipt. (All donations are tax deductible!) Please check with your employer’s Human Resources department about matching gift funds that will double your donation. Just click on the web address to access my site:

If you have any questions regarding donations or LLS, or if you just want to lend some support, you can always reach me via e-mail.

I would love for you to visit my website from time to time to check my progress.

On behalf of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, thank you very much for your support.  I greatly appreciate your generosity!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Race for the Rescues

Right before Halloween my husband and I did an awesome 5K in Pasadena. Race for the Rescues was organized to raise funds to benefit 10 no-kill animal rescues in Los Angeles County.

Animal welfare is an issue that I've always felt passionately about. Since adopting my rescue puppy this summer, the plight of homeless and neglected animals has been at the forefront of my mind. As a fun bonus this event was at the Rose Bowl, my old stomping ground, I was really excited to be a part of it!

When we arrived the place was PACKED with runners and dogs. Koda thought he had died and gone to puppy heaven! I think the turnout was bigger than expected because the line to pick up our race gear was forever long. 

Once we finally got lined up the music started to play and the Laker girls cheered and everyone got pumped up! There were no pace groups so once the race started we were really squished and tried not trample over any little pups!

It was a beautiful fall day and I was so happy to be back in Pasadena. We started running and were able to break out of the pack a little bit and it was just a really fun run. Koda was a champ and kept looking back at me with a big smile on his face!

At the finish there was an adoption event and doggie costume contest! Everyone was really creative with the costumes- it was really cute!

There were also a lot of booths with dog treats and Koda made out like a bandit! It was stimulation overload and he slept the whole way home!

The event raised over $200K and was great to be a part of! I'll definitely be back next year- with Koda in costume!

Today's Question: Did you dress up your pet for Halloween?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

One Season Ends and Another Begins

I've been on a bit of an extended summer break.

In June my husband and I moved from Pasadena to Orange County to be closer to work. Though we absolutely loved Pasadena, our new home allowed us the living space and lifestyle to expand our family- something we've been wanting to do for a long long time!

Shortly after our move, we adopted a shepherd mix puppy and named him Koda.


We've spent the last few months exploring our new neighborhood with our little guy. I've loved getting outside and enjoying everything that our new home has to offer. I've been doing a lot of hiking, camping and spending time at nearby beaches with my husband and pup.


As a result of all of these exciting changes I've gotten out of sync with my running and healthy eating routine. So, although it is in the mid-70s here in Southern California, I'm officially ending my summer break and getting back in gear.

Today's Question: What activities kept you moving this summer?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Here Comes the Sun

In my next life, I think I would like to come back as a lizard. And I would lounge on a rock in the sun ALL day, every day.

Well, this weekend I did my best lizard impression because it was the first really nice weekend of the spring and all I wanted was to be outside enjoying the weather!

Saturday morning my husband and I met the SoCal chapter of our university alumni group in Redondo Beach for an Earth Day collaboration with Heal the Bay.

We picked up trash on the beach and helped to beautify our Southern California coastline with some fellow Ram alumni.

After our completing our service, the group headed over to Ortega 120, a local mexican restaurant with funky decor and delicious food! It was so great to relax on the patio with a cold drink in the hot sunshine.

As we headed back towards Pasadena, we drove by a Yogurtland.

It is always tough for me to pass up Yogurtland but since it was Saturday and, like, 85 degrees out it seemed like a sign from the gods. I mixed guava, taro, mango and coconut yogurt and topped it off with mochi, pineapple and strawberries. It was heavenly!

When we got home we layed out by the pool for awhile and soaked up the last couple hours of sunshine. Once it cooled down a bit we went to the Rose Bowl and took a nice stroll around the loop. That night we visited with an old friend and watched my newly purchased copy of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. (I am a big Harry Potter fan so I was totally dorky and stoked about it!)

On Sunday it was gorgeous again so we headed up to the Angeles National Forest for a hike. The place was packed but as we split off from the trailhead it became secluded quickly. We hiked along a river that fed into a series of waterfalls. It was so serene and lovely. (Unfortunately my pictures are trapped on a different camera so I'll post them later. For now, enjoy these pictures of Hermit Falls)

At the end of the hike there were some large cliffs that overlooked deep pools. There were some guys jumping off the cliffs and it was terrifying for me just to watch- let alone attempt myself! Besides, the water was FREEZING and I could barely handle wading through the river!

Back at the trailhead, there was live music playing. I never thought I'd see men yodeling in cowboy hats just 20 miles from downtown LA!

Sunday night we wanted to hang onto our last few hours of weekend freedom so we grilled hamburgers/veggie burgers out at our apartment pool/patio common area. We also snacked on some Popchips and had an avocado corn salad on the side.

It was a perfect light meal to complement the mild evening. We capped off the night by relaxing in the hot tub while I listened to my new Adele album.

Overall, it's beginning to feel a lot like summer and I couldn't be loving it more!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Derby Days

On Saturday my husband and I were up with the sun to run the Santa Anita Derby Days 5K. As we were driving to the race, a peacock crossed the street right in front of us! I decided that it had to be a symbol of good luck!

It was a chilly spring day in Southern California (okay, it was like 50 degrees but that is pretty cold here!) so I bundled up.

The race is an annual event and it was packed with runners and walkers of all kinds. After the gunshot, I just tried to navigate the crowd for the first several minutes until things thinned out a bit.

The race is the Derby Days race because it starts and ends at the Santa Anita Track. Mile One snaked up the street to the nearby Los Angeles Arboretum. Though it was a  little cool out, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day so I enjoyed Mile Two winding through the arboretum. Mile Three took us back to the race track and we were weaving in and out of tunnels and finally around the track onto the dirt!

I typically run at the Rose Bowl, which is a nice and mild loop. I was not used to all of the hills and the changes in terrain on this course and I definitely felt it in my legs the next day!

After the race, my husband and I headed to Marston's, a local restaurant that is famous for its brunch and there is always a big crowd out front!

I was starving by the time we were seated and I really dug in to my whole wheat toast with raspberry jam and veggie egg white omelette. They were delicious and really helped me pep up for the rest of the day!

After quick showers, we headed back to the race track. With our entries into the 5K we had free entry into the full day of horse racing. We had never been to a horse race before and were a little overwhelmed! We perused the "beginners" brochure and placed a few bets.

It was exciting to watch the races and I got all pumped up cheering for my horse!

....And I lost....Three times in a row!

Oh well, I guess I'll keep my day job! It was a great end to the day though!

Today's Question: Do you bet on any sports? If so, what secrets/tricks/superstitions do you use when deciding who to bet on?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Long Time Gone

Well hello again! I have been seriously MIA for the past couple of months and I wanted to take a minute to explain why and catch everyone up with what has been going on with me.

Right after my last post in mid-February, I went on a business trip to Las Vegas for a trade show. It was the first time I've had the opportunity to travel for a show and it was a great experience. I also made these super cute "Valentine's Confetti" popcorn bags for my coworkers. I got the idea and recipe from the crafts blog "This Blessed Nest". They were sweet and gooey and a big hit! :)

A couple of days after I got back I was approached about interviewing for a promotion at work! Holy excitement! I did my homework on the new category I would be responsible for, interviewed and chewed my nails for a couple of days while I waited to hear back! At the end of February, I got the WONDERFUL news that I got the promotion! I was so excited and so thankful for the amazing opportunity!

I had just a couple of days to wrap things up in my old position because my husband and I already had a trip planned to meet up with my in-laws in Cabo. The timing was perfect because I had time to celebrate and relax. The weather was perfect and it was so nice to have no plans whatsoever! We just spent time in the sun, visiting, laying out and eating delicious food! It was so nice to see my husband's parents and all hang out and catch up.

When I got back to the office in early March things were crazy busy. I've spent the last month getting situated in my new position. It has been a wonderful challenge and I feel like I have been running on hyperspeed for the past few weeks. While getting acclimated I've tried to keep my normal level of activity by doing things like trivia night, visiting the Getty museum, and hanging out at our friends's BBQ but frankly, I've been EXHAUSTED.

I don't know about you, but when I get stressed my exercise and healthy eating routine is something that slips a little bit. I have definitely put on a couple pounds over the past several weeks and I just feel like I need to hit the reset button and rework my exercise and food routine around my new work schedule/demands.

Today's Question: When you experience changes in your schedule/work load, what tricks do you use to maintain consistency in other areas of your life?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

When Nature Attacks

This morning I woke up to sunshine and blue sky. I was so excited to get out and enjoy the weather so I headed to the Rose Bowl for a run.

One of the things that I love most about running at the Rose Bowl is the greenery- it is such a lovely setting!

I started out with a lot of energy and optimism but shortly into my run, the wonderful bushes and trees that I enjoy so much became my nemesis! Even though I had taken some allergy medicine before leaving my house, I was having a major attack. I couldn't breathe, I couldn't swallow and I felt like my head was in a vice!

After trying to power through for a mile or so, I gave up and wheezed and walked my way around the rest of the loop.

I was so disappointed to have my allergies interfere with my enjoyment of a beautiful Saturday.

Today's Question: Do you have seasonal allergies? If so, how do you keep them under control when exercising outdoors?