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Cancer is Stupid and Dumb

Cancer: The uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body. Cancerous cells are also called malignant cells.

It leaves most of us feeling helpless when friends and or loved ones are hit with it. No one should have to deal with this disease. I decided to do something to help find a cure… run! Not to run away from cancer, but to run for cancer. Running is a HUGE passion of mine, ok, ok, it’s an addiction, but as a friend said, “At least it is a healthy one”. I am running a half marathon (13.1 miles) each month this year.

  • February 12th = Ralston Creek Half Marathon
  • March 4th = That Dam Run Half Marathon
  • April 15th = Platte River Half Marathon
  • May 20th = Colfax Half Marathon
  • June 23rd = Rock n Roll Seattle Half Marathon
  • July = TBD
  • August 11th = Georgetown to Idaho Springs Half Marathon
  • September 9th and 22nd = Denver 1/2 Marathon AND Rock n Roll Denver Half Marathon
  • October 21st = Boulder Half Marathon
  • November 10th = Backcountry Wilderness Half Marathon
  • December 15th = Hoover Dam Half Marathon

I know a lot of you don’t run unless someone is chasing you. Running for me is therapy. I am not the fastest runner, but I finish the race. This is how I’m going to help find a cure for cancer, by running.

In January, I received an email from the American Cancer Society telling me about the DetermiNation Team, in Denver, that would be running the Rock n Roll Seattle Marathon and Half Marathons. I have seen their booths in various race expos, and my nephews used one of their signs to decorate for me when I ran the 2010 Rock n Roll Denver Half Marathon. That sign hangs in my apartment. Cancer was still very fresh in my hurting heart after losing someone to it in December. I decided to go to one of the informational meetings and see what it was all about.

Team DetermiNation

During my Ralston Creek Half Marathon in February I met Meghan, from the American Cancer Society. We had been emailing back and forth about DetermiNation. After talking to her at the race, I was convinced this is what I had been looking for – running for cancer! The next week I went to the meeting and signed up to join the DetermiNation Team. I was so excited I thought I was going to burst! Finally I was going to use my passion to help others!

Our Kick-Off Party was held at the Uptown Tavern and we got to meet most of the runners, the coach and our mentors. We all had a great time and I could tell it was a fantastic group of people – this was going to be AWESOME! Friendships were formed right away.

The training would be 16 weeks long, and our first training run was on Saturday March 3rd at Washington Park. It was just a quick run around the park, which was fine with me since I was running That Dam Run Half the next day. After the run, we met in the parking lot for a stretch and information from Meghan. My mentor, Eileen, found out that two birthdays had occurred within the past few days, so she made one cake (yellow with chocolate frosting – my favorite) for Steve, and brought an angel-food cake with strawberries for Meghan! OMG that cake was YUMMY!!! Perfect post run snack in my book!

Eileen also came to my race the next day and ran me in for the last 3 miles – more on that in my That Dam Run post…

Each training run is at a different location on Saturdays. I love that, for I am finding new places to run along with new people to run with! This last Saturday’s run was on St Patricks Day at Runners Roost. So we all wore green to celebrate!

I am running for Kathie Thiessen. We lost her in December after only just being diagnosed in August with cancer. She fought hard, but cancer finally won. Everyone called her mom. She is greatly missed. She raised 4 wonderful children, one being my former brother-in-law, Kendall, that I love dearly! I love his 3 sisters, Monica, Andrea, and Jenelle as well. I know Kathie is proud of all of you!

My list of survivors and those I’ve lost is an ever growing list – each one of them will have a place on my shirt during the Rock n Roll Seattle Half Marathon. I’m going to Kick Cancer’s Butt One Mile at a Time!

You can help support my mission by donating to my site http://main.acsevents.org/goto/kristenirene EVERY dollar helps, no donation is too small.

Lets Kick Cancer’s Butt together!

 

 

 

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1,098 Steps

Fight for Air ClimbSunday February 27, 2011 I climbed the highest building in Denver, CO. The money raised from the Anthem Fight for Air Climb helps the American Lung Association fight for cures, clean air and smoke-free kids. I raised over $300 for the cause! No one should struggle to breathe. I was recently diagnosed with Exercise-Induced Asthma, so I know what it is like. That is why I choose to join Team Life Time Fitness and take on the challenge.

Wow 56 floors, 1,098 steps, this would really be a workout. Have I ever done something like this before?? NO! The most stairs I had done in the recent days were the steps up and over the freeway to get to the train every morning. Those felt long, so how was this going to feel?

Denver Buildings

Denver's Tallest Buildings

In 1928, the Republic Building was built with financing from Republic Drugs. The former U-shaped medical tower housed a drugstore and some of Denver’s most prominent physicians and dentists in its 12 stories. The Republic Building was demolished in 1981 to make room for Republic Plaza. Construction was completed on the 56-story office tower in 1984. Republic Plaza is Denver’s tallest office building and a prominent local landmark. Located on the 16th Street pedestrian mall, Republic Plaza is in the heart of downtown Denver’s central business district. Republic Plaza includes 1.2 million square feet of office space, and three retail levels devoted to shops, restaurants, and business services. This elegant building is renowned for its spacious three-story marble lobby that features a quarterly “Art in Public Places” program of Colorado and regional artists.

Republic Plaza

Republic Plaza

I work in 1999 Broadway, which is the 5th tallest building in Denver. It is a 544ft (166m) tall skyscraper, was completed in 1985 and has 43 floors. 1999 Broadway has a unique shape, it is shaped like a triangle with a scoop in the side. This is caused by the desire to retain the historical Holy Ghost Catholic Church at the base. The church stands partially inside this scoop, where there is an interesting curved concourse at ground level. Firefighters often come to our building to practice on the stairs. Many mornings I let them in before the building opens, as I come in to start work at 5:30am.

It is fun being in the heart of downtown. I would love to see the view from the top of each building. That Sunday in February, I was finally able to get the view from Republic Plaza.

There was free parking in a garage down the street from Republic Plaza. As I arrived my two other team mates, Brentnie and Jonathan, from Life Time Fitness were standing on the corner waiting for me. After meeting up with them, we headed to the building. I kept looking up and thinking OMG what am I about to do?

Kristen Top

Kristen at the TOP!

Upon entering the lobby, the smell of sweat overcame us all! WOW! So glad Life Time Fitness does not smell like this (due to their fantastic ventilation system). There were several booths of vendors set up with a lot of people milling around.  We headed down stairs to packet pick-up and registration. I had already picked my packet up on Friday after work. Then it was on to gear check to unload our sweats and coats. We found the end of the line that led to the start. It was quite long, but went rather quickly. Each person was let up the stairs in 8 second increments. There was a timing clock and an official at the bottom of the stairs letting each runner go one by one.

I ran up the first 5 flights, then thought to myself, ok better pace myself a little better there are still 51 flights left! The ventilation system was blowing into the stair well, which was nice and cool. Floors 10, 17, and 35 would be the water stops along the way. There was NO ventilation from floors 18 to 30 – that was brutal! My heart rate was through the roof during most of the climb. At floor 15 I said out loud, “Who the hell talked me into this?!” The people in front of me said, “I was just thinking the same thing.” One step at a time I kept telling myself.  On the 20th floor I had to use my inhaler, that helped.

Team Life Time Fitness

Team Life Time Fitness

As I reached the 28th floor, there was a guy sitting on the steps. I rested on the landing, and saw him using his inhaler. Raising my inhaler up, I asked him how he was doing. He said it was brutal. Told him to just take it easy, that is was not a race and he could sit there as long as he needed to. Then he told me he was really dizzy. I asked him if he wanted me to get someone, and he said no.  I patted him on his back as I went by him and said hang in there and rest, then up I went to get help for him.  Since the next stop was not until floor 35, I tried to hurry for him. At floor 30, I found a volunteer and told them about him, and they said they would go take care of him for me.

Chugging up and up and up I went. Everyone was to stay to the right and pass on the left.  It never was really very crowded. Once in a while a big surge of people would come through, so I just stepped to the side on a landing and let them pass by. As you would get closer to a water station floor, you could hear cheering and cow bells ringing. It made you push a little harder.

Floor 35, the last water stop before the top! This is it! Take a break and push through the pain. Actually I felt slight burning in my thighs, but my knees were not hurting like I thought they would. So, this was a good thing, all of my training for running was paying off. Really the only annoyance was my heart beating out of my chest to the wall. I didn’t need my heart monitor to tell me I was above my anaerobic threshold!

Sounds started filtering down from the top… I was almost there I could taste it! Just a few more floors and another accomplishment would be added to my list. Now the legs were feeling really heavy, but not painful. Just keep going, don’t stop, the top is near… Rounded the last landing and the final stretch of stairs. “I’M ON TOP OF THE WORLD” Ok, maybe the top of Denver, but it felt like the world. Once I grabbed some water and caught my breath, I found Brent and Jonathan. We got our team photo taken and I got my individual photo taken. I DID IT!!! My final time was 22 minutes and 55 seconds. Will I do it again next year? Maybe…

 

 

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