Thursday, November 30, 2006

So Long, Melanie Fastrup

Today Melanie Fastrup lost her battle with lymphoma. She died in the hospital, surrounded by family and friends. Melanie was mom to three girls, a former teacher, and wife of my teammate, Dan Fastrup. She suffered from Waldenstrom Macroglobulinemia.

This mouthful of words simply means that lymphoma cells in the bone marrow crowd out normal blood-producing cells. As a result, Melanie needed a lot of blood transfusions. She had one yesterday afternoon and caught a bacterial infection. Dan found her unconscious on the living room floor. At the hospital, all her systems began shutting down. Melanie went on life support. She perished this afternoon.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training was a big deal to Melanie. She participated as a walker with the San Gabriel Valley team. She got Dan off the couch and into running with TNT. And this season, Melanie served as our Honored Teammate. Honored Teammates are leukemia/lymphoma survivors that we salute in spirit whenever we run.

I remember Melanie cheering on TNT at mile 12 of the Santa Barbara Half-Marathon. She had a big smile and word of encouragement for me as I headed to the finish line. In fact, rarely did Melanie not have a big smile. Perhaps it was living under threat of death for so long that gave her a deep inner joy. She used to ask me how my broken foot was mending. This in the midst of bone marrow transplants, blood transfusions, and chemo to the 10th power. Melanie had discarded much of the baggage we think is important and found a peace and a courage that I greatly admired.

Our Coach Katie McCollom sent around a poem by author Raymond Carver. He also fought cancer and this is what he thought shortly before his death.

"Late Fragment"

"And did you get what you wanted
from this life? Even so,
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth."

Melanie passed away beloved by many. She will always be my Honored Teammate.

I run the City of Angels Half-Marathon this Sunday in her memory.

And come January, I will run the Phoenix Marathon for Melanie as well.

And if you could, please click on my Team in Training button and make a donation.

Melanie's fight is finished. But there are other beloved out there who may still be saved.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Southern California Cold

As the years pass, I find it difficult to believe I once unloaded trucks in sub-zero temperatures for the post office. This was back in Chicago during a series of winters so furious that the national media assured us we faced global cooling. A new ice age was a'coming. All the science agreed.

Here in greater Los Angeles, anything below 60 degrees is a sign of global cooling. At track practice last night I would run 880 repeats, then put on my jacket and stretch vigorously until time to go again. (Temperatures were in the 40s, but this is considered Hawaiian-shirt weather for a Midwestern winter.)

Speaking of Hawaiian shirts, my Teammates running the Honolulu Marathon will be feted tomorrow night at a San Gabriel Valley pizza parlor. (A humble but sincere gesture.) They are less than two weeks away from their event. I remember my excitement last year, preparing to go.

Now I've went.

So I'll wear my sea shell chain finishers medal and bask in the ever warmth of friends.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Bay Area T-Day

Up to the San Francisco Bay area for turkey with the in-laws. My wife and I drove up Tuesday and got back Friday. Smooth traffic sailing all the way. We stayed with an aunt-in-law. She listens to NPR 24/7 and has the TV going as well. Electronic voice overdose. I don't think I turned on the car radio all the way home.

Yesterday I ran ten miles with the Team. A light practice turnout with many folk gone for the holidays. I experimented with my marathon pace. Hills made it difficult to maintain even splits. But I managed a respectable average.

Today, my wife cooks a turkey for our private dining pleasure.

Work has pretty much dried up. Nothing in sight for the new year. But I'm grateful to be alive and healthy.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

SB Half Marathon Final Time

Master Time Keeper from Santa Barbara contacted me. A unique series of events involving my chip and a faulty mat led to a two-week delay in recording my finish: 2 hours, 4 minutes and 52 seconds.

I thanked him for his diligence.

K, we are now official.

Ran 18 miles today with the Team. Took an ice bath afterwards. I should be walking around fine tomorrow.

To work now on a script for my overseas client.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Santa Barbarians and Race Results

A final twelve names were added to the finsher's roster for the Santa Barbara Half-Marathon.

I was not among them.

I had fun and got a nice finisher's medal.

Plus a knock in my engine turned out to be a failing water pump. It held up on the two-hour ride home and didn't strand me in some desolate valley on a Saturday afternoon.

But I never officially ran the race.

I have already registered for the inaugeral City of Angels Half-Marathon. The mostly downhill course begins in Griffith Park and ends in downtown Los Angeles, passing the Silver Lake Reservoir and Echo Park lagoon.

Here's hoping for a good, officially recorded, finish time.

And no engine problems.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Happy Anniversary!

Today marks my first year on the web.

3,398 visits.

5, 770 page views.

Many thanks to my fine regulars.

I hope to add sound and video files in the coming year.

Hoo-ray for cyberspace.

Monday, November 13, 2006

A Mere Ten Mile Run

EZ Saturday. We ran a brief ten miles in preparation for the next intense phase of training.

No final results yet from the Santa Barbara half-marathon. But I received the promise of some from the Master Time Smith.

Back writing on my foreign animated show after a two-month hiatus. (It takes a long time for outlines and scripts to be approved as they must pass among different authorities on three continents.) But income will be useful as we just had new gutters installed and are in the midst of exterior painting.

We're broke but looking good.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

SB Half Marathon Time Woes

All the half-marathon chips were tabulated and matched with tags torn off each runner's number bib. The revised final results for the Santa Barbara News Press Half Marathon are in!

Eighteen more runners were added to the official finisher's list.

I wasn't one.

I sent another email to the Santa Barbara Athletic Association's master tabulator. I asked if there wasn't anywhere else he could check for my chip. As the race was my best half-marathon effort, I said I'd really like an official time.

So far, no word back.

Perhaps they're waiting to count the absentee chips.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

SB Half Marathon Photos and Update

No news on my missing stats. How vexing! I paid to enter their race. The least they can do is list my finishing time. Every event where I ran awful, from Pacific Shoreline to the Santa Anita 5K, managed to zip my pathetic results right up onto the web that very day.

Come on, Santa Barbara. Don't let me down.

Thanks to teammate Sharla for the photos. That's me pictured above at mile 6. Below we have the San Gabriel Valley participants in chipper pre-race mode.

Monday, November 06, 2006

K's Run

Re. my last post, I should run for K more often. I set a personal record of 2 hours, three minutes and various seconds for 13.1 miles. The only reason I don't have a more precise finishing time is because I was left off the official results. (I emailed some nice person associated with the race and they're taking care of that.)

A beautiful course that mostly followed the ocean, the race started and ended at Leadbetter Beach near the campus of Santa Barbara City College. I liked that fact that there was a small field of around 1400 half-marathoners. However the residents of Santa Barbara didn't seem 100 percent behind the race. Cars were often lined up, impatiently waiting to slice through the pack and get on with their day. Bicycle riders, especially along the beach, attempted to share the pathway with a horde of runners eager to finish strong. It seemed a collective decision had been made on the part of many to simply pretend there was no race.

But they failed and, if certain motorists were any indication, there was a great wailing and gnashing of teeth.

Meanwhile the racers had a blast. TNT was out in force. Teams from the San Fernando Valley, South Bay, Santa Barbara and my own San Gabriel Valley Team talked and encouraged each other the length of the run. Beginning around mile 6, I played hopscotch with a young TNTer from the San Fernando Valley. We supported each other, one passing the other over the next seven miles. Afterwards we shook hands. (She also posted a good finishing time.) That's part of why I enjoy Team in Training. There's running, then there's the company of runners, then there's the special camaraderie of TNT runners.

Anyway, K, you picked a great race. We did just fine. Here's a photo of the San Gabriel Valley Team from our 10k . ( I'm the gray-haired one in the back.)

Friday, November 03, 2006

Enroute to Santa Barbara Marathon

Off today to Santa Barbara. Tomorrow morning is the SB Half-Marathon. This will be my first half since Pacific Shoreline back in February. (Where I began Injury Fest '06.)

My friend K asked me to run for her. We've known each other almost 30 years and she recently hurt her foot and can't get around. K suffers from a variety of exotic and mundane aliments including allergic reactions to most everything. Nevertheless, one could learn grace under pressure from her as she keeps a clear head and good sense of humor while dealing with health issues that would break many.

K's wide-ranging blog examines a wealth of topics from orchids and zoological dung studies to live-blogging hurricanes.

I will be honored to run for K this Saturday.

Her example inspires me.