11.28.2009

In Closing

I feel like I never quite ended this blog - like I need to tie it up somehow and close it. After Iron Girl, I completed 2 more sprint distance triathlons for the 2009 season.


Acworth Women's Triathlon - 8/9/09


400 yd swim: 10:43
T1: 2:10
13 Mile Bike: 44:46
T2: 1:18
5K Run: 34:50 <------ ugh, horrible!
Total: 1:33:46






Lake Lanier Islands Triathlon - 10/4/09


400 yd swim: 9:58
T1: 4:42
13 Mile Bike: 45:26
T2: 1:27
5K Run: 30:59

Total: 1:32:29




I can't thank Team in Training, my coaches, teammates, and all of my donors and honored heroes enough for being the absolute highlight of my life this year! The whole experience was life-changing. As an added bonus, I also inspired my hubby to train for and take up the sport of triathlon ...he completed 2 triathlons in 2009 and is anxiously awaiting the start of the 2010 season! Me? I've got some more goals up my sleeve... :-)

7.30.2009

ROCKSTARS...Round 8

It’s time for a LONG overdue follow-up and final ROCKSTAR tribute!! I received a few last donations in the days right before my race, and even a few in the days following my race, and I want to be sure to give thanks. So... just like Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4, Round 5, Round 6, and Round 7, the rules are the same: For each donor mentioned, I'm including the state they sent me their donation from, and how long I've known them. These are listed in alphabetical order by first name:

David B (Florida): David is the owner of Tri@ sports apparel. Through his website, tri-at.com, he sells some really comfortable tri shorts, and has a special design for Team in Training. David donates a portion of the proceeds from these shorts to LLS, and kindly donated to my fundraising campaign for each pair of shorts that one of my TEAMmates ordered! This ensured that his donation went straight to the Georgia Chapter.

Elyse I (California): Elyse is a co-worker and friend of my Mom’s. She is supportive of LLS, having lost her mother to blood cancer about 5 years ago.

Judy H (Georgia): Judy is the mother of my neighbor Jody. Judy lost her dear husband to brain cancer 2 years ago, and is a very generous supporter of cancer research programs. For the past 2 years, Judy and her family have formed a team for the annual Southeastern Brain Tumor Foundation 5K Run/Walk, and we are honored to participate and raise funds as a part of Jack’s Creel Crew!

Randy L (Iowa): Randy is my cousin, and another grandchild of Vera, my honored hero.

Tom & JoAnn King (California): Tom & JoAnn have been friends of my parents for many years. Tom recently lost one of his oldest and best friends to lymphoma.

THANK YOU all for your support!! You helped me bring my GRAND TOTAL in donations to $3,779.00!!!

7.13.2009

15 States Now!!

I've received a few more "post-race" donations to TNT (I will do another ROCKSTAR post shortly), but I am now up to a grand total of 15 states!! WOO HOO!!!

THANK YOU TO:




  • California

  • Delaware

  • Florida

  • Georgia

  • Idaho

  • Iowa

  • Michigan

  • Missouri

  • Nevada

  • North Carolina

  • Ohio

  • Oregon

  • South Carolina

  • Texas

  • Washington

7.04.2009

My Tribute Race Belt

Any of you who donated to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) on behalf of my race received an email from me several weeks ago asking for the names of your "Honored Heroes." Below is a picture of the race belt I wore during the run portion of my triathlon last week:



I know it's a little difficult to see, but the foam stars have the name of all of your (and my) honored heroes that I raced in MEMORY of. Sadly, these people lost their battle with leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma. The three foam flowers on the right (in the picture above) are for the heroes that I raced in HONOR of. These brave folks have fought hard and SURVIVED one of these blood cancers!








(The large flower is for my grandma..."Nanny") :-)

I am going to disassemble the belt and send each of you the foam shape containing the name of your relative/friend - I am SO honored to have raced on their behalf!!!

Speaking of donations...do you know that YOU ALL helped me raise OVER $3600.00 for LLS???!!! THANK YOU!!!

7.01.2009

Race Report - Aflac Iron Girl Atlanta Triathlon

My first triathlon is now behind me...I am officially a triathlete! Forgive me in advance if this race report is long, but I really want to remember all of the amazing things about that day/weekend/week!

My "race week" actually started last Wednesday when I left work and picked up my Mom & Dad, who had just flown in from California to visit and see my race. You see, when I was in CA at Christmastime, my Mom had just gone through major back surgery. I hadn't even officially signed up for Team in Training or the triathlon at that time, but I had been looking into it. I told Mom that she needed to heal her back and get well because I wanted her and Dad to come to Georgia in June to watch me complete my first triathlon. I was planning to join TNT and raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in memory of my grandmother (Mom's Mom).

Unbeknownst to all of us at the time, Mom's back surgery was only the first of 3 major surgeries she would need in just five months' time. She went through some trying times where we were really unsure whether or not she'd feel well enough to make the trip. I held off on booking their flights - and couldn't even imagine them not being here for my race! Miraculously, she made major strides in her recovery in the first few weeks of June, and by the time she landed in Atlanta - she was back to the active, awesome Mom that she's always been!

Thursday and Friday were spent running all over town shopping and getting the house ready for the Iron Girl after-party that we were hosting at my house. Mom & Dad tirelessly prepped food, set up tables, chairs, & ez-ups, etc.

Saturday started with a nice visit to the local Farmer's Market and breakfast at the park. While Mom stayed home to prep more party food, Dad and Mike accompanied me to Lake Lanier Islands to check-in for the race. This includes picking up my race packet (and goody bag) and racking my bike in transition.



After a quick open water swim in Lake Lanier, we headed home to get ready for the TNT Pasta Party reception. At the Pasta Party, I was recognized as a "ROCK STAR" fundraiser - for raising $1000 or more over my event minimum. I received a goody bag full of TNT swag and an AMEX gift card!!



Heading home after the pasta party (around 9:30pm), I SHOULD have gone straight to bed. Meaning, I SHOULD have had all my race gear packed in my transition bag, my water bottles ready, etc... But, I had been pretty busy for the past few days...and anyone who has ever vacationed with me knows that I don't pack ANYTHING until the last minute anyway! Besides, I didn't really think I'd be able to sleep the night before the race..

So, I printed off my checklist of gear needed, ran up and down the stairs getting my stuff together, and generally made noise all around the house until well past 11:30! I know, my spectators were probably trying to get some sleep ;-) Once I finally went to bed, I slept very restlessly, waking every 30-45 minutes or so until the alarm went off at 3:30am!

I donned my TNT tri outfit, ate a banana and some peanut butter, grabbed a protein bar and a Diet Coke (and my gargantuan gear bag) and headed out the door at 4:10am. Met my team in the Legacy Lodge hotel lobby at 4:45 for a team picture - then we all headed over to the transition area. We had a slight snag in our plan when we were forced to park in the lot that was at least a 15 minute walk away...but we just used this as our pre-race warmup!

As I was setting up my transition area, I was a little surprised to see how many women were so unprepared. Several asked to use my bike pump (which was fine), but I overheard several others say "no, my tires feel fine!". Another girl started freaking out and asked to use my cell phone because she had left her race bib number at home and was trying to get a hold of her boyfriend to bring it to her. He called back no less than 6 times while I was trying to set up my area and "get zen." Hello? Um, yeah, let me find her in the field of 1200 girls running around here! My point here is that I started feeling VERY confident in all of the training and advice that we have been given by our amazing coaches and mentors through TNT!!!

The family arrived outside transition right before 6:30am, just as we needed to head down to the beach to line up for the race start. My Mom totally surprised me by making t-shirts for the family (and my friends) to wear at the race!

Right before the start of the race:
We lined up by age group and started in waves, 5 minutes apart. I was in the first wave (purple swim caps) and was in the water at 7:00am, right behind the pros!

And we're off...can you find me? ;-)

The swim was 1/3 mile, or approximately 536 meters. I finished the swim in 13:21. Here I am (2nd one in line) coming out of the lake and running up the first BIG hill of the race! It was a KILLER!

I spent 3:15 in T1 (transition #1) - which is basically the time from getting out of the water until you mount your bike. This involves running up aforementioned BIG HILL, around the transition gates, and to your bike rack. I quickly rinsed any remaining sand from my feet, put on socks, bike shoes, bike helmet, sunglasses, and bike gloves, and ran out of transition. Here I am heading out for the 18 mile bike ride:


Friends who came to watch :-)

I have to say, whether it was the adrenaline or the competition, I felt very strong on the bike leg! When we rode this course a couple of weeks ago, I averaged 14.4 mph on the VERY HILLY course. On race day, I averaged 15.6 mph, and finished the bike leg in 1:09:18. I was SO thankful not to have gotten a flat tire or had any other mechanical problems - not even a lost chain!!! YAY!!! Here I am spotting my family/friends when coming in on the bike leg:


T2 (Transition #2) is a little less involved than T1. It involved re-racking your bike, swapping bike shoes for running shoes, a bike helmet for a running hat, removing your bike gloves, putting on your race belt, and in my case, changing sunglasses (just a preference), and pulling on the cute camo skirts that many of my TEAMmates wore (we're going to be on TV, after all!). I spent 2:26 in T2. I had my one "oatmeal brain" moment in T2, when I only remembered to remove ONE bike glove. As I ran out of transition and down the hill (where all the spectators were), I looked down and realized I was still wearing my bike glove on my right hand! WTH? Apparently this was my tribute to the King of Pop's recent passing! Luckily, our tri tops have little pockets in the back, so I had a place to shove the dumb little glove during the run! Here I am heading out for the 5K (3.1 mile) run:


The run was where I really started to feel the heat of the day! It was warm, the run was hilly, and my legs just felt like they wouldn't move quite as fast as I wanted them to (this is typical of running after a long bike ride). But, I continued to push through. About 3/4 mile in, there was a guy dressed as the devil (pitchfork and all), chasing us up the first big hill screaming "get up MY hill!" I actually was laughing so hard that my right side started hurting! Shortly after the devil, there was an aid station, where I took a sip of water and dumped the rest of the cup over my head - OMG did that feel good! The next aid station had cold sponges that you could put on your neck, under your shirt, etc...that was another welcome relief! By the third aid station, I decided to take a sip of Gatorade, since my side was really starting to cramp up. Somewhere right around mile 3 (right before the hill to the finish line), I rounded a corner and saw this:


My Mom is just the BEST! Another surprise! And I was SO thankful for sunglasses (and the rapidly approaching finish line), because I just started crying when I saw this! I took a turn up the final hill to finish, and saw the official clock as I crossed. It said 2:05:xx - I just starting sobbing again! You see, my personal goal was to finish sub-2:15. Based on my wave start (when I actually crossed the start line), I knew I had done it in 2:03 or better! Despite a run time of 33:01 (11 minute mile average), I completely blew away my overall goal!

My official chip time was 2:01:20! I am an Iron Girl and a Triathlete!!!



Stay tuned...more about my tribute race belt and my "thank yous" to follow...

6.21.2009

Some Training Pics

Thanks to my TEAMmate, MV, and her husband Jeff for being the unofficial TEAM photographers this season!


5/30/09 - After the first Cartersville brick: 31 mile ride + 3 mile run. Me, Erica, and Tanya.

6/20/09 - Lake Acworth open water swim (before the second Cartersville brick) - I'm in the middle, still wearing the comfy gauchos that I wore for the LOOOONNGG car ride! :-)

6.18.2009

9 Days Away!

OMG. The race is coming up SO fast! I feel a little like a chicken with my head cut off - so much to do in the next 9 days!!! Work is really busy, parents are coming into town on Wednesday (YAY - SO EXCITED to see them!!!), party to plan...and oh yeah, THE IRON GIRL TRIATHLON!!! Thankfully I was smart enough to take a few days off work around race weekend so I am not completely exhausted.

Last night was our Countdown meeting for Iron Girl - we received our race weekend packet with our race day apparel, TNT t-shirt, tickets to Saturday night pre-race pasta party and Sunday post-race victory party, along with our weekend instructions.

This Saturday, our TEAM will do another open water swim, followed by a bike ride and run. What's that, you say? Yes, it does sound suspiciously like we are doing a triathlon this weekend - for practice! Only difference is that we will have to get in the car and drive from the swim venue to the bike/run venue.

Last Saturday, we rode the Iron Girl race course. Wow, it was a tough course - VERY hilly, with one especially grueling hill! After the ride (and a 3 mile run), a group of us swam in Lake Lanier again. The water was much smoother (more like how it should be on race day, unless there is a storm) - and I think we all felt pretty good about the swim!

I'm starting to find myself getting emotional about this journey coming to an end. Even though it's not over yet, I find myself wondering how I'm going to feel:

  • not going to bed early on Friday night because I have to be up at 5:00am on Saturday for a TEAM practice that is likely an hour or more drive away.
  • having to find a new Wednesday evening routine. No more El Pollo Loco salad on the way to Dynamo.
  • not to be able to celebrate the amazing successes of each of my TEAMmates every single week! We've all come SO far in the past 5 months.
  • not to be actively fundraising for LLS. I thought that part would be stressful, but it was such an AWESOME feeling everytime someone donated! It was so touching to hear everyone's story and how they have been affected by blood cancers.
  • not to spend several hours each week in the company of our AMAZING coaches and the AMAZING new friends I've met through Team in Training. Really, there's just no words. My TEAMmates will totally get this.

OK, so it's kind of hard to type with teary eyes... so I'll end this post now... :-)

I'm "TRI"-ing to save lives...want to help?

http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/IronGirl09/alisejackson

6.14.2009

14 States!!

Yep! That's where my donations have come from....14 DIFFERENT STATES! I think this is really very cool.... and I am so happy to have such great friends and family across the U.S.!

THANK YOU TO:
  • California
  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Iowa
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Nevada
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Washington
I'm "TRI"-ing to save lives...want to help?
http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/IronGirl09/alisejackson

ROCKSTARS...Round 7

Today is the Mac Daddy of ROCKSTAR tributes!! These next 8 people have not only pushed my total donations OVER THE $3,500.00 MARK, but they ensured that I met (and exceeded) my fundraising goal for LLS!! You know how it goes... just like Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4, Round 5, and Round 6, the rules are the same: For each donor mentioned, I'm including the state they sent me their donation from, and how long I've known them. These are listed in alphabetical order by first name - based on the newest donations posted to my TNT website as of today:

Bridget F (Delaware): This is another story about how far my fundraising campaign has reached. Bridget is the mother of a good friend of my sister's. Bridget stumbled upon my fundraising website from a link on Darcy's blog or Facebook page. Bridget supports LLS because she has a good friend whose father passed away from Leukemia.

Carolyn C (Washington): Carolyn is my aunt, who has known me since my birth. She is my mom's sister, and the second born daughter of my grandmother Vera. Auntie and Uncle Wes live in Washington near their 3 grandkids. Auntie will be road-tripping through Georgia with my mom and their other two sisters in July - can't wait to visit with them!

Holly J (California): I've known Holly since 1989 when we played high school softball together. She is now the mother of 2 beautiful girls, and is still a rockstar athlete and skater girl! ;-)

Julius P (California): Julius was my boss for the 4+ years I worked for Pier 1 during high school and college. I've known him since 1991. Julius now works for REI, which is SO fitting, because he has always been into the outdoors - hiking, biking, camping, and "Jeep"-ing. Julius just completed another summit of Mt. Whitney.

Kathy D (California): Kathy and her family lived next door to us in the house I grew up in. She has known me since I was just a little tot. While not related, we grew up calling her Aunt Kathy. Kathy is a dear friend of my mom's and while not an everyday neighbor, she is still a "river" neighbor of my parents.

Melody M (California): Melody deserves some special recognition here... she had already donated and been recognized by me in an earlier ROCKSTAR post. Melody came through with ANOTHER donation when she saw that I needed a little extra push to my goal! What a GREAT friend!

Patty C (Oregon): Patty is my aunt (my dad's sister), who has known me since my birth. Aunt Patty now lives in Oregon with her husband Will - and near her 2 little grandchildren.

Scott B (California): Scott is my brother, who I have known since his birth in 1977. Scott is a talented musician with the driest sense of humor of anyone I know! Scott also knows the pain of watching our grandmother fight Lymphoma and have her taken away from us far too early.

THANK YOU all for your continued encouragement and support!! You have made this all possible - and we have raised so much $$ for cancer research!

6.10.2009

NEW DATE & TIME - Set Your TiVos!!!

Aflac Iron Girl Atlanta Triathlon to Premiere on NBC
Press Release
For Immediate Release


June 9, 2009 (Tampa, Fla.) - Today, Iron Girl, the premiere all-women's event-based brand, announces that the third annual Aflac Iron Girl Atlanta Triathlon will be televised nationally on NBC Sports. The broadcast will air on Sunday, Aug. 2, from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. ET. The telecast will showcase a highly competitive professional field as well as a diverse group of athletes varying in age and fitness level.

"The partnership with NBC will highlight tremendous athleticism alongside stories of incredible personal achievement," said Jeff Charney, Aflac senior vice president and chief marketing officer. "Viewers will be inspired by these amazing women and will find their own motivation to live healthier lives."

The broadcast will be shot on location on June 28, 2009, 45 minutes northeast of Atlanta, Ga., at Lake Lanier Islands Resort, situated on the shores of Lake Sidney Lanier. Featuring a 1/3-mile swim, 18-mile bike and 3-mile run, the sold-out event will take more than 1,200 women into pristine Lake Sidney Lanier, transitioning them on to a scenic, yet challenging bike course of rolling hills through Buford County. The run will lead athletes along the natural beauty of Lake Lanier Islands Resort, one of Georgia's most visited resort destinations.

"The team at NBC is excited to televise the Aflac Iron Girl Atlanta Triathlon and is happy to continue growing its relationship with World Triathlon Corporation and Ironman Productions," said Jon Miller, NBC Sports' executive vice president. "We are pleased to add this exciting event to our telecasts that also include the Emmy-award winning Ford Ironman World Championship and the Foster Grant Ironman World Championship 70.3."

Viewers will watch stories of athletes who have overcome adversity, as well as gain inspiration from women who have adopted healthy, active lifestyles, served in the military, survived debilitating conditions and more. In addition, the following world-renowned professional athletes will be vying for the first place title:
  • Michellie Jones: An Olympic silver medalist, Jones has mastered a variety of distances. Boasting top Ironman and 70.3 finishes, she placed second in her debut at the Ford Ironman World Championship in 2005 and returned the following year to win the title. In 2007, Jones won the title at the inaugural Iron Girl Atlanta Triathlon.
  • Kate Major: Major's talent at both the Ironman and 70.3 disciplines, coupled with her natural athletic ability, make her a formidable opponent. With multiple Ironman and 70.3 titles, and three Ironman World Championship podium finishes on her race resume, Major is often deemed part of "triathlon's next generation."
  • Samantha McGlone: The 2006 Ford Ironman World Championship 70.3 titleholder, McGlone has earned multiple Ironman 70.3 victories, as well as a second place finish at the world's most challenging endurance event, the Ford Ironman World Championship.
  • Mirinda Carfrae: Carfrae is a multiple Ironman 70.3 champion, as well as the winner of the 2007 Ford Ironman World Championship 70.3. In 2008, Carfrae won the inaugural Aflac Iron Girl Las Vegas Triathlon.
  • Pip Taylor: With a swimming background, Taylor has earned top placements at well-known events such as the Iron Girl Columbia Triathlon, Eagleman Ironman 70.3 and the Aflac Iron Girl Las Vegas Triathlon.

The broadcast will also feature participants racing in support of pediatric cancer research, the Aflac Iron Girl National Event Series charitable cause for 2009. Participants are raising funds to be donated to the Aflac Cancer Center, located in Atlanta, Ga.

"Iron Girl is an example of ordinary women accomplishing extraordinary things through events," said Judy Molnar, the vice president of Iron Girl. "Our athletes include not only those whose livelihood depends on performance, but also those women who may be your mom, neighbor or sister. Their passion and dedication exemplifies the mission of Iron Girl."

6.08.2009

How Was Your Weekend?


Me and my bike... 5/30/09 - in the parking lot of the Budweiser plant in Cartersville, GA.

The past two Saturdays, our TEAM rides have been over 30 miles. Follow that with a run of 30-40 minutes (3-4 miles). And follow that with a nap. :-)

Follow that with two Sundays in a row of lake swimming.

How was my weekend? AWESOME!!!

I'm "TRI"-ing to save lives...want to help?

http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/IronGirl09/alisejackson

6.01.2009

Open Water

Ever since our coaches published the May training calendar in late April, I had been nervously awaiting Sunday, May 31st... our first open water swim!

As you may know, we've received a record (much-needed) amount of rainfall in Georgia over the past couple of months. And the weather didn't really get terribly warm until the past couple of weeks. Needless to say, I was TERRIFIED that the water was going to be freezing cold!

On Saturday morning, when driving over Lake Allatoona at 7am on my way to our TEAM bike ride & run in Cartersville, I looked down at that water and just shivered thinking about what the next day would hold. Sunday morning at 8am, I was parking at the beach at Dallas Landing, shaking in my flip-flops. As I paced the parking lot, eating my protein bar, I REALLY, REALLY, REALLY did not want to get in that water! For no other reason than water temperature. The rest didn't really intimidate me too much - I just HATE being cold!

Coach Lee jumped in the water to try to show us that "it wasn't that bad." Now, I have total faith in my coaches, and trust what they tell me (I mean, they've just about finished turning me into a triathlete!) But, honestly, I didn't believe him this time. Here we are getting ready - I'm dipping my feet in and putting my goggles on (I'm directly in the center of the picture, pink swim cap, black & white top, facing the water):





Our first task was to swim out to a buoy and back. Said buoy was maybe 150m out from shore? So, three lengths of a 50m pool. Easy.

HA!

OK, so the water temperature was WONDERFUL! Nothing to be concerned about... probably 75 degrees, and with the warm sun beating down on us, it actually felt FANTASTIC! Here are the real things I should have been concerned about:

Issue #1 - when you open your eyes in the lake, all you see is green. Solid green. Like, can't see your own hands in front of your face, because all you see is green. You don't realize that you're swimming into someone until you've climbed halfway up their legs (yeah, our team is close like that). You have no point of reference for where you are going, or where you SHOULD be going. Which brings me to:

Issue #2 - I cannot swim in a straight line. This should come as no surprise, because I cannot even walk in a straight line. Our coaches have been trying to get us to practice "sighting" in the pool (looking up out of the water every few strokes to make sure you're going in the right direction). Sounds silly? Well, in the pool, it is silly. The pool is the shape of a rectangle. There are lane lines on either side of you, and lane lines painted/tiled into the bottom of the pool. It's kinda hard to get off course in the pool. It's also hard to sight in the pool, because there's really not anything to look up and focus on.

The lake (or river, or ocean) is an entirely different beast. You completely lose any point of reference in open water. Without looking up frequently, you will find yourself swimming in a completely wrong direction! I did. More than once. It was just crazy! In a somewhat non-funny way. I mean, do I really need to add more distance to my swim on race day? Something to work out in the next few weeks.

After the swim to the buoy and back, we re-grouped on the beach to simulate an actual race start:



This time we swam out from shore to one buoy, across (parallel to shore) to another buoy, and then back to shore again. And again, if we wanted. Here's what we looked like:



Here I am coming back in:




Shut up. We all look like that. Were you in that lake with me yesterday? I didn't think so. (And if you were, I will go find your picture where you look like this!) ;-)

And, here is my AWESOME Summer 2009 TRI Team - Team in Training, Georgia Chapter!!!


I'm "TRI"-ing to save lives...want to help?
http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/IronGirl09/alisejackson



5.30.2009

Random Snippets

Because I'm finding it increasingly difficult to give regular, comprehensive updates at this point in the season, how about a quick list of random Team in Training/ triathlon/ fundraising/ workout-related goings on? That OK with everyone?
  • I am LESS THAN $100 away from my fundraising goal! WOO HOO!! All of you who have donated are AWESOME - and those of you who haven't donated yet.... there's still time to push me to the finish line!

  • Our training schedule is pretty serious for the last few weeks of the season! Starting today, we have many weekends of "TEAM double workouts," both Saturday and Sunday. Today was a 31-mile bike ride followed by a 30-minute run. Tomorrow is our first open water swim in Lake Allatoona! At 8am. Think that will be cold??? Yeah, I'll let you know tomorrow. :-)

  • Iron Girl is 4 weeks from tomorrow. 4 WEEKS!!! I've really started trying to pay close attention to my nutrition at this point. Regulating my ratio of carbs/proteins/fats and being sure to refuel every couple of hours. I feel great at this point, and hope that this continues through event day.

  • Our Georgia chapter of Team in Training (and one of my TEAM members) was featured on the local NBC news this morning - check it out HERE. I can't say enough about the whole Team in Training experience - it has truly been the most awesome/rewarding thing I have ever done.

I'm "TRI"-ing to save lives...want to help?

http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/IronGirl09/alisejackson

5.24.2009

Training Update

I haven't taken the time to give a detailed training update for a while... they may not be the most exciting of posts, but I don't want anyone to think I'm slacking off! ;-) I'll just go back over the past week:

Monday (Workout #1) - 5:15am boot camp - Lots of leg work! Lunges, sprints, inner/outer thigh work with resistance bands. (Workout #2) - 1 hour swim @ gym. After several drills and breathing practice, did a 500 yard continuous swim.

Tuesday (Workout #1) - P90X DVD #1 - Chest & Back. Nearly an hour of push ups and pull ups (or modified pull ups with resistance bands), with a few exercises with dumbbells peppered in. This was my first crack at the P90X set, and I was REALLY impressed. Highly recommend it! (Workout #2) - P90X DVD #12 - Ab Ripper X. This is a great disc - it's a quick 16 minute set of 349 reps for your abs! I love this one and plan to work it in a few times/week.

Wednesday (Workout #1) - 5:15am boot camp - balance work, more push ups (Ow after P90X the day before!), some sprints, some leg work. (Workout #2) - TEAM swim. What an experience! Let me try to set the stage.... 1. all of the lane lines were removed from the 50m pool. 2. Three buoys were placed in the pool, toward the ends/corners. When the whistle blew, we were to swim clockwise, making our way around each buoy. We were to swim for approx. 20 minutes, until our coach blew the whistle again. Sounds easy enough? Well, our other coaches and mentors had some surprises for us! Remember, the idea here was to try to simulate an open water swim (especially the beginning of a race when everyone is crammed together at the start). The coaches and mentors had at least three tricks ups their sleeves... First, a serious amount of ankle grabbing, body slamming, and attempts to swim over us. That really messes up any attempt at a good stroke or breathing pattern! But, it's realistic, and teaches how not to panic on race day. Second, we are supposed to be "sighting" when swimming, which is looking up to make sure we're going in the right direction. DO NOT just follow someone in front of you, because they may be going the wrong way! I saw some instances of coaches/mentors intentionally swimming away from the buoys, just to see how many of us would follow! Third, someone started moving the buoys after every few laps... again, to teach us to keep sighting, and not to assume that we are going in the right direction. I realize this workout may sound a bit like torture to some of you, but they really were very important lessons to prepare us all for race day. I thought it was really fun (when it was all over)! :-)

Thursday - My glorious day of rest!

Friday - 5:15am boot camp - timed run, good mix of upper & lower body work

Saturday (Workout #1) - Brick @ Harbins. 21-mile bike ride, followed immediately by a 1.5 mile run. (Workout #2) - P90X DVD #12 - Ab Ripper X.

All caught up! I have a run planned for later today, and am potentially swimming twice (once in the morning and again in the evening) tomorrow! Next Sunday is our first open water swim in Lake Allatoona! YIKES! Stay tuned...

I'm "TRI"-ing to save lives...want to help?
http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/IronGirl09/alisejackson

5.17.2009

I Feel It Coming Together!

Iron Girl is 6 weeks from today! I can hardly believe it...the time has flown by, and in many ways I wish it would really slow down. But, I feel like I can do this - like I'm ready to become a triathlete!

For whatever reason, this past week just propelled me into a place where I feel so ready for this race. Maybe it was the increased intensity of our TEAM workouts, maybe the extra push I gave myself during my individual workouts, or maybe a full week of eating really clean. It's probably a combination of the three - but I felt super energized, and totally amped up every day!

I focused this past week (Mon & Wed) on increasing my continuous swims. Wednesday night at TEAM swim, I did a timed 800m continuous swim in the pool. I finished in 22:40. Not a world-class time by any means, but four months ago I couldn't even swim 25m without gasping for air - I never could have imagined swimming 800! Not to mention, my race distance is only 1/3 mile, or approx. 536 meters (in open water, though).

Yesterday, we had a TEAM transition clinic. We met at West Oak business park, where we had our very first bike clinic back in February. West Oak has an approx. 1.5 mile loop road that we used for a series of transition practices and bricks. After some great instruction and tips on efficiently setting up our transition area (which may look something like the picture below),
we were split into two groups for the start. We started barefoot (as if coming in from the swim) across the parking lot, and ran to transition. Put on socks, bike shoes, gloves, helmet, and sunglasses; unracked bike, and walked/jogged it to the mount line. Rode bike for 3 loops around West Oak, came back into transition, switched bike helmet for visor, bike shoes for running shoes, grabbed a sip of water, and ran 1 loop around West Oak. We repeated this whole exercise 3 times! What a fantastic workout!

Our coaches have repeatedly told us that our minds will turn to mush during transition, and that even the simplest of tasks become confusing and difficult in the midst of an endurance event. I got to experience one such moment of stupidity yesterday. After the 2nd time in on the run, I took off my running shoes, took off my visor, put on my bike helmet, grabbed a sip of water, PUT MY RUNNING SHOES BACK ON (instead of my bike shoes), unracked my bike, and took about 2 steps toward the mount line when I looked down...hmmm. Put my bike back, changed shoes, and went out again. Luckily there won't be a run to bike transition during the race!

Speaking of running shoes, I made a trip to Big Peach yesterday to get properly fitted for running shoes. To be honest, I've run in all sorts of different brands/types of running shoes, and have never really had any problems (with the minor exception of some shin splints when first breaking in a new pair). But, I was curious to find out what I "should" be wearing in order to prevent injuries in the future. Big Peach records your feet when running on a treadmill, so that they can assess your level of pronation. They also have you stand on a heat sensor panel to see whether you have high, low, or normal arches and to show where you distribute your weight on your feet. The combination of these things determines the type of shoe you need. I've seen videos of people who pronate or supinate excessively when running, I've heard people talk about their trouble with various kind of shoes (running, high heels, etc.) due to high arches or flat feet. It's always been kind of a mystery to me... I've always been the one who can wear cheap Payless shoes, or can just buy shoes that I think are cute, rather than worrying about how they feel. Now I know why.


I run in a completely neutral position and have completely normal arches, with even distribution of weight on the front and back of my foot. Huh. As hubby said, "well, aren't you just all kinds of normal?" Now, that's not to say that it's wise to just run in whatever - I mean, you still need a supportive, cushioning, shock-absorbing shoe to protect your feet, knees, hips, back, etc. I present to you my new running shoes, the Asics Gel Nimbus 11:


I'm "TRI" ing to save lives...want to help?
http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/IronGirl09/alisejackson

5.13.2009

ROCKSTARS...Round 6

WA-HOO!! I couldn't wait to get home from the pool tonight to start this...by now you all know this is my favorite type of blog to write! I know my blog posts have been a little less frequent lately (I apologize), but I've been so busy (work, training, etc.) that I don't even find time to get on my laptop many nights during the week. But, I refuse to let my ROCKSTAR tributes wait... These folks below have pushed my donations OVER THE $3,000.00 MARK! So, just like Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, Round 4, and Round 5, the rules are the same: For each donor mentioned, I'm including the state they sent me their donation from, and how long I've known them. These are listed in alphabetical order by first name - based on the newest donations posted to my TNT website as of today:

Beverly T (Georgia): I met Beverly about 2.5 months ago when she joined our 5:15am boot camp group. Not only is Beverly a great athlete, but has been a great source of information regarding the best bike trails, bike shops, etc. around town!

Cookie Lee Jewelry (Georgia): This represents the donation by Cookie Lee Jewelry consultant Wren Martin. I first bought jewelry from Wren about 3 years ago. When I was looking for a fundraiser to do for LLS, I looked her up and she put together a great catalog "party" for me to conduct. In just a couple of weeks, I sold nearly $1000.00 in jewelry, and Wren donated 25% of the proceeds to LLS!

Gail and Scott M (California): Gail is an ex co-worker and dear friend of my mom's. Her and my mom are workout buddies - they walk and take classes at the gym together. I know my mom can't wait 'til she is fully healed and can get back to these activities with Gail.

Kevin M (Georgia): Kevin is a current co-worker of mine, who I have known for about 6 months. I just found out that Kevin is participating in the 3-Day Breast Cancer Walk this fall, in honor of his sister and several friends who are breast cancer survivors! How cool is that? :-) Kevin is also a supporter of LLS because he lost his Uncle Virgil to multiple myeloma in 1974.

Marianne B (California): Marianne is my paternal grandmother. She was blessed with good health and youthful looks well into her "golden years" (something I can only hope to inherit!). Grandma has been able to take some fabulous trips to much of the world!

Michele V (Georgia): Michele is another current co-worker of mine, who I have known for about 6 months. Michele's office is right next to mine, and her team and mine work very closely in the finance arena. Michele and her husband are very fitness-oriented, and always sound like they are enjoying life to the fullest - what an inspiration!

So, there you have it... more of my HEROES! Not a day goes by when I am not inspired to push myself farther than I ever imagined! THANK YOU!!!

5.04.2009

Training Update

I know I've been severely lacking in updating my training blog over the past few weeks. Luckily, I have not been severely lacking in said training... I'm still plugging right along... With only 54 days to go until the big event, I'd better be! :-)

I won't go back to my last update and bore you with every detail... just some of the highlights:

  • Still swimming at least twice/week, including every Wednesday night with TEAM. The pool is open at the 50m length now, which I think is better for practicing endurance. In the past few weeks, we have learned how to draft (swim behind someone in order to use less energy), sight (look above water to see where we're going - will be quite useful in an open water swim), and have started to work on increasing our speed. Unfortunately, I felt my technique completely fall apart once I started to speed up in the water. Tonight at the gym, I went "back to basics" and worked on a lot of the drills I learned early on... it really helped me remember what proper technique looks and feels like.

  • After the Super Sprint Tri, I wasn't on my bike for almost 2 weeks (gasp)! Mostly due to the long weekend in Florida - where I watched 4000 other people ride their bikes at St. Anthony's Triathlon. This event is called the "Daytona 500 of Triathlons." It's the kickoff event of the season, and one of the largest events! Absolutely inspiring to watch... Anyway, I was back on my bike this weekend for a 15 mile ride at Big Creek Greenway.

  • Ran the Big Peach 5K this past Saturday. Big Peach Running Co. is a GREAT running shoe store in town that does a ton of work with Team in Training and LLS. This race every year benefits The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I had a pretty good race, only 9 seconds off my personal record.

  • Back to boot camp 3 days/week. We had a 2 week hiatus, since my coach was competing at St. Anthony's. Back at it now, in the perfect weather time of year for outdoor workouts!
Like I said, just the highlights...

I'm "TRI"-ing to save lives...want to help?
http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/IronGirl09/alisejackson

4.30.2009

Honored Heroes List

I've had this post on my mind for quite some time... actually, almost from Day 1 of joining Team in Training. I know it will be a bittersweet part of this journey, but the most important part... coming up with my tribute to those who I am racing in honor or memory of.

As you all know, I lost my maternal grandmother, Vera Zamosky ("Nanny"), to Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma (NHL) in 1995, when I was in college. Nanny fought hard through multiple bouts of the disease for nearly 4 years, before she lost her fight at the young age of 70.

I don't recall having ever heard of lymphoma before Nanny's diagnosis, nor do I remember hearing about it again for many years. I guess at the time I thought it was some rare form of cancer. Unfortunately, this is not the case.

I have been aware of Team in Training and the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for several years, mostly from friends and co-workers who have participated in the program. On some level, I knew that by donating to LLS, I was helping to fund research for the type of cancer that had taken Nanny. But, until I joined TNT in January, I never realized how widespread blood cancers are. I never imagined how many people I already know who have been affected by this disease, and how many more I would meet as a result of this journey.

So, here's what I want to do... I am planning to carry the names of all the people I am racing in honor or memory of on the day of my triathlon. I'm not sure yet what the best medium will be (this may depend on the number of names I have). I may make a card that I can laminate and pin inside my tri jersey, or I may make ribbons to attach to my race belt... I'm also open to other ideas??

For those of you who have already shared with me that you have a friend or family member who is either a SURVIVOR of leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma, or have unfortunately lost their battle with one of these diseases, I will be emailing you shortly to get your heroes' name to add to my tribute. Anyone else, please shoot me an email/text/etc. or respond to this blog to let me know the name of your personal honored heroes and the type of blood cancer that they have been affected by.

I'm "TRI"-ing to save lives...want to help?
http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/IronGirl09/alisejackson

4.28.2009

ROCKSTARS...Round 5

Seriously, people...I can barely keep up with you! Every time I turn around, I have hit another $500 benchmark and it's time to thank more people. Don't get me wrong, this is one of the BEST parts of this whole journey. But, I just did a ROCKSTAR tribute 5 days ago, and I already have another 8 awesome people to thank for getting me to $2500! So, here we go again...

Just like Round 1, Round 2, Round 3, and Round 4, the rules are the same: For each donor mentioned, I'm including the state they sent me their donation from, and how long I've known them (although as you will soon find out, the "how long I've known them" part is becoming difficult in some instances). These are listed in alphabetical order by first name - based on the newest donations posted to my TNT website as of today:

Alison D (Georgia): Co-worker and friend of my husband's, who he has known for about 3 years.

Bobby B (California): My cousin, and another of the 11 grandchildren of my grandmother Vera, who I am racing in memory of. I've known Bobby since his birth in 1980. He is also the son of Victoria B, who I thanked in an earlier ROCKSTAR post.

Deana S (California): Deana and I met in college in 1994. We carpooled (several times each week) over a 2 year period from Orange County to San Marcos. We became even better friends after college, and hung out regularly until I moved to Georgia in 2000. Now Deana and Jim have 3 little boys in their crew to keep them busy! I get to see them about once a year when I am home visiting CA.

Doris W (Nevada): Doris is the grandmother of Leah, who is a kindergarten teacher at the school where my mom works. Leah's boyfriend (Andy) just lost his mother to lymphoma last month, so this is a cause that is very dear to their families.

Jennifer D (California): Co-worker and friend of my mom's. Jennifer is a 3rd grade teacher at the school where my mom works.

Jim Z (California): My uncle, who I have known since my birth. Jim is the youngest of 5 children of my grandmother Vera. Uncle Jim lives in Lake Tahoe where he can fully enjoy his love of the outdoors.

Louise L (Iowa): My aunt, who I have also known since my birth. Louise is the oldest of 5 children of my grandmother Vera. She has four grown sons and 10 grandchildren of her own, all living close to her in Iowa. My mom and her 3 sisters take a trip together every summer, and it looks like this year they are planning a "Southern" road trip, with a stop in Atlanta!

Susan T (California): Co-worker and good friend of my mom's. Susan is the Office Manager at the school where my mom works. Susan has been so sweet and supportive of my mom this past year!

THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT!!! Each and every day of this journey is more and more amazing.

xoxo!

4.27.2009

State Update

I'm up to 11 states represented by my donations so far! I think this is SO cool! On the positive side, it shows just how many people want to support LLS in finding a cure for blood cancers. Sadly, it also represents just how many people have likely been personally affected by one of these diseases.

I will give a training update later in the week... I've just returned from a long weekend in St. Petersburg, FL. It was a busy 4 days hanging out on the beach, with friends, and attending a good friend's first triathlon! My own personal training was a little slack between the travel and all the fun, though I did manage an early morning run on the beach one morning, tons of walking, and even some dancing! Anyway, I'm back at it tomorrow morning...

I'm "TRi'-ing to find a cure... want to help?
http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/IronGirl09/alisejackson

4.23.2009

ROCKSTARS…Round 4

These ROCKSTAR postings are becoming more and more frequent – and that is AWESOME NEWS!! I have rapidly surpassed the $2000.00 mark in my fundraising, and with more donations "en route," I want to give credit to my most recent donors who helped get me to the latest benchmark! So, just like Round 1, Round 2, and Round 3, the rules are the same: For each donor mentioned, I'm including the state they sent me their donation from, and how long I've known them. These are listed in alphabetical order by first name - based on the newest donations posted to my TNT website as of today:


Denise B (California): My MOM, who has obviously known me since my birth (maybe even before, some may argue)! My mom has been my biggest cheerleader over the past several weeks, as evidenced by the donations that I've received as a direct result of her bragging ;-) Sadly, Mom knows way too many people who have been affected by the insidious diseases that LLS is working to cure… so she is a big supporter of this organization. My grandmother Vera, who I'm racing in memory of, was my mom's mom. Mom also lost her dear friend Peggy a year ago to multiple myeloma.


Mom and Dad are coming to Georgia in June to watch me complete my triathlon and take part in all of the special weekend festivities with Team in Training… I can't wait!!! I LOVE YOU, MOM!!


Frank C (Georgia): My dentist, whom I've known since becoming a patient of his in the 2003-04 time frame. Not only is Dr. C. a great dentist (in case anyone in the area is looking), but he's a great contributor to our community, and just an all-round nice guy!


Jim & Donna J (Michigan): My brother-in-law and wife, whom I've known since 2002. Unfortunately, living out of state means we don't see our families as often as we would like… so I am thankful for the invention of unlimited wireless minutes. The Jackson father and brothers are big phone talkers (Or maybe I'm just married to the talker)?!


Karen G (California): A friend of my Mom's. I've never actually met her (yet), but I know that my Mom adores Karen's young daughter, and she thinks that Karen has the nicest family.


Mid Coast Studio (Michigan): The employer of Donna J (from above). I don't actually "know" Mid Coast Studio, but they were kind enough to match Donna's donation to LLS! (hint, hint.. if anyone else out there works for a company who will match employee's charitable contributions, it's a great thing to take advantage of!)


THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH!! I am so touched by the generosity of each and every one of you. I hope that the act of charity gives you even 1% of the "warm fuzzy" feeling that I get every time I think about the difference we are all making!


4.19.2009

I'm "Sort of" a Triathlete!

Yesterday was the highly-anticipated "Super Sprint Triathlon," put on as a joint effort of the Peachtree Tri Club and Team In Training's Summer Tri Team. This was the first event of this kind put on by either organization, and it was AWESOME!! The field was limited to 40 total participants, and we were able to register a couple of weeks ago on a first-come, first-serve basis. I was lucky enough to secure a spot!

The race was designed for, and encouraged to be for first-time triathletes - those of us training for our first "real" event. The 40 racers were pretty evenly split between Peachtree Tri and Team in Training (TNT) members. This was not a USAT-sanctioned event, and was merely for practice and fun.


We started off pre-7:00am Saturday morning at Marist School in Atlanta. With the sun just starting to rise, and at a chilly 47 degrees, we had the joy of stripping to our swimwear in order to be body marked. This consists of having your race number and race category written on your arms and legs in the EXTRA WIDE black Sharpie!



After race instructions and a transition clinic to teach us how to set up our transition areas, we headed across the parking lot to the indoor swim complex. The race began with a 200-yard swim in the pool. A time-trial start was utilized, with swimmers starting 5 seconds apart so as not to cause a traffic jam in the pool. I started about 2/3 of the way back in line, but managed to pass several people during the swim! Out of the pool (and out into the cold air), we ran across the parking lot back to the transition area.


T1 is the first transition, where you go from swim to bike. This involved removing my swim cap and goggles, then putting on socks, cycling shoes, headband, cycling jersey, windbreaker vest, bike helmet, and sunglasses. I decided not to waste time putting on my cycling gloves, since the ride wasn't going to be long. You have to walk your bike out of transition until you cross the "mount" line. I felt pretty good coming out of T1 and headed out of the parking lot into the neighborhood across the street.


The bike leg was somewhere between 6-7 miles, but consisted of several winding hills, both up and down! It was way hillier than any of us expected. With about a mile left in the ride, my chain came off my bike. Luckily I was able to put it back on without too much of a delay. I later found out that most of us on TNT lost our chains at least once on the course. As for the Peachtree Tri folks, I'm not sure how many lost their chains, but I saw several of them walking their bikes up the hills. It was that hilly! Here I am coming into T2:



You have to unclip from your pedals and dismount the bike before crossing the chalk line heading into the transition area. T2 involved putting my bike back onto the rack, removing my bike helmet and cycling shoes, then putting on my running shoes, visor, and race number (on a race belt). Took a quick drink of Gatorade and ran out of transition.

The run was a little over a mile, on the school's infamous cross-country trail. The school has a race each year called the "Double Dipper," and I soon found out why…. the run course was an EXTREMELY hilly trail run. In fact, it was not unlike Muddy Buddy or the Xterra Trail Run series' that I love! However, I've never run a course like this after swimming and biking. In fact, at one point during the run, I said to a fellow racer, "since when did hiking become part of a triathlon?"

Coming down the last stretch and hearing the crowd cheer was a great feeling! We all got little finisher medals and a goody bag with some good loot! My total time (from the time I hit the water until I crossed the finish line) was a little over 55 minutes. Not too bad, all things considered.

I'm "TRI"-ing to save lives...want to help?http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/IronGirl09/alisejackson

4.13.2009

Tour de Metro Atlanta

Honestly, that is what the long holiday weekend felt like to me! It was extremely busy, but awesome nonetheless... let me back up a few days to catch up on my training:

Tuesday: 1 hour swim at the gym after work

Wednesday: rest day...bliss :-)

Thursday: 5:15am boot camp

Friday: Workout #1 - 6:15am boot camp (started an hour later since we all had the day off work - yay!) Workout #2 - Storms threatened the idea of a long ride at Silver Comet. A friend and I did some tri gear shopping until the weather cleared up, then took a 12 mile ride at Big Creek. It had literally just stopped raining, and as we rounded a corner on the bikes, several deer ran across the trail... nearly a Matt Lauer moment!

Saturday: TEAM brick (ride and run) at a cycling spot nicknamed "Silk Sheets." This is a path of two-lane country roads southeast of the city several miles off Fulton Industrial Blvd - practically in Alabama. At least that's how far away it seemed when driving there early Saturday morning! Did a 20 mile ride on rolling hills (thus the name "Silk Sheets" - think of what silk sheets look like), which provided excellent practice for using all of the different gears on the bike...and I only lost my chain once - about 18 miles in! After returning to the parking area, I quickly racked my bike, swapped my bike helmet for a visor, my bike shoes for running shoes, and took off on a 10 minute run. If you have never tried this before, I cannot even begin to explain how ridiculous it is to try to get your legs to remember how to run (or even walk for that matter)!

Sunday: Again! Again! I decided that Saturday was such a great workout that I wanted to do it again... and I wanted to try a location a little closer to home that I've heard about. Took the hubby with me to ride at Harbins... another series of two-lane country roads that are only about 30 minutes away from home. The weather was absolutely gorgeous for a long ride...and we did another 20 mile ride, followed by a 10:30 run! The ride was full of rolling hills, but included one seriously long, steep hill that totally whipped us! We saw horses, cows, goats, llamas, and beautiful houses along the way, which made for some great scenery! It was a great day followed by a wonderful late lunch of Mexican food on the patio - a perfect reward!

Today: 1 hour swim at the gym after work. Timed myself on a 200-yard swim (4:45). This is my benchmark for the "Super Sprint Tri" that I'm doing on Saturday. (I will blog about that later!) :-)

The upcoming week is going to be very busy with Team in Training events... track clinic tomorrow night, bike tire changing clinic Wednesday evening, TEAM swim Wednesday night, my Super Sprint on Saturday, and TEAM recommitment party on Sunday. Phew!!!

As a reminder, next Tuesday night (the 21st), my Summer Tri Team is hosting a happy hour fundraiser at Park Tavern from 7-9pm. For a $20 cover charge, you get unlimited access to a beer and wine bar. Please mention my name at the door, and $10 will go directly to my fundraising campaign for TNT! If I forwarded you the Evite, please respond.. and if I didn't forward you the Evite, or you need more info, please let me know. Hope to see you there!

P.S. Was anyone keeping count? Yeah, that was 52 miles on the bike in 3 days! And that's still not as much as the cycle leg in a Half Ironman race...(unreal).

I'm "TRI"-ing to save lives! Want to help?
http://pages.teamintraining.org/ga/IronGirl09/alisejackson



4.08.2009

ROCKSTARS...Round 3

I'm SO excited to blog tonight, because my "ROCKSTAR" tributes/thank-yous are my very favorite blogs to write - and I've got 11 new ones to add that have pushed me over the $1500 mark!... So, just like Round 1 and Round 2, the rules are the same: For each donor mentioned, I'm including the state they sent me their donation from, and how long I've known them. These are listed in alphabetical order by first name - based on the newest donations posted to my TNT website as of today:

David B (California): I've known David since 1996 - he was actually my boss at my first "post-college" job. Though I only worked for him and with him for less than 2 years, we became very close friends in the years that followed. We traveled together via train all over Europe for 16 days, took our first trips to Australia together, and have countless other amazing vacation escapades to remember! Even though I moved far away, and our lives are crazy-busy most of the time, he is still my dearest friend and someone who I know will always be there for me. :-)

Debra C (North Carolina): Debbie and I met in 1983, when we were both 4th graders (!) in Orange, California. We were in the same class at school and in Girl Scouts together. Debbie's family moved to Michigan when we were in the 7th grade, but we stayed in touch through the years. Post-college, she moved to North Carolina, and when I ended up in Georgia in 2000, we found ourselves a mere 5-hour drive apart! Although not nearly often enough, we do manage to get in some long weekend visits to catch up and hang out.

Diane L (California): Diane is a dear friend of my family who I have known my whole life. She is still one of my Mom's closest friends, and was like family to me when I was growing up.

Emelda C (California): Emelda is a neighbor of my parents. In all honesty, I have not personally met her, but during a conversation where my Mom was talking about my triathlon and my raising money for LLS, Emelda gave her a donation to pass along to me! How cool is that!

Heather W (Idaho): Heather was a classmate and neighbor of mine who I met in junior high circa 1987-88. We played high school softball and rode the bus or walked to/from school together. Heather now lives in Idaho and has five (yes, 5!) little kiddos! She lost a good friend to lymphoma a couple of years ago, and is keenly aware of what this devastating disease can do.

Jody, Lori, and Will Hamilton (Georgia): Jody and Lori are neighbors and friends of ours who we met when we moved into our house in 2002. Their son Will came along a few years later... Jody lost his father to brain cancer two years ago, and he and his family are big supporters of cancer research programs such as SBTF. We actually participated in a fundraising 5K with his family last year to help raise money for another great cause!

Joyce B (Ohio): Joyce is the mother of David B (mentioned above)! Joyce is the sweetest lady - she sends me a birthday card and Christmas card every year with a lovely handwritten letter. Believe it or not, we have never actually met in person.

Lindsay D (South Carolina): Lindsay is an ex-co worker of mine who I met in 2000 when I moved to Georgia. She moved to "South Cackalacky" ;-) in 2002, but we have remained good friends with her and her husband Sean. They are our super fun friends with the house on the lake (when the lake has water!), and we look forward to summer fun - boats, boat drinks, and sunshine!

Marilyn T (California): Marilyn lives across the street from my parents. I "think" she is an original homeowner in their neighborhood, from when we moved there in 1987. Marilyn's donation also came as a result of a conversation with my Mom. (Thanks, Mom for all the PR and bragging!)

Rebecca A (Georgia): Becky and Doug are also neighbors and good friends of ours who we met in 2003. They have an uber-cool little boy who we've enjoyed watching grow up so fast! Even though they live a mere 10 houses away from us, we don't get to hang our nearly enough, especially in the winter. Becky is also deeply connected to this cause, as she lost her grandmother to leukemia.

Verna F (California): Verna is the mother of my friend Melody M, who I thanked in Round 1 of ROCKSTARS a couple of weeks ago. I suppose I met Verna circa 1988 as well and saw her last at Melody's wedding in 1993. Her father (Melody's grandfather) passed away from lymphoma in 2001.

THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! You are truly my heroes - you are keeping me motivated because you believe in me, and I am humbled by your generous outpouring of support.