Jenn Geiss's Team In Training Page
Help Me Race to Save Lives!
Welcome to my Team In Training home page!
I am training to participate in a half marathon (13.1 miles) event as a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training. Team In Training raises funds to help stop leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma and myeloma from taking more lives.
Although I have never done a race of this length, I have found inspiration in my friend Terri Lavelle. A former rugby teammate who took on the 2% odds of surviving Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma and has now been in remission for four years.
I'm taking part in this event in honor of Terri and all individuals who are battling these cancers and hope that enough research will expand treatments and one day, find a cure!
Please make a donation to support my participation in Team In Training and help advance the Society's mission, or get involved by training for an event or volunteering. I believe we can all be heroes, everyday, by showing compassion for one another.
Be sure to check back frequently to see my progress. Thank you for your support!
A Letter from Terri:
It all started with a cough; a simple cough that just got worse over time, suddenly so bad that my coworkers gathered in my office and demanded that I go to the doctor. That doctor visit would change my life—I thought I’d be sent home with Robitusson and instead walked away with a chest X-ray that showed that I had Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma.
Four years later, I’m in remission. The only visible remains of my cancer are a biopsy scar on my neck. I’m truly lucky and owe a lot of my health to my family and friends, as well as the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. They all gave me more than just my life back—they gave me hope. It’s a very large debt to repay, but I try all the time to give back as much as I can so that I can give the same hope back to other patients and their families.
I can’t stress enough how important hope is to the battle against cancer. Team in Training brings hope to the streets in purple singlets in a way that no other organization has been able to do. That sea of purple and white is an incredible sight to behold and watching people accomplish such a feat—running a half or full marathon—to defeat cancer is truly inspirational.
Jenn Geiss is running with Team in Training for the Nashville Marathon. Every time she laces up her sneakers she’s giving hope back to thousands of patients she hasn’t even met. The people who as they sit in the chemo chairs hear or see pictures of these people who are running for a cure, running for treatments, running for hope. The Leukemia Lymphoma Society does so much more than just research. They lobby Congress to advocate for patients and access to care. They provide monetary relief to patients to help defray some of the incidental costs of treatment. They fund patient education programs, programs for caretakers and my favorite, First Connection. First Connection puts newly diagnosed patients or caretakers in touch with other patients or caretakers so that they can talk about their fears, their feelings, and reach out to someone who has been there. That human connection is the most important aspect of LLS.
The money you donate to Team in Training goes directly to all these programs. The holistic approach that LLS takes is unique and important in the battle against not only blood cancers, but all cancers. And TNT is such a visible presence and if you were at a marathon and saw the runners, the coaches, the mentors and how the crowd cheers for them or how some people run out just to hug someone who has “Survivor” or “I’m Running For..” on their shirt, I know you’ll understand the large impact that this group has had on the community. There is simply nothing like it. Your contribution to Jenn’s run is more than just a donation. It’s fueling hope. It’s funding research that saved my life. I’m here because of people like you, and that’s not just a cliché it’s the truth.
Also running in memory of Debby Cull, sister to Laura Weinstein, in memory of Libby Karen Ross, sister-in-law to Gary and Judi Ennis and in memory of Carlos Eduardo Alamo, son of Enrique Alamo
Check out the event on Facebook
2/1/08: Ran 5 miles outdoors this past Sunday. It was beautiful day in Palm Coast but it is also flat here so need to get in some hill/incline work for the Nashville terrain. Be sure to check back for more updates on my progress and thank you again for your support!!!
2/04/08: Pushed it to 5.8 miles this Saturday morning. Took me an hour. As you can tell, not running fast but not stopping or walking so hope to pound the pavement again soon.
2/11/08: Well...I didn't train per say this weekend BUT, I played Rugby on Saturday. So running around for 80 minutes, tackling, scrumming, etc was certainly a workout. Planning my next run right now so I can get past my 6-mile goal this week!
2/18/08: Had a Rugby game on Saturday which cut-up and bruised my legs badly. They look like something out of a George A. Romero horror movie! To top it off, anyone who knows Rugby, knows you tend to have a few alcoholic beverages after a game. But I couldn't let another weekend go by without training. So by 10:30am on Sunday, in the warm Florida sun, I was pounding the pavement. Each step sent searing pain through my legs! Not to mention, the wind was blowing (not that it provided much relief from the heat) which made every two steps forward I took, into one step backwards. Will not embarass myself with the time but I was determined to go farther than my last run. Results: 6.4 miles! The most grueling run I have ever done! Tonight I plan to take the night off. The only movement will be from the spoon dipping into Breyer's Vanilla Bean Ice Cream to my mouth.
2/23/08: Since I had the weekend off from Rugby, I was finally able to train with the TNT group. Great experience! We did 5 miles in Jacksonville along a beach side community. Ran with Coach Kent and Gloria. Not used to talking while I run but gave me great advice along the way. Can't wait to get back out there!
2/28/08: I didn't have to wait long! Last nite a cool front moved into FL and it was a sunny evening- perfect time to pound the pavement. Before I knew it, 7.2 miles had passed. My lungs are a little sore today from the cool temperatures and my nose was running faster than I was, but it was an awesome run. Could have gone further but I have Rugby practice tonight and do not want to be sucking wind! Which I will probably do anyway:)
3/9/08: Was supposed to run with the TNT group on Saturday for the Gate River Run but unbeknownst to me, I had to make a separate trip to Jacksonville to physically sign up for the run rather than over the internet and could not do it the morning of, so…I ran on Sunday. Turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the wind was brutal on Saturday. The winds continued on Sunday but not bad enough to turn me into a kite! Up to 8.2 miles and psyched to get back out there. This upcoming weekend I have a Rugby tournament in Savannah but the next two weekends will be marathon training.
During all this training, a malignant tumor was found in my Mother’s large intestine during a routine colonoscopy. She had no symptoms! They removed the tumor during the colonoscopy but because it was malignant, they now had to go back and remove a section of her large intestine, appendix, lymph nodes and a blood vessel to test and make sure the cancer had not spread. It was a tense time and I did not want to mention it until the rest of the results from the biopsies came back…and they were all negative!
Without getting too sappy, experiences like this remind me to value what is important and live each day to the fullest because we never know what tomorrow may bring. Best wishes to everyone!
3/27/08: Made a sad attempt at 8.8 miles this past Saturday. I had a busy week at work and the combination of stress and lack of sleep was compounded when I went out that morning. BUT…I was determined to try again. So, last night I cranked out 9.2 miles to my amazement considering I had gone drinking the night before. (I know, I know…and on a Tuesday) Thank you liver! Well I am off for a ski trip this weekend but I will be back out training next week and look forward to giving everyone another update!
4/3/08: Having spent the past weekend in the snow with temperatures hovering around 10 degrees, I had formulated a significant head cold by Wednesday and was worried my plans at reaching my 10-mile goal that evening would be thwarted. After work, I was exhausted and compromised with myself that if I took a 30 min nap, I would get out and run. Well…it turned out to be a 1hr nap but happy to report, I did stick to the compromise. Surprisingly, the run was very smooth and enjoyable. Thought for sure I would be ‘hacking-up’ a lung but was totally ‘in the zone’ and before I realized, 1 hr and 52 mins had passed and I was back at my car. Have a tough game in Miami this weekend but hope to be out next week trying to 11 miles!
4/10/08: My brother and I played a fantastic game of tennis Monday night. We beamed as we left the courts at the YMCA in Jacksonville, patting one another on the back. Excited, we headed to Amelia Island Tuesday morning to attend a day of tennis at the Bausch and Lomb WTA Tennis Tournament. Sharapova, Davenport, Safina, Craybas…the list of champions and pro tennis stars was infinite. Just a few feet a way, my brother and I watched Mauresmo and Hantuchova warm up, run drills and play an exhibit match (it was their day off). After 20 minutes of watching these two players hit to near perfection, I turned to my brother and whispered, “Well at least we thought we were good last night.” As humbling as the experience was, the fact that they were practicing this intensely on a day off with coaches and assistants flocking them, is an aspect in sports I know I would not want. Competition and pressure can ruin the love for a sport…it is a lesson I learned when I was 14 and ultimately, glad I made the choice I did. When competing, the only person I really need to beat is myself…and I did that last night when running 11 miles in 2 hours and 5 minutes. Exhausted and dehydrated, I felt amazingly victorious.
4/23/08: What a difference a week can make…this past Saturday’s run of 12 miles was excruciating! Three blisters formed on my left foot, muscles were tight, and my sports bra was irritating me (which is probably too much information). Although reaching the 80s in Florida, the race in 4 days in Nashville, will be about 15 to 20 degrees cooler. Let’s hope that is enough of a temperature difference to do the trick and have a smooth run. Surprising even myself, I have really enjoyed training for this event. Running has been a way to relax (if you can believe that) and clear my head (I know, I know…not much in there to begin with…way ahead of you). Tomorrow morning I am off to Nashville and once again, thank you everyone. Your support and encouragement have been invaluable.
Marathon Weekend-Thursday, April 24th to Sunday, April 27th: Despite many people staying in to rest the first night in Nashville, Janine and I closed down the bars. Hitting up numerous spots, we knew Friday night would be early to bed. Setting a 3:30am wake-up call, I awoke to Janine yelling, “Geiss, you gonna get that?” Morning person, I am not. Janine, however, was ready to go! Dragging my feet all the way to the hotel lobby for a group photo, we then packed into the buses and heading out to Centennial Park where the race was to begin at 7am. It was raining at a steady pace and we spent the next two hours finding new ways to stay dry.
Our corral finally started at 7:40am and the rain subsided at that point but it remained overcast. Thousands of spectators cheered throughout the entire course. Nervous about the “rolling hills”, my legs took better to the ups and downs than I thought they would. I was able to stay ‘in the zone’ for the first six miles when I realized I should probably get a little water, though most of it ends up on you rather than in you, my clothes were now wet from the earlier rains, sweat and dribbled water that was meant to be ingested. By mile 12, I hit a wall (no, not literally). Blisters were forming on my feet and sweat was pooled in every orifice. Even the theme from Rocky was not motivating me!
My mind turned to the previous evening…huddled in our TNT chapter after the Pasta Party, one by one; people stood up and told stories of how blood cancers have affected their lives and the ones they love. One young woman burst into tears at the memory of her brother that she lost three years ago. Sobbing, “…he was my best friend”, my eyes welled-up. Why didn’t anyone tell me to bring Kleenex?! As if that wasn’t enough, another woman cried out that her mother just called and told her that her brother’s liver just failed and would not have much longer to live. So at mile 12, I thought about these people and what they were going through. My legs heavy, my whole body aching and wet, I had nothing to complain about. The pain and exhaustion I felt was insignificant compared to what these people were going through. So with the last ounce of energy I had left, I kept running. Crossing the finish line in my personal best time of 2 hours 16 minutes and 39 seconds. But I was not alone. Each one of you, who donated and supported me through my training, was there with me. It might sound ‘hokey’, but it is true.
Donations are tax-deductible! Tax ID 135644916.