Sunday, December 30, 2007

More information and today's loong run...

Two things for the bliggity blog today--
1. More information on where the funds I am raising are going to, and what exactly they'll be used for.
2. Today's long run with one Caitlin Andrews.

First, where your donated money goeth...

All money being raised by yours truly for the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge (AND all the money raised by the other runners--go figure!) is going directly to the Claudia Adams Barr Program. the program is focused on innovative cancer research. A little extra history--the program was started in 1987 by Claudia's daughter Delores Barr Weaver and her husband Wayne, to commemorate Claudia, who was taken by cancer 50 years ago.

This year, the team, which is made of 550 people, that is running on behalf of DFMC has an overall goal of $4.5 million--ALL of which will go directly to the program. An interesting side note: This is more than $175,000 being raised PER MILE of the marathon. Incredible! I have never felt so strongly a part of something so good--and we are raising enough money to truly make a difference. A little at a time, and a little by every person does go a long way, it seems.

If you haven't yet donated, and would like to do so, please visit the DFMC website, which is located at, then click the support a runner tab. Type in my name and follow the instructions on how to donate online. If you'd rather send a check, please make it out to the "Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge" and mail it to me at my home address: 404 West Broadway, Apt 2, South Boston, MA 02127.

To our second topic!

This morning (a lovely warm NE day, probably near 50) I ran the long run with Caitlin Andrews. Caitlin is also running for Dana-Farber this year, and it will be her first marathon as well, so we are good company on these runs. I had mapped out a route from Mass General Hospital by the Longfellow Bridge that took us down Comm Ave to Kenmore and Fenway, then out on Brookline to loop around Jamaica Pond and Arnold Arboretum. (A more scenic run in the summer when the trees have leaves, but beggars can't be choosers.) Though we may have gotten turned around a few times, we managed to avoid getting truly lost, and trundled our way home merrily, a solid 13.25 (or so) miles under our belts. We've both signed up to run a 16-miler (Boston prep) on January 27, so the next few weeks will need to be good ones and high in mileage.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Oops--here's the real website link

Sorry. My brain appears to be fuzzy from the near diabetic coma I've put myself in due to overconsumption of gingerbread cookies and tom&jerry's...

Let's call this one a draw...

Today I mustered up my courage and headed back out into the tundra (well, more accurately, the streets of Jamestown, ND). At a brisk 15 degrees, it was a day for multiple layers--base, tights, underamour, fleece, hat and mittens. I decided to listen to my ipod today--the soundtrack of this lovely and cold 7.5 miles was saturated with Ingrid Michaelson and Gorrilaz--then seasoned with a dash of the superfunk of Galactic and a spare pinch of Ms. Britney Spears. I took the same pipestem loop and across the dam that I did with Evan last week, then looped up College Hill to the YMCA. (It was around this point that I was forced to admit I could no longer feel my nose, and conceded the run was a draw.)

A good run overall, and most likely my last in NoDak, as tomorrow is my last day here, and I'll likely play pickup hoops with the guys at the Y for an hour or two instead of running. Then back to Boston for a long weekend run with Caitlin.

Next post to contain additional information on the Claudia Adams-Barr program at Dana-Farber and where exactly the funds raised by all these miles will be going--rest assured that this is a great cause, and that we are doing real work to find a cure for cancer. If you haven't donated yet, and would like to, just go to the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge website, which is at, then click the support a runner link, and type in my name. This will route you directly to my fundraising page. As you donate, or as you read my blog, please do let me know who you are donating on behalf of, or if there is someone you'd like me to run for--I am happy to donate every single mile that comes out of these legs to those that have passed, those that have recovered, and those that continue to fight.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Score tied with frozen tundra

Today is Christmas, but yesterday, Christmas Eve, was to be a day for running. As soon as I heard the temperature (a frisky 9 degrees), I opted to run inside. I began with laps on the local YMCA's tiny track--after 10 of these (equalling one mile), I moved to a treadmill, where I banged out another three miles. Not a particularly interesting run (I kept running but didn't seem to get anywhere), nor a comfortable one (frozen tundra gets an extra point for my aching spine and joints from the 12-er), but I am convinced that it was character-building. This was definitely a "token run."

Merry Christmas all. I won't run today, but will carb-load, with sugary tom-n-jerry's.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I love the frozen tundra...and the frozen tundra loves me.

Ugh...a full week between runs--a pitiful start! This week got away from me in terms of stormy weather (jingle bell 5K was, depressingly, rescheduled for Dec. 23rd), loads of work, final Christmas shopping...and suddenly it was Wednesday night and I was trying to pack up for my 5:40 a.m. flight to Fargo, N.D. A few hours of sleep, a foggy cab ride, a few more hours of sleep (on a plane), and I am there, in the hinterlands. Which, mind you, are surprisingly balmy right now--it was about 25 degrees the day I flew in.

Fast-forward to Friday. My cousin Evan was also in town from Boulder, CO, where he is currently working on an entomological research project. Evan, having come up early to walk through graduation (just got his Ph.D.--go, Lampshade!) was at the tail end of his trip, whereas I was at the front of mine. Evan, also a heavy runner, agreed to hit the frozen streets with me at 10:00ish Friday morning. Though I'd tried to use the google pedometer site to map us a route of around 12 miles, I seemed to have trouble--none of the roads were matching up with what they should have been. Ultimately, we decided to just head outside and start running.

Clad in an assortment of layers and winter wear, we set off. First, we headed to the Jamestown marina, by way of the reservoir, then up to Hwy 20. Those of you familiar with the area surely know that Hwy 20 really isn't that interesting in terms of scenery (houses on one side; fields and the airport on the other), so rather than loop, we turned around to run along the water again. Rather than continue straight back the way we came, we shambled across the dam toward the town's fairgrounds, then down a delightful hill. Despite his repeated insistence that "Gu makes you weak!" Evan was ultimately talked into a carb-loaded mint chocolately treat at the bottom. Thus loaded with sugary sustenance, we continued on our merry way, next to the bank and over the river, up Mill Hill guessed it--the World's Largest Buffalo! We jogged through the fort, up to the buffalo, and in keeping with family tradition, gave it a good slap on the family jewels before heading back downhill, via a different path.

Several curves into the new path, we realized we might be lost...or at the least didn't have a clue where this road would come out. Given that the only other option was running back up the hill (not a plan I supported), we settled on continuing on in the spirit of adventure. We ended up popping out by a gas station south of town, and finding our way home quite easily in the end.

Important statistics from this run:
Total time elapsed during run: 2 hours, 15 minutes (I'd guess around 12.5 miles.)
Total gu's consumed: 3
Total number of clothing items worn to protect against the elements: 18
Number of alcoholic beverages consumed on Thursday (purely in the interest of carb-loading): 7

*See photo for Evan and I doing a realistic reenactment of a road race. Note his "The Agony of Victory!" face.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Friday's spontaneous absurdity (12.5, baby!)

Though I'd planned to take today off, the recent snowstorm piled up the streets. With that, and news of Sunday's impending repeat, the DFMC cancelled our first scheduled group run--we were to run between 9 and 12. As I'm heading home to North Dakota Thursday of next week, I really wanted to get a good run in this week. (It will be tough to fit in runs in a) the cold, b) the cold, and c) due to scheduling constraints caused by overconsumption of tom and jerry's, assorted Christmas goodies, and cigars, and d) the damn cold!) So, I had planned to shoot for the moon--12 miles. (Last week's long run was only 4, the week before 10, so this would be the longest training run to date.) Luckily, I've been blessed with a crazy running friend, Kate, who you'll likely hear much more about before this is over! I immediately emailed Kate and proposed that she join me for a scenic jog through the mean streets of Southie. She immediately balked, both at the locale (Abby: "Kate, I mapped out a route that runs us on the coastline of the harbor...and also avoids the Old Colony Projects..."), and the temperature (Kate: "Dude. It's balls cold. I'll run on a treadmill and that's it." Abby: "I'm NOT running for 2 hours on a treadmill.") She eventually weakened at the offer of dinner (which her fiance ended up making us) and homemade turtles (2 hours later, and we've already demolished them).

Out we trekked, clad in our assorted "performance gear," sneaks, hats (for her a stocking, me the trusted sox hat), and tasty gu (mint chocolate and vanilla bean). Approximately 5 miles in, Kate looked at me, muttered about the right side of her face, then "I must really love you." By the time we got home, it was 9:30 p.m., and we were both exhausted and triumphant (but mostly exhausted). Off tomorrow, the Bill Rodgers' Jingle Bell run (5k) on Sunday at 4:00. Put on by my favorite race directer, Paulie Collyer (of Somerville Striders beer run fame), and endorsed by many a pub, it is sure to be a good time.

We may also take my roommate's coonhound, the charming Satchmo.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Thursday 5:30 a.m. run

This morning was the second of my new routine--the Thursday morning running group. Despite the miserableness of getting out of my nice, toasty bed at 4:50 a.m....well, there really is no upside to that, other than the fact that when I'm done with work, the hard parts of the day are over--couch, here I come! Today there was a huge snowstorm, so it's actually very good that I got the run out of the way. This morning, rolling out of my bedroom in a groggy haze, I crossed paths with my roommate Katie, staggering her own way to the bathroom. Needless to say, though both she and Liz think that I am crazy, they are incredibly supportive.

So, here are the details of this morning's little ramble:
I got to the intersection of Arlington St. and Boston's very posh Newbury St. at about 5:20 a.m. Stayed in the car until approximately 5:27, sucking every last moment of electric heat possible. We were to meet at the Taj hotel, same as last week--imagine my surprise to be the first one there! I wait...and wait....and other woman shows up, making a total of two, as opposed to last week's eight--ironic, given that last week's run was downright frigid, whereas today's was around 30 degrees. Still cold, but I was definitely sweating under my UnderArmour turtleneck (thanks, Mom!) and thermal fleece (thanks, Mom, from last year!). Cool enough to run in my hideously stained, but still fabulously comfy Red Sox hat.

Per the usual standards and stipulation as endorsed by the early morning crew (I'll come up with some sort of creative and possibly humorous acronym later--I promise), we were to run 5 miles. Which we did. And it was fine. A nice, slow steady clop, down Newbury Street (oh, delicious storefront windows, with your tiny colored jackets and wide belts) out to Kenmore, then back, down Newbury again (look at you, you darling houndstooth boots), one hand to the pole at the end (the official end of the run!) and hot-footing it to my car to book it on home for a warm shower.

Side note: GREAT new shoes purchased last week. I've got 12 miles and a couple hours of hoops on them, and so far I love them. They'll be even better when I get some sweet red laces (see for why I wear them)...these shoes are Nike AirMax, I think. I'll check on the model if anyone is interested in checking them out.

Tomorrow I'm off for running, then the long one Saturday with the Dana-Farber team--wish my luck (and slow running buddies)!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

See Abby Run!

Hello all!

Welcome to my brand-spanking-new blog! I've decided to start this blog to keep friends and family, along with I'm sure will be the occasional miscellaneous stranger, updated on the progress of my first marathon....

That's right, folks, in only four months, 18 days, on April 21, 2008, these two (admittedly lanky) legs will carry me 26.2 miles, from Hopkinton, MA, to Boston's Public Library, where I've spent many a fine hour. I am running the marathon to raise money for Dana-Farber's Marathon Challenge program--100% of the funds raised go directly to cancer research. If you'd like to donate (hint hint:), please go to My total fundraising goal is $5,000; as of today, I am one-fifth of the way there, at $1,000.

More to come on this topic, and on my love/hate relationship with running. (This Monday's 7-mile was love, in cold, crisp New England air, along a clear and inky coastline. Tomorrow's 5:30 a.m. 5-mile will likely fall closer to the hate side of the spectrum.)

Thanks for reading!