Running for Anna

On December 12, 2010 our family was devastated by the loss of my niece, Anna Rogotzke, on her fourth birthday, to a rare cancer called Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma. On December 4, 2011, I ran in the California International Marathon to raise money for the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative, a leader in the fight against sarcomas. This blog is created to update those interested in my journey and progress as I train for this event and events thereafter.

....And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1-3)

Friday, April 29, 2011


This is me messing around diligently working in my office.  What's the first thing you notice (besides the weirdness that always comes with taking your own picture)?  That's right! I'm wearing a turtleneck sweater on April 29!  We had a little front move through starting yesterday, and it was cold today!  It didn't get above 50 degrees, and I had to dodge frozen puddles (from the automatic sprinklers everyone couldn't wait to turn on) during my run this morning.  Not fun!  It's supposed to warm up and be in the 70's by next week, and I have to say I'm looking forward to it.  

In better news, I have a new nephew!  David Zachary Smith was born today to my sister, Katie, and her husband, Matt, in Milwaukee, weighing 7 lbs, 2 oz.  He's super cute, but, unfortunately, I can't figure out how to post a photo from facebook.  :(  Welcome to the world, David!  Can't wait to meet you!

As for running, it's going well.  I've been meeting my mileage goals, and my paces are still strangely better than expected.  I met with someone at work today who's had experience fund raising by running a marathon.  She had a lot of great ideas and things seem to really be coming together.  Look for your opportunity to help soon! 

Here's a pic from this morning when I finished my's starting to actually get light while I'm running (that's exciting for me).  It's weird to think that, during this training period, I'll train through the longest days of the year and then back almost to the shortest day of the year.  On second thought, I better not dwell on that too much.  I'm trying to find some races to run while I'm training to break up the routine a little bit.  If anyone hears of some good ones in the Northern NV/CA area, let me know.   

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

My motivations

While, for some strange reason, I haven't had this problem the last few days, at times it has been difficult to get motivated at 4:30 a.m. to actually step out the door and start running.  These are the motivations I have for doing it:


A refrigerator and bookcases?  Maybe you think that the refrigerator makes sense because running lets me eat whatever I want (I wish!!).  But, no, it's what's ON the refrigerator and the bookcase:

Beautiful pictures of my niece, Anna, and her family.  All I have to do is think about everything that this courageous little girl went through, and it's EASY to just step out the door and run.

Of course, I couldn't do it without the support of these two guys:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Sub-11 minute miles?

I read other runners' blogs and am really impressed when their goals are sub-8, sub-7, or even sub-6 minute miles.  The Boston Marathon winner averaged 4.69 minute miles (are you kidding me????)  I am not a fast runner, nor is it really my goal to be one.  I run because I enjoy it, it's relaxing for me, and I can work out my stress.  So, I never really talk about time...except now.  When I was training for my last marathon, I was averaging about 12 min miles.  Yep...a whopping 5 miles/hour.  That (and a knee blow-out about mile 15) resulted in a 5:40 marathon time.  Good thing my goal was just to finish before they closed the course.  Well, lately, according to my mapmyrun IPhone app anyway, I'm averaging a little over 10:30 minute miles.   Even on my long runs, which I purposefully run slow, I'm a little under 11:00/mile.  Could I possibly have a 4 in front of my finishing time this go-around?  I would be very pleased with that!  Of course, we'll see what happens when I get into the 15+ mile runs. 

My long run on Saturday (8.89 miles - 10:52 min/mi) went very well...especially considering I had to be at a church music practice at 8:30 a.m., so I was up at the normal weekday time to run beforehand...ugh!   

Goal this week:
Mon - 4 mi (done!)
Tues - 6 mi
Wed - 4 mi
Fri - 4 mi
Sat - 10 mi 

Hope everyone had a great Easter.  He is risen.....He is risen, indeed!!!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Running in the Dark

My goal in training is to run 5 days per week (rest days on Thursdays and Sundays).  Last week my goal was:
Mon - 4 miles
Tues - 4 miles
Wed - 4 miles
Fri - 4 miles
Sat - 8 miles.

I did pretty well staying with this, except for Tuesday, when I was feeling some pain from my left hip down my thigh.  I did not run that day, but chose to rest, and it seems to have worked.  No pain since.  This week my goal is:
Mon- 4 miles
Tues - 6 miles
Wed - 4 miles
Fri - 4 miles
Sat - 9 miles

I've already blown this, as I did not run 6 miles today, which brings me to the point of the post. 

Other than Saturdays, I run in pre-dawn hours.  Other people can run at lunch or after work or in the evenings.  I am not one of those people.  If I run at lunch, than I feel I have to shower, etc. before returning to work...takes too long (plus I can't eat, which is the point of lunch, in my opinion).  I have zero motivation when I get home from work.  Once I step in the door, I can barely bring myself to make dinner, much less run.  Evenings are just bad...period.  I can rationalize not doing ANYTHING at that time of day.  So, for a 4 mile run, I'm out the door by 4:45 a.m. at the latest.  For a 6 mile run, I'd have to be out the door by 4:25 or 4:30.  I have my body pretty well conditioned to arise at 4:20, but it's tough to roll out of bed earlier than that....hence, only 4 miles today.

Running in the dark can be exhilarating, exciting, nerve-wracking, or terrifying.  I wonder if the occasional cars driving by can see me.  I jump when, running past someone's yard, a dog suddenly starts frantically barking.  I think I see someone crouched by the side of the road waiting to pounce and I pull out my pepper spray (yes, I'm "armed"), hyper-alert, only to pass by a mailbox when I get to that point.  Rabbits are the worst, as I never seem to see them until they dart out directly in front of me.  I usually can't tell if the increase in heart rate is due to the running or from being startled throughout my run.  But, it's mostly very quiet and I can think and reason through all my worries and problems without being concerned with petty things, such as pretty scenery, conversing with other people, etc. 

Saturdays, I'm usually out the door as the sun is rising, and I'm AMAZED at the difference.  It's just beautiful here as the sun rises and it starts to warm up.  I can take my time without feeling the pressure of a work day upon me, and marvel at God's creation as the mountains turn from mere shadows to stunning, clear vistas.  And, I still get home in time to enjoy the day with my family. 

The only thing I have to worry about is remembering those sun glasses!  :)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A little background

I think most people who follow this will know Anna's story and what led me to running a second marathon.  This is what I will be emailing people when the time comes.  It contains a little background info (here).  The Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative was kind enough to email donation forms, which I will also be attaching to my email (they come out looking a little funky when I convert them to html in order to attach them here..they will be in pdf form in the email).  They will also be sending me bracelets, brochures, etc.  On a side note, does anyone have experience with this sort of thing?  I was thinking I could ask to display some of these things at running stores, etc.  Is that an acceptable thing to ask?  I wouldn't define myself as someone skilled in fundraising (or calling any sort of attention to myself whatsoever).  But some things are too important to stay in one's comfort zone...

For those curious as to my training progress, so far it's been going really well.  One of the reasons I picked December to run a marathon is to give me plenty of time for steady running with GRADUAL increases in mileage.  I had a four-month training window for my first marathon, and - for me - it was intense.  I'm following the same type of program (long runs on Saturdays, shorter weekday runs, etc.), but, this time, I'm just taking it slower and am really enjoying myself in the process.  My run this Saturday will be 8 miles, and I am actually looking forward to it.  

One thing I've discovered as I've gotten back into a running routine may not be construed as a positive thing by some.  I find that I am suddenly addicted to shopping for running clothes, gear, shoes, etc.  This is especially true for Under Armour.  I LOVE Under Armour!  It's a little more expensive than other brands, but every item I've bought from them is super comfortable, wears well, and just looks good (in my opinion).  That's my plug for the day!  :)  I should have enough shorts, t shirts, capris, compression shorts, hydration paks, shoes, socks, sunglasses, sports bras, base layers for cold mornings, energy chews, and hats to get me through the summer.  Better start running and stop shopping (until the winter season catalog comes out, anyway)!!!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Four Months

Dear Anna,

It is pure coincidence that I created this blog on the four-month anniversary of your entrance into heaven.  I was there that day and know intellectually that you are not physically here with us but - living far away - I can almost pretend that you are still going to dance class or playing with your friends at pre-school.  Then, I see a picture of your mom, dad, and brothers and it hits me that someone is missing and always will be while we are here on this earth.  While you are not here physically anymore (though ALWAYS in our hearts), you have inspired so many included!  You are the reason for this blog and a motivation for others to help beat this disease.  Through your story, I know we can be a part of ensuring that, one day, no other child will have to endure what you did. 

Love and miss you so much,
Aunt Jen