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)

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I have been blogging almost 3 months, now, so I figured it would be a good time to perform a little evaluation. From what I've seen in the blogging world, there are certain characteristics that promote a successful blog. Let's see how I measure up.   And, yes, as you read this, you may notice I've become a tiny bit addicted to reading blogs.

It would seem that most of the blogs I follow have good information about running, training, all things racing, recovery, and gear. For example, Rachelle has only been running for approximately a year, and she is super fast! She qualifed for Boston earlier this month at the Utah Valley Marathon. She has GREAT information about various training techniques. If you're like me, and the words tempo run, intervals, and speed work mean nothing to you, check out her blog. She explains all of these very well.

My blog: All you'll get - if you're lucky - is how many miles I ran and MAYBE the pace at which I ran those miles (if I'm not too embarrassed). 

I notice that most successful bloggers are also willing to post pictures of themselves in various poses both serious and not-so-serious. Julia is great at this. She just completed her first marathon, she's an overall great person, and I love her blog! Her pictures are great and, if you follow her blog, you will come to love a little dog named Riley.

My blog: Uh....yeah. I hate pictures of myself. I really try to do this, but it takes 1367 attempts of taking the picture before getting one I'm satisfied with.

It seems that many of the successful bloggers are willing to "lay it all out there". They tell you their feelings, their goals, their plans, what they ate that day, etc.

My blog: While I envy that characteristic, I am more of a private person. I guess it's a little easier writing things down than actually expressing them out loud, but even that's not completely comfortable for me.

Some bloggers seem to "have it all together". They can be moms, employees, teachers, volunteers, and runners and still find time to sit down and write inspiring posts. JenDeanna, Small Town Runner, and Erin are all great examples of that. Some other bloggers (Janae and SR) also are very good about posting once every day, sometimes more.

My blog: I'm lucky to find the time to post twice per week. Inspiring? Probably not. I'm working on it, though.

Other bloggers have great advice on healthy living and eating. Lindsay has a great blog which I have found very helpful and educational. (Food can be good without sugar and preservatives???...Never would have guessed that.)

My blog: I'd love to take pictures of my healthy meals and provide readers with great recipes, many pictures of cereal, sandwiches, chips, and spaghetti can one tolerate?

So, obviously, the outcome of this little test is a big FAIL on my part. But, that's OK. Still going to blog, anyway, so thanks for reading!  I promise to try harder in the future to be a better blogger.  Reading all the amazing blogs in my blog list will - I'm sure - motivate me!!

 Speaking of motivation from a blog:  Nikki has a beautiful quote on her blog about running.
"I run because it's so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can't. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you're capable of so much more than you thought." ~Arthur Blank

And Suzy has an awesome picture on her blog today:
These are pictures of my desk and shelves at work.  I think Suzy and I might have something other than running in common:
Oh yeah.....Go Pack Go!!!




Monday, June 27, 2011

How to Donate

I have had more requests than I expected regarding how to donate (from people who have not received my donation packet in the mail).  I consider myself fairly adept with technology, but for some reason, cannot figure out how to set something up to donate online.  For now, if you are interested in donating, please email me your address (, and I will send you all of the information along with a return addressed, postage-paid envelope for your convenience.  To find out more about the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative, the very worthy cause for which I am raising money, please visit  Thank you.  Again, I am SO GRATEFUL!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Run in Pictures

First of all, let me say I am humbled, touched, grateful,and OVERWHELMED by the response so far regarding the fund raising.  I have cried at least five times this week (happy cry) at the sincere generosity and kind words I have received.  Most of the support I have received so far has come from people who see me every day and have followed Anna's story from the beginning.  But,  people I have never even met in person have also stepped up and have gone so far as to put a link on their blog post.  Again, SO GRATEFUL to all of you.  Let's keep going and WIPE OUT CANCER!!

Now, about running.... Some bloggers I follow like to post pictures of their runs.  I love that, and it's fun to actually kind of experience the run with them.  I've always wanted to do that, but 1)- it's mostly dark when I run and 2)- on my long runs, I can't imagine expending the energy to stop and take pictures.  Well, today starts a recovery week for me, so I only had 6 miles on my schedule today (that's for you, Becky).  I figured I would take the time to show you some sights from my run today.

Reno Stead Airport - This is where the Reno National Championship Air Races are Held. 

I discovered this porta potty one morning when I really needed it (I won't go into details).  I thought it was a mirage, because it's in the middle of nowhere...I don't know why it's there, but it's always clean and has plenty of toilet paper.  It's come in handy on more than a couple of runs.  I dread the day when they realize it's missing from the porta potty place and come and pick it up. 

Peavine Mountain.  In Reno, they say you shouldn't plant your tomatoes until all the snow is gone from Peavine.  I guess we'll never have tomatoes this year.
The start of one of the running paths I frequently use.

This was a mistake, but just in case you wonder what kind of shoes I wear....that would be a Nike Zoom Triax 14.  Love these shoes!!
Home Stretch
Me happy after another completed run (Judging from my neck tendons or whatever those are, I must really be straining to hold my iPhone in front of me)
So, that's my run!  Don't expect too many of these anytime soon.  Those of you who regularly do this, I have new admiration for you.  It's exhausting to stop and take all of those pictures!! 

One more item of importance...HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my mom tomorrow!  Love you and miss you.  Hope you have a great day!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

On Your Mark...Get Set...Go!

The motivation for me training to run my second marathon has begun!  Wave 1 of the requests for contributions to the Liddy Shriver Sarcoma Initiative has been mailed or will be distributed this week.  If you don't receive one in the next few days, and would like the info, contribution form, and self-addressed stamped return envelope, let me know (  I am trying to set up something so that people can donate online, but haven't quite figured that out, yet.  There are free sites that will set up your own page, but they take a certain percentage of the donations, so I'm not sure I want to do that.  If you have experience in this, and have some good ideas, let me know.

Today I was reading some other blogs, and a certain post really caught my attention.  The poster was - for a lack of a better word - complaining about using running to raise funds for charities.  I think, overall, it was mainly about marathons and other races "holding" race entries for charities, but it started me analyzing what I'm doing here.

I just want everyone to know that nobody is obligated to donate anything to my cause.  I think, for me, this is a goal to reach for while working through my sadness regarding Anna.  When we lose any loved one, there is a feeling of frustration and helplessness.  I think this feeling increases by ten-fold when it's a child that is lost.  We are supposed to protect them and make sure they are safe and secure.  That ability is ripped from our grasp when a deadly disease strikes.  While at times sporadic about it, I've always enjoyed running and I figured this would be a good way to regain some feeling of control, get in shape, and do my own small part in possibly helping to make sure other families don't have to experience such a tremendous loss.

So, while the post I read definitely made me think, I also remember something I received in the mail a few weeks ago.  I don't think this person would want to be named, but she heard what I was doing and sent me a very encouraging card with a check.  She said she would like to see this disease "knocked out" in her lifetime.  She has a stake in this, as she was very close to Anna, but it reinforced my desire to see this through.  Even if that check is the only one I receive, then it's worth it for me to do this.

So, yes, nobody is obligated to donate.  I would not be hurt or offended in the least if you receive the request in the mail and decide not to contribute.  Times are tough, and it seems like there are worthy causes everywhere that are vying for our attention. (Hmmmm...seems like I'm giving a lot of reasons not to contribute.  I guess that's why I'm not in sales.)  Having said that, even a small amount would be GREATLY appreciated. 

My training is still going well.  My mileage since my last post is:
Saturday - 10 miles (10:41 pace)
Monday - 6 miles (10:21 pace)
Today - 8 miles (10:50 pace) I tried to make this run really easy, as my legs felt pretty tired and stiff.
On schedule for tomorrow - 7 miles

The mornings have been absolutely perfect for running with temps in the 50's and low 60's.  Reno is situated in the high desert and has amazing weather.  We get all four seasons, but none are overly extreme (unless, of course, it's this year when it snowed on Memorial Day weekend).  Even though it's been getting close to 90 during the day, it almost always cools down overnight, making it comfortable for those early morning runs.  Great way to start my days!
I LOVE this place!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Count Your Many Blessings, Name Them One by One (Words by Johnson Oatman, Jr.)

When I was in grade school, I read the book The Hiding Place written by Corrie ten Boom. While I only read it once, there are portions of that book that I will never forget. Corrie and her family were captured by the Nazis in World War Two after participating in hiding and saving many Jews. She and her sister ended up at Ravensbruck concentration camp in Germany. They suffered many horrors and much cruelty there, but one thing they always did was thank God for what they had. One time, they and their fellow inmates were horribly infected by lice, and they thanked God for that (my memory is unclear as to why they did...I think it was because it kept the guards from wanting to be near them). This left such an impression on me and, the older I get, the more I realize how important it is to "count your blessings" even in the worst circumstances.

A sign on the side of the museum recounts the fate of Corrie's family after the home was raided by the Nazis and the family members arrested. Casper (Corrie's father) died in Schevingen Prison after only ten days of captivity. Betsie (Corrie's sister) died in Ravensbrück concentration camp. Willem (Corrie's brother) contracted spinal meningitis in prison and died shortly after the war. Christiaan (Corrie's nephew) was sent to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp and did not return.Source
If you remember, I had an 8-mile run scheduled for Tuesday. My alarm went off at 3:55 a.m., and I was NOT feeling like getting up to run. But, I told myself to get up and just do it. Yes, it would be horrible....yes, my time would not be the best....yes, I would be tired all day...yes, my legs are stiff...blah, blah, blah. I was wishing I didn’t have to work, so I could run at normal-people hours.

I like to run alone. I can listen to the music I want to listen to. I don’t have to talk to anyone. I can pray. I can reflect. On this particular morning, I decided as I started running to think about all of the things that I am thankful for. I was wearing my Garmin, but decided not to monitor my pace that day, as I was feeling very sluggish anyway. So, I started running. Let’s see, I thought to myself, I’m thankful for that job I’m complaining about, as so many people are out of work right now. Thank you, Lord, for my husband and my son. I’m grateful for a home...etc., etc. Suddenly the miles were ticking by, and I started to feel a lot better. In my head, I was HOPING for a 10:30 - 10:45 pace, but wasn’t counting on it. When I finished and finally looked at my Garmin, turns out I ran a 10:27 pace overall.

I know there are much worse circumstances than a bad run. However, it’s crucial to never lose sight of our blessings no matter what the situation. When Anna died in December, I have to admit, I couldn’t find much to be thankful for. In fact, while I never said much about it, I was pretty angry and hurt that our prayers weren't answered in the way that I wanted. It was so hard to be a comfort to my sister and her family when I, myself, was asking, Why? It just didn’t make sense. How could a beautiful little girl die on her 4th birthday? So, here we go. I’m thankful that Anna is forever pain free in the presence of Jesus, whom she loved so much. I’m thankful that I was there (I thought to celebrate Anna’s birthday) with my family on that day, and had the chance to "say good-bye". I am so very thankful for my sister’s example of faith which she still demonstrates every day, even as she struggles with her grief. I am grateful that I have now learned to cherish every second with my loved ones (or at least try to).
Anna Lynne Rogotzke
Always Remembered
Forever Loved
Some days are just plain tough. We might have a really bad day at work. Maybe our families aren’t living up to the picture-perfect ideal we have in our heads. We have disagreements with friends. All this is meaningless (and maybe could be prevented) if we take a moment to count our blessings. That life we’ve been complaining about suddenly starts to look pretty good, after all.

On a lighter note, it’s Friday!! On schedule today was a 4-mile run. I woke up to cool temps (in the 40's), and thought I would just go as fast as I could for as long as I could. Final result? 9:27 overall pace!!  I think mile 3 was 9:08.  (I'm not at my home computer to make sure...I know it was 9:0something) My previous best was 9:54 overall pace. Could I have held that for even one more mile? Probably not. Did I find out that there’s always potential to grow and improve if I push myself? You better believe it!!

Have a great weekend everyone...and don’t forget to count your blessings!

Sunday, June 12, 2011


While in San Diego, we were resting in the hotel room, and I suddenly sat up straight and said to my son, "Let me see your laptop!"  Why all the excitement?  I wanted to see if I won this hoodie:

And, guess what?  I did!!  This awesome mom and runner had a giveaway on her blog, and I loved this hoodie when I saw it. I was so excited to win! And....there it was in the mail yesterday!!

I's eerie how similar this is to the first picture. :)
This sweatshirt is sooo soft and comfortable.  I absolutely love it.  If you're interested in more information about it, you can check out this website.

Had a pretty easy week this week overall.  I'm following a mileage build-up schedule, and every third or fourth week is a recovery week.  That worked out well, since we had the San Diego trip last weekend.

Miles completed:
Wednesday - 4
Friday - 4
Saturday - 10:  (Had this little guy on my tail for part of the run...realized I could run faster when being chased by a dog, but I wouldn't recommend that as part of your training)

This week is much tougher. Somehow I have to figure out how to fit in 8 miles before work on Tuesday...ugh. 

Have a great week!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Waffles and Wishes / Virtual 5k

I've always known that Make-A-Wish is a wonderful organization.  I didn't fully realize just how wonderful, however, until my niece, Anna, was granted her wish.  Anna's wish to was to meet Cinderella, and what better place to meet a princess than Disney World? 
Anna, her brothers, my sister, and my brother-in-law all were treated to a wonderful vacation in Florida.  EVERYTHING was taken care of, and they got the VIP treatment the entire time.  I know that the memories of this trip are very special to them. 

So, when given the opportunity to attend a fundraiser called "Waffles and Wishes" to benefit the Northern Nevada chapter of Make-A-Wish yesterday, I jumped at the chance. 

Sorry for the blurry IPhone picture
 My husband, son, and I all were invited by a friend of my sister's who lives in our area.  A local casino/hotel sponsored the breakfast, and the attendees actually got to be part of a suprise wish being granted to a young teenager who was immediately whisked away to Nashville to meet Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift.  They showed a video of various children whose wishes have been granted.  I cried throughout the entire video remembering Anna.  It was a great event, and I know they raised quite a bit of money. 

In running news, I ran a virtual 5k for autism hosted by this lovely lady.  On my schedule for today was a 4 mile run, so I warmed up for about .9 miles, reset my Garmin, and "took off".  I have only really run one timed 5k a few years ago, and I finished in 34 minutes something.  I was hoping to run this one under 30 minutes.  The result:
Woo-hoo!  Got it by 5 seconds.  :)

Speaking of fundraising, my goal was to have all my stuff together by June 1.  On May 31, I realized that June was the NEXT DAY!  Where does the time go?  New goal is June 13.  I have a trip to Kinko's planned today for some serious copying, and then I should be good to go! 

Blessings on your day....remember to cherish every moment. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

San Diego Marathon Recap - from a spectator's point of view

I had been looking forward to this weekend for a long time!  It was the weekend of my husband's first marathon (hand-cycling). 

We left after work on Friday for the approximately 10 hour trip from Reno to San Diego.  We checked into our hotel about 2:00 a.m.  Being it was so late when we went to bed, we decided to not set an alarm the next day.  I was up by 8:00 a.m., basically annoying Bill and Jacob (husband and son) until they got up, too.  I really wanted to go the marathon expo, and the sunshine was SOOO beautiful (if you've been following this at all, you know we've lately been experiencing a great lack of Vitamin D where we live).  We got ready and headed out to the convention center for the expo. 
The aforementioned husband and son
In front of the convention center
We headed into the expo, and it was wall-to-wall people.  I am not really a crowd person, but there were lots of cool things to look at, so I decided to stick it out for a little while.  After about 45 minutes of pushing, shoving, screaming  browsing, we all had had enough.  Even if I found something I liked, it was so difficult to get to that I just gave up.  I took note of some websites and cool-looking gear, and decided I would look for the same things online from the comfort of my own home.  We ate lunch at the Fox Sports Grill which sat by this gorgeous place.
Then, it was time to head over to meet up with Bill's team (Achilles International) to load up his hand-cycle onto a U-Haul for transportation to the marathon the following morning.  After this, we headed back to our hotel.  My son and I decided to go for a little walk to map out our routine for the next day.  Our hotel was about 1/2 mile from Mile 12 of the marathon.  Our plan for the next day was to catch Bill at Mile 12 and take the trolley to the finish line.  We found the walk to be easy and the trolley station to be user-friendly.  No worries! 

We then met up with the team for dinner.  Let me just say Achilles Team is outstanding!  Great bunch of athletes, and the organizers and directors are simply amazing in all that they do. 

Sunday, we were up by 3:00 a.m.!!  The team bus left for the starting line at 4:00 a.m., and we were told to be prompt or they would leave.  I drove him to the meeting place, and went back to the hotel for about another hour's sleep.  Some friends from Phoenix were coincidentally in San Diego for a birthday celebration, so they met up with us to walk to the 12-mile marker.  I knew Bill was starting about 6:15 a.m., and his goal was 3 hours.  I was hoping to get there by 7:30, thinking that was plenty of time.  We got there way before that (before 7:00).  We noticed some hand-cyclists pass by. They weren't in the lane right by us, but on the other side of the street.  So, we hopped to the boulevard in the middle to get a better look when Bill went by.  The wheelchair competitors and the hand-cyclists shared the running lane with the elite runners.  I did not know this beforehand!  Consequently, we saw the lead marathon runners go by at Mile was amazing!!  They weren't even breathing hard, but going unbelievably fast (too fast to get a picture, unfortunately).  Then, at 7:20 a.m., we saw Bill coming up the hill to Mile 12.  

That cone is in the road, and not coming out of the top of his head.  I never claimed to be a great photographer.

  We clapped and cheered as he went by.  He looked great and was still smiling.  Then I realized what time it was!  What?!?  Wait...he did that first 12 miles pretty quickly.  We still have to get on the trolley, take that to the next station, and then walk over 1 mile to the finish.  I figured we better get going.  In the meantime, however, remember that lane we crossed to get to the middle of the road?  Yes, that's where all the other runners were now passing by en masse.  It was curb to curb half-marathoners and relay runners.  But, we had to get across to get to the trolley.  So, at the best opportunity we could find (which wasn't all that great...I apologize to any runners whose pace we absolutely ruined at that moment), we sprinted across.  However, we wasted about 15 minutes just waiting for that break!  We hurried to the trolley station, said good-byes to our friends, and bought our passes.  Unfortunately, the whole population of San Diego apparently wanted to get to the finish line on the trolley, as well.  The first train came to a stop at the station and the doors opened to ... people EVERYWHERE.  There was literally not one inch to stand on that trolley.  We had no choice but to wait for the next one.  About 5-10 minutes later (luckily, they had more frequent trains just for the marathon), another trolley pulled to a stop and...YES...there was room.  We squished on and headed to our next station.  After getting off the trolley, we half-ran and half-walked to the finish area.  There were people everywhere, so there was a lot of bobbing and weaving as we desperately tried to get to the finish on time.  (By the way, this counts as my one run for the weekend.  I tried to run on the treadmill at the hotel, but got motion sickness...yes, I'm a nerd).  We FINALLY made it to the finish line.  The clock over the banner read just past 2 hours.  I felt pretty safe that we had made it on time.  Right after we got there, we saw the winning male runner cross the finish!  It was very exciting to be a part of that.

Do you see him? neither

 We decided to try to get to the other side of the finish line for a better view.  We had just found a spot there, when my phone rang.  It was Bill saying he was at Mile 25.  We got our cameras ready hoping for a shot when he crossed.  While waiting, the winning female crossed the line!  It was so great to see this...she set a course record, from what I heard.  Awesome!!  A few minutes later, we saw Bill heading for the finish.  Unfortunately, there were so many people in the area that there was no way we could a get a picture of him crossing.  We did get one soon after, though.

The clock on the finish line banner said 2:25 something.  Official chip time was 2:29:16!  Over a half-hour better than his goal time!!  So proud and impressed by his effort.

After the marathon, a little of this:

And a little well-deserved this:
And, of course, this:
Yes, that says Cheesecake Factory...we HAVE to get one of these in Reno.  Little side-note:  If you love the chocolate mousse cheesecake there, DO NOT research how many calories is in that...I learned that the hard way.  Don't get me wrong, though.  I WILL order that again. 

We're home now, but the memories of this weekend will last a very long time.  Hope you all had a good weekend, as well.  If you want to get motivated to train for a half-marathon or a marathon, go watch one!!  I was even a little jealous that I wasn't out there running.  It is so motivating!