DIY – Thank You Notes

In a previous post, I wrote about my homemade thank you notes. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of them before I mailed them off to the people who generously donated to the Pan Mass. Thankfully, a bunch of people donated to my ride since that post and I just spent the afternoon created new cards and writing messages of thanks to be mailed out tomorrow.

This time I took some pictures of these cards. I think it is pretty impressive what you can do with some craft paper, stamps, markers and stickers.

Again, thank you for all of your generous support. We are closer by the mile in finding a cure for cancer.

Thank You

When I was younger, writing “thank you cards” after Birthday parties and Christmases was an annual ritual. Both Abby and I were told the importance of this gesture and certainly made aware if we ever forgot to write one in a timely manner. As much as it was a pain when we were younger, I am so happy that my mother was such a stickler back then. Now, I pride myself on my thank you cards. They are sincere and heartful. They get to the point, but include more than “thanks for the gift.” And now… they are homemade.

I spend the last few nights slaving away at my craft desk. I armed myself with glue, craft paper, stamps, decorative whole punches, alphabet stickers and of course, card stock. I cut, measured, stamped, drew and glued together tiny symbols of thanks.

Thanks for support in the Pan Mass. Thanks for hope that is given to cancer patients being treated at the Dana Farber Center. Thanks for the possibility of a cancer free future.

Over the next few days, my PMC supporters will receive these tiny envelops of thanks. I hope that they realize just how much their donations and support mean to me. The memories and emotions that the PMC creates are hard to put into words. I can only hope that people are able to gain a small sense of what I feel, through my emails, conversations and pictures.

 

So, I say again, thank you to all of my friends and family who have generously donated to the Pan Mass Challenge. I have raised over $2,000 in donations from 24 different people, and I am still counting! I can receive donations through October so it isn’t too late to make yours. [Click to Donate]

Pace Yourself

With two weeks to go until the Pan Mass Challenge I am starting to feel a mix of emotions: excitement, happiness and a small dose of nervousness. Although the PMC has been the best weekend of my life for the past two years, it is not a weekend that passes without a lot of effort. Biking 190 miles in two days is a challenge: mentally and physically. I have been trying to prepare myself with bike rides in Central Park and riding on my trainer while watching the Tour De France (yes, just call me Dupree, from the movie You Me and Dupree). Unfortunately, a lesson that I have been trying to learn for 27 years, is still posing problems for me; the lesson of pacing oneself.

The other day, I decided to ride 3 laps of the park (each lap is 6 miles). I started out strong averaging 18.5 miles per hour. By the second lap, my average dropped to 18.1 and by the third I was down to 17.4. I went out after it and crashed and burned.

One of my most memorable swims was in the 200 backstroke at the Ivy Championships in 2004. I went hard. I was more than 2 full seconds ahead of the field at the halfway point. Unfortunately, I crashed and burned.

Event 16 – Women’s 200 Yard Backstroke

Molly Brethauer       Harvard       JR

28.05        57.59 (29.54)      1:29.20 (31.61)           2:02.95 (33.75)

I finished the event in 5th place.

During my first half marathon, Boston’s Run To Remember, I ran my first mile in 7 minutes. I finished the race in 1 hour and 58 minutes, making my pace over 9 minutes per mile. Again, I crashed and burned.

Today went I rode 4 laps around the park, I tried to pace myself. I started off nice and easy; however it wasn’t long before another bike rode by me… a girl. Clearly my plan of pacing myself went out the window. I raced around for 2 more loops before complete crashing and burning. On my last loop, my average pace dropped significantly. Thankfully, I finished my ride ahead of the girl who caused me to forget my pace.

So while I am still learning to pace myself in many aspects of my life, I can go to sleep tonight, tired, but feeling victorious. I won. Who cares that no one else in the park knew there was a race going on.

 

Hitting the Refresh Button

I just spend my morning at work, sitting at my computer hitting the refresh button on my computer every 10 seconds. What is the cause of this obsessive compulsive action you ask? Lance Armstrong.

I have been a Lance fan from the beginning. But then again, who wasn’t. Anyone who has the ability to transform a sport, through complete domination automatically gains the curiosity, and most often, support from the public. Lance did just that with his historic 7 Tour De France wins. However, what makes Lance’s story so much more spectacular is the fact that he did this, after beating another opponent: cancer.

In October 1996 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, with a tumor that had metastasized to his brain and lungs. His cancer treatments included brain and testicular surgery and extensive chemotherapy, and his prognosis was originally poor. He went on to win the Tour de France each year from 1999 to 2005, and is the only person to win seven times.

During his treatment, before his recovery, before he even knew his own fate, he created the Lance Armstrong Foundation. This marked the beginning of Lance’s life as an advocate for people living with cancer and a world representative for the cancer community. With their now infamous yellow wristbands, the Livestrong organization strives to ‘to inspire and empower’ cancer sufferers and their families. The foundation also aims to provide practical information and tools for cancer sufferers in a, public health and research. With over 70 million wristbands sold, the foundation is known around the world and it making a real difference in the lives of cancer patients.

Lance is an inspiration. While I don’t always support all of the decisions he makes, he is the type of person that you want to root for. He represents so much more than winning.

I hope that my commitment to the Pan Mass Challenge can help to make a difference, no matter how small, in the lives of cancer patients. While my fundraising is off to a slow start, I am confident that the support I have seen in the past, will return. For those of you who have already generously make your donation, I thank you. You will be in my thoughts as I ride across the state, and your actions will be felt at the Dana Farber Center.

To make a donation, please visit my profile here: DONATE HERE!

While Lance’s efforts today did not result in a stage win, in my mind, he is still the best rider in the Tour de France . LIVESTRONG!

Pan Mass Challenge

Pan Mass Challenge – 2010

Nearly 3 years have passed since I first decided to participate in the Pan Mass Challenge. A lot has happened to me in those three years: I moved from Boston to New York, I changed jobs two times, and after dating for 8.5 years, Matt and I finally got engaged. Our world has also seen a lot of changes in those last three years: We have a new president; Oprah announced her retirement and the economy took a turn for the worst. Our country has been forced to rethink its priorities and expectations; however, one thing that has remained constant is our desire to improve, both as individuals and as a country.

The Pan Mass is an organization that has been striving for improvement for more than 30 years. Through fundraising efforts, the Pan Mass has raised more than 270 million dollars for cancer research and treatment. Over the years, the survival rate for cancer has steadily risen as the technology, treatments and understanding of this disease has changed and increased. What sets the Pan Mass Challenge apart from other fundraising efforts is their ability to pass 100% of its donations directly on to the Dana Farber Center. With their proven track record and millions of supporters, the PMC has become the most successful athletic fundraiser in the world. It is something that I believe in whole-heartedly and something that has had a very real impact on my family’s life this year.

A few weeks after last year’s PMC my mother was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. They caught it early, treated it quickly and while her “battle” against cancer was a very real one, it was also a very small dose of the battles that so many other individuals and families are fighting. Although my mother was not treated at the Dana Farber Center, I am certain that the contributions that the Pan Mass, and other organizations like them, have made over the years, have led to large advances in cancer prevention, screening and treatment. Seeing, and experiencing firsthand, the good that can come from something so simple has inspired me to ride in the Pan Mass Challenge for a third year.

This year, Matt, my sister and my mom, will ride with me and we will all be riding the two-day route from Sturbridge to Provincetown.  As we pedal across the state, we will be surrounded by other riders and volunteers, whose lives have been touched by cancer as well. Some of these people will have stories with happy endings and others will have stories that are now only memories. But together, we hope to fight back against cancer. I hope that you can support me in this fight.

Please visit my profile to make a donation here: http://www.pmc.org/egifts/MB0342

3 Day Weekend, How I Love Thee

So it is Friday morning at 8:30am. Only 7.5 long hours until I am free from work and get to enjoy a glorious long holiday weekend. There really is nothing better than 3 day weekends, besides maybe 4 or permanent vacation; however we all know that at the age of 27, I am probably still a little too young to retire.

I have started to make a list of things that I want to accomplish this weekend. I don’t necessarily have lots of chores or things around the house that I want to get done, but if I don’t make a list of all of the fun things, I sometimes find myself wasting perfectly good days watching hours of Mad Men in our apartment (which Matt turns into a cave by shutting ALL of our blinds), baking cupcakes for no real reason, or folding insane amounts of laundry (honestly, how does 1 boy product so much dirty laundry?).

So here is a list of all of the fun things I would like to do this weekend:

1. Teach a swimming lesson (alright, not that fun, but I already scheduled this).

2. Go for a bike ride to my new favorite place, Piermont with my favorite people Matt and Abby.

3. Visit my new find: Purl, an arts & crafts heaven located in SOHO. Make something from their blog.

4. Finish my new apron that I started to make last weekend. All I need to do is sew on a pocket and it will be complete! Pictures to come.

5. Go to Long Island to see a prospective wedding band. Clearly this means fist pump along to the songs, hopefully with my MOH (maid of honor) and BM (best man), and of course Matty.

6. Go to the Container Store and get a few more things for my kitchen cabinets – I am nearly finished with my re-organization project.

7. Paint Abby’s apartment back to white. Since she is moving (sad) we have to paint over the awesome stripped hallway we created last year when we were living together.

8. Go to Fairway and buy some food. Right now we are down to cheese, beer and 18 sticks of unsalted butter in our refrigerator.

9. Get Matty to watch Tropic Thunder so we can return it and get the next movie on our Netflix queue, Valentine’s Day (clearly this is my pick!)

10. Dominate my new favorite workout video: Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred. This video has 3 20 minute circuits that are SO hard. I will look like Jillian in 30 days!

Lots to do! Hopefully I will report back on Monday with a list of things I accomplished this weekend.