To Make a Donation to the 2016 team

Please visit my fundraising page to make a donation to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute ( Please help me reach my goal of $50,000 to fund important basic cancer research! With your support, we have already provided over $366,000 to Dana-Farber researchers over the past 9 years. Please give as generously as your means allow!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Live in the NOW

We got a lot of mileage out of the "live in the now" quote from Wayne's World way back when in college.  Probably not as much as the gun rack bit*, but a lot of mileage.  As ridiculous as it was in the movie, and increasingly ridiculous given how many times it was  repeated after seeing the movie (again...way too many times), it's an idea/a mantra/a theory/a belief that seems to keep showing up in my life.

There's been a lot in the news lately about mindfulness...about focusing on what is happening right now instead of concentrating on things other than what we are doing in this moment.  And the research shows, that we are happier and more content if we spend our time focused on NOW instead of letting our thoughts wander.  Even if what you are doing right now is watching soap suds spin down the drown.  It doesn't even seem to matter if the wandering mind goes to positive or negative experiences....the now wins out.  It's "Live in the NOW" backed by science!  I've been thinking about this a lot lately as I train for the marathon, and really just try to navigate life.

Last weekend I ended up doing a long run of about 10 miles on the treadmill.  I was dreading it, but we had some snow on Saturday and then freezing temperatures over night, so the roads were not in great shape and I was not psyched about the ice.  An hour and a half is a long time to spend on the treadmill, but I covered up the "dashboard" so I couldn't see how long I had been going, jumped on, and made a conscious choice to just run it out.  No bad attitude.  No dread.  No thinking about how many minutes I had been on there or how many I had left.  I just needed to hop on, push start and get it done, focusing on how I felt right then.  And it wasn't bad.  I'd venture to say it was pretty good.  I am realizing the same attitude affects a lot of my runs.  Before I leave I start thinking about how many miles I need to get in and how long it will take, but if I just take the first step and concentrate on RIGHT NOW, the response is usually that I feel okay and I enjoy it.

I am working on this in the day to day living, too.  I get in my own way of accomplishing things because I get too wrapped up in tomorrow or yesterday or 3 years ago, and then I don't get anywhere.  Not even started, much less close to finished.  I can get overwhelmed thinking about how today there are things that aren't as they are supposed to be or even close to what I expected life to be like.  I can spend a stupid amount of time pondering what I should be doing or would like to do or what would be fun or cool to be doing or how I want next month to be like or if I should just take a nap, all the while not thinking about right now.  More likely, just avoiding right now.  Despite all those expectations or beliefs or hopes of what "should" be, today is just today...not yesterday or tomorrow.  

There are so many things that have happened in life and many more that will happen that aren't changeable:  good, sad, joyful, defeating, angering, peaceful, shocking, boring.  Every day brings a host of new experiences and encounters from cancer invading our family to making bold moves to going for a run to cleaning the bathroom to connecting with a friend.  There's a way to not forget the past but to feel it and accept it as it is, nor to cease living with hopes or dreams for the future.  Just to accept where we are in this moment, on this day, what brought us here, whether good or bad.  I've got a long way to go to understand and to put this into practice, but I am trying to see clearly, to feel fully, to accept, and to use all of these things to live the life I'd like in the way that I'd like.  No what if this didn't happen or what if something else does...only just do.  Today.

Live in the NOW, Wayne.  And be good and strong while doing it.

*Wayne: A gun rack... a gun rack. Shyeah, Right! I don't even own A gun, let alone many guns that would necessitate an entire rack. What am I gonna do... with a gun rack? 
Stacy: You don't like it? Fine. You know Wayne, if you're not careful, you're going to lose me. 
Wayne: I lost you two months ago. We broke up. Are you mental? Get the net!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Forward progress

As we get into the thick of the marathon season, there are a few new things I am trying to do to connect the "running" and the "why" parts of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge.  There are hundreds of marathons run each year in this country, but I find the Boston Marathon to be a unique and uplifting experience because it involves being a part of the Dana-Farber team.  I started this blog for a few reasons, but a big reason was that I wanted this experience to become important and meaningful for all of you because the depth and breadth by which cancer has affected all of us is bigger than many of us realize. 

I have in past years asked you all to share the names of your friends and family members with cancer.  I'd like to go a little beyond just names this year, and share on the blog and on the facebook page more....a picture and some information.  I think it's important to understand how very real this is to many, many people.  I hope maybe it will provide some support, some community, some clarity, some strength.  If you are comfortable and willing, please email me at and let me know who you would like to recognize....share a picture, a story, how it has affected you.  In addition to sharing those stories, I'll will again be starting an In Memory/In Honor/In Support section on both pages, and will wear all of the names on my race day shirt.

I was also hoping to get a few guest bloggers to write some entries on here....what's your connection, why is the Barr Program and Dana-Farber important to you, what does "be good, be strong" mean, etc.  What's your perspective as a friend, family member, random reader, teammate?  Would love to be able to offer a broader view.  Think about it and let me know (!

Fundraising progress
Another thing I am doing is posting a map using the Boston Marathon course to show how the fundraising is going.  For every $763 raised, we'll move along the marathon course one mile with plans to reach 26.2 miles and $20,000 by April 16, 2012.  Currently, 46 people have made gifts to total $6,675.  Thanks so very much to those who have supported the DFMC so far this season.  This is truly an effort of many, many people coming together to reach a goal....taking part in whatever way we each can.  We're off to an amazing start and are at the 8.75 mile point on the course, and I am excited and anxious to keep moving forward down the road one mile at a time.

I've been using the Daily Mile website ( to track my training this year.  The bigger, better part of just having a place to write down your workout is that there is a community of teammates and friends who  provides support and motivation and where you can share your training, ask questions, commiserate, etc.  I'd encourage any of you who are runners, exercisers, athletes, or just starting out on a fitness path to sign up.  It tracks running, swimming, biking, yoga, cross-training...many options to fit your plans.  Please "friend" me since it is a social network of sorts in addition to a great place to monitor your activity.  It also adds some level of accountability, which I personally really need, and is proven to be helpful for anyone trying to keep up with or maintain any sort of fitness program or training plan...accountability AND support.  Since I am formally tracking my miles, I am also setting a goal to try to run 1200 miles in 2012.  There is is.  Written down.  Yikes.  So, sign up and find me on Daily Mile! 

Training update:

12/30:  4 miles
12/31:  8.4 miles

1/3:  4.4 miles (4x800 meter repeats)
1/4:  Stationary bike, 40 minutes
1/5:  8.4 miles, easy pace
1/6:  Stationary bike, 40 minutes
1/7:  3.6 miles
1/8:  13.4 miles, long run with DFMC team

1/9:  Yoga, 45 minutes
1/10:  4.75 miles (1200, 1000, 800, 600, 400 meters speed work)
1/11:  Stationary bike and strength training
1/12:  3 miles, treadmill
1/13:  14.1 miles, long run

1/17:  4 miles, treadmill
1/18:  6 miles treadmill

Be good. Be Strong.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Miles to go

Sometimes I start rolling along and things seem to be pretty constant without too many pace changes.  Certainly not following a straight and flat road, but riding along at a steady speed.  We made it through the holidays with some emotional ups and downs, but mostly happy and unscathed.  Kids are back to school.  Marathon training is moving forward as it should.  I am taking some steps to do some things I’ve been thinking about for a while. I’m thrilled with the support that has been shown to DFMC so far.  It hasn’t snowed more than a dusting.  Nothing too crazy, either good or bad. Just life.

And then I get knocked down.  Yesterday, my attention was once again primarily focused on the importance of this marathon endeavor.  A friend that lives in town sent me a message asking me to recognize her husband this year as he was getting ready to start his second round of chemotherapy after having been in remission for 3 months.  What?!?  I didn’t even know he had been diagnosed and was so surprised to read her message.  It guess it was so unexpected because this town we live in feels like it can close in around you quickly with how small it feels and the speed at which “news” travels, yet I can go months or years without seeing someone that lives within the few square miles we call home.  We met when our kids were pretty much babies.  Once they got to school age and were in different schools, our paths didn't cross as often although we would catch up on the soccer field or in line for ice cream in the summer.  Clearly, it had been too long.  I wanted to know that they were okay, and if they needed anything, and if there was anything that could be done to help them out. How was he doing?  How were the kids?  How was she?  I have learned the importance of a community giving a helping hand, and I hope that many hands had lent if that was what they needed or wanted.  And I totally understand if it was what they didn't want, too, because sometimes moving forward at your own pace, with your own rules, is what you need.  Either way, I have been thinking about their family all day, and hoping that he gets through this next round in good health and good spirits.  And that the rest of the family does the same.

We also heard yesterday about a woman (although I am more inclined to call her a girl, as I do most people my age) who went to college with my husband and me.  She also grew up in my husband’s hometown and they knew each other in high school and share many friends.  After a year of battling breast cancer, she passed away yesterday at her home.  She, too, has 2 young children and the reality of this all is that just isn’t fair.  She was a girl.  Still a young adult and too young for this.  I did not know her well, but do know all too well what the next few days and weeks and years hold for her family and friends.  It makes me sad. It’s devastating.  And it isn’t fair.

So I am running.  And running and running.  Running away from the stress and sadness.  Running towards health and healing and relief.  Towards a cure.

If you are able, please consider a donation.   Every dollar helps.  Every cent goes to fund research at one of the top cancer centers in this country.  If the time is not right for a monetary gift, please consider giving of your time by volunteering.  We’ve got miles to go, and we can make a difference together. 

Be good.  Be strong.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

New Year, New DFMC Challenge

Happy New Year!  I hope this January finds you happy and well, and ready to challenge the New Year.   For me, the beginning of the year brings about the excitement and mission of training for the 2012 Boston Marathon in an effort to raise funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.  I will be running again as a member of the Dana-Farber Marathon Challenge (DFMC) team, and I would be grateful for your support of this respected and meaningful cause. 
Running the marathon for the DFMC to raise valuable funds for innovative cancer treatment is an incredibly personal and important experience.  I take these steps to honor my sisters and brother, Molly, Mary and John, who devastatingly lost their lives to cancer as young adults.  The DFMC allows me the opportunity to pay tribute to their memories, their lives, their strength, their will, and the beauty they brought to the world, while simultaneously helping to better the future of all cancer patients by raising funds for the Barr Program at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. And to be honest, the entire experience helps me do some healing, too.  It is unfathomable to me that my siblings are not here with us today, and their very absence is what propels to me to continue.  Molly, Mary and John believed in fighting the good fight and they never gave up on themselves and their family, nor did they stop doing their part to improve the future of cancer patients.  I will not give up on them, and am committed to doing what I can to assist in finding new treatments and eventually a cure. 
Every cent of your gift – a full 100 percent-  goes directly to funding research through the Claudia Barr Program in Innovative Basic Cancer Research at Dana-Farber, widely recognized as one of the most successful programs of its kind.  Based on a rigorous and highly selective process, the Barr Program funds the brightest scientists making basic research discoveries that are transforming cancer treatment.  These breakthroughs are resulting in improved survival rates and quality of life for thousands of patients everywhere.  Many of you have been ongoing supporters of my participation in the marathon for the past 3 years, and it is because of your unfailing generosity that I am able to once again take part.
We unfortunately, yet surely, live in a world where 1 in 2 men and 1 in 3 women will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime, so taking steps now to help find a cure will be beneficial to us all in the future.  Suffice it to say, there are many, many others who I also run to recognize including my aunts and grandmothers, my mother-in-law, my husband’s aunt, many friends and their loved ones.  I run for daughters, brothers, cousins, wives, and fathers.  I run for our kids and for our future.  Please let me know if there is someone you would like me to recognize and I would be privileged to honor them during the marathon.
Making an online gift is easy.  Just visit and follow the link to make a gift.  You can also send a check made out to the Dana Farber Marathon Challenge to me at home (let me know if you need the address).  Thank you in advance for your kindness and support.  I can’t imagine not taking these steps in tribute to Molly, Mary and John, and it would not be possible without your generosity.   Please know how much this means to me and my family.  With your help, we are truly making a difference.   A cancer diagnosis can change your world.  We, together, can change how cancer affects our world.  
Be good.  Be Strong.
Jennie Firth Sheridan