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Duff’s Fall ’13 Team in Training Page

Elite Challenge

Aug 07, 2013 by Robert Duff

So I was with the team running a 10 mile training run this past Saturday at Valley Forge Park. If you have never been there before, there is no flat spot. Hills upon hills, up and down, sometimes so tough that Kenyans train there. In any case I was ready for a big milestone in my return to running. I knew that if I could run 10 miles I could run 13.1 next month. Hells bells, I could probably take on a 50k but we will have to see about that.

There I was, at about mile 3 when I remembered back to my first marathon. It was Cleveland in ’07 and every mistake in training I had made came to light. The thing was that at about 4 hours I was still several miles out and realized that the winners had finished almost 2 hours ago. I finished 42 minutes later and was feeling really cheated. Those “winners” had cheated. Was it really that hard to run for a little over two hours? I mean, seriously. Try running for 4 hours or in one case back in my heyday it took me 7 and half hours. Of course it was in Reading, PA which makes Valley Forge look like a kiddie roller coaster.

Back to where I was. It was a 10 mile run with the team and about mile 3 I was thinking those elites need to come on back. Sure go ahead and run the race and win. You elites, that’s right the gazelles out there, this is my challenge to you. Finish on up with a chance to win it all then catch a cart or jog on back and pace some of the rest of us back. For one thing it would be awesome to meet you guys and trust me we are awesome as well. We love to talk and enjoy the event. And you don’t have to stick with one of us. Just a few minutes and trade off.

Come on. I dare you.

Coming Along

Jul 27, 2013 by Robert Duff

Well things are coming along. I was out on a nine mile run with the team today. It was awesome. I am still slow but my endurance is improving. I was at about the turn around point when I was thinking about my progress. I remember it was the day after the Boston Marathon and I decided to go out for a run for them. I had not run since the previous august but I knew I could do it. I went just over a half a mile at about a 18 minute pace and it damn near killed me.

Then we come to the Team. It was the kick off for the fall season and there we were. I had just rushed over from the infusion center where I had gotten my standard micafungen dose. I got there and everybody was ready for a run. We were only doing 30 minutes of run. So 15 minutes out and turn around. I should have turned around at about 10 minutes but it was okay. I was not really in trouble but I was truely spent after that. Really, it was less than 2 miles and I was tapped.

But not two months later I was there at Fairmount park running by the schukill river like the old days trying to run a 9 miler. I failed in some sense. I totally missed the 4 1/2 mile mark for the turn around in my reverie and then mistook the 4 3/4 mile mark for 4 1/2 mark. I’m not crazy. My mind is just playing tricks on me. But it was amazing that I am at this point already.

Well, it turned out to be a great 9.5 mile run.

Role Reversals and Great Conversations

Jul 17, 2013 by Robert Duff

Well training has been going well. I have been getting some of my endurance back and the speed is coming along. The team is really helping. We start out as a group and my pace is somewhere inbetween that of the run-walkers and the walkers. I am used to running alone so it is no big deal that I am on my own during these team runs. But really this is a team. My wonderful coaches have always turned back and helped pace me in. We usually talk about how things are going and races and the like. It is awesome.

My parents came up for a visit last week and after 18 hours of driving I told my father to rest up because were going out for a run the next day. Most of his running days are over but he has transitioned to the bike with a health mix of softball. I dusted off my old bike and we went off to Valley Green. It was an opportunity to put 5 miles on my trail shoes. It was a complete role reversal. Way back in the day, about 30 years ago, it was him running down the road and me along side on the bike. I was usually struggling to keep up but in the end it was him that inspired me to start running and running marathons. This time he was struggling to stay upright from my slow pace but it was awesome. We just kept talking while I trudged along and I had instant water right there on the bike. At one point I lost track of where we were and asked if we had passed the covered bridge yet. He did not know but a fine gentleman on the trail confirmed that we had passed it and were in the home stretch. We finished with negative splits and I was awesome.

Two days later, I introduced my parents to Valley Forge National Park. We met up in the parking lot and I explained that this was flat part of the course. Not 100 meters into the loop a gear not usually reached by my father was nessecary to keep going. I gave him a few warnings. Like stay out of the high grass or ticks will swarm on you and don’t underestimate the hills. He got to see the some log cabin reporductions and the stone chapels. There is nothing easy about running Valley Forge but it was amazing and seemed to fly by even with my slug pace. I was telling him how Kenyans trained on these grounds. We discussed the Tour de France and how we are both Livestrong and Armstong supporters. He still thinks I am crazy for taking on the Dopey Challenge but then he has agreed that nothing has changed. Well somethings do change but that is mostly just age.

What an awesome week of training and I cannot wait to get back to the team for another long run.

Circumference Day

Jun 28, 2013 by Robert Duff

It is Circumference Day!!!!!

Sure you may not have heard of it but it exists. Well at least in my mind. Why is it Circumference day? Well, the circumference of a circle is 2 times Pi times the radius of a circle. Well it is 6/28 which is two times pi. I miissed Pi day on 3/14 and it has disturbed me greatly.

So it is Circumferce Day. I have already taken care of the 6.28 all you need to do is pick a radius. Is it 1? That would make a great donation of $6.28. Perhaps you would like to try 5? A donation of $31.40 would be much appreciated. Of course there is 10, 100, and a 1000. Those are amazing. How about a table with a few radii to help out.

Radius: 1_ __2___ 3 ____4 ___5 ___10 ___15 ___20 ___25 __50 __100

2 π: __6.28 12.56 _18.84 _25.12 _31.4 _62.80 _94.2 _125.6 _157 __314 _628

Pick any radius you want andlets to run around in circles!

Minutes in a year…

Jun 14, 2013 by Robert Duff

Just yesterday was the anniversary. A year ago I was diagnosed with Lymphoma. It was the start of a new life for me. In that time 105120 people have also been diagnosed with a blood cancer.

Thanks go to the musical Rent for that figure. Their song Seasons of Love which starts with “525600 minutes” so I divided by 5 to get that number. It is amazing how small a year seems when you talk about seasons (4), months (12), weeks (52) or days (365.25). But when you think in minutes or future survivors a year can seem kind of enormous. Every minute has had its challenges and joys. Those first few were used up with shock and those stages of grief. Some of those challenges like chemo, scans, naseua, hair loss, hospital food can seem like low minutes. Those joys like the rally cry of friends and family, doctors visits with good news, getting that annoyed look from a nurse when I do something clever or when I get back to running make up for all of those low minutes.

I have to thank Rent again for the phrase “Living with, not dieing form disease.” That is what we are doing. Those 105,120 of us diagnosed in the past year are living. We are going back to work and hanging out with friends and making new ones and having new experiences every minute. I returned back to running with a new body to work out and in the process joined up with Team In Training to support my fellow survivors, medical teams and make some new friends along the way.

So heres to many more minutes to all of us.

Older posts

Supporter’s Comments

  • “So glad you’ll finally be sporting the purple. I hope the experience is one you remember forever. Go TEAM!”

    Abbey DeGraffenreid

    Mon Jun 03 11:30:14 EDT 2013

  • “Go Team!”

    Allison Wick

    Tue Jun 04 12:39:24 EDT 2013

  • “Robert, Do what you can to improve day by day. The glory is in the race, not where or when you finish…. We are very proud of you. Mon and Dad “

    Chuck and Maggie Duff

    Tue Jun 11 12:42:31 EDT 2013

  • “Go team go….run run run….we will beat these disease some day! Patricia Cornett Farley”

    Patricia Cornett-Farley

    Thu Jun 27 06:04:22 EDT 2013

  • “Congrats on winning my mentor contest! Go Team!”

    Noel Dietrich

    Sat Jun 29 11:22:00 EDT 2013

  • “Duff WILL beat this!”

    Allison, Jeff, Cassie and Will Moore

    Mon Aug 26 08:39:31 EDT 2013

  • “Good luck Robert! Hope you kick Cancer’s ass!”

    Thomas Shakely

    Fri Sep 06 02:14:02 EDT 2013

  • “Wishing you all the best Robert!”

    Marios Avgousti

    Sat Sep 07 09:12:00 EDT 2013

  • “Congratulations Robert! I can’t believe you hunted me down, but sure am glad that you did! I hope that this run is an amazing experience for you. And most of all, I wish you success in your climb to recovery and a stable healthy future! My mom passed away of cancer in February, so I will make this donation as a friend of yours and in memory of her. Go get em guy! Dean’o”

    Dean Miller

    Tue Sep 10 07:38:49 EDT 2013

  • “Robert, Glad to hear you’re doing well. Keep going! We miss you. Mark Weinberg”

    Mark Weinberg

    Tue Sep 10 10:50:24 EDT 2013

  • “Pulling for you in all things. Have a great run and beat the F#*K out of cancer!”

    Christopher Lutz

    Mon Sep 16 09:21:52 EDT 2013

  • “GO, GO, GO! John and Kim Morgan”

    John & Kim Morgan

    Mon Sep 16 09:39:48 EDT 2013


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