Saturday, August 4, 2012

Why I love training with Donna...

Donna is a person. Donna is a foundation. Donna is a race.

Donna Deegan is the reason behind what I do every Saturday morning. She is an inspiration to me! Her story is incredible and has played out on the local news here in Jacksonville as she is one of our local news anchors. She is a fighter. She believes in hope. Her passion for her foundation and for finishing breast cancer are unmatched! I am so proud to run with her every week!

The Donna Foundation "raises money to be used exclusively for First Coast women living with breast cancer... who, for whatever reason, can't make ends meet." I believe that their mission is a unique and incredible one! The money helps women right here, every day, in just continuing to live their lives after such a devastating diagnosis.

The 26.2 with Donna, the National Marathon to Finish Breast Cancer, is a local race doing local good - but also GLOBAL good! The money we raise not only helps the Donna Foundation but also helps fund some of the most cutting edge research to find a cure for breast cancer. Our own Mayo Clinic is leading the way right now in finishing breast cancer! It's an amazing thing! But the really amazing thing is the crowd support in this marathon/half marathon. It is like nothing you have ever seen before! The cheering, the pink, the signs, the decorations - blocks and blocks of street parties to celebrate us as runners and help us through! If you have never run this race and live anywhere close by (or far away!) you really should add it to your MUST DO race list! You will NOT be sorry!

That's me in the black waving as we run thru Atlantic Beach
So back to me! Why I love this training: Jacksonville Galloway Training. Every Saturday morning beginning in July, I roll out of my comfy bed way too early and head to some new destination to run with a whole bunch of people! I did this from July 2011 to March 2012 and we have started up again this year! This year I decided I wanted to be a group leader with the training program. I love being a coach and helping people reach their goals. I want to be as involved as possible with 26.2 with Donna. I believe in their mission and goals and the way they do things!
Saturday is one of the most positive, happy days of my week! I always look forward to our group runs - no matter how early, how hot or cold or how many miles we will be running!
My past three Saturdays have been full of positive, happy people and events! On July 21st we had our Group Leader Magic Mile. The Magic Mile is a formula Jeff Galloway uses to help us determine our ultimate paces for all distances. I had a goal to break my last MM time of 8:09 from last September. But deep in my heart of hearts and left unspoken was another goal: Break 8:00!
My fast shoes and my 7:59:04 time!!

So my day started off with a bang to say the least! Then came the celebration run for the Getting Started Galloway group. Every year they host a Getting Started 5k at the end of their 9 weeks of training. For many of these men & women this is their first ever 5k! And I was in charge of medals! Very cool!

Medal Girl
See why this is such a positive environment? How could you not be happy in this group?!?
I love pink!
So last week we had our first week of Marathon Training for the new year. Lots of new people but tons of alumni! We really love this group! We keep coming back! It was like a big family reunion seeing old friends from last year and catching up.
Catching up with friends
At the new Donna Headquarters - <3 the surfboard!

We always start with a shout of "Goooood Morning" from the National Program Director for Jeff Galloway’s Training Programs who just happens to live locally, Chris Twiggs. I don't know how we could ever start without his morning welcome! It's like the bell at the beginning of a school day! Except his welcome always makes me giggle! School bells don't do that for me... Very often when he is speaking about our run for the day, Tim Deegan, (local meteorologist & husband to Donna) will insert silly comments and various weather predictions. Again giving us all a good laugh. Then it's time for the Inspire portion when Donna will sometimes say something about what we are doing to help others, the latest research or how much she loves us. I get teary eyed just thinking about it!


After all of the morning welcomes we then head off to run! The first two weeks of training runs are always a bit chaotic! I love that I have done this before and now know what to expect! We "do the Galloway" (insert link to video here: Do the Galloway) so we Run-Walk-Run in various intervals. If you are new to the group, you stick with someone leading a group of runners or walkers that you think you might fit with. Because Donna has a new headquarters right next to the University of North Florida, we got to run thru part of this beautiful, naturally preserved campus! It was lovely!
Coming back from our 3 mile run
This week we had our Magic Mile for everyone in training. I wasn't really planning on running it...or at least not running really hard...But I did run it and sorta-kinda helped pace a new member/running buddy. We always warm up for 1.5 miles first with intervals and then line up to run an out and back mile with a time clock. We were in the second group. I asked her what pace she wanted and she said whatever, so I ran - and left her behind! Oops! Some pacer, huh? I felt strong and pretty good, like I wasn't really pushing it. I slowed down to cheer her on at the turnaround and then sped up at the end. I did not hit 7:59 again or better but she hit what she wanted for her pace so YAY!
It was another great Saturday morning! It doesn't matter if we meet at 6am or that it is freezing cold and dark in December. It doesn't matter that I have to be up at 4:30am to drive 45 minutes to get to our training location for the week. I know when I get there I will be among friends. I will be welcomed and inspired. I will get in an awesome training run for a wonderful cause!
My crazy fun training group from last year! The Lost Soles
Shameless fundraising plug: the race might not be until February 17, 2013, but I have started my fundraising already! Last year I had a goal of $1000 - I only made it to $640. This year, I want to hit $1000!!! We have all been affected by breast cancer in some way. Wouldn't it be great to FINISH it?!?
Help me fundraise. It's fun and it makes you feel good.


  1. Awesome! Sounds like a great race and great group of people! Good luck on leading the training and on your race!

  2. Marcia, what you're doing is soo amazing!
    I don't know if you realize this, but you're definitely changing a lot of people's lives-- directly AND indirectly. It's so inspiring!!
    Congrats on beating you MM time, and good luck on the training and race! :)

    1. Aww! Katie! Thank you!!!! So sweet! :-)