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Dear Friends,

I'm running another marathon and I need your help! The Chicago Marathon is on October 12, 2008 and I'll be there at the starting line when the gun goes off at 8:00 am. In 2007 the Chicago Marathon raised over $10 million for a variety of charity organizations worldwide. In order to participate in this race I have pledged to raise donations in the amount of $900 for the Alzheimer's Association. Please consider making a donation in any amount to help me achieve my goal.

Sponsoring my run is simple:

1) Go to the
Alzheimer's Association Chicago Marathon site

2) Enter my name and click on it to arrive at the donation button

See? You have the easy part. I'm the one getting up early in the mornings to log the long hard miles!

Laurie, Karen and Nan
My mother Karen, my grandmother "Nan" and me. February 2006.
Alzheimer's has touched my family and statistics being what they are, it could be that your family has experienced it, too. My maternal grandmother, Helen Ann Kalbrener, died in 2007 at the age of 93 after struggling for several years with the many losses that Alzheimer's brings. At the time of her diagnosis she agreed to be part of a research project that tested potential treatment medications. She knew this study might not help her but she hoped that by participating she could help others in the future.

Alzheimer's is difficult for the person who has the disease but it's equally challenging for their family members and caregivers. The mission of the Alzheimer's Association is: to eliminate this disease through advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health. That's a worthy goal and I'm prepared to run for it!

Here are the answers to some common questions people have posed to me lately:

How long is the marathon?
26.2 miles!

For God's sake, why run 26.2 miles?
Good question! It's what I ask myself when I'm 10 miles into a long training run and the answer is: Because I CAN! At least I THINK so. I've run three successful marathons in the past but the last one in Florence, Italy was in 2001 - almost seven years ago. I think I still have at least one more in me so I'll give it a shot (Also, scientific studies suggest that exercise can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's).

How long does it take you to run a marathon?
My best marathon time was 4 hours 22 minutes in Portland, OR in 1998. I'm not speedy but I do have endurance and I just keep putting one foot in front of the other until I get to the end.

Have you been training for this?
Yes, I started in April and I've gradually ramped up the miles every week. If you'd like to check on my progress you can go to my blog (at the top right of this page), then click the "marathon" tag in the right column. I'll keep you informed of my training situation with regular updates.

OK, I made a donation to sponsor you. What else can I do to help?
Send me an occasional email with encouraging words! A marathon is just as much a mental game as it is physical. And on October 12th if you can't be in Chicago on the sidewalk cheering for all 45,000 runners you can just send me some good mental energy and positive thoughts. I'll feel it... and I'll definitely need it at about mile 20 - that's where some runners hit "The Wall."

What's "The Wall"?
It's the point in the marathon (or any other ridiculously long and grueling physical endeavor) when the body's resources of accessible energy run out - muscles are screaming for fuel they're not receiving and it can feel impossible to physically keep moving forward. The mind can become fatigued, too and thoughts such as, "Wait...why the heck am I DOING this?" begin to make themselves known.

How will you celebrate after it's over?
First I'll eat whatever's in sight... and then I'll take a really long nap. That's about it!

Thank you, I greatly appreciate you donations and support!