One of my favorite people ever, Kara, is doing something incredible this summer — she is competing in an Ironman AND raising an amazing amount of money for the The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Read more about her journey below! 

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Hi everyone! I’m Kara from KaraRuns.com. The lovely Lora has graciously offered to let me guest post today to share something I’m extremely passionate about. Thanks Lora!

First: I’ve decided to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a marathon (that’s 26.2 miles) as a participant in Ironman Lake Placid on July 28th. All in the same day. No naps in between. Yikes. WHY WOULD I EVER WANT TO DO THAT, you ask? As cliche and simple as it is…because I can. To create a platform to raise money for cancer research. To help improve the quality of life of cancer patients. I want to NEVER AGAIN hear that another person has been diagnosed with cancer. So, hey, since I’m not becoming rich and famous anytime soon, an Ironman sounds like a great idea, right?!  Plus, you get to do a lot of eating and carb-loading, which I don’t hate.

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Yay carb loading!

While, yes, I’m very passionate about running and swimming and biking (well, not as much the swimming...tips for not drowning are welcomethe real reason I’m doing this is to raise $10,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society through their program called Team In Training. I hope to wake up on my birthday, July 29th, as an official Ironman; knowing that I was able to raise 10,000 extra dollars that LLS didn’t have when I signed up. And don’t think I’m some crazy, accomplished athlete; I hadn’t even done a sprint triathlon when I signed up (I’ve done two now). If my past is any indication of my athletic ability, I shouldn’t be so confident. However, evidently I believe I can do this. So here I am!

I ran my first half marathon in Disney World, and my first marathon in San Diego; both with Team In Training. Each were equally life changing and catapulted to me where I am now. This time around, I want to challenge myself even more. (I can only imagine what kinds of obscenities I’ll be uttering to myself on raceday. I’ll probably be cursing myself for not choosing a different challenge like a pie eating contest or something.) When I ran the NYC Marathon in 2011, my mantra of sorts was…”keep going. This pain will end. I have a choice.” I had the initials of one very special person on my hand as a reminder. Cancer patients don’t have a choice. This is why I run. And swim. And bike.

My first half marathon. (It was snowing. IN FLORIDA.)

I never got to meet my maternal grandmother. I never got to meet the woman who raised my mother, the most amazing woman in the world. I grew up hearing wonderful stories about how fabulous and hard-working she was. Stupid cancer took away someone who should have been one of the most important people in my life, 3 months before I was born. That still makes me angry. My grandma didn’t die from a blood cancer like leukemia, but LLS funded research teams have started to develop treatments for blood cancers that can be used in non-blood cancer cases as well. I have complete faith in LLS and the research they support and I truly believe that raising funds for them is the best thing I can do. Fun fact: 28 out of 50 new cancer drugs (for all cancers) were first approved to treat a blood cancer. Why should we have to grow up in a world where cancer still steals some of the brightest and kindest people from us?

Someday, I want my grandchildren to look in an old textbook and wonder, “hey, what’s this leukemia thing?” They will never have heard of lymphoma because it will be LONG GONE by then. I want to tell them about the wonderful things LLS did back when there were still horrible blood cancers in the world. But not anymore. Let’s make this happen in our lifetime, okay? Okay.


So now, I’m officially 14 weeks into my training schedule. I’ve been facing a lot of challenges (WHY DO I EAT SO MUCH!), but nothing I can’t handle. Not once have I asked myself why I was running outside on a 10 degree night. Why I opted for the cold park instead of my warm bed. Why I stay in on Friday nights so I can ride my bike for 4 hours on a Saturday morning. I plan to embrace this whole cycle for everyone who can’t; everyone who is fighting a much harder battle than I will. I want to be an Ironman, and I want to be a top fundraiser for LLS. I want to make a difference in my life and the lives of others, and this is the beginning. It’s so wonderfully exciting and nerve-wracking. 

In the words of the speaker at an “inspiration dinner” for Team In Training that I once attended; “if you ever get scared, just stop, be silent, and focus on the beating of your heart.”

“Bum bum. Bum bum. Bum bum. ‘Cause God, it’s great to be alive.”

Thanks so much for reading, and many thanks to Lora for letting me share my story. Here’s my fundraising website link if you would like to learn more, read some “mission moments”, or even make a tax-deductible donation from the comfortableness of your own home 🙂


The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services. 


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