Pasta Party

pre din prep

San Diego Marathon Weekend – Saturday night inspirational dinner. Sorry – I know these posts are backwards. Warning on this one – don’t read if you are emotionally unstable right now, or at work. 🙂 So the pasta party gets its own little special shout out because if it wasn’t for this I really don’t think I’d have been able to run the way that I did and feel how I felt. This was one of the most inspirational things that I’ve seen in my life. I was a little nervous to attend the dinner, I knew it would be hard for me and I honestly just didn’t want to hear and think about anymore sad stories. Beforehand. Quite nerve-wracking heading into the convention center, I thought I might lose it for a minute. But as soon as we rolled up the escalators all you could hear was cheering and loud noise. All the coaches and TNTers were cheering us all on as we walked in. So overwhelming and made me feel 10 times better and super excited to run!

go team!

The magnitude of the convention center filled with about 3,100 people all psyched up to run and feeling great about themselves after raising over $9 million for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, for this RnR even alone. Total Team in Training has raised $168 million for the San Diego Rock and Roll Events. Imagine how many patients and families that can help, and how much research can be done. We have a long way to get a better understanding on blood cancers but this is the first step.

We hit up the food first, of course! Looooots of pasta with butter, redsauce, redsauce with meat. And steamed veggies, bread butter, salad. A runners pre-dream (minus the chicken)! I tried to stay as close as possible to what I typically eat the night before a long run which is plane pasta with butter, broccoli, and cheese. No chicken there, so I figured I could pick some up at the grocery store on the way back, we all needed to head there anyway to get our pre-post race food.


There were big screens next to the stage in which they played pictures of blood cancer survivors and those lost – to music… gets me every time. What is it about looking at pictures while listening to music it always makes it so much more emotional. I didn’t see Harvey’s picture come up though… which could be good or bad. I really wanted everyone to see him but I knew I would break down at that point.
John – click here for link, was the first speakers to talk and he was great! He lost his first love to a blood cancer and has been passionate about running ever since. Very motivational and also funny – lots of cool running jokes, which were all true. Being at the past party was a lot harder than I thought it would be. It seems unfair to me sometimes that Harvey was not a survivor even though he fought so hard. How do some people get through it and others don’t? I think at that point I didn’t want to be there at all and almost left. I didn’t even want to run (yep, I actually thought that), I just wanted to be home – with Harvey, or even back in the hospital seeing his smiling face. Luckily the next to speak was Kimberly Joy Costa’s Father she was lost in 2000 to blood cancer. Her father talked about the hospital and all she wanted to do was ‘break out’ of there and get outside and live. Harvey was the same way… all he wanted to do was get the ‘F’ out of the hospital, even just to be outside. He never made it the last few days, we tried but he was too weak. I often wished we did just one last time to sit outside and feel the sun and the fresh air. Kimberly passed away the day after she got to go sit outside and see the stars and her Father said she was at peace and listened to her music as she was with her family the last few moments. At this point I was completely a mess! So many similar situations as it happened for Harv – I know he would appreciate our Jimmy Buffet music as he relaxed during his last day with us. It’s all major proof that nothing but the little things in life are what matter and what can make you truly happy. At this point I was a complete mess – as I’m sure there were a lot of others in that room. Lauren and I were bawling, and she was trying to comfort me but then ended up spilling her Nuun all over her white pants and it made us all laugh. I’d like to think Harv had something to do with that 😉
No one out there battles cancer without a cause. There is always revenge for the rest of us here and a reason that WE can now be the ones to make a difference and learn from what those that we’ve lost have taught us. No other battle will be this hard, and we can now take it out of their hands and run with it. Here are Kimberly’s Life Lessons and what she was taught us all:

The “Ten Life Lessons” was Kim’s valedictorian speech at ConVal Regional High School in 2000. Kim’s story can be found in the book “Inspiration to Perspiration

Kimberly Joy Costa
(July 17, 1981 – July 24, 2000)
“Ten Life Lessons”

Life Lesson number 10 is “Deal with life one day at a time.”  Sometimes when life gets crazy we feel like we’ll never sort everything out.  But if we just deal with everything one day and instance at a time, life just has a way of working through things.  It also makes life’s circumstances a little less overwhelming.

Life Lesson number 9 is more a word of advice.  “Turn every life experience into a learning experience.”  The best way I have found to cope with hard times more easily is to become knowledgeable about what is going on and try to find a meaning to everything that happens.  Trust me, there is always one there.

Life Lesson number 8 is “Always look for the positive.”  No matter how bad life can get, there is always a positive to be found.  If you focus on the positive aspects of life, the hard times are easier to get through.  The power of positive thinking is amazing, and it works.

Life Lesson number 7 is another piece of advice.  “Try to do at least one new thing everyday.”  Much to often, people get into a routine of doing the same thing everyday and their lives become boring.  The new thing doesn’t have to be big.  It can be something really small like taking a different route to work, or trying a new kind of food.  Make a wish list for yourself of new stuff you want to try.  Some things can be small and others, big.  Plan on completing one of those things each day and by the end of everyday your life will be that much more full.

Life Lesson number 6 is “Be true to yourself.”  No matter what happens in your life, if you are true to yourself and confident about who you are, you can overcome anything.  Always stick to who you are and don’t worry if people are going to accept you or not.  If you are confident with yourself, it will show and the people who really matter will accept you for who you are, not for why you are not.

Life Lesson number 5 is “Touch as many lives as you can.”  Every time you meet someone new, you leave a little bit of yourself with them.  They are affected by you.  The more people you meet, the more complete both their and your lives are because of how you have been affected by each other.  Think of the possibilities.

Life Lesson number 4 is “Enjoy the little things.”  Although the big accomplishments in life are important, sometimes it’s the little things in life that are more enjoyable.  The conversations with your best friend in the middle of the night, or a quiet moment somewhere peaceful where you were just able to think can add up to be much more important and memorable than any big thing.

Life Lesson number 3 is “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”  Many times in life, people begin getting concerned with petty things.  What people forget is that in the long run, it doesn’t matter what “he said” or what “she did.”  It’s not worth your time to get worked up about anything small or petty.

Life Lesson number 2 is “Hold on to your friends.”  No matter what happens in your life, good or bad, your friends will be there for you.  Whether it is a pat on the back or a shoulder to cry on that you need, your friends are there for you always.

Life Lesson number 1 is “Make everyday count.”  Lif is short and we never know how long we are going to have.  We must live life to the fullest EVERYDAY.  Everything we do should have a greater purpose.  We should never throw any opportunities away.

Our lives will continue to be impacted by our friendships, generosity, compassion and spirit.  As each of us works each day to be the person we want to be, remember my favorite quote from the Broadway play “Rent” – “No Day But Today.”

 Kimberly’s Father said – as you walk or run tomorrow – remember the ‘Power of One’ – that is you! Through the Team in Training Program of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society WE WILL WIN THIS BATTLE AGAINST CANCER! Your legs, your heart and spirit will move us toward a cure!

Phew – intense!!!! Now it’s time for my chicken! 9:30pm – need to get my protein in for the run. Usually I try to eat grilled thighs with my pasta but greasy fried chicken from Ralph’s will have to do tonight. – Delish! And I guess it did its job… maybe that will have to be a new routine.

greasy chicken



6 responses

  1. Bev Holzer

    Thank you April…. you are an inspiration 🙂

    June 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm

  2. i like the idea that harvey was behind the nuun spill…you mean i don’t have to blame my klutzy self?!?

    June 15, 2011 at 12:37 am

  3. kim desko

    April, thank you for sharing your experience at the pasta dinner before San Diego. Nice to know my reaction wasn’t completely off the wall. 🙂

    I also had a very emotional response to the spaghetti dinner on Saturday before Lake Placid. Walking in to all the cheering, costumes, etc. I had 2 thoughts – Carl would have gotten such a kick out of this and Sally would have been the person in the wildest get-up & yelling the loudest – if only they were both still here. So I walked in with tears in my eyes. (While I am sure I was not the only one, I felt like I was, especially since I was the only one at our table that was there in memory of someone.) By the end of the evening I was glad that I had missed the deadline in getting TNT Carl’s picture for the slideshow; I would have completely lost it to see him up on that screen – and, yet, I still kind of wish everyone else could have seen him. I managed to choke down dinner and spent the entire rest of the evening trying not to turn into a sobbing mess at the table. I think I all but ran out the door when things were over and even after going for a drink (I know – not the best habit before a race, but what I needed this time) and taking a long, hot bath, I was weepy & nervous until I finally fell asleep. Somewhere around 1 am I was very glad that my friend had ordered room service while I was in the bath, otherwise I would have gone into the event without having eaten right the night before; nice to have someone along to take care of me in spite of myself.

    I think you had a better speaker than we did & I’ve copied and saved Kimberly’s “lessons”. I hope her father won’t mind, but I suspect it will end up on my Fall fundraising page (with appropriate recognition of the source, of course) – it’s too perfect and too true not to pass it forward.

    Hope to see you in training sometime soon,

    June 15, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    • thank you sooooo much for sharing!! we should have ran the same race so we could have been there together. next time for sure! and hopefully it will be much easier for us. 🙂

      June 16, 2011 at 10:25 pm

  4. Pingback: Lake Placid Road Trippin « Running Rocks

  5. Pingback: Why We Run (part two) « Running Rocks

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