Hi everyone!

I’m Kara from KaraRuns.com. Carla has graciously offered to let me guest post today to share something I’m extremely passionate about. Thanks so much, Carla!


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 cliché and simple as it may be…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.

IMG 2033 300x300 KARA. RUNS!

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 welcome) the 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.

finish line 300x200 KARA. RUNS!

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 5 months 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 Carla  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 icon smile KARA. RUNS!




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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  1. says

    You got your priorities in the right place!

    It’s painful to see how slowly research comes up with solutions (I am surrounded with medical researchers), but it is progressing, and there is hope.

    Money raised from those events does make a difference. I know a researcher who’s lab has been directly benefited.

    My family and I (including my daughters, 7 and 9 years old) run for lung diseases.

    • says

      Agreed – it is SO slow. I’ve heard that it takes 10 years and a billion dollars to get a drug all the way through the approval process. But it does make a difference…I know it! It sounds like you’re an incredible role model for your daughters – keep it up! :)

  2. says

    I hope it all goes well for you!

    I also wish that as a society, we would make the needed changes that would affect cancer rates.

    • says

      Thank you, Dr J! And I totally agree. One of my favorite quotes (by Gandhi I believe) is that we need to “be the change we wish to see in the world.” So true!

  3. says

    What a powerful and inspirational post. Good for you!! There really should be more people like you in the world. I’d be really interested to read a post after the Iron Man.

  4. says

    I, too, once ran an Ironman just because I could. However, I didn’t do it for a good cause…seems like that would have made it much more worthwhile. Good for you, and good luck in your race, Kara!


  5. says

    Love reading your story, Kara!!!
    I love what the Leukemia and Lymphoma does with all of the Team in Training events to raise money.
    Good luck with your training!!!

  6. says

    “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.” << Love it! Crush it girl. I'm rooting for you.

  7. cheryl says

    Good luck- and nice that you are raising money for cancer.
    But two sprint tris and then you jump to an IM?
    That’s going to be a challenge…I did a dozen marathons and a few century rides and about 50 sprint/oly tris before my IM-but everyone is different…

    • says

      I knew it would be – but I recently finished my first half-Ironman and absolutely loved it. I have also run a few marathons. So far training for Ironman is going great…tough but great. I honestly believe that I can do what I put my mind to…I guess we’ll see in 4 weeks! :)

  8. cheryl says

    just read you did a half- eight hours??? but you are going to really have to improve to finish an IM in the cut off time. WHY do people DO this? (jump too far ahead of their capabilities before they should????) And i will be called a bully, and every other name in the book, but I tell the truth-and sometimes it sucks.

  9. says

    What a great post! Good luck with your IM, I hope to join you one day soon as an Ironman, and congrats on raising so much money for a worthy cause!

  10. says

    GREAT POST and best of luck to you! What an accomplishment to not only have completed a Ironman, but also to have raised money for such a great cause. Cancer is a biznatch and way too many lives have been taken, because of this horrible disease. Cannot wait to hear how you do and yes you ROCK!

    • cheryl says

      she hasn’t completed it yet…do they still “pay up” if you DNF? jus wondering!

  11. says

    Hi Kara,

    I wish there are more athletes like you with the same cause to make this world a better place to live. I’m proud of you! You are an angel in the eyes of so many people struggling to fight cancer. ;-)

  12. says

    You are an inspiration to a lot of people. It always feels good to run for a cause, to run because you wanted to help those who are in need. You’re definitely right, It’s good to be alive and so, we should help one another to support people who have cancer or who have a terminal disease. They all deserve to experience the greatness of their life.

  13. says

    wow good on you for doing this and how special to have your grandmothers initials on your hand… sad that you never got to meet her but doing this does bring you closer in some strange way … all the best

  14. says

    What a great story!Having your grandmothers initials on your hand must have been a real motivating factor.These runs are a great way to raise not only money, but awareness for these causes.

  15. says

    I’m proud of you, Kara! That is a great cause. I’m also running for a cause for those who are affected by calamities in South East Asia. It’s really satisfying to do things that help other people. ;-)

  16. says

    Good luck! Great to see your raising it for LLS – far too many amazing people are taken away from us by cancer. Hopefully soon diseases like this will be a thing of the past, thanks to people like you raising money for cancer research. Rock on!

  17. says

    You are a big inspiration Kara – good luck! Btw I cracked out laughing at the ‘pie eating contest’ line.

  18. says

    Looking forward to hearing how it goes after July 28th – hopefully you won’t be too exhausted to post for a few days! xx

  19. says

    Great information. Thanks for sharing.

    And congratulations and thank you for you committment to participate in the Ironman Lake Placid event on July 28th.

    Good luck.

    However, you’re already a winner…

  20. says

    Hi Kara. Very inspiring. While my diet is pretty good, my exercise regiment, not so good! As I read your article I thought that I could at least pick ONE activity that you are doing all in one day. And I will. Thanks!

  21. says

    Well Kara I take my hat off to you! An Iron man is certainly a huge test for anybody, but you have a strong motivation which is good.

    I know that when you finish the feeling you will have will be indescribably good, both for yourself and for the cause of cancer.

    As an old Indian friend of mine used to say Shabash! meaning Bravo! or Well Done!

  22. says

    I think you are an amazing athlete. You don’t need to have been in the Olympics to be an amazing ahtlete. You have set yourself a challenge and you sound pretty determined to me, in a normal sort of way in so far as you have your doubts sometimes.
    My Father passed away a few years ago and had lymphoma. We quickly scrabbled to gather facts and join help groups but sadly it was all too late. Best of luck.

  23. says

    *wiping tears* Bless your kind heart Kara. If I will be given the chance to participate in activities such as this, I will surely do it. My mom is now battling cancer and it breaks my heart thinking what could possibly happen to her in the days to come.

    You can do it! ;)

  24. says

    That Ironman sounds really tough! I envy your strength and wish you luck with it! You’re doing a great thing for a fantastic cause!

  25. says

    Great job Kara for raising money for cancer and running because you can and swimming and biking because you can. My good friend Michelle is running the Hartford CT marathon in October this year. This will be her first. My cousin Jen actually just ran in the Boston Marathon this year, luckily was not hurt in the bombings. My prayers go out to all the victims and all those who helped the victims and captured the bad guys. Trust in the Lord with all your heart!!!