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Tonia Smith's Blog (30)

The Brewer's Cup Makes Racing Even More Fun!

At the end of last year, my friend Vanessa Shawver came up with the idea for the Inaugural 2016 Pikes Peak Road Runner's Brewer's Cup. She got 19 local breweries and distilleries to sign on as team sponsors. Each team has 15 runners. The breweries and distilleries provide a team shirt which the runners wear at all of the local Pikes Peak Road Runner events. There are post-race, weekly and monthly gatherings at the business so it is a win-win for all involved. All of the races on our…


Added by Tonia Smith on February 14, 2016 at 7:21am — No Comments

Running to Beat Pancreatic Cancer

In 2013, I was a healthy 44 year old married mother of two. I ran my first 100 mile race that summer, finishing in 22 hours and 33 minutes. I went on to run a 100K three months later. Seven weeks after that 100K race, I was in the hospital having half of my pancreas, my spleen and several lymph nodes removed. The diagnosis: Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma.

In a heartbeat, I went from being one of the healthiest people I knew to being diagnosed with a highly lethal form of cancer. Pancreatic…


Added by Tonia Smith on March 19, 2015 at 6:30am — No Comments

Remembering on My Cancerversary

There are certain moments that you will always remember in your life: your first kiss, your wedding day, the birth of your children. I can add to that otherwise happy list the moment I heard the words "Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma". November 18 is the day I had surgery one year ago for what turned out to be Pancreatic Adenocarcinoma. I went into the surgery thinking that I had a precancerous lesion. I did, but there was also cancer present. This past year has been an amazing journey.



Added by Tonia Smith on November 18, 2014 at 8:24am — No Comments

Dedicated to R, Who Made a Difference in My Life

This year, on the day of the Boston Marathon, I went in for chemotherapy. On that day, I was wearing my own Boston marathon shirt in solidarity with the people who were running the race the year after the bombing at the finish line. My shirt happened to spark a conversation with another gentleman who was in for chemotherapy also. I had really not talked with any other patients up to this point, but as fate…


Added by Tonia Smith on September 13, 2014 at 8:40am — No Comments

Why Am I Doing This?

I had some good news this week. First, my chemo port is officially scheduled to come out October 7th. I am looking forward to getting this foreign object removed from my chest. I am grateful that I had it, because it saved my veins, but it really is time for it to go. I also discovered that my hair is starting to fill back in where it had thinned out during treatment. My receding hairline will hopefully blend in with the rest of my hair in a few months.…


Added by Tonia Smith on September 8, 2014 at 1:29pm — No Comments

Living with Intention

Living Consciously

Here is what I learned this week: I am much better able to handle being the patient than the worried wife. We had a scare with my husband this week that forced him to take only his second sick day in the 12+ years we have been together. I do not want to go into details because that is…

Added by Tonia Smith on August 31, 2014 at 6:29am — No Comments

How Do I Make Us Whole Again?

My week was marked by two big occasions. First, the kids started back to school. I now have a Junior and a sixth grader. Honestly, I was not ready for my kids to go back to school because I felt like I missed out on half of the summer while recovering from my final treatments. By the time I felt good and ready to really enjoy time off with the kids, we only had half of the summer left. So I was a little sad that it was time for school to…


Added by Tonia Smith on August 25, 2014 at 9:20am — No Comments

Pikes Peak, Friends and returning to Ultras

The girls had their last week of summer vacation this week. Since we had just returned from our trip 10 days before school started, the last week of summer was filled with appointments, check-ins at school and picking up last minute items in order to be prepared for the first day. Fortunately, the week was not all drudgery. 

I had visits with friends both Tuesday and Friday. On Tuesday, my friend Bill and his girlfriend Saraleigh came to…

Added by Tonia Smith on August 18, 2014 at 6:56am — No Comments

Why We Go Home

Our trip to visit family in upstate NY and VT continued this week. We typically venture east to see family once per year. While I was going through chemotherapy, it became critically important to me to make the trip this year. I wanted to see my family and to physically be able to hug and touch the people I love. I wanted to get away from all of the distractions of our day to day lives so we could just focus on one another. I needed to take care of my…


Added by Tonia Smith on August 10, 2014 at 3:53pm — No Comments

Expect the Unexpected

We visited family back east this week. The theme in my life most recently has been to expect the unexpected. The day before we flew out, I had planned to get up early and get in one last fairly long run on dirt before heading to the land of road running. The roads are not kind to my bones.

Monday morning I got up and took our ten year old bullmastiff out for a walk. She had seemed a little gimpy in the preceding…


Added by Tonia Smith on August 1, 2014 at 7:45am — No Comments

Running, Hiking and Raising Children Who Think for themselves

After a few days in Breckenridge last week, it was back to our regular lives in Colorado Springs. The kids have less than one month left of their summer vacation, so we are trying to make the most of our time off.

I don't know if it was spending a couple of days living and breathing at 10,000 feet or if I am starting to really recover from chemotherapy, but I felt energetic the first few days of the week I started my running week with a 17 mile run on the Santa Fe trail. This…


Added by Tonia Smith on July 26, 2014 at 9:07am — No Comments

Breckenridge Getaway Helps Heal the Soul

I rarely ever say the words, "I deserve". I do not think the world owes me a good time or a reward. However, I have felt that after enduring more than nine months of the world revolving around my surgery and chemotherapy, my family does "deserve" some time to relax and have fun together. We have earned the right to set aside regular everyday lives and worries and to escape together to rediscover the simple joys in life, and to set aside the day to day stress and fear. This past week,…

Added by Tonia Smith on July 21, 2014 at 6:53am — No Comments

Running, Cancer and the Gift of Friendship

I have been toying with running a race this fall. I am still trying to determine what distance I am capable of training for and completing. I will likely either attempt a 50k or a 50 mile. My preference would be the 50 mile because I love that distance. However, I just do not know if I am capable of getting adequate training for a 50 miler between now and race day. This week, I did two medium distance runs a few days apart. I ran a flat 16 miler alone one day, and then a hilly 15 miler in…


Added by Tonia Smith on July 13, 2014 at 6:13pm — No Comments

Regaining fitness and post chemo fatigue

Last year at this time, I was coming off of a string of weeks where I had run 80-100 miles per week in preparation for the Vermont 100. I was doing back to back long runs every week, spending hours and hours running hilly single track trails. I felt like Cheyenne Canon was my second home. I was tired from the training, but feeling fit, strong and happy knowing I had done basically all I could to prepare myself to run 100 miles.  



Added by Tonia Smith on July 7, 2014 at 6:54am — No Comments

Road to Recovery Begins Now!

My last chemotherapy treatment was June 16. This was my first official week of being finished with treatments. I woke up Monday morning and decided to try a simple fartlek style speed workout. I have maintained a base level of running over the past few months but I certainly do not feel fit or in racing shape. 

A common theme for me throughout my treatment was that I had trouble practicing my mantra of "moderation in all things" on the…

Added by Tonia Smith on June 29, 2014 at 1:33pm — No Comments

Final Chemo in the books!

June 16, 2014. That is the day I finished my chemotherapy treatments. I remember the first time I saw my paperwork with the official finish date for my treatment. Knowing there was a concrete end in sight brought me such joy and hope. Since September, my life has seemed to revolve around tests, surgeries, blood draws and chemotherapy appointments. The road seemed endless when I started. As of Monday, I reached the proverbial finish line. Yes, there will still be blood tests, CT scans,…


Added by Tonia Smith on June 22, 2014 at 6:00pm — No Comments

Going "home" and Second Acts

Last Monday I had treatment number 17. Of course, we had to run first. We have not missed a single pre chemo run. My husband has been with me every single Monday for my treatments. It was a priority for him to be with my for each treatment, and luckily he was able to make it work. He is a pretty awesome guy.


Added by Tonia Smith on June 15, 2014 at 2:42pm — No Comments

Endings and finding purpose in life

This week, after going for my Monday morning run, I started cycle six of chemotherapy. I did not have a whole lot of time to rest and recover this week. Tuesday marked the end of the school year for both kids. Any parent or teacher knows that this is a particularly busy time of year, filled with final exams and then celebrations. My oldest daughter is now a Junior in high school. My younger daughter is finished fifth grade and now moves on to middle school. While I feel joy for my…


Added by Tonia Smith on June 9, 2014 at 6:30am — 5 Comments

Perseverance Pays Off

My week off from chemo should theoretically be full of fun and games. This week turned out to be stressful. We had a car die and we needed to replace it quickly. My insurance company decided to deny another expensive claim. So instead of focusing on enjoying a week off, stresses over finances took a front seat in my mind.

Nevertheless, I was able to get out and enjoy the weather this week. On Monday, during my run, I was fortunate enough…

Added by Tonia Smith on June 1, 2014 at 7:55am — No Comments

Time Marches On, but it is never too late to become a runner.

I have completed cycle #5, treatment number 15 of chemotherapy. I am really happy about that. My official end of treatment date is June 16, 2014. I have three treatments left following an off week this week. 

I continue to run, or run/walk. On Monday, Steve and I ran before treatment. We…

Added by Tonia Smith on May 26, 2014 at 8:18am — No Comments

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