Big Climb Philly

I felt it was time to jump into something a little different. So next year I thought it would be fun to take part in Big Climb Philly and climb the tallest building in the city. This is a Leukemia & Lymphoma Society event and our efforts go to LLS’s funding of treatment options for those living with blood cancer. Pretty close to home, huh? You can join in on the fun or support me with a modest donation. And thank you!!

Click HERE for my fundraising site.

Posted in charity, health & fitness | Tagged , , | Comments closed

Another New York State of Mind

Well another NYC marathon is in the books. This weekend marked my 7th time running the Big Apple and my 26th marathon overall. All 7 of my NYC marathons have been for the charity Grassroot Soccer, a charity founded by my good buddy and fellow cancer crusher Ethan Zohn. This year was another memorable adventure. And while every marathon brings with it a unique brand of hurt, knowing that you are having a positive impact on someone or something in this universe that is much bigger than your hurt – makes it all palatable.

This year our group raised over $100,000 (and counting). That’s enough to empower 2,000 young people with our life changing soccer-based programs in sub-Saharan Africa. We are changing lives, and that feels good. The marathon weekend was the perfect combination of family, friends, excitement, endorphins, satisfaction, and reward. Many thanks go out to all of the volunteers of the race and to the staff and volunteers at Grassroot Soccer who make all of this possible. GRS enables me to realize my dreams; which just so happen to create life changing opportunities for others. Win – win.

As always a very special thank you goes out to my forever partner and wife of 29 years, Mary Grace for her unwavering support of everything that I do. And again, a special thank you to my sister in law and her husband and family for their love, support, and hospitality on race weekend.

Next up is the half marathon in Philadelphia on November 22nd, followed by some holiday regrouping and 2016 planning. Stay tuned!

Posted in cancer, charity, health & fitness, running, survivor | Tagged , , , | Comments closed

Reflections of Iron – Looking Back and Moving Forward

In less than two weeks, I will be making the trek to Orlando Florida to take part in the 25th running of the Great Floridian Triathlon or “GFT” as it’s known in the triathlon world. This will be my third trip to Clermont to race GFT, and this year will be special on many levels. GFT was my first iron distance race, and while there have been many more since then, GFT will always be a very special and magical place for me. To date, I have 12 ironman finishes. To some, that may seem like a lot. To some, that may sound insanely stupid.  And in comparison to many of my friends who have raced 20 and 30 ironman events, I’m the rookie of the bunch. To me, it’s just a meaningless number.  And the reality is, in the grand scheme of things – “how many”, or even “if” mean nothing.

I began my racing “career” in the mid 1980s and on some level, I’ve had the concept of ironman on my brain since then. In the beginning it was a far off pipe dream bucket list item. But then when the marathons, century rides, and short course events started to add up, ironman turned from a dream to a plan. Since 1999 I have been actively racing, training, writing, talking, or thinking about ironman.  Racing 140.6 miles for that long, and that many times has taught me a lot about myself. I learned much more about what this all means in the couple of races where I DNF’d than in the 12 that I finished.

I’ve lived a lot of life during that time. I’ve also experienced some great losses during that time. Much of it while battling my own (2006) leukemia diagnosis.  And all of that has left a positive imprint on me. And all of that has made me a better man.

I had an incredibly fulfilling moment of self-realization about two weeks ago. And after discussing it with my family, and receiving their blessing, it drove home the sensibility and the “rightness” of that moment. The bottom line is that I am emotionally tired of thinking about ironman and have made the decision that this year’s GFT will be my last 140.6. I don’t have anything left to give it, nor does it have anything more to give me. Ironman has been an incredible experience, and I am incredibly blessed and thankful for all of it. But it’s time to move on.

Don’t misinterpret me and think that I will be retreating to the couch. That notion is far from reality. I will just redirect my energy back into the marathon and even ultra-marathon events, and limit my triathlon escapades to nothing longer than the 70.3 distance. XTERRA and Powerman are also races that have always been on my bucket list. There are a ton of other really cool races and destinations that will still fuel my fire without being enslaved to thinking about and processing “ironman”. And I want to walk away from it on my terms.

Since making that decision, and receiving that confirmation from my family, I felt as though a huge weight was lifted and a sense of calm was restored.

The people that I met at my first Great Floridian have always been an extended family to me.  I’ve kept in touch with many of them over the years. The fact that I am going back to Florida to race my last 140.6 at the same venue, and with some of the same people that I raced my first with, is purely poetic to me. I feel like this will wrap a big ribbon around 140.6 and allow me to rest it proudly on the shelf.

Of course….I do reserve the right to rescind everything that I just said at some point. But I honestly don’t think that’s going to happen. I feel too good about this. I’m looking forward to a great trip to Clermont, followed by the NYC marathon the following week, and the Philly half marathon three weeks after that. From there, I will start to put the pieces together of what the post ironman race calendar will look like. And trust me, it will be fun. And I will enjoy every step of the new journey.

Train safe. Race smart. Thank the volunteers.

Posted in ironman, triathlon | Tagged , | Comments closed

Ironman Maryland Canceled

This  is the email that participants registered for Ironman Maryland received.

Dear IRONMAN Maryland Athletes,

Due to projected flooding from abnormally high tides, heavy rain, wind, and the expected impact of Hurricane Joaquin, IRONMAN Maryland will not take place this Saturday.

Given the severity of the expected weather conditions, which may – depending on the path of Joaquin – require the evacuation of certain coastal regions on the Delmarva Peninsula, we cannot guarantee that public safety officials will be able to provide the support necessary for the safe execution of our event.

The safety of our athletes, volunteers, spectators, and staff is our number one priority.

We are asking all athletes to not travel to Maryland since forecasts expect heavy weather impact in the area. We are tentatively planning and have tentative approval to have the race take place on Saturday, October 17; however, no final decision can be made until the effects of the storm are fully assessed.

We appreciate your understanding and will be in further communication with you by 6pm EST next Tuesday, October 6, 2015.

Posted in ironman, racing | Tagged , | Comments closed

What Makes Cord Blood Special?

Banking cord blood can be life saving. Stem cells from cord blood have been used for over 20 years, and treat 80 different diseases, including certain types of cancer and immune disorders. Over 35,000 patients have received a successful transplant, with thousands more being treated every year.

Cord blood is considered regenerative medicine, a relatively new field of medical therapy that repairs cells and tissues. Regenerative medicine is predicted to be an extremely important discipline in the next decade. Umbilical cord blood is one of the richest sources of stem cells, which serve as the basis for reparative treatment.  Every year, medical trials test new therapies, increasing treatment options for patients and doctors.

To learn more and see how you can help make a difference visit

Posted in cancer, survivor | Tagged , , | Comments closed

Ridley Swim Camp Talk

I recently had the opportunity to talk to a group of swim camp participants at the Ridley High School in Delaware County PA. There was a wide range of ages present from 9 – 14 and then some coaches and parents sat in as well.

After talking about my background and experiences regarding sport, cancer, and life, I offered up a few nuggets of advice that I wish I had a better grasp of as a kid. It went something like this…

You have your athletic, personal, and professional lives ahead of you. For that matter, you have the whole world in front of you and the ability to do whatever you want with that. You are defining your own you right this minute. This time right here, right now lays the groundwork for how you will react and respond to the many situations that life will throw at you. This time right here, right now is defining who you will become.

The good news is you are 100% in control of all of it, based on the choices you make.   

Don’t ever be afraid to work so hard at something that you fail. Whatever you do in life, do it big. Leave nothing out there in the pool, or on the field, or in the classroom. Don’t play things “safe” all the time. It’s an empty feeling to look behind you and feel like you could have and should have given more of something.

Don’t ever be afraid to move outside of your comfort zone and take risks. You have plenty of safety nets in this world in your families, coaches, teachers, etc. They won’t let you fall too far and will always be there to help you up. Explore new things. Try new things.

Don’t ever be afraid of being afraid. We all experience fear. Being afraid doesn’t make you weak. The biggest and bravest men and women all know fear. Fear is just another opportunity to be great. Let fear motivate you – not limit you.

Surround yourself with people who motivate you and inspire you. There are a lot of influencers out there in the world. Some are good and some are not. Choose to surround yourself with people who will make you feel good about yourself and motivate you to be the best person you can be.

Never get to big or too high up the ladder to forget how to lean down and extend a helping hand to someone else in need. It will make you both bigger.

Do something meaningful for yourself every day of your life. And when you’ve mastered that, also do something meaningful for someone else …every day of your life.

Life is full of ups and downs. Be patient with life’s challenges. Find something that you love and call it your own. Be proud. Be thankful for the people in your lives who have provided you opportunities to do really cool things. Support them, as they support you.

We ended with a great Q and A session that lasted about 20 minutes. The questions came from all ages and covered everything from triathlon training to chemotherapy. I love kids. I love people.

Posted in cancer, health & fitness, motivation, survivor | Tagged , | Comments closed

Checking In and Checking Up with CLL

I reported out on social media last week that I received a good checkup with from my oncologist last Friday. While that is a very true statement, let me take a minute to elaborate exactly what “good” means. I walk out of his office at the conclusion of any appointment with an agreed upon understanding of my status and my path forward. But a lot of dialogue takes place with my doc during that visit. It’s not merely a blood stick and a “see you next time”. 

Technically, my white count was a little high by “normal” standards; however my numbers were in line with MY relative “normal”. A normal WBC is typically between 5,000 – 10,000 white blood cells per microliter. (That standard will deviate slightly by source but they are all close). On Friday, mine was about 26,000. While that may appear alarming, it’s really not, given that all other counts and disease markers were in check.

I am however experiencing a few symptoms that are connected with the disease. The good news is that these are relatively minor in nature and more of a discomfort and annoyance than anything else. These symptoms are an indication that the disease is present, but not present enough to warrant any kind of chemotherapy or monoclonal antibody therapy treatment.

Without oversharing, I will explain a little about some of these symptoms because there is no doubt some of my patient buddies will dial right into this level of detail. My biggest issues relate to the number of lymph nodes that remain fairly enlarged. Nodes around my neck, groin, armpit, tonsils, and chest area are enlarged. Some of these itch, some hurt, some make swallowing a little more difficult at times. One is pulling on a nerve and tendon in my arm that leads to tingling and numbness, and other nodes just look big and don’t bother me at all. 

No matter how I physically feel leading up to these appointments, the few days prior are always a little stressful because I just never know what the lab work may indicate. Dr. Shore reminds me that I put too much stock in those numbers and is good at helping me dial the expectation back and reset that normal bar. Vitals are taken, and blood samples are first drawn by the nurse. With the lab on the premises, my blood results are at my doctor’s fingertips the minute he steps into the room. So my doctor and I always go through our standing question, answer, and dialogue as he first enters the exam room.

We talk through my blood counts, we talk through my current list of issues and concerns, we have very healthy and therapeutic discussion around treatments that are in the development and approval pipelines and how bright the future looks for chronic lymphocytic leukemia patients with drugs like Ibrutinib and Treanda. On Friday we also talked about some of the things that we could do to try to wrestle down my enlarged lymph nodes. We always have good dialogue but ultimately Dr. Shore ends up putting the control back in my hands and asks, “so what do you want to do”? I often struggle with that question. In reality, I know that he knows what he wants to do. But he wants the path forward to be collaborative and mutually agreed upon, and I respect that. He has an effective way of guiding me in the direction he thinks is best for me, without dictating what he thinks needs to be done.

What I also appreciate about my relationship with my doc is that during every appointment he asks how my racing and training has been going. He fully gets my lifestyle and what’s important to me and does what he can to support this where he can. It’s important to him if I’ve noticed any changes in my training or racing efforts that may possibly have disease implications. And if so, that would have an impact on potential treatment options.

In this appointment, we agreed upon an additional round of a steroid taper (No, not anabolic). It’s an option that has been effective in the past, and one that I handle well, except for a little loss of sleep during the first couple of nights. That decision didn’t come without even more dialogue around the long term use of steroids as a treatment option. But we landed in a good and healthy place.  I walked out feeling emotionally healthy and “in check”. I also walked out feeling like I had the green light to resume full bore training these last couple of months before Ironman Maryland.

In true Dr. Shore fashion, as we wrapped up our visit, he asked “so when do you want to come back?” I barely got out an audible “uhhhhhh…, ummmmm…” when he quickly replied with “OK, I’ll see you in two months”.

So there you have a brief recap of last week’s “good checkup”!

Posted in cancer, health & fitness, ironman, motivation, survivor | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments closed

When Life Happens, and Then Doesn’t

I know I’ve been a little quiet as of late. Perhaps you haven’t noticed. It’s been a rough several months for me and my family. I’ll try not to dwell too much on the things that have gone wrong, however, I think mentioning them helps me keep focused on moving forward, with brief pauses for reflection.

Things started to unravel back in November when the health of my mother in law and father in law began a slow and steady downhill spiral. For several months they bounced back and forth between home, the hospital, a nursing care facility, and finally hospice. The family met frequently to discuss future plans and needs which addressed all areas of concern and covered solutions for all possible outcomes. While the meetings were very necessary, the mere fact that they were needed placed additional stress on everyone. We didn’t want to have those conversations, but we knew we needed to. All of this was happening while we were also regularly visiting my 90 year mother in her nursing home. We knew she didn’t have too much more time with us, but we weren’t too concerned with her immediate health.

The spring brought a rapid fire onslaught of loss and despair. In April we lost my father in law. In May we lost my mother in law. And then in June, after an abscess developed requiring surgical removal, we lost my mother. In less than 70 days, we became the oldest generation of the family. Couple that with life’s normal struggles and stressors and let’s just say that things took a toll on me, and the rest of our family. It was a dark and painful time, and one we are still trying to navigate through.

Through good times and bad, fitness, and locomotion have always been very important to me. Movement has been my therapy, my happy place, and my chocolate. Movement has been my therapist, my guru, my counselor, my teacher, my mentor, and my inner voice of reason. Fitness has been able to lift me up when I needed a boost and provide a healthy escape from some of the demons that can haunt us. Unfortunately, fitness also took a little bit of a hit during these past few months. In many cases, I was just too busy attending to the much more pressing issues at hand. But even when I did have time, motivation suffered and training was difficult. I salvaged enough to keep me afloat, but not without feelings of inadequacy and shortfall. I was forced to back out of a couple of races due to family priorities. Believe it or not, that made me question who I was or possibly even who I used to be.

It’s taken some time, but I seem to be working my way out of the hole, little by little. I’ve come to the self-realization that I still AM what I was. I needed to take some time to heal, and the process is nowhere near complete, but I still AM. I’m still that same person inside. Events may have left a mark on me and slightly changed my perspective on life, but in spite of everything that has happened I’m still sitting here writing and in (relative) control. In my book, that translates to me winning this battle.

While the summer hasn’t gone exactly as planned, life has given me many hidden blessings that I will embrace for the silver linings that they are. On the racing front, I am quietly and unassumingly reloading my attack on Ironman Maryland. I’ve still got a few key races on the calendar before the end of the year; hopefully these will help keep some of the air in my sails. As I’ve always said, I prefer quiet and subtle accomplishments. I’ve been racing long enough to be able to live with my accomplishments for what they are. In my years of racing, I’ve learned that it’s pretty easy to dedicate time and energy to a race, have all of the stars align, and turn out a good experience. The challenge is doing all of that when the stars are colliding into one another, and colliding into you.

The size of your footprint is far more important than the sound of your footsteps.

Be proud, but be humble.

Posted in health & fitness, motivation, training, triathlon | Tagged , , | Comments closed

Ridley Swim Camp Talk

On Wednesday 8/5 at 6 PM I will speak to this group of kids on perseverance, turning adversity into accomplishment, and balancing sport with life. Camp details are below!



GREEN RAIDER SWIM CAMP The Green Raider Swim Camp provides young athletes with a unique opportunity to becomebetter all-around swimmers, while also having a GREAT time at camp.


Campers learn proper technique from Kevin Pierce, the head coach of Ridley High School’s swim team, as well as other coaches, high school & college swimmers that result in more confidence, increased speed & a stronger passion for the sport.


Open to boys & girls ages 9 to 14. Each camper will receive a t-shirt. Camp will be held August 3rd through 7th from 4:00pm to 7:00pm at the Ridley High School Pool. Cost is $110 per swimmer, $90 each additional family member. *Participants MUST be able to swim one lab of all four competitive swim strokes.


Any questions, please contact Kevin Pierce at


Posted in health & fitness, swimming, youth sports | Tagged , | Comments closed

A Message to our TNT TriRock Philly Athletes

Hey guess what? It’s almost race weekend. I’m not saying that to stir the anxiety pot, I’m saying that because I can’t believe this season is almost over.

As I said at SJU yesterday, please DO NOT try to cram months of training into these last two weeks. That is always a recipe for injury. If you’re a little undertrained, that’s ok. If you haven’t followed the plan to perfection, that’s ok. We know that will pretty much be the case with just about everyone, every season. The plans are written with the that in mind. If you followed it even loosely, and show up healthy, and stoked to enjoy race day and embrace the experience, you’re going to have a great day.

Start putting the race together in your mind. Think about what you will need to bring with you. Visualize transitions. Make any necessary last minute tweaks to your bike. We will continue to talk about all of this stuff over the next two practices and on race weekend.

I fully expect many of you to feel anxious and nervous leading into race morning. Your fear of the unknown is natural. I know you’re ready. Gretchen knows you’re ready, and we can’t wait to be there at the finish with you to celebrate your victories.

As always, thank you for all you continue to do in support of the mission. Thank you to the great class of alums who make up such a big part of this team. The fact that you continue to return is living proof that the program works, and is meaningful.

And to you first timers, thanks for putting your faith and confidence in us to help you realize your dreams, while you make such a significant impact in the blood cancer community.

Be safe

Be smart

Be brave

Be proud

Be humble

Posted in leukemia & lymphoma society, make it count, team in training, triathlon | Tagged | Comments closed
Listen to internet radio with RemissionMan on Blog Talk Radio
"Be the change you wish to see in the world " - Gandhi