Wednesday, October 24, 2012


My previous post is titled "successful fall season" and that's true but a bit premature. We have ONE more race this season, on Sunday of this week at home in DC. We will be doing it with our TNT friends although not officially part of the "Team" for this event.

The Marine Corps Marathon includes a 10K (6.2 mile) event which basically uses the last part of the MCM course. Starts on The Mall behind the American History Museum, goes almost to the Capitol, then back to 14th Street and across "the bridge" to Virginia. The bridge is infamous for those doing the MCM, as they must reach that point (about mile 20) no later than 5:10 after the starting gun. That is a pace of 15:22.5 minutes per mile if you start at the front of the 30,000 runners, or even less if you start at the back. If you do not "beat the bridge" you will be loaded on a bus and taken to the start, not allowed to finish and get a finisher's medal.

Having done the MCM as my last Full Marathon in 2010, can tell you that bridge is a real challenge, especially at age 65 suffering from a gout attack from mile 12 through the end of the 26.2 miles. The big yellow bus was directly behind me, but I did beat the bridge & earn my MCM finisher's medal. In other words, even an aging racewalker can successfully complete the Marine Corps Marathon.

This year my race is only a 10K and while that is longer than many people will ever do it seems short after the Nike Half Marathon on October 14th. Not nearly as many hills either, although the last .2 of the MCM course is uphill. Your first time facing that it can be a bit demoralizing but the road is lined with civilian and Marine Corps spectators cheering you into the finish, making it seem much less daunting than it might be otherwise.


We are planning some 2013 events already. There will be an inaugural Nike Women's Half Marathon in DC on April 28, 2013 and both Naomi and I are already signed up for it with Team in Training. So you can look forward to a fundraising appeal soon. Or if you just can't wait, you can use my TNT fundraising site to contribute right now  contributions are always cheerfully accepted and acknowledged quickly.

Shortly after the Nike Half we will be setting off on a new adventure with Jenny Hadfield and John Bingham - the Danube River Marathon Cruise. Starting from Budapest, we'll travel the river on board the AMA Dolce, a small enough ship that our group will be about half of the passengers. Stops in Bratislava, Slovakia; Vienna, Austria; Durnstein then bicycle the Wachau Valley to Melk, Austria; Linz, Austria; Passau, Germany; and finish in Vilshofen, Germany. Time to brush up on my Deutsch.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Successful Fall 2012 Season!

Happy to report a successful Fall 2012 season of healthy endurance events. Also proud to report over $5000 raised so far this year via TNT for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. There is one event - the Marine Corps Marathon 10K on November 28th, but at this point it's reasonable to assume completion of that one without problems. Less Marathon activity this year due to knee issues, but Dr. Branche did a nice job of refurbishing the original equipment so now other than minor arthritis pains all is working well.

In 2012 added distance cycling to my repertoire and completed a 40 mile ride near Moab, UT on 9/22 and the Seagull Metric Century (100 km or 62.5 miles) near Salisbury, MD on 10/6. Was asked how long I've been cycling, said "Over 50 years" and remembered getting my first new bike for 8th birthday in 1953. Followed cycle events with Half Marathon in San Francisco at the Nike Women's Marathon on 10/14.

Set a new Personal Record at Nike - slowest Half Marathon since I started doing them in 2005. NOT a complaint, only a statement of fact. Actually feel good about just being able to finish Nike after painful knee issues earlier in the year. Training will get the racewalk speed back, after all I'm only 67! We have a new Nike Women's Half Marathon coming to DC on April 28, 2013 and of course we'll be doing it with TNT. The Race Director is a friend and always puts on a good event so this will be a great way to show our friends from around the country some good news out of Washington.

Interesting year with a Noblesville High School 50th reunion for my class of 1962, and this weekend will be reunion of my Phi Delta Theta pledge class at Butler University. Some classmates are much less active, we have lost a few to Vietnam war and other causes, but several are still going and doing a lot of things. Lots of grandchildren pictures and stories at reunion. Don't know if any others are racewalking marathons but at least one NHS classmate (Mick Donoff) is doing lots of cycling.

Short post for now, all family are doing well. Miss my sister Fran, will be lots of conversation about her this weekend with Phi Delt friends and at wedding of Nick Wright. He's the son of my first cousin Mary Wright, and is being married in Carmel, IN. Will visit Mom at Crownland Cemetery on Saturday, maybe have a drink to catch up. Miss her too!

Will get some pictures linked but time to sign off now and get ready for flight to St. Louis.


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Cancer Does Not Quit So Why Should We?

Cancer just never seems to quit. No matter how hard we try to many people are sick and dying because of this pervasive disease. The point of this message is to get your help in the battle. By supporting my participation in Team In Training you help advance the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society mission: "Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families." Your contribution is needed NOW to help in this battle.

You don't even have to leave your keyboard, just click on my TNT web site at and make a generous contribution using the secure link. They'll send you an email receipt for your tax records. Or if you prefer, send a check to me at the mailing address below (payable to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society) and I'll make sure you get a receipt from LLS for the charitable contribution and it is credited toward my personal goal.

Now is important to me personally as I've made a commitment to raise $5000 this year and am late in meeting that goal. Had enough medical issues this year to give me all the excuses needed to become a full-fledged couch potato. Had problems with my knees last fall which made walking and climbing the stairs in our four story townhouse a challenge. Having been very active as a racewalker it seemed like a reasonable idea to try cycling as a lower-impact sport. My medical issues pale by comparison with what our friends with cancers face so are not enough of an excuse for me to not be out on the trails and getting some exercise. Being 67 is no excuse either cancer does not quit so neither should I.

Doing two TNT events this year: Metric Century (62.5  miles) cycle ride at the Seagull Century on October 6 with my bride Naomi Morales - nice way to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary! One week later it will be time for my 8th Nike Women's Marathon on October 14, while Naomi does her 9th outing at that event. In addition to those TNT events I'll do a shorter ride of 40 miles at Moab, Utah while Naomi does a Century - too many steep hills for my fresh knee for a Moab Century for me.

Oh yeah - those medical issues. Cycling seemed to be working fine as a new sport until April 7 - about 9 miles into a 56 mile training ride my right knee gave up and made me "limping Tom". End result - May 22 Dr. George C. Branche, III did arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus. After three weeks of intensive physical therapy at Jackson Clinic in Alexandria, I got permission to resume cycling. Now it's almost four months later and I'm back to racewalking as well. Slower on foot but will still finish that Nike Half after those bicycle rides.

My Honored Teammates are a list of survivors and unfortunately some who were less successful in their battle with blood cancers. The survivors for whom I ride & racewalk include Bob Raleigh and Caleb Schneck about whom I told you so much last year, a Noblesville High School classmate Gary Cox, and Jay Mershon of our cycle team who is so fast I only see him at the start or finish. We have lost victims like Joe Gleason, Bob Campbell, and too many others who succumbed but we can honor their memory by helping raise money to cure blood cancers.

Honor also goes to you for making donations to support LLS and fight cancer. We personally hope the blood cancer developments will lead to cures for other cancers like the pancreatic cancer which claimed my father and sister, my mother's only brother, as well as Naomi's mother and step-father. We ride and racewalk with TNT because LLS has done so well at helping find cures, but always remember our lost family members.

Please make a donation!  By supporting my participation in Team In Training you help Bob, Caleb and advance LLS's mission. You don't even have to leave your keyboard, just click on my TNT web site at and make your donation using the secure link. They'll send you an email receipt for your tax records. Or if you prefer, send a check to me at either of the mailing addresses below and I'll make sure you get a receipt from LLS for the charitable contribution.

Be sure to check my blog for progress reports. Thanks for your support!

Walking & Cycling Tom

ps: If your employer has a "matching gift" program, let me know and we'll work through the details with you, it's a great way to increase your help.

Checks payable to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, mail to: Thomas C. Farnam, 703 Hawkins Way, Alexandria, VA 22314

Monday, September 3, 2012

Walking Tom is a BAD BLOGGER

Oh my goodness, my face should be very red about my failure to post to my own blog. Been having too much fun commenting on other people's blogs, posting on Facebook and other stuff. So now it's over a year later and time for catching up. Going to do this in sort of a chronological outline just to cover all the ground. Please - any questions or comments either post here or drop me a note. 
May 15, 2011 Marine Corps Marathon Relay - 6.55 mile in 1:36.06 (2d leg including "Hospital Hill")
June 4, 2011 Virginia Wine Country Half Marathon – 3:22.17 (Course included 2.5+ miles of unannounced gravel, not a good surface for racing flats.)
June 19, 2011 Dash 4 Dad - 4 miler with a stop to tie a necktie - 58:07.2
September 10, 2011 Arlington 9-11 Memorial 5K  - 42:51.3
September 24- October 1, 2011  Marathon di Tuscany, including short events in Florence, Lucca, Pisa, Siena, Prato. WONDERFUL trip. Lots of photos for later. Twisted knee on mountain trail last day, will tell you more about the results.
October 16, 2011 - Nike Women's Marathon - Half Marathon in San Francisco, CA. Finished slower than hoped but finished. Right knee a bit sore but no big deal.
We were scheduled to do Marine Corps 10K two weeks after Nike but after picking up bibs and shirts it was pretty clear my knee was not doing well so decided to skip the 10K.
Had been spending a lot of time with Naomi and the TNT bike team, started looking at possibly buying a new bicycle. Mentioned it to Ed Cosgrove, one of the bike coaches and he offered to loan me a bike. So, bought some special shoes & pedals (the shoes clip onto the pedals, but for reasons lost to me are called "clipless pedals"). Tried Ed's bike for a couple of weeks and it worked very nicely. End result was early Christmas present from Naomi - she paid for 1/2 of my new bike. Aluminum frame Felt Z85, Shimano 105 deraiullers & brakes, compact cassette. Decided the extra cost of carbon fiber was a waste of money until I lose 30 pounds.  

During the Marathon di Tuscany we had met great folks who were living in Geneva, Switzerland (Jeff & Michelle Kinzbach with their charming daughter Katie) while Jeff worked as a Nestle brand manager. They invited us to come stay with them and ride the Cyclotour du Leman (in English - bicycle tour around Lake Geneva). A once in a lifetime offer which we gleefully accepted. OK, how to get my 1945 model boby ready for this 120 mile ride? Team in Training was starting training for their "Summer Season"in January, so we arranged to join the Team even though we were not planning to ride with them (they were training for Lake Tahoe or Fletcher Flyer rides in May).

All was progressing nicely - had worked up to a 62 mile training ride but then only nine miles into the ride my right knee said NOOO! ! Made arrangements to see an orthopaedic surgeon. That "twisted knee" from Tuscany turned out to be "torn lateral meniscus" - repairable with arthroscopic surgery but not going away without help.

Good news is the surgery was done May 22, it is now September 3 a nd the cycling and racewalking are going fine. Knee hurts a little but after several weeks of physical therapy it functions just fine. Have now done 53 miles in training and based on Dr. Branche's orders am NOT going to ride Moab Century this year, but will do Seagull Metric Century. Too many hills at Moab so will save it for another time.

Naomi is doing the Moab Century ride on 9/22 so I'll be going along, only doing the flat and easy 40 mile "River Portal Cruise". Then 10/6 for the Seagull Metric Century in Salisbury, MD, followed on 10/14 by San Francisco's Nike Women's Marathon Half Marathon, capped off with Marine Corps Marathon 10K on 10/28.

Time to end this "catch up session". Will come back and fill in more details but this makes me feel less guilty about directing people to my blog.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Back to Nike Women's Marathon

April 28, 2011 - learned my luck did not bring a lottery entry for the 2011 Nike Women's Half Marathon, so signed on for my 7th Nike Women's Marathon appearance with Team in Training. Have actually been there for all of the NWM events, but the first year was as "Support Crew" for Naomi's first effort doing a Marathon. Have now done five Fulls at Nike and one Half, so guess that makes me a veteran. We are going back for the eighth time to the Nike Women's Marathon - October 16, 2011, a couple of weeks after we do the Marathon di Tuscany.

4 weeks earlier Naomi will be riding 100 miles with TNT in the
Moab Century Tour with me along as support/mechanic. After the Nike we return to Virginia, where we'll racewalk the Marine Corps Marathon 10K on October 30. The 10K uses the last 6.2 miles of the MCM course, finishing at the Iwo Jima Memorial. You may recall last year's MCM was my last full marathon. "Beat the Bridge" and finished, but enough is enough

Again this year I am raising money for LLS, adding my efforts to the $1 Billion raised for the Leukemia and Lymphoma society since TNT was created 22 years ago. Some of that money has gone to help my friend Bob Raleigh in his battle with AML or acute myelogenous leukemia. Not long ago we were not sure about Bob's prognosis, by May of 2010 he was well enough to be back in the courtroom and now he's going strong.

The other reason I keep doing this is a young man named Caleb Schneck, who turned 6 in February of this year (he is pictured above in the yellow "TNT gear"). He is also a leukemia survivor, having been diagnosed at age 3. Caleb is a very active boy who seems to be able to take the ongoing medical issues with amazing grace, as do his parents and family.

Bob and Caleb are survivors instead of statistics thanks to research funded by your TNT contributions. The treatment programs both of them participate in are funded in part by the Leuekemia and Lymphoma Society, the parent of TNT. Bob's done with active treatment and is putting his life back together again, thanks to your help. Caleb's medical attention is currently more active than Bob's but his Mom says in about a year his active treatments should be complete.

Bob and Caleb are what we at TNT call "Honored Teammate" - the ones who are fighting the blood cancers in person. Ohers involved with TNT are people like me who get out and do these endurance events because they are "fun". Yes, there is hard work involved, but when the race is finished, it's fun.

Your contribution to this LLS fundraising is the best possible way to help support treatment for Bob, Caleb and all the others who are fighting blood cancers. We don't have a cure yet, but the survival rates are improving every year, thanks in large part to the money donated by friends of TNT. In fact Dr. Kwak, whose work has been funded by LLS, is on the 2010 Time100 list in recognition of his work with cancer vaccines.

Please - take the time now to make a donation! By supporting my participation in Team In Training you help patients like Bob & Caleb and advance LLS's mission. Use this
link to contribute by credit card, or send a check to me in Alexandria and I'll be sure it's properly credited on the TNT records and you get a tax receipt.

Want to join us for the MCM10K? Great way to see the fun of the MCM, and it's only 6.2 miles. Just use this
link to register, but get there soon as they limit it to 10,000 people.

Thanks for your support! Cash goes to TNT but your friendship is priceless.

"Walking Tom" Farnam

ps - Purple for this post - the TNT color, also the color of my pancreatic cancer lapel ribbon.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Bulldog Pride & Determination

Yes, it says runner-up, again and we are mighty proud of our Bulldogs! Butler is the only Indiana school to ever go to the final game two years in a row, and based on a quick glance at the NCAA history it looks like you have to go back to the late 60's/early 70's UCLA teams to find any school repeating in the final game more than two years in a row.
Alright, this blog is supposed to be about my racewalking, so let's return to that topic. After finishing the Marine Corps Marathon last fall, I've been doing some shorter events over the past few months. Not giving up on Half Marathons, will be doing The Virginia Wine Country Half on June 4th, which is an inaugural event. In the meantime, here's a quick list just to bring it all up to date:

  • November 20, 2010 Cranberry Crawl 5k – 41:04 =PR

  • February 13, 2011 Love the Run You’re With 5K – 43:26 (bronchial asthma)

  • February 19, 2011 GW Birthday 10K - 89:00.01 (into 50mph wind gusts on 1st half)

  • March 12, 2011 4 Courts 4 Miler - 58:08

  • March 26, 2011 National Marathon ½ Marathon Relay – 5 Miles in 1:09:000

  • April 1, 2011 Crystal City Friday 5K #1 – about 43:22

  • April 8, 2011 Crystal City Friday 5K #2 – about 47:11.7in cold rain

  • April 10, 2011 GW Parkway Classic 5K – 40.31 = PR

Naomi is spending a good deal of time on the bicycle, even got herself a new Trek Madone 4.7 to go faster more easily. Neat bike, carbon fiber frame and weighs very little. My contribution to this process has been a really nice indoor trainer which she uses with her older bike just to avoid installing and removing the new one. Also have modified the car bike rack to fit more closely with the new Trek bike. Can't say enough good things about our Bird Automotive bike rack. It took about an hour to install the first time, but just as advertised it's very easy to install and remove without any tools. Naomi can walk into the garage, install the rack and put the bike in place in less than 5 minutes with no tools, and you can still use the trunk of the car. Great investment, if Sam Bird makes one for your car it's worth considering. He even makes versions to carry golf bags, skis, snowboards and luggage.

Walking Tom

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


It really is fun to watch the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament when your alma mater is doing well, and when they are giving us good close games to enjoy watching. Now have my friends telling me I should be making bets in Vegas. Don't have any idea how to do that, no intent to learn but it sure is fun to see the Butler Bulldogs in the Final Four two years in a row.

Lots of fun as well to hear people talk about Butler having a good basketball team as something new. The Bulldogs have been good at the game for as long as I can remember, which is getting to be a long time since I was in the class of 1966, my sister was in the class of 1962, and my mother was in the class of 1933 (and got a Masters in Education there in the '50s). My father, my uncle, a couple of cousins also went to school there. Good place for an education, not terribly expensive "back in the day", still not expensive compared to a lot of schools.

Also been having fun recently with Facebook, seems my Noblesville High School class of 1962 has a Facebook page and is putting together a 50th reunion for next year. Hard to believe, don't feel that old but the calendar says it's true. Guess having two new lenses in my eyes to fix the cataracts maybe says something about age as well, not to mention the silver hair.

"Silver hair" brings back memories of a conversation with my sister Fran. I said my hair was silver, she looked at me and said "Brother, your hair is gray". I looked at her and said "Honey, if your hair is blond mine is silver!" End of that line of conversation. Miss her, would love to share the Butler games with her. Sure they are watching from heaven, wonder if they get cold beer?

Enough of this, need to update for this year's racewalking. No, will do that another day. For now just going to savor the memories.