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Gabe Axe is a 18 year old high school senior in Greenwich, Connecticut.  After feeling sick for a while, he was tested and diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia ("ALL") in July 2000.  More...

Journal to Gabe Axe, My Cousin and Honoree


To track my training and fundraising and general progress towards finishing the Suzuki Rock 'n' Roll Marathon in June 2002, I'm keeping this journal.  My honoree for the marathon is my cousin Gabe who is battling leukemia. He was diagnosed in July of 2000 and has demonstrated tremendous strength in battling the disease. I applaud his spirit and hope that Team-in-Training raises awareness about leukemia and lymphoma and helps to find a cure.

Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to Axe Out Leukemia.

June 2, 2002
The Suzuki Rock 'N' Roll Marathon

I made it!  26.2 miles run.  It was tough, but it was also incredible.  Running with 20,000 other people, and 3500 Team in Training runners was intense.  Plus, all the spectators cheering all of us on, all the way to the finish.

I never thought in my wildest imagination, that I'd want to run a marathon.  To be honest, never had any interest.  Running doesn't hold that much appeal to me as a sport.  Just not as active for me, like basketball, etc. (continued below...)

 June 4, 2002

Dear Geoff,

We are so proud of you. I know how hard you worked over these last months and you did it! - 26.2 miles with Gabe in your heart all the way. 

You have always been like a brother and best friend to Gabe and all my boys, even though you are so much older than they are, but from the moment Judah was born when you were 7 years old - and then Noah three years later followed by Gabe and Dan - no one could read a book or play a game with them like you. I wish we could have all been with you in San Diego, but I know we were well represented with Judah there cheering you on.

When Gabe was first diagnosed and hospitalized for five weeks in the summer of 2000, Judah and Noah were old enough  - 21 and 19 - to take care of themselves and be very helpful to Gabe and us as well, but it was pretty tough on Dan who was only 13. You immediately made arrangements for him to come and stay with you and Nita for two weeks out in LA.  What a joy for us to know that he was with his favorite cousin Geoff while all of our energies were focused on Gabe.

Now that Gabe is coming down the home stretch of two years of extremely aggressive treatment, I know that all your love and prayers, all your special movie packages, all your aching feet and muscles really made a difference.

We love you and bless you and can't wait to watch you take the next big step in your life - down the aisle at your wedding with Nita at your side.

We send all our love and lots of hugs -
Aunt Vicki and all the Axe boys

Geoffrey Klein - Marathon Finisher!

Running the marathon with thousands of other runners.

Geoffrey crosses the finish line of the 2002 Suzuki Rock 'N' Roll Marathon

Geoffrey ran with Team-in-Training in honor of his cousin Gabe Axe

Adrienne Sortino
Alex & Debbie Miller
Alison Clarie-Genis
Amy McCubbin
Angelique Palozzi
Ann Cunliffe
Aris Piliguian
Brian Sherman
Cecilia Salzman
Cyril Cobb
Dan Freedman
David & Patrice Conn
Dede Gardner
Dianne Magambo
Dina Blum
Edward Cobb
Elena Jacobson
Elizabeth Ingold
Ellen Weinstein
Emmy & Dudley Cooke
Georgie Goodman
Henry Moser
Hudson & Susan Hickman
Jaime DeJong
Jeffrey Alexander
Jeremy Lee
Jonathan Bader
Kristen Lowe
Liz Glotzer
Marc Borson
Marla Levine
Marshall Johnson
Matt Gannon
Michael & Nicole Frebowitz
Michelle Manning
Muriel Cobb
Neil Benson
Norma Bass
Patricia Laucella
Peter Klein
Quentin Curtis
Richard Goodman
Richard Klein
Rupert Goodman
Sachi Cunningham
Stephanie Palmer
Steven & Ruth Goodman
Susan Padrino
Talia Barr
Ted Koland
Vicki & Harold Axe
Warren Zide
(Continued from above)

The experience of training for and then running the marathon, though, was something I won't soon forget. 

I have to also, say, if it weren't' for my cousin Gabe, and for running with Team-in-Training, I don't think I'd have ever done it - or made it. 

Gabe were always with me, each week when I trained and especially the day of the marathon.  We all wear medical like wristbands with the name of our honored teammate on them.  I felt especially proud and inspired to wear one with Gabe's name - because while others were wearing them for people deserving to be honored, my was special because it was someone I am close with, part of my family.

Running can be grueling, and there were moments (the big hill at mile 19, for example) where you ask yourself what am I doing?  Why am I doing this?  But I am quickly reminded I was doing this to honor Gabe's battle - his courageous and inspiring manner!

I don't intend to run another marathon, but I'm glad I ran this one - and I wouldn't have wanted to do it without my honoree. 

When I crossed the finish line, he was right there with me.  Because it was together that we were able to accomplish this, and only together could we have done it.  So thanks to Gabe!  Thanks for being a wonderful cousin, a great friend, and just a super guy!

Geoffrey gets a big hug from his soon-to-be wife Nita after the marathon

Geoff and Gabe's brother Judah (who traveled to San Diego from San Francisco)

May 26, 2002: Back to the streets of Los Angeles, and only 1 week to go before the big event! It is very surreal to me that I've been training for the past several months and it will all culminate next week.

I ran 10 miles today and I am honestly surprised to say that it was relatively easy. I never thought I would ever have easy and 10 miles in the same sentence. Well, I think the training has paid off and that I'm as prepared for the run as I might be. More good news, is my body seems relatively healthy, with my feet problems having gone away over the last couple weeks.

It is odd to think that only a few months ago, a 3 mile run seemed daunting - whereas 10 now seem doable, and is doable! What have I become?! Looking forward to running with 5000 other TNT runners and about 20,000 other runners! Should be good fun (except the running part).

May 13, 2002: My second 20 mile run was as challenging as the first.  But due to circumstances, I went on Saturday instead of Sunday - meaning I ran it without the benefit of my team.  It turned out that about 5 other team members were running that day, so I ended up running a good part of the trek with them.  I was a bit slower this time around, mostly because of lack of sleep and a raspberry martini the night before. Oops.

Today's 5-6 mile run was a bit different.  I ran down the south bank of the Thames River (oh yeah, I'm in London), across a bridge and around Big Ben and House of Parliament and then back.  I have to admit that the Thames is definitely not the Pacific ocean, but at the same time Santa Monica Pier doesn't have anything on good ol' Big Ben!!

Running in London is a different experience than LA for sure, but my little legs keep on moving one at a time and before you know it I had returned and logged in some more mileage.  So, this week in England should be a nice change of pace and then the big race is only a couple weeks away. 

May 9, 2002: Twenty (20) miles is getting pretty close to Marathon distance. So, I suppose I'm feeling good that I've survived that distance this past weekend.  With less than a month to go, I'm feeling better physically.  My feet aren't bothering me as much. Another 20 mile run this weekend then we start to taper down before the event. The experience of running as part of Team-in-Training has been a great experience thus far.  I run with a fun group and there is some consistency to seeing the same familiar faces every Sunday morning. My weekly runs have been better too - running 5.5 miles to work twice a week.  I am a little surprised that these runs feel relatively easy.  I guess my training has been working.  Of course, the longer runs still seem very daunting. Getting excited about the big event which is getting closer and closer.

May 1, 2002: After the challenge of the 18 mile run, one would suspect that a short 13 run mile would be a cake walk.  Sadly, not the case.  Despite, being 5 miles shorter, this weekend's run was still more challenging than I would have thought.  At the end, however, I wasn't nearly as tired or spent as the previous week, so I suppose that was a nice change. Ran to work yesterday, which is about 5 1/2 miles and I'll do the same tomorrow.  Then BIG or rather LONG 20 mile run this Sunday and the following weekend. Feet still giving me some aches, but generally, getting used to it.  With the marathon only a month away, I am getting excited.  I think the event will be quite fun and all this hard work will come with a satisfying conclusion.  Of course, there is still about 100 miles or training to do before then, so I'll save my excitement a little.

April 21, 2002: After the hard 16 mile run the previous week, I have to be honest, that I wasn't exactly looking forward to an 18 mile run.  I can foresee that the actual marathon will be about ups and downs, much like this past week's run was.  Started out well, then my feet started to hurt, then the pain subsided, then my hamstrings started to feel sore, then they subsided.  It was a pretty clear day and as we ran by the Pacific Ocean, I was able to enjoy the view, despite fatigue, etc.

We do a loop and usually have a water stop somewhere along the way. On the way back, my coach and a couple mentors, were encouraging saying "only 4 miles to go."  I had two thoughts - wow, I've run 14 miles already, that's pretty great.  Sadly, my second thought was - ugh, I've run 14 miles already and I still have 4 miles to go. 

Funny, that 4 miles is not necessarily at imposing as it was at the beginning of my race, now that I've run 4 times that distance.  Still those last 4 miles (on a slight uphill) were still challenging, after those first 14.  The best news of all was, that after all 18 miles, while my body ached, it wasn't feeling as beat up as usual. Maybe I'm starting to get used to this type of abuse - now that's scary!

April 14, 2002: As I write this, I am icing both feet and both knees. Now this may not seem like good news, but things could be worse. More than that, I completed my training today, a whopping 16 miles. Yes, my body is clearly feeling the after effects, but I am trying to embrace the fact that there will be some soreness along the road.

I am feeling fairly good about the training as each week I've crossed another personal long distance. I had the added inspiration today of knowing Peter had run the marathon in London. Also running it for TNT, we share in our commitment to run for such a worth cause and in honor of you!

So, I'll take my licks and do my best to keep my body in one piece for another 6 or 7 weeks until the Marathon.

April 11, 2002: After a week and a half off from running (recovering from a throat infection and foot tendon pulls) I got back to training with an easy 3 mile run this morning.  With the marathon a little more than a month and a half away, I want to try and stay on track.  Sadly, even after this short run, my feet aren't in great shape.  The tendon I had hurt a few weeks back are still bothering me, actually in both feet. 

I have reconciled myself to the fact that I will not be able to train pain free and that some discomfort may accompany my training.  So, ibuprofen and icing will need to become part of my regiment while I battle my aching feet.  Since my foot doctor assured me I won't' do more damage by running on them, I am just going to grin and bear it.  

Don't mean to be giving such a sob story about my aching feet - but what is life without a little drama?  Will hope to get in a shorter run on Saturday and then hit the big, long run Sunday. 

Since Peter is running his marathon on Sunday, I'll have added incentive to run with his good example helping keep me going.

March 30, 2002: This past week was not my best, as I was nursing both a throat infection and a pulled tendon in my foot.  The prospect of me being able to do the long run seemed slim.  I ran 3 miles on Friday and had mild pain in my foot.  I spoke to my doctor, who understood my desire to get back on track with my training.  He recommended I ice my foot a couple times, then take some ibuprofen before the run and hope for the best.

So, early this morning, I went down to the ocean and began the run in slightly chilly weather.  We ran towards Venice beach before double backing and heading on our normal route.  I was fairly focused on my foot and after a while it became somewhat clear that my foot would survive the run.  It was the rest of my body that I had to worry about.  I was so concerned about my foot, I failed to recognize that even in perfect health, this was the longest distance I'd ever tried to run. 

Well, I went nice and slow (even slower than usual) and had some tunes on my Mp3 player to keep me company and I ran, and ran and ran.  After a couple hours of running I began to get restless and I headed back to the end of the course.  I was aware my body was aching in several places, including my tendon, but pushed onward and finished the long, 15 mile run. I am still recovering, but thankfully only minor aches (at least I hope - we'll see tomorrow). 

March 23, 2002: My 11 mile run last weekend took more out of me than I realized. I ran 3 miles on the following Tues, only to realize as I was running that my foot was hurting.  After a visit to the podiatrist, I confirmed that I had pulled a tendon in my left foot.  The doctor thought I should be ok and I tested it this past Saturday on a 3 mile run to discover that it wasn't ready, so I had to skip my usual long Sunday run.

This week's been hard because my sickness got worse, and I confirmed with a doctor today that I have a throat infection.  So, I'm on anti-inflamatory meds for my foot and anti-biotics for my throat infection.  Ugh.

Hoping to be done with both within a few days.  Hoping to test out my foot on a short run on Friday and the long run on Saturday (instead of Sunday because it is a holiday).  A small bump in the road, but I'm taking care of them and hope to be back and training shortly.  All part of the training.

March 17, 2002: Last week's run with the hills in the mountains was tough. I was a bit under the weather this week, so I skipped my usual Thursday run and only ran on Tuesday and Saturdy.  Today's run was back at the usual spot down by the ocean.  My usual running partners weren't there, so I ran this one solo for the most part, which was good.  There are advantages to running with others - time goes quicker, but there are also advantages to running by yourself - less worried about pace and you have time to think about stuff.  We all have busy lives and never have that much time to stop and think, so having a run to myself today was nice.  It was also, quite long. 

Our coach mistakenly told us that the turn around spot was before it actually was, but I found out during the run at the one water stop because the coach was there, so I asked if I could go past the "wrong" turnaround point so that I would run the scheduled distance.  He said fine and off I went.  I watched some faster runners past me by on their way back, but I kept running past where they had turned around.  I ended up running a bit harder than usual and even though I took on about 2 extra miles than some, I made it back it just about 2 hours. 

In the end, I ended up running 11 miles, my first run over double digits, which was a good feeling.  The mileage will keep increasing, but now at least I am on my way...looking forward to the teens (well not really, but I'm trying to keep myself motivated).

March 10, 2002: Just back from a long run in the Santa Monica mountains. We ran for about 2 hours and between 9-10 miles.  As our mileage increases, I find my body generally feeling better - AFTER the run.  During the run, my body has been struggling a bit during different parts of the run.  We ran in the mountains which was a mixed bag.  Being in nature was a nice change of pace and it was quite beautiful.  Unfortunately, I didn't enjoy the experience as much as I might have, as my body was dealing with the hills!  In case you didn't know - Hills are not fun.  The course we ran had a series of up and down parts.  The ups were tough and each time we got to a down hill was a sense of relief. 

Overall, training is going well, as is the fundraising, which I am very happy about.  So a few aches and sores, but still truckin' along...

March 3, 2002: Today was the LA Marathon.  As I had done my long run yesterday, today I only had a short 3 mile run scheduled.  Nita and I went to one of the race point, between mile 16 and 17 to watch the runners. Nita's boss was running and we headed their with her boss' wife and two daughters.  The marathon, even as a spectator, is quite an experience.  Thousands of runners of all levels joined together in one big massive event!  Nita's boss came running by and stopped to say hi before continuing on his way.  Then a friend of Nita's, Rachelle, who was running came by, and I decided to join her in the run for a few miles.  It was great.  I ran about 3 1/2 miles with her (and thousands of others).  It was cool to be in the pack of people, with people cheering us on all along the route, amidst water stops and energy snack stops.  There were the "official" stops where water, Gatorade and snacks were given out, but there were countless others handing out water bottles, ice chips, bagels, and lots of encouragement. 

As we reached mile 20, I bid Rachelle good luck for her final stretch and stood by the side cheering on others.  There is a great TNT contingent who ran, all out in their purple shirts.  This experience has left me with a slightly sore quad, but much more than that a sense of anticipation for our marathon a mere 3 months away!

March 2, 2002: Due to the LA Marathon tomorrow, there was an option to do the weekly long run today. I opted for this as I wanted to be flexible to watch some of the marathon, as Nita and I have some friends who are running it.  There is a place right by our apartment where the runners will come by.  As I am scheduled to run 3 miles tomorrow, which I am considering running with someone actually running the LA marathon.  I think it would be cool to join someone at mile 15 of their race and give them encouragement as they struggle through the latter part of what I expect to be quite a challenging experience.

My own long run today was quite a challenge.  There were only 8 runners, out of our usual group of about 45 runners who run together weekly as part of the west side TNT group.  We met at Griffith Park , which is a big park in east Los Angeles, which has everything from horse riding to a zoo to a golf course.  The course we were going to run, was going to be a rather steep incline (and definitely so compared to our usual flat run by the ocean) followed by a downhill stretch and then a flat part to finish.  The loop was 9 miles!  The uphill part was a bear, and I found myself pushing hard to keep going.  The downhill part, however, was a welcome relief as I glided towards the bottom.  The only problem was that I still had about 6 miles to go.  Still, the atmosphere of the park was enjoyable and I had my trusty MP3 player giving me little musical doses to help along.  I listen to everything from the training montage from Rocky IV to Lenny Kravitz' American Woman to James Brown's Funky Drummer to Prince's Kiss, Michael Jackson's Wanna be Startin' Something to Will Smith's Getting Jiggy With it. 

As I reached the end of the run, my knees were a bit sore, but I guess that is to be expected on the longest run of my life.  It was a milestone as it marked the longest distance I had ever run at one time, since I ran 8 at the beginning of wrestling season in my junior year in high school. I felt proud to have set my new longest run at my ripe old age.  Of course, this is just the beginning of many running milestones as each week I will break my distance as I shoot for that super long run, a little thing they call a Marathon...

February 22, 2002: So, my running continues.  I am trying hard to stick to the program that TNT outlines and for the most part have done so.  As you know Sundays are the longer runs with the team (or "the girls" as I call them).  We ran 7 miles although scheduled for 6 - again fell prey to peer pressure - but felt good.  Also, Peter sent me a couple long sleeve t-shirts from New York races.  So I wore this bright red Valentine's Day run shirt, which gathered positive comments from my running mates.  Ran the standard 3 miles Tues. and Thurs. and will run another 3 tomorrow.

Big news! Got new shoes.  Went to this specialty running store and spent about an hour and a half with the owner trying on about 8 pairs of shoes. He watched me walk barefoot and then even watched me run with different shoes on a treadmill they had in the store.  They don't mess around.  So I ended up with a pair of Avia (had not heard of that brand prior to going to the store) and they seem really comfy.  Been good so far on my short mid-week runs - so hoping they also managed to hold up for the longer run.

In addition to that, I'm trying a new run-walk method of running that is gaining a lot of popularity.  Basically you run 5 minutes and then walk 1 minute.  I tried this on both my 3 mile runs this week and ended up running faster times than I did when I ran the whole way.  My coach suggests running the marathon this way, so I'm going to try it for a good while and see how it works out. 

February 18, 2002: I woke up Sunday morning and was not particularly excited for my scheduled 6 mile group run.  The main reason was because as I stirred awake I could hear the sound of raindrops falling to the ground.  Sometimes, I feel like I shouldn't complain about lousy running conditions, particularly because I know Peter is running in New York where the weather is a lot less reliable.  It only rains in LA a few weeks in the year.  Still, I wasn't as up for running as I could have been.  Nonetheless, I dragged myself out of bed and drove towards the ocean (the route we run each week goes along the ocean - very nice view).  Thankfully, the rain stopped a few minutes before I arrived and while I did end up with muddy shoes, at least I wasn't being rained on during the run.  Again, one of the women I was running at the same pace with convinced me to push a little bit further than scheduled, and we ran 7 miles that day.  Also, had the first water break station set up and got some extra Gatorade and some pretzels (my favorite snack!).  

Today was a big day for my training as I went down to the shoe store and spent an hour with the shoe expert guy finding a pair to match my flat feet.  After trying on three brands and six different shoes and walking and running on the treadmill for the shoe guy to see how I ran, I settled on a pair that were both mechanically good (according to the expert) and the most comfortable.  The are a brand I'd never heard up (Avia) but I am all about comfort for the run, less about how they look and having a trendy brand.  I did by some funky red socks with the "Red Baron" airplane on it - so that's my style statement.  Looking forward to my runs this week in the new kicks.

February 14, 2002: I have been watching the Olympics with a slightly different perspective than usual.  Now that I am training for a marathon, I feel more athletic than I have in the past.  I am far (very far) from ever being (or wanting ) to compete anywhere near an Olympic level, but still I feel the bond with athletes who train and possess a goal for which they are striving. 

I think there are some silly events in the Olympics, but some of them are quite cool as well.  I was watching the Snowboarding, Halfpipe competition, which was quite impressive.  Overall, I do enjoy watching the Olympics and trying to use it as inspiration for my training.

The training continues to go smoothly.  Ran 5 miles on Sunday and 3 miles Tuesday and Thursday.  Our TNT group run is up to 6 miles this coming Sunday and every week we'll keep tacking on more mileage.  We had a guy come from a runner's sporting good store come and talk about footware and I'm excited to go and pick up a new pair of "trainers" (what Nita and the Brits call sneakers or running shoes) soon.

February 7, 2002: Training this week has been pretty good.  I decided to do my Tuesday morning run at the gym at work so Nita could work out as well.  When I got to work, I realized I had forgotten my work clothes at home (Doh!).  Thankfully I don't live all that far, so I scooted home and back to work, but because of the time I was worried I'd be really late for work.  I figured I'd run a little less than I had hoped, but as I was running, I started to feel guilty that I was going to slack on my training.  I am convinced the only way I'm going to make it through this process is if I am very disciplined about keeping to the TNT schedule.  So, to make a long story short, I clocked in the 3 miles scheduled for the day and made it to work only a few minutes late. 

Another 2 mile run yesterday was nice and short.  Today, I met up at 6:15am with other team members (about 8 of us) and we ran 4 miles.  I know some people (like Peter) run at night, but for me the morning is the best time to run because you get a jump on the day.  Yes, you have to get up earlier, but then you run and you start your day feeling like you've already accomplished something.

Saturday  is a pot-luck picnic for honored teammates from the area.  I'll have a cheese burger in your honor (I know it's not kosher, so forgive me).  Hope all is well on your end.

February 3, 2002: Well, as I may have mentioned, the TNT group I run with is about 85% women (too bad I'm taken - just kidding).

So, today they told us we should take note of people who are at our same pace level, because in a couple weeks, we are going to break down into smaller groups.  So as I was running our 4 mile run today, there were two women, Elizabeth and Ann, who were running RIGHT in front of me for the first mile or so.  So, we got to chat and I joined them for the rest of the run.

Only problem was, that Ann, decided as we were reaching the halfway point (we always do a loop, so people can run at different paces), Ann decided she was going to keep turn around at the intermediate/advanced runners turn around point (they have three turnaround points, one for half marathon runners, one for beginners (which I clearly am) and one for intermediate/advanced runners).  So, Elizabeth and I, feeling ok with the run thus far, continued on and went the extra distance, so where we had thought today was only going to be a 4 mile run, we actually extended it and ended up running 6 MILES!

Felt pretty good, actually, and should make the next couple weeks runs that much easier. I'm sure I'll be sore tomorrow, but overall I feel good.

January 26, 2002: Attended the Los Angeles TNT Kick-Off event today. It was a nice event.  It supported not only the Rock N Roll Marathon that I running, but also a few other marathons as well as a couple bike ride and triathlons.  It was also very touching as some personal stories were shared by honored teammates.  I picked up my training shirt and water bottle, so I am ready to get going.  I had started my pre-training about a month ago and was sidetracked with a cold two weeks ago, only to get back to it this week, running 2 miles on Tuesday and 3 on Thurs.  For me, a non-runner, this was a great accomplishment.  I had thought my "official" TNT team training was going to start next week, but found out today it starts TOMORROW!  Nice, leisurely 3 miles, which has me a bit concerned since 3 miles is the most I've run in maybe a good 10 years! Well, I am excited to increase my mileage and get into shape.  Both Nita and I are super psyched about the possibility Gabe coming out for the race.  That would be great.  

This site is maintained by Peter Klein and is not associated with the Leukemia-Lymphoma Society, Team-in-Training or The Light the Night Walk other than the participation in the Society's  programs of the individuals included in this site.  
Last updated on January 07, 2004 .