2012 Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon in Nashville


2012 Country Music Marathon & Half Marathon

Nashville, Tennessee

2012 Country Music Marathon and Half Marathon in Nashville

May 3

Last Saturday after 12 weeks of training over 200 miles of road, I found myself at the start line of the Country Music Marathon and Half-Marathon.  With stomach fluttering, Corral 22 counted down from 10 and teammate Tina and I were off. We raced down the large hill toward the AT&T building known as the Bat Building because of its large side wings, around the corner, through downtown Nashville, along Music Row, into residential neighbors and across Vanderbilt University to the finish at LP Field with hands raised in triumph.

The night before the big race all the members of Team Sjögren’s told our stories and I was reminded of how all of us suffer from this disease with not enough understanding from our doctors and sometimes our family members.  While we were racing, many of us were asked how to pronounce it (SHOW-grins) and what is it? 

In total Team Sjogren’s raised almost $25,000 to support research and awareness education.  And yes I made the $5,000 goal!  Even so, there is still time to donate if you just haven’t gotten around to it.

With gratitude in my heart I pack away my medal remembering the many of you who supported Team Sjögren’s to bring awareness to this hard-to-pronounce and hard-to-treat disease. All of you had a part in the success of Team Sjögren’s and I hope each of you will give yourself a pat on the back from me.



April 13

The sun literally shone on my longest training last Saturday.  Teammate Tina and I walked eleven miles along the Farmington River Canal Trail in about three hours.  We’re ready for Nashville! 


I will be keeping in shape these last two weeks with shorter and slower outings and then April 26 I board the plane for Nashville! The race will be here and gone before I know it.  Longtime friend Meredith is coming from Louisville to cheer me on along with all the family and friends of Team Sjögren’s.
Your support has been fantastic.  Sixty-four donors from fourteen states have helped me raise $4,445.15. Still time to support the team with your donation by check in the mail to P. O. Box 187, Hanover CT 06350 or on line at www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/susan-zimmerman/2012-country-music-marathon--12-marathon. Wouldn’t it be great if I can get to an even $5,000?!
As promised I will be writing the names of all donors on myTeam Sjögren’s shirt which says “I am running for 4,000,000 Americans who have Sjögren’s Syndrome.”  And so are you as I take each of you with me. I am so grateful for all this amazing support.  THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!


March 22



I am an official registered contestant in the 2012 Country Music Marathon/Half-Marathon in Nashville!  The unusually warm spring weather in Connecticut gives me every incentive to be out training.  My longest “run” is nine miles from my local library in Sprague (Hanover is a village in the town of Sprague for those who are paying attention to place names) to Dodd Stadium in Norwich.  This weekend I am going back to the Air Line Trail site of the former Air Line Railroad built to connect Boston and New York by a “line” drawn through the “air.”  Check out this link for more about this interesting rail to trail project http://www.ct.gov/dep/lib/dep/greenways/airlinetrailbrochure.pdf.

Fundraising continues.  A reminder to any of you, and I know there are still some, planning to sponsor me on Team Sjogren’s to send a check made out to the Sjogren’s Syndrome Foundation to P.O. Box 187, Hanover, CT 06350 or donate online at www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/susan-zimmerman/2012-country-music-marathon--12-marathon.

I wouldn’t be doing this without support and encouragement from all of you!


March 7

Rainy, cooler weather recently in CT made my outdoor training more of a challenge but I am still putting in those miles.  Almost 80 miles since the start of training.  This week I am preparing for my longest training “run” of 7 miles on Saturday.  

I started this whole gig just to raise awareness for Sjögren’s Syndrome but I am finding I am really enjoying training too.  I went to the local running store, which I would never have predicted is a store I would frequent, to buy a pair of good running shoes. And who knew there were so many kinds?  When I decided I needed a lighter weight running jacket, I found one in just the right shade of blue to coordinate with my Team Sjögren’s shirt. You know me—never miss an opportunity for a fashion statement!
All of you keep me going with your generous support.  So many of you have responded with encouragement that I now have no choice but to see this through to Nashville.  Not all of you could give financially and your encouragement is welcome too. I want to share with you one donation that particularly touched me. My daughter Emily gave me the $6.15 she made from recycling cans.
For those of you still planning to support the team with a donation, take one more thing off the to do list and donate today. For those of you in the New London area, come visit me at the Fiddleheads Farmer’s Market this Saturday, March 10 from 10-2.
Here’s hoping that spring is on the way. I am sure looking at brighter days ahead.

February 20

“Are we having fun yet?” is a question we often ask each other in my household.  Well I am having a great deal of fun these days.  I have been walking some really great places to train for the half marathon/marathon in April.  Last week I was delighted by early morning Bluff Point http://www.ct.gov/dep/cwp/view.asp?a=2716&q=325178 and challenged by the long hill to the Sprague Reservoir.  This week I expect my feet to take me twice around Lebanon Green unchanged since the 1700’s http://www.lebanontownhall.org/historic-sites.htm and to the local elementary school musing I am sure about the day I locked my keys and my dog Hanna in the car in the school parking lot and was saved by the local resident state trooper from a six-mile round trip walk in the rain to get my spare keys.

 Your enthusiastic support for Team Sjögen’s is keeping me going.  Thanks to those of you who have already responded I am half way to my $3,000 fundraising goal.  And more of you have promised sponsorship.  It’s not too soon to put cash or a check in the mail to P. O. Box 187, Hanover CT 06350 or donate on line at www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/susan-zimmerman/2012-country-music-marathon--12-marathon.

 Many thanks to Meiklem Kiln Works/Centerspace, Willimantic Food Coop, Disabilities Network of Eastern CT, The ARC of New London County and Backus Hospital for displaying flyers about Team Sjögren’s.  Look for me at the Fiddleheads Winter Farmer’s Market in New London on March 10th.  Coming soon will be my own website with more training updates and my own artwork for sale, 25% of proceeds going to Team Sjögren’s.

 Yes we are definitely having fun!

February 13

Thanks for sponsoring me on Team Sjögren's! Together we can change my story of living with Sjögren’s syndrome for others in the future.

I don’t have to tell you health matters but you may not know what it is like to live with a health condition that the doctors don’t fully understand.  Thousands of dollars in tests that showed nothing wrong and many treatments that didn’t help preceded getting relief from the treatments available for Sjögren's symptoms.   Still my days are sometimes difficult because of joint pain or fatigue and I am at a higher risk of lymphoma.  

There is still so much to learn about this disease, which has damaged my moisture-producing glands causing dry eyes and mouth and affecting other organs including kidneys, lungs and blood vessels.  I must research and cajole specialists into taking me seriously because they just haven’t heard about Sjögren’s. As a result, I have traded in full time work for full time patient. I have heard it all—drink more water, get more exercise, eat more fiber, get different exercise, sleep in a darker room, don’t exercise too much before bed.  By now you would think that the doctors themselves would begin to get the idea of how little they are offering in the way of helpful treatments.

I am participating on Team Sjögren's because it is a way for me to get my story out to all of you who in turn pass the story along to your friends and neighbors. Awareness is the way that we will reduce the time to diagnosis and improve treatment. Sponsoring me on Team Sjögren's with a donation will help fund research and give the doctors more treatments to offer.  When you sponsor me, you will be there too because I am writing the name of every sponsor on my Team Sjögren’s shirt!

Thank you for taking the time to read my story. I hope you will spread the word about the autoimmune disorder that needs talking about and run with me on Team Sjögren’s.

Don't forget to forward this to anyone who you think might want to donate too!


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