Category Archives: Adventure



Derek posing for me just before his 10k.

After a very busy week in Cleveland we have arrived home victorious. Here’s a silly video that provides some highlights, and/or you can read a recap of our events below (click on photos to make them big):

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We’re On Our Way!


One last post before we head off to the games. The opening ceremonies are on Saturday night from 7:30p-9:30 EDT. There’s a rumor that there will be a live stream that you can access from the TGA website. So if you’re not doing anything else on Saturday, you could watch that?

There’s still time to sign up to be an organ donor and/or make a donation to our team if you’re into that sort of thing.

  1. Register to be an organ donor through our team’s official page. If you’ve already registered, you can register again, and it will still count towards our team’s goal of signing up 250 organ donors.
  2. And/or you can donate to our team! Here’s the link to our team’s donation page. Your contribution is tax deductible.

Wish us luck! We hope to make you all proud.


Transplant Games of America 2016

Derek at the Big Lake 1/2 Marathon

Derek at the Big Lake 1/2 Marathon

In an effort to get you pumped up for the Summer Olympics this year, Derek and I are heading to Cleveland to participate in the Transplant Games of America in less than 2 weeks! The games:

“…started as a way to get the word out about the important need for organ and tissue donation and that is our goal today. Over the years it has grown into an event that brought transplant and donor families together. As a Donor Family you may not meet the person that has your loved ones organ, but you get a chance to see how your donation has changed someone else life. As a transplant recipient you get to show the world that having a transplant is a second chance at life.” [source]

Derek and I are proud to be representing Team New England at the games, and are happy to use the occasion as an opportunity to give thanks to, as well as honor, the young man and his family who chose to give Derek the gift of life two years ago.

We plan to take loads of photos and will give you a full update on the games when we return.

How Can You help?

  1. Register to be an organ donor through our team’s official page. If you’ve already registered, you can register again, and it will still count towards our team’s goal of signing up 250 organ donors.
  2. And/or you can donate to our team! Here’s the link to our team’s donation page. Your contribution is tax deductible.

Medal Awarded!

While winning a medal isn’t the primary goal of the Transplant Games, we are both highly competitive people and we sure hope we’ll make y’all proud.

Listed below are the events Derek & I have signed up for. Derek has been running regularly to train for his events, including competing in the Big Lake Half Marathon and the Canterbury 5k.

I have been swimming at the Y for a few months now and have only swallowed 1/10th of the pool in my quest to remaster my flip turn. I really hope I remember how to do a block start since I haven’t done one since, oh I don’t know, probably 1990? I’m hoping muscle memory kicks in for that particular skill, and the 2 running sprints I signed up for.

We will also be on a bocce team together and that should be interesting since we haven’t played an official game of bocce…ever.


Saturday, June 11th

Lifebanc 10k

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Monday, June 13th

Track & Field – 800m, 1500m, 4×100 Relay, & Discusgiphy (3)

Tuesday, June 14th

Team Bocce

Bocce spocking with @loganpass

A post shared by Derek (@derekjaniak) on


Sunday, June 12th

Swimming – 50m Freestyle, 50m Breaststroke, 100m Freestyle

(Here’s the funny thing about lap pools. The Busbey Natatorium–where this event is being held–has a long course pool, which means one lap is 50 meters. But…we’re going to be swimming the short course a.k.a. the width of the pool which is 25 yards because American pools are weird. 25 yards = 22.86 meters. So does that means my times will be faster because I will be swimming 45.72 meters instead of 50 or 91.44 meters instead of 100? Maybe? Faster than what? I’m really searching for an advantage here.)

giphy (1)

Why would I choose to swim breaststroke when I have never done that event in competition? Your guess is as good as mine.

Monday, June 13th

Track & Field – 100m & 200m

Fun fact! It's too late for me to back out on these events even though I have practiced running these distances zero times!

Fun fact! It’s too late for me to back out on these events even though I have practiced running these distances zero times!

Tuesday, June 14th

Team Bocce

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Sixteen (and Fifteen) Months Post Transplant Status

It’s been 16 months (April 14, 2014) since I received a partial liver from Logan, and 15 months (May 13, 2014) since my second transplant.

A few milestones:

  • I ran my fastest 5K on August 13, 2015: Thanks to encouragement from my running companion and co-worker, Greg, I finished in a time of 22:38.3, which put me in the top 10% of finishers in the race. My pre-transplant (1998-era) personal record time was 23:41, so I am now on record as being faster post-transplant than I was pre-transplant!


  • Lahey Hospital made an awesome video about our transplant story for their #PowerofTransplant video series: 
  • I have hiked 14 of the 48 four thousand footers in New Hampshire: Flume, Isolation, Jackson, Jefferson, Lafayette, Liberty, Lincoln, Osceola, Osceola (East Peak), Passaconaway, Tecumseh, Whiteface, Wildcat A, Wildcat D!  Our recent hike up Mt. Jackson was on August 8th:

Pre-transplant, I had doubts that it was possible to feel better post-transplant, but I keep feeling better and better every month. On one hand, the surgeries feel like so long ago, but on the other hand, it’s only been 15 months since my life was last saved!

Hiking Wildcat Mountain(s)

After hiking the Franconia Ridge Trail a few weeks ago, I have been looking at longer hikes in the White Mountains to get more miles and build up more hiking endurance. On Monday and again on Wednesday, I ran 5 miles at ~8:20/mi pace and I could still feel some residual soreness before my hike Friday.

Even with soreness going into the day, I opted for the Wildcat Ridge Trail, which traverses up the 5 peaks (A through E) and is known as a “steep rocky hike.” My original plan was a little loose: either up and back to Wildcat A (9 miles, 3400′) or continuing on to Carter Mountain, and then returning the same way for ~12 miles (5000′?). It’s a grueling hike. Following the ascent, the Wildcat-to-Carter section is a quick 1000′ downhill followed by a steep hike up Carter mountain, just to turn around and hike the down-up to Wildcat and head back out.

I deviated from both plans. I got a late start (10AM) and parked at Glen Ellis Falls, crossed the road and started the ascent on the Wildcat Mountain Ridge, which is part of the Appalachian Trail. This section of trail was immediately an uphill grind. I had poles, but ended up carrying them in one hand instead of using them to hike. The AMC White Mountain Guidebook calls the Wildcat Ridge Trail steep and says it’s deceptively slow due to the rocky ascent. They weren’t kidding. Sections of the trail had 4×4 pieces of wood that were anchored into rock to provide steps since the granite provided no grip. This was additionally tricky because of the morning rain. This is definitely not a trail I would entertain in the winter – ice, rocks, and hiking don’t mix. Actually, thinking back on it, it’s not a trail I would like to do again in any kind of weather.

After around 2000′ vertical, I reached the intial mountain (Wildcat E) peak, and had a good view out to Mount Washington from the top of the Wildcat Ski resort. The rain clouds from the early morning were on their way out and the nice puffy cumulus clouds were hanging around the mountain peaks. I took a few pictures and slogged on. At this point it occurred to me how awful the descent down all those rocks were going to be at the end of the day. Hiking on, there were a few cols between the peaks of the mountains, providing additional opportunity to practice going up and down rocks. Somewhere in this section I passed two other hikers and I heard one ask the other: “Thru hiker?” And then a quick response of: “No”. I laughed at the thought of my day pack and relatively clean-shaven look being confused for someone who was on an end-to-end trek of the Appalachian Trail.

After almost 4 hours, I made it to the final Wildcat mountain (Wildcat A) and had climbed 3400′. I took time to eat a late lunch, and declared the view the best of the White Mountains so far. Some hikers really enjoy the Franconia Ridge Trail and corresponding views, but looking off the backside of Wildcat A was superior. It’s a partially limited view, but includes a very steep decline, with Carter Mountain on the opposite side of the notch. At the base of the notch resides the Carter Hut and a lake. I had a feeling like I really was standing on top of the world, with Carter Hut below my feet, and Carter Mountain and the untouched mountains to the South at my fingertips.

At this point, I was left with a decision: hike the 3-4 hours back the way I came over the rocks and down the steep sections or continue down the AT and out the 19 Mile River Trail to the road and traverse the 4+ additional miles on the road back to the car. Hiking up Carter Mountain was out of the question. Although it was only 2pm, I started getting concerned about getting home at a reasonable time. I decided on hiking down the AT, followed by a hike out the 19 Mile River Trail for a few reasons:

  1. I was not looking forward to going down steep rocks.
  2. Although it was longer and involved hiking along the road, it was an easier hike.
  3. The trail was also unknown – that appeals to my sense of adventure.
  4. I could always hitchhike back to the car if all else failed in the last 4 miles.
  5. Finally, I was on a portion of the Appalachian Trail. I checked off this section from my imaginary list, and eventually I would have to hike the steep descent or ascent if I were to complete the AT (someday). Continuing on the trail was saving my future self from repeating the Wildcat Ridge hike or requiring a hike up the steep section to my current peak.

And so I continued down, down, down. The remaining hike was uneventful. It was a peaceful hike along the river down to the road. After the 9 mile hike, I continued the last 4+ miles back to the car, passing the Mount Washington Auto Road and stopping for a brief moment at the Pinkham Notch Visitor Center to rest my weary legs. I finally made it back to the car after 7 hours and a few minutes. Total distance: 13+ miles (I think), and 3800+ vertical feet. Although the road was extremely boring, I’m certain I made the right choice on the hike down.

Saturday and Sunday, my legs were very, very tired. My glutes were still sore, and I started feeling shin splints. This hike was brutal – I was surprised that I have more sore muscles after this hike than I did after the 9-ish mile Franconia Ridge Trail. Or, maybe it’s the same, but time heals all wounds.