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2014 – 2015 Lucky 13

Carlsbad Marathon & Half Marathon

2014 – 2015 Lucky 132019-10-09T10:05:49-08:00
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Runners Trained for the 2014 Carlsbad Half Marathon

Meet the Lucky 13, a group of thirteen individuals from throughout San Diego’s North County who were selected to participate in the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Half Marathon on January 18, 2015. Marathoners began in Carlsbad, CA at 7:45 AM. The course time limit is 4.25 hours (19:27-minute-mile pace).

This special group, all of whom have or are currently overcoming health challenges, trained with fitness experts at the Tri-City Wellness Center in Carlsbad to prepare for the 13.1-mile race. Now they’re moving on to their next challenge…completing the Triple Crown Half- Marathon Series. The Triple Crown consists of the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon & Half (January), La Jolla Half Marathon (April), America’s Finest City (August).

Get to know our amazing Lucky 13 and follow their journey to yet another finish line.

Find out more about being in the 2015-2016 Lucky 13 here!

The Coaches

  • Paul Carey
  • Melanee Thys

Lucky 13 Blog

Such a busy week! Last week we said “good bye for now” to our incredible trainer, Siene Freeman. She has coached the Lucky 13 for years through her work as a personal trainer at Tri-City Wellness Center. And now, she’s been accepted into the Carlsbad Fire Academy. If any woman can do this, Siene can! Our Lucky 13 team and alumni of the program came out to celebrate her success and thank her for all she’s done for us. Today was our last Saturday training run. It was only 6 miles. We’re now all focused on staying strong and healthy for next Sunday’s race. Our emotions race from nervousness to excitement to disbelief – are we really going to do a half marathon? You bet we are!
With the race date so close, the Lucky 13 are now focusing on what to wear race day, including getting new shoes (time to turn in their training shoes!) and, of course, staying injury-free for the big day. Stretch! Lucky 13 team member Tina Knight will run @Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon & Half next Sunday—despite losing her toes, fingers and a kidney to sepsis 16 years ago. She credits Tri-City Medical Center for saving her life. This will be her first half marathon but she plans to run two more this year to complete the Triple Crown! “People say I’m an inspiration, but I’m inspired by others, especially my Lucky 13 teammates. They’re all very special. We’ve become very close and supportive. If someone doesn’t show up for training, our first thought is “Are you OK?”
One week before their 55th and 61st birthdays, Lucky 13 racers Ceci Haas and Laura Keany completed a 10-mile training course and both will complete the 12-mile course either on or a few days before their birthdays. Ceci won’t let rheumatoid arthritis in her 20’s, a double foot surgery in her 30’s and a recent rear-ender that left her with thoracic outlet syndrome slow her down. Ceci joined the Lucky 13 to be a fit and healthy grandma for her two grandkids and wants to be an inspiration to them and others as she enters the middle of her fifth decade. Now five months into her training, Ceci says she’s lost 10 pounds without making any changes to her diet. With a month to go until the Tri-City Medical Center Carlsbad Marathon & Half, the Lucky 13 completed a 10-mile training run. On Dec. 27, they’ll lace up for 12 miles! All of these athletes have come so far during the past six months of training, and it’s all leading up to January 18 when they’ll conquer 13.1 miles. And they’ll show their friends, family and all who are following their progress what six months of dedication to a fitness goal can do!
For the runners today, 12/13/14 was indeed lucky as their long training run was “only” 8 miles. Carlsbad resident Melissa Cappuccilli, who had a heart transplant just one year ago, summed up the Lucky 13 mood today: “I remember when we did our first training run of 2 miles and thought that was hard! Now I’m saying ‘only 8 miles!” The group, however, did not get lucky with the weather. Melissa and teammate Laura Keany, a breast cancer survivior, were greeted by a downpour when they started out at 6:30 a.m. The storm made for dramatic coastal views, including a rainbow!  By the time all of the Lucky 13 crossed the finish line, the skies were smiling once again.
Today, the Lucky 13 knocked out an 11+ mile training course! It was a spectacular December morning along the Carlsbad oceanfront with just 6 weeks to go until the Carlsbad Marathon! Ellen Wityak of Carlsbad is coming back from breast cancer in 2010. She started the morning with a stretching routine to avoid injury. Lucky 13 alumni Lynda Barrett (who did the program and finished her first Carlsbad half marathon in 2011) joined her on the training course. Like many Lucky 13, Lynda has continued her healthy habits. Lynda’s husband Dick now joins her in the training and race each year too.  Look out! A healthy lifestyle is not just addictive, it’s contagious.

Image Gallery

Tom Anderson, 54, Encinitas

2014-Lucky-13-ThirteenTom Anderson has been in an out of the hospital with pneumonia, atrial fibrillation, cardiomyopathy, lap band surgery, bariatric bypass, metatarsal infection, and surgeries. He went from a total weight of 498lbs to 300lbs on his own through a combination of surgeries, various diets, and light exercise. After losing weight and plateauing at 350lbs, Tom decided to get help through the lap band procedure. Complications from the procedure led him to having a bariatric bypass in 2012. After surgery he contracted a metatarsal infection from which he has been recovering from for the past 2.5 years. After all these difficulties, he is now fully healed and dedicated to his goal of losing weight and living a healthy lifestyle.

Stacey Baker, 51, Carlsbad

2014-Lucky-13-TwoStacey is a single mother of three children ages 13, 16, and 18. She has pursued losing weight on her own and has dropped more than 80 lbs. After she hurt her back, she endured over 2 years of recovery and physical therapy. While recuperating from a microdiskectomy, Stacey also dealt with considerable nerve damage to her right leg. She is now recovered and ready to make a big change for herself and her children. Her theme for this year, “The year of taking back control!”

Melissa Cappuccilli, 51, Carlsbad

2014-Lucky-13-ElevenFourteen years ago Melissa was diagnosed with a rare heart condition and informed that she would need to eliminate all strenuous exercise. Over those years Melissa endured multiple heart procedures, medications, ablations, and 4 different ICDs. Over 2 years ago, she went into congestive heart failure and was admitted into the ICU. On November 13, 2013, Melissa received a new heart! Today, while continuing to grow stronger, she hopes to be a role model for others to lead a healthy life. Plus, Melissa’s lucky number just happens to be…13.

Ceci Haas, 54, Oceanside

2014-Lucky-13-EightCeci has overcome numerous physical and emotional obstacles throughout her life. She has blossomed despite having osgood schlatter at a young age, rheumatoid arthritis in college, and a double foot surgery in her 30’s. Ceci also experienced the difficulty of having several close family members pass away from cancer or cancer-related illnesses. In 2005, while stopped at a red light, an SUV rear ended her vehicle which resulted in thoracic outlet syndrome. Even still, she doesn’t allow this to act as a burden. Ceci believes in keeping things natural and staying healthy. She hopes to take this opportunity to show other 50+ year olds that someone who has never really run can complete a half marathon and improve upon their health.

Laura Keany, 60, Carlsbad

2014-Lucky-13-TenLaura is now 2+ years out of breast cancer treatment this past April. When first diagnosed with stage II breast cancer, Laura admits to being in denial when treatment began as she had always been healthy, trim and exercised regularly. Several weeks into chemotherapy, Laura lost all her hair, strength, and endurance. She first attempted chair yoga and realized the extent to which her body had been debilitated by the several rounds of chemotherapy and radiation. After finally testing free of cancer, Laura has worked diligently to overcome the neuropathy, fatigue, and weight gain which accompanied treatment. First starting with gentle yoga at the Tri-City Wellness Center, Laura has graduated to Vinyassa Yoga, Mat Pilates, and Zumba. Laura plans to continue her journey towards fully recovering her strength, endurance, and health.

Tina Knight, 53, Oceanside

2014-Lucky-13-Twelve-Treated for sepsis at Tri-City Medical Center, Tina was not expected to live. Her kidneys shut down and she lost her fingers and toes. Through nothing short of a miracle, Tina survived and is no longer on dialysis. She accredits some of that miracle to the care she received from Tri-City staff such as: Dr. Nielson, Dr. McCarthy and Dr. Rameonfosky. Tina has a special connection to Tri-City Medical Center and we have a connection to her. She hopes to get back into shape and keep her kidneys functioning right while she does it. Tina is ready to tackle this half marathon and check one more thing off her bucket list!

Allison Malstead, 40, Fallbrook

2014-Lucky-13-Four-Allison struggled with depression and binge eating since her early teens. Due to resistance to treatment and late diagnosis of her conditions, she endured many years of weight cycling and self-hatred which often accompany serious emotional disorders. Four years ago Allison enrolled in a class offered by a local non-profit, this class changed her life. The message of the class was that it is possible to “recover” from mental illness, as there are many avenues that can enable you to construct a healthy, hopeful life, while still recognizing that you may continue to confront symptoms and challenges. After completing this class she was able to understand how important exercising was to her mood and that she didn’t need to wait until she was completely cured of her illnesses to begin living her life. Allison now plans to become a Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner.

Judy Miller, 60, Carlsbad

2014-Lucky-13-ThreeJudy was selected last year as one of the Lucky 13 and through rigorous training, worked up to running long distances. The first time she was able to run just one mile, but then worked up to running 12 miles through the daily training sessions. Race day arrived this past January and she felt that she had prepared to the best of her ability. At mile 11.5 both calves, both feet, and both inner thighs cramped to the point that she was unable to continue the race. Judy knows that she had done all that she could do to prepare for the race and describes her experience as; “What happened, just happened.” Although she is anxious it will happen again this year, she is determined not to let that fear keep her from accomplishing what she started. We’re thrilled Judy decided to participate this year and we know she has what it takes to complete the half-marathon.

Carin Nelson, 39, Carlsbad

2014-Lucky-13-OneAfter chest pain led her to visit Urgent Care, Carin discovered that she had a hole in her heart and was experiencing heart failure at 29. That year she had heart surgery and endured a difficult recovery. In 2009 Carin gave birth to a daughter diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a chronic lung disease. She said at that point, her life changed forever. She knows how important exercise is for her daughter’s health and was told by her doctor that the best thing she can do with her daughter is take up running. While Carin’s daughter is too young to run now, Carin’s goal is to be able to run with her when she is old enough while acting as a role model.

Alejandra Paredes Guillen, 23, San Marcos

2014-Lucky-13-FiveUpon being employed by Tri-City Wellness Center, Alejandra saw the complimentary membership pass offered to employees, as an opportunity to get in shape. Within the first few days of working out she began weight lifting, without proper training or warm ups. Shortly after she began exercising, she developed severe pain which radiated from her lower back to her entire leg, and kept her from getting out of bed. After withstanding the pain for 3 weeks she took a trip to the emergency room, where the doctor diagnosed her with sciatica and prescribed pain medication and physical therapy. Looking to find alternative solutions, Alejandra educated herself on her condition and began stretching frequently. She describes this experience as her wake-up call to focus on her health. She is participating in the Lucky 13 to be in the best shape of her life, so she never again feels hopeless due to a lack of physical activity.

David Saenz, 58, Oceanside

2014-Lucky-13-Nine-After a lifetime of unhealthy lifestyle choices, David purchased a bicycle and began riding to try and improve his health. In 2008 while biking he had his first heart attack. This prompted him to make changes in his diet. About four years later after reducing his weight from 270 to 220 lbs., he had another heart attack, also while biking. Since 2012, David has striven to change his diet by eliminating trans-fats and hydrogenated oils, replacing them with whole grains and omega-3s. Today his lipids are well under control as a result of his diet and continued exercise. He continues to work towards living the healthiest lifestyle he can by participating in charity bike rides, such as the Bike the Coast Century, the Solvang Century, and racing in the Fiesta Island 20k Time Trials (twice). He has even succeeded in reducing his medications! He decided for his newest fitness challenge, he will be switching gears, from biking to running, to complete the Carlsbad half-marathon.

Ellen Wityak, 54, Carlsbad

2014-Lucky-13-SixAfter overcoming breast cancer in 2010, Ellen endured three separate reconstruction surgeries in order to counter the damage that cancer had done to her body. During the course of her treatment, which included rigorous bouts of chemotherapy, Ellen regularly attended the YMCA and worked as a guidance aid for the Encinitas School District. Although the illness and it’s recovery were mentally and physically challenging for Ellen, she was able to persevere. Ellen now works in a day preschool for children with autism and looks forward to taking on the challenge of training for the half-marathon.