Beginner’s Corner: Beating the Blues

It happens to all of us sooner or later. Especially newbies. The excitement of starting a running program has begun to wear off and all of a sudden, you feel tired and bored with running. Every time you even think about going for a run, you come up with plenty of  reasons not to go.

The alarm goes off and instead of hopping out of bed, you roll over. Or you come home from a long day at work and instead of a rejuvenating run, you grab a beer and head for the TV for Seinfeld reruns.

Sound familiar? It should. The motivation to run is something that comes…and goes. It could be seasonal (it’s especially tough in the summer) or you’re just plain tuckered out. Or, you feel stressed by the job or the screaming kids at home. It’s hot and humid and some days even a short run feels unbearable some days. Or maybe you’re just bored silly staring straight ahead day after day on the treadmill.

Whatever it is (or isn’t) staying motivated to run 12 months a year is tough. Maybe even impossible. Beginners and experienced runners all lose their mojo at some point.

The key is recapturing it so you can keep going and improve. And the key to recapturing that motivation, is to make changes in your running. It doesn’t matter what you change as much as simply making a change.

Switch your goals, plan for new ones. Instead of training for a marathon, set your sights on getting faster in a 5-K. Add more speed days. Reduce the length of your long runs or go much longer. Or substitute a strength training workout in the gym for a hill day.

Maybe you need to add an extra rest day to your schedule. Start taking a yoga or Pilates class. Maybe add a spinning class or try pool running. Or find new running routes around town. Possibly, you need to hook up with a different training group and meet new training partners. Run at a different time of day. Make plans to go to a new race in a city you’ve always wanted to visit.

There’s all sorts of solutions to break the ho-hum routine of running. You may not need to make major changes, but some change is good to shake up the routine.

Here are some tips that will help you stir the mix and get you fired up again about running this summer:

O Develop new training routes. Too many of us stick with the same roads. Even the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail, the Scenic loop or Speedway gets old after awhile. Seek out a new course in a different part of town—even if it means driving. A change of scenery can make all the difference.

O Make new running friends. Join a different training group to do long runs or speed work. Or do different workouts with your regular training partners. If you only do long runs together, try just doing shorter, easier runs with your group. Or meet at the track once a week.

O Run earlier or later. If you’re a morning runner, switch to the evening. Or vice versa. If you can’t make such a radical switch, run a half hour earlier or later. Or go for a noon run, rather than eating lunch.

O Replay great movies in your head. What’s your favorite? Spinal Tap or To Kill A Mockingbird? It doesn’t matter. While running, entertain yourself by replaying the classic scenes in your head. Or replay your life. Pick a year and rehash everything (no matter how minor) that went on, but stick with that year.

O Buy new shoes or a new running outfit. A simple investment in new running gear might be just what you need to get excited about running again.

O Sign up for a new class. Learn how yoga, Pilates or kick boxing. If Tai Chi looks interesting, give a try. Ever tried deep-water running? Go for it. Can’t swim? It’s about time you learned.

O Leave your watch or GPS at home. Don’t time your run. Just run in any direction your feet take you and for any length of time which feels reasonable. Be spontaneous.

O Take five. If you’re still having a difficult time finding the motivation to get out the door, tell yourself you’ll only run for 10 minutes. Usually after just a few minutes of running, you’ll forget all about it and keep going.

Sometimes that’s all it takes to get a new ‘tude about running. Change your routine, make new goals, take a class and you’ll be back to your old self in no time.

If not, it might be time to take a break from running. That’s fine to take a week or two off. That’s usually all it takes to find your inner mojo again.

Beginners’ Corner: Water Works

My calendar says it’s still somehow spring, but in the ATX we know better than that: Summer has arrived. And if it’s summer, you don’t need me to tell you that the heat and humidity around here makes running pretty darn tough. That is, running on land.

There’s another, cooler way to run at least some of the time during our brutal blow torch of a summer: Deep-water running. It’s still running, but your feet never touch the ground. Or, in this case, the bottom of a pool.

Deep-water running has been around forever, but most runners hold their nose and only even contemplate doing it when injured. Make no mistake about it, deep-water running is an excellent aerobic workout when you’re injured because there’s no impact whatsoever–the chief culprit of most running injuries.

But deep-water running is more than just for injured runners. It’s a great summer alternative to dry land running. It gives you a break from the pounding and complete relief from the disgusting three-digit temperatures and oppressive humidity we enjoy so much in Austin during summer.

One of the beauties of deep-water running is how easy it is. All you need is a pool (or lake) to get a terrific workout which is roughly equal to your dry land training but without the oppressive heat and/or pounding.

First, find a pool with a deep end. It doesn’t have to be extremely deep, just deep enough so that your feet won’t touch bottom. Because you’ll be running, you will also need some room (preferably, your own lane) so as not to get in the way of the lap swimmers or kids playing Marco Polo. Try to stay out of their way and hopefully, they’ll stay out of your way.

Barton Springs is perfect. So is Deep Eddy. Another good option is Dick Nichols Pool on Beckett in South Austin. There are plenty of others. Best bet is to go early before the crowds get there. Lunchtime or early morning is usually when the lanes are the most crowded.

Your next step is to find a partner to “run” with because the No. 1 complaint  runners have is that pool running is incredibly boring.

It can be. So get a training partner who you can “run” with. Being able to chat, bitch and gossip the time away will make it pass quicker.

If you can’t get a training partner, get a boom box and blast some high-energy rock ‘n’ roll if the lifeguards will permit it. Anything to get you motivated to do this because it will take some degree of motivation to get into the water and run.

You will look like an oddball running in the water, but bite on this: Doing a pool run of 45 minutes is not any different—aerobically–than a dry land run of the same length. So if you’re injured and want to stay in shape or you just want an alternative to the blast furnace, hop in.

Pool running is much better for your actual running than swimming. Even if you are a good swimmer, swimming is great for the upper body but does almost nothing for the legs. Plus, unless you are a great swimmer and able to do a huge amount of intervals, it doesn’t do as much for a fit runner as running in the water will.

The first thing potential pool runners want to know is whether they’ll need a floatation belt. You don’t. I know this is somewhat controversial, but you won’t sink if you don’t wear a floatation belt. Even skinny wimps like me do just fine without any floatation aids designed for pool running. But if you’re simply not comfortable in the water, go ahead and wear one. A water-skiing belt works just fine too.

If you don’t wear a belt, you’ll be working a little harder to maintain a comfortable position which will tax your aerobic system a bit more and give you a better workout. This winter when IBM 10-K winner Matt Kutugata was injured and resorted to a pool-running regimen, he started out with a floatation vest but found he couldn’t get a good enough workout. So he ditched it and was able to get his heart rate up higher and “run” harder.

To begin a pool workout, all you need to do is start your runners’ watch, hop into the deep end and begin to run. Move your arms and legs as if you’re running on land. Try not to bounce up and down in the water, but maintain a steady cadence. Breathe normally.

The first thing you’ll notice is you’re going very slow. That’s because water is a heckuva lot denser than air so it provides much more resistance which is another good thing because it works your quads, calf muscles and hamstrings without placing any impact stress on them.

You will be moving through the water, but you’ll be going so slowly it’s almost imperceptible how little you move. For ambitious runners, this is kind of a downer at first because we want to go as fast as we can. But in the pool, your speed doesn’t really matter. The training effort (time spent pool running) is what counts; the laps don’t.

If the pool is crowded, you may have to just go back and forth in a lane. Or in a tight circle. So being slow actually helps in reducing the water you cover. Again, Barton Springs is ideal because there’s so much open water and you shouldn’t get in anyone’s way if you go early enough.

Continue running and try not to pull with your hands or kick your feet. Don’t cup your hand to provide propulsion. Simply, use your hands in same up-and-down motion and rhythm as running. It will be harder to pull your legs through than on land, but that’s what is providing such a terrific workout.

One major difference between running on land and in the pool is your heart rate is much lower in the water because the water makes you so buoyant (and it’s cooler, especially if you’re running in The Springs).

To get your heart rate up, simulate a speed session. Try running hard for one minute, recover for a minute and then follow with another minute of hard running. Do 10 of those.  Or sprint hard for 30 seconds every minute. That’ll get your heart rate up.

Or, try doing a fartlek workout. Run hard for five minutes, recover for two, run hard for 10 minutes, jog recover for three. Or run hard to one pool ladder and recover as you run to the next ladder. Mix it up and add variety by simulating your dry land workouts.  Do whatever it takes to make it interesting and get your heart rate elevated.

You don’t need to wear goggles because your face should be above water most of the time, but sometimes the chemicals in the pool (especially early) can irritate your eyes. Generally, I wear goggles when I run in the pool just to make sure and give my eyes some protection from the sun.

There are also some water-proof iPod like devices, but I’ve never found that they work particularly well. A boom box works best—if the lifeguards will allow it.

I’ve been running in the pool for years and even do it as a supplement when I am not injured. I live near the Nichols pool and what I like to do is run an easy 20 minutes to the pool, jump in and “run” for another 30-40 minutes. Then, run home.  For me, that doubles the amount of running I normally do on land, but without having to kill myself in the summer heat.

When Kutugata was injured, he would long runs in the water and finish each one with 20 minutes of swimming. You don’t have to “run” that far, but topping off each pool run with a swim is always a good idea.

Assuming you aren’t injured, use pool running to supplement your regular training. Instead of running on dry land, substitute one or two pool runs per week this summer. Again, running in the water is just like running on the land—except without the pounding and heat.

Is pool running boring? Well yeah it can be. But if you can get over it, pool running is an ideal way to stay in shape this summer so when—or if—it gets cooler again, you’ll have stayed in top shape and can immediately plunge back into full-scale training.

Hop in.

Armstrong Spills Beans to Oprah; First Part of Interview To Air Thursday Night

Unless you have been heli-skiing in a media-free zone in the Canadian Rockies, you probably already know that Lance Armstrong has fallen on his sword and asked for absolution on Monday at the 4 Seasons Hotel in Austin from his Mother Confessor—Oprah Winfrey.

For her part, Oprah was on full media hype on Tuesday, promoting her show, calling it “the greatest interview get” of her career. The only interview that approached it, she said, was when she persuaded Michael Jackson to sit down with her in 1993 for his first interview in years.

Winfrey said that over the Christmas holidays while she was vacationing in Hawaii, she reached out to Armstrong who was also in Hawaii at one of his vacation homes. After shooing everyone out of her house (including her gardener), Winfrey said Armstrong came over and discussed the specifics of an interview and agreed to do it.

Although Oprah told CBS This Morning on Tuesday that Armstrong did—in fact—confess to cheating, she provided few other details of what he revealed to her in the 2 ½-hour interview, other to say he was “forthcoming.” Oprah did add that, “he did not come clean in the manner that I expected….people can make their own decisions whether he was contrite or not. I would say he met the moment.”

It is not known exactly to what Armstrong admitted to or to what extent. But based on Winfrey’s comments it seems unlikely that Armstrong’s confession will do much to satisfy his detractors, the World Anti-Doping Agency, the International Cycling Union or the many entities who have lined up to sue him.

Winfrey did say that rather than a single 90-minute special (as originally planned), the interview would be broken up over two nights because “there is so much material.”

The first of the two-part interview will air Thursday night (January 17th ) on the OWN Network (channel 225 on Time Warner) at 8 p.m. (Austin time). It will also be simulcast and streamed live on Oprah.com.

UT Women’s Track Coach Bev Kearney Resigns

Bev Kearney, one of the most respected and honored coaches in track and field, has resigned as the head women’s coach at UT. Kearney had been the head coach at UT since 1993 and during that time led her team to six NCAA track championships, was named national track coach of the year three times and in 2007, was inducted into the Track and Field Coaches Hall of Fame.

But in November, Kearney was placed on paid administrative leave when a former track athlete coached by Kearney reported to the university that she had had a “consensual intimate relationship” in July, 2002. Kearney didn’t deny the relationship which ended several months later when Kearney was involved in a car accident which killed two people (including the mother of Kearney’s adopted child). Kearney was critically injured in that same car accident and suffered spinal injuries that left her paralyzed. Within a year of the accident, Kearney was walking again with a walker. She still walks with a cane.

Kearney, who is 55 years old, violated a UT rule which went into effect in 2001 that states that a UT faculty or staff member in supervisory positions must report any consensual relationship with an “employee, student and/or student employee who is directly supervised, taught, evaluated or advised by that employee.”

Through her attorney Derek A. Howard, Kearney admitted to the Austin American Statesman that she unknowingly violated the university rule.

Howard told the Statesman: “We believe that Ms. Kearney has been subjected to a double standard and has received far harsher punishment that being given to her male counterparts who have engaged in similar conduct. It is a shame that this remarkably talented female African-American coach who has devoted her life to helping others is being bullied and scapegoated by the University of Texas.”

Texas vice president for legal affairs Patti Ohlendorf issued this statement that said in part: “The University determined that it is no longer appropriate for Coach Kearney to serve as head coach or to work directly with our student-athletes and was prepared to begin the termination process. This was discussed with Coach Kearney recently. The University told Coach Kearney that it cannot condone such an intimate relationship, including one that is consensual between a head coach and a student-athlete. We told Coach Kearney that such a relationship is unprofessional and crosses the line of trust placed in a head coach for all aspects of the athletic program and the best interests of the student-athletes on the team.”

Kearney told the Statesman that she hasn’t been able to talk with her team since going on paid leave. “I’m sorry that it has come down to this because of a decision I made 10 years ago,” said Kearney who was being paid a base salary of $270,000 at the time of her resignation.

Kearney had lived for several years in the Circle C neighborhood with her adopted daughter and and former Jamaican Olympic sprinter Michelle Freeman who attended the University of Florida while Kearney was the head coach there. Kearney continued to coach Freeman in Austin after they moved here in 1993. (Freeman was in the same accident that severely injured Kearney and took the life of Freeman’s mother and Ilrey Sparks, a UT academic counselor.)

What’s next? Kearney’s attorney wouldn’t say whether any legal action is planned. Kearney said of the possibility of a suit versus the university, “It’s not something I want to delve into right now.”

As for the Texas women’s track program, UT said it will go forward with hiring a new head women’s track coach. Until that person is hired, long-time assistant Rose Brimmer will be the interim coach and cross-country and distance coach Steve Sisson will have an expanded role.

Veterans Andrew Letherby, Kelly Williamson Outpace Younger Foes at Turkey Trot

AUSTIN, TX – Austin’s biggest annual road race just got bigger. A record crowd of approximately 23,000 showed up for the 21st annual Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot 5-Miler and Family Mile, making it one of the largest Thanksgiving runs in the US.

On a warmer than average morning with a stiff southerly breeze, 39-year-old Andrew Letherby did what veteran runners do by allowing a pack of young guns pace the first miles and break the wind. The course change – now in it’s third year away from Waterloo Park – took runners up Lavaca before hanging a left on 15th towards Mopac. Not for the faint of heart, the first two miles are mostly uphill but that didn’t slow Letherby or his younger counterparts. Former St. Andrews Episcopal High School standout Roberto Diaz led the way in the early going, hitting 10 minutes even at mile 2. As the group flew down Mopac and on to Cesar Chavez, 22-year-old Lorin Wilson attempted to take control.

“I tried to push and put some distance on them after mile 4,” the one-time Boerne and UT stud said. “But he got me on the South First bridge and I didn’t have a response.” That “he” is Letherby, an Australian currently living in Austin with a 5K PR of under 14 minutes. The Aussie flew by Wilson, Diaz and Chris Galvin to take the race in 24:56, a record for the second-year Turkey Trot course.

On the women’s side, Kelly Williamson continued her domination of local racing by holding off a surging Jennifer Bergman in the final miles to win in 27:50. The tri-gal took the lead early, putting time between a pair of 20-year-olds by the second mile. If Bergman’s name doesn’t sound familiar it’s because she’s currently a Senior at the University of Arizona. Earlier this week she was named first-team all conference in the Pac-12 for the 2012 cross country season. But the young legs didn’t have enough speed to chase down Williamson who continues to build her ever-growing racing resume. Former Trinity University distance runner Emily Duam faded in the final miles but held on for third in 28:41.

In the Master’s division, Sebastian Villalva claimed another Turkey Trot title. If you were around in the 90′s you might remember Villalva taking the overall title – five to be exact – but the 46-year-old isn’t training as much and was simply looking to turn in a good race. His time of 28:33 was more than a minute ahead of second place Michael Budde (29:38), and good enough to finish in the top 20. Scott McIntyre rounded out the top three, also claiming the Grand Master trophy (50 and up).

Familiar name Jennifer Fisher outpaced her female master counterparts in a time of 31:49. Cindy Kueck took second with 33:07 and Andrea Fisher third in 33:46.

Mary Faria smoked her Grand Master competition with a winning time of 37:09. No stranger to the podium, Faria has logged a number of age group titles with the most recent at the Run for the Water 10-Miler. Taking second was Nancy Mallory (38:20) and Chris Dixon of Belton in third at 39:38.

The Thundercloud Subs Turkey Trot benefits Caritas of Austin, last year raising more than $250,000 for the organization.

 

Report filed by Michael Madison.

Scotty Mac Turns in Marathon PR, Finishes Second in Philly

Scott MacPherson, Austin’s top road racer, PR’ed in the Philadelphia Marathon on Sunday and finished second in 2:18:30 to pick up $2000. MacPherson had only run one prior marathon, a dispiriting 2:27:15 in the Olympic Marathon Trials in January in Houston, but in Philly he finished less than a minute behind the winning time of 2:17:47 by Michael McKeeman of Philadelphia.

MacPherson’s teammate Allison Macsas also had a solid race with a time of 2:44:50 which was good for eighth woman. Jillian Moser of Austin ran 2:55:09 to finish among the top 25 women.

Other Austinites who ran Philly included Sunday Patterson (3:21:55), Scott Donald (3:26:55), Renee Reynolds (3:31:55), Patrick Mcalpine (3:32:50), Hal Taylor (3:34:34), Vinkesh Mehta (3:35:17), Brandy Dodson (3:37:31),Ginny Grote (3:54:42) and Bethany Nagel (3:57:32).

NYC Marathon Canceled

New York City officials and representatives from the New York Road Runners Club announced late Friday afternoon that Sunday’s New York City Marathon will be canceled. Said NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg in a joint statement with the NYRR: “We cannot allow a cloud of controversy over an athletic event–even one as meaningful as this–to distract attention away from the critically important work that is being done to recover from the storm and get our city back on track.”
The New York Road Runners will have additional information in the next few days for registered participants.

Be a Part of History with the Formula Run

With registration numbers climbing by the hour and only four days until this inaugural event, the Formula Run is predicted to be a huge success!

The Formula Run is this Saturday, November 3. Are you registered to run yet? How about the kid’s? Interested in being a volunteer? Formula Run participation is soaring, but there are still plenty of ways for you and your friends and family to get involved! The Formula Run is a one-lap race around the brand-new Circuit of The America’s Track. With 20 thrilling turns and 3.4 miles of high-speed, purpose built track, the course is a one-of-a-kind experience for any runner.

In the Formula Run Kid’s Dash event, boys and girls ages 12 and under will get the chance to speed down the longest straightaway of the track, approximately one half mile from Turn 20 to Turn 1. The Kid’s Dash is an opportunity for the youngest of thrill-seekers to experience the track at a shorter distance. Each child registered will receive a racer participation ribbon after the race.

Want to get a sneak-peek of the course? Check out this link to view a MAP created by one of our great sponsors MapMyRun. Be sure to click on the 3-D Flyover Video. Get excited!

“Like” Formula Run on Facebook and invite your friends to the event page. Tell us you are coming and receive daily updates on the Formula Run as we count down the hours to this historic event. Remember, there is only one chance to Be First On The Track!

Formula Run Packet Pick-Up:

-Friday, Nov. 2 10am-7pm at RunTex Riverside

-Saturday, Nov. 3 6:30am-7:30am at the COTA Track (parking lot)

REGISTER FOR FORMULA RUN

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lance Armstrong Stripped of All Tour De France Victories

Austin’s Lance Armstrong will no longer be known as Mr. Yellow Jersey. In an expected move, Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life by cycling’s governing body Monday for allegedly using performance-enhancing drugs and leading a massive doping program on his cycling teams.

UCI President Pat McQuaid announced on Monday that the cycling federation would accept the US Anti Doping Association’s report on Armstrong and would not appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

“Lance Armstrong has no place in cycling and he deserves to be forgotten in cycling,” McQuaid said at a news conference. “This is a landmark day for cycling.”

The decision means the Tour de France will remove Armstrong’s name from the record books, erasing his consecutive victories from 1999-2005. It also means there will be no official winners of the Tour during those years.

Also on Monday, Armstrong lost his final sponsor as Oakley dropped its endorsement of the cyclist following last week’s departure of Nike, Trek Bicycles, Giro helmets, 24-Hour Fitness and Anheuser-Busch. In Austin, the 24-Hour Fitness—the Lance Armstrong 24-Hour Fitness—said it would remove his name from its fitness facilities.

USADA said Armstrong should be banned and stripped of his Tour titles for “the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen” within his U.S. Postal Service and Discovery Channel teams. Under the penalties, he loses all his race results since August 1998.

The USADA report alleges Armstrong and his teams used steroids, the blood booster EPO and blood transfusions. The report included statements from 11 former teammates who testified against Armstrong, including testimony that he pressured them to take banned drugs.

“I was sickened by what I read in the USADA report,” McQuaid said, singling out the testimony of former Armstrong teammate David Zabriskie. “The story he told of how he was coerced and to some extent forced into doping is just mind boggling.”

Armstrong denies doping, saying he passed hundreds of drug tests. But he chose not to fight USADA in one of the agency’s arbitration hearings, arguing the process was biased against him. USADA’s report, released earlier this month, was aimed at showing why the agency ordered the sanctions against him.

“At the moment Lance Armstrong hasn’t admitted to anything, yet all the evidence is there in this report that he doped,” McQuaid said.

On Sunday, Armstrong greeted about 4,300 cyclists at the Livestrong fundraiser bike ride at the Long Center, telling the crowd he’s faced a “very difficult” few weeks.

“I’ve been better, but I’ve also been worse,” Armstrong, a cancer survivor, told the crowd.

Lance Armstrong Resigns Chairmanship of Livestrong, Nike Ends Contract

Wednesday was not the best of days for Austin’s seven time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong. His first order of business was to step down as chairman of the Austin-based Livestrong Foundation. Then, came word from Nike, his long-time sponsor, that it was dropping him (and his huge endorsement contract). Nike said it will continue to support Livestrong, but it also announced that it was removing Armstrong’s name from the Lance Armstrong Fitness Center on its Beaverton, Oregon corporate campus.

Finally, the International Olympic Committee is considering stripping Armstrong of the bronze medal he won in the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

Armstrong, 41, announced in a prepared statement early Wednesday that he was leaving the Livestrong Foundation. A mere few minutes later, Nike made the decision to sever all ties with Armstrong “due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness we have terminated our contract with him.”

Just last week, Nike announced it was sticking by Armstrong, despite the massive evidence compiled and released by the US Anti-Doping Agency against the cyclist.

But, the New York Daily News suggest that Nike may have played an important role in what the USADA describes as the most sophisticated doping program in sports history. The Daily News reported that Kathy LeMond, the wife of former American cyclist Greg LeMond (a frequent Armstrong critic), testified under oath in a 2006 deposition that Nike paid former UCI president Hein Verbruggen $500,000 to cover up a positive drug test of Armstrong’s. Nike denies this.

According to Outside Magazine, Nike signed a five-year contract in 2010 to pay the Lance Armstrong Foundation at least $7.5 million annually from profits generated by Livestrong merchandise made by Nike. Outside also reported that Armstrong made $21 million in 2010, making him the 50th highest paid athlete in the world. Armstrong currently has endorsement deals with Trek, Michelob Light beer, Oakley and RadioShack.

Nevertheless, Armstrong ‘s departure from the Livestrong Foundation will almost certainly signal a change in direction in its fund-raising efforts. Armstrong, who was not paid a salary as chairman of Livestrong, will remain on its 15-member board. His duties leading the board will be assumed by Jeff Garvey who was founding chairman in 1997.

Said Armstrong in his statement: “This organization, its mission and its supporters are incredibly dear to my heart. Today therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship.”

As chairman of Livestrong, Armstrong was not involved in the foundation’s daily operations, but clearly was its most visible figure. Armstrong said he will remain a visible advocate for cancer issues. He is still scheduled to speak this Friday night at the 15th anniversary celebration—An Evening with Livestrong–at the Austin Convention Center. Other celebrities scheduled to appear include Robin Williams, Maria Shriver, Ben Stiller, and Norah Jones.

“My family and I have devoted our lives to the work of the foundation and that will not change,” said Armstrong in his statement. “We plan to continue our service to the foundation and the cancer community. We will remain advocates for cancer survivors and engaged supporters of the fight against cancer.”