Photos and videos

Sorry it’s taken a while to get these off the camera, but here is a collection of images and videos (careful of the one where I’m performing my own surgery) from the run.  

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More to come and keep those inspirational stories coming!!

Do YOU have what it takes to be an inspired idiot?

So, after resting a bit, I’m back to running and thinking about what’s next (no, I’m not going back out into the wilderness just yet).  My initial goal was to see what barriers I could break while raising awareness of the great work our staff does with the kids and their families at SouthSide Early Childhood Center.  I took inspiration from them and from all of you and made it through.  We not only raised awareness, but put us on track to raise the $3.5 million needed for a new school (if you’ve seen the old school, you know this is definitely a NEED, not a want).  That campaign still continues (we’re about $750,000 from our goal, nearly there!) and so if you know anyone that can see the need and wants to help, let them know about the site!

One of the things I’ve learned is that inspiration comes from some of the most unlikely places (just look at me :)), and I know you’ve either personally experienced or heard of some inspired idiots out there breaking barriers.  There are enough negative sites on the web, I’d like to keep this one up and running as a source for inspiration, but I need your help.  Send me your links, your stories, stories you’ve heard or experienced yourself.  If you know of an idiot or two, even better!  I’d like to help share those stories.  Here’s one to get you started:

George Swain, Head of Middle School at Poughkeepsie Day School (NY), is an avid biker and blogger. In 2010, as the Endless Mountains 1000K began, he was hit by a car from behind, resulting in trauma that included 24 broken bones. He’s back on his bike and recently rode a tour of all of the communities that Poughkeepsie Day serves, 300+ miles in the hills of upstate NY.

George’s blog post introducing the PDS tour:

A description of George’s catastrophe of 2010:

Look forward to hearing more stories like George’s.


This is it!

I am overwhelmed by the support everyone has shown and want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for your donations, words of encouragement, and for holding back on how you really feel about me taking on this ridiculous challenge! The kids at SouthSide are going to enjoy a nurturing educational environment for decades because of what you’ve done. THANK YOU!

I wanted to take you through the course (you can click on the map in Column 3 for a visual depiction) and my schedule. This is a very conservative schedule and we could go faster (or slower) depending on conditions. So, here it is:

Monday, July 2
0300 – 2000

42 miles- Badwater to Stovepipe Wells
Conditions- Flat and HOT!
Notes- Most drop outs in the race happen in this section because runners push themselves too hard. We will be extra cautious here.

July 2-3
2000 – 1000

30 miles- Stovepipe Wells to Panamint Springs
Conditions- Hilly and hot at first, but cooling off to about 100 at night
Notes- First 17 miles, straight up in the DARK (5000 feet). Then 6 miles straight down (those same 5,000 feet). Last 7 miles across the Panamint Valley (hopefully not too hot!)

1000 – 2400

28 Miles- Panamint Springs to Owens Lake (First 100 miles done!)
Conditions- Pleasant? Hopefully, should stay below 100
Notes- 8 miles again, straight up 3,000 feet, then a meandering downhill section over the next 20 miles

July 4         No running- Independence Day! (just kidding)
2400 – 1000

22 Miles- Owens Lake to Lone Pine
Conditions- Dark for most of the time
Notes- “Easiest” part of the course, except for the fact that we’ve already run 100 miles.

1000 – 1800

13 Miles- Lone Pine to Mt. Whitney Trail head
Conditions- Hopefully only in the 90s (I will guard against hypothermia)
Notes- After the easiest, the hardest climb on the road (great). 13 miles…wait for it…straight up (about another 5,000 feet). Then we rest. Because we have to have a permit for the final 6,000 feet to the summit, we have to wait until 0400 on July 5 to start that section.

July 5
0400 – 2100

22 Miles- Up the Mountain, Down the Mountain
Conditions- Even cooler. In fact, downright cold is possible going to 14,500 feet
Notes- This will be the hardest climb (but after a rest). 11 miles, up 6,000 feet, hang out at the summit, then 11 miles down. That’s it!

This will be my last blog entry before the run. I will be tweeting between then and now and will be able to tweet from time to time from the course. Also, you can follow my progress via one of two GPS linked maps here: SPOT TRACKER

and here:

TRACKING THE WORLD (this one relies on the cellular network to transmit to the map, so if I appear to be stopped for a long period of time, don’t worry!)

Thank you again, especially to my wife for putting up with all the crazy hours of training I’ve done to prepare myself for this. I wouldn’t be here without you!

Look forward to hearing from everyone on “the Twitter” (if it doesn’t crash again).

Here’s how the fundraising is going so far!



“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race”- Calvin Coolidge

I have this quote on my wall in my office.  My dad gave it to me to remind me that whatever gets handed to us, moving forward tends to solve things.  That’s what he’s always counseled me on whenever things looked too tough.  When I was in high school, I started at quarterback for the first time and threw more passes to the opposing team’s cornerback then total passes (the math doesn’t seem to work logically, but I know that’s how I felt).  His advice was “figure out what you did wrong, fix it and get back in there.”  My freshman year in college, when the engineering school and I mutually agreed that it wasn’t in my best interest to continue there because of my grades and lack of attention.  He sat me down, helped me figure out what to do, and then press forward with something I could do well.  It prepared me for the difficult decision to not fight a birth father for custody of the little girl we were adopting even though we had raised her for 10 months and he had shown up at the absolute last minute, not wanting anything to do with her until that point.  By moving forward, we were ready for our first and then our second beautiful sons, the center of our lives. The advice and guidance I was given helped make me who I am.

What concerns me, and why I really want to help these kids is, many of them go through far worse, with much less, if any guidance. Without schools like SouthSide, they don’t stand a chance.  Without guidance, they have no direction.  Without direction, they’ll founder.

The expert staff we have at SouthSide, however, are trained to recognize these needs.  They design individual programs for each child, programs that will get them ready for what lies ahead and fills in the gaps, socially, educationally, and emotionally.  Whatever barriers they face, we can help them.  With persistence, they will succeed.

That’s why I’m running.  To raise the awareness that we can make a difference with these kids right now. Thanks for helping me make this possible.

And yes, even after this run, I’m going to keep looking for ways to help them.  You can blame my dad for that… 🙂

Meet one of our great kids!

Kirby is one of the kids at SouthSide that I’m running for. He’s only five, and he’s had more challenges thrown his way than I’ve ever had to deal with. The teachers, staff and specialists at SouthSide are incredible in their dedication to Kirby and all of his classmates. Just like I’m continually fueling during my long training runs with water, food and electrolytes, they are bolstering Kirby with hours and hours of targeted services that will make it possible for him to make it academically and socially.

SouthSide’s new school will be great for children like Kirby. Right now, when he has individual therapy, he and his therapist have to sit at a table in the hallway, because there just isn’t space anywhere else. And there are about 25 children like Kirby who need those services. We need more space!

If you want to read more about Kirby click here

Take a break from reading!

Here are two short videos, one from my training session with the kids last year and one is a trailer for a movie about the first 135 miles I’ll be doing (the official race ends at the portal to Mt. Whitney, but I’ll be going the extra 11 miles and 6000 feet to the summit.  Hope you enjoy the videos!  I’m off to Iowa for a 24 hour race this weekend.  Check Twitter for my progress!

The first is my marathon training video:

The second is a short video I made about SouthSide last year

Both of these videos reference SSDN and donating through Causes.  If you feel compelled to give through Facebook, Causes is the way to do it

And the last is a video about the Badwater Race in 1999.  If you’re squeamish, don’t watch it! 🙂


The impact

Did you know that every dollar invested in early childhood education can return up to $16 over the lifetime of that child(1)?

Children like Kirby and Reed*- two of our students profiled on the SouthSide Early Childhood Center site.  Here’s a bit about them:

*Names and certain details have been changed to protect confidentiality.

February 10, 2012

These two brothers, ages 4 and 3, have attended SouthSide since fall 2010, and they have made amazing progress in so many ways! When Kirby hops around his classroom pointing out the letter “K” on all the signs and says, “That’s K! It’s in my name!” it’s not just cute – it’s amazing. Sixteen months ago he had no English vocabulary and very few words in Spanish. Today he is talkative and has an extensive vocabulary in both languages.

Watching Kirby build a train track and drive the five-car train cooperatively with his friends brings a big smile to his teachers, Miss Jackie and Miss Alisha. When Kirby started at SouthSide he could not play with peers for five minutes without dissolving into tears or lashing out. He just couldn’t figure out how to express himself any other way. Thanks to the hard work of his teachers, help from specialists and parent support, Kirby can tell his friends how he feels. Sometimes he reminds his classmates, “We use soft touches!” Miss Jackie says Kirby is a great problem-solver in the classroom.

Read More about Kirby and Reed by clicking here!

The education and experience our children have at SouthSide not only gets them ready to enter Kindergarten on an equal footing with other kids, but because of the comprehensive programs offered, both for the children and their parents, there will be:

  • Higher rates of attendance at 4-year colleges and employment in higher-skilled jobs
  • Significantly lower rates of felony arrests and symptoms of depression in young adulthood
  • Increased earnings and tax revenues because of higher-skilled jobs
  • Averted costs related to crime and savings for child welfare, special education and grade retention.
  • More stable families- With their children in school, single parents can find better jobs.  Also, once their children are ready to graduate, we help them choose a kindergarten based on theirs and their child’s needs.

The $16 for $1 ratio holds for the annual costs of nurturing and educating one child.  By helping us build a new building, which will hold 140 children EVERY YEAR for at least the next 50 YEARS (based on our track record of fiscal responsibility and building to last), think about the returns on your dollars invested in creating this great structure!

Study led by University of Minnesota professor of child development Arthur Reynolds in the College of Education and Human Development. 2/3/11

Now, like me, you may be more visual, so here’s what we’re trying to accomplish.

We want to continue our evolution from our humble beginnings in 1886:






And where we are today- a building we have occupied since 1953:






To the future:





What we can’t lose sight of though, is the impact it will have on them: