Run until it’s DONE!- New challenge for 2013-14

As most of you know, we’re nearly there in fully funding the new school for SouthSide!  Thanks to your generosity, we’re going ahead with groundbreaking THIS THURSDAY!  To celebrate how close we are (and hopefully get us across the finish line), I’m taking up a new challenge for 2013/14, and I hope you’ll join me!

We’re calling it Run until it’s DONE!, and the challenge is as follows.  Starting at groundbreaking (Feb 28) and for the next 12 months, I will run 2,014 miles in a combination of races and training.  We’ll finish up when we open the doors next year!

To put that in perspective:

  • It’s about a 1/2 marathon for every child we can accommodate in the new school, or
  • It’s a marathon every week (plus another 10 miles or so), and
  • I’ll burn about 260,000 calories (that’s 788 cheeseburgers!) 🙂

“How can I get involved?” I hear you say.  We’re working on that right now, but rest assured, whatever you’re motivated to do- run, donate, help out at SouthSide, we can accomodate it!  Full details on support coming soon!

So, I’m starting Thursday, and I’ll post my progress every week.  I’ll use my GPS watch to track progress, so you’ll be able to follow along.  We’re going to races around the country, so it should be a bit of an adventure!  I’ll post my races as I sign up for them, I hope to have all of them, and my training mapped out on the site in the next few days.

We’ll also bring you stories about the great kids at SouthSide you’re helping every month.  This is my inspiration, and I hope by sharing some of their stories, you’ll find a reason to be inspired, or just smile.

Finally, I’d ask that you spread the word!  Every time I talk to someone about the kids or the great work the staff and board does at SouthSide, a little inspiration grows.  Help us plant that seed.

See you on the road!

The idiot

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! 🙂


Part II- Running? You’ve got to be kidding me!

Gasping for breath, feeling near death, I looked up.  It’s strange what you see in that moment.  Some will say your life passes before your eyes, others that there’s a bright light that you feel compelled to move towards… I looked up and saw Big Bird.

As I was contemplating the celestial meaning of my vision, I realized what I was actually seeing was a man in a Big Bird costume as he ran past me at a pace I didn’t think possible from a 9 foot tall, essentially flightless bird.

Yes, I was about 11 miles into my first half marathon, and things weren’t going well.  It was 2003, and my wife, already an accomplished runner at this distance, had persuaded me to train for and run a half marathon.  We ran near our house on a hilly (for me) course that we modified once (I can’t stress the “once” enough) to include an innocently named, murderous hill called “Cat Hill”.  I declared myself ready, and on race day took off at what I thought was a reasonable pace, and crashed early.  Towards the end, I thought I was cruising again until a ninety year old man passed me as if I was standing still.  I finally crossed the finished line and set a record for fastest consumption of a Snickers bar.  Between heaving breaths I told my wife that if I ever did any sport for two hours again, I wanted…to be…on the 10th…tee…not…looking…for an oxygen…mask!  She politely agreed (I had slowed her down considerably in this race) and went on (without me) to compete in a number of marathons and half marathons where she did quite well.

The human mind takes about 7 years to forget unpleasant experiences, evidently, because I found myself being talked into another half marathon in October 2010.  This one was to benefit adoption and we were going to run it together with our 10 month old son.  My training started as most of my runs did at the time, with a lot of knee and back pain, and I didn’t think I was going to make it.  My wife recommended a book she was reading on Chi Running, and I started to research the technique and barefoot running.  I quickly became an advocate, buying a pair of the Vibram FiveFingers toe shoes and increasing my mileage.  The running technique shortened my stride and stopped me heel-striking, which eliminated my back and knee pain in a very short amount of time.  It greatly increased my calf tightness at first, but even that went away.  We finished the race, pushing our son in a jogging stroller, and I actually felt pretty good.  “You’re going to want to do a marathon next” my wife predicted.  “Not a chance, I’m done” I said.  If you’ve been paying attention, you know that’s not true.

One week later, I signed up for the Go! St. Louis Marathon, held in April 2011, and started training. I also read two books that changed how I thought about running: Born To Run (no not the Bruce Springsteen Autobiography) by Chris McDougall and To the Edge by Kirk Johnson.  Both advocated that at a certain point, distance was more about the mind than the body.  Sounded like a challenge, so I decided that if I survived the marathon, I’d keep moving the needle to see where my limits were.  I also made the decision that if I was going to do what was arguably one of the most self-centered sports out there (even in golf, you’re usually playing with SOMEONE), that I was going to use it to help others.  As I broke through my barriers: running the marathon, then a 50k, then a 50 miler, I wanted what I was doing to symbolize the struggles that the kids and the families go through.  If I could raise awareness and become more aware of what I was capable of, that would be the perfect combination.  Then, I got this idiotic idea….

Next in Part III- From Inspiration to Death Valley