Progress Check

Boy, I’d really like to sit down and write about ten different posts right now. But since my time management is just about worthless I’m going to have to keep it brief. Besides, my brain is full of big words, graphs and other worthless GRE nonsense, so I probably couldn’t put a decent  post together no-how.

Training – another week, 100 less miles waiting to be run. Lest I give the impression that this is no big deal, let me tell: it is. Up until a few weeks ago, I’d never run 100 in a week, much less put four of those weeks together back-to-back. This week was particularly rough on my feet. A midweek 11M averaging 6:18 left me with some ridiculous blisters, and my black toenails are threatening to outnumber the healthy ones. I may have to start painting my nails just to keep my wife from dry-heaving at the sight of my feet. I also have a lovely case of plantar fasciitis in my right foot, which for some reason has me fantasizing about acupuncture. But the training is doing its job…I did an encouraging 17M yesterday through rolling terrain and averaged a brisk 6:37 without it being too teribly hard.

Mocha Club – Still haven’t gotten it completely squared away but I’m close. I know, you had your debit card out, just itchin to make it happen…but hang on, partnah! Anyway, this week, fo sho…I’ve gotten some other exciting news I won’t share quite yet regarding supporting Mocha Club. I’m hashing out some details (I know, I seem to do a lot of that) before I let the cat out of the bag.

Inspiration – Every day, I’m attempting to open my eyes a little more and find the little nuggets of goodness the universe has tucked away with my name on them. Whether it’s fighting negativity on a bad run by rejoicing in the progress I’ve made in less than a year; or taking a moment to consider a profound quote shared by my wife, I’ve found a lot to smile about in the past week or so. Just tonight, I made the best of a late run start by enjoying the moonlight and belting out “Walcott” by Vampire Weekend as I ran down a suburban street. Sometimes…you just have to sing, even if it’s off-tune and out there.

Guest Bloggers!

Quick update – I’ve almost got things worked out with Mocha Club to streamline the donation process; hopefully by the end of the week I should have all that squared away.

I’m also excited to announce that I’m going to have some other folks do my work for me and pen some guest entries! Going back to the “Mile #1” post, I liked the idea of putting a face on the activities the rest of us are doing. So, I already have a few peeps lined up but PLEASE if you would like to discuss perhaps some of your own projects or want to nominate a friend, do so by emailing me and we’ll get it set up.

Alright, I found out I have to take the GRE next Friday, so I apologize in advance for what will probably be short entries during cram-time. Then again, this may help me out with what I’m told is a tendency towards “abusive long-winded-ness” in my writing…

Mile #1

As I’ve put this whole concept together, I’ve thought long and hard about perceptions of me as a person and how it might affect what I’m trying to do with Run For Something. So, let me get this out right off the bat:

I ‘m no saint. To be honest, my first nature is not excessively generous or helpful.  Ask me the last time I fed the homeless or dropped some money in the hat of the dirty guy at the intersection and I’ll tell you: a long time ago. But I don’t think it takes a saint to do something good.  If goodness rested in the hands of saints, this world would be a pretty dim place simply because they are outnumbered by the rest of us. It falls on your average human, capable of both darkness and light. In short, it’s up to us.

Two years ago, my wife connected with a group called Mocha Club. A NPO that focuses on African outreach in one of a handful of areas, you can read more about them here at www.mochaclub.org . Jen spent two weeks in Ethiopia, working at a handful of orphanages. It was a life-altering experience for her. She didn’t go in and single-handedly alter the future of the nation. But she made a difference in the lives of a few children and more importantly, made a difference in herself.

The basic jist of the Mocha Club is this: with what you pay for two mochas a month, roughly $7.00, you can make a big difference in the lives of a few in Africa. It’s not an unfamiliar model. But what was unique to me was that they also provided a means of connecting people with the projects their money goes towards. I liked that engagement aspect a lot. This was no guilt-trip infomercial. This was real. It told me was there were a lot of ways to help, from the traditional donation to the opportunity to actually get out there and engage with the folks you are helping to support. A chance to alter your mindset, to bring back a message you can pass along to your circle of friends and family.

Pretty sweet. So I gave, and continue to do so to this day.

About a year later, I came across a project for the Maasai which utilized runners in the New York City Marathon for charity fundraising. Go to www.maasaimarathon.com to see for yourself. It was a little bit of a whack across the back of the head…What if I could do something like this for Mocha Club?  I don’t know why I hadn’t thought of it before. Races have a long-standing relationship with charities. Athletes have been brought into the process with concepts like Team in Training, which raises millions for cancer research every year. So why couldn’t it work for Mocha Club?

Ever  do walk-a-thons as a kid? I went door to door every spring as an elementary school kid raising money for my perpetually broke small private school. For the walkathon, people would pledge whatever they felt…sometimes a dollar a mile, sometimes a dime, whatever.  On Walkathon Day, it was a grand adventure. I think the course couldn’t have been longer than five or ten miles, with little aid stations along they way where an adult would stamp your card to verify that, yes, you did in fact walk as far as you claimed and you could grab a cookie and some lemonade. I looked forward year-round to that little fundraiser because it tied something I was good at (distance) with something noble (raising money for my broke school).

So, here I am again, 23 years down the line. But this time it’s not a ten year-old with a bowl cut and a grin at your door. Now it’s a 33 year old with some gray hairs, who runs a lot but wants to use that running to do something for Mocha Club. That something, I’ve determined, is the following: fundraise and promote awareness for the Mocha Club through my running.

My goals:

1)      Run Grandma’s Marathon, in Duluth, MN on June 17th in 2:45 or faster

2)      Raise  $500 or better in funds for Mocha Club

How I’m going to achieve them:

1)      Lots of running. By the time June 19th comes around, I’ll have logged close to 2000 miles since the 1st of January. Dozens of speed and strength workouts accomplished within a carefully planned training plan with the sole aim of putting me on that start line with fire in my veins and steel in my will.

2)      I’m asking you (and myself) to donate to Mocha club. I’m still working on how much, and working through a couple of models to employ, but should have that out soon.

Now, I know that as soon as you read this, everyone is going to sprint to www.mochaclub.org, debit card in hand to make their donations…but I’m asking you to hold off for a sec since I’m trying to work out the infrastructure on their website. More to follow there…

 So that’s it for now. Not a memo, but a mission statement. I’ll keep you all informed as I work out the details on the donations…in the meantime, please visit Mocha Club’s web page.  Let that percolate in your mind for a bit.