When Running Is About More Than Yourself

Hey!  Look what I found!  My blog! Yayyyyyyy!!!!!

yay turtle

Yipppeeeee!!!!!

I know it’s been a crazy long time since I’ve regaled you all with tales of my shenanigans, but fear thee not!  I’m back. Pretty much.  Still trying to coordinate all the nonsense that makes life….well…LIFE.  Hang in there my faithful peeps.  I have all kinds of glorious tales lined up for you.  Stress, school, shenanigans, surgeries, spinning, puppies, paddleboarding, trips, and general madness and mayhem, just to name a few.  I’ll be catching you up on all the latest and greatest in the chaos that is the Black Dog world.  But that is for another day.

Right now though, it’s time for what shall be a glorious Black Dog return to racing! (Please keep in mind I consider complete and utter gloriousness simply putting one foot in front of the other for more than 8 feet without falling flat on my face).  After three months of pavement-less days, I have returned to my first love.  And I’m not talking just Moose Tracks, mutts, and margaritas here people.  Nope, uh huh, no way.  We’re talking honest to goodness RACING.  Like with a bunch of other peeps racing.  People ALL AROUND THE WORLD RACING.  AT THE SAME TIME!

“What are these shenanigans you speak of Black Dog?” you may ask.  Well, let me tell ya.  One thing that has always meant so much to me and a lot of other runners  too, is running for those who can’t.  Believe you me kiddos, knowing there are so many people out there who are unable to take even one step has helped me get through many a mile when all I wanted to do was call it quits.  That’s why my first race after Knee Gate Part II means so much.  Thanks to fellow Browardite and shenanigator Hokeyboy, I found out about this uber cool race that has NO FINISH LINE.  Crazeeee, right?!?  How can a race have no finish line, Black Dog?” you may ask.  Well, LET ME TELL YA.

Wings for Life World Run is just that – a world run.  On May 8th, runners from all over this hunk of rock we call home will be taking to the streets to run while raising funds for spinal cord injury research.  The coolest part?  100% of all registration fees and funds raised go to research.  How awesomesauce is THAT kidaroonies?!?  And that no finish line thingamahoozie?  Well, you just keep running until the official Chase Car catches up to you!  Yeppers kiddies, a chase car!  Thirty minutes after the runners cross the start line, the car is hot on the trail.  Okay, maybe “hot” isn’t exactly accurate.  More like turtle pace speeds to start.  Then each hour, it speeds up just a little more until the fastest runner is caught.

No, no, not THAT kind of caught sillykins.  Getting caught is actually a good thing!  “Why is that Black Dog?” you may ask.  Well, LET ME TELL YA.  Once you get passed, you the get to hop on a party barge!  Said party barge then takes you back to the start to engage in further post-race party shenanigans!  Party shenanigans that include shenanigating with the very peeps your donation money is helping out!

Now, from what I understand from Hokeyboy’s review of this most amazing day, meeting those whom your generosity is helping can be quite an emotional experience.  (Cue the sappy tears just thinking about it here.  It’s okay,  No judging from this Mistress of Sappiness.)  It can definitely help keep things in perspective when you’re having one of those runs and just want to throw in the shoelaces.  At least it does for this Queen of Busted Knees and Ibuprofen. As crappy a run as you may be having, at least you’re running.  Which is a whole lot more than those suffering from spinal cord injuries can do.

wheelchairs

You know what’s coming now my faithful followers.  Time for me to appeal to the generous hearts I know so many of you have.  Since I needed to make my return to racing about something so much bigger than just a pair of somewhat recovered #brokeknees, it seemed only appropriate to help those who can’t race today, maybe race some day.  And I need your help to do just that.

I’ve set up the Team Wonder Mutt page here.  As I’ve never been very good at this whole asking people for money thing, I set a very modest goal amount of $200 to start,  Imagine my surprise when, after only a week, I had already met that goal! (Thank you so so much to my friends and family who already donated!  You guys ROCK!)  Never being one to settle for mediocrity, what I’d like to do now is see just how much you guys can help me DOUBLE my goal amount!  Yes, my faithful Black Dog Bubbykins!  You go right ahead, pull out those credit cards that have just recovered from Christmas, and DONATE AWAY!  I promise it will result in nothing more than a warm, fuzzy feeling inside from helping those who want nothing more than simply to put one foot in front of the other.  And in the immortal words of Larry the Cable Guy, let’s…..”GIT ER DONE!”

wings for life

Let me take a moment and extend a very, very warm thank you to those who have already donated and to those of you who are already pulling out the plastic.  You guys are a big part of why I love this sport so much, and put up with all the aches, pains, and surgeries that I do.  If it wasn’t for you, a lot more people would never be able to put one foot in front of the other ever again.

For more information on this amazing event, please visit the Wings for Life World Run page here.  I promise, you’ll be glad you did.

 

Enjoy the ride.

Have you ever participated in a race like this?  Do you try to make your running about something bigger than yourself?  How did it make you feel?

 

Spotlight on wear blue: run to remember

One of my favorite events to watch every year is the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon from Kona.  It was watching this event probably 20 years ago that I first learned about Team Hoyt.  It was the first time I’d ever seen the world’s top athletes at the top of their game, and some, well, not so much.

konacrawl

Kona Crawl

I was watching this event when I saw everyday people – yup, just like you and me – take on some of the world’s toughest miles.  And chew them up and spit them out.

2014 Ironman World Championship

Including the mayor of Kona.

Watching this year’s competition was no different, and once again I got swept up in what my brother always calls the “puke stories.” (He can be a bit cynical at times, in case you couldn’t figure that out).  Those stories though, are the best part of watching these events for me.  This year was no different.

I’ve always had a particular soft spot for anything connected to the military.  My dad, uncles, and cousins for generations, all served in our country’s armed forces.  Not too long after moving to Florida, I found a military support charity that I volunteered with for a number of years that just recently shut down operations. (Due to our mission coming to an end, not because of anything bad.:)  So when I saw a story about a military support charity incorporated into this year’s Ironman back story, I was intrigued.

wear blue

One of the athletes in this year’s Ironman, Lisa Hallett, is a military wife who lost her husband jin Afghanistan just after giving birth to their third child.  In order to deal with her grief, she started to run.  And like so many of us know, all those miles can be better than any kind of therapy a doctor can give.

From the wear blue:run to remember website:

“wear blue: run to remember is a national nonprofit running community that honors the service and sacrifice of the American Military. wear blue: run to remember creates a support network for military members and their families; it bridges the gap between military and civilian communities and it creates a living memorial for our country’s fallen military members. wear blue: run to remember exists for the fallen, for the fighting and for the families.”

“wear blue: run to remember was founded following the redeployment of 5-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, a unit that, while deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, sustained a significant amount of combat losses and casualties. During that deployment, a small group of 5-2 wives and battalion support staff met weekly to run, seeking to create a support network for one another during this challenging and heartbreaking deployment. When the brigade returned, two of those Army wives and avid runners, Lisa Hallett and Erin O’Connor, turned this small group into a nationwide vision that now helps thousands heal from and work through the more challenging aspects of military life during a time of war. Lisa’s husband, CPT John Hallett, was one of four soldiers killed in that unit on August 25, 2009, while returning from a goodwill mission in Southern Afghanistan.”

“Today, this group runs to honor all military members killed in combat and has evolved into a powerful network of active duty and retired service members, military families, Wounded Warriors, Gold Star families and community members.”

After watching Lisa cross the finish line in Kona, I jumped on my computer and checked out the organization’s website, including their blog.  How ironic is it that the first post I read, had to do with runDisney and the Goofy Challenge (here).  I cannot do this post justice here, you just have to go and read it for yourself.  I challenge you to get through it without crying.

ToRememberPic1

Please, take a few moments and check out this organization.  Donate if the spirit moves you.  Buy a visor or a shirt.  Get involved in a chapter if there’s one near you.  Or just run some miles for a serviceman or woman who have made the ultimate sacrifice, or for their families who have also paid the ultimate price and have to live with the grief of their loss every single day.  As runners, it’s the least we can do.

  Enjoy the ride.

Have you been personally affected by any of America’s military operations overseas?  Are you involved in any kind of military support charity?  Which one?  Do you feel a certain sense of accomplishment in helping organizations of this kind?

Disclaimer: I was not asked by wear blue:run to remember to blog about their organization, nor have I received any kind of compensation for doing so.  This is simply an organization that is near and dear to my heart, and one which I am only too happy to spread the word about.

Will You #RunforCharleston?

If you’ve been following my little corner of the blogoworld for the past few months, then you know what I’ve been dealing with having #brokeknee.  Now that I’ve been officially cleared to run again – can I get an amen – I found it rather ironic timing that I stumbled across this post from Abby over at Back at Square Zero just as I was making a painful, but victorious, return to the pavement.  Sometimes I think the runner gods really have their poop together.

RunforCharleston_thumb

One of my favorite things about the running community is the amazing ability to come together when tragedy strikes.  The senseless, brutal killings of nine people – in their place of worship no less – touched the hearts of people worldwide.  And as always seems to happen when tragedy hits us where it hurts the most, we band together and show hate that it has no place in sports, especially in running.

no hate

I have family in Charleston.  They’ve only lived there for a short time, but have fallen completely in love with the city, the people, and the charm that encompasses southern hospitality.  Their Facebook and Instagram feeds make me want to drop whatever I’m doing, throw the Wonder Mutt in the truck, and hit the road north, if for no other reason than to hang out in Waterfront Park and watch the world go by.  And maybe run a few miles while I’m at it.

Which brings me to the point of this particular ramble.  Join Abby, and me, and hopefully many, many other running peeps, and become a part of something bigger than yourself.  Make your RUNNING something bigger than yourself.  If not, then really….what’s the point?

This is such a no-brainer, the Wonder Mutt could even explain it to you.  Run nine miles, one for each person who died.  Do them all at once, or one at a time, whatever you want.  When you’ve done them all, donate $9 to the Mother Emanuel Hope Fund.  The funds will go to various organizations that were near and dear to the Pastor Pinkney’s heart.  Of course, you can always donate whatever your heart tells you to.

Let’s see how much we can flood social media with #RunforCharleston hashtags and help those less fortunate.

Hate tears us apart.

Let running bring us together.

no hate

Enjoy the ride.

If you’re looking for donation information, please see below.  Once again, thank you to Abby from Back at Square Zero for sharing this information.  Be sure to check out her blog!

“The Mother Emanuel Hope Fund has been created to benefit the families of the victims of the shooting at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC.”

To donate, text “PrayforCharleston” to (843)606-5995,
or go to http://bidr.co/events/prayforcharleston

Donations by check can be mailed to the following address:
Mother Emanuel Hope Fund
C/O City of Charleston
P.O. Box 304
Charleston, SC 29402

Will you run for Charleston?

Jost Virtual Running – Score!

Don’t ask me how I stumbled upon it, but let me tell ya – this whole virtual running thing is – shall we say – mucho cool stuff.  Too bad my first one wasn’t!  By the time I finally got my dupa out on the road for my Beat The Heat 10k benefiting Girls on the Run, it felt like I walked out into a solid wall of steam.  97 degrees plus in the sun, (and it was a BIG plus), and who knows what on the humidity scale, did not make for what could be considered “ideal” running conditions.  Okay, now that I’m done whining and making excuses for my less than stellar results, (1:03.10),  the fact that I did help – even in a tiny way – an awesome-sauce organization, made all the sweat, runner belly, and lead legs, feel a little bit better.

Hello pretty.

Hello pretty.

What’s super duper cool is the website I found this race on, JostRunning.com, not only offers a number of different races and distances at any given time, you can also keep track of your training, upload your race results, and see where you finished in relation to other runners participating in the same event.  Cool beans!  Or in this case, popsicles!

The best part of Jost races?  Not only is the bling pretty darn sweet, (and NOT sticky), you can choose which charity you want to run for.  As of today, there are three different charities, Camp Promise, NYRR Team for Kids, and the Midwest Food Bank, all with distance options of anywhere from a 5k all the way up to a full marathon.

Wanna go the distance/

Wanna go the distance?

I look at it this way.  You’re running the distance anyway – especially if you’re in training for something like, oh, say, the Wine and Dine Half Marathon.  So why not do something bigger than yourself, pay it forward, and earn some sweet medals, all while you’re training?  It’s pretty much a no-brainer.

No-Brainer-Day

So head on over to Jost Running, check out their funny bunny blog while you’re there, and sign up for a race.  Or two.  Or six.  Oh wait, that’s me.  What can I say, I have a lot of empty pegs in my bling room.

sad cat2

 

Enjoy the ride.

Do you like the idea of being a part of something bigger than yourself?  Are you a bling junkie too?

We Can All Do Good Stuff!

A little while ago, I was clicking my way through the blogosphere when I ran across this awesome little ditty.  Danielle is a proud mama of Madison the mini dachshund, author of the blog Live, Run, Grow, AND who also, as it turns out, is a prior resident of the frozen tundra commonly referred to as the great Northeast, just like me!  A crazy avid runner and yogi, Danielle and crew reside on Long Island, where she is currently pursuing her goal to become a physical therapist.  You know, those guys we runners just love to hate but can’t live without.

You want me to WHAT?!?

You want me to WHAT?!?

Aside from having a common obsession with running and yoga, we also have a common love for critters.  What’s that? You had no idea I was over the moon crazy about critters?  Guess you haven’t been keeping up with my never-ending flood of Instagram Calypso pics now, have you?  Bad, bad blog friend.

What's that?  You DON'T know who I am?!?

What’s that? You DON’T know who I am?!?

Anywho, after some soul-searching,  Danielle decided to run in this year’s NYC Marathon.  And the BEST part…..wait for it……is she was going to run as charity runner for the North Shore Animal League!  Yay!!!!!!!  What’s the big deal Black Dog, you may be asking yourself.  And that may be a very good question.  Here’s why:

1.  When I started earning my very own paycheck at the ripe old age of 16, North Shore Animal League was the very first charity I ever made a donation to.  Call me a sentimental idiot, but it’s nice to see after all these years, (be nice now!), this awesome-sauce rescue is still doing what they do best.

2.  Being the mom of a rescue, I can’t imagine a better charity to help support while training for one of the world’s greatest marathons.

3.  How can you not love a place that came up with the Cat’achino???

With soy milk please.

With soy milk please.

I don’t want to take up any more of your time when you should be checking out Danielle’s posts here and here.  Check ’em out then hit that DONATE button.  I guarantee it will leave you with a warm, fuzzy feeling inside.  Honest, it will, I promise.  Calypso even says so!

Go!  Now!  Go!

And I am awesome.

Enjoy the ride.

Hurry!  That warm fuzzy feeling is a-waiting!