Tuesday, April 26, 2011

I am also running in the Cincinnati "Flying Pig" Marathon this weekend. Unfortunately, the charity I wanted to raise money for through RUS went kaplooey. Yep. Jamal Place. I've worked with Jamal Place on and off for years. For 18 years JP was a foster home for troubled boys on the near westside of Chicago. By every measure, JP was a success. But those successes were never enough to keep it properly funded so JP always struggled to make ends meet. Nevertheless, the incomparable Ann Deuel, JP's founder, always found a way to keep the doors open and a roof over the boys' heads. Every dollar donated was warmly appreciated and put to good use. But the state's budget crisis resulted in even deeper cuts to JP's funding and it was forced to close last month. It's an incredibly sad and frustrating situation for all.

I don't want to run in Cincy charity-less so I'm encouraging everyone I know to donate to Hospitals for Humanity, which Kristine discusses in her post below. I've had some contact with their staff recently and they are a dedicated and motivated group helping literally thousands of people around the world receive life-saving health care. I know times are tough and money is tight, but if you can hold off a month on getting that new iPhone, Northface jacket or botox, how about a donation to HFH so they can help those really in need? Any amount you can donate would be awesome!

Finally, I'm not looking to set a new PR this weekend. My running the last couple of months has been bad and slow. I tried to train through a cold which made it worse and last weeks longer. I haven't put in nearly the amount of time and miles necessary to run well this weekend. My goal is to finish and have fun.

Flying Pigs and Traveling Hospitals

I'm getting ready to take on Marathon #8 in Ohio this weekend, the Cincinnati Flying Pig Marathon. I'm looking forward to hopefully seeing some runners dressed up as pigs, although I won't be joining them in these festivities. A curly tail has never been a good look for me.

I realize that while I've been building momentum in my motiviation to run more races (I've got 3 more scheduled this fall), one of the more important reasons for doing all these races, to raise money and awareness for some great charities, has been losing steam. So I want to take this opportunity to let you all know the great things that one of these charities, Hospitals for Humanity has been up to.

I spoke recently with the CEO and founder, Segun Ajayi, about what HFH has been up too. They finished off 2010 with monthly trips to Haiti and have shifted their focus to Nigeria for 2011. They have already completed a medical mission in Nigeria just last month in March, and plan to return with missions in August and December. Also on the calendar are missions to the Phillipines in June and Jamaica in September. Part of their missions, in addition to treating those in need, is to assist with education and training of the health care providers in those areas as well as educating the people on preventative care. And these missions seem to be working. With the help of local officials, one of the cities in Nigeria they had previously visited saw a drop in patients from 20,000 to 3,000! This means that more people are getting care from their local providers and are not relying on these medical missions as their source of health care. To me, those numbers are amazing.

One of their latest initiatives is to raise funds for the purchase of mobile healthcare vans. These would, in essence, be mobile clinics that would travel to various parts of Africa providing specialized care, such as OB/gyn, pediatrics, opthalmalogy and some vans would even have surgical suites to do minor surgeries on site. The plan is to purchase three of these vans to start, and they range in cost from $80,000 to $100,000. As you can see with these hefty price tags, this won't happen without help from people like us.

In additon to these great missions and intiatives, they have created a specialized department, the Special Medical Services Department, to focus on individual cases that cannot be addressed by these medical missions. For example, they are currently working with the mother of a small girl in Africa who is in need of a hearing aid. HFH is partnering with a hearing aid company to provide the girl, and others, with these much needed devices and also have plans to send personnel over to fit and adjust the hearing aids. They are also working with Atlanta Medical Center to get a man in east Africa much needed open heart surgery and have found a surgeon who is willing to do the surgery for a fraction of the cost. But they can't accomplish these things without your donations!

Please visit my updated link on the HFH website to make a donation and/or to post some encouraging words for me and the rest of the Race Within US team! www.hospitalsforhumanity.org/index.php/the-race-within-us/

Thanks again for all your support! Look for my all-about-pigs blog post next week!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Minnesota, Here I Am!

Last week, I had a great run with my friend Betty at the 4 mile Run for the Parks in Central Park, NY. Betty even earned herself a new, faster bib with the New York Road Runners. Way to go, Betty!

This week, I signed up for my very first Minnesota road race, the Y Run 5K at Lake Calhoun (pictured left). Lake Calhoun is about a mile from my apartment and I have been running there frequently since moving to Minneapolis. I was excited for the chance to race around the lake with fellow road runners!

The event included a 5K and a 10K, but I made my Minnesotan road race debut in the 5K. Though the weather was near freezing and windy, I had a great run, finishing in 25:51 - 50th place out of 350 and 3rd in my age group (though no age group awards were given). It was a motivating start to my mid-western running schedule! Next up, I'm running a 10K this coming weekend in Rochester, Minnesota and I'll be looking for a local half marathon to run after that. Anyone want to join me?

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Comfort Route

This weekend I'm heading back to New York from Minnesota. The last time I was in NY, six weeks ago, I had a fantastic run through Queens with my friend and run buddy, Betty.

Since then, the snow in Minneapolis melted and I've found my groove for local running. In the past few weeks, I have run the trails around several of Minnesota's 10,000 Lakes... maybe one day I'll conquer all of them! I discovered some local run clubs to train with. And I have spent an afternoon running aimlessly, exploring, getting lost, and ultimately finding my way home.

But this weekend I'm excited to be back in NY running the 4 mile Run for the Parks in Central Park. I have missed running in Central Park with the New York Road Runners! It always inspired me that on any given weekend that the NYRR hosts a run, I'd be at the start line with 5,000 other early-rising runners. I've run so many races in Central Park, I know the hills and flats and turns and transverses by memory. For those of you who are less familiar with running in Central Park, NYC, this map is available for download on the park's website. If you care to get out at 8am Sunday morning for a nice 4 mile loop of the park, give me a shout out while we're on the course!