Showing posts with label charity. Show all posts
Showing posts with label charity. Show all posts

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Wet, windy, cold and clowny at Eisenhower Park

Scenes from a wet and chilly morning
Today's activities: 20 minute treadmill + 2 mile charity walk

I always look forward my weekend runs because I'm free to detach from business (for the most part) and run longer distances. With more discretionary time, I'm more apt to break away from my local roads and run at more interesting places. In fact, I do almost all my trail running on weekends.

Today was different. My wife had signed us up to walk for the Ronald McDonald House of Long Island, a charity that we strongly support. The walk took place at Eisenhower Park and we headed over early. The organizers were expecting over a thousand participants and, even with the nasty weather, they had an impressive turnout.

Since our morning schedule was tight, and the weather was windy and rainy, I opted to do an unusually short workout on the treadmill. I figured that we'd be covering a lot of ground on foot, but I wanted to make sure I got in some "cardio" as well. My plan was to do another 20 minutes on the treadmill or elliptical later in the day, but so far that hasn't happened.

The Ronald McDonald House event was well planned and a surprising number of people had already arrived when we got there.We'd dressed for light rain, but the weather turned worse as we made our way around the grounds. There were lots of snacks and drinks for the taking, much like what you would see after a race. My wife won Ducks tickets at the KJOY booth (a local radio station), so we'll going to a game next week.

I wore my ASICS running windbreaker with a zipper that no longer works. It was windy and I was getting colder by the minute. Fortunately, as Walk participants, we all got an event tee shirt. That extra layer really made a difference.

The walk itself started at 10:00 AM and, almost immediately, the rain and wind began to intensify. We joked about heading straight back to the car, but the kids were into it, so we continued. The route was only a couple of miles. However, with the cold, wind and rain (and the crowds that slowed our progress) it seemed far longer. By the time we finished, we were soaked from head to toe. But we still had fun and were glad to support such a great cause.

Through all the activity, I've exceeded my daily goals on the Fitbit, so I'm not sure whether I'll do another workout today. Right now there are booming thunderstorms, so whatever I'd do, it would be indoors. I may be better off waiting until tomorrow morning anyway, when they are predicting far better weather conditions.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Something more fulfilling than running

Setting up for the many in need
Last night me and my family spent a few hours helping to provide basic items to families in need. Some of the recipients were facing difficult economic circumstances, while others were still disrupted from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. Our task involved handing out vitamins, baby food and supplies to people. My wife possesses great process and organizational skills and she had me and the kids working seamlessly to serve the many dozens of families that came through our station.

We found out about this volunteering opportunity through Island Harvest, a food bank on Long Island. I was happy to help, but I never expected to feel so good about what I was doing. When you offer things of value to people for free, you'd expect a little greediness. I was amazed by how so many asked only for what they needed, and were so gracious about receiving it.

That experience made me think about how racing and charity are often tied together. Just about every race has some cause attached to it. In some cases, the race is explicitly about the charity, like breast cancer or multiple sclerosis. Other races, like the ING NY Marathon, raise a collective $25 million by allowing teams of charity runners an opportunity to run in the race.

My family has a particular attachment to the Marcie Mazzola Foundation race that is held every April, because it was my first-ever race and it's all about the Foundation. Other races I run are less clear about the causes they serve and some are not tied to a charity at all. I've decided that, in the future, if I run in a race that that has no clear connection to a cause, I'll donate money for every mile I run. But as good as it feels to donate money, I've learned that it's even more gratifying to donate time.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Running among the bikers at Bethpage

Many riders out for a good cause
Today's run (Bethpage State Park): 8.2 miles

Yesterday morning's run was surprisingly difficult. I knew from the start that I was off my game and I hoped that I'd get back in the groove by today's run. Happily, I did. I headed to Bethpage this morning to run the bike trail, with a plan to cover about eight miles.

The weather was fantastic at 8:00 AM, with sunny skies, low humidity and a temperature of 52 degrees. The lot was filled with cars when I arrived at the park, and I saw that an MS charity bike ride was being staged at the trail head. I remembered this event from last year. It's a non-competitive ride that includes cyclists of all ages.

The bike path begins with a short, but pronounced, hill and I could tell right away that I'd have little trouble taking on Bethpage's challenges. I'd run this path numerous times during my half marathon training and could always gauge whether I was in for a good or bad experience within the first half mile. I decided to pick up the pace and see what I could handle.

I'd brought along my gel flask that I'd filled with a GU gel and water. I decided to hold off using that until I'd reached the halfway point, when I would encounter a series of steep rises. My energy was good, but the temperature, with the direct sun, was rising.The first hill was tough and the second two were tougher, but I made it over and back the Southern State in decent shape.

Throughout the run I encountered numerous cyclists, most of whom gave me a wide berth and warned me of their approach. There were a couple of jerks, as usual, who sped closely by, but the majority of riders shared the road respectfully.

I passed a number of other runners along the way, and that told me I was pacing well. I didn't look at my Garmin through most of my run, because I didn't want to be distracted by metrics. I parceled out my gel solution and wished near the end that I had mixed in two GU's rather than just one. But I never reached a point where I was close to bonking. I took on little K2 and Everest (my nickname for the last two hills) feeling quite confident.

I wore my test shoes and they performed really well. By mile seven, the bottoms of my feet were getting sore. I've experienced that with every pair I own of late. It may have something to do with running exclusively in shoes that lack stability control. Too bad, but I'm not switching back.

After I crested the final hill, I enjoyed the last downhill section that leads to the head of the path. The bike event volunteers were standing at the end waving pom poms and cheering the cyclists as they finished. They all gave me a big cheer as I crossed and I yelled, "Did I win?!" That was fun.

I did well today, 8 miles at a mid-9:00 pace. I was pleased, especially compared with yesterday's performance. My friend TC, who ran the LI Half with me, ran a 10K this morning in 49 minutes. Congrats to him. Also impressive was my friend KWL, who rode the 103 mile Grand Fondo from the GW Bridge to Bear Mountain (and back) today.

Quite the weekend for activity. Another colleague ran the Brooklyn Half yesterday. It's the season for racing. NHP 8K is happening in two weekends. Hope I feel as strong on that day as I did today.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pledge your own race miles in 2010

I'm feeling very good about the idea of combining running with giving and I am very pleased with the number of people who have said they would consider my suggestion of self-pledging based upon the number of miles they run next year. I'm going to put a tracker on The Emerging Runner that displays my progress. Anyone else who wishes to display their own progress is welcome to email their stats and I'll display them as well.

After a couple of really good runs this weekend on the trails at Stillwell Woods I returned to the street for a morning run. I felt fine when I woke up, got ready ahead of schedule and appreciated that running conditions were very good: mid-40's with just a little wind. I wore my ASICS for a change and they didn't feel tight enough as I set out. That was too bad, annoying but not worth a stop to re-tie them. I felt fatigued in the first few minutes and I hoped that would give way to more energy as I hit my stride. I never reached that point though, the entire run was a slog. I felt like I was carrying a pack or a sand filled vest. From beginning to end it felt like I was working too hard. I only covered about 2.2 miles and was happy to return home after that unsatisfactory run. All the same, I did my daily work and I really hope I'll feel more energetic tomorrow.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Ho Ho Ho - Nothing says Christmas like a Speedo

On the news this morning was a clip of the Santa Speedo Run that takes place in Boston each year. The video showed numerous people running down Boylston Street wearing nothing but running shoes, red Speedo style bottoms (tops where appropriate) and Santa hats. Yesterday was cold on Long Island and it's usually colder still in Boston. The course runs 1.25 miles which doesn't seem long enough to build up any heat but most participants were smiling. The rules for entry are surprisingly strict, runners must have attained at least $250 in sponsorship commitments and the field is limited to 500. Also, no thongs! This was reinforced on the website in bold red lettering.

This charity race has made me think about what more I can do for others and as I develop my goals for next year. I'd like to do at least one race where I raise money for a deserving cause. I'm proud of my children because they have donated from their savings every holiday season since they were very young. My wife and I match their funds along with our own giving. This year perhaps we can supplement our gifts with a running related charitable donation. I will try to find one with a formalized pledge system but, short of that, I'll just plan to donate $5 for every mile I run in a race in 2010. I think running is a gift we give ourselves so sharing some of that pleasure will be a great thing to do.

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