October 20th, a scant 76 days away, I’ll toe the line of the half-marathon at the Baltimore Running Festival on behalf of Back on My Feet Baltimore.  Saturday was week 2 of a 12 week training program, and involved a 4 mile run.   I got out there at ~8:30 and started the two miles down the trail, two miles back that would comprise my 4 mile run that day.  As I didn’t want to carry water, I planned the run to turn around at the ranger station, which is nicely equipped with water fountains and bathrooms.  All I wanted to carry was my key, which I put on a carabiner and carried around my knuckles – self-defense measure at the ready were I to need it.

I was moving a bit slower than planned, as of course in my brain, I’m still as fast as I was when I was doing these things ten years or so ago.  But I made it to the turn around point, stopped for a bathroom break, and then headed back up the trail.

A little over a half mile from the ranger station, I realized that I no longer had my knuckle device – that I’d left it back in the bathrooms, hanging on a hook.  A half mile back, and then a half mile again meant an additional mile…  compared to the distance of the half-marathon, not a worry at all.  Compared to where I am as yet in my training schedule, a not-too-fun surprise.

It occurs to me that not-too-fun surprises are a fact of life for the folks Back On My Feet serves.  Bad weather, grumpy folks, a missed timeline for a chance to eat a hot meal or a hot shower, the challenges of finding transportation to a potential job or to a potential bed for the night… all very real not-too-fun surprises.  Back On My Feet seeks to be a dependable portion of these folks lives, and its own dependability, to set an expectation and goals of dependability and accountability for the homeless community it serves.

Would you consider sponsoring my run for Back On My Feet?  I’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other to make it to the race line, and Back On My Feet will keep providing support and a way out day after day for the folks they serve.  Your dollars help make it possible.

So, contrary to plans, last weekend we didn’t do a 20 miler. I had some radically sore muscles from a stupid weightlifting mistake (too much weight on a squat bar does not make for happy legs), and my running partner had a nasty cold which was giving her vertigo. So, we decided the wiser option was to run shorter, on our own. Because we’ve been good about getting in the long runs, we had some options to still get in one, maybe two 20 milers before the race. This week I’m now the one fighting a cold, keeping me home from work today to avoid spreading the contagion. Should still be able to run Saturday, though, particularly if I take it somewhat easy for the next few days.

On the fundraising front: things are picking up! I sent out quite a few fundraising letters to friends, family, and business friends, either through mail or through LinkedIn. Over the last few days, I’ve had 4 contributions, bringing the total tally in for BOMF so far to $790.93. Still a ways away from $2500, and a LARGE ways away from my personal goal of $5K, but definitely going in the right direction. See the links to BOMF on the right-hand side of the page if you’d like to help make that fundraising total go further.

I’m still 2nd in the list of fundraisers. There’s one woman in front of me, and 8 men listed behind us. I find that interesting… It looks like most of the dollars raised for the Marine Corp are through ‘Team Accenture’. Accenture is a global management company, large size, and makes a point of impacting the community. So, it doesn’t surprise me that they’d have a team. What I wonder, though, is what the makeup of the top 10 fundraiser list suggests: are 1/10 of the folks on their team women? Is that woman outstanding at fundraising, or are the set of individual men less motivated? Curious… wonder if I’ll meet these folks at the race or at BOMF events. (Note that I’m assuming, based on the total $s raised by Team Accenture, that the other 9 folks on the list are all Accenture team members. That may not in fact be true.)  If you’re interested in the list of fundraisers for BOMF’s Marine Corp Marathon team, see the BOMF Active fundraising site.

Latest fundraising number has me at $605 raised. Not bad, but not there yet. On the running front, Saturday we go for 20! Longest run yet! Last Friday, we did 12, handily, on a hilly-ish course. This Saturday, we’ll go for flatter. And I’ll go to bed early on Friday: a key lesson learned from previous runs.

Have run Sunday and Tuesday so far this week, and am intending to run tomorrow. Nursing sore leg muscles today, due to an pushing too much weight in squats on Tuesday. I did manage to run 3 miles after the squats, but had to do so slowly and convince my legs they still knew how to run. Hopefully the day of rest today will let me recover enough to push out 5 or so tomorrow. Hopefully, anyway.

So, remember last week, when I meant to do 16 but only ended up doing 12? I wasn’t going to repeat that this week. Due to various scheduling complications on my part, my running partner and I decided to not try to run together Saturday. Saturday morning dawned, and I was on my own.

Left the note for my hubby on the table indicating when I left (no one’s up on Saturday when I go) and when I thought I’d be back. 18 mile runs take a very long time for me. Headed to the trail.

Long story short, this was an agonizingly long run. At one point, I even had to stop and sit down – like I said, an agonizing run. However, I did every last mile. No bailing, though I did consider it a few times from about mile 13 on… Was weighing how long it’d take my hubby to get there, after getting kids in the car, and how just miserable I’d feel sitting there waiting for him. So, I always managed to push myself just one more interval. Some of them I ended up walking all of, some of them parts of… at the end, I was promising myself beers if I’d finish an interval completely (5 minutes run, 1 minute walk).

When I got home and went to shower, I discovered chafing in more areas than I’ve EVER had. My sports top left its marks, as did the waistband of my shorts, and the seam on my inner thigh. I did use BodyGlide before hand, but apparently either not enough, or it was just plain hot and sticky enough out that nothing was helping. I’ll pay for that for a few more days, but it should be all healed up before next week’s 20 MILER!

Today was planned as 16, but ended up as 12. I overslept: my running buddy was in the driveway at 6am, but I didn’t even wake up until about 15 minutes later. So, out on the trail on my own. For whatever reason, my iPod wasn’t working today, which didn’t help on the motivational end. I had had to change course slightly, because 16 miles is greater than the distance for an out-and-back from where we’ve been starting. So went the other way on the trail for 2, doubled back the 2, and then went down the trail from there. At 4 miles in, was wondering if 16 was a good idea today, and probably psyched myself out. 4 more miles down the trail, some 4 miles from where my car was, I opted to turn around and head slowly for home. Lack of sleep (common refrain for me), and missing my long run last weekend probably didn’t help. On the plus side, our original training schedule only had us doing 9 miles today, so I netted +3. However, going to increase my mileage during the week, and make sure I’m in bed earlier on Friday nights to try to push back to the tougher schedule.

I’m not sure what I’ll do for next weekend: 18 on our tough schedule, or some increment beyond 12. The additional fly in the ointment is I may have to travel on Saturday to visit family, so would need to fit in my long run on the treadmills at work after my meeting on Friday afternoon. The treadmills at work are better than the treadmill at home, but still – a bit mind-numbing.

The Pampered Chef fundraiser was a resounding success! I received a stack of boxes yesterday full of PC items, and then received a check for $182.63 from Pampered Chef in the mail today. That’s my single largest contribution to date, and brings the total raised to $329.63. I’m having difficulties getting the fundraising site to let me enter the “offline” donation, but that fundraising bar is about to take a jump!

I’m still well away from my overall goal, but making progress. With each Pampered Chef order, I’m sending along a thank you note along with an invitation to contribute directly. I’ll also be sending out direct fundraising letters in the mail this week. I’ll ALSO be sending follow-up emails to folks who I’ve sent emails to before and not gotten a response. Persistence in fundraising is key!

By the way, if you’re similarly interested in doing a Pampered Chef fundraiser, contact me to get the contact info for my PC consultant. She was great!

It’s been a few weeks since an update – busy month both on the BOMF front and on other fronts. I’ve been promoted (woohoo!), gone away to camp with the high schoolers from our church, been to visit family, and then of course the regular interludes of life don’t stop. Running has suffered, but not stopped. Yesterday I ran a 14 miler with a friend. Muscle cramps at mile 13 were the cost of probably both a reduced running schedule the two weeks before, and a lack of Powerade or other electrolyte supplement. But I finished the 14, albeit at a much reduced pace that last mile. Perseverance through adversity, just the sort of thing that BOMF program participants are proving to themselves.

This past Friday night, I hosted a Pampered Chef party as a fundraiser for BOMF. The final orders are still rolling in, but we’ve already topped 1K in sales. Given Pampered Chef’s generous donation program, that’s more than a $150 boost to the fundraising coffers. If you’re similarly fundraising for something, or if you just have a hankering to host a PC party, contact me privately to get Kim’s info. She was a great consultant (and separately, is a great friend of mine).

This week I need to buckle down and get ALL of my runs in through both the week and the weekend. I’ve been shorting myself in the week, and I paid for it this weekend. Next weekend is a 16 miler, and I won’t have my friend Mindy around to kick my tail down the last few miles. So I need to make sure I’ve given myself every advantage: run my weekly miles, get more PowerAde powder for my water bottle, and probably get more sleep, as well.

I’m also about to kick into phase 2 of fundraising, in which I pepper all of my friends and acquaintances with letters in the mail letting them know what I’m up to and offering them the chance to contribute. I’ve let my family know that for my upcoming birthday, contributions to BOMF would be well appreciated. Wish me luck!

Wednesday was the first “official” fundraiser for my fund-racing for BOMF. Terrapin Adventures offered to contribute 10% of any revenue it received from attendees I sent their way on the 1st. Lots of folks agreed it was a great idea, looked like fun, etc, but in the end, only my friend Lori went with me. We had a BLAST, though! Climbing cargo nets, ropes, rock walls, … I managed to get hung up by my harness (ouch) and flip upside down (cool!). We did a high ropes course that was more challenging than anything I’d seen before: you mean you want me to walk out on that single rope?! Nope, I want you to just jump: the rope’s there in case you don’t jump far enough. [Conversation at 40 feet in the air with Luiz, one of our wonderful guides.] I hope to set up another BOMF event later this month, and intend to rope in all those folks that were interested before, and sounded jealous afterwards.

In running news, tomorrow is a 12 miler. I’m light on mileage this week: after the Terrapin Adventures outing, I was a bit sore and bruised in a few tender spots. Expecting to have to bear down tomorrow. The runs I did do this week included hills, though, so tomorrow’s jaunt shouldn’t be as much of a surprise as last weekend.

You can probably tell that posting this frequently isn’t natural for me, based on my previous history.  But I’m hoping keeping you in the loop gives you a reason to connect with BOMF’s mission, even if it’s just through my mission to benefit BOMF.  I did buy some shoes on Thursday and run some hills on the treadmill.  Saturday dawned bright and early with a ten mile run.  It was tougher than I had expected, mostly because it was hillier than I expected.  The upside: my friend Mindy got an elevation chart which shows that the change in elevation in our training run is more vigorous than the change in elevation in the marathon.  And I finished it!  Slowly, had to suck it up a few times, had to walk a few times, but I made it!

I did get a chance to hear a great interview today on WYPR by Dan Rodricks.  He interviewed some of the folks involved in BOMF Baltimore, from the program director to a program participant.  Inspiring session: good way to get the scoop directly.  Check it out via the link on Rodrick’s site.

A few notes I jotted down listening to the session:

  • 40 members participate in Baltimore from homeless shelters.
  • More than 120 folks show up to run with the “resident” members of BOMF.  They’re at these shelters at 5:30 in the morning!
  • 5 members recently completed the Baltimore 10-Miler.
  • Kudos to Helping Up Mission, specifically mentioned as doing a great job with the Next Steps program

I did see a great addition to the BOMF site: they’ve specifically broken out what it takes to support a BOMF participant for a year.  They’ve done a great thing, broken it out line by line, and also shown where they get in-kind donations (for shoes, shirts, etc) and where they need cash.  Check it out: very useful info!  That tells me my $5K goal will support 2.75 runners.  As in, your contribution to my $5K goal will support 2.75 runners.

Running update: Just as planned, Tuesday was an interval day: 3 minutes jog, 1 minute 7mph pace, repeated 5 times.  2 total miles.  Today (Wednesday) was an easy run of 3 miles on the treadmill/sauna downstairs.  Tomorrow I intend to buy a new pair of shoes, and then try them out on hill intervals on the treadmill.

Fundraising update: On Wednesday, July 1, Terrapin Adventures has graciously offered to donate 10% of the proceeds from folks who come in using promotion code ‘BOMF’!  This is wonderful news!  If you’d like to join us at 2pm or 4pm (timing based on which activities you choose to purchase, from their high ropes course, zipline, etc), go to www.terrapinadventures.com and use promotion code ‘BOMF’ in the checkout process.  A friend of mine and I saw Terrapin in action the other day: they had a group of kids from the Howard County Police Department’s Youth Program out on the course.  We REALLY wanted to join in – looked like a whole lot of fun!