Saturday, December 29, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

A Light Unto My Path

"Light gives of itself freely, filling all available space. It does not seek anything in return; it asks not whether you are friend or foe. It gives of itself and is not thereby diminished." ~Michael Strassfeld

This morning it was again dark and cold, but I had my favorite running buddies Ray and Laurel -- and a bright headlamp! -- to inspire a beautiful long run through Duke's cross country course as the sun rose.

Without that circle of support and the light of that tiny bulb, it would have been all to easy to (1) slip into routine and run the same old course through my neighborhood; (2) pushed too hard or gone too easy; or (3) rolled back over and just decided this morning's run just wasn't worth it.

We all need training partners, supporters, encouragers, challengers, and safety nets to help light our way and guide us through the maze of life. This simple principle is also being used in the movement to end homelessness. You can read all about communities are coming together to help out their neighbors HERE.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Thank You and Keep Voting

Wow! In the last two days, the Tri to End Homelessness blog has been visited over 190 times! Many of you have emailed to say that you've voted for me in the Engines of Change contest -- and that you'll keep doing so through December 31. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Thank you also to fellow bloggers who have highlighted Tri to End Homelessness and encouraged folks to vote. Your stories are the ones I think of when the laps get long, the weather gets cold and I can't seem to step away from the cookies. Thank you for sharing your endurance journeys!

If you want some inspiration, be sure to read: Iron Pol, Running and Rambling, TriBoomer, WalkerRuns, Sagetree, Ending Homelessness in the Triangle, and all of the folks on Race Athlete.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What Drives Me

"We have more possibilities available in each moment than we realize.” - Thich Nhat Hanh

This morning the alarm went off and it was still very dark out. I stumbled out of bed, drank a cup of coffee, ate a PB&J, did a quick read of the paper, and it was still very dark outside. Dark and cold. Really cold (at least for this North Carolinian) and I was really tired. All of my running clothes were dirty. I was sore from yesterday's 2350 yards of swimming and 40 minutes of weight lifting. I did not want to run.

But, I did run.

In cold, in the dark, in dirty clothes.

During today's run I thought about what drives me to do this each morning. What's fueling my engine and getting me out the door?

First, on a very basic level, I care about my health and know that this is my one and only body - my one and only life - so I'd better take care of it. Daily workouts are my prayer of thanksgiving for just having the ability to move -- and if, I get really honest ( and expose a little vanity), my way of ensuring that my outside body matches the person I'm working to be on the inside.

Certainly, my commitment to Genesis Home and raising awareness about homelessness is a critical factor. Knowing that I'm running toward something outside of myself helps counter the devil on my shoulder that occasionally whispers "oh, just skip it."

Also, the sense of pure accomplishment I feel after a tough workout, race, or successful fundraising campaign also pushes all of the happy buttons in this classic oldest child, type-A gal. I've conquered the just-skip-its enough times now to know that satisfaction waits on the other side.

But this morning's fuel was something different. I ran because I believe that change is possible. I've seen myself change over the last year as I've become a triathlete. I've seen Genesis Home families completely change as they work the program and end their own homelessness. I've seen communities change as small groups of people decide not to just-skip-it - and instead get out the door and go run -- towards something different.

I wouldn't do this if I did not know change to be real and true and accessible.

Changing homelessness, I'm on it. Changing my running clothes -- apparently, I'm still struggling.

Be sure to vote today!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Vote for Tri to End Homelessness

As announced a few weeks ago, Tri to End Homelessness is one of 10 finalists in Toyota's Engines of Change Power of Sports Contest! Your votes will determine the winner.

Here’s where I need your help:

(1) Please vote for me by visiting:
From this link you can read my profile, click on VOTE NOW, and vote once per day until December 31.

(2) Send the link to this post to everyone you know!

(3) Repeat again tomorrow!

Thank you - as always - for your support!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Workout Update

In 2008, my coach and I will be using Training Peaks to plan and log my workouts. You can check out what I'm up to by clicking here. If you know me, you'll also notice that as of January 1, I move up into a new age group!

This week, it's Base Training - Week 2.

Friday, December 14, 2007

America's Giving Challange

The Case Foundation and PARADE Magazine have joined forces to create America's Giving Challenge. Join the challenge by making a end of the year donation to Genesis Home using my new charity badge! The 8 individuals (like me!) that attract the most attention through their badges will win $50,000 to donate to their favorite cause. Gifts of any and all sizes are welcome and will count towards my 2008 fundraising goal. What's that, you ask? You have to stay tuned to find out!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

That Base Trainin' Lovin' Feeling

"Happiness is not a brilliant climax to years of grim struggle and anxiety. It is a long succession of little decisions simply to be happy in the moment.” -J. Donald Walters

This morning I knew that base training has returned: I got a great night's sleep after yesterday's two workouts; I woke up just sore enough to know I've been working; and stayed completely in the moment during this morning's run with strides.

Base training: It's baaack! ...and I love it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Get Ready to Vote!

I'm thrilled to announce that Toyota has selected Tri to End Homelessness as a finalist in their Engines of Change Power of Sport contest! Over 350 folks submitted applications and we've been selected as one of the top 10!

So what is an Engine of Change? According to Toyota....

An Engine of Change is a hardworking, highly motivated individual dedicated to initiating change through sport. They can be found logging countless miles, scoping out the best areas to generate support on the race course, or dedicating time to furthering participation and support in their community. To us, Engines of Change are people who are committed and empowered....It's about fellow athletes, coaches, family members, race organizers and spectators working together to help our sport change our lives for the better.

Online voting for the winners will begin by early next week. Winning any one of the top prizes would, of course, be wonderful - BUT the national exposure for the issue of homelessness would be even more valuable. We'll keep you posted on how you can cast your votes!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Pure Joy

"This is awesome! Don't you think that this is awesome?! I think that this is AWESOME." - 10-year boy currently living at Genesis Home during Friday's Carolina Hurricanes Hockey game

Last Friday, I was lucky enough to hang out with a bunch of smart, fun-loving kids and cheer on our local hockey team. These kids happen to be homeless and currently live with their parents or guardians at Genesis Home.

Because Carolina Hurricanes Hockey Players Eric Staal and Erik Cole donated their VIP club level box to Genesis Home for the evening, three families were able to enjoy a carefree night out together. The pure joy exuded by kids there as they walked into the box, instantly changed into their free Hurricanes t-shirts, and staked out their seats was inspiring.

On days like today when everyday-life frustration seems to lurk around every corner, and I find myself slogging through a quick Isolated Leg Training workout, I want to remember them and shout "This is awesome."

Monday, December 3, 2007

Race Report: Run at the Rock

"The performer lets of go of all self-consciousness about the performance - and any grasping for outcome of extrinsic reward. She feels compelled by the sheer joy of the activity itself." - From "Play at Your Peak", Stephen Cope, Yoga Journal, October 2007

This weekend I had the opportunity revist a race I first ran one year ago: The Run at the Rock 7-miler. The weather was cold and - thanks to our ongoing drought - very dry. A perfect day for this challenging, hilly trail race. Ray, Dave, and I were joined at the start line by friends Claire, Lisa, and Julee: a merry band of runners and devotees of our favorite coach.

As I am still deep into my off season, I had no real goals or expectations for this race. My intentions were to go out slightly faster than what normally feels comfortable in order to secure my position on the winding single track, and then to just run how I felt. Given the minimal amount of running I've done in the last two months, I really wasn't sure what that would be.

I was pleasantly surprised with the results: In the past 12 months, I dropped 12 minutes.

Certainly, this year's drier terrain helped my time, but I'm crediting (1) learning how to push up to my lactate threshold and hold on (without freaking out!) and (2) letting go.

The first two miles were quick and by mile 3 my usual panic and doubts crept into my consciousness: This is too much, I can't do this, my heart is pounding, what was I thinking! Instead of giving in, I relied on all I've learned this year and simply backed-off slightly. I worked the hills, kept my cadence up, and let some new found competitive spirit take over.

Everyone in our group ran super races; the volunteers were efficient and supportive; and the vegetable soup at the finish line was warm and welcomed.

A nice way to end a great year.

7 miles
AG: 13/47
Overall: 176 / 345