Welcome back to the blogosphere, RunningHoppy....
Some quick links, since this will probably be a bit long to read:
My donation page
Register for the race yourself (you get a Buster Posey bobble head, no matter what distance!)
I can't seem to get my inner article links to work so see towards the bottom for:
Incentives for all to donate
Incentives for beery folks to donate
The Giant Race holds a special place in my heart for a few reasons (in no particular order). 1. As a transplant to the Bay Area, I love the Giants, and you get to finish on the field. 2. It was my first half-marathon ever, in 2011. 3. I trained, was comped an entry for appearing in this article by The Beer Runner, ran more half-marathons, and then took the 2012 race to task, running a PR by about 50 minutes (1:29:48, since you asked...).
4. In 2013 I was running the race again, more as a community event, with no goal time, just running for fun with some friends from my run group. At 3am the morning of the race, I received a call that my nephew Henry, who had been in hospice for several months, had finally succumbed to an infection he got because of his weakened immune system. It's never news you will know how to react to, ever, even if you know it's coming. I was numbed, being 550 miles away and alone. I wrestled with whether I should run the race for the hours leading up to the time I'd need to leave my apartment. I knew that much of my Bay Area support base was going to be there, but in the end, it was that paralysis that made the decision. I also knew I wasn't ready to deal with people and the grief publicly yet. I didn't run.
This blog article isn't meant to be a downer, but the inescapable fact is that Henry is forever intertwined with this race, as he has been with my running since he was born. There is no better time to run a race for Henry. I think I also needed something to focus on, since there have been numerous events in the last few weeks that put me on a bit of an emotional roller coaster. Highs, but some very low, lows.
I haven't talked about Henry's passing much, but it's because I feel like it makes it about me, and not him. Maybe that's messed up, and I would probably be better off talking about it, but grief is private to me, not public. Even posting this article is difficult, I just want people to focus on honoring Henry's legacy, and helping raise money for a good cause.
I now have to focus on at least fundraising, since I signed up to collect a minimum of $500 for Project Open Hand. Now, yes I do get a comped entry for the race either way, but I plan on donating the race entry fee to my cause anyway (around $100). Whatever I don't raise towards the $500, I have to pay out of pocket. This means I'm committed, I wouldn't have signed up otherwise.
Each year I thought of fundraising, but lost it in the shuffle of regular life, work, training, etc. This year, I've made the pledge to Project Open Hand, a local charitable organization that feeds seniors and critically ill in the Bay Area. What I didn't know, but learned when two representatives from Project Open Hand visited us at A Runner's Mind recently, was that none of the race entry fee goes to the charity. The race is a platform to get the word out for the major fundraising effort. It works too, they raised over $260,000 last year for the non-profit. If you're keeping count, that's 130,000 meals.
Since Henry was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy, I've wanted to do a race and fund raise for CP. This race isn't that, but I think this is both a great cause, and one that will still honor Henry's memory. He was never able to take care of himself, and when in hospice, everyone in the family required more care and feeding. I have no doubt I will find a way to support CP when the time is right.
For folks who wish to donate, there are certain prizes that I am supposed to get as incentives, which I'm going to raffle off. You can see those here. Of note, however, if I reach the astronomical level of experiences at the ballpark ($1250 and $5000), I will have to figure out how to share those. Each physical prize level will either be delivered locally or mailed to the raffle winner. Any level of donation will be eligible for these prizes, as soon as I get them, if we get to that level. I hope to add more incentives as we move towards race day, but don't have any at the moment. Please keep in mind, one prize per donation, and you can opt out of prize consideration by emailing me or tweeting me @runninghoppy.
For my beery friends, to hopefully incentivize some additional donations, I will raffle two coveted bottles from my collection: First, a 2011 Mother of all storms from Pelican Brewing in Oregon (a 99 score on Beer Advocate). Second, a 2011 Abacus from Firestone Walker, also highly rated on Beer Advocate, at 100 points. I'll ship these to whomever wins (over 21 years old). How do you win? Donate a minimum of $50, with a minimum of 5, $50 donations for each bottle to be raffled. This does mean that if someone is not so beery, they will also be eligible, but I will be sure to clarify if they would like to be entered for the beer (either way, if the donation is over $50, it will count towards the minimum of 5 donations each). Also, not to complicate things, but you can only win one bottle, so if you want a beer, specify which one in a tweet to me @runninghoppy or send me an email after you donate.
Not that it will happen, but if someone beery wants to donate $500, I will give up my 5 bottle vertical of Firestone Walker Anniversary beers, starting with 13, and ending at XVII. I only have one vertical, so the first to donate $500 gets it. The above beers are the crown jewels of my collection, to be clear, and I don't take giving them up lightly. This race means a lot to me, Henry's memory means a lot to me, as does the potential to help the people who need it and are supported by Project Open Hand.
Now, a little bit about my training.
I hurt my achilles at the end of January, in the middle of my Oakland marathon training cycle, and had to drop out of the race. I also had to walk a 5k instead of run the 10k in February (the Getty Owl run, another race that I support, because Getty reminds me of Henry).
I took two months off of running, then with the advice of a Kaiser doctor I had evaluate me at the Oakland Running Festival, I started running again. Slowly, minimally. More recently, I haven't been 'training' in the traditional sense, just trying to get my legs back underneath me. So I've been running between 10 and 15 mile runs on the weekend, some on trail, some on harder surfaces. I've been running a little during the week too. It's been successful, thanks to my swimming workouts, the occasional yoga workout, and my core exercises. Read this as I'M ACTUALLY CROSS TRAINING. Also, my friends are a tremendous help, so much help.
I'm looking to put together a training plan, for the first time racing a half-marathon. I bench marked my 13.1 time yesterday (June 15th) at 1:50, an 8:30 or so pace, and my goal is to get a 1:40 or lower (a 7:37 pace). Keeping in mind that this was a training run, with several stops for water and a snack, it was good to find myself under the 2 hour mark of running time. Also, it was about 85 degrees at start, I neglected to bring hydration, and on the way back, I ran into a huge headwind (dropped my mile pace by more than 30 seconds).
I've been talking for months now about taking it easy, building up slowly, and starting training for CIM in December. I think I'm stronger than I'll admit to run, I know how to watch for my Achilles, and now have the willpower to hold back if I need to, or stop. I know I can just run the Giant Race, but in my gut, I feel like have a purpose and aggressive goal will both help me focus on the race, and the cause. I hope to update this blog periodically with news of my training, and certainly should be posting a race report of some sort after I finish in September.
This may sound corny but if you know me, you know I am. I want to run strong for Henry and my family.