Running, charity and all that laces them together.

Running, charity and all that laces them together.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

IMPACT 2011, Come hear Brooke talk about philanthropy, 9/28/11

Come listen to Brooke and other experts on innovation and Philanthropy speak in Alexandria, VA!

Why I support the RunningBrooke Fund . . .

I’m Heather M., a friend of Brooke, a supporter of the RunningBrooke Fund, and a former, hopefully future, runner. (Ok, I once ran a 10 mile race, but I had to start somewhere!) When I told Brooke that I would help her with this new blog, I told her that I just wanted to post a little something at the beginning about why I support her and her fund. Last week, someone stole my thunder. - One of her friends and supporters told her why they support her fund, “Brooke, you’re my friend but I would support your fund even if we weren’t so close. I support the RunningBrooke Fund because you support charities that help people improve their lives.”
Gosh, I hate when people steal my thunder, but I do have another reason I support the RunningBrooke Fund.
Brooke says she isn’t good at math. Maybe that’s why she doesn’t take a dime out of her fund to pay for any of her expenses. That’s right. This is not a job for her. It may be what she puts all of her time into. It may be what she spends a lot of her money on (It’s expensive to travel all over running marathons). It may be her new passion. But, she doesn’t get a dime for it or a W-2, so, NO, it’s not a job.
Brooke takes 100% of the money that comes into the fund and distributes it to five charities that benefit Alexandria’s children and families. Now, that’s what I call charity. If a family needs food, you should buy the family food, not use 70% of the money to pay for the food and 30% to pay for the person to buy the food, the secretary to handle the paperwork for the ‘charity’ that pays for the for the food and the mileage reimbursement for the people who transport the food. (That’s just my opinion, but that’s what you get in a blog.) I am not against bigger, more corporate charities. I just appreciate those who do the most with what little I give.
I have many other reasons why I support Brooke, but I won’t bore you with all the details. I am one of those people who can go on, and on, and on. Brooke wants to run on and on and on all throughout the world just to support Alexandria’s neediest. Check out our blog and read about all of her marathons and many other posts discussing, running, charity and nutrition. If you have any suggestions for topics you’d like discussed, just shoot an email to Brooke or Heather at . We love suggestions!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Eagle Creek Trail Marathon

Dear Friends, Family and Neighbors,

Another marathon escapade unfolded and I ticked Indiana (state #27, marathon #38) off my list!  But before I get to the Marathon Update (The Good, The Bad and The Ugly), there are two things that I'd like to share with you:
  • $12,595.00 was raised at the runningbrooke exclusiveshowing of HAIRSPRAY at The Little Theatre of Alexandria.  On August 2, 2011, we rocked the house, and our impact was huge!  We raised enough money that night to buy 2,515 new books for kids who have none, to send 250 eager preschoolers on field trip, or to provide one year of housing for two homeless families.  Thanks to all who came and made it such a successful evening! Special recognition to Vanessa at UnWined for donating the beverages and to Beth at A Thyme and Place Food Consulting for providing the 60s fondue and fare.  Also thanks to La Cuisine, Sugar House, Wharton Health, Jorge Obando LMT, La Petite, Karen at SCAN and Pacers Running Stores for donating the silent auction items.  We raised $1,000.00 in the auction alone!  Help me say thanks to them;  please patronize these local businesses.
running guru Phil and Brooke

Running guru Phil Wharton and me having
some 60s fun at the pre-show soiree.

Click HERE for the Alexandria Gazette's excellent review of the night.

  • runningbrooke on NBC4.  Thank you NBC4 for having me on your midday show.  It was tons of fun sharing my story with your viewers and I appreciate your help in spreading the word!  
runningbrooke on NBC4 
runningbrooke and Wendy Rieger
 NBC4 - July 28, 2011 

And now, without further ado,

The Eagle Creek Trail Marathon.

runningbrooke with gate agents
Me and 2 lucky gate agents, haha... 

Over August 5th and 6th, I made the short trip to Indianapolis, Indiana to run the Eagle Creek Trail Marathon -- run on trails, not roads -- (state #27 and marathon #38).  Hot, hard and humid, this marathon tested me.  Was I going to beat the trail, or was the trail going to beat me?

running the trails
Smiling because this section was easy!
Eagle Creek Marathon
A portion of the Eagle Creek Trail Marathon elevation.

1979 - the last time I was in Indy
6th grade class photo.  I'm the one holding sign (right).
See Personal Factoid below...

Personal Factoid:
  My only other trip to Indy was when I was in 6th grade (see photo above) to watch the Indianapolis 500.  It was my first flight too.  I remember being terrified of the flight attendant and nervous to ask for a non-alcoholic (in case you thought otherwise!) drink.

Indiana Factoid #1: Between 1900 and 1920, more than 200 different makes of cars were manufactured in Indiana.

Indiana factoid #2: Famous Hoosiers include: Abraham Lincoln (born in Kentucky, moved to Indiana as a child --16th president), Dan Quayle (senator and 44th US VP), James Dean (actor), "Gus" Grissom (astronaut), Jane Pauley (broadcast journalist), Larry Bird (basketball player), John Mellencamp (singer), Florence Henderson (actor), Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman/Folk Hero), Michael Jackson (singer) and David Letterman (late-night talk show host).

Indiana factoid #3: The first professional baseball league game was played in Ft. Wayne (1871) and the first US long-distance auto race (recently featured in the Smithsonian Magazine) was held at Indianapolis Motor Speedway (1911).

Indiana factoid #4:  Theories abound as to why Indiana is nicknamed the Hoosier State.  But, alas, it remains unclear.  Indiana is also known as the "Crossroads of America" for its junction of interstate highways that serve as a trucking base for many trucking lines.

The Good

finish line
With my check and trophy.

  • The Marathon.  For all my complaining and boohoo-ing (see The Bad), I was the 10th finisher and the 2nd female to cross the line.  Runners followed orange tape tied from trees and bushes, and ran on tight single-track, old road and coarse gravel.  The first go-through (this was an out-and-back, run twice), the course was hard to follow, as the tall grass in some areas hadn't been trampled, and the territory was unfamiliar.  Multiple times, I slowed to make sure I was still on track, and twice either I or another close-by runner shouted out to someone who had taken a wrong turn. 

The Bad

Eagle Creek Marathon - back  
Waiting for the race to start.

  • The Marathon.  I want to say that I loved every moment of it, or even some of it, but I can't.  It was hot and humid; yeah, I know it is August... (shorts were dripping wet by mile 8 and socks were soaked through by mile 15).  But it was more than that; it was the races punishingly-ongoing mental component (constant appraising of terrain and judging/adjusting -- no zoning out or checking the scenery) and surprisingly constant physical demand (endlessly changing course, dodging roots and rocks, and jumping over or climbing under logs/fallen trees).  Not that I'm looking for easy, but an occasional break from the excitement would have been nice!  I ran the second half of the marathon a full 11 minutes slower (ouch) than the first and felt pretty amateurish.  Definitely have a renewed appreciation for trail runners who deftly sail over terrain such as this.  *For those new to my updates, I ran the JFK50 (50 mile ultra-marathon) in November of 2009; the first 18 miles of that race was along the Appalachian Trail.  I'd forgotten how difficult that was!
  • The Marathon.  It started 26 minutes late.  I wouldn't have cared that much except I had a plane to catch and literally no time to spare.  

The Ugly (sorry, no ugly)

New Feature!  runningbrooke Sponsor Highlight
(one feature per month, alphabetically) 

ASAP Printing & Graphics on Mt. Vernon Avenue in Del Ray.  Joe Brocato and the gang over at ASAP Printers are outstanding!  They've 
done some first-rate design work for me and always come through with my I-need-it-yesterday printing demands.  Take a peek at their website and if you're looking for a company to handle your printing and fulfillment needs, give Joe a call!

Want to help Alexandria right now?  Check out the latest online ACTion.  We are collecting donations to provide local families with home safety kits.  The runningbrooke Fund will match your contribution!

That's it.  Congrats, you made it to the end...  except for the pictures below.  Next up is the Pocatello, ID (State #28, Marathon #39) on September 3rd.  It's going to be a quick in-and-out too (like Indianapolis), just an overnight stay.  Cheers everyone and stay well. - Brooke

Pre-race in front of my PT Cruiser Rental
Eagle Creek Marathon - pre-race

Race Signs
Eagle Creek signage

Pre-race with Marathon Maniac friend David M. Thanks for taking all the photos!
Eagle Creek Marathon w Dave

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Pocotello, Idaho Marathon

Dear Friends, Family and Neighbors,

As we slid through the clear skies from Dulles, through Salt Lake City, UT, to Pocatello, ID, I am thunderstruck (again) by our great country; from its sheer size to its sweeping contrasts in topography, ideology and ethnicity.  (I love this country!)  Yup, another marathon done (Pocatello Marathon, state #28, marathon #39).

Pocatello Gate Agent
Ha, ha, another lucky gate agent gets to pose with me.

Southern Idaho unfurls abruptly from the Wasatch Range (east) and the Oquirrh Mountains (west); we fly straight through the valley in our tiny propeller plane north to Pocatello (plane switch in SLC).  All of a sudden, the land flattens and widens, and we quickly descend into the fifth largest city in Idaho.
Downtown Pocotello
Historic downtown Pocatello.

Before Europeans arrive in the early 19th century and set up fur trading posts, this area was populated by the Shoshoni and Bannock peoples.  Trade between the Europeans and the Native Americans ensues and expands exponentially when Hudson's Bay Company establish set trading locations to buy/barter manufactured goods (knives, kettles, beads, needles, and blankets).

Around 1860, gold is discovered in Pocatello and its' surrounds.  The first large immigration wave begins and the railroad comes up from Utah. Residential/commercial development starts.  Once the gold rush subsides, the region gives way to ranchers and farmers.  Hello potatoes (and lentils, sugarbeets, alfalfa hay, dry edible peas and beans, hops, plums/apples and wheat)!

Denise and me
Posing with Alexandria friend & fitness expert, Denise Austin.
Runners receive a sack of potatoes as part of our swag.

** Factoid #1:  Meriwether Lewis and William Clark traveled over the Lolo Pass to enter Idaho in September 1805.

**Factoid #2:   Famous Idahoans include Sacagawea (Native American guide), Picabo Street (Olympic skier) and Lana Turner (Actor).

And now, without further ado:

The Running the Gap Idaho State Journal
Pocatello Marathon
(its name as long as the marathon...)

Race monrning sunrise
Looking towards the ESE.  Race morning sunrise.

Race morning starts out crisp and cloudless.  Amazingly dark (given the zillion stars close enough to touch) and silent.  Even with 500+ runners, it is quiet, as if everyone agrees not to disrupt the magic of the morning.  Wind rustles tall grasses along the roadside, goats bleat off in the distance.  I meet up with past running friends.  The 50 State-ers (group whose membership has, or is on their way to, completed/ing a marathon in every state) are there, as are the Marathon Maniacs (group whose goal is to run an insane amount of consecutive marathons, making my one-a-month+ seem tame) are omni-present.  Not too surprising, I guess, that I'm a member of each club.

Leah, Ken and me
Friends from Florida.  Ken will pace a group to the finish line.

We travel by bus from Pocatello out to the start; at 6:15 AM, the gun goes off!  We begin our descent down narrow canyon roads.  The roads aren't closed off to traffic, but this poses no problem.  Runners from behind congenially alert runners ahead with a  "car back" warning.  This adds to the friendly spirit of the race as the call travels up the line.  Dawn breaks and the sun crests over the tall hills we are now running between .  A creek runs along the side.  The roads have such great names: Antelope, Buckskin and Hoot Owl.  Horses and farms are everywhere; rectangular hay bales pile 7 to 10 high.

Idaho Mountains
Running the gap.

The wheelchair and hand cycle participants start first, and will finish (so I overhear) in about an hour and a half.Wheel chair/Cycle Participants
Hand cycle participant at race start.

The Good

The Marathon.  With gorgeous scenery and a 1,500' elevation drop between miles 1 and 14, it is easy to feel pretty darn good.  Running by perceived effort (the first 10 miles relaxed and getting into a good rhythm - 70% effort -, the next 10 miles feeling good and in the groove - 75% effort, the last 6 miles keeping it together and counting down the miles - 80% to 100% effort), the miles fly by.  I stop to take a few pictures.  I chat with fellow runners.  I end up running my fastest marathon since St. Jude's marathon in Memphis, TN - 12/09.

Race Course
Along the course, about mile 8.  Notice the runners in the bottom left. 

The Bad

The Marathon.  Once the course flattens into gentle rollers at about mile 14, I can't breathe.  With the elevation still topping 4,600', I feel like a goldfish floating sideways in a bowl of murky water.  Unable to get enough air to sustain my pace, I start to fail, and fast.  Accepting that the altitude has gotten me, I slow down, and even stop and walk for about 8 steps.  I shake it off, admonish myself to get it together, and push on.

The Ugly

The Return Trip.  Leaving Pocatello on time, and Salt Lake City early, I am fired up to land back at Dulles at a decent hour (11PM).  Didn't happen.  There is not one, but two medical emergencies.  One forces us to land unexpectedly in Chicago and the other to wait to deplane in Dulles (1:30 AM).  Both descents are rapid, where we bank hard and land quickly.  The first was emergency is serious.  A 33 year old woman in first class has a heart attack and isn't breathing until a fellow passenger preforms CPR.  They yank her from her seat and onto the floor, prop her socked feet up, and pump her chest for what seemed like forever.  She leaves the plane breathing on her own; I hope she's OK.  The second emergency isn't as medically serious.  It is stress related due to  a less-than-lighthearted mother/ teenage daughter conflict.  During the flight, there is lots of back and forth name calling between them.  

Sponsor Highlight

Bonitt Builders.   With the tag line of 'We build it Better,' Murray Bonitt does.  With his top-notch gang,  he tackles both residential (our home) and commercial projects (latest - Virtue Feed & Grain in Old Town).   We love the work he did for us... and we're still friends!  Murray listens.  He knows old structures and does what is right by it.  And, he doesn't bother us with pesky change orders.

**Kudos to Murray and his team for the well deserved recognition in the current issue of Home & Design (on the cover, no less), and the 2011 "Washington Award" for residential construction, as featured in theWashingtonian this past summer.   

That's it.  You made it to the end (except for a couple more pictures)!  I'm off to Bristol, NH next for the New Hampshire marathon (state # 29, marathon #40) on October 1st.  I'm then back in Alexandria to run the second annual Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon on October 2nd.  See you there.

Be well-  Brooke 

Mountains in Pocatello
Scenery a few miles outside of town. 

A mile or so in. 

Upcoming Races
(the rest of 2011) 

Oct. 1: New Hampshire marathon
Oct. 2: Woodrow Wilson Bridge 1/2 marathon
Nov. 5: Savannah, GA marathon
Dec. 10: Rehobeth Beach, DE marathon