Running, charity and all that laces them together.

Running, charity and all that laces them together.

Friday, November 18, 2011

"Evening in the Heart" and Savannah, GA (marathon #41, State #30!)

Dear Friends-

Two exciting adventures have unfolded since the last update...

The 17th Annual Evening in the Heart of Alexandria.  November 10, 2011
The Joan White Grassroots Volunteer Award.

First: Evening in the Heart of Alexandria 

Thank you Volunteer Alexandria (30-years of caring for Alexandria by mobilizing helping hands and connecting volunteers to organizations that need them) for honoring The runningbrooke Fund with the Joan White Grassroots Volunteer Award.  Humbled, excited and re-energized to do more.

Showing off our "guns."  With Kathy of Pacers Events,
runningbrooke sponsor.  

An excerpt from my speech:

'... Here's what I've realized - and what I am very proud of....
I'm proud of the fact that:
In a little over 2 years, The runningbrooke Fund has raised and granted over 80K to well-run Alexandria charities, educating and teaching self reliance.

These grants:
...have paid pre-school teachers' salaries, ensuring that 58 children receive a high-quality, bi-lingual instruction, where they learn the lessons and social skills they need to succeed in life.

...and re-opened the doors of an Arlandria teen center for after-school tutoring and a quiet place for homework.

...and given 1,000 books to over 100 families.

...and provided scholarships to 45 girls so that they may LIVE, DREAM, and RUN a 5K event.

PLUS answered numerous Calls to ACTion for immediate needs such as milk and healthful after-school snacks for children living in the Carpenter's (homeless) Shelter.

I'm also proud that:

I've inspired people to ACT and led them to ENGAGE in the good, to THINK outside themselves for the betterment of our community.  You see, I've found that a lot of people DO want to help, but just don't know how, or where, or whom.

I'm thankful for what all of this has given me:  the strength, the empathy, the personal growth, and the strong bonds to some really great people, many of whom I would have never met....'

Click HERE to see the entire spiel.

With Congressman Jim Moran and long-time Alexandria City manager
Vola Lawson

Second:  Savannah, GA (Marathon #41, State #30!)
November 5, 2011.
Sitting on an ancient Long Leaf Pine tree.

Savannah, Georgia's first city, is one of the most charming, mysterious and intriguing American cities.  Steeped in history and trees laden with Spanish Moss (not of Spanish origin, btw), it had an ethereal 'je ne sais quoi.'  Click HERE for a great video.
Bonaventure Cemetery.
160 square mile public cemetery on the Wilmington River.

Savannah, located in the last of the 13 original colonies, was founded by General James Edward Oglethorpe in 1733.  Oglethorpe shaped Savannah and made it the first "planned" city in the US.  14 of the original 16 shady squares remain with Forsythe Park as the centerpiece.  Many of the state's oldest (and most lavish) historic structures are in Savannah.
Wormsloe, a 1736 Colonial Plantation with Tabby (oyster shell) ruins. 

Savannah and the Savannah Cotton Exchange ruled cotton and set the world cotton prices.  But Savannah's luck changed with the onslaught of the Civil War, a period punctuated by blockades.  In his March to the Sea, General Sherman penned this note to President Lincoln on December 21, 1864:

*To His Excellency, President Lincoln:
I beg to present you as a Christmas gift, the city of Savannah, with one hundred and fifty heavy guns and plenty of ammunition, and also about twenty-five thousand bales of cotton.

(Signed.) W. T. Sherman, Major-General

Savannah Marshlands.

Savannah Factoids in no particular order. 
*Factoid #1: Dozens of movies have been fimed in whole or in part in Savannah, including "Cape Fear,"  "Forrest Gump," and "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil."  

*Factoid #2: Savannah's annual St. Patrick's Day celebration is one of the largest in the nation.

*Factoid #3: Gastronomic Entrepreneur and Famous Chef of southern cooking Paula Deen is from Savannah.  We went to her restaurant Lady and Sons to see if we'd spot her and grab dinner, but alas, no luck.  So we ate at her sons' restaurant (Bubba's) a few miles away.

Bubba's Restaurant
with Joyce (Alexandria friend) and Laura (our hostess with the most-est, local historian and personal tour guide).

Our hostess is Paula's long-time friend and says that Paula is just like she is on TV.

*Factoid #4:  John Kennedy and Carolyn Bessette came through Savannah on their way to their secret wedding celebration on Cumberland Island, GA.
 *Factoid #5:  SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design) is a relatively new entity in Savannah, but it sure has made a presence.  Established in 1978, the college has been instrumental in the purchase and restoration of innumerable buildings, revitalizing large parts of  the city. 

Sun setting against renovated structure.

*Factoid #6:  In 1912, Juliette Gordon Low founded The Girl Scouts from her home in Savannah.

And now, without further ado:

The Good
  • The trip overall.  This was a fun weekend full of beautiful weather, friendship and good food.  We stayed in the guesthouse of an Alexandria friends' mother and received first-rate Southern hospitality with our own personal tour guide and historian.  Thanks Laura!
Our guesthouse on the river - complete with a stocked refrigerator.
  • The Marathon.  I felt great, had a respectable time with a negative-split (ran the 2nd half faster than the 1st half).  With 23,000+ runners -- this was the first year that the Rock 'n Roll series managed the event.  Generally well-run but with 2 major hiccups (see Ugly), there were energetic and eclectic bands positioned every mile that alleviated a somewhat monotonous course (see Bad).  An especially poignant moment occurred early in the race as I was pulling ahead of another runner.  Screen printed on the back of his shirt was an adorable boy (about 7 years old) in his baseball uniform.  I asked him who the boy was.  He replied that it was his son who passed away from cancer a number of years ago.  And I proceed to burst into tears...  Guess what?  He comforts me -- and not vice versa -- joking that I couldn't cry because he didn't want to be responsible for dehydrating me.  What an amazing spirit.

The Bad
  • The Marathon.  As stated earlier, Savannah has some truly inspiring streets and scenery, and we ran through almost none of it.

The Ugly that turned into The Good 
Waiting for the shuttle buses,
race morning, 6:15 AM.

  • The Marathon.  There were two major traffic-coordination hiccups that need to be addressed ASAP.  To be understanding, I know that it was due to this beings Rock 'n Roll's inaugural year as the event organizer. But... an hour-long traffic jam to get to packet-pickup is not acceptable.  Second, it is not acceptable to get runners to the race start late if they arrived at the shuttle bus area in plenty of time.  Joyce dropped me off at 6:05 AM (the final buses scheduled to depart at 7AM) for the 20 minute trip into Savannah.  After waiting in a long snaking-line -- one of 5, with hundred and hundreds behind me, I boarded at 7:10 AM, arriving at the race at 7:45 (race started at 7:30).  By the time I went through bag-drop (and made my way to the start-line) it was 7:50 and I was 11 corrals behind where I should have been...  The Ugly did turn into The Good; the smart marathon-mantra that's so hard to follow (Start Slow, Finish Fast), is absolutely true.  I ran with ease, had a negative split, with a nice kick in the final 5K.
Sponsor Highlight

MacNair Travel.  An award winning Alexandria travel management company specializing in business, vacation travel and runningbrooke travel!  With ease and efficiency, they plan my running-life and make it so easy for me.  Even better, they are runners and athletes too.  Thanks Mike and Michelle, you rock!

That's it.  You've made it to the end!  Rehobeth, DE is the next marathon on December 10th, but before that, I get to run a 5K with 7,500 elementary school girls this Sunday.  Hope you are well and Happy Thanksgiving!


Shrimp boat heading back in.

Sailboats docked in downtown Savannah.
Looking off the dock at our host's home.
Cheers friends!

No comments:

Post a Comment