I know, it has been a LONG time since I have written anything. I have had lots of post ideas floating in my head, but have lacked the energy, will and desire to follow through with my ideas. Honestly, this summer in Arizona has been the most humid, which means it has also been the most miserable. I definitely prefer "pizza oven hot" to "extreme sauna hot". And with children involved in this, that or the other, our only ventures out of the fiery sauna furnace were a couple of camping weekends, which will be the subject of future postings.
In the spring, just after the Boston Marathon bombing, my husband decided to start running to see if he could run distances. Like all new ventures, he researched different training plans for newbies. He made it to running a full mile in time for summer and we spent the summer running at 5 in the morning together. It was both a joy and a series of marriage building moments, especially as we starting adding mileage to our runs. In general, though, I really enjoyed running with him because he knows how to encourage me and add goofball moments to our run time. We ran in a 5K together in July in Phoenix called "The Splash Mob 5K" which raised money for a school teaching homeless children. We were supposed to get really wet all through the run, but they had problems with water delivery. It was not pleasant. I will never run in the Valley of the Sun in the summer again. Then we signed up to run in the Maggie's Place 9K, raising money for an organization that provides group housing and training for young pregnant women who are in bad situations. I ran the 10K last year and we had both signed up for the 10K this year. Unfortunately, bursitis interrupted Eric's training and he was unable to participate. If you live in Arizona and like to run, Maggie's Place is a well organized race with really great folks cheering you for you as you run. Eric is now back to running and we will be running in the Turkey Trot in Minneapolis as we visit family, most of whom have just completed the Minneapolis Marathon.
And now, with the encouragement of my husband, I have signed up for the Phoenix Marathon in March. I have also joined a training program run by coaches that are affiliated with the Marathon for camaraderie and an a running plan/pace plan. I am running Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with my long runs on Saturdays. Last Saturday, I ran 7 miles for the first time in my life and didn't die. Of course, in a couple of months, this will seem like a quick run, just like, 15 years ago, a 30 mile bike ride was a short ride for Eric and I. I will be running somewhere around 70 times before I run the actual marathon. My trainers so far have only given me weekly training plans, so I don't know how many miles I will run before race day. So far, I have run more than 20 miles on six separate runs. On Tuesday, the group had us run a mile as fast as we could. My time was 9:17 minutes, which was about a minute faster than I thought I could run.
Now, if you have seen a pattern on races in which I have participated, you will see that I usually run for a cause. I had thought about running in the P.F. Chang marathon, and running for Team Charity Grace, who is a little girl adopted several years ago by a homeschooling family and has been diagnosed with mitochondrial disease. The price tag, however, is excessively steep and I didn't think I could get ready in time to run a full marathon. So I decided on the Phoenix Marathon and gave money to Team Charity Grace. However, I don't want this marathon to be just what I can accomplish in 4-5 hours of my life. I want my run to mean something. So I am asking my friends and family and the strangers who read my blog to help me help others. I have a cause that I would like to support during my training program, a cause to encourage me to lose that last 20 pounds and a cause that I would like to support for the actual marathon.
The first cause to encourage me in my training program came to my attention quite a while ago. I was reading "The Church of No People" blog and one person kept making funny but spot-on comments and his electronic moniker was "The Barba" which is Spanish for beard. I started reading his blog posts at "Rambling with the Barba", which is also incredibly funny and great encouragement to my walk as a Christian. He and his family are Christian missionaries living in Paraguay reaching out to young men and women there to help them in practical ways as well as lead them to Christ. They recently moved to Encarnacion, Paraguay, which is right across the river from Argentina and a relative hop, skip and jump from Brazil. They are embarking on creating a youth center called "The Bridge" and need help funding it. I like bridges because my last name in Dutch can be translated as either "bridgetender" or "troll" (hence my electronic moniker). I chose the "bridgetender" translation for my homeschool name, hopefully for obvious reasons. To donate to their cause, go here.
The second cause you can choose to donate is the American Cancer Society because there are so many people I know who have battled cancer or who are currently battling cancer. Cancer sucks and the treatment isn't much better. To donate to this cause, go here.
The third cause I would like to benefit is my church's program to help the immigrant community by providing ESL classes, tutoring for elementary and middle school children, computer classes, parenting classes and Bible studies for Spanish-speaking immigrants. Once they get a fundraising link, I will publish the link.
I will spend the next week or so figuring out how to put the fundraising widgets on my page as well as a widget to track my miles for training so that I can write about our camping experiences. Life is busy, so I probably will only publish once a week. Thank you for your support