YIKES! Haven't been on here for awhile, most of my spare time has been spent reading, so time to quit slacking and get to it. Tons has happened since my last post, too much to all put in here!!
GLACIER RIDGE TRAINING
My buddy Ray Zahab gave me a kick ass running schedule to follow until he gets back from running across South America. The runs are going well and I pretty much feel like dying when I'm done. As it should be! By the time Thursday's run is over with I'm MORE than ready for Friday's rest day. Working hard and loving every minute! (Although I do procrastinate a bit before Thursday's run - KILLER!!)
So as I mentioned Ray took off, headed to South America for another I2P expedition. Joining him on the expedition are Bob Cox, Kevin Vallely, and Jordan Thoms. It's been quite an expedition to follow! It seems like the guys have had everything happen! Flooding, gas shortages, injuries, crazy traffic, you name it - they had it. If you haven't been following along you can catch up! Kevin has a great blog on the Andes run site( http://www.andesrun.com/ )
You can also see short videos of the day to day happenings of the expedition - http://impossible2possible.com/sa/home. Between both the journal and the videos you really get a sense of what these guys are going through. They have really persevered, and have now made an important decision which is explained in the Day 17 video to stop a little short due to threatening conditions on the road. They will then meet up with ambassador Connor Clerke to finish out the rest of their run. An extremely wise decision the guys made - as tons of school age kids are following them. I2P is all about promoting health SAFELY. I couldn't be more proud of these guys and the entire organization than I am at this moment! Such positive role models - it's rare in sports, but these guys really know how to do it. Keep on following and watching for I2P's big announcement in regards to the next youth expedition! This will be announced soon so stay tuned!! Congrats to Ray, Kevin, Bob, and Jordan for all their hard work on this expedition - and thanks for being such great role models to not just the youth that follow but to athletes everywhere!
CLEVELAND SCHOOLS SHOE DRIVE
I'm not even sure where to begin for this one! This was an incredible experience and really showed the power of the internet. I guess I'll just start from the top.
#1 A copy of an email was put on the NERC facebook page. The email was from Rob Mathis, a parent of kids who attended the schools. The email:
I know everyone is busy getting ready for the running season ahead but I need your help. My daughter runs for Rhodes high school and my son runs for East Tech ( both inner city high schools). They both had their very first track meets today. I thank God that I am very fortunate enough to be able to buy them shoes to run in. It made me feel bad to see the ...other kids from both high schools (girls & boys) running in boots and basketball shoes. If any of you have any old running shoes that you do not have a need for, please email me back with a location I can pick them up from. I will donate them to Rhodes and East Tech high school to help out the kids. It doesn't matter how old or dirty they are.
#2. So after seeing this I set up a group fun run on facebook to collect shoes from whoever wanted to donate. I figured I'd get maybe 10 people tops to show up to the run - but there were many more than that! There were also those who expressed the desire to donate their shoes, but couldn't make it to the run since it was scheduled so last minute. Thanks to my friend Emily these people were able to drop their shoes off at the Bicycle Hub in Mentor. This saved me so much running around and I was REALLY REALLY grateful :)
#3. I also sent an email out to my coworkers and to my running group at work explaining the situation. Thanks to my friend Joe Vasil's help the fitness centers at work put out a collection box, and at the end of the drive I picked up these shoes (LOTS!) Joe also told his wife about the shoes, who told her coworkers, one of which was a graduate of Rhodes school - one of the schools we were collecting for. This graduate (anonymous) then pledged to buy the entire Rhodes track team BRAND NEW SHOES!! UNREAL!! I started crying at work when I got the email. (yes I'm a softie haha)
#4. Fox 8 news heard of the shoe drive and the run and came out! Me, Rob, and Joe all got interviewed before the run. I was so nervous! But I did calm down a little as one of my friends (I will not mention who Mike Shaughnessy) started shakin' his butt behind the camera! (Then I was just worried about not laughing!) I heard when it aired it was a nice piece, but I haven't seen it as we no longer have cable (no not even basic). I also heard there were more requests for shoes, and Rob states that now he'll be able to help 5 or 6 schools. (And I still have TONS of "surprise" shoes that I picked up to give to him!)
#5. Finally I contacted my bud Steve over at Vertical Runner to see if we could get a possible discount for this anonymous donor. Of course he and Vince agreed! (And I recently saw the invoice for the shoes - it was an ENORMOUS discount). Vertical Runner took their inventory and went straight to Rhodes. This was really great they could accommodate the students by going out there like that! I saw some pictures of the kids and it looked like they were excited and had a good time. By the time it was all said and done this anonymous donor bought 40 pairs of shoes for these kids. UNREAL!
In conclusion, this experience was incredibly overwhelming to me. Just using the internet made so many people aware of an issue, and take action. All these people who donated their shoes, time, and money simply amaze me! People are really truly extraordinary, and I thank everyone so much who participated. I'm still trying to grasp how everyone came together to help these kids - so much so that other schools will be helped too. INCREDIBLE!! THANK YOU EVERYONE! And of course,