race week.

my second 50-miler is fast approaching and i can’t help but reflect on the past year:

a year ago today i was just over a month out from my actual race and i watched a few friends complete their first Ironman triathlon. i had met these two women a few months earlier when we ran a 100k relay race together and learned what kind of toughness it would take for me to complete my own upcoming endurance race from them. i saw them throughout the day and at the finish and i was truly inspired.

i also feel a lot more relaxed going into the whole thing. i’ve got a few more races under my belt than i had last year before my 50-miler and i think that helps. i’ve run on the trails and i got in a nearly 8-hour 50k a month ago and i think those experiences are invaluable.

i put in fewer miles this year, but i feel ready and prepared just because i kind of know what to expect. i feel like i know what it feels like to be out there for the entire day and i am way more prepared to do what it takes to make sure i stay on top of nutrition and hydration. i swear this is half the battle. the mental and the nutrition make an enormous impact.

it is race week and to kick it off by watching the Ironman Wisconsin finish to the very end (12:00a Monday) was an awesome way to get pumped up. now i just need to make sure i’ve got all of the little things – that i’ve got all of my ducks in a row come friday evening so that i can fall into bed that night and wake up in the wee hours and be off. the past few days have been pretty great and the next few are certain to be darn good too. ready or…ready…here we go!

giving back.

i’ve got a few races on the horizon and while fall is usually the time of year when racing starts gearing down, i feel like i’m just getting started. i am just getting started in a new chapter of my training and in my active lifestyle. running will always be an enormous part of what i do, but this winter i’m looking forward to expanding my horizons a little bit.

i am kicking off my new adventures with the North Face Endurance Challenge – GOREtex 50 miler on september 15th. (yes, that’s 8 days from now). after that, i’m planning on doing the Tyranena Beer Run – a fun half marathon in Lake Mills, WI in the beginning of November. i’m also going to take up swimming this fall/winter. in february i’ll be racing in my my first Birkie (the American Birkebiener) and then in april, since i deferred my 2012 entry to 2013, i’m planning on running the Ice Age 50. whew.

and who says i am not a good planner? (maybe no one says that. it might just be in my head)

anyway, with all of the racing and training i’m doing in the future and because of all that running has given me in the past, i decided it was time to give back.

i had been looking for things that were close to my heart – issues or organizations that would fit my passions that i could devote some of my time and resources to. i’m young and i can’t always offer lots of money, but what i do have are legs and lungs and a body that works. what i do have is a load of family and friends and a great network of GENEROUS and CARING people in my life.

so when i saw a tweet from Ashley over at MS Run the US that she was looking for athletes to help her out with something, i responded to her call. you see, i’ve been following Ash for a few years as she ran across the US to raise awareness and money for Multiple Sclerosis. i was in awe! she’s an inspiration. it didn’t take long to know that i wanted to get involved in this cause.

MS is a disease which ultimately causes people to lose some of their mobility and strength and control. often, it isn’t life-threatening, but it is enormously life-changing. personally, i know more than a handful of people who have been impacted by the disease in one way or another. i know people who have MS themselves and i know people who have family members who have it.

because the MS impacts so many people i know and care about, it is personal to me.

but also, i’m an athlete and anyone who knows me knows that being fit and active and healthy are a huge part of who i am. being a part of the rowing team in college was the primary reason i stuck college out when it got tough. after college, running has gotten me through so much. running helped me cope with the transition to adulthood, it helped me to recover quickly from a fairly invasive surgery, and it helped me to cope with a fire that cost me my home.

i might not always have much to offer in the way of money, but i thought that with all that running has given me – because my body still almost always can do what i ask of it, i knew i had to be a part of this team.

an anecdote i’m always reminding myself of is:

“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” (t. roosevelt)

and what i can do right now is to be a steward of this cause. my goal is to do my part to spread awareness about MS and to help raise some money for the cause.

and that’s where you come in.

like i said before, i know i don’t always have the monetary resources to make an enormous impact, but i do believe that every little bit helps. i believe that our connections with others are what makes us strong. i believe that a lot of little bits make a greater impact than what we can do on our own.

so what can you do?

there are a couple of ways to help:

  1.  stop by my FirstGiving page and donate $5 or even $10 to the cause.
  2. pass it along. please share the link to this post or to my FirstGiving page. retweet me. share it any way you know how (because like i said, together we are much stronger than we are alone)

i want to thank you all in advance. for reading my blog. for being supportive to me. for helping me to give back.

and, have an awesome weekend! i know i will…