Thursday, May 5, 2016

Three Things Thursday

Hi! I'm back! Sorry I've been away, I just haven't had any blog-worthy material lately. After running the Viking Half in March, I have only run one race since then, the ABTA Breakthrough 5K in Chicago two weeks ago.

Actually, although I didn't run well (I think I finished in 31:02), that was a really good event. It starts and ends near Soldier Field and the loop course uses the Lakefront running path, which is one of my favorite places to run. It was sunny and warm (in the 60s) and Lake Michigan looked stunning.

The course also goes through a tunnel beneath McCormick Place, which is a huge exhibition area south of downtown. That really took me back because when I ran my first Chicago Marathon in 2000, the tunnel was part of the course just before Mile 25. The tunnel was where the great Khalid Khannouchi made a couple of passes to win the race back then, and for us regular folk it was really exciting to come out of that tunnel and know you only have just over a mile to go.

The race was also fun because I talked Kevin into coming down and running, and Darcy and her brother, Adam, participated as well.

So now we are into May, which is my favorite month of the year. I love May because the weather finally warms up for good, the flowers and trees finally come to life, it's my birthday month -- the 25th -- and it is also the month that I celebrate my Christmas!

Confused? Don't be! That is what I call the Indianapolis 500, and when race day gets closer I'm really like a kid before Christmas. This year will be the 19th time I have seen the race, and Matt and Kevin will be coming too. Can't wait!

May always revitalizes me, and this year, here are three good reasons why.

1) Saturday is the Indy Mini Marathon. I am so, so excited to be running this race, and I'm even more excited than last year when I ran the race after a seven-year absence. I know part of it is because I was fortunate enough to be chosen as an Indy Mini ambassador, but also because I'm feeling really motivated right now. More on that in a bit.

Behind the Chicago Marathon, the Mini has always been my favorite event. I have two goals for the weekend: one is to meet Meb Keflezighi, who will be at the expo on Friday, and the other is to run under 2 1/2 hours, which would be about a five-minute improvement over my time at the Viking Half.

Here I am -- wearing the white shirt and the red hat -- finishing last year. I also got to "kiss the bricks" at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, and plan on stopping to carry on that tradition too!

2) I'm in for the Chicago Marathon! This year will be the seventh time I've run Chicago and will represent my ninth overall. What makes this year even more special is that I have teamed up with a great charity, Cal's Angels, and look forward to being a part of a great organization.

Cal's Angels is a local charity that provides wishes and grants financial assistance to kids fighting cancer and their families. You can read more about them here. Cal's Angels is named after Cal Sutter, a boy who died of cancer at age 12 in 2006, and his parents formed the charity in his memory.

There are 35 runners on the team, and we are provided coaching, training plans and group runs in order to meet our goals. They also match each runner with a child battling cancer, and my partner in this is a boy named Lucas, who is in the first grade and is battling a rare form of bone cancer called Pseudomyogenic Hemangioendothelioma.

Though I haven't met him yet, I've learned from a Facebook page that his mom set up to update people on his progress that he is a very sweet boy who is very active and always smiling. It just absolutely sucks that any child has to go through something like this, but he is fighting hard and still smiling!

I'm looking forward to having Lucas with me on this journey, and I have come up with the hashtag #LittleBuddyRacing as a sign of that partnership. If you would like to donate, you can check out my fundraising page here.

3) I'll get to go back into travel blog mode next month as we are heading to France! Darcy's work has her going to Monaco as her boss, Selim Bassoul, will be receiving an innovation award there. Selim, who is from Beirut, Lebanon, created a stove for refugees to use in camps so they can cook food. The stove also has the ability to purify water, and a solar panel that can be used to charge small electronic devices. His goal for the project was to free women and girls from the task of looking for wood and water so they can further educate themselves and find better employment. Cool, isn't it!

Darcy and I will be flying to Paris on June 4-5 and will stay there for two days before taking the train to Monaco. Of course I'm very excited to see both places on foot, and I am especially excited to trace the path of the famous Monaco Formula 1 course.

I'm so thankful for the opportunity to go some of these places, and I really enjoy sharing those experiences with you through my blog. I'm sure you will love coming along with me on this trip!

I hope you have a great weekend, and good luck in your training and racing!

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