Running with Purpose…

Year-end of most years allows me to do a bit more reflective thought than I typically get to do during the course of the year.  For some reason I tend to execute more when I have time off of work and procrastinate or think about and subsequently forget about stuff when I am caught up working with no breaks beyond normal weekends.  I like the clarity that comes with this time of year.  Amongst my latest thoughts (i.e. conserve more/want less, build more/buy less, be thoughtful of others/make people feel special, be deliberate, define my passion, capture my New Year’s Resolutions, understand how someone like Jim DeMint gets elected, and so on…) I have found myself landing on the topic of Charity and Giving most of all.  A buddy of mine at work put together a coat drive on his own before the holiday break.  His efforts amounted to 2 car trunk fulls of coat/blankets to provide warmth to those in need.  Maybe 50-75 people are warmer right now as a result of his thoughtfulness.  And execution.  Good example of doing good. I think me and a different buddy (John T) have come up with an equally good idea.

The Idea: Run for Charity.  Simple, right?  I like to run.  I want to give.  Like the old Reese’s Commercial we just marry the two together.  My buddy John T. and I discussed the desire to both want to make our running more meaningful.  I’ve run 30 or so marathons, tens of thousands of miles and aside from entry fees and the cause the races may (or may not) support, I’ve done it all for nothing more than some data in a spreadsheet, a medal in a box, and the good feeling of accomplishment for myself.  Not selfless.  Actually a bit selfish.  Globally, maybe I am also doing a very small part to reduce overall health care expenses.  But far from selfless.  John T. and I both agree our plan needs to start out simple and see where it takes us from there.

The Plan:

  1. Define the charity or charities you will be running for in 2010 – maximize the share by engaging corporate matching programs (BAC matches up to $5,000 for most 503c organizations.
  2. Pledge a monetary amount per mile run in 2010 (to be tracked by the individual runner, not the group – for pressure-free engagement).
  3. Track miles run on an official shareable device (e.g. Garmin via GarminConnect, Nike Plus,, the Daily Mile, etc.) and share publicly.
  4. Calculate total mileage and dollars given (with matches) to see collective group impact.
  5. Figure out how to improve at year-end (and along the way).
  6. Spread the word to other interested runners.

The Community:  Open to all runners.  Giving is contagious.  Let’s run on purpose with purpose.

I’ll keep regular posts on our progress here on my blog (ideally).  Over the year we hope to engage the community of pledged runners in monthly challenges (e.g. Most miles run off-road, most days run, etc.).  We will look to engage via an easy media means (e.g. Facebook Fan Page, WordPress Blog, etc.) in the coming weeks.  I might even use few parentheticals (no guarantees). Run on with purpose…


Holiday 2009 – Part I Thanksgiving and Early Christmas Stuff

Thanksgiving has come and gone.  Wow, this has been a fast year!  Thanksgiving is easily my favorite of the holidays.  Lots of family time.  Lots of food.  Little preparation compared to other holidays.  Desserts! Little commercialization. Dad’s birthday.  We spent Thanksgiving again this year in Columbus, Ga and had a very fun trip.  Food, Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Gardens, some golf, Hand and Foot (Dads dominated!) and just hanging out time.  You might also check out some pictures of birthdays, Christmas parades, and maybe even a close-up of Charlie’s eczema (ugh, poor guy!).  By the way, if you are looking for some fun music for the holidays check this group’s video out

Click here for the slideshow of some birthdays, Thanksgiving and early Christmas Festivities

Click here for the slideshow of Charlie at 9 months

Click here for Charlie’s Video Playlist

Click here to see all of our pictures a la flickr.

Lack of running = lack of deep thought

It’s official:  I’m injured.  There. I said it.  Yep, it still hurts to say and nope, I don’t like it one bit.  My plans (and my $75) to run Charlotte’s Thunder Road Marathon are gone.  I sat at home (and some at a funeral – more here later) thinking about where I would be and were my friends were at that point in the race.  There’s something I romanticize about running it.  It isn’t because it is the best race in the world, although it is VERY well run and organized, nor is it on the best course in the world but it is home to me.  Home, yet it sees roads and parts of my home I rarely get to run through much less right down the middle of the road.  The injury is an odd one.  My doc says it is directly related to my weak core and lack of flex in my hip flexors (aren’t they flexible by shear definition?).  Cindy’s been saying this for years.  Stretching, rubbing and electric therapy and core workouts (ugh) and I’ll be back on my routine…Being off routine just after being on form is likely the biggest pain of it all.

The result of this situation.  No deep, dedicated thought (see earlier post on this topic) which means for me there is lots of scattered, shallow or worse, unfinished thoughts.  What’s worse, is I spent the week traveling which aside from work hours and a brief visit with Tom K. in Oakland, I spent the week with these thoughts.  I am convinced this lack of deep/dedicated thought makes for poor decision-making.  As an example, when waking up in Seattle on my first morning out west I decide getting up is the right move to make.  Logical, right?  Yes, except it was 3:30am PT.  Seattle at 4:30am is, well, cold and dark.  Those fish throwers don’t throw fish at that time.  Coffee shops are oddly closed then too.  Another example?  Sure, here’s one more.  When arriving in San Francisco after flying into Oakland, AirBart-ing to the BART Station and “Barting” across the bay to San Francisco (so metro, eh?) I arrive street-level with my rollerboard bag and laptop and decide 10 blocks is a nice walk.  No bad decision until I take the left on California and realize it is 6 blocks to the hotel…STRAIGHT UP!  Nice work Sutton.  Must get back to running soon.  Stationary cycling is exactly as boring as it sounds.  My family doesn’t realize that Christmas is at risk due to this issue.  How will I ever get the time to think up great and creative gifts?  Witty and fun Christmas Card muses?  Piece a recipe together for cookies?  Uh-oh…better go stretch.

Oddly, one of the places I had some of my clearest thoughts since the injury was at a funeral yesterday morning.  Cindy lost a dear friend who frankly, kicked Cancer’s butt for the past 6 years.  This woman was nothing short of remarkable from all I could see.  Diagnosed with 6-18 months she decided to beat it back long enough to see her newborn at the time, go to kindergarten and throw his 6th birthday.  Sad?  Definitely.  Inspiring – more than I can express.  See, this woman embraced life, looked for interaction (yes, I realize the irony in the fact that I am typing thoughts to the internet unknowns) and found joy throughout it all.  Obviously, I want to live life fully after this grave reminder but more than that I want to embrace the human connection.  Will I stop typing to the “internets”?  Probably not.  Do I want to connect with friends more often?  Yes.  Drum up a friendly conversation with a stranger periodically?  Yes.  Invite people to join me more often?  Yes.  This spits in the face of my natural tendency.  At times I fear too much interaction for it can breed not-so-great things like someone saying “no” to my interaction or even worse, me having to say “no” to those who take to my interaction and reciprocate with a follow-up interaction.  This is likely tied to my desire to let the answering machine pick up.  Not knowing whether someone calls with a request to do something that I can’t, or worse, don’t want to do keeps that answering machine pretty busy.  Although this phone ritual could also be tied to the fact that I spend many hours a day at work on the phone.  I guess when compared to looking back and seeing what you are left with without the human connection and interaction, it probably doesn’t make much sense…Do I smell any early New Year’s Resolution?

One last thing (this is not the kind of human connection/interaction I speak to above).  To the lady who reminded me and the other 140 people on the cross-country US Airways flight last Friday to “turn off any device with an on-off switch, including iPods” 19 TIMES BEFORE TAKEOFF: it is time to spend a flight listening to yourself as a passenger or maybe better, just one flight with Southwest Airlines.  Talk about a pleasant experience!  They don’t lecture their passengers.  They HELP with storing baggage in the overhead compartments.  They even asked if passengers wanted a REFILL?!?!?  Seriously Mrs. Crotchety who insists upon the off device with the on-off switch, 19 times is 18 times too many.  Ok, I feel slightly better – see talking to the “internets” can help.