Happy February!

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I saw this the other day and it got me thinking and I just had to share.  It’s a pretty simple message but it’s the kind of thing that can turn into a pretty inspirational message for our efforts here, maybe even a mission statement: To Be A Light of Hope & Encouragement for Runners Everywhere!

Admittedly, over the last 4-6 weeks, I promoted a good amount of runners, many of whom I’ve known before and were easy to write stories on but you can only do that so long.  If this is something that’s going to continue over the longer term, we need to slow the pace down a little bit on that a bit unless you all start sending us ideas for a lot more to feature.

So here’s a bit of what to expect over the next month or two:

  • 2-3 featured runners per month
    • Hopefully featured in February and March:
      • A reporter turned world runner
      • A group of runners running a Ragnar to raise awareness for a genetic syndrome in children
      • A multi-year run streaker
      • An elite runner who has faced and fought a rare cancer and looking to get back on the track while raising money for her foundation to support rare cancer research
  • A few updates on Runnin’ Not Walken and how are efforts to raise money and awareness for NeighborLink Fort Wayne are progressing.
  • An update or two on my own running journey as I aim towards a healthier lifestyle as part of my training for the Indy Mini in a few months.
  • Hopefully more positive stories or inspirational reminders that we can be better, we can promote the positives in the world to drown out the negatives, and just overall be there for our fellow runners.
  • Speaking of being there for our fellow runners, I’d like to start in March, to nominate and support 1 runners cause.  We’ll come to an agreement on what that  cause is and then all who agree to take part, will donate $5-$10 per person with the hope that this builds and we can bring more and more folks into the fold.

So with that, as you are trying your best to not over do it while you’re watching the big game today, think of ways that you can be a light of hope and encouragement for others.  If there’s someone you know that should be featured, send the info our way at runnersdoinggood@yahoo.com .

Thanks and Go Rams!

Sincerely,

Gabe

 

 

 

 

Reflection Friday…

It does not matter how slowly you go, as long as you do not stop – Confucius

Happy Friday!  Today is January 25th and the first month of the year is almost in the books.  It is remarkable how quickly time flies nowadays.  As we bring this month to a close, or anything for that matter, it’s always a good time to look back, reflect on where we’ve been, and where we’re going.

So first off, how are those New Year’s Resolutions going?  This blog is a part of mine.  I wanted to write more and make it about mostly about others, with some on the running team, our efforts, and a little bit of myself sprinkled in.

I also wanted to run more.  This is a running blog and it’d be pretty bad if the author wasn’t running.  Since starting Runnin’ Not Walken in 2015, the winter months have been my nemesis.  I have experienced a good amount of running throughout the year.  Not the mileage I have seen some of you inspiring runners put in but for a guy who didn’t count himself as a runner, it was a good amount and I’d lose weight.

In full disclosure, I’m 6’2 and about 215.  I have a wider frame so I hold it pretty well despite some softness around the midsection.  My wife often comments on how strong my legs are and my doctor has put me through some leg exercises that I’ve passed with flying colors but admittedly, I would love for my weight to be less and running has done that but consistency has been the key and lack of it over the last several years.  I’m actually really good from March to November but anything I lose, I find it in those 3-4 months and it’s been a roller coaster.  My goal is to lose 25 pounds.  If I can do that, I’ll be in the best shape I’ve been in a decade and maybe my fastest for the Indy Mini and Ragnar Michigan this fall.

So as far as my running has gone, I’ve run 8 times in the last 2 ½ weeks.  It’s been low mileage and largely on the treadmill but I’m moving.  I HATE the treadmill but a good 2 mile run is a good 2 mile run an I’ll take it.  I’ve not gotten to the point where I love 5 milers but I do enjoy a 2 miler whether I’m indoors or out.  Time is a bit limited with kids, work, running team organizing, etc. so 2 miles is perfect at times.  So consider that resolution still a success.  I’ve not given up or quit and part of that is that still intimidating goal of 13.1 on May 4th.

As far as this blog goes, I still enjoy it but I’m getting to the point where it requires some help.  There’s only so many runners within a group and I’m starting to run out of them that I can easy pick on, choose to highlight.  I’m reaching out to quite a few runners that I find absolutely inspiring and stories are features are coming but it is taking a little longer than I anticipated.  I probably should have spread out my posts a bit I suppose.  Either way, those individuals are inspiring nonetheless and just coming across them helps push me farther personally and I can’t wait to share those stories with you as well.

2019 has me very excited and we’re just a month in.  It’s going to be a lot of hardwork but a lot of fun too.  Here’s to keeping the momentum going!

Work Hard. Do Good. Love Wins

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Life’s most urgent and persistent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’ – Martin Luther King, Jr.

I just had to share this because when you make changes, sometimes there’s worry that creeps in on whether you’re doing the right thing or not.  As a whole, our team, even those that aren’t coming back, are excited for us because of what lies ahead in 2019 especially because of our new relationship with NeighborLink Fort Wayne and Team NeighborLink.

From all that know anything about them, the consensus has been that they love everything that NLFW does and no better example could be made than this past weekend when the snow flew pretty well here in northeastern Indiana.

I used the MLK Jr quote above because I think it’s appropriate, both from a timing standpoint as well as from what they do.  They are on the look out to help others and it’s genuine and I think that’s the kicker.  They do what they say and say what they do.  That’s uncommon in this world it seems.

I was personally inspired by them.  Our snowblower officially died a week ago and I had to shovel my drive during the previous snowfall and while I was doing that, all I could think of was that when I get a new snowblower, I want to make sure it’s good enough that I can help others with it.  That week, I went out and got a new one that was about the same size but with a bit heavier duty engine that could handle a heavier workload and then last weekend’s snowfall happened.

My wife and I are blessed to live in a small neighborhood on the county’s edge but a lot of our neighbors are north of 65.  The wind was blowing 30 mph and the snow was drifting pretty good so I got out and did my drive and sidewalk but also the walks and drives of 5 other neighbors and when I was done, it felt great to help out and I thought to myself, “would I have done this before?”  I’d like to think I would have but admittedly, I hadn’t.  They’ve already had an impact on me and we’re just getting started.

It’s why I want you to learn more about them and join us in our support of them.  That weekend, they were able to put the call out and got responses from folks that enabled NLFW volunteers to clean more than 40 drives for folks in need.  It’s not a huge thing but it’s impactful.  If an elderly person doesn’t have to shovel snow it saves them from a potential slip and fall or other weather related health concerns as well as saving them from having to pay for services to do it.  It’s just a genuine act of caring and ultimately those are the things that lie at the heart of what Neighborlink Fort Wayne is all about.

It’s hard not to get excited and inspired to do well by such a wonderful group.  Please check them out at www.nlfw.org and if you’d like to give please visit https://www.nlfw.org/project/15772

Like I’ve said from the beginning, it’s going to be a great year!

Thanks,

Gabe

 

Run-Gooder #9 – Michael

It was early 2015.  Team Runnin’ Not Walken had about 8 or 9 of our 12 spots filled.  I reached out to Michael and his two brothers, Adam and Ryan via Facebook to see if he had an interest in joining us on this crazy Ragnar Relay adventure that we were going to be attempting for the first time.  I reached out again a few weeks later and never heard anything back.  Adam would join the team as a driver and Ryan would run with us as well.

Fast Forward to June of 2015 and the vans are all loaded and we’re pulling out of town and I looked at Adam and Ryan and ask, “so what’s Michael up to?”  I never heard from him.  They laughed and said who knows but it was probably a football related thing.  Hilariously, within 20 minutes, I got a text from him….”Hey so that thing that Adam, Ryan, and you are doing, I see I have a Facebook message from you about it!  I would have come if I had noticed it!  Next year!”  We all had a good laugh about it and off we went for that first Ragnar adventure.

True to his word, he hasn’t missed a year since and if it weren’t for that missed Facebook message, he’d be the only other runner, besides myself, who has run all 4 years so far and would be well over 50 total miles run for the team.

The cool part about Michael’s story with the team is that he was most definitely not a runner.  He was athletic for his size but he wasn’t exactly “Tinker Bell” out there.  Michael played started at center for an NCAA Division II football team.  At his peak, he was all of 6’5 and 290 lbs.  He didn’t exactly scream “runner” at that point.  When he joined the team, he was done with football and dropping weight but I bet he was still every bit of 255 and maybe a tad higher.  He only went out and ran 10:30 miles.  Yes, he might have been a college athlete and a good 15 years younger than I was but I was running 10’s and I was 50+ pounds less.

What was remarkable too was that he showed up to Ragnar Chicago 2016 with literally no running gear.  He had tshirts and shorts but he was running in his football shoes.  That year was the hottest we’d ever ran in and due to his two-a-day experience it wasn’t a bit deal to him.  He told me that if he felt like he needed to walk a bit, he did.  There weren’t any coaches to yell at him around.  He brought that easy going and fun feel to the team that year and ever since and it’s been a blast to see his evolution since.

2017 he ran again and performed even better as he threw some 9 minute miles in the mix but he trained even more for Ragnar Michigan and decided to get some running shoes and the results were flat out impressive.  On his first 5k that he had to run, he averaged a 7:50.  That was two miles at a shade over 8 minutes a mile and the last mile was all downhill, which resulted in a 7:03.  I’m not sure what he’s weighing in at but all I can say is that he’s amazing to see out here as he’s cruising down the road.

His enthusiasm has only continued as he’s committed to running Ragnar Michigan and is working towards being in even better shape for this coming fall.  Unlike several on the team who have decided to up their game by running a half marathon, Michael is aiming towards running the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati in May!  I’d say it’s safe to say he’s gotten the running bug and our team is better because he has and continues to join us for our crazy annual adventure.

 

Thursday Thoughts

Just a couple ideas or thoughts for this Thursday, January the 17th….

Running and training in the winter is hard.  Training any time is difficult but when you throw snow and 20 degrees…No Thanks!

My motivation is low right now.  I should be better and I was excited about running the Indy Mini is a big deal.  I’m feeling a bit of pressure to start early but see the above…

The fundraiser to benefit NeighborLink has started but we’re still at zero.  Be on the look-out for a video to pop up tomorrow.  The first dollars will be going in….

I’ve had 2 new Run-Gooders agree to profiles in the week(s) ahead.  This has been one of the true blessings of this blog.  There’s some pretty amazing people out there….

Speaking of amazing! If you know of anyone who’d be a great profile as a Run-Gooder, send them our way!  It’s not as easy as it seems but there’s some truly unique runners out there….

What’s a good late afternoon snack to ward off hunger so I don’t choose to eat instead of work out after work?

Running late is better than running early but the differences aren’t that much…..

13.1 still seems huge.  I can’t wait till it’s less worrisome.

And one last thought…..

Eating a burrito before a long run = bad idea…just saying.

Thanks for playing along and have a great day folks!

Sincerely,

Gabe

 

 

Run-Gooder #8 – Amanda

“If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” – Fred DeVito

After corresponding and finally getting to meet her, the above quote made me think of her.  Matt’s better half joined Runnin’ Not Walken this past year and she was a great addition to the team and I believe, qualifies as a Run-Gooder, especially when you hear her story.  So here it is….in her own words:

“All my adult life I have been struggling to live a healthy lifestyle with a family of 5 on the go. Running was never in the picture. I was an elliptical gal and wanted nothing to do with running outside.  Once my husband started running, I decided, “what the heck, I will give it a try!!!” I have been running for 4 years now.  First, I started with only 5k’s and then quickly grew to half marathons.  With my 40th birthday approaching I have a goal to run a full marathon.  My favorite person to run with is my husband, Matt. He always knows when I need an extra push.  He is my personal cheerleader!  Most of the time he is far ahead of me, but I can always count on him at the finish line screaming at me to push through to finish strong. What I most enjoy about running is the accomplishments that I have personally done. I never in a million years thought that I could run for 3 hours without stopping.  That is a huge sense of pride.  While running I love the clear thinking that comes along with it and I feel like I can accomplish anything.”

Talking with Matt, I knew that Amanda would be nervous.  We basically split up the team between men and women and Matt is a big personality and knew me from years ago but Amanda didn’t know anyone in the ladies’ van.  She also had never run a Ragnar and the concept had her pretty nervous.  I even slotted her into an assignment that included the Ragnar Leg which is the hardest, most badass run of the race.  It was 9.1 miles that included a pretty good ascent up a hill for the first 2 ½ miles.  We joked that when we met her at the top of the hill that she’d not be happy with me.  She was actually smiling and cruising as you can tell here:

The rest of the race, she rocked it.  Jenn, featured on our blog earlier, talks repeatedly about how Amanda was just a beast out there, never slowing down, was just such a strong runner, and that it was just fun to watch her go.  Also, between Amanda and Matt, they’ve now basically recruited a few of us to join them at the 500 Festival Indy Mini in May so it’ll be great to be seeing them more in ’19.

I’ve heard since the race how she can’t wait for the next one because she had that much fun.  To go from not running to casually running 5k’s and now half marathons with a full marathon as a 40th Birthday goal, that’s pretty awesome, especially considering it all has to get fit between all of the activities of life with a family of 5.  It’s not an understatement to say moms rock.  It was a pleasure getting to meet her and get to know her a bit and I’m excited that she’ll be back with the team this year.

Run-Gooder #1 – Jennifer

“Hot Wheels”with the guys

Rockin’ her “Flamingos on a Booze Cruise” Goodrs!

 

Amy Strong!

“It’s not how much we give, but how much love we put into giving” – St. Mother Teresa

The following is a republishing of our first Run-Gooder, Jenn from back in early November when we were just starting out and maybe some didn’t see it originally.  I hope you enjoy it!

What is a “run-gooder”?  A run-gooder is a person that is willing too make their beating of the pavement meaningful.  It’s sacrificing hours of training, the aches, pains, and hard earned sweat that accompanies it all, all for the greater good of others in some fashion.  By that definition, Jennifer is a “run-gooder” and the first I’m going to highlight.

In full disclosure, she’s my wife and I know I am partial but I am also the Captain of Runnin’ Not Walken.  While she may be my wife, she oftentimes defers any credit saying, “that’s his baby!” when people talk about the running team but truth be told, the time involved with all of this directly affects her more than anyone on the team.  She has been tirelessly willing to listen, help, and encourage whatever was necessary to make this whole thing a success. For that, I am tremendously grateful.

Four years ago, she wasn’t on the team but supported my efforts to get this off of the ground. She had just had our youngest so it wasn’t always easy or convenient for me to be outside running to get ready for the race but she made sure that I was and the race went off without a hitch. She, along with my parents, came to Chicago to see us finish.  It was incredible and as everyone was exhausted from it all, they offered a seat in their car to go home.  The rest of the team told me to go with my family and I did.  They drove 3 hours to Chicago, cheered us on for 5 minutes, hung out for 25 more and we left for a 3 hour drive home.  It will never be forgotten.

In 2016, I talked her into coming along for the adventure.  We had a full team so I didn’t need another runner but I was all about runner safety.  She was to be a driver, along with Adam.  He ended up driving the whole race which was pretty incredible but she was like our van mother.  It was projected to be in the 80-90 degree range during that race and before each run, the first question we’d hear was from her.  “Do you want support?”  Which is when the van would stop to check on a runner.  “If so, what mile marker and what do you want?”  “Do you want us to stop after that?”  “When you’re done, do you want the same thing to drink?”   She discounts her part on the team that year but I am utterly convinced that Van 1 that year would have wilted pretty quickly without her constantly ensuring that we were well hydrated.  

If it weren’t for 2018, I would have said that 2017’s race would have been an amazing effort.  With 4 weeks to go, Ryan, my godson, was sick and determined that he couldn’t join us.  I wasn’t sure where to turn and there she was and I couldn’t be more proud of her.  Jenn is actually a far more decorated runner than I am, by far, but she hadn’t run anything seriously since when we were engaged.  While she wasn’t happy, initially, with her times, she got to a satisfactory point leading up to the race itself.  She also helped contribute to our overall fundraising efforts which tipped the scales at more than $4500 that year.  Come race day, I had the fortune of receiving the baton from her and it was awesome to see that smile coming in.  She did great and you could tell she was beaming with pride and the joy of running was back in her veins.  

Then came 2018 and if she wasn’t a run-gooder before, she certainly earned that label this year and that Mother Teresa quote described her to a “T.”  She took on all of the full responsibilities of running on the team, getting friends, family, and her employer to donate more than $300 to the team.  After a year where we lost a few family members, including an Aunt to Acute Myeloid Leukemia, when she found out that her friend Amy was diagnosed with AML as well, she knew she had to do something.

So in addition to all of the help she gave me, all of the funds she raised for our annual campaign for Kate’s Kart, she took up the responsibility of raising some money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in her aunt’s memory and in honor of Amy who was fighting like hell and winning it I might add.  

In total, for Team Amy, she raised nearly $3,100 as Team Amy raised more than $25,000 to benefit the LLS and fight blood cancers.  It was an amazing effort by this Run-Gooder and it made me so proud of what she was able to accomplish.  The only kicker was that she was in the other van with the ladies for the whole race vs getting to spend the weekend in the same van with her.  She is a true inspiration and a beacon that lights up a room with her infectious smile and constant chatter.  We are lucky that she’s on our team and I’m blessed that I get to call myself hers.

Monday Motivation

The point of Runners Doing Good isn’t to highlight the fastest runners or the best fundraisers but to highlight the runners who make a difference in the world by creating some ripples.

Who’s a fellow runner you know who’s made a lot of ripples in your life?

Runnin’ Not Walken – By the Numbers

RNW by the numbers

3 & 1 – Number of Ragnar Relays run in Chicago and Michigan respectively

30 – Number of different runners that are members of Runnin’ Not Walken since 2015

771 – Miles run, in total, by Runnin’ Not Walken

5.8 – Fewest total miles run by one runner since 2015

66 – Most total miles run by one runner since 2015

9 – Percentage of RNW’s total miles that the runner with the most total miles has run

11 – Runners who have run at least twice with RNW

4 – Runners who have run at least 3 times

188.4 – Mileage of the shortest course we ran (2017)

201.1 – Mileage of the longest course we ran (2018)

31 – Fewest hours on the course (2015)

33.75 – Most hours on the course (2018)

94 – High Temp when we finished in Chicago in 2016, the hottest temperature we’ve competed in.

43 – Low Temp during the night run in Michigan in 2018, the coldest temperature we’ve competed in

16,913 – Dollars raised for charity

The Journey Begins

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

The below is a re-publishing of our first blog entry, posted back in November.  It’s a new year, please enjoy.

The above quote seems incredibly appropriate considering this is my first blog post ever so in that way, yes the journey is indeed beginning, however, my team and I, our journey began 4 years ago.  If you read the “About”, you learned a bit about the page, a tiny bit about myself…my name is Gabe by the way, but mostly what this is all about.  Hopefully you’ll ride along with me in this little literary adventure of my first blog.

The below pictures are from our maiden voyage as Team Runnin’ Not Walken.  You can find the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram if you’d like at @runninnotwalken.  We’re now 3 teams in and probably have had more than 2 dozen different people run with us but in a lot of ways, this first team was pretty special.

It all started in the fall of 2014.  I had observed a post from a local runner who had participated in Ragnar Relay Tennessee, @ragnarrelay, and I thought to myself…that looks absolutely amazing.  It really seemed pretty cool but I’ll be the first to admit it now as much as then that I was in no way prepared for it.  Three Ragnar’s later and sometimes I feel like the process is refined but I’m still in many ways….not prepared for it.

A bit more about myself: I’m writing about runners doing good and all of the great things that they have done or are doing and I feel like I’m far more accomplished on the team ops side than I am an actual runner but here’s the thing, I’m terribly drawn in by the running community.  I think it’s pretty amazing.  I don’t pretend to be great at it and I think that’s why I’ve been so ready to lift others up because my own goals and efforts at it have been more about preparation and part of the process than anything about myself individually.  That may change but from it didn’t take long for this to be more about the team than anything else.

 

A little more, I sprinted and long jumped in high school after 4 days of excruciatingly painful long distance training.  I realize it wasn’t much but I knew it wasn’t for me.  So it’s pretty ironic that I’m filling this space that’s devoted to long distance accomplishment and I’m nearly 20 years past when I considered myself really athletic.  I in fact, hated long distance running of any sort at the time and even more ironic is the fact that when I signed up for that first Ragnar, the longest run I’d ever had in my life that I’d signed up for and actually ran was 4 miles and so signing up for a Ragnar Relay where you’d run 3 times in 30 some hours and could be over 15 miles in that time was a gigantic leap of sorts.

So why a Ragnar?  Again, it looked like a massive challenge.  I was somewhat out of shape.  My wife and I had been married a few years, happily I might add, and it’s not an exaggeration to say that every time she had a baby, once I took those 2-3 weeks off to help at home, I ate my way through those 3 weeks.  It wasn’t stress eating really it was just that people brought food over constantly and I couldn’t step away from it.  Something needed to happen and when I saw what this Ragnar Relay thing was about, the next thing that crossed my mind was how can I do this and it came down to simply seeing who else would be willing to do this crazy thing.

From there, I reached out to a couple cousins and surprisingly, they sounded like they were in.  It wasn’t long until we all agreed to talk somewhere around our family Christmas party which was usually the middle of December.  We only talked briefly but the consensus was that if we were going to do this, let’s do it before pricing increases even more.  One cousin, Sarah, seem convinced that she could could round up some friends from Madison, WI where she and her husband, Andy, were living.  I was down with that so I told her to do what she could.  I had at least 3-4 which put me close to figuring out one van.

So we registered with probably 6-7 runners and then everything just amazingly enough fell together.  Sarah ran down 5 runners which was 4 to run and 1 to replace her when she had some knee problems.  I had 5 others than joined me in my van.  It really was an awesome team.  NO ONE and I mean NO ONE knew what to expect except for Courtney, a cousin, who had does something similar before but that was it! The beautiful thing was that we one half of the team didn’t know each other at all and vice-versa but everyone consistently asked how they could help.

Along the way, one cousin, Joel, and I were talking and the thought came to that a 200 mile relay really was pretty significant and that we could do a little good with it.  So we set out with the idea that we’d run a fundraiser as well.  I’d never done such a thing but I was willing to make it work we agreed on a $1,000 goal and the group’s feeling was that if it didn’t pan out, there were enough of us to pitch it to hit it but who would we try to help?

A week later, I’d be reminded of a charity in town, Kate’s Kart, that gives books to hospitalized children.  My own daughter had received a book once and after a bit of research, I suggested it to Joel.  After some more conversation, we felt that something smaller and local, like Kate’s Kart was the ticket because while some of the big national charities are great, $500-$1000 would be a drop in the bucket to them but $1,000 to a great local group had the chance to be impactful.

So in January of 2015, Team Runnin’ Not Walken was born.  Three years later, we’re going strong, in fact, better than ever have raised nearly $17,000 for Kate’s Kart but how has that led us to Runners Doing Good?

The answer is pretty simple.  The team has been touched by a lot of events throughout the 4 years of our existence but no one other than family has probably been more influential than a man that I’ve never met, Tim Green.

When I see donations come in, I usually know who the donor is but that first year, I put a call out on twitter for a $10 donation to cross off your state on a donor scavenger hunt.  Tim donated $100.  I was really excited to find out who he knew and no one knew who he was so I reached out and found out that Tim just loved what we were doing and the charity that we were doing it for.  I’ve never had a “stranger” be more generous or more encouraging than Tim and we’ve been blessed, I’ve been blessed that he continues to support the team and in many ways, Tim’s assertion that if “Runners doing support each other, who will?” has become a bit of a mantra for the team and myself personally.

I started the Runners Doing Good twitter handle not long after and we’ve been able to support several different runners and groups that are doing good but participating in events int he name of charity.  It’s pretty remarkable and I owe a lot to a man who just feels blessed to be in a position to help others.

There’s a lot of negativity in this world but to have that level of positivity enter your life, it’s pretty remarkable and I feel beyond fortunate to have Tim in the team and I’s corner.

There’s more stories to tell about the team and I’m sure I’ll do that, but also know that hopefully I’ll be able to pay it forward a bit by highlighting others who are trying make the world a bit better and maybe we all can get behind them, like Tim did us, and make a difference for their run-gooder activities.  I think that’d be pretty amazing.  Have a great day everyone.

Sincerely,

Gabe

Finish Lline Picture

 

 

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