2011 Summary

In 2011 I decided to do a year-long running fundraiser for Gracehaven House. It was basically a win-win situation. I got to raise money for a cause I’m passionate about, raise awareness about the issue and an awesome organization that’s doing something about it, and have motivation to race more and train more! And, of course, got a sweet shirt designed =).

Here’s what came of Running With Grace, 2011:

  • Raised a total of $2,172.20
  • Raced 124 miles
  • Ran 21 races (including putting on my own race for my birthday)
  • 46 sponsors (including participants at said birthday race)
  • 4 new personal bests; 5K – 25:03, 5mi – 46:57, 10K – 54:03, Half marathon – 2:03:11
  • The satisfaction of having an outlet for my frustration. The injustices in this broken world can often be frustrating or overwhelming. I felt like instead of standing there helpless, wondering what to do, I could run. Because it’s one thing I do know how to do. My desire to run drove this, and this drove my desire to run.

I have been so blessed to have the support of so many of you. I could not have done this without you, and every amount makes a difference! The house is finished, and so close to being open. Just a few i’s left to be dotted and t’s crossed. I just want to leave you with a picture I took at the house this summer, which I realized I hadn’t posted before.

The Pink Room

"The Pink Room"... 1 of 5 bedrooms at the house, and the one I worked extensively in during a deconstruction workday


Marathon Fundraising Update

So I completed the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on November 5, 2011. I realize it’s been almost a month since then, but forgive me as I’ve been super busy and haven’t gotten a chance to give you an update. The race was fun and the fundraising was phenomenal! I asked for a suggested donation of $10 per mile, but so many of you went above and beyond. And then more of you continued to give donations even after I had all of my miles sponsored. In total, I raised $661.20 for Gracehaven!

The shirt I wore in the marathon boasted the names of my sponsors on the back. It also mentioned that I was running for Gracehaven, which sparked a few conversations with fellow runners and I got to talk about my cause =).

Back of race shirt

The back of my shirt that I wore in my race

With my fellow marathon/half-marathon friends after the race

So I’m in my last month of my Running With Grace fundraiser. Can’t believe it’s been so long! It’s not too late to sponsor me for December guys =). I have run one 5K this month and am trying to get in another – although it might be tricky with traveling. We’ll see!

So I’m training for the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon on November 5th, with my running partners Beth and Sharon. “Monumental” not because it’s a big deal, but because it goes through downtown Indianapolis and there are apparently a lot of monuments there =). However, we wanted to make it more of a big deal. This will be more than just a race for us. More than our personal accomplishments of running 26.2 miles. We have each chosen to raise money for a cause that we care deeply about.

Here’s how you can help – I would love if you would sponsor one of those 26.2 miles. The suggested donation is $10 per mile, and as always, all of the money will go directly to Gracehaven. And other than the warm fuzzy feeling you will get in your heart from contributing to a great cause and supporting your friend, you will also get your name printed on the back of the shirt I’ll be wearing in the race!

If you would like to support me, you can give me either cash or a check made out to me or Gracehaven. If you would like to sponsor a specific mile number, let me know that too. We’d like to get the shirts ordered by October 15, so please let me know your intent to pledge by then.


So in February I started this year-long fundraiser for Gracehaven, raising money based on how much I run. I didn’t know if it would work. I didn’t know if I was going to have tons of sponsors or if it would just be my mom. I didn’t know how significant a difference I could make in helping Gracehaven open its doors. But I decided to do it. Because I know I can run. And I know I can give them something.

I had no concept of how much money I would raise, or how much I would need to to consider this a “success.” But from February to June I raised $1,035 – including $270 from my birthday race. I don’t know what $1,035 really means in the grand scheme of things, but it’s $1,035 more than they would’ve had if I hadn’t done this. And that’s good enough for me. So I am very thankful to all of you who have chosen to sponsor me, whether it was a one-time donation, or a several-month or all-year pledge.

So if you are asking yourself how can you help, there are a few things you can do:

  • To support me monetarily, please check out my Sponsor Me page.
  • To help Gracehaven win a grant for up to $250,000, vote for them (for free) once a day until August 27 on the Vivint Gives Back Project. Plus, if you give to Gracehaven through this site up til Saturday 7/23 at 4pm EST, Vivint will match your donation.
  • Come cheer me on in any of my upcoming races!

I’m expecting to raise more in the remainder of the year than the first 5 months, especially as we get into fall marathon season. But even if not, I’m just going to keep running. Even if all I have is loaves and fishes, I’m going to bring it! =)

Some days when I’m upset, there’s nothing better than a good run to take my anger out on. Clearing your head, and thinking about nothing but the rhythm of your stride, and your feet hitting the pavement. Pushing hard til you tire of angering. Feeling it dissipate with each footfall. Some people say they get so mad they want to punch something. When I get that mad, I want to run. That can be very therapeutic for me – but it’s not what this post is about. Not entirely anyway.

I am angry at injustice. It’s the kind of anger that’s maybe good to have rekindled from time to time, as opposed to the kind you want to let cool down. Last weekend I was volunteering at a Gracehaven event. I listened to Theresa Flores (Spokesperson for and Director at Gracehaven) give her testimony about how she became a victim of sex trafficking. I listened to Dr. Jeff Barrows (founder and Executive Director) explain the facts and figures and dispel the myths. He talked about recent cases, weak laws against it, and how our society encourages it to thrive. I’ve heard both of them speak several times. But my stomach turns inside out each time. I get furious. And my heart breaks.

Jeff said something that really stood out to me. He described the three things that shocked him when he first learned about human trafficking. 1) that this sort of heinous evil is still happening (and in America); 2) that it is so prolific (there are currently more people enslaved today than were in the entire transatlantic slave trade); and 3) that so little is being done about it. It stood out because those are the same things that shocked me. One of the things that fuels me the most is that so little is being done. There are only a handful of “Gracehavens” in the entire country, but the need is enormous. People don’t understand it. People don’t recognize it. People don’t know why or how to do something about it. Gracehaven is trying to change that. And I’m trying to help them, in some small way. In the midst of an issue of such enormity that it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and not know what to do, I’m doing one thing I know I can do. And that’s run.

I want to say a huge thank you to all those of you who support me in this effort – whether through financial donation, encouragement or cheering me on at races. If you want to help in another way, vote for Gracehaven to win $100,000 through Vivint. Voting runs today through August 27, and you can vote once per day, every day. In the meanwhile, I’ll keep running.

Summer Running

The hardest part of the running season is upon us – summer! Well, I am of course counting the running season as starting in, say, March. That’s when racing season really starts anyway. Let’s not even get to what it’s like running when it’s bitter cold and icy.

Anyway. I’m hoping for some motivation to not slack off just because of the sweltering heat, and keep up the running. So far I’m signed up for 2 5Ks in June for great causes; Race for Ellie (join me on team “Fat kids win at teeter totter”) and MoveMMore (join me on team “Smedlop”). If you have any 5Ks or 10Ks you are planning on doing this summer, or just know of any for a good cause, please send them my way! When I run them for Gracehaven it will be a double-good cause =). Speaking of which, if you’ve been thinking about sponsoring me, what better time to start than now? =)

So send me your races. Even if you are not in Columbus… if you find a cool local one maybe I will come visit you! You just have to promise to come out and run with me/cheer me on =)

So now that it’s warming up to the point that I can run without needing a jacket or long sleeves, I’ve gotten my official race shirt made! It’s designed by the lovely Katie Talbott, a close friend, talented graphic designer and former Gracehaven employee. I debuted it in my 5K last weekend, and plan to wear it in all my races until it gets too cold again to.


Running With Grace - front


Running With Grace - back