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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

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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!

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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! =)

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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.

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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 =)

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I’m excited about finishing month #2 of my fundraiser. It’s exciting to get new sponsors and to get Gracehaven‘s name out to people who had previously ever heard of them. Running for Gracehaven is motivating me to race. And racing, in turn, always motivates me to run – as in, to train leading up for a race. I just signed up for the Cap City Half, so this means for the next 5 or so weeks, I’m not going to be able to get away with just sporadically running a couple times a week. I’m going to actually have to relearn consistency and dedication. It’ll be good for me =)

Speaking of motivation… I’ve been thinking about travel recently. Mainly because I’ve been doing a lot of it this past month. On the one hand, I am a little less motivated to run when I’m traveling. Because it means either I’m on vacation, and would be more inclined to be sleeping in or hanging out with whoever I’m visiting/traveling with, or I’m on a work trip, which means I’m really busy. But on the other hand, it’s always fun to run an unfamiliar route and explore a new city. There is something pretty sweet about the fact that I was in 4 states last month and ran in all of them.

The other fun thing about travel is racing in different cities. My last race was in Cedarville, OH. My next race is in Atlanta. The one after that will be in Miami, OH. Sometimes I’ve already planned a trip and decide to find a race while there, but other times I travel specifically for a race. Then the race is no longer just an 30 min or 1hr event. It’s a road trip. It’s a weekend. It’s a story =)

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So here ends my first month of the Running With Grace fundraiser. I greatly appreciate the five sponsorships I received for February. I’m sure the girls you’re helping through Gracehaven appreciate it too! But it was a short month (in that I only got this started half-way through the month) and I only got to do one race. I’ll be more active in March and I hope to get more sponsors again!

As for the race itself, it really wasn’t bad for late February; there was no snow or ice on the ground. Not super-thrilled with my time, but it was just the first race of the season. And for right now it’s the miles that count more =).

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