Friday, January 31, 2014

CJ's Resolution Challenge 2014

Finally.  The post about CJ's Inaugural Resolution Challenge.  

For those of you not in the know, this was a fundraising event that was first dreamed up back in September, but didn't take on the form of a race until October.  It was a lot of work, but it was well worth all the effort.  So, after two and a half months of a lot (a lot, a lot) of planning and organizing, CJ's Inaugural Resolution Challenge was held on Saturday, January 4th, 2014 at R. B. Winter State Park, Mifflinburg, PA.  My best friends Crystal and Joe came to stay at our house as well as my Power Strangers teammates Jamie and Mike.  I was so glad to have them here, because this group of people have run enough races that I knew their expertise would be priceless to me.  We marked the course and hung tarps on the pavilion on Friday.  It was bitterly cold and there was some fresh snow on the ground, but the freeze was really beautiful. 

We had 66 people pre-registered for the race, and ended up with 77.  Some were registered for RC Revolutions, a three hour event in which participants aim to complete as many laps of the 1.6 mile course as possible.  Others chose the Last Man Standing.  Held on the same course, this three hour event was formatted much differently.  Participants ran timed laps that progressively got one minute faster than the one before it.  We had prizes for the top three men and women in each event.  Those who ran the most laps in RC Revolutions ended up running a little over 22 miles!!!  And the top two runners in the Last Man Standing ran a total of 19.2 miles with their last lap being their fastest at a 6:19 pace!!!  We got a lot of great feedback afterwards, below are my favorites!

“Awesome race this morning despite the tad bit chilly temperatures!  A big thank you to Janell Weaver and all the volunteers that made this happen!  I loved the format!  Something new that I would have never thought of doing!  Great job by everyone involved!” ~Sean MacMillen

“I could not agree more!!! Great job to everyone involved with making this happen. Highly recommend this event for next year. Even though it was a little chilly at 1 degree this morning they had 70+ runners come out and support this race. Race was definitely a unique challenge regardless of what format you ran.” ~John Johnson

“Loved this race! Do it again please!”~Tracy Wright

“Loved the format, perfect for the time of year and the weather. We  had a great time, thank you!” ~ Janine Gusztaw

“Very enjoyable day. Congrats to all. Will be looking for this one next year.” ~ Shawn Brown

“It was 1 degree when we arrived at CJs Challenge in Mifflinburg…had a super great time despite the cold!” ~ Leanne Levesque

“Awesome race!  I had a great time today, and I’m already looking forward to next year.  To all the central PA runners out there – put this race on your calendar next year.” ~ Tom Cali

“Seven words – Do not miss this race next year.  It was tough but a blast.  The race was well organized, the trail was well marked, and the soup at the end was great.  Now if they could only get the temps into the 60s so we could run in shorts and t-shirts, it would be perfect.” from Nittany Valley Running Club

You heard them, they want more!  And I intend to give it to them!  CJ's Resolution Challenge will become an annual event that I hope will only continue to grow and evolve.  Tentatively mark your calendars for the 2nd Annual CJ's Resolution Challenge for January 3, 2015.  I'll do it as long as I can and as long as there is interest.  But so far I haven't mentioned the outcome of the fundraising side of all this.  Was it successful?  You bet it was!  Through the sale of CJ Elephants, cash donations, basket raffle and race proceeds, we grossed nearly $10,500 for Operation Jack Autism Foundation and Geisinger's Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute.  In addition, we also received a $2000 donation for ADMI!  A grand total close to $12,500 raised to fight autism.  It was more than I could have dared to hope for.  When I left the event site the day of the race, when everything was done, I just felt this overwhelming sense of gratitude.  It was over.  It was successful.  I am still so grateful to everyone who helped in anyway, large or small.  It all meant something to me.  I'm grateful to my cousin Ange for being the first to sign up.  I'm grateful to my mom and grandma for sewing over 280 elephants.  I'm grateful for Sam from Operation Jack for the amount of time he spent helping me with all sorts of race details and for making the trip to be there on race day.  I'm grateful for Megan, the community liaison from ADMI for bringing out information about autism.  I'm grateful to the daycare staff from the Milton YMCA who care for my children as they would their own, and cared so much that they formed a team to race.  I'm grateful to Ami G., CJ's teacher, whose enthusiasm poured out to other parents.  I'm grateful to Kristen B., another autism mom, who shared her story (and a few hugs and tears) with me.  I'm grateful to the Mid Penn Trail Blazers, whose support really gave me flight.  I'm grateful to my friend Kelli, whose birthday wish was for others to come race with her. I'm grateful to Amey J. for jumping in and helping with registration. I'm grateful for my sister Brandi and her boyfriend Kevin for doing some publicizing and making some awesome signs.  I'm grateful to every single runner and walker who braved the arctic temperatures and for their enthusiasm through it all.  There are so many people who deserve to be personally named that I know I'm forgetting.  Please know how appreciative I am of your contributions.  And mostly I'm just so grateful to God.  He planted this idea and gave me faith.  He inspired a lot of other people, and that gives me hope.
Thank you.  

Monday, January 13, 2014

This One is NOT About CJ's Resolution Challenge....

I know.  I know.  You want to hear about it and I want to write about it, but at times I display a little OCD and must do things in sequence.  So first I must write about Santa's Seven Miler and my year end mileage.  Don't worry, it will be brief and then I'll begin work on CJ's.   So here we go!

Santa's Seven Miler is a fun run in Williamsport in its fourth year.  Its hosted by Elite Feet, Inc., a fantastic running shop that offers personal service that is second-to-none.  Runners (dressed in holiday attire) meet in the lobby at the Holiday Inn, pause for a quick photo op (see below) then its off we go! 

We run across the bridge, to the river run, all the way to "Candy Cane Lane" to admire the Christmas decorations.  Then its back the way we came and a quick loop through town and back to the hotel.  Drinks and merriment at the bar follow.  A good time was had by all and as far as I know there were no injuries despite the slush and ice on the roads and sidewalks.  Its such a fun time that I can't wait to do it again.  Its the Friday before Christmas in case you want to add it to your calendar too!

And as for year end mileage- I had set several running goals at the beginning of the year and have already reviewed those goals when I hit my 1000 Miles in a previous blog.  I ran my 1000th mile for the year on October 31st, 2013.  I ran my second marathon, Harrisburg Marathon, a few days later.  Then running fell (sadly) low on my priority list while planning and organizing CJ's Resolution Challenge gathered steam.  However, I did manage to eek out a few more and wrapped up the year with a grand total of 1161 miles, which included fifteen races. 
Milton Fall Festival 5k, Humdinger, Hard Core Mudd Run, Midd-West Fest 5k,
Mifflinburg Turkey Trot, Frosty 5k, Run to the Rock Half Marathon
100 on 100, Sunbury YMCA 5k, Sick Trail, Smith's Knob, Dam Half,
Mifflinburg 4th of July 5k, Harrisburg Marathon, River Towns Marathon

I accomplished a lot in 2013.  I ran two marathons and made major progress, my time for the first was 4:24 and for the second was 3:55.  I got first in my age group at a 5k and have placed at many others.  I beat my husband at both trail races we ran together (hee hee!)  I've inspired friends and family members to get moving.  And have helped raised nearly $11,000 for autism.  So while on the subject of goals, now might be a good time to throw down goals for 2014.
  • Run another 15 races this year
  • Sub 3:50 marathon (with my BFF Crystal)
  • Sub 1:45 half marathon
  • Sub 2:30 Dam Half
  • Sub 23 minute 5k (there is a trend developing here..... a need for speed!)
  • Between my own and my family's efforts, raise a grand total of $17,500 for autism (maybe more)
  • Cheer Aaron on as he rocks his first marathon this year
Some hefty goals in there.  But with the risk of sounding completely cliche, each of us has the potential to do whatever we set our minds to.  Seriously!  Realize that it won't always be easy.  Devise ways and plan ahead for those moments when it gets tough and you might want to quit.  And when all else fails, have faith and just keep putting one foot in front of the other.  May you all have a blessed 2014, and thanks for reading.