Sunday, October 18, 2009

We did it!


Come in SF.

Can you hear me?


We did it!

Yesterday I ran 37 miles to work, and over the past 4 months, we raised enough money to fund another Teach for America teacher in the Bay!  That's over $5,000.  Thank you for all the donations and support!

The run was crazy and amazing.    A recap and lessons learned:

Sometimes it takes a little crazy (This one is dedicated to my sister Amy)

I'll admit, you have to be a little crazy to run 37 miles, but I think a little crazy is a good thing.  Most things that mean anything take a little crazy.  There are some problems that are so big, you can only tackle them with ideas that, at first, seem crazy.  Some problems are caused by the current "sane" way of thinking.  Most of the important ones actually.

Where the hell am I?

So, I've been busy lately, and I didn't really have a chance to review the map in detail before the run.  It was mostly a straight shot down 82, so I thought I would be fine anyway.  Literally the route was 20 miles on El Camino and then a left on Broadway.  What I hadn't accounted for was how common a street name Broadway is!  I spent a good ten minutes arguing with a homeless man over how far it was from Burlingame to Mountain View before I figured it out in fact :P 

But that's OK.  The first time you do anything you get a little lost at times.  Its part of the fun I think.

Things get a little messy

They say everybody poops, and sometimes you have to do what you have to do.  I think that's probably enough said about this one.

A nice stroll through the park

I admit it.  I walked a little.  Sometimes you just need a break.  They say walking a little actually gets you there faster in the end.  I guess the the old Bugs Bunny cartoons were right!

The end?

I finished at 8:40.  6 hours and 10 minutes after I started.  It was just me, just like it had been all morning.  But that was OK too.  I think it reminded me that every end has a start.  It was instantly a new beginning.  Another step towards "One day ..."  So please, if you read this, get out and get involved!  It take a nation of millions.  Whether its to hold us back or move us forward is up to you.

Thanks for listening everyone.  It's been fun.  Pictures coming soon!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

The Big Day

It's almost here!  Finger's crossed, I'll be running this Friday.  I turned my ankle last weekend, but I think it should be all healed by weeks end.  The bod's a little soft after a few days off, but I think I'm just gonna go for it.  I want this thing done!

So, now I need your help.  Many of you have offered to run portions of the race, ride along etc.  Let me know if you're still in, and we can figure out the logistics this week.  Also, if you haven't donated yet, please do.  We are really close to the goal.  Counting donations and pledges we've raised ~$4800 so far, and your donation could make the difference.  I'll even sweeten the deal.  Continuing the theme of Cincy love, the person's donation that puts us over the hump will get a free pint of the world's best ice cream, Graeter's (flavor of your choice).  I'm ordering some for the finish line :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oh, the places you'll go!

Twin Peaks, SF

Ocean Beach, SF

Lands End, SF

Huddart Park, CA

Wunderlich Park, CA

Beantown, MA

Charleston Slough, Mountain View, CA

Alta Trail, Marin, CA

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Law of Undulations

"and if only the will to walk is really there, He is please even with their stumbles."

-- C.S. Lewis, The Screwtape letters

As much as my mother would like me to be, I am not a Christian man.  I am however a man of faith.  I'm agnostic, but in a sense of that word that I find is not often used.  I find that all religions that I have encountered hold many fundamental and powerful truths.  In the end, I am unable to place one over the other.

Let me also apologize if the blog has felt a little too much like a weekly sermon lately.  I assure you I am not always this earnest.  I've just been incredibly busy lately, and I've been using the blog as a weekly pep talk to myself.

With those qualifications out of the way, let me get back to the point.  This week was full of stumbles.  I missed two work outs and I've fallen behind at work as well.  It was a bad week.  It happens to everyone sometimes.  In The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis calls it the "Law of Undulations."  We all have ups and downs.  That realization, the universality of the experience, helps me get past the first of the two dangers Lewis associates with undulations, despair.  We're all in this together.  You are not alone.  For some reason it reminds me that this too shall pass. 

The trickier part for me, is the second danger, complacency.  Accepting the lows as part of life is helpful, but it doesn't mean you should stop struggling against them, reaching for higher things, passionately pursuing your life.

So, I'm back at it this weekend.  I ran a long one yesterday, and I'll run a long one again today.  I caught up on some work yesterday, and I'll do some more today.  I'm a little behind on fundraising, but I'll just have to spend some more time fundraising today too.  I have the will to walk, to be better tomorrow.  Stumble, stumble, stumble :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


When I'm not running, I like to read. Currently, I'm reading Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace. It's amazing. You should read it.

Much of it deals with passion. Through out the book there's an ongoing argument about whether you should follow your passions or you should choose your passions. Well that's not quite fair. It's really more of an argument over whether its best to allow people to pursue their own interests as freely as possible, or whether there's something more important than individual self-interest.

Really, Wallace says it better than I ever could:

"This I was saying: this is why choosing is everything. When I say to you choose with great care in loving and you make ridicule it is why I look and say: can I believe this man is saying this thing of ridicule?....These facts of situation, which speak so loudly of your Bureau's fear of this samizdat: now is what has happened when a people choose nothing over themselves to love, each one. A U.S.A. that would die - and let its children die, each one - for the so-called perfect Entertainment, this film. Who would die for this chance to be fed this death of pleasure with spoons, in their warm homes, alone, unmoving: Hugh Steeply, in complete seriousness as a citizen of your neighbor I say to you: forget for a moment the Entertainment, and think instead about a U.S.A. where such a thing could be possible enough for your Office to fear: can such a U.S.A. hope to survive for much longer time? To survive as a nation of peoples? To much less exercise dominion over other nations of other peoples? If these are other peoples who still know what it is to choose? who will die for something larger? who will sacrifice the warm home, the loved woman at home, their legs, their life even, for something more than their own wishes of sentiment? who would choose not to die for pleasure, alone?....Us, we will force nothing on U.S.A persons in their warm homes. We will make only available. Entertainment. There will be then some choosing, to partake or choose not to. How will U.S.A.s choose? Who has taught them to choose with care? How will your Offices and Agencies protect them, your people?....This appetite to choose death by pleasure if it is available to choose - this appetite of your people unable to choose appetites, this is the death. What you call the death, the collapsing - this will be the formality only....Someone or some people among your own history sometime killed your U.S.A. nation already, Hugh. Someone who had authority, or should have had authority and did not exercise authority. I do not know. But someone sometime let you forget how to choose, and what. Someone let your peoples forget it was the only thing of importance, choosing. So completely forgetting that when I say choose to you you make expressions with your face such as "Herrrrrrre we are going." Someone taught that temples are for fanatics only and took away temples and promised there was no need for temples. And now there is no shelter. And no map for finding the shelter of a temple. And you all stumble about in the dark, this confusion of permissions. The without-end pursuit of a happiness of which someone let you forget the old things which made happiness possible. How is it you say: "Anything is going"?....For your walled up country, always to shout, Freedom! Freedom!" as if it were obvious to all people what it wants to mean, this word. But look: it is not so simple as that. Your freedom is the freedom-from: no one tells your precious individual U.S.A selves what they must do. It is this meaning only, this freedom from constraint and forced duress. But what of the freedom-to? Not just free-from. Not all compulsion comes from without. You pretend you do not see this. What of freedom-to. How for the person to freely choose? How to choose any but a child's greedy choices if there is no loving-filled father to guide, inform, teach the person how to choose? How is there freedom to choose if one does not learn how to choose? The rich father who can afford the cost of candy as well as food for this children: but if he cries out "Freedom!" and allows his child to choose only what is sweet, eating only candy, not pea soup and bread and eggs, so his child becomes weak and sick: is the rich man who cries "Freedom!" the good father?"

-- David Foster Wallace

I firmly believe that you should love something greater than yourself. That's why I joined Teach for America, and that's why I'm trying to raise money for them now. I believe closing the education gap is more important than me and I'm willing to sacrifice for it.

What do you all think? Which side are you on?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Corporate matching

Thanks to everyone that has donated, or pledged to Teach for America on my behalf!  If you're employer matches charitable donations, please consider submitting your donation for consideration.  In most cases its very little work, and it will help make your donation go twice as far!

Breaking the barrier

'Nuff said.