Monday, March 29, 2010

I'm Trying to Be One

Inspired by a post on the Diabetes Outside Blog.

The hardest thing about being a "runner" is convincing yourself that you can be one. Or perhaps are one.

I still laugh, or snort, when I am referred to as a runner. Years ago had this vision of what a runner is and felt not only was I far from that, but that I wasn't genetically engineered to ever have a chance at being that. Runners have 0% body fat. Runners run miles upon miles in 4 minutes. Runners look forward to the time they can run. Runner's wear tiny shorty shorts.  Runners talk about the "Runner's High" they get while running. Runners eat whole grain breads, wheat pastas and grill their foods in only a light olive oil.

Last year, egged on by a friend, I ran a 1/2 marathon in Santa Cruz. He and I trained for it, planned for it and prepared for it as best we could. It was awful. Truly horrible. I thought for sure I was going to die or at least have my ride get tired of waiting for me to cross the finish line and just leave, muttering bitterly "she can find her own way back". Everything hurt and spasmed. Seriously, everything - even my ear buds caused an ache in my ears.

Then a strange thing happened. Another friend invited me to run a 1/2 marathon in Colorado. Yet another friend announced she would be running in her first marathon at the beginning of 2010. Same friend invited me to run a 1/2 marathon, but on a wooded trail near Santa Cruz. The strange thing is a hear myself saying "Sure, I'll do it." I found myself running long runs on weekends. I found myself running from San Carlos, to South Palo Alto and catching the train home. I found myself literally running errands as a stopped at the bank, the post office and the library on my runs.

What had happened? Had I become a runner without realizing it? Checking the list above... zero body fat, no, speedy, no, eager anticipation, no, shorts, god no, high, maybe but not in that way, good eating habits, certainly no... so I couldn't possibly be a runner.  Yet asking around, it appears many people think I am a runner.

So the time has come for a new definition of "runner" to work it's way into my vocabulary. A runner is someone who runs. A runner is fast or slow; runs for health, for fun, for social interaction. A runner eats all kinds of food and may or may not be aware of the calories, health benefits, or energy quotient nor care about them. A runner does not always look forward to running. A runner knows that sometimes running is awful, and you feel awful, but it is a better choice than sitting on the couch and maybe the next time it will feel better.

The next time someone asks me if I am a runner, I'll do be level best not to swallow my nose while stifling a giggle and reply "I'm trying to be one."

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Run for Zimbabwe Orphans and Zimbabwean Fair, March 28, 2010

The 11th Annual Run for Zimbabwe Orphans and Zimbabwean Fair – an event for people of all ages-- is coming up on Sunday March 28, 2010 at St. Joseph School, 1120 Miramonte Ave. Mountain View, Ca. noon to 4 p.m. Our web site & e-mail & have all the info. you need! We’ve also listed the top ten questions people have about the run and fair.

#1. Who benefits from the 11th Annual Run for Zimbabwe Orphans and Fair? Makumbi Children’s Home—an orphanage in Zimbabwe that serves 100 AIDS orphans, ages newborn to 18.

#2. How can I best help? You may spread the news about this enjoyable event via our web site or word of mouth and encourage people to come! Last year, we had 400 participants in the run and countless others at the fair. We raised $33,000 for Makumbi. Call us at650.941.9206 if you need paper flyers.

#3. How do I sign up to run, volunteer, or contribute funds? Visit us on the web at: Download the registration form. People may also sign up on line via The entry fee is $5 but contributions of any amount are greatly appreciated. One may sponsor an orphan for $350. People may also sign up at the run on March 28 starting at noon. The race hot line number is: 650.941.9206 & the address for SLF is: 156 Marvin Ave. Los Altos, Ca. 94022.

#4. Where is St. Joseph School? See it on Google Maps
1120 Miramonte Ave. Mountain View California 94040. Next to McKelvey Ball Park. From 101 take Shoreline west toward El Camino. Cross El Camino. Shoreline becomes Miramonte. After McKelvey, the school is on the right hand side.

#5. What are the start times and divisions for the races? Are their prizes? There are 11 little races—220 yd., ½ mi. & 1 mile— pre-school to adult. Start of 1st race is 1:05 but allow 45 min. to sign-up or pick up your number. Pre-School 220 yd., “Zimers”, co-ed 1:05 Kindergarten, 1/2 mile, Lions, co-ed 1:15 1st & 2nd Girls Antelopes mile 1:30 1st & 2nd Boys Antelopes mile 1:45 3rd & 4th Girls Cheetahs mile 2:00 3rd & 4th Boys Cheetahs mile 2:15 5th & 6th Girls Zebras mile 2:30 5th & 6th Boys Zebras mile 2:45 7th & 8th Girls Leopards mile 3:00 7th & 8th boys Leopards mile 3:15 High School & Post HS Giraffes mile 3:30. The prizes include finisher ribbons for all runners and kids entering their art. Championship Cups are awarded to 1st, 2nd, 3rd in each division. There are lots of African Raffle prizes at each Awards Ceremony.

#6. Are there T-shirts? Yes! The T-shirts feature a cartoon drawing of Victoria Falls, Mosi Au Tunya or Smoke that Thunders. They sell for $10 and are sold on a first come first sold basis on March 28. All sizes from youth to adult.

#7. What will happen at the fair? The fair begins at noon and is free. There will be two traditional Zimbabwean bands—Chinyakare Ensemble and Sadza. The food is a Sadza buffet. Batsiranai will sell handicrafts made by Moms in Zimbabwe who have disabled children. The #1 runner from Zimbabwe, Gray Mavhera, will be in attendance to sign autographs for the children and race!

#8. Is there a Children’s Art Exhibit? Yes! Children-- pre-school to high school-- may enter their art in the Art Exhibit at the Fair. Rosette ribbons are awarded to the top individual and top team per division: Pre-school to Kinder; Grades 1-2; Gd. 3-4; Gd. 5-6; Gd. 7-8; High School. Details:

#9. Is there a shoe drive? Yes! Bring your “gently worn” rubber soled shoes to the run on March 28. Nick MacFalls “From our Feet” is chairing this wonderful event.

#10. What is the philosophy behind the Zimbabwe Run and Fair? What businesses & organizations are involved? S. L. F. Board Members are Bill and Ellen Clark, Will and Kristin Clark, Teresa Clark and Dave Ruminski and Dee Gibson. The Wakerly Family Foundation of Mtn. View has been a major “under writer” and contributor to the Zimbabwe Run since its inception. Without numerous businesses in the area—Hobbees, Le Boulanger, De Martini Fruit Stand—this meet would not be possible. The goal of this meet is to present Zimbabwe in a positive light and to engage children in two-way philanthropy—giving to Africa but also receiving the many gifts of Africa.