Sunday, February 8, 2015

Still Here And Bloggin... Help Support A Great Cause

Long time no talk everyone. Well as most of you probably didn’t notice I haven’t been around here too much in the past couple of months or so. Actually my last post around these parts was in the middle of December and the last non-pre game story that I did was back in November. I have gone through some life transitions that have moved me from Wisconsin back to Pittsburgh and my new job has kept me busy. I am not nearly around as much as I used to be but I am still on Twitter and will hopefully be back here writing some soon.

Another big life change of mine actually start last year. Ever since I can remember I have been in athletics. Whether it was [not] scoring a bunch of goals in soccer when I could just barely walk and it led through high school and then I found myself fortunate enough to play college baseball. Since my baseball career ended I have been trying to get that fix. I was playing pickup and stuff like that but that didn’t itch the scratch that was my competitive nature that I had always had.

I would work out and started running but I really never fancied myself as just a runner. I don’t think anyone really does, but I needed more than that to look forward to. I turned my attention to triathlons. I started training and set my goal for an Olympic triathlon (mile swim, 25 mile bike, 10k) at the end of August. Along the way I raced in a sprint triathlon (half mile swim, 13 mile bike, 5k) and turns out I thought those things were fun.

I guess the normal progression for me would to try a half triathlon (1.2 mile swim, 56 mile bike, half marathon) but I wanted to really challenge myself. That is when I made a commitment to competing in an Ironman race.

If that sounds kind of crazy, it is. We are talking about a race that spans 2.4 miles in the water, 112 on the bike, and ends with a full marathon. I wanted to challenge myself like I have never been challenged before and attempt something that I can be proud of if I finish.

So here we are. I have picked my race which is going to take place October 11, 2015 in Louisville. Luckily for me a couple of my friends have ran this exact race last year so I am going to lean on them for help but really this is going to be all about how I can adapt my life to include massive amounts of training.

I have been training now for about three months and have a pretty good base. Even now I am training twice a day five to six days a week which means a lot of early mornings and a lot of times where I am not eating dinner until 7:30 or 8 and then going to bed at 9:30 p.m. This is my life and will be my life for much of the year. To be honest I don’t know if I am incredibly driven or just incredibly stupid.

Anyways, instead of just signing up for the race and doing it I decided to go in another direction. As part of the race Ironman has a foundation called the Ironman Foundation (IMF) and the foundation benefits those in the communities where Ironman events are held, by providing charitable support to a variety of local non-profit organizations.

There are a ton of great causes that the IMF contributes to and in 2014 alone they distributed approximately 1.2 million dollars in funding to nearly 1,000 organizations. That money went to things such as:

• The Madison Sports Commission provided financial assistance to 21 organizations serving over 600 Dane County, Wisconsin youth. These programs work with at-risk youth and connect them to sports in all cases, and in many cases with other support services as they grow to adulthood.

• Interfaith of the Woodlands in Texas served 133 families and nearly 550 individuals in crisis with 266 bags of perishable and non-perishable food items.

• The Uihlein-Ironman Sports Fund at Adirondack Foundation awarded grants to 17 community organizations and 13 athletes. Among the 13 Lake Placid, New York area athletes were two Olympians, training to compete on the international stage.

• Environmental Learning for Kids (ELK) provided hands-on, science education, leadership development, and experiences in Colorado’s outdoors for more than 900 low-income, culturally diverse youth from the Denver area.

• The Tahoe Fund restored 3 miles of Lake Tahoe and Truckee River shoreline. Dredging and hand pulling of weeds resulted in the removal of approximately 409 cubic feet of invasive weed materials. The area in front of the Dam was treated using 46 barriers, treating approximately 18,400 sq. feet.

• The Safe Kids Kootenai County, Idaho provided 17 bicycle helmet safety education events reaching over 600 children in pre-school through 5th grades, where 200 helmets were distributed.

• Education for Tomorrow Alliance served 780 students in 32 junior high classrooms throughout Montgomery County, Texas while engaging 40 positive adult role models (volunteers) in support of education.

• Montgomery County Youth Services in the Woodlands, TX provided a total of 96 hours of counseling sessions to 8 at-risk youth and their families over a three month period.

• Angel Reach served 114 households and their 292 members who came weekly to the Montgomery County, Texas Food Pantry. The grant also contributed towards housing costs for 22 clients and 6 of their children along with 24 day clients.

• The Boys & Girls Club of Kootenai County provided roughly 100 hours of healthy habits education through daily fitness challenges and small group learning activities to nearly 200 kids and teens in the Kootenai County, Idaho area.

• KEEN Phoenix provided 1,500 hours of free sports and recreation sessions for 106 children and youth with disabilities. Leveraging 1,800 hours of volunteer engagement, this grant provided a value of over $220,000 to their community.

This whole race is about me proving something to myself, and proving that I can conquer even the toughest challenge, but I want it to also be about giving back to the community. That is why I signed up to race for team IMF and have committed to raising $3,000 for some really great causes. Ideally I would like to raise $5,000 to stack up to the Louisville team IMF total of $13,000 raised between only five people.

So while I am going to be training for an amazingly unthinkable challenge I am also going to be on somewhat of a fundraising kick. I am going to be knocking down all doors and thanks to the people over at Ironman they have set up a spot for me on Crowdrise to help track my fundraising totals and give people a chance to contribute.

You can click on the link above to go to my fundraising site (you should) and you can make a 100% tax deductible contribution to my goal and to make a difference in someone less fortunate than you or I. You can download and print out a form to mail a check in but what is nice about the Crowdrise site is that you can make credit card donations and you will be mailed a tax deduction form immediately after you donate.

It doesn’t have to be hundreds of dollars (it can be) because every dollar matters. I know we all think it doesn’t, but in the end all of those dollars are going to add up and collectively we can accomplish more than we can individually. Like I said, it can be $1, $5, $20, or more but every little bit helps and you can even deduct it from your taxes next year so basically there is no good reason not to donate.

You guys have all been way too good to me here on the blog and I really appreciate that from the bottom of my heart. I have made a lot of good friends through this process and I am really excited to share this whole experience along the way. I will be posting fundraising and training updates throughout the rest of the year and I hope that you all know that I would love to hear from you about your training routine or good stories from a race you are training for or even positive words. While I am going to be running this race by myself on October 11 I am going to need the support from as many people as possible. There are plenty of days that I don’t want to get up and train or I want to just mail it in but the support system I have won’t let me do that and actually pushes me even harder on my training days.

This is going to be an unbelievable journey to take and I hope you will be there along the way in some capacity. Please click the link and consider donating or just do so below in the widget where you can donate.

Thanks again everyone. You are all the best.


Fundraising Websites - Crowdrise