Monthly Archives: July 2012

Running for a Cause: The Rhonda Walker Foundation

A few weeks ago I realized I had yet to do a 10K this summer. Since I’ve PR’d a 5K and half marathon this year, I figured it was time to slaughter 6.2 miles. I scrolled through the races on Run Michigan.com looking for something suitable. I had thought I had the whole summer’s schedule memorized with how obsessively I scan that website (hey, I get bored at work sometimes), but I did find a 10K I hadn’t spotted before- The Give and Get Fit 10K, benefiting the Rhonda Walker foundation. The mission of the foundation is “to empower inner city girls towards becoming strong, confident, successful, and moral future leaders”. Since 100% of the proceeds of this race went to this awesome cause, and since it was an opportunity to race in my hometown of Troy, I registered without hesitation.

The race headquarters were held at Somerset Mall ahem, EXCUSE ME- The Somerset Collection. Right away I spotted Rhonda Walker herself, walking around, taking pictures, giving away hugs. Nice to see that it’s not just her name attached to the foundation. There were different booths set up with vendors- my favorite was the Whole Foods booth that had a make-your-own-trail-mix station. So delicious, and free to boot. The race T-Shirts were a very high-quality cotton, not the cheap kind you usually get that feels like sand paper. Mojo in the Morning was also there for people who care about that. I’m a Dave and Chuck the Freak fan myself. A band played through the festivities and I really wish I remembered their name because 1) they kicked ass, and 2) I’ve seen them play charity events before. Good looks, talent, and big hearts? Definitely a band worth supporting.

Now to the race. Let’s all remember this was it’s first year so there were bound to be hiccups. As I lined up in the corral I noticed this wasn’t a really large group. “I better keep up or I’m getting lost,” I thought. My initial worry would not prove to be unfounded. The race took us through a residential neighborhood that was BARELY marked. There were several points where we weren’t sure whether to go straight, turn, run in circles, etc. At one point an exasperated lady shouted, “THIS RACE ISN’T MARKED WELL AT ALL! THIS IS RIDICULOUS!” Relax! This is a charity race, we aren’t running from Charlie through jungles of Vietnam. Word must’ve got out that runners were confused because volunteers made their way out to direct us.

Once the course became clear I realized I was well on track to PR. As I crossed mile five, I started bolting, only to realize the finish line was in sight. What? That’s not right. Well, I wasn’t going to start doing laps around the parking lot to make it a true 10K. I crossed the finish line at 49:23, which is a great pace for a 10K, except that I had only run 5.3 miles. Oh well. There were cheerleaders cheering me on at the finish line, giving away high-fives, so any ill-feelings over being shorted on miles quickly fell by the wayside.

After the race I made my way inside the mall collection for even more festivities. Young boys were there to hold the doors open for runners, and young girls who were from the foundation were there to greet us and ask how our run went. It was very sweet. Not to sound like an old man yelling from his porch, but if there’s one thing our younger generations are severely lacking, it’s manners. The Health Expo was fantastic: free Starbucks coffee, free bananas and granola bars, raffles and give aways, PLUS mini white-chocolate strawberry crepes. CREPES! France’s greatest contribution to the world. If I had stayed longer there were free Yoga and Pilates classes as well, but alas, I had a busy day ahead of me. I couldn’t believe all the free stuff I walked away with for the fairly low registration price of $25.

Despite the aforementioned snags, this was an awesome event and I would recommend it to anybody. If anything, come for the swag (and feel good knowing you’re helping young girls go to college who otherwise wouldn’t have a chance). I should also mention several Local 4 newscasters were there, along with Charles Pugh, Detroit’s city council president. Kind of funny to see talking heads walking around like normal people. Rhonda Walker is flawless looking in person. If it weren’t for her great work for the city of Detroit, I’d kind of hate her.

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These Colors Do Run

Try explaining the idea of The Color Run to an outsider, I dare you. “Basically it’s a 5K and you wear all white and people squirt colored powder all over you…” When I tried explaining The Color Run to my mother, she gave me a blank and confused stare that I took to mean, “So THIS is the crap in my daughter’s life that’s getting in the way of grand-babies.”

The Color Run in Ypsilanti on June 22nd reunited me with my Warrior Dash partner-in-crime, Christina “Swiss” Herrick, and Andrea Hudak, one of my best friends from high school. Our pre-race preparation consisted of polishing off four carafes of Sangria between four people, on empty stomachs. I have no recollection of dinner afterwards. There are several pictures now posted on Facebook of me making out with a ketchup bottle. Not one of my prouder moments…

I woke up in the morning with less than five hours of sleep and a throat that felt like sandpaper. I chugged a Gatorade but that barely made a dent in my hangover-induced thirst. I put on my tutu and sunglasses and prayed to God that I didn’t contribute to the spraying of color with my own spraying of vomit.

Despite my brown-bag blues, I perked up as soon as we arrived in Ypsilanti. After the horrific news out of Colorado on Friday, seeing a huge crowd of happy, laughing runners made me forget about my lack of faith in humanity and escape to The Color Run Universe. My friends and I took it easy and enjoyed taking pictures and laughing at all the crazy scenery. I loved all the adventurous spirits who rolled around in the excess color on the ground, and enjoyed a good chuckle at a boy who held up a sign reading, “RUN FAST- I JUST FARTED”.

For such a large race, The Color Run was handled efficiently and smoothly. The city of Ypsilanti seemed tickled to have such an event- I overheard one local woman say, “I’m so glad this is happening in Ypsi! Screw Ann Arbor!” There was a huge dance party after the run where we all bared witness to a very sweet marriage proposal.

Though I’m still trying to scrub off the blue tint from the small of my back and armpits, I had a great time at The Color Run. Next time I’d definitely take it easy the night before so I could better enjoy the happy madness around me.  Also, I hate to keep driving home the point that I like to drink (hey, you saw the title of this blog and knew what you were getting into), but it would have been nice if the race was held later in the day and beer was served at the after party, a la Warrior Dash. I wasn’t feeling the party vibe at 9am on a Sunday.

My next racing adventure will be joining up with a running group tomorrow night, The Downtown Runners. They are meeting at Harry’s in Detroit, the best place to grab a drink or two before a Red Wings or Tigers game. Running (and socializing) with strangers is outside my comfort level but I’m still looking forward to it.

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