Race 1 on June 15th
On Saturday, August 17th, I finished races 23 and 24 in my journey to 100. That's 24 races since starting on June 15th (and only 1 trip to the ER lol). I gave myself a year to complete the 100 races and I'm happy to say I'm ahead of schedule, but I'd also be lying if a part of me (the extremely competitive part) hasn't asked why I didn't say I would attempt more than 100 (and that's a thought I've contemplated more than once). However, I continue to be reminded that as personal a journey this is and will continue to be for me, it is about so much more than my own personal accomplishments and so many more people.
With all that's happened so far in the past 2 months, it's hard for me to believe that there is still 10 months left. I can't even begin to imagine what the rest of the year will bring. I've not only had the opportunity to run some incredible races, but have made so many new connections and met so many incredible people along the way that I never would have imagined. I find myself feeling incredibly blessed to have the chance to be having such an experience for a cause that's so important to not only me, but millions of others out there who have been touched by Alzheimer's Disease.
Completion of Race 24
I feel like I could already write a book about the experiences in the last 2 months, just to be able to share with all those who have supported the mission so far. I'm truly amazed by the support I've received so early on from not only those close to me, but those who don't know me, yet still believe that I can reach my goals. The $1 million mark is still a long way off, but I still have faith that we can hit that mark as word spreads further and further.
While this a blog post occurs at a pretty important milestone, I find myself at a loss to truly convey everything I want to (which is strange because usually I'm quite verbose). Maybe I'll have more to post later, but for now, the journey continues. Still 76 races to go and still so much time to help create greater awareness of such a terrible disease. There are some truly demanding races coming up in a very short period of time and some great opportunities for spreading the word on a larger scale. I love the challenge, I love the cause, and I love the opportunity I have to try to make an attempt to have some impact in the fight against Alzheimer's.
With that, it's on to month number three. Bring it!
This past Saturday, August 3rd, I had the opportunity to run the MuckFest MS on Belle Isle, MI. I hadn't originally intended to run this particular event, but after a series of a cancellations, I ended up there. Let me tell you, I'm glad it worked out that way. It not only gave me the opportunity to run for my own personal cause, but also in support of my Uncle (and godfather) Vern Kloha, work colleague Dan Digmann and his wife Jennifer, and a college friend, Katie, who's family has dealt with the disease in many capacities. In fact, Katie's team that travels around the state for many MS walks and have become incredible advocates for MS, had the largest team at the event of 58. You can learn more about their team at www.thefightingshamrocks.com.
Now, what I will say, is that this was not the most challenging obstacle race for me. However, let me make this abundantly clear as you'll read later, this is not a bad thing at all. At no point in their advertising does MuckFest claim to be a tough challenge (or as the trend goes in OCR to make the claim of being the toughest race of all those out there). Instead they focus on their purpose - a fun event that's meant to bring awareness and fundraise for the MS Society.
In that regard, the MuckFest MS certainly delivered! It was a pretty incredible event to be a part of. Obviously, most races have their own charity they partner with, but this race is specific for Multiple Sclerosis. The course was about raising money and awareness for the disease, those participating having fun, and not about the difficulty of the obstacles.
Let me start with the beginning of the race. As we gathered for our wave time, a representative of the MS Society for Michigan came out and spoke about how important this event was and how many people in Michigan live with the disease (18,000). She then asked how many people in the wave of several hundred knew someone with MS, and without fail, every single person raised their hand - something I had not witnessed when a similar question has been asked at other events. During the race, many people were walking, even right from the start, but it was evident that this event was not about the race itself, but the support of the MS Society. In all the races I've done, I've never seen such large teams, all with some sort of t-shirt or other form of clothing, speaking to the effect of how they were doing it to fight MS or for a specific person.
While MuckFest MS may not fit the traditional OCR mold, I don't think that's a bad thing. They put on a great event, they had a great turn out, the volunteers were incredibly supportive and encouraging, and the environment was about the cause - what I can only assume was the reason they started the MuckFest MS. With so many OCR's closing down lately, I can only hope that MuckFest MS is able to continue. They offer great fun, for a great cause, and I would encourage anyone looking to enjoy a simple, fun mud run to support an incredible cause, I would certainly encourage you to check out the MuckFest MS.
I wrote a post earlier about the Warrior Dash because it was my second race of my 100 race journey, and I have a couple more still to come on the schedule. In true Red Frog Events style, they put on another great weekend of races in Mount Morris, MI. Instead of focusing on the race itself, I figured I'd focus on some pretty cool moments from the races of the Michigan Warrior Dash weekend.
On Saturday, in addition to a lot of friends I ran into from the gym I instruct at, as well as fraternity brothers and friends from college, I had the chance to introduce my Aunt Susie and our friend Tammy to their first ever obstacle race. I'm pretty sure I was more excited for them to have the experience than I was to run (which I'm always excited). So excited in fact, that when we got to the race I realized I had forgotten to pack my shoes - quite possibly the worst thing to forget for a race and always a consistent fear of mine. I was left with 2 choices, run the course barefoot, (which I'll be honest, really wasn't an option - I've seen some folks pull it off, but I would never try it), or cram my feet into the extra pair of shoes Tammy had brought with her. Obviously, I made the latter decision and while it was a slightly painful experience, I made it through nonetheless.
Both of them absolutely loved the race, they did great, and once they crossed the finish line they said they now understood why I loved to run obstacle races so much and how they could be addicting. My aunt was so excited that she actually came very close to signing up to run on Sunday again with me! They're already excited to run again next year. I also had the chance to crawl around in the mud and jump over the fire a few extra times to get some extra photographs with a photographer from Great Lakes Bay Magazine for the story they're doing on Run to Remember...so I got to have even more fun!
On Sunday, my cousin Kimmy joined me for her first ever obstacle race as well. She had a great mindset going in and was extremely excited! Her biggest goal was simply to finish, complete every obstacle, and enjoy her time out there...and she succeeded on all 3 accounts. Even though it was a slightly colder event, especially for late July in Michigan, she once again enjoyed it completely. I think I've created another OCR addict, and she's already gearing up and preparing to run her next Warrior Dash here in Michigan in September, where she'll be joined by her daughter, Errin for her first obstacle race as well! Kimmy's also ready to try some other obstacle races, most specifically the MuckFest MS next time it's in Michigan, to run for her dad, and my uncle, who has MS.
So far, that's been one of the great things about running so many races, and doing it for such a great cause. Friends and family, even people I don't know, who haven't run an obstacle race before want to try one because they get to see the fun I'm having and they want to be a part of the quest to 100 races, help bring awareness to Alzheimer's, and hopefully reach the goal of $1 million to support the Alzheimer's Association. It continues to show me that while this is obviously an extremely personal mission and endeavor, it touches so many others, and I'm extremely thankful for the support and those that want to be involved. It's barely over a month and a half since I started running, and I've already found myself so incredibly lucky, I can't imagine what the rest of the year will hold!