Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Year in North Minneapolis! Many Lives Changed!!!

It's been one year since Brian and I were married and moved into the Willard Hay neighborhood in North Minneapolis.  We loved our home and the location, with a small footprint a great yard and the ability to ski out our backdoor in the middle of a metropolitan area, we were convinced that it was going to be a great year.

Brian and I knew that both our projects in North Minneapolis would benefit from our close proximity to their locations and the potential to see the kids on a regular basis outside of the parks. What we didn't anticipate was the impact we would have on the kids who lived on our own block!

After only a few days it was evident that Brian and I were a new kind of neighbors. We left at strange hours on strange equipment. We spent long hours outside doing jumps and yard work and we always had healthy snacks at hand!

We were like magnets for a family (a huge family) of kids down the block. They were bored and we seemed REALLY interesting. So Brian and I did what has become a natural reaction for us...We encouraged them to join us and to seek out new opportunities and adventures in their surroundings!

Looking back at all the photos and thinking about all of the memories leaves me with a sudden realization. In-The-Arena enabled me to continue racing beyond college, fulfill my dreams of competing in the Olympic Games but more then that, it helped me achieved the greatest accomplishment of my life, changing the trajectory of a child's life and seeing the gratitude in their smiles. Thank you Amory and all of the supporters of In-The-Arena from myself and the kids of Thomas Ave. N.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Volunteering with Grils on the Run and Athleta!!!

Last weekend I had the opportunity to volunteer for a running race here in the Twin Cities! The event was called Get in Gear and I have run it a handful of times in previous years. The race had volunteers for various non-profit organizations work at a particular water stop. I was there representing Girls on the Run and Athleta! If our water stop (#2) was the most "fun" Girls on the Run would receive and extra $500 donation!

After fueling up on some coffee and sports drink we started making the most of the dreary and cold Saturday morning! The event was a half-marathon so we had plenty of time to set up tables and thousands of water and sports drink cups! I was shocked at how much liquids we went through despite the cooler weather! People are being smart and hydrating! I like it :)

I had a blast working with both Girls on the Run and Athleta at the event. Both groups are filled with energetic and hard-working individuals. I love what they do! I think they enjoyed having me around to keep the energy high! (I was really just trying not to freeze!). I had a few runners come through who recognized me and a whole lot of people who thanked all of us for volunteering!

Like I said before I have run this race in the past but that seems easy compared to the work that goes into these water stops! I was amazed at how gracious people were and how good it made me feel that they appreciated our help! I can't wait to thank all the volunteers at the next event I race in!!! Especially if it is 40F and raining :)