2011 Chicago Marathon

(I’m raising awareness/money for Lemonade International by running the 2011 Chicago Marathon. You can help education and feed the children of La Limonada by donating here).

About a year and a half ago a friend of mine, Katie Nolan, was lost on Mt. Hood. She and her two friends who were hiking with her died on the mountain as they were caught in a storm.  While I had not talked with Katie for about a year or so (last I saw her was at a wedding) she had been a good friend of ours. She and my wife played volleyball together and she was an integral part of the formation of our church community just as we were getting our feet wet with what it means to be a church for the sake of others. She always pushed us to care for others outside our community in such beautiful (and difficult) ways. She was one of those people who never seemed settled in herself.  I am sure there are different reasons for this that I did not know of but I think a major part of it was that she did not close her eyes to the pain around her – and it affected her.  It was a holy unsettledness that I think more of us should have.

Before she died she had been planning on running the Philadelphia Marathon with some of our friends. With her not being able to do that a number of us decided that we would run in her memory. I was one of those who decided to do that but I quickly realized that there was little chance I would be able to train for a full marathon so I settled for the half-marathon in Philly instead. Call my a baby if you want but at that time I thought running was a horrible form of torture.

I never thought I’d be a runner. I always felt sorry for those poor people running down the road looking all tired. I mean, who runs for fun? But, to my surprise that race completely hooked me. I loved almost every mile of it. Miles 10-12 totally sucked because I hadn’t properly trained for it but the finish was so awesome.  It was then that I decided that I would try to actually do a marathon in 2011.

I decided quickly that I wanted to have my first marathon be in Chicago since that’s where I grew up and I’ve heard its an amazing experience. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that its a very flat course either.

I’ve since learned that running is a time when I do some of my best thinking. I don’t run with music so its easy for my mind to wander into all sorts of things. I love the quiet and the solitude of being out on the road all alone.

It was during one of my early training runs that I decided that I didn’t want to just run for myself.

So, on October 9th I’ll be running 26.2 miles for the beautiful people of La Limonada in Guatemala City.  A little over three years ago we adopted a beautiful, spunky and creative little boy from Guatemala and since then we’ve had a special place in our heart for the people in his birth country. Two years ago I met Bill Cummings at a conference and was introduced to his organization Lemonade International.  Lemonade Intl. supports two schools in La Limonada, Central America’s largest slum – home to between 65,000 and 100,000 people living in a cycle of extreme poverty.

All this to say, I’m running this marathon to raise awareness and money for this community. I designed a shirt for the event so that everyone I pass (hopefully its a lot of people!) will learn about it. (The pic at the top of this post is the shirt).

I’d be honored if you would sponsor me for my race and you can do that at my Lemonade Stand on Lemonade International’s website here.

Or, you can do me one better – start your own lemonade stand!