This past weekend should be officially dubbed “A Weekend of Sole” because it was packed to the gills with running, helping children, and Girls With Sole…and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
On Saturday, September 28th my alarm chimed much too early, but that’s what us runners have to deal with, especially on race day. I rolled out of bed in enough time to brush my teeth, eat a piece of toast and down a cup of coffee before my friend, Tattoo Liz, came to pick me up at 4:45 am. Since both of us are named Liz, and we are often together, we needed a way to differentiate which Liz our friends were talking to or about. Long ago the nickname Tattoo Liz was born, since my friend has many tattoos all over her body, and I only have one, which most people have never seen. Thus, I’m “Liz” and she’s “Tattoo Liz.” It works.
So, Tattoo rolled up at the butt crack of dawn so that we could head to Akron to run the marathon together!
It’s funny how exhausted I felt until I got into the car with my buddy! It’s like a shot of double espresso when the two of us are together, especially when running is involved. The morning was a bit chilly, and as we stood in the corral with thousands of other runners in the dark before the start, I wondered for a split second why the heck I was standing in the middle of downtown Akron in the wee hours of the morning, freezing my ass off. But then the starting gun went off, and the people in our corral started moving forward. The excitement and enthusiasm of the race start washed away any and all second guessing I was doing a minute before. As we ran under the Akron Marathon banner with Carl Orff’s “O Fortuna” blasting over the loudspeakers, serving as our own personal soundtrack, I felt like the toughest human on the planet.
The 2013 Akron Marathon was my 20th marathon.
I’m currently on “A Quest For Sole” to run a full marathon in all 50 States to raise funds and advocate for Girls With Sole. I have done 20 marathons, but only 6 of them can count towards this Quest, since most of them were done in Ohio. I guess we’ll chalk the Akron Marathon up to a training run for my Quest!
Whatever it was…it was a ton of fun!
We stopped to hug a person in a blow up chipmunk suit!
And stopped a couple times along the way to say hi to friends and pose for pictures!
To me, it’s really all about having fun, staying injury free, and enjoying the experience, while getting the word out there about Girls With Sole! Mission accomplished, and we finished in about 4 hours and 17 minutes.
After the race I went home and got ready for a night at Progressive Field….but not for an Indians Game. I had the distinct pleasure of being the MC for the 1st Annual Homeplate Celebration for the Northeast Ohio Adoption Services non-profit organization.
Being the MC for this event was very meaningful to me. NOAS helps Foster Care kids find forever families – and not only was I a Foster Care kid – but they also help a lot of girls who I have worked with in my Girls With Sole programming. I knew it would be a challenge to run the marathon and then run the event, but being able to advocate for these fabulous kids gives me the energy and drive to do anything!
I had a fantastic time, and met some incredible, like-minded people who are passionate about helping this population of kids before they age out of the system. It was an honor to be chosen as their MC and also to be given the chance to tell my story, and the story of Girls With Sole. I was thrilled to have several people follow up with me to let me know how inspired they were by what I said, and also by my running.
I was amazed that I could put on a pair of heels and keep my wits about me enough to speak to the crowded room in the Terrace Club. Girls With Sole, and kids in need, serve as some amazing motivators! 🙂
Saturday was full of action, but it didn’t stop there. This IS the Weekend of Sole, don’t ya know!
Sunday, September 29th brought another fantastically early morning alarm. It was time for the Believe & Achieve 5k and 10k Trail Race for Girls With Sole! I picked up a couple of the girls who needed a ride to the race, and off we went to the Penitentiary Glen Reservation in Lake Metroparks!
The weather was perfect and the girls were ready to rock the trails! We couldn’t have had a better day! The race is kindly and generously put on every year – for the public and for our Girls With Sole – by the amazing Zack Johnson and the members of OUTRUN. Ohio Ultra Trail Run-ners.
For many of our girls it was a first on the trails. For many it was a first 5K! For all of them, it was a time to believe in their abilities and achieve empowerment.
I don’t think I could have fit anymore awesomeness into one weekend…or into my heart.
Girls With Sole affects everything I do, and touches more people’s lives than I ever could have imagined. It’s all about moving forward and “Lacing Up for a Lifetime of Achievement.”
It never ceases to amaze me how powerful the Finish Line Feeling really is, and how it can unite people like nothing else!