Friday, September 16, 2011

Community

How would you define “community”?  I always thought of it simply as a geographic region such as a city.  Merriam-Webster defines it as “a unified body of individuals”.  After this past weekend I couldn't agree more!

I've been running with RunnersWorld Tulsa training groups for a few years and have made many new friends along the way.  I’ve discovered some with common beliefs (and some polar opposites). 

Over the past few months a saw something unexpected – a simple “suggestion” became more like a virus in a small community.  Of course it was fueled by discussion, support and a bit of peer pressure.  Before long nine dedicated runners had become Triathletes!  These people went out of their way to take on a new challenge.  Nothing motivated them more than the encouragement from their running buddies – their community.  They dusted off their bikes or borrowed biked from friends and neighbors, researched training plans, and rallied each other for long training sessions. 


Misty, Darcy, Sue, Kathy, Guy, Troy, Tom, Venus and Lygea (not pictured) are now TRIATHLETES and members of another strong community!!

The most impressive thing to me is that each person had the courage to start.  While each had their own reason they worked together as a community to take on and overcome a new challenge.  I’m glad that I can call each one of the people my “triathlete buddy” now (in addition to my “running buddy”).

Lifelong Connections
This reminds me of the results I see with the kids attending Westside YMCA and Camp Takatoka.  Many of these kids start their first week away from home in a strange location with strange kids and councilors.  By the end of the five days they have made friends for life, learned they can take on new challenges and overcame their fears.  These experiences are truly life-changing and these kids will be part of an unbreakable community of their own.

I’m able to see firsthand how my financial and time contributions have impacted many lives.  This is why I am donating as much as I can this year.  I encourage you to do the same.  As of today I have raised $1039.  Please join me and my other buddies supporting this community.  You can donate now at http://www.ymcatulsa.org/

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Weekend Adventures

I was lucky enough to spend Saturday searching in the woods at Westside YMCA.  Normally this YMCA is for kids and summer camp.  But this weekend was for big kids at the third annual TATUR Mud, Sweat and Tears Adventure Race.

This race reminds me of the fun the kids have at Westside YMCA summer camp.  I feel like I’m experiencing the fun and challenges of camp – team work, problem solving, pushing your limits and learning new skills.  These experiences are exactly why I am so passionate about the YMCA youth programs and do what I can to help send more kids to camp.

This was the third year of the Mud, Seat and Tears Adventure Race race and the third year that I participated.  I was looking for a teammate who could uphold my record – last place finish.  Kathy Hoover agreed to run with me this year.  I was concerned her abilities might get us better than last place – until she told me she would have to borrow a mountain bike.  We were set to race.

This is a fun race all based on the name “adventure race” since you don’t know what you’re getting into until at the start line – or sometimes in the middle of the race.  Teams of two only told to bring a mountain bike, running shoes and “problem solving skills”.


18 teams lined up at the start line at 9:00am for the race instructions.  First up was a scavenger hunt around the Westside YMCA. We had to search through trees, streams and rocks to find the letters “RACE”.  Then we were told to go to Lake Logan to find our “jug” – which of course was floating in the lake.  Kathy took that one and didn’t waste any time taking off shoes and socks like other runners.

Then it was a 16 mile bike ride along the west side trails to find hidden checkpoints.  Some were camouflaged and others were well hidden – like just inside the Trek Store with all of the employees huddled around watching the runners scramble.  The last three miles of the bike was across Turkey Mountain.  It was a fairly mild bike trail and I actually rode about half of it. 


We were given another challenge at the start of the run - carry an egg with you and if you bring it back whole you get two minutes deducted from your time.


By the time we started the run it was starting to heat up – what turns out to be the last 100+ day of the summer (well, I hope).  We then had a 4+ mile run through Turkey Mountain to hit another 10 checkpoints.  This route was pretty tough as it took us to all of the high points on the mountain – and what seemed like all of the low points with all of the ups and downs. 

By noon I was feeling a little nauseous so we walked a lot of the run course.  We found all of the check points without any problems.  Thanks to the weekly TATUR runs I felt like I knew where I was at most of the time.  We saw several teams who had gotten off course or missed a few check points so they were backtracking.


We finished the run course and made it to the finish line with our unbroken egg (thanks to my Mary Poppins style Camelbak.  Our finish time was 3:27.  This was my fastest time for this race, but too fast for last place.  We were 12th overall (out of 18 teams) and 4th place coed team.

This was another great year for a great race around Turkey Mountain and other areas of Tulsa.  Scott Herbst and the other volunteers made the day a lot of fun and I can’t wait to do this again next year.  [And thanks for letting me snag some photos from the facebook group.  There are many more at http://www.facebook.com/groups/235811509798853/.]


Mark your calendars for September 8th 2012 and join this crazy fun.