Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thank You (Manifest Destiny)

I'm blown away by all of the nice notes and comments I receive from people since it has been announced that I'm leaving CARA. Everyone has been very generous, and I can't thank you all enough.

Working for CARA has been a unique experience. The very best part about the job has been getting to know so many people from all aspects of the running community. I'm reminded of this every time I lace up my shoes and head out for a run. When I'm on the lakefront path on a Saturday morning run I feel like I know every third person that passes me by. The many shouts and hellos on these runs are a great motivator to continue to push myself faster. When I've been in the various communities surrounding Chicago for circuit races and other runs its always comofrting to know that I will see so many familiar faces. Considering I have only been in Chicago for a little over 2 years, it already feels in some ways like a small town.

There is one drawback to holding my job as Volunteer Coordinator. The guilt! The guilt is overwhelming. So many people (too many to count) have volunteered at my request to help with numerous projects all over this great city. I never feel as though I can do enough to say thanks. Sure, CARA rewards volunteers with shirts, parties, and other convieniences, and I'm glad that is the case. However, so many volunteers go beyond the call of duty, work at a moment's notice and as quickly as their work is done dissapear without seeking any notice. With that being said, I've never received any angry correspondence asking for more acknowledgement, so I must say that I appreciate that greatly. I'm impressed by the genuine good-will efforts so many of you have put in.

Many people have asked me what I'm going to do now that I'm leaving CARA. This is an excellent question! I'm asking myself that very question.

Odds are good that I will end up in San Diego or Portland, but that is not for certain. I'll be staying in touch via this blog should anyone be so curious as to see where I end up.

I do, however have two certain plans. I will be running the Bank of America Chicago Marathon on 10/12 and the ING New York City Marathon on 11/2. I find this to be a very fitting way to leave. Chicago was the location of my first marathon (3:18 in '06) and I moved here specifically for the race (sounds crazy, but its true). And New York, if anything is a city that has built itself as the capital of the fresh start. It makes an excellent launching pad for me as I move on after the 26.2 mile journey is over.

I'm asking you one last favor before I go. I've paid my own way into both of these marathons, but I still wanted to use them as a chance to fundraise for two organizations with Chicago connections. I will be racing with Team Tiara (Girls on the Run) in Chicago and with Team World Vision in New York. You can read about both organizations and donate to the one of your choice if you so like in the links that I've provided. Even if you are unable to make a financial donation, please know that your support of my work at CARA is what has allowed me to be able to compete in these amazing events.

Keep up all of the running, volunteering, and spirit that makes Chicago one of the best running scenes in the world


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