Thursday, August 30, 2012


I’ve been lacking motivation. The running has been taking a toll on my body. Skin, muscles, brain – you name it, it’s exhausted. Dan and I have the Disneyland Half Marathon coming up Sunday, and I’m not even excited about it. All I can think about is how I have 146.2 miles to run in September alone. That’s only 37.82 miles LESS than what from the end of June through tomorrow.

Then I saw someone posting on Facebook about a new running app. Always a sucker for anything that might make me move faster, I clicked to find out more.
Now you can change the world just by walking, running or biking. All you need is an iPhone or an Android and the free Charity Miles app. As you walk, run or bike, the app will track your distance and you'll raise awareness and earn money for your charity:
  • bikers earn 10¢ per mile;
  • walkers and runners earn 25¢ per mile;
  • all up to One Million Dollars, courtesy of our corporate sponsors.
So wait, just by getting my butt in gear I can earn money for charity? And I don’t have to beg my friends for it? Sign me up!

But wait… Where does the money come from? According to the Terms and Conditions:
We have committed a $1,000,000 purse (the “Purse”) for users like you to earn on behalf of the Charities.  We hope to increase the size of the Purse by attracting sponsorships from third party sponsors (each, a “Sponsor”) who, for various reasons, may desire to sponsor Charity Miles and our users.  If we are able to attract sponsorships in excess of the Purse, then we will increase the size of the Purse—thereby increasing the amount of money that you and other users can earn for the Charities. 

Okay, fine. There’s got to be a down side. The biggest “problem” with the app, according to iTunes and Android reviews? You’re forced to have a Facebook account, and you have to sync your activity from the app to your Facebook. People across the reviews hate this. However, it makes sense why in the Terms:

When you finish a session, the Application will summarize your achievements and offer you a sponsorship for your Charity.  To accept the sponsorship, you will be asked to share your achievements, raise awareness for your Charity and (please) thank your Sponsor on Facebook and/or Twitter.  In each instance, we will present you with a proposed but editable message to share.  Subject to the User Content Rules (described below) you can say anything you want in these messages.  However, as we discuss below, we encourage you to thank your Sponsors.

Also, please note: if you do not accept the sponsorship, then your achievements will not accrue on behalf of your Charity.  We have instituted this policy for two reasons.  First, walking, running and biking for charity is not just about raising money—it is also about raising awareness.  Therefore, we want to encourage you to use Charity Miles to promote your Charities as much as possible.  

Second, while our Sponsors are genuinely grateful for the opportunity to support you, we are just as grateful for their support.  So, if you are grateful for your Sponsor’s support, then we encourage you to promote them too.  It’s not required.  But the point of Charity Miles is to turn amateur walkers, runners and bikers into sponsored athletes.  And just like professionally sponsored athletes, we should try to do right by our Sponsors.  Remember: the more we support our sponsors, the more they will support us.  And the more they support us, the bigger the Purse will be for the Charities!

Okay, makes sense. You can also adjust your privacy settings so that only you can see the posts. I haven’t tried the app yet, so I don’t know how annoying the Facebook spamming is. However, my mother always told me to write thank you notes. If I’m earning free money, I am going to say thank you.

There are also some complaints about the GPS signal not being strong, and not all the miles being calculated. Well, that sucks, but it was free money to begin with. Something is better than nothing, and I’m sure as the app picks up in popularity, this kink will be worked out.

Two things that would make this app perfect? Allow us to sync our runs from our preferred GPS device (Garmin, Nike+, RunKeeper, whatever). I also wish you could somehow track treadmill running into this app. There are some days where I just can’t make it outside. It’s bad enough that I feel like I’m on a hamster wheel, don’t tell me that my treadmill miles don’t actually count!

I certainly don’t think I’d use this app as my primary mileage logger, but if I can turn my 146.2 miles into $36.55 for charity, why not? Especially if it goes to puppies and kitties.

Have you run or bikes with Charity Miles? What are your experiences with the app?

Thursday, August 23, 2012


After my last post, I begged for more donations on Facebook. I was so close to my goal of $1,000, and I'm not above groveling. It worked!!!

Thank you so much to everyone that has supported me both emotionally and financially.  This money will not bring Justin back, but it will go towards childhood cancers. For those who haven't donated, the best part about your donation is you can specify where it goes. Thank you to those who donated, no matter what area you chose.

In other great news, in celebration of Childhood Cancer Awareness month, ALSF's founding corporate sponsor, Volvo, has announced that they will match all Team Lemon donations to my race fundraising efforts made from now through September. So please don't think that just because I hit goal means I am going to stop fundraising. Volvo will double my total raised, so I will work harder than ever!

Since I have started fundraising, I have run in honor of Justin:

Thank you Justin, for inspiring me in ways I never thought possible. We love you, and we miss you.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Running in Slow Motion

After I was finally feeling faster and stronger in my runs, the middle of August hit and I feel like I’ve been going backwards. It's been hard to blog because even with using childhood cancer as motivation, I still suck at this.

On August 11 and 12, the long runs were enough to make me want to quit. On Saturday, August 11 Dan came with me to tackle the 12 miles before our haircuts that afternoon. The weekend was packed – following the hair appointments, we were heading up to New Brunswick for a wedding, and the next day driving down to a friend’s place in Drexel Hill for an afternoon BBQ.

I don’t remember the specifics. I think I blocked them all out. I do remember we started late, my stomach hurt, my legs felt like lead, and 4 miles in I realized we weren’t going to have time to finish. We walked about two miles home, me pouting all along the way, and swore to do it the morning after the wedding. The wedding itself was beautiful, and it was great to catch up with Dan’s friends from Princeton. I hadn’t seen some of them in years!

We slept in until about 8 AM, found the Delaware and Raritan Canal State Park, and decided we were going to run through New Brunswick to get there, run there, and then be back in time to check out from the hotel and then head down to Drexel Hill. We were completely unprepared, under fueled, dehydrated, and basically messes. Things were going really well for the first couple miles, and then we got lost. The sun was blazing. We had to travel on roads without sidewalk and no shoulder. We finally found our entrance to the park, and we basically had to ford the river. REALLY?! After we crossed the river (no oxen died), we hit a beautiful, shaded trail that I’d love to explore again.

By the time we hit mile 5 we were out of water and out Shot Blok was gone. We decided to turn around and surrender. We took a more direct route back to the hotel, which prevented us from getting lost, but provided zero shade and some scary neighborhoods. I think the only time I ran during those two-ish miles was when Starbucks was in sight. Dan and I spent over $20 in non-coffee beverages, we were so thirsty. We happily walked and chugged out beverages, and made it back to the hotel. We completed 10.1 miles of the needed 12. I tried to shake it off that we really did 14.33 in 24 hours, and that was close enough. I was very disappointed though.

Monday I excelled at the rest day, and went to Target and bought enough fuel so that Dan and I would never crash on a trail again.

Then Tuesday I woke up with a cold. My midweek runs were scheduled to be 3 miles, 7 miles, 4 miles, but I was scared that I was going to feel worse Wednesday, so I did the 7 Tuesday. Wednesday my car battery died, and I didn’t get home until 8 PM. Thursday I took a sick day from work and training. Friday didn’t go much better. Saturday was Natalie’s dress fitting and shower, so Dan and I just took a walk for cross training.

Sunday Dan and I set out for 15 miles. It took about a half hour longer than I would have liked, but at least this time we were hydrated and fueled. I was feeling pretty miserable from mile 1, but I finished and that’s all I care about. Here I am, sore two days later and praying my 3 miles tonight doesn’t kill, and that it doesn’t drag. I’m over these miles going in slow motion!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Gearing Up

I got my runs in this week. They were all on the treadmill and would have been super boring if not for the Olympics. I’m too obsessed with the Olympics to waste an hour running outside and missing some event that I’ll never watch again, like water polo. Spoken like a true faux athlete.

Let’s talk about gear instead! I acquired a lot of it this week. First up: new shoes!

I tried really hard to like my Mizunos. I went and got fitted, and I wanted us to be BBFs and run together forever (or until I hit too many miles). However, those little jerks loved to rub me the wrong way. I got fancy socks, fancy band-aids, and it didn’t matter. After getting blistered in the arch of my foot, I decided enough was enough. I Googled “shoes for fat runners,” did a whole lot more research, and then found these babies on sale at Nordstrom. Oh, they were so pretty, and Asics treated me so well when training for the Disney Princess Half. I harassed everyone on GChat that was available, and I think they told me to get the shoes so I’d stop whining. Considering I could barely walk, I agreed, and instead of watching the Olympics and getting my 3 mile run in, I went to the Cherry Hill Mall to surrender my wallet. I got my beautiful new shoes, along with my official “marathon” capris that are not only flattering but also on supersale:

I also headed to the Disney Store and got my Minnie ears for the Disneyland Half Marathon:

I hobbled back to the car, exhausted but satisfied. I swore I’d test out the new shoes for my 3 mile run Friday. Instead I went to Wal-Mart and spent a couple hours selling my soul in the name of a cheap DIY Minnie costume. Soul sucked dry, I came home and fell asleep on the couch. For hours. How productive of me.

Saturday I had 7 miles to do. By the time I got outside, it was approximately a million degrees and lasted 1.2 miles before resigning myself to the treadmill, yet again. I started from scratch and got done the 7 miles in 1:21:50. I realized during the run I’d officially cross over 100 miles complete since starting on 6/25:
Sunday I got up earlyish to watch the end of the women’s marathon, then watched some of the men’s singles gold match before heading to the gym and biking for the final 45 minutes of it. Since my legs were feeling sore, I decided to try out my super cool looking PRO Compression socks:

I have to say, my legs felt a lot better with them on than not! They didn’t provide any cushioning though, so I think they will have to be for recovery more than during a run. I came back and checked the mail finally (oops) and saw my Team Lemon shirt arrived!

I guess that means I really have to run this thing, doesn’t it?