Sunday, February 23, 2014

A brief inventory approaching six weeks of lots of running

114 donors, $7,590, two pairs of pink Mizunos, five hundred training miles, and probably 5 pounds of cookie dough truffles that likely never actually made it into truffles. That was 2013. 

So far for 2014 I've gotten 45 donations and I'm about a quarter pound in on the first round of cookie dough, without the patience to truffleize them. Spoonfuls. 

This weekend the polar vortex weather let up for half a sec, although yesterday's sidewalks were icy it felt brilliant to train in warming sun. I did not need this hat, though I think the coming week calls for oodles more cold...

Saturday's group run called for only 10 miles. Which included Heartbreak Hill and on into Kenmore Square. It's getting a little more normalized, but I still get chills cresting the Hill and as BC, then Fenway and the Hancock tower come into view. Fenway. Red Sox. Spring. Finishing Boston. But I digress. 

Yes, I'm in pink shoes again. 

I have been wearing these for traction on my bike commute more than for running, seeing as how they'd probably mess up the treadmill pretty badly...

Only. Not too long ago I would have never believed I'd consider "only" a modifier for a 10 mile run. I'm running strong, I love our Samaritans team, and I cannot say enough good about how much support I have been shown on this journey. Samaritans supports its runners well, and the runners support each other. It's a treat to be able to take part. 

But really what's on my mind as I write some thank-yous for donations received is how humbling it is to receive any of this support. People in our community have gone above and beyond, over the long haul, to help neighbor families in times of loss. I am motivated to be a better person, a better neighbor, through participating in and witnessing these myriad acts of kindness. Donations to Samaritans support Samaritans, of course, but also reflect the strength of our belief in our own community, and support for me and my crazy running trying to do some good. 

With just under two months until the Marathon, my next six weeks will be spent alternating weekends running 20 miles and running 10 for the weekend long run, and trying to squeeze in an 8-10 miler on a weekday morning before work, with weekly hill runs and bike commuting thrown in there for active recovery and saving time to get the long runs in. More cookie dough, stat!

Stay tuned for more info about my fundraising party to be held at Joe Sent Me! in Waltham on March 22! I'll be raffling off gift cards and donated signed mystery books, and a silent auction will include a photo shoot, cookie-dough truffles, hand-knit socks, and so far a donated SoulCollage® workshop valued at $375! Donations of time, services, companionship on long runs, or anything you think will help are welcomed!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Another high school suicide. This is why I'm running.

Newton, a nearby town, is reeling from losing a third teenager in recent months: Newton School's Support After Suicide.

“Every parent feels this in their heart,” Ruth Reibstein, whose two children recently graduated from Newton North, said in an interview in Newton Centre. “We all know people who are suffering, and you can’t take away all the misery and pain. All you can do is reach out and help where you can.” From the Boston Globe, Feb. 8, 2014. 

I can't say it any more loudly or clearly. As a parent, as an adult and community member, I reach out my arms to catch kids falling, and in this nightmarish reality, unlike when they were small and portable, now they are big, full of self-determination and whatever it is that prevents them from reaching back for safety.

With  my toddler I played a game that spooked an early childhood specialist. I'd say, "Baby overboard!" and my physically out-there toddler would fall backwards in my arms - always and only when it was safe would I say the magic words, when I had a good firm grip, never off of a hotel balcony. The specialist recovered her composure and said, "She really trusts you."

I would give anything for arms wide and strong enough to catch these kids. Knowing I can't do that, the next best thing is mustering support for agencies that can. Samaritans does.

Tomorrow, on my journey to Copley Square, I'm planning 17 training miles. I really do not care what the weather's going to be, I'm going to do these miles, this training, this marathon, and this fund and awareness raising anyway.

Do you know a troubled kid? Check out these resources, including signs a child may be at risk.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

How Samaritans Helps Teens...

Just under three months until April 21, when I run my heart out lifted by all the support I have received (as well as all the cheering and support given all 36,000 runners from screaming marathon fans as well as much of metro Boston off work and inconvenienced by the marathon route anyway...

What I want everyone I know who knows teenagers to know is that Samaritans is not just for adults. Over this two-year journey to Copley Square, I have talked with many who have used hotline services, volunteered to respond to crisis calls, and lost loved ones to suicide. My takeaway is that being able to talk about the loss, or during the crisis situation, is vitally important to being able to carry on with the work of being human. 

I'll let the Samaritans website tell you about their teen-specific services: 

The Samariteens is the youth peer leadership segment of our Befriending Services. It is dedicated specifically to the prevention of suicide among teens. Begun in 1986, this teen help line provides confidential peer support and understanding to teens who are struggling with feelings of depression, loneliness and stress. From 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends, this service is staffed by volunteers between the ages of 15 and 18; outside those hours, calls are answered by adult volunteers.

There are a million reasons to feel alone. Samariteens are available to talk about any of them. Callers to the Samariteen helpline do not have to be feeling suicidal, and most callers are not. Each year, more than 15,000 callers receive support, respect, acceptance and tolerance – for whatever reason they call.
IM Hear_ is Samaritans' new instant messaging service for teens, by teens, being piloted at High Schools in the greater Boston and MetroWest area. If you are interested in learning more about this program or having it available in your school, please contact Kelley Cunningham

Also note: teen volunteers answer 54 hours worth of teen helpline calls each week. That's a lot of volunteer hours. I imagine it is an empowering opportunity for kids to learn how much they have to offer, how much of a difference they can make. 

Yesterday, I ran 16 miles in support of these services. Please join me, however you can - I'd love the company especially when the wind chill is below zero, but if you aren't able to run, you can help by spreading the word about Samaritans, or supporting them with a donation. Thank you!