Monday, February 28, 2011

Meet Dan McKenna

...he's a bada$$ runner going to Conquer Atacama next week!!

Oh yeah, that's the mug of a rock star!
I was honored to talk to Dan on the phone the other day about his fundraising efforts and his training schedule, but I warned him that I'm no Barbara this may be a crude recap of the interview, and I apologize in advance, Dan!  But overall, it was awesome to talk to such a dedicated and driven athlete.

First, a little about the Atacama Crossing:
  • The Atacama Crossing (Chile) is part of the 4 Deserts which was named by TIME magazine as #2 on its list of Top 10 Endurance Competitions in the world.
  • The Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2011 is the seventh edition of the event.
  • The Atacama Desert is 15 million years old and 50 times more arid than California's Death Valley.
  • The entire race will be held at least 1.6 kilometers / 1 mile above sea level and cover the distance required to make a horizontal crossing of the country of Chile (250 kilometers / 150 miles).
  • The highest altitude on the course is at Camp 1 and is 3000 meters /10,000 feet.

Facts from HERE

Some highlights from the interview:

Where does he do most of his training?
Almost all of Dan's running is done on a treadmill at a gym, with high inclines, speeds and a pack on his back for training.  He tries to run at least five times per week at a 7:30-8:00 min/mile pace with his pack.  And, at 6'3", he stands out quite a bit on the treadmill.

What made him choose St. Baldrick's for his fundraising efforts?
His uncle has been very involved with the foundation for the past couple years; he works closely with the board of directors and raises much needed funds for research.  Dan's been involved with the foundation with his family but not as closely as he is now with the fundraising efforts.  He's always wanted to run this race (the Atacama Crossing), so when he saw that a person can run it and designate a charity he knew he needed to work with St. Baldrick's.  After talking to his uncle, Dan was set up with event coordinators to help with the fundraising efforts.  He is dedicating each Stage of the event in memory and in honor of five New York area children diagnosed with cancer. 

At the time of the interview, Dan has raised $4200.  His company, Morgan Stanley, has pledged to match whatever Dan raises.  With hopes to raise at least $10,000 beyond the race, he is really close to his goal.  I personally think he will bring in a lot more!

Plus, once he returns home, Dan is going to shave his head in honor of St. Baldrick's!

When did he start running?
Dan's played soccer competitively his whole life, and even received a scholarship to Villanova for soccer.  He was always training, always a runner.  However, as soccer season came to a close during his Junior year, he succumbed to a devastating knee injury (torn ACL, lateral meniscus, medial meniscus, MCL...).  After a little rehab he was able to still be active and compete at a decent level.  After college ended though, he missed the competitive "fix" and started running every day after work.  He was hooked.  For him, running was a way to clear his mind and relieve stress--burning extra energy on a nice long run felt great.  So, he started running small races, 5Ks here and there, and then completed a triathlon.  Eventually he got a little tired of the shorter distances and tried his hand at military-style challenges (with obstacles), and eventually started researching more physically demanding races like ultras.

Does he have a time goal in mind?
Dan's a little anxious going into the race, but he'd be happy finishing in the top 25%, or at least the top 50%.  His goal is to actually run the entire distance.  However, there are certain aspects of the course that he cannot be prepared for, such as the altitude and terrain.  To stay positive and hyped up is how he plans on staying energized for the race.

Is he sponsored by anyone?
All of the race fees, transportation costs, gear costs, etc., were funded entirely by Dan himself.  All of the money raised will go directly to the St. Baldrick's cause!  Donate HERE.

The oldest mummies on earth were found in the Atacama Desert...what would he do if he found one?
Name it first, but might have to leave him--it'd be extra baggage!  Perhaps just mark the location and be off on his way.  Dan will be documenting by taking pictures throughout the run and will try for some video footage as well.

  • Follow Dan's journey through his Facebook page HERE.
  • Find out more about the St. Baldrick's Foundation on their Facebook page or their website
  • Donate to Dan's fundraising page HERE.

Thank you SO MUCH to Dan for the fun chat!  Also, thank you to Melissa for setting this up!  My co-interviewer, Goober, listened intently and added some gurgling insight to the conversation when she felt the need.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Icy Runs, Dead Mice and Two "Abreast"

Kerrie & I making "Hell-Yes Hill" our beeyotch
Yesterday's solo 4 miler was pretty great...that is, until I stepped on a dead mouse.  Don't worry, I wasn't the one who sealed its fate, as it looked like it'd been on the sidewalk that way for a while.  But then again, it made an awful crunch sound that made me squeal and double back, then feel awful for stepping on a deceased creature. :(  Overall, it was gross.  Luckily nothing got on my shoe because the ground and everything around it was frozen.  If this had been a summer thing, I might've puked.  However, I definitely had a great, speedy solo run. :)

This morning was another one of those fantastic runs...but this time it was with Kerrie, Mel and Amy.  We set off to accomplish 12 miles on a fairly hilly trail, and through wind, rain, icy rain, slick bridges, snow arrows, dodging horse poo, running "two abreast" (aka "aboob"), that's-what-she-said jokes and trying to do math at the turnaround, we had a great time.  Running with friends really makes a huge difference in training.  The miles just fly right by!

Let me just say that we didn't really need to take ice baths after the run (except Kerrie is the crazy one who did!)...I'm not sure about the others, but I may have broke my truck's heated seats with my frozen butt.  The heater could not get me warm fast enough and my hot epsom salt bath had to be reheated twice because, again, my frozen arse caused ice cubes to form in the tub (well, not quite, but you get the idea).
Mel, Amy & Kerrie post-run
Mid-run potty break. Amy, the ninja & myself.
Trying not to slip on the ice
Kerrie & I pose!
Mel & I pose!
Near the spooky marsh part of the trail. 
Thanks for a great run, ladies!  See you next week, right? ;)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Mini-Me & ABC's

LOOK!  Goober and I have matching "running" outfits!!

I'm working on my Dan McKenna recap, but in the meantime, here's the ABC's of ME. ;)

(A) Age:  27
(B) Bed Size:  An uncomfortable Queen
(C) Chore You Hate:  Mopping floors. Gah!
(D) Dogs?  I've been afraid of dogs since I was little, but I'm getting better with them.  Don't have one personally.
(E) Essential Start Your Day Item:  I can't function without something to eat.  And now I add coffee to that thanks to Goober
(F) Favorite Color:  Blue
(G) Gold or Silver?  Silver. Like TMB, I don't like yellow gold...I'm too pale to pull it off.
(H) Height:  5'7"...maybe a smidgen less
(I) Instruments You Play:  Used to play the violin, now I can play the kazoo like a jedi master
(J) Job Title:  Now I'm just Mum/Housewife, before I was Office Manager & Special Order Furniture Coordinator
(K) Kids:  Miss Goober, 15 weeks
(L) Live:  Kent, WA.  Hoping to move back to Seattle very soon.
(M) Mom's Name:  Sharon <3
(N) Nicknames:  Zozo, Zobo, BCPness (long story), Zo, Z
(O) Overnight Hospital Stays?  Only once, and that was 15 weeks ago
(P) Pet Peeve:  Empty toilet paper rolls on the roller with a new roll just sitting on top of it. Grrr.  Oh, and drivers that don't use turn signals.
(Q) Quote from a Movie:  "The pen is BLUE!" - Liar Liar 
(R) Right or Left Handed?  Righty.
(S) Siblings:  Older sibs--Kristal (her birthday is today!), Ryan, Karrie; Younger sibs--Bria, Liza
(T) Time You Wake Up?  Um, it varies. Sometimes it's 5am, sometimes it's 7.  Goober is the scheduler of the house now.
(U) Underwear:  Anything comfy!  Except I do not own a single pair of white undies...never never.  Always fun/bright colors.  TMI?  Naw.
(V) Vegetable You Dislike:  Peas.  Ick, they "pop" when I chew them.
(W) What Makes You Run Late:  I don't like to be late ever, but Goober can be unpredictable and she makes me run late sometimes now.
(X) X-Rays You've Had Done:  Both feet multiple times, lower back, jaw, hip, hand
(Y) Yummy Food You Make:  I'm not a cook, but I make some awesome cookies. ;)
(Z) Zoo, Favorite Animal:  I like cats, but I'm a sucker for ducks.  Duckies!  I want a pet duck--I'd name it Howie. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

LOVE YOUrself Valentine Challenge Results

Wow!  I am so amazed and inspired by this awesome group of runners who participated in this challenge!  With the exception of Spike (and his runner's butt), all the participants were women.  Come ON guys...I know you love yourselves too.  Next year, k?

Here are the results!

I chose my shoulders.  I've always loved how strong they looked and felt, especially after swimming a tough workout back in my competitive swimming days.  They seem to be the only body part of mine that hasn't given me any grief over the years, and for that I am grateful.
Location: Kent, WA

Amanda P.
"I chose my right ankle for a couple of reasons.  I love that I have shapely ankles (no cankles for this girl;-)).  I sprained it a couple months ago, but with the exercises the doctor gave me, it healed and let me run a 5K.  I also love it because I have my strawberry birth mark there, which matches the birth mark that my mom has on her neck."
Location: Syracuse, NY

"Naturally, I chose a spot for the tattoo that was hard to photograph, but I wanted to showcase my calves.  They are pretty huge, as you can see by the picture, but running has toned, defined and made them small enough that I can actually wear boots comfortably now - a miracle! :) :) :)"
Location: Texas

"I love my left shin.  If it weren't for fracturing it, I wouldn't have slowed down, lost weight and focused on my strength.  Hurting myself was a blessing in disguise. :)"
Location: Maple Valley, WA

"Ok so this was more of a challenge for me than I thought it would be!  I was thinking my legs because they are powerful and all that but my legs are probably my least favorite body part!  So I chose what I feel is the unsung hero of the feet.  I really love my feet and not in the creepy Rex Ryan way but the thanks for all you do way.  I used to say my feet were my fav body part because they were the skinniest body part but this made me realize all that my feet have done.  They have pushed me across many many finish lines from marathons, to 3 day walks...from PRs to near misses.  My feet have hiked glaciers in Alaska and danced the Sevillanos in Spain.  They have walked me down an isle and paced me up and down hallways rocking a baby.  My feet have helped me raise money for breast cancer, diabetes, and Chrone's Disease.  My feet have taken me places I never thought I would go!  I love my daughter's feet too...all squishy and cute.  I always kiss them and say I can't wait to see where her feet take her!"
Location: Cape Cod, MA

"This is my right calf.  After college, I started hitting the gym to lose the weight I had put on while in school.  One day I was standing in my kitchen wearing shorts, and my Mom walked by.  She said 'wow, look at how muscular your calves look!'   The next time I was on the stair master, I looked down at my legs, and I could see what she meant!   I love my calves, because they are a measure of my fitness level.  I love the power they give me to complete my runs,  And as an added bonus, they look great in leather boots!"
Location: NY
Also posted by Molly here.

"I used to have a bit of a love affair with my feet, and always had them pedi'ed and polished. I would take pictures of them lounging on the beach, overlooking the ocean. I haven't worn polish in months. I perpetually have scaly looking heels. Today they're especially vile, with the blisters and all, but they took me through my 12 miles this weekend, on a blistered toe, which I tried to bandage, and just caused a second blister on the neighboring toe, and then through our first trip to Disneyland with Gab. <3"
Location: Irvine, CA
Also posted by Heather here.

"We decided to switch things up a bit by choosing the part of each others bodies we admired most from our respective active lifestyles. :)"
Location: Michigan
Also posted by Morgan here.
Spike says: 
"Red's ragin biceps are my fav because those guns can cause lots of damage. I know because when she gives me the best hugs ever I always feel lucky to escape the gun show alive. " 

Red says: 
"Spike's got a great butt and it's from all that speedy running!!!
Tee hee!!! :)"

"I chose my quads because they are my powerhouse. They carry me through every step of every mile and they always manage to give me a burst of speed when I need it. Plus, they are AWESOME."
Location: Glen Allen, VA
Also posted by TMB here.

"I chose my "Upper body" to tattoo.  My hubby Josh refused to take a picture of my butt and forbid me to put such a picture on the internet. (He's no fun)  :)

I thought about taking a pic of one of my calves or thighs because they are super-awesome-muscular, but I was afraid that when the flash hit the extreme whiteness of my leg skin that the effect would be blinding and painful to your eyes. So you can thank me for not...
So I went with my shoulder... I  have to say I really am loving my whole upper body (besides my incredible-disappearing boobs). I love having defined shoulders, collarbones, etc. and thanks to my cross training I am starting to even get some muscles. And for some reason wearing a blank tank makes me feel really tough. I didn't even like to wear short sleeves before my weight loss/running, so this is a huge change for me. :)"

Location: Wyoming
Also posted by Erin here.

"I chose to put the skull tattoo on my thigh because I am most proud of my legs all thanks to running. I've always wanted long, lean legs, and well I will never get them to be longer unless I suddenly grew a few inches haha, I can defintely work on them being lean and toned!  Plus I am proud of my legs for all the miles they help me get through. I sometimes reward them with an ice bath or massage after long runs :)"
Location: Boise, ID

"I think the part of me that I love the most are my triceps!  They used to be really weak, and they are now by size the strongest part of my upper body.  And yes, that's all muscle in the pic, no fat on my arms and I am PROUD!!"
Location: Virginia
Also posted by Holly here.

"What I love: the tattoo might be on my calf, but I could only put it one place.  Should have had 2 so I could have gotten my foot too.  I love my legs because it's about time that I do!  I have always had large calves (calfs?), ankles and feet. There's nothing dainty about any of them.  When I measured my calf for my sleeves they were 14" - the same as my husband Colin's.  And I wear a 10-1/2 shoe while I'm only 5'6".  But, they get me where I need to go and after almost 2 years of running I can almost see my gastrocnemius muscle!"
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Also posted by Alanna here.

"I picked my heart because I think it is as strong as it ever has been (both literally and figuratively) because of running!  There is nothing like getting your heart pumping on an awesome run but running has also given me a new love for my body and self confidence that I never had before.  As I’ve mentioned before…I’ve struggled with body image issues and eating disorders that did some damage to my heart and body.  But I threw that away for running.  I still struggle but now I appreciate my body for what is can do, not what it looks like!"
Location: Maryland
Also posted by Katye here.

"I had a hard time choosing where to put the tattoo (I'm a very indecisive person) but I put my tattoo on my calf.  I love it because its part of my leg and my legs carry me for miles on my runs. Plus, I just think my calf is pretty awesome :) I usually like to show of my calves in some cute heels and a fun dress (can't wait for summer to bring out my dresses again haha)."
Location:  Woodridge, IL
Also posted by Kayla here.

"I decided on my calf (don't mind the bulging vein - lol) because I've always felt that they are powerful and have beent old they are my best feature ;)"
Location: Newmarket, Ontario, Canada

"Well I couldn't really Tattoo my face, so I used tape :) I chose my Lips because I love them no matter what my size. When I was first starting to run felt overweight and frumpy and now that I am much more fit. Running has SPARKED a passion in me and what better body part to symbolize passion than the lips. My dimples and smile are a close second. "
Location: Bonney Lake, WA
Also posted by Mel here.

"I chose my tummy as my 'most proud of' body part, not because it looks the best, but because it has accomplished the most; it was able to make my beautiful baby girl. In the process, it expanded to huge proportions and then 'almost' back again, 4.5 months later. I'm impressed with, and grateful for, all that my tummy can do!"
Location: Pasadena, CA
Also posted by Lin here.

"My favorite body part or parts I guess are my feet.  I love the places they take me and my tattoo on my foot has special significance.  There is a flower for every person in my family."
Location: Torrance, CA

"choose my not so beautiful feet! I have been a dancer and soccer player, but only as a mother and runner have I treasured my feet so much. They allow me to play with my kids and challenge myself on a daily basis. When they are hurt, I feel weak and out of sorts, but when they are strong, I feel fun and strong and like a true athlete."
Location: Holly Springs, NC

"Here is a body part that I like...I guess to say I'm 'proud' of it would be kinda weird...but I like this body part as a result of running...Probably the polar opposite of what most women would say, BUT...I LOVE MY CHEST! :-)
It's so convenient, super comfortable for running and sleeping on my stomach, and I can wear whatever kind of shirts/dresses I want.  I can't imagine having a 'bounce' there.  Both my grandmothers, my aunts and cousins are all very large on the top so thank you running for keeping things small!! :-)  
TMI?  Sorry."
Location:  Boston, MA
Also posted by Bethany here.

AMAZING PHOTOS!  Thank you all for participating!  Definitely some pretty awesome body parts up in here! ;)


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