Monday, March 10, 2008

L.A. Marathon and Back to Badwater

Three words: 2008 Badwater Ultramarathon. Here is a copy of the acceptance letter I received:

"Hello Gundy:
Congratulations! You have been accepted to compete in the 2008 Badwater Ultramarathon. You are part of a select group who will participate in what is recognized across the globe as “the world’s toughest footrace.” In the near future, we will include your name and biographical information on the online roster. When we do, please check it for errors....."

2008 is truly a year of redemption. In addition to the new races I’ve added (ex: Rocky Raccoon 100 at 20:58), quite a few of my races are opportunities to redeem the races I had last year over that 4 month period where I was dealing with persistent nausea. Badwater is a part of that, the golden stamp and the ultimate 2008 goal race. It gives me a whirlwind of emotions; happy that I get the chance to make “the third time a charm”, but aware that whatever I did to prepare the last couple years, I want to do it even better. I am acutely aware of the challenge, but this is an opportunity that I have to have the race of a lifetime and put my stamp on this race if I can put it together. A big grin comes to my face as I think about toeing the start line once again.
Once again, I will be running to raise money for World Harvest Mission. World Harvest Mission is a non-profit Christian organization doing relief work in East Africa. This time, we have set a goal of $6000 in order to build two wells in Uganda. Last year, we raised close to $3000 for child sponsorships in Uganda and this year we’ve doubled the goal. But in order to do that, we need your help. Every small amount helps; you can help people have access to the precious water they need where they live. I’ll be putting up a link to a website in the coming few days for this fundraising. I will be visiting Uganda this year and will visit the villages which will benefit from your contributions. Hopefully, I will work with friends there to provide you with pictures of the villages.

I am pleased to welcome back Injinji and Brooks as my two year-round sponsors; now I’ve added Arrowhead Water to my list of Badwater sponsors. I wrote to them about the race and the fundraising being done as a part of this year’s Badwater. Arrowhead stepped up and is helping to support us with over 40 gallons of water, which is tremendous. It’s great to work with sponsors who believe not only in my mission as a runner, but in my greater mission as an individual. Thank you, Arrowhead; I look forward to both the race and the charitable fundraising as a part of that.

I ran the L.A. Marathon this past Sunday, which was awesome. I had a tight back from tweaking it a week and a half ago, so I ran a solid first half and eased up on the second half to keep the back/legs from tightening up too bad. 1:30 first, 1:48 second…..The first half felt very easy and I feel good that I’m on the right track to go for a sub-3 at Boston, even if there is still much work to do. I have a soft spot in my heart for this race, because unlike any other marathon/race I’ve been a part of, it is truly “the people’s race”. Whether it’s the huge crowd support, the runners from all walks of life, or the plethora of neighborhoods the race travels through, it is always a special experience. I am also pushed on by the strangers yelling my name (on my bib), handing out food/drink or banging a drum. I don’t know if I’ll ever get that feeling at another race.
I’ll update the training log in the next few days. Even with the week off for the back injury, I still have time to keep the miles going in the right direction.

UPDATE: Another big opportunity is that I’m starting up a running program with a local Christian drug/alcohol rehabilitation center, CityTeam, in Downtown San Francisco. We're pretty much all ready to go. We will start shortly. I’m trying to emphasize how to get the men to improve their physical health and take better care of their bodies as they recover from their addictions. It’s just a great opportunity to show them, without the pressure of having to go towards a goal (at least at the start), how running fits in with the center’s mission to improve the physical, mental and spiritual health of each of the men in the program. I’m hoping to get some support from Brooks, so we’ll see where that goes.

Take care, run hard and God bless,


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