June 19, 2011

Blueberry Chase 5K- Surprise Edition

The fundraising rush is finally over- goals for track repairs and money to start a new season all met. It feels good to say that, no AWESOME to say that. While money isn't everything, I truly believe that these resources are what the team needs to get off the ground. The journey of us getting there.... well, WOW.

Part of the Blueberry Chase is my annual "Beg Local Businesses for Money" campaign. I write a letter explaining our needs; then hand deliver it to each location. This sounds like a lot (the hand delivering), but the radius of this town is only like 12 miles, so easy. This year, I included our accomplishments over the past seasons and I also included a few facts about our school team. For example, as of May '11 we had the largest team of all the school, even bigger than football. We were the only team to have even TASTED State competition in over a decade. But, alas, we were the only team that could not compete at home. Other items I did NOT include in my letter is that we have the smallest coach to athlete ratio and the smallest dollar per athlete ratio on the VERY small stipend the team gets from the school. I make less than every varsity coach besides tennis and golf. And there you have it. Anyway, I delivered my letter and had a few businesses give money and few that promised money in the next few months. And once again, the AD had a problem with it. Apparently, I insinuated in my letter that the school system had not done anything for our sport. (Hmmmm, if the shoe fits...) He reprimanded me (again) and said that ANYTHING with our school's name goes through him. I explained to him my frustration, that I felt that no one involved with the schoool respected track as a sport, when OBVIOUSLY it is a successful one. He told me this (be ready to laugh), "Coach, there are three reasons that respect will be harder for you to come by in athletics. You are young, you are attractive, and you are female." Bwwwahhhhhhaaaaaa! But hey, beats old, fat, and ugly!

After this the miracles began. Across the creek is a fairly nice high school that is actually getting a BRAND new track. Their team has won State Championships. (They are not in our classification, though. So we don't actually COMPETE against them.) I know a lot of the kids from their younger involvement in Go, Girl, Go, and many of their parents exercise at the YMCA, etc. Word about the race and our fundraising efforts got around and they had some surprises for me. Their coach encouraged them to run my race. After talking with him at the race, he said he might actually have an opportunity for us to buy some of their old equipment, like their pole vault. This would be huge for us b/c it is the only event we don't have. His price was quite cheap, but I would need the board to get off the rule of not buying used items.

That was Miracle 1. Then came Saturday. I was getting ready and helping with race-day registration when out popped Adrienne, yeah, FROM TEXAS! It appeared that she and two of her running club friends drove all through the night to show up for the race! Adrienne was OA female, of course, and two of the biggest supporters from Run for Eagles Benefit ran/walked very respectable times. They then presented me a large check, representing what we had earned from Run for the Eagles Benefit. Fun, fun, fun. The only bad thing was that they had to leave fairly soon after the race and I didn't get to visit long. This was Miracle #2.

My parents came in on Thursday to help with the race and some household things that would hopefully get this booger to sell. They had planned to walk the race, too. Little did I know, my dad had been "training" to actually be able to run a mile or so. In the past, this would seem like nothing. Since the accident, he has yet to return to his former athlete. Day to day activities are challenging for him- mental and physical. Can you imagine my surprise when he can RUNNING towards the finish line? Mom said he ran all by half a mile! She and he swept the 60+ AG. Miracle #3.

So, that's another race in the books. Um, and I'm running the Seattle Marathon on Saturday. I'm kind of regretting it, actually. My training has been craptastic since the ultra and I have NO IDEA what to go for goal-wise. After the race, I will be headed to the Brooks Coaching Clinic (my real reason for being Seattle bound).

I am so blessed, in ways I never imagined. It's true that when some doors close, others are opened. I think of how many times I prayed that God would fix my marriage and lead my ex in the "right" way. All I can say now is, thank God for unanswered prayers b/c I have NEVER felt happier!


  1. Awesome!

    Your AD sounds like a tool.

  2. You did it, girl!! I'm sooo happy for you andsuper grateful to have been a part of it!

    I was crushed to leave but so glad I came!

    I will be back, but likely by airplane and sitting front row in the stands!

    Love ya!

  3. So proud that the track will now be fixed! The AD wouldn't have this problem if the track had been correctly fixed in the first place! Personally, I'm glad you put that in the letter. Sometimes, it takes putting a fire under someone's behind to make them walk the straight and narrow and do what's right!

    I also can't get enough of your face of shock when you saw your friend, Adrienne. I wish you the best this year! Because of your hard work, people are noticing the track team more and more, and it can all be accredited to you!

    Your work has NOT gone unnoticed!

  4. You are so great, I love what you included in the letter. And if there's ever a movie about this, because there should be, the AD is the perfect villain. He's the evil-doer over your sweet heroine loveliness.

    That's so beautiful about your dad and mom paricipating and your dad running almost the whole thing. Wow.

    And hey, I didn't know you were about to race a little 26.2 jaunt in Seattle. Good luck!! You'll do great, you don't know any other way to be.

  5. Good luck in Seattle! Congrats on another successful Blueberry Chase.

    Is the Brooks Coaching Clinic for high school coaches?

  6. Oops....I didn't get it cleared!! :):):)

    I mentioned W.S. Neal by name 4 times in my club report that will run in the August edition of Texas Runner & Triathlete magazine. (preview in my mid July club newsletter Deer Tracks)

    You'll receive copies of both.

    The next time we visit we'll let you know we're coming.

    Good luck in Seattle!!!!!

    Bill D

  7. I'm so thrilled for you! You sound so happy and at peace with your life. :-) I'm glad the race went so well.

  8. so so so proud of you girl. Seriously, look at all you've done!
    Your prayers weren't unanswered, they just weren't answered in the way you thought they'd be.

  9. Thanks, guys! Yes, Julie, the Brooks clinic is for high school coaches that are in the Brooks ID sponsorship program. :)