Archives for posts with tag: south africa

I did it!

The day after the race and I’m proud to say I have finished my first marathon. It was not as miserable as I would have imagined — the weather cooperated (low 40s, fog), the course wasn’t as bad as people led me to believe (those Galer/Madison hills weren’t too bad), and I feel OK today (well, at least I’m vertical and walking). I really enjoyed visiting with people during the race and got three visits from my lovely girlfriend along the route.

Looking back, running a marathon isn’t just about the race day. It’s the training, the gear, and the camaraderie with fellow runners that makes it worthwhile. I logged almost 400 full miles (complete stats below) during this journey, which started in Africa and ended at Seattle Center. It was a great experience!

Before and after my first marathon

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This is the work of Elaine, one of the beneficiaries of my fundraiser. I am so proud to see her perform like this! She is truly an inspiring individual and I look forward to seeing how she grows as a person in South Africa.

It’s hard to believe it, but the race is only 10 days away! Time flies when you’re having fun, and I can’t believe were almost here.

I just calculated my statistics for this training regimen — would you believe I’ve already put in 350 miles? That’s about 13 marathons of distance, just not in a row.

My confidence level is good. I got through a 20-miler on Nov. 3 with a minimal amount of discomfort. I’m not saying it was easy, but I felt pretty in control and didn’t need to collapse on the sofa afterward. I was able to take an ice bath, shower, and get on with my day.

Overlooking Union Bay/Lake Washington from 15th and Garfield

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Author and Marathoner Kim Jones

Despite not taking up competitive running until her 20s, Kim Jones became one of America’s elite distance athletes of the 1980s and 90s. In 1991, she was the third-ranked runner in the world after posting a PR of 2:26:40 in the Berlin Marathon.

In her new book Dandelion Running Wild, Jones recounts the stories of her upbringing and how running brought her a sense of peace. I caught up with her by phone from Fort Collins, Colorado.

The Marathon Newbie: How do you feel about running as an avenue of self-therapy?

Kim Jones: I feel like it helped me through a lot of tough times—the running. Back when I first started running, I didn’t even know I was training. I would just go out for a run, running away from my brothers and sisters. Sometimes, I would just run down to the beach. Little did I know as a child, through my adolescence, or even as a young adult that I developed into a marathoner simply because I used running as a therapy.

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I had the good fortune to meet Mandisa, a very amazing teenager from South Africa’s underserved Nkomazi region. She’s a gifted writer for a ninth grader; here is her latest work. If  you enjoyed it as much as I did, please consider donating to my Crowdrise fundraiser. -Andrew

By Mandisa Ngwenya

Poetry is a powerless skeleton
which is powerful when life is given to it
Poetry is like a book hat everyone
opens and it will tell a magnificent story

Poetry is like a friend to me and you
A friend who allows the world to know
how we feel and how we view the worldPoetry is a like a flowing river
which passes from generation to generation
Poetry was once told by my great ancestors,
it is now told by me, and it would be told by my sons and daughters.

Poetry is a heaven which is full of Angels
Poetry is like a singing bird which
sings all night long and every creature
is longing to hear that sweet sound

Poetry is as powerful as a spear
which wins every battle.

To contribute directly to Mandisa’s education, please make a donation here:

As we waited in the Sunday morning chill, my childhood friend Catherine and I wondered when our tradition started. Was it 2007? 2008, perhaps? Since then, we’ve joined each other once a year for the late-fall Dawg Dash.

With a course that highlights the University of Washington’s stunning architecture and beautiful landscape, the annual Dawg Dash is currently in its 27 years. For my money, it’s the best race in the area, but I’m biased. It’s mostly purple-and-gold clad Husky alums, many of whom bring their dogs.

Best two moments? An assortment of dogs howling during the national anthem and another pup stopping in the middle of the course to relieve himself, to the chagrin of his owner. Doggie dos and doggie don’ts, indeed.

Well, I think I shot myself in the foot. Or rather, the leg.

It all started Monday, when I decided to delay my long run by two days so I could play soccer Monday night. I reasoned that I’d be fully recovered from soccer by Thursday, when I was scheduled for a 17-miler.

Turns out I wasn’t able to do that. I was so sore from Monday’s match that I skipped Tuesday and Wednesday’s runs (to be fair, the rain had a bit to do with it as well). With that in mind, it was perhaps inevitable that I’d suffer a little adversity during Thursday’s long run.

I hit a wall near Seward Park. I felt a twinge in the right leg that required me to slow down significantly, then to walk. In the end, I walk-jogged (wogged?) the seven miles home.

A bad run in all, but the training continues. I took Friday off and had good runs on Saturday and Sunday.


Seattle’s Seward Park

Why I’m Running:

I want to raise enough money to sponsor two promising African ladies: Elaine and Mandisa.  It costs $80 so sponsor Mandisa for one month of Imagine Scholar costs — this amount pays for her transport, healthy food in class, school supplies, and many other things. For Elaine, it’s $78. Lump those two together and you get $156/month. Multiply that out my 12 months and you get a very achievable fundraising goal: $1,896. Please donate at my Crowdrise page here:

Weekly Statistics:

Miles run: 30.7 (266.38 total)

Average speed this week: 5.4 MPH (okay)

Calories burned: 4,507 (38,627 total)