awesome

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But truth be told, the magic of a marathon isn’t in the 26.2 miles on race day; it’s in the nearly 500 miles of training that happens in the months before. It was the conversations with Tim that laid a foundation of trust for our friendship. It’s the thoughtfulness that Sharon showed those times she had chocolate milk at the end of our long runs. It’s the overwhelming generosity Rebecca showed me, from giving me her rain jacket after hearing about me freezing without one, to running my first 15 miler with me, taking me out to breakfast afterward, and everything in between (she really is too good to be true). It’s the amazing sense of love I felt when I saw my friends wearing “Team Stacy” t-shirts at the finish line. And, it’s in the countless feelings, frustrations, and fears I have worked through while running down those desolate, tree-lined roads. You see, I wasn’t supposed to be a runner. But I am. And my life is better because I chose to be a one.

I Never Thought I’d Be A Runner
Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Joe Sullivan, an Army Veteran and heart attack survivor that collects recyclables strewn along the streets, roads and trails as he runs, then redeems the collections and donates all the money to the AHA.Here’s what he had to say:
What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?Reaching this years goal of raising $1,000 well before my campaign ends on Veteran’s Day 2013.How did you achieve it?By running over 500 miles while cleaning my routes, redeeming the recyclables and donating the money.What motivates you to make the world a better place?Getting a second chance on life after surviving a heart attack, I felt I ought to help others get the same chance.What do you do to stay healthy and fit?I stay fit by running 40-50 miles a week while pushing my 10 month old twins in the double stroller.What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?"Establish a foundation and work from there." Coach Lou KorcoulisWhat’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?My favorite aspect of Charity Miles is that it gives me that extra reason to go running.Who do you exercise for, and why?I exercise primarily for my kids, but I also push myself to fight against heart disease and raise money along the way.
Read more amazing Spotlight On stories! High-res

Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Joe Sullivan, an Army Veteran and heart attack survivor that collects recyclables strewn along the streets, roads and trails as he runs, then redeems the collections and donates all the money to the AHA.

Here’s what he had to say:

What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
Reaching this years goal of raising $1,000 well before my campaign ends on Veteran’s Day 2013.

How did you achieve it?
By running over 500 miles while cleaning my routes, redeeming the recyclables and donating the money.

What motivates you to make the world a better place?
Getting a second chance on life after surviving a heart attack, I felt I ought to help others get the same chance.

What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
I stay fit by running 40-50 miles a week while pushing my 10 month old twins in the double stroller.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
"Establish a foundation and work from there." Coach Lou Korcoulis

What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
My favorite aspect of Charity Miles is that it gives me that extra reason to go running.

Who do you exercise for, and why?
I exercise primarily for my kids, but I also push myself to fight against heart disease and raise money along the way.

Read more amazing Spotlight On stories!

Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Mike Bielik, a self-proclaimed “crazy” racer for Team In Training. Here’s what he had to say:
What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?Great achievements always change if you keep trying new things. At one point, it was finishing my first Century ride. Another time it was finishing an Ironman under my goal time and another was qualifying for Boston.  Presently, although I’ve finished four 100-milers, I believe my greatest achievement so far has been finishing the Bear Mt. 50-miler this year 45-minutes faster than my aggressive goal time, while wearing a purple Tutu to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in memory of my friend Kurt who had passed away from cancer about three weeks before the race. I think if I finish the Leadville 100 this year under 25 hours while wearing the Tutu for the same reason, then that may take my top achievement.How did you achieve it?I achieved that goal through lots and lots of smart training, but also must have had some divine help. Every time the race got difficult (and it got tough many, many times), I just had to glance down slightly and see my big purple Tutu. This reminded me of all the pain and struggle that Kurt went through. None of what I was going through could come close to what he went through. It also made me think of all of the people that had donated in his memory and had told me of their own friends and family that had recently passed away from cancer, those struggling right now with cancer, and also those that are survivors of cancer. It puts a lot of things in perspective. What motivates you to make the world a better place?I will certainly not claim to be a Saint. Especially when my favorite TV shows are South Park and Family Guy. But life is too short to be angry, mean, and inconsiderate. The positive feedback loop you get from being generous to others is more than worth the effort it takes to be generous and good to your fellow people. It could be that being kind and helpful is the most selfish act one can do! What do you do to stay healthy and fit?Asides from training for ultra-marathons, which has its way of keeping me fit, I try to be more health conscious about the foods I eat (less processed, sugary foods and more fruits, veggies, and nutritionally dense foods) and I also try to be less lazy. I take the stairs more often than not.  I’ll walk someplace a few subway stops away rather than take public transportation or a cab. The little things you do add up over the course of the year. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?I’ve heard so many different quotes and speeches by many inspiring regular people. The theme is that life is too short to be angry and sad.  Don’t take anything for granted and always give everything your best.  “Go out there and fail!” is a quote that sticks in my mind from somewhere. Sort of like Gretsky’s “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Finally, one quote from ultra-legend Dr. David Horton, “Don’t be stupid!”What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?My favorite aspect of using Charity Miles is that I can raise money for an incredible cause by doing something I would be doing anyway.  It doesn’t get any easier than that!Who do you exercise for, and why?In some aspects, I exercise for myself. It makes me feel good and helps with leading a healthy lifestyle. When you exercise, you tend to also eat healthier and care more about your own health and well being as well as those around you. And now with the ability to exercise and raise money for charity, I am also exercising to help those in need. And as I mentioned earlier, helping others makes me feel good.
Read more amazing Spotlight On stories! High-res

Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Mike Bielik, a self-proclaimed “crazy” racer for Team In Training.

Here’s what he had to say:

What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
Great achievements always change if you keep trying new things. At one point, it was finishing my first Century ride. Another time it was finishing an Ironman under my goal time and another was qualifying for Boston.  Presently, although I’ve finished four 100-milers, I believe my greatest achievement so far has been finishing the Bear Mt. 50-miler this year 45-minutes faster than my aggressive goal time, while wearing a purple Tutu to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in memory of my friend Kurt who had passed away from cancer about three weeks before the race. I think if I finish the Leadville 100 this year under 25 hours while wearing the Tutu for the same reason, then that may take my top achievement.

How did you achieve it?
I achieved that goal through lots and lots of smart training, but also must have had some divine help. Every time the race got difficult (and it got tough many, many times), I just had to glance down slightly and see my big purple Tutu. This reminded me of all the pain and struggle that Kurt went through. None of what I was going through could come close to what he went through. It also made me think of all of the people that had donated in his memory and had told me of their own friends and family that had recently passed away from cancer, those struggling right now with cancer, and also those that are survivors of cancer. It puts a lot of things in perspective.

What motivates you to make the world a better place?
I will certainly not claim to be a Saint. Especially when my favorite TV shows are South Park and Family Guy. But life is too short to be angry, mean, and inconsiderate. The positive feedback loop you get from being generous to others is more than worth the effort it takes to be generous and good to your fellow people. It could be that being kind and helpful is the most selfish act one can do!

What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
Asides from training for ultra-marathons, which has its way of keeping me fit, I try to be more health conscious about the foods I eat (less processed, sugary foods and more fruits, veggies, and nutritionally dense foods) and I also try to be less lazy. I take the stairs more often than not.  I’ll walk someplace a few subway stops away rather than take public transportation or a cab. The little things you do add up over the course of the year.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
I’ve heard so many different quotes and speeches by many inspiring regular people. The theme is that life is too short to be angry and sad.  Don’t take anything for granted and always give everything your best.  “Go out there and fail!” is a quote that sticks in my mind from somewhere. Sort of like Gretsky’s “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.” Finally, one quote from ultra-legend Dr. David Horton, “Don’t be stupid!”

What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
My favorite aspect of using Charity Miles is that I can raise money for an incredible cause by doing something I would be doing anyway.  It doesn’t get any easier than that!

Who do you exercise for, and why?
In some aspects, I exercise for myself. It makes me feel good and helps with leading a healthy lifestyle. When you exercise, you tend to also eat healthier and care more about your own health and well being as well as those around you. And now with the ability to exercise and raise money for charity, I am also exercising to help those in need. And as I mentioned earlier, helping others makes me feel good.

Read more amazing Spotlight On stories!

Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Kyle Bingham, whose work for charity serves as an inspiration for us all.Here’s what he had to say:
What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?As a part of my project, The Everest Endeavor, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with Sean Swarner and the CancerClimber Association. During the trip I became good friends with one of our guides Filbert. He is a long time friend of Sean’s and an all around amazing guy. After returning home to the U.S. I stayed in touch with Filbert and learned more about his life. In Tanzania, where Mt. Kilimanjaro is the average income per year is around $475. Filbert is working on going to college but living in an area where they can make only a few dollars a day makes it really hard. So I put together a fundraiser for him state side and was just sent him a little over $1,000. It’s not much over here, but if you can put yourself in his shoes, it’s like someone just gave you about $100,000!
How did you achieve it?Gathering money for Filbert wasn’t easy but at the same time, wasn’t that hard. I started a website for him and simply told his story. One about who his is, what challenges he faces, and what he needs. Everyone has a little piece in them that wants to help others. Hearing a real story about a real person and understanding how little it can take to change their lives helps that little piece come to the surface.
What motivates you to make the world a better place?I truly feel like we are here for more. For more than nice jobs and new things, but instead to enjoy life and to help others do the same. I climb mountains to help shine light on those who need to be seen and help tell stories of inspirations that others can learn from. I’m motivated by people and what we are capable of. I want others to see what I do and then go out and prove to themselves that they are capable of great things as well.
What do you do to stay healthy and fit?They say your body is your temple, and it is true that your body is really all you’ve got. I try my best to think about how I treat mine and what I put in it. I eat smart (most of the time) and work out regularly. I try not to be too strict but, at the same time I really hold myself accountable. You need to have fun and cut loose, but you have to be willing to work as hard as you play.What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?The 5 P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Just taking a second to think and plan ahead can go a long way.
What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?It’s EASY. I love the fact that I can just pick who I want to help, hit start, and hit the road. It makes working out and training so much better because I know right then, every step I take, I’m helping.Who do you exercise for, and why?I have two good friends who have both had non-Hodgkin lymphoma so often I run and participate in events for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Knowing their stories really makes me think about others with cancer and what we can do for them now, and in the future. Read more amazing Spotlight On stories!
  High-res

Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Kyle Bingham, whose work for charity serves as an inspiration for us all.

Here’s what he had to say:

What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
As a part of my project, The Everest Endeavor, I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro with Sean Swarner and the CancerClimber Association. During the trip I became good friends with one of our guides Filbert. He is a long time friend of Sean’s and an all around amazing guy. After returning home to the U.S. I stayed in touch with Filbert and learned more about his life. In Tanzania, where Mt. Kilimanjaro is the average income per year is around $475. Filbert is working on going to college but living in an area where they can make only a few dollars a day makes it really hard. So I put together a fundraiser for him state side and was just sent him a little over $1,000. It’s not much over here, but if you can put yourself in his shoes, it’s like someone just gave you about $100,000!

How did you achieve it?
Gathering money for Filbert wasn’t easy but at the same time, wasn’t that hard. I started a website for him and simply told his story. One about who his is, what challenges he faces, and what he needs. Everyone has a little piece in them that wants to help others. Hearing a real story about a real person and understanding how little it can take to change their lives helps that little piece come to the surface.

What motivates you to make the world a better place?
I truly feel like we are here for more. For more than nice jobs and new things, but instead to enjoy life and to help others do the same. I climb mountains to help shine light on those who need to be seen and help tell stories of inspirations that others can learn from. I’m motivated by people and what we are capable of. I want others to see what I do and then go out and prove to themselves that they are capable of great things as well.

What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
They say your body is your temple, and it is true that your body is really all you’ve got. I try my best to think about how I treat mine and what I put in it. I eat smart (most of the time) and work out regularly. I try not to be too strict but, at the same time I really hold myself accountable. You need to have fun and cut loose, but you have to be willing to work as hard as you play.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
The 5 P’s: Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance. Just taking a second to think and plan ahead can go a long way.

What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
It’s EASY. I love the fact that I can just pick who I want to help, hit start, and hit the road. It makes working out and training so much better because I know right then, every step I take, I’m helping.

Who do you exercise for, and why?
I have two good friends who have both had non-Hodgkin lymphoma so often I run and participate in events for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Knowing their stories really makes me think about others with cancer and what we can do for them now, and in the future.

Read more amazing Spotlight On stories!

 

Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Brett Foley and David Chrisinger, both Rhinelander natives who write about Brett’s time in the Marine Corps.Here’s what they had to say:
What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?Brett said that he is proud that he has finished his degree and been accepted to the police academy. He thinks his greatest accomplishment will be landing a job as a law enforcement officer.
As for me, aside from landing a great job right out of graduate school and starting a family, I am proud of the fact that I played football in college (defensive lineman) and then used running and other endurance sports to lose more than 40 pounds. Since I finished college, I have finished 6 marathons, 1 50K, 1 half Ironman, and a number of shorter events in running, swimming, and triathlon.How did you achieve it?Brett said that after he was discharged from the military, he had a hard time readjusting to civilian life. What finally allowed him to move forward was realizing that he needed to set a goal and then work backward from that goal. So, for example, his main goal was to be a police officer. But to be a police officer, you need to have graduated from the police academy. And to get admitted to the police academy, it helps to have a degree in criminal justice as well as some security experience — in addition to military training. Once he had a path laid out for him, it became much easier for him to accomplish his goal.
I’m a bit more bookish in my approach. I knew that I would miss the competition after I was finished playing football. I also wanted to lose the weight I had gained. So I devoured every book I could find on running, triathlon, losing weight, etc. I also married a dietitian, which has made all the difference!
What motivates you to make the world a better place?Brett said that there is simply too much violence and hatred in the world. He’s seen both up close. He wants to be a police officer so that he can protect people and help prevent them having to go through what he has gone through.
I have found that when most veterans come home, they get a pat on the back and a sincere thank you, but that’s pretty much it. After the “honeymoon” phase wares off, many veterans feel misunderstood by a largely unsympathetic and oblivious country that is unwilling to share the moral responsibility for war. This troubles me. And it made me want to help Brett put his life back together—to shoulder part of his burden. And once he was able to put his life back together, I realized that he and I could help other veterans do the same. 
What do you do to stay healthy and fit?Brett and I both try to squeeze runs in multiple times per week, with a long run or two on the weekends. His police training keeps him pretty busy these days, but once that’s over, we’re going to focus on putting in some monster miles in preparation for our 50-mile race in October. In addition, I like to use swimming as a means of recovery. I also go on nightly bike rides or walks with my wife and 2-year-old son.What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?Brett said the best piece of advice he ever received was to keep working hard and good things will happen. As for me, it wasn’t given to me directly, but I have taped a quote on my refrigerator from Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run: “You’re tougher than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can.”What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?Like I wrote on our website: Not everyone can, or even wants to, run a 50-mile ultra marathon. But for those who are active and want to support veterans, Charity Miles lets you do both.
Who do you exercise for, and why?When I got out of college, I ran for myself. I ran to lose weight, and to get healthier. I found it hard, however, after a big race to maintain the desire to run. I would run a marathon, for example, and then sit on the couch for two months, gaining back much of the weight I had lost. Then my wife and I had a son. I would sign up for a race, but life would get in the way. Still, the embers continued to burn. Then Brett and I decided to do this race to help support The Mission Continues, a worthy nonprofit service organization that helps veterans find renewed strength and purpose through service in their communities. Suddenly, Brett and I weren’t running for ourselves anymore. We were running for others—for those who weren’t doing as well as Brett was. That change in motivation and purpose has made all the difference.
Read more amazing Spotlight On stories! High-res

Every day we like to shine a spotlight on people doing amazing work — both with Charity Miles and without. Today we’re featuring Brett Foley and David Chrisinger, both Rhinelander natives who write about Brett’s time in the Marine Corps.

Here’s what they had to say:

What is your greatest accomplishment as of late?
Brett said that he is proud that he has finished his degree and been accepted to the police academy. He thinks his greatest accomplishment will be landing a job as a law enforcement officer.

As for me, aside from landing a great job right out of graduate school and starting a family, I am proud of the fact that I played football in college (defensive lineman) and then used running and other endurance sports to lose more than 40 pounds. Since I finished college, I have finished 6 marathons, 1 50K, 1 half Ironman, and a number of shorter events in running, swimming, and triathlon.

How did you achieve it?
Brett said that after he was discharged from the military, he had a hard time readjusting to civilian life. What finally allowed him to move forward was realizing that he needed to set a goal and then work backward from that goal. So, for example, his main goal was to be a police officer. But to be a police officer, you need to have graduated from the police academy. And to get admitted to the police academy, it helps to have a degree in criminal justice as well as some security experience — in addition to military training. Once he had a path laid out for him, it became much easier for him to accomplish his goal.

I’m a bit more bookish in my approach. I knew that I would miss the competition after I was finished playing football. I also wanted to lose the weight I had gained. So I devoured every book I could find on running, triathlon, losing weight, etc. I also married a dietitian, which has made all the difference!

What motivates you to make the world a better place?
Brett said that there is simply too much violence and hatred in the world. He’s seen both up close. He wants to be a police officer so that he can protect people and help prevent them having to go through what he has gone through.

I have found that when most veterans come home, they get a pat on the back and a sincere thank you, but that’s pretty much it. After the “honeymoon” phase wares off, many veterans feel misunderstood by a largely unsympathetic and oblivious country that is unwilling to share the moral responsibility for war. This troubles me. And it made me want to help Brett put his life back together—to shoulder part of his burden. And once he was able to put his life back together, I realized that he and I could help other veterans do the same. 

What do you do to stay healthy and fit?
Brett and I both try to squeeze runs in multiple times per week, with a long run or two on the weekends. His police training keeps him pretty busy these days, but once that’s over, we’re going to focus on putting in some monster miles in preparation for our 50-mile race in October. In addition, I like to use swimming as a means of recovery. I also go on nightly bike rides or walks with my wife and 2-year-old son.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Brett said the best piece of advice he ever received was to keep working hard and good things will happen. As for me, it wasn’t given to me directly, but I have taped a quote on my refrigerator from Christopher McDougall’s book Born to Run: “You’re tougher than you think you are, and you can do more than you think you can.

What’s your favorite aspect of using Charity Miles?
Like I wrote on our website: Not everyone can, or even wants to, run a 50-mile ultra marathon. But for those who are active and want to support veterans, Charity Miles lets you do both.

Who do you exercise for, and why?
When I got out of college, I ran for myself. I ran to lose weight, and to get healthier. I found it hard, however, after a big race to maintain the desire to run. I would run a marathon, for example, and then sit on the couch for two months, gaining back much of the weight I had lost. Then my wife and I had a son. I would sign up for a race, but life would get in the way. Still, the embers continued to burn. Then Brett and I decided to do this race to help support The Mission Continues, a worthy nonprofit service organization that helps veterans find renewed strength and purpose through service in their communities. Suddenly, Brett and I weren’t running for ourselves anymore. We were running for others—for those who weren’t doing as well as Brett was. That change in motivation and purpose has made all the difference.

Read more amazing Spotlight On stories!