Friday, August 6, 2010

Giving Back...

This morning I was listening to Good Morning America and they were talking about our troops overseas. Jill Biden was on showing her time with some of the military families and explaining just how hard it is for them to be without their loved ones for six months to a year at a time, never knowing if these husbands, Fathers, wives, sisters and brothers will ever return. I will be the first to admit, I don't give this nearly enough thought. I live my little happy life with the freedom to go where I please and lay my head down at night not wondering if I will be attacked by air or land while I sleep. I have a few friends like Marit & ADC who live with their significant other being away during certain portions of their lives every day. I can't even imagine what that must be like.

Anyway, it was a really good story about how if we can even do little things like send a Birthday card to a neighbor child who's parent is overseas fighting for our country, it can be a really big deal to that family. She mentioned other things like mowing their grass or helping out with other big jobs. Imagine if we would all do just one thing, what a world of difference it would make. I need to do better with this, and after hearing this story, I'm going to try.

With that said, I had committed to a Sports Nutrition Talk on Tuesday night about 1 hr 20 minutes away from where I live at California University of Pennsylvania. It's one I've done for the past couple years, and it keeps growing in size which is fun. They had almost 110 high school kids there for cross country camp. Throughout the week the kids learn about running through featured speakers (like myself) and through running one to two workout per day. They LOVE staying in the college dooms! They do all the things you aren't supposed to do, stay up late, talk to boys/girls from other schools, play pranks! I love it! Oh.. high school, seems so far away now!

Anyway, it was a really early morning of workouts and the last thing I felt like doing after work was jumping in my car, driving over an hour, doing a high energy talk for an hour or more, and then it being 8:00pm, still not having dinner, and driving home to get back at 9:30pm. However, when I commit, I commit, and backing out on this was just not going to happen.

Once I got there (after having to clean all the money out of my middle console to pay a toll on Rt. 43! I didn't know it was a toll road - darn it!!) the room was all set up and the kids were ready to roll!

At the beginning of the talk, they looked like this.. all attentive and ready to be "good students of nutrition!" They seemed excited to learn about Sports Nutrition and if they were going to listen, I was going to put on a great show!

I told my story about starting off in cross country from a school of no more than 60 kids in my graduating class. I told them how I wasn't even recruited and that I walked on the Penn State Team after a summer of running like I had never run before. One thing I talked about a lot was "attitude" I know I was supposed to be talking about nutrition, but I couldn't help but try and let these kids know that it made all the difference for me in college. Having a positive attitude and being so grateful I was there allowed me to work so much harder than the other girls on scholarship. That, plus my coach believing in me, made all the difference in the world for me as a small town runner. I explained that any one of them could start that way and end up the Captain of a Division One Cross Country team.. I hope it made an impact.. too early to tell!!
The room was so big and was set up with all the best technology so that helped immensely. I had two big screens behind me and a microphone to make sure they didn't fall asleep!
Not sure what I was doing here, maybe illustrating how to raise your hand? Showing off my armpit.. what!?
Every last one of them got a Ballou Skies bracelet and heard about Ryan and his story, so that was good. We had a blast and they loved the videos of me training for St. Croix 70.3 and making it to Hawaii. The ratio of questions about Ironman vs. Nutrition was about 10:1, but that's ok. They really cheered loud after I was done and that made me feel like a million bucks. In the end, I was so glad I made the time and energy to get this done and I realized I was looking at it all wrong before I went. It was an opportunity to be there with these kids and two or three of them came up afterward and said they wanted to major in Nutrition, or do the Ironman too. It was pretty inspiring..

In the end, this is what they looked like.. I think they had about all the information they could take for one day. I don't "give back" nearly enough, but every time I do.. it's so rewarding.

Find a military family or a bunch of kids and do something that's out of your comfort zone when you can. You'll always be really glad you did!

PS. Oh.. and on the way back I accidentally stayed on the toll road instead of taking 70 back to 79North - whoopps! Missed that exit.. thanks to the Toll Guy at the end of Rt. 43 for letting me through with 58 cents, instead of a $1.30! I promise I'll have cash next time!! I really appreciate it!

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