Maniac #2197


Hello World!

Haha!  Will this be what I look like after my 7 continents, 50 states, 5 marathon majors -- one a marathon a month -- quest is over?  A happy, friendly, been-around-the-world, skeleton?

I'm officially a marathon maniac.  I know a lot of you, dear readers, i.e. Kino, Leong, Ben, Tim, etc. etc., have been telling me to sign up for this club for years.  Okay, so I finally got around to it.  You see, I never really thought of myself a someone different, or certainly not a maniac.  But as these marathons keep adding up, I guess I'm separating from the norm a little bit.  Anyway,  the club acceptance response to me read, "Brooke, at last you have found refuge, a place where you can call home, where the insane can feel Sane again, and once again be treated like a normal human being.  Welcome to the Marathon Maniaces InSane AsyLum!!!!  Following are the requirements, and some of them do seem really insane.  I'm just the freshman, with the minimum requirements met (Bronze Level - I have 4 marathons in 4 consecutive months), listed 7th from the bottom.  And just so you know, the Prez. of the Club has an all time steak of 57 marathons in 1 year, a lifetime record of 212 marathons and is on his quest for 50 states.  I think I'm going to try to meet up with this guy!

Bronze Level

1.  2 marathons within 16 days
2.  3 marathons within 90 days

Silver Level

1.  3 marathons within 16 days
2.  6 marathons in 6 consecutive calendar months -- will be this soon!
3.  8-11 marathons within 365 days

Gold Level

1.  4 marathons within 37 days
2.  12-18 marathons within 365 days -- will be this in September in '10
3.  4 marathons in 4 different US States, Countries or Canadian Providences in 51 days

Iridium Level

1.  4 marathons in 23 days
2.  19-25 marathons within 365 days
3.  2 marathons in 2 days  (48 hours) and finish both races -- might do this!
4.  9 marathons in 9 different US States, Countries or Canadian Providences in 365 days

Ruthenium Level -- is this really a metal?

go to the website -- too crazy

Osmium Level -- really?

again, we're getting insane here -- check link out above!

Palladium, Platinum, and Titanium Levels

even I'm getting bored and overwhelmed here!

Just a quick report on other things going on -- running related, or course...

1.  Body is holding up and feeling good!  Last week: 50-ish miles, -- one day with a 4 mile tempo -- 2 hot yogas and a one mile swim.  I'll run about 40 this week, throw another tempo in, and do the same swim and 2 hot yogas.  Have to coordinate the swim and the yogas with the hair appointment -- have to get the 'natural' blond put back in :)  Still working on the meditation goal, does dozing off in the carpool line count -- with the car off, of course?!

2.  Have gotten six Alexandria businesses to commit to a donation of $1,000 a year over the next 5 years.  Meeting a lot of good people...

3.  Getting ready for Sedona -- Feb. 6th -- and hope to meet up with good friends' -- hi Shawn! -- brother Sean, and also parents.  Sean is a CBS anchor out in Phoenix  RunningBrooke news story?!

4.  Planning with Garrett, over at Lululemon, two fun runs.  We're thinking about a run -- 6 miles -- then brunch, a run then abs, then brunch, a run then stretching, then brunch...  Any ideas, good readers?  More miles, less miles, course map, worksheets or recipes?

Okay, that is it.  I have to get out of the house and guess what,  go for a run!  I'll do 6 easy miles and probably go to the pool for that one mile swim.  I have this new flotation device (belt) that I want to try out to see if I can tolerate pool running.  Already have a water proof case for the ipod...  Anyone interested in a little pool jogging or does anyone have experience with it?

Cheers and it is a beautiful day for a run!


Flukes or Champions?


Hello World-

Sometimes you come across an inspirational quote that speaks to you, about who you are and who you hope to be.  I feel the need to share...

Flukes or Champions?

The difference is how you handle success.
With champions, success lies in the journey,
not the destination.  With champions, success
is never unexpected; it is a natural result
that comes from continuos, unselfish,
unrelenting determination to win,
never letting down, never letting outside influences
into the game.  Champions know it is not having
the talent to win that makes a champion;
it is having too much pride to lose.

Thanks Yale Lacrosse Coach...

These are the two parts that I like the best:

  1. With champions, success lies in the journey, not the destination.  This is what I strive for in my running.  It is not so much about the track times or the marathon times -- ok, great times are awesome and put a huge smile on my face -- but the journey it takes to get there.  Good people you meet, fresh air, healthy living, and doing something you love.  And pairing that something you love (running) with something that is good for the community (raising money for charity).
  2. With champions, success is never unexpected; it is a natural result that come from continuous, unselfish, unrelenting determination...  never, ever give up.  If an obstacle is put in you way, just go around it!!
  1. Many of you have been asking how the 2010 goals are going.  I read them over every morning while taking my first sips of coffee -- my happy juice -- and assess and contemplate and decide which goal I'm going to focus on that day.  Lately -- 4 to 5 hours/day this week -- it has been all about securing my 'Ten in '10' Alexandria business sponsor list; six local businesses have committed a $1,000.00 a year over the next 5 years!  More to follow on that plus more fundraising thoughts...  Cross training on target (3x) this week, patience/listening has been pretty good but that still needs some work...  Stretching ok -- favorite husband's weight bench is great for this -- I can lay on my back and rotate leg over torso for awesome IT Band stretch...  Meditation, ummm, not so much.  Maybe once in the carpool line, or did I just fall to sleep?  I think my mouth was hanging open when the traffic guard tapped on my window, and yes, fans, the car was off...
  2. Small world.  Friend Kristen C. put me in touch with her good friend Mike over at MacNair Travel here in Alexandria,  Mike agreed to help me get great travel deals at cost :)  Thanks Mike!  But here's the small world part.  The agent who was asked to help me, Michelle, was someone who had emailed me, months ago, after reading this blog.  She and I had been back and forth a few times; her asking me for advice, and me giving it to her and hoping the advice was sound!  She's running a 1/2 marathon in every state.  Go Michelle!!

Cheers -- I'll talk atcha later -- and it was a beautiful day for a run!


How to write donation letter...


Hello World!

I've been a little quiet lately because I've been working on a lot of 'behind the scenes' things...  Below is my letter that I just sent out today, asking for businesses to commit to $1,000.00/year for the next 5 years.  Ten (businesses) in '10, is my line.  Have gotten three to commit already!  This is what I can share with you to write a successful letter:






So did I do a good job?  Does this letter get you 'pumped up'  and excited about what I'm doing?

Cheers and it was a beautiful day for a run.  Go on, get out there!


Dear Fellow Alexandrian,

I have begun something exciting that I would like to share with you.  I have committed to running a marathon on every continent, in each of the 50 states, and the 5 marathon majors -- one marathon a month -- in order to bring awareness to and raise money for Alexandria charities.  Every dollar I raise goes to charity.  I pay all my own expences.  Since May '09, I have raised $22,000.00 and have now donated it ALL to Child and Family Network Centers (CFNC),  This Alexandria-based charity is an invaluable resource providing high-quality, free preschool to at-risk children and related services for their families: literacy,  ESL (English as a Second Language) classes, job training and health programs.  I am writing to you and other  Alexandria-based businesses asking for support.

But first a little more background.  I am a native Virginian and long-time Alexandria resident.  In May, I partnered with Alexandria Community Trust, a 501(c)(3) organization, and launched RunningBrooke, a fund that benefits Alexandria charities.  I am a 41 year old stay-at-home mother of three girls -- ages 17, 15 and 12.  I took up running at the age of 30 to get out of the house and simply to spend time alone.  Running a marathon was on my 'life list' of things to do and, after 9/11 and seeing the smoke raising from the Pentagon, I figured that I'd better hurry up!  Once I had run one marathon, I had to run another, faster.  Then it was qualifying for Boston and then, when that was no longer a 'big deal,' I searched for a new reason to run  -- a way to give my running more meaning --  and that is how I came up with the RunningBrooke idea.  It's incredibly satisfying to me to be doing something I truly love while touching so many lives.

This is where I've been: In 2009, I've been to Boston, Easter Island, Chile -- where I was the first female finisher -- Scranton, PA's Steamtown marathon -- Personal Record of 3:09 --, completed the JFK50 miler, yes, that's a 50 - mile race, and run the St. Jude's Memphis marathon.  I jump started 2010 with the "Goofy Challenge" at Disney World -- 1/2 marathon on Saturday, a full marathon on Sunday.  (Before the inception of RunningBrooke, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon twice, Richmond, VA, Boston four times, Chicago and New York.  In September of 2008, I ran Berlin.)

This is where I'm going:  In 2010, I'll be in Sedona, AZ (Feb.), Las Vegas, NV (Red Rock) (Mar.), London (5th and final major) (Apr.)  In May, I plan to run in Eugene, OR; in June, Duluth, MN; in July, the inaugural Outback marathon around Ayers Rock in Australia.  In August, I plan to run in Omaha, NE; in September, Akron, OH; in October, Denver, CO; in November, Raleigh, NC; and in December, Kiawah Island, SC.

You see, I've learned something through all of this running.  Life is not all about you, your pace and how fast you run; it is about what we can do to make a difference.  I ask that you join me in lacing up your shoes.  I ask that you match my commitment to Alexandria with your own commitment to Alexandria and sponsor me, the RunningBrooke fund, with a pledge of $1,000.00 a year over the next five years.  Join Bonitt BuildersPacers Events, a Division of Pacers Stores, andMcLaughlin Ryder Investments,  who have already committed to Alexandria's future.  Won't you?

My goal for 2010 is that together, we raise $50,000.00, and make a difference worth talking about.  I'm asking for 10 Alexandria businesses in 2010 to step forward and take lead.  For CNFC, $50,000.00 pays the salary a full-time Social Worker for a year, touching the lives of 35 to 50 families.  So much more is left to do as 145 to 150 children are currently on the waiting list, some of whom will never make it into the classroom.  These are children -- and their families -- who won't make that successful transition into kindergarten and into their future without our help.

There is a Chinese proverb, 'Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day.  Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.'  This is exactly what CFNC is doing;  giving children the tools to learn and to succeed in school, and giving their parents the tools to earn -- job training, ESL classes and financial education -- in life.  Eager learner plus secure adult equals a bright future for all.

Reply to this email and say "YES, Brooke, I'm committed to Alexandria too!"  Plan on coming to my Alexandria home on Tuesday, January 26th at 7 P.M. for the "10 in '10 kick-off party."  You'll see links to recent RunningBrooke newspaper articles and to my website and blog below.  If you'd like, I'd be happy to recognize your company in either location, or both.

Thank you for your time and your consideration.  Cheers and it is a beautiful day for a run!

Brooke Curran

2413 King Street
Alexandria, VA  22301

RunningBrooke is now officially 'Goofy...' The Disney Report!


Hello World!

It is official...  I'm GOOFY!  A Goofy Challenge finisher, that it...  To recap,  Goofy's Challenge at Walt Disney World, Florida, consists of a half marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday.  This was the 5th year of the challenge with the largest field ever, so it is good to know that I'm not the only 'crazy' -- other people's words, not mine -- one!  It was 39.3 miles of pure adventure, weaving through 4 theme parks.... Florida: state # 8, marathon #16, and continent #3 (hit #4 with Australia in July).

The fam and I flew to Orlando on Thursday and began the adventure immediately with Cirque Du Soleil at Downtown Disney.  Friday and Saturday -- after the half marathon -- were all rides, all the time; the bigger, the badder, the faster, the BETTER!  Space Mountain, Expedition Everest, Tower of Terror...  Okay, so here we go:

The Good

  • Meeting Bart Yasso -- Chief Running Officer at Runner's World -- and his great wife Laura, an accomplished Ultra Marathon runner.  I heard Bart speak at the Expo -- very well run (no pun intended!) -- about his book My Life on the Run.  His talk was a funny recap about his running adventures around the world, his life, and how his life was changed -- in a good way :) -- by running.  It was great to hear his insights...  And yup, I asked him to autograph my dog-eared version and yup, I asked if he would be in a photo with moi...  A tad embarrassing but hey,  I figured that he gets asked this all the time.  You'll see the photo of us from the expo above, as well as the photo of our dinner group.  We ate Jiko Restaurant  (Animal Kingdom Lodge) Saturday.  Great food and great people; lots of fun.  Hello Group!
  • 3 medals in one weekend... 3 medals in one weekend... 3 medals in one weekend...  need I say more?  One for the 1/2 marathon (Donald Duck), one for the full marathon (Mickey Mouse), and one for finishing both on the same weekend (Goofy -- but maybe you guessed that!)  I set off the alarms going through security, yup it was the medals in the carry on...   Am now very tight with alert security guard, Amanda, at the Orlando Airport.  Hello Amanda!
  • Seeing and running with friends from Albany, NY and Washington DC.  Hello John and crew from the Albany Running Exchange, George and Kelly P. and Mandie S!  Mandie and I, between marathon miles 5 and 17, decided to run Comrade's Ultra Marathon (South Africa) in '11 or '12.  Ok, so it was really her idea...   She wants to do it and I need the continent Africa; and how cool would that be?!  Anyone want to join us?!  If nothing else, it will be an adventure!
  • Randomly sitting across the aisle from (on the bus to the expo) and talking to (on the bus back from the expo) a guy who is running in the same inaugural  Outback marathon in Australia this July.  Hello Bob from LA; see you this summer!
  • Somehow placing 14th in my age group for the marathon.  From yesterday's Orlando Sentinel:  14.Brooke Curran, Alexandria, VA, 3:35:43

The Bad

  • The sleet during the 1/2 marathon (Saturday), the ice crystal layer on top of the drinks at the aid stations (Sunday).  But really, there was nothing any of us could do about it...  The volunteers were great during the whole thing and applied salt -- and warned runners  -- to the slick road (from water spills).  At least we runners were moving and warm, well relatively warm...  Thanks to all good race volunteers :)  I can only imagine how cold ya'll must have been.
  • Waking up at 3:30 a.m., to make it to the monorail by 4, in order to make it to the race start on time.  2 days in a row!  I was running on 4 hours of sleep a night.  Not pretty.
  • Being passed in the last mile (marathon) by a man dressed up as Mario.  I mean, really... 

The Ugly

  • The Goofy was overall harder for me than the JFK 50 miler (November '09) was.  It was harder being 'race ready' mentally, two days in a row.  It was harder to take it easy (relatively) for the half on Saturday, when you feel so good,  and then go out and run a full marathon on Sunday, when you feel so bad.  I 'lost it' at mile 17 and never recovered.  I have never felt this way during a race before, or encountered so many runner's problems.  Sure, I've had one issue or other during races or training runs, but never ALL issues, ALL at once:  queazy/upset stomach but feeling oddly hungry or in need of substantial food -- thanks for the pretzels, Mandi.  Asthma -- again (!) -- about mid way through the race.  I began to wheeze and the inhaler didn't help much.  Crazy tiredness -- I was just drained.  Dehydration?  I realized that it wasn't going to be my day so I just focused on running it in, and finishing...  There is no doubt as to why.  I was burning the candle at both ends -- having tons of fun while I was doing it  :) -- but, it caught up with me by Sunday, and I couldn't hold it together.  Four hours of sleep, three nights in a row.  Never resting,  or taking it easy  --  Sharon, your text words are ringing in my ears!  Walking, walking and more walking, standing, socializing, riding rides,  staying up late, not eating enough and not eating in regular intervals...  So, as a result, I fell apart, but REALLY, being passed by Mario added insult to injury!  The GOOD NEWS to all of this is that my body now feels fine.  My legs never gave out on me.  Go legs!  It takes *^&**&** runs like these, to appreciate all of the good ones.  That is why it seems strange that I sort of 'placed' in my age group for the marathon...  Thanks Keno, good friend of Leong from Easter Island, for noting this and saving the Orlando Sentinel for me!

So that wraps up Orlando!  A few RunningBrooke housekeeping notes:
  • Lululemom ambassador photo shoot along the Old Town waterfront tomorrow.  Coming to the Lululemon website soon... 
  • Thank you party for all 2009 donators.  We raised $22,000.00!  I'm talking with a few worthy charities, hearing their needs, and preparing the grants.  More on that later.
  • Ask me about Ten in '10.  Exciting things planned in 2010.  Let's raise $50,000.00 and make a difference together!
  • Next marathon: Sedona, Arizona on February 6th.  I think it'll be warm there :)

Cheers my friends!  It is a beautiful day for a run...


From Today's Orlando Sentinel Sports Section about Sunday's Marathon: 
1. Cathy F., Wayland, MI, 3:19:47;
2. Jennifer B., Fall River, MA, 3:22:06;
3. Elaine J., Belo Horizonte, BRAZIL, 3:26:51;
4. Melanie C., Knoxville, TN, 3:27:58;
5. Anne B., Burlington, VT, 3:28:14;
6. Tammy W., Melbourne Beach, 3:28:46;
7. Laura P., St John’s, CANADA, 3:28:55;
8. Kim R., Greenwood, SC, 3:30:56;
9. Linda H., Apex, NC, 3:31:51;
10. Heidi S., South Burlington, VT, 3:32:12;
11. Kelly O., Little Rock, AR, 3:33:25;
12. Brenda R., Davenport, IA, 3:33:46;
13. Karen N., Deltona, 3:35:10;
14. Brooke Curran, Alexandria, VA, 3:35:43

How to stay warm -- winter running tricks...


Hello World!

I chose this picture not to confuse you good reader, but to remind myself that yes, it will be warm again one day.  This picture was taken in Prague.  I asked the palace guard to smile with me, but no such luck...  I guess he wanted to keep his job!

I'm often asked as weather gets this cold: well one, are you still running outside?   Ummm, yeah; that is like asking does a bird fly south -- good idea -- or does she sing... and two, how do you stay warm?  These are my tried and true tricks that can be summed up with one word, LAYERS!

  • Ear Brazier -- band that goes around the head covering ears -- or a hat or a pullover with the hood combo -- maybe with a skull cap underneath -- or if it is really cold, truly sub zero with major wind chills cold, a vaseline coating over the entire face with face mask.  I know, I know, your jealous of this one, but trust me, it works!  I only bring it out when all other options won't cut it.  Good thing I'm married because I'd get zero dates looking like this....
  • Layers, Layers, Layers...  I keep all of my running shirts in one drawer.  The really, really cute ones that I don't want to cover up with a layer, get their own distinct pile in the front of the drawer.  The others, the rejects, are in the other pile, shoved not so neatly in the back. The too old, the too tight, the too ugly.  The why in the heck did I spent money on that, shirts.  The second pile gets very handy in cold weather like this.  They become my base layer/s.  I don't feel guilty about wasting money and they get worn and don't feel lonely sitting eternally in my drawer.  Sometimes it is a ugly short sleeve under the cute running pullover.  Sometimes it is the stained long sleeve under the cute running pullover.  And sometimes it is the two warmest long sleeves that I own, probably one with thumb holes, under that same cute pullover.  Ok, so I own more than one pullover but I currently have a favorite.
  • The versatile, really cute, running pullover is a must.  My latest favorite is from Lululemon.  So, I must let you know that I am an ambassador for them, but even if I wasn't, I'd still tell you to check their things out.  Uber, uber cute. This is what you look for beyond looks: a hood that stays on while you run, preferably with a place to pull your ponytail through.  Thumb holes.  Cuffs to pull over your hands that act like a mittens.  Zippered pocket.  Ventilation, a zipper somewhere near the neck to let some of that heat out...
  • Thick, soft running tights, with tall socks underneath.  The tights are warm and not too bulky.  They don't swish around your ankles as you run.  Once you get over the fact that your baring your backside to the world, you'll never go back!
  • Cheap, cheap mittens from Target or similar store.  Perfect.  I coat my hands with Vaseline, put the cheep mittens on, bring the long sleeve over with thumbholes, fold the cuff of the pullover over the hands and that's it.  Out the door in only 20 minutes, 30 if you forget to lace up your shoes before you get your hands ready...

The one thing I haven't tried yet, and loyal reader, if you have or know someone who has tried this, please let me know.  Hand warmers duct taped over the top front part of your shoes.  My Canadian friend from the Memphis marathon swears by this...  Seems a little on the weird side but this comes from a woman who smears Vaseline all over her face :)

Off to Disney to run the Goofy Challenge (1/2 marathon on Saturday and a full marathon on Sunday) and meet Bart Yasso!!!  I'm a little excited...

Cheers, it is beautiful day for a run!


2010 Goals; Health, Career (Running) and Personal


Brooke's 2010 goals
in no particular order....

meditate 3x a week, working up to daily by June

stretch key muscle groups at least once a day

cross train 3x a week: vikram yoga and swim or bike

live in the moment and appreciate the moment...

listen more, listen more, listen more, instead of making to do lists in my head

have more patience...

run a marathon a month for the next 12 months in 10 different states, London and Australia

raise $50,000.00 for the RunningBrooke fund

get 10 (or more) local businesses/organizations to commit to a donation of $1,000.00 (or more)  for the next 5 years, benefitting the RunningBrooke fund and Alexandria, VA charities

keep a 3 season vegetable garden, starting from seed (when feasible) and from heirloom varieties (when possible): greens, herbs, tomatoes and beans, eggplant, root vegetables and anything else that looks fun

train safely, not pushing too hard, or too soon, or too far...

take Apple workshop session 1x a month

improve RunningBrooke blog and readership through thoughtful comments (on other blogs), consistent postings (3x a week), guest postings and interaction in blog world...

Dedication. Optimism. Persistence.   Do it Now!