First Edition, Chapter 1: The 3 Season Garden (goal #10)


Hello Friends, Family and Neighbors-

I am starting something new.  Regular progress posts, focusing on my 2010 goals.  This will:

  1. keep me honest...
  2. remind me of what they are ;D
  3. keep me focused...
And, maybe InSpire...  Perhaps, HelP others (with their goals).  And definitely PUsH me to accomplish mine.

This will also provide a format, a clearer path, as to what this blog is all about.  Previously, other than my monthly marathon updates, I've never had a plan about where this was all going...  And now I do.

So here it goes:

Goal #10.  The 3 Season Garden.

 these little seedlings will go

out into these planters...

Next step:

  1. Soil (Obviously) - Is there such a thing as organic soil?
  2. Warmer weather (Hopefully Soon) - buy thermal blanket so I don't have to wait -
  3. Transplant seedlings
  4. Order Heirloom Tomatoes - set of Six Heirloom Tomatoes -
  5. Plant Radicchio, Swiss Chard and Mesclun Lettuce seeds
  6. Consider the summer garden, beyond tomatoes...

More to follow.  2010 Goal List Below.  Cheers, it was a beautiful day for a run!


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!

Yeah, BaBy... $10,000- raised for Alexandria's Families!

Hi Friends, Family and Neighbors-

Still tired and a little overwhelmed, right now, with this RunningBrooke effort.  But feeling good.  Just want to get caught up in life ;D

Wednesday, was the 2010 Kickoff Party -- St. Patty's Style.  Irish Beers, Green Foods -- kind of hard to do -- and Lucky Charms...

We had about 75 people, and raised OVeR $10,000.00 for women and children in the City of Alexandria!

Below is my speech from that night.  Heartfelt and true.  Cheers!  It is a beautiful day for a run...

Hi Everyone, welcome.  Chris and I are so glad that you are here tonight.  Thanks for coming...

I'm Brooke, AKA RunningBrooke, AKA, ambassador of Alexandria - a title bestowed by Mayor Euille...

Most of you know that I've committed to running a marathon on every continent, in each of the 50 states and the 5 marathon majors -- one marathon a month.  

But, some of you may not know why, or how all of this got started...  

Basically, I started running:

         - turned 30, had three kids and had to get out of the house.  Fresh Air, time alone, peace and quiet, where no one could follow me...
         - had a life list, and running a marathon was on this list...
         - 9/11 happened and I figured that I better hurry up...

So, in 2002, I ran my my first marathon (MCM), with the initial goal of just finishing, without hurting myself.  But when I crossed that line with 'gas in the tank,' I resolved to run another marathon, better, and faster.  I did.  Then the goal was qualifying for Boston, which I did, and continued to do.  And then when running Boston became 'no big deal,' the goal was breaking a 3:10 marathon, which FINALLY I did after 4 tries, last October, at Steamtown, PA. 

But you see, ironically, the faster I got, the better the runner I became, the less my running, meant to me.  

After so many miles  --  I estimate that I've run well over 6,000 -- and so many marathons -- 19.

 I was looking to put meaning back into my running...

You see, after all these miles, I realized that LIFE is not all about me, my pace, and how fast I run.  It is about what I can do to make a difference, to make Alexandria a better place.

That's when I came up with this idea:  if I can commit to some ridiculous -- but achievable -- goal, I can legitimately ask generous people I know to match my commitment through charitable giving...

So in May of 2009, I partnered with ACT for Alexandria, started the RunningBrooke Fund and raised over $22,000 in the remainder of the year.   2009 took me around the world from Easter Island, Chile -- where I broke the tape as I was the first female finisher -- and across many states  -- and included one 50 mile race -- the historic JFK50.

In February of 2010, I granted most of that money -- $20,000 -- to Child and Family Network Centers.  It was incredibly, incredibly gratifying to me to touch so many lives!

LOOK AROUND AND SEE THE PICTURES of all the smiling faces the day I granted that money.  Because:

     --That meant that 36 kids and their families continued to receive services:  

FREE Preschool, FREE ESL classes, FREE job training and social services, like hearing and vision screening.  This is where your donation money is going.

In 2010, I started with a new goal.  To raise $50,000.

I started the year by contacting local Alexandria businesses to gain sponsorship.  These businesses 'laced up their shoes' and committed $1k a year for the next 5 years.  That means that the RunningBrooke Fund starts out each year with a healthy 10k in the bank.  I'd like to take a minute to recognize them now...  And if you'd raise your hand as I call your name, please...

            -- Murray Bonitt with Bonitt Builders, Shawn McLaughlin with McLaughlin Ryder Investments, Mark Anderson with Mark Anderson Consultants, Kathy Dalby with Pacers Events, a division of Pacers running stores, Mike McNair with McNair Travel, TJ Fannon with TJ Fannon & Sons,  Sean McEanerney and McEanerney Associates.   And I just learned tonight that Kerry Donley and Virginia Commerce Bank came through too.  Please take a minute to talk and say thanks to them.

In short, here is our pact our our community.  I do all the training and running.  I pay all my travel expenses and entry fees.  You reciprocate -- and REALLY make a tangible difference -- by opening up your checkbook and showing your commitment to the community.  Remember, your donation is 100% tax deductible and 100% of your donation goes to an Alexandria charity.

Again, thanks for coming.  You're support means a lot to me and a lot to the community!

I'll close with a little Irish poem.

As you slide down the banister of life,
May the splinters never point in the wrong direction!

Cheers.  It is a beautiful day for a run!

**All Star** (homemade and organic) Power Bars

Hello Friends, Family and Neighbors-

I often get asked what, where, how (much), A LOT, and when I eat, to fuel my run or to recover from a run...

This is one of my ABSOLUTE faves, given to me by, up-for-ANY-adventure, let's-take-the-world-on, good friend, Margaret....  Thanks Marg for giving and sharing!  

This is easy to make, easy to pack and easy to carry.  And these bars are light in-the-stomach.  Give me ALL the energy I need, without weighing me down.  A few squares (cut bars, like shown below) work as a natural, mid-long-run, pick-me-up (instead of a GU -- no offense GU or any other gel) .  Or as a recovery snack, after a hard effort (try with chocolate milk), or an after-dinner sweet.  YUM.  Try 'em out!

Homemade Power Bars
(can be frozen)


1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup applesauce
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/3 cup chocolate chips -- but you could add more ;)

Bake, in a 8 x 8 lightly greased pan, at 325 degrees for about 35 minutes.  

Cool, Cut, Eat and Enjoy!

Sin City... The Vegas Report.


Hello Friends, Family and Neighbors-

Had a GREAT time Vegas and plan to go back and take care of some unfinished business, like:

  • Get re-married to favorite husband (guess I should ask him ;)) at one of those wedding chapels...
  • See a show, drop some coins in a slot machine, and gamble a dollar or two...
  • Hike surrounding canyons, raft the Colorado River, SkYdiVe!
Las Vegas, for sure, is a city Full of Opportunities.  GOOD and BAD.  And it is a city that FEEDS any VICE,  24/7.
  • Game (euphemism for gamble ;)), Consume a beverage of choice, and **I'm not talking water here ** and Walk, with said beverage, down the Strip...
  • See a show.  A few from the current lineup:  Cher, Carrot Top, Zac Brown Band, Barry Manilow -- yes, he is still alive and preforming --, Defending the Caveman, Disney's Lion King OR experience LatE NIghT, billed as the Ultimate Stimulus Package for the over 18 crowd...
  • Get hypnotized and Buy a gun (ad enticement: shoot a ReAl submachine gun...)
It is a place of ConTrasts and Opposites and gives NYC a run for the title A City That Never Sleeps.  So without further adieu...

The Good

  • The Intense Scenery and access to the outdoors: running, hiking, biking and rafting.  ALL within minutes of the strip.  In Vegas, you could choose to go outside and experience Outdoor Nirvana, or stay inside, and NeVEr see the light of day.  The hotel/ casino complexes are SO huge and so CAVERNOUS that you could -- and I'm NOT exaggerating here -- eat, drink, smoke (LOTS of smoking going on in Vegas), sleep (NOT so much sleep going on in Vegas), game (remember that is the euphemism for gamble), have spa treatments, workout, go to a 20 screen Cineplex, Shop, Shop, Shop, bowl, see a live show AND never go outside...
  • The Maverick Helicopter Tour with sunset fly-overs, and incredible views of The Hoover Dam, Lake Meade, extinct volcanoes, Red Rock formations, and the Grand Canyon (with a 2,000' descent onto a canyon ledge for a light snack and photo op).

ready for takeoff


The Hoover Dam

*factoid:  there is enough concrete in the Hoover Dam to circle the Entire earth with a 5 foot sidewalk...  and Lake Meade, up and to the left of the dam, will be dry in about 10 years.  A little disturbing...

and, below, pictures as we approach The Grand Canyon.  This was AmAZinG!

In the front seat,  surrounded by glass for spectacular, breathtaking, unimaginable views... Gut wrenching, stomach-lurching **the pilot made special note as to the location of the upchuck bags ** as the 'copter -- without warning -- crossed over the canyon edge and the ground instantaneously fell away, only to reveal itself again, 4000' below!

*helicopter views.

*factoid: ECO-Star helicopter, run by the Maverick Aviation Group, cruised at about 120 miles per hour and used 2 gallons of fuel per mile...  Feel somewhat guilty about being part of such a energy-sucking, pleasure trip, but hey, as my favorite mother puts it, it is sure better than taking a mule down the canyon!  And she's speaking from experience.

canyon ledge landing site (mid-way down)... Colorado River.  Notice, in the following pictures, that I'm NOT wearing my STILL-favorite green plaid Lulu jacket :)  I own other clothes, ummm, other Lululemon clothes...

*riding in a helicopter felt like being a bumble bee -- okay, ONLY UsINg my imagination here; my hippie days are behind me! -- flitting, and lifting on the whim of wind currents.  Eventually making it to the target location...

  • The Race.  The Red Rock Marathon was well run, by a fellow Lululemon ambassador.    Hello Joyce!  And was set in some of the most SOuL inspiring scenery that I've ever run.  Pure, Zen-Like, Running Nirvana.  Pure connection with nature.  Body and mind moving forward; Peace, where all is right in the world.  AND, they served fresh, hot-off-the-griddle pancakes at the finish line!   Still LOve you Sedona and Easter Island!
  • Placed 2nd in AG (age group) with 9th place overall (4:12) and got a groovy momento...
  • Ran with fellow Marathon Maniacs.  Hello Mitch, Al and Steve!

  • Met up with Mecca Pal ** special prize for anyone who emails me at with the correct location of Mecca (fictional and in the US). **  Big hint,  I knew Pam, and saw her daily, from Kindergarten through 12th grade.  Hi Pam! And (sorry) you (Pam) or anyone else who knew me from the ages of 5 to 18 (sorry, again)  are ineligible!
Pam and me at dinner

The Bad

Disclaimer:  I'm giving you my honest opinions here, and am not trying to offend, be superior (in mind, body or health), or come across as a holier-than-thou, prude...  With that said, here it goes...

  • All of the Health-Challenged -- use your imagination here, but it involves food and beverage choices, legal 'drug' choices, and lifestyle choices (read: don't take care of themselves) -- masses, that sat zombie-like, glassy-eyed, and glued, to the slot machines, morning, noon and night...  There.  I put it out there.  I said it.  No one HaTe me.  My apologies to anyone who takes care of themselves, and has true, heath problems.
  • Sex in oVerdriVe.  I know that sex sells and skin is in.  BUT REALLY...   Do I need to see it at 5 in the afternoon? *factoid... there are cruising billboards featuring scantily-clad women -- on vans, etc. --, driving slowly, hoping for red lights?, advertising "Female entertainers direct to your room."  Hello?!  HoOkeRs!!
  • No coffee pot in the hotel room and no coffee pot to be had.  There was a martini shaker, plenty of booze, olives, and martini glasses, but NO coffee pot, and no coffee pot to be had!

The Bizarre and The Unexpected, The Learned
*new category in honor of Las Vegas

  • Mid-flight (outgoing) diversion to Albuquerque -- yes, New Mexico -- because the lady behind me went into LaBOr!

paramedics boarding the plane...

  • Airplane smells (returning) seeping from the pores of the over-indulged, the under-bathed and the sleepless.  Note to self:  do NOT take the first flight out of Vegas on a Sunday morning!
  • Cabbie who shared why he switched to the day shift:  too many people taking CarNal Knowledge of one another in the back seat of his cab.  Ugh!

Like I said, I have to go back to Vegas.  Finish up some things.  Vegas is OutRageous.   A place of Polar Opposites.  Awesome in a seemingly lawless way.  Live Clean or Dirty.  It is ALL your choice...   So cheers; it was a beautiful day for a run!



  • Next up:  London Marathon on April 25th.  5th and final Marathon Major (Boston, New York, Chicago, Berlin and London) and a category closer for me!
  • 2010 RunningBrooke Kick-Off Party on March 17th (hello green beer!), with special recognition to the Ten in '10.  *Businesses who have 'laced up their shoes' and committed to donating a $1,000 a year, for the next 5 years, to the RunningBrooke Fund.  Find them listed on my website and blog.  Stop by, say thanks, and use their services.
  • If somehow you missed my evite and would like to come, email me: and I'll give you the details...
  • There are new features -- thanks to web-goddess, Cheryl --  and postings on and  Check it out.  Listen or watch the radio and TV  interviews...
  • Does anyone receive the magazine Women's Running and see an article about RunningBrooke and Fundraising?  Months ago I submitted something to them and supposedly they picked it up... Would love a hard copy.
that's all, folks...