Big Sur Marathon Recap + Asthma Awareness Day and Spring2ACTion

Dear Friends, Family and Neighbors,

The Big Sur marathon on Monterey Pensula, CA -- yikes, two weeks ago now -- was one of the most scenically stunning, visually arresting marathons I've ever run. The region's coastal beauty is unsurpassed -- with panoramic, cliff-fringed Pacific vistas with easy access to water's edge. I understand why Californian's stomach the seismic activity.

Sailboats in Monterey Bay

Monterey -- the region's most historic city -- was discovered in 1602 and named after Spain's Count of Monte Rey. It remained the official capital of Spanish Alta California until 1849, when California's State Constitution was drafted. Positioned right at Monerey Bay, this turf translates into scores of recreational activities: *white-knuckled sailing, scuba diving, whale-watching, deep-sea fishing + biking and running along the 18-mile Monterey Bay Coastal Recreational Trail.

*New Feature... The RunningBrooke Round Up; A video-tour of the latest.

Two weeks wrapped up in a two-minute YouTube Video -- loads of good stuff.

1. Big Sur Marathon, May 1st. This is a must-run! To see for yourself, click HERE.
2. Asthma Awareness Day on Capitol Hill, May 4th. As an athlete with exercise-induced asthma, it was powerful to be part of such an important and constructive conversation with our legislators. Asthma effects us all, but it doesn't have to slow you down! To learn more, click HERE.
3. Spring2ACTion, May 5th - 7th. A 3-day, online, fund-raising extravaganza where The RunningBrooke Fund competed with 43 other local charities for the top cash prizes. We placed 6th out of 44, raising $8,420.00. I'm thrilled that we did so well! Thanks to the 77 of you who 'laced up your shoes' and joined the fun... *a personal thank you note to follow... To learn more about this innovative fund-raising approach, click HERE.

The Statistics:

35 Marathons run and over 65K raised for at-risk, local kids.
5 of 7 Continents run, with Antarctica (3/12) and Africa left .
24 States + DC, done.
Marathon Majors (Berlin, Boston, Chicago, NY, London): Done!

On the Horizon:

1. Next Marathon (state #25!): Ridge Runner in Cairo, WV -- June 4th. Under 100 runners registered so far.
2. Big-City cover story. Details as they emerge...
3. Hairspray. Come see the award-winning musical and support The RunningBrooke Fund. The songs are sure to please: 1960s-style dance music and "downtown" rhythm. Set in 1962 Baltimore, teenager Tracy Turnblad wins her dream to dance on a local TV dance program, becomingHairspray a celebrity overnight. But Tracy is outraged by the social injustice of the show, and sets out to change it. Thanks The Little Theatre for the opportunity! Loads of details to follow.

And now, without further ado, The Big Sur Marathon Recap:

The Good

1. The Marathon. With the beautiful weather, unbeatable scenery, and pristine air -- warm and cool pulsating pockets, it was easy to run fast and free. A perfect day, where mind meets body for an unparallelled experience. Ran with goose bumps for 26 miles. Really.
2. Bella on the Bay. A 2-hour, white-knuckled ride on Monterey Bay. The video seems tamer than the experience... guess the Cap' knows not to video during the hairier portions. Safety rules.

3. Spending three days with good friend Joyce.

Race Day morning with Joyce

The Bad

1. Marathon Course Change due to Highway One land slide and road closure . Nothing you can do about that except change the course -- and it was still breath-taking. But I missed the chance to run among the Red Woods and be surrounded by the silence of the soft-sounding padding of runners' feet and then burst out from the trees' cover and into the sunlight of Highway One.
2. Airport Food that came back to haunt me.

The Ugly

1. Delays, Missed Connections and Near-Bumps. We had problems on every segment of the trip, capped off by getting caught in a 30-minute beltway closure at 12:45 AM. Yuck!

That's it. Hope you're well and enjoying the Spring. Be back in touch in a few weeks, but until then, run strong!


not getting a ticket...

beautiful classical music for runners' enjoyment,
side of the road and near cliffs' edge...

self-pic. with Kelly of Marathon Tours
note to self, self pic's are never a good idea -- especially when taken while running...

roadside flowers

Help move The RunningBrooke Fund up the leader-board!

Hi Friends-

Right now, today, 5/6 and tomorrow, 5/7, The RunningBrooke Fund is 'racing' to see how many unique (new) donors it can get. If the fund make it to the top spots of the leader board, there are significant cash prizes awarded.

Help these kids...

Your donation can be as small as $10-...
Your donation will go directly to struggling kids in Alexandria/Arlington...

Prizes for randomly selected donors too!

Click here to donate today!!

Follow the leader board by clicking here.

Thanks very much!! Brooke

London -- 5th and final major -- a category closer!

Dear Friends, Family and Neighbors,

The London Marathon was a RunningBrooke category-closer! I've now run all of the world marathon majors: London ( 4/17/11), Berlin (9/08), Boston (4/09, 4/08, 4/07, 4/06), New York (11/08) and Chicago (10/06). Berlin, by far, was my favorite; the yellow Linden trees framed by crystal-clear blue skies, the crisp, fall air, the chaotic frenzy of race-start and the male spectator swatting me on my behind -- with a rolled-up program -- shouting 'Run! Run! in Italian.' Felt fast and free as I sliced through the wind.

The Statistics:

Total Marathons Done: 34
Continents Completed: 5 of 7, with Antarctica (3/12) and Africa left
States: 23 finished
Marathon Majors: done!
To date, $64,500+ has been raised. Every penny goes to 5 vital Alexandria-based charities supporting struggling kids and families -- Child and Family Network Centers,Community Lodgings,The Reading Connection, Girls on the Run, NoVA, ACTion Alexandria).

The Recent:

Big Sur Marathon. May 1st. One of the most scenic marathons in the world but Yikes, it's tomorrow! I'm finishing this update from my hotel room in Monterrey.

Asthma Awareness Day. May 4th. Join the conversation with me and members of congress on Capitol Hill. I'm super-excited to be on the panel of speakers and then be the featured athlete in the Health Fair. Come learn how Asthma doesn't have to slow you down! $400 worth of FREE testing.

The Right Now!!!

Spring2ACTion. May 5th-7th. A fantastic 3-day online fund-raising event where it's the number of new, unique donors NOT the donation amount that moves a charity up the leader board and eligible to win significant cash prizes. Save the dates to make your donation/s. It can be as small as $10.00 (2 Starbucks coffees). All money raised will go directly to at-risk Alexandrians.

And so, without further ado, the London Marathon recap:

Brooke and Shirley
Favorite-mom and me on our way

London was just beginning to gear-up for the Royal Wedding Royal Wedding when Favorite Mom -- joining me to celebrate her birthday milestone -- and I were there. The city was spruced-up and spit-polished but not too busy. We were able to enjoy the city without fighting the crowds. Warm, sunny and beautiful, it was the height of Spring and perfect for walking -- and we did... Big Ben, Westminster Hall/Parliament, Victoria Embankment, St. James Park, Wellingon Arch, Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Portobello Road, Embassy Road, Kensington Palace, Albert Memorial, Buckingham Palace.

In retrospect, it was extremely powerful to have walked through centuries of history and to have been in the very same spots, where the wedding and royal procession took place yesterday! I kept shouting at the TV, I was just there... I saw that too! We heard the same organ pipes in Westminster Abbey, saw the sun streaming through the same stained-glass windows, came down the same center aisle. London was full of breathtaking beauty and grandeur. We walked the royal procession route -- from Westminster Abbey, though Wellington Arch to Buckingham Palace -- along Constitution Hill. I saw the kisses. I thought I wouldn't care/be moved by the Royal Wedding, but I was.

daily procession through Wellington Arch

*Factoid. All Royal Processions, ie: Coronations, Weddings and Funerals have used the identical route from Westminster Abbey, and down Constitution Hill to Buckingham Palace, for centuries.

The Good

Spending time with favorite-mom; we had a blast. No arguments and no one got run over!

*Factoid. We were due to make this trip in 4/10 but had to reschedule because of the Icelandic volcano eruptions and subsequent travel issues.

Reuniting with Nick -- a Brit -- and Floyd -- from the mid-west. Originally meeting Santiago, Chile, the three of us ran the Easter Island marathon together. Tons of fun seeing them again.

*Factoid. Nick -- a Brit -- holds the Guinness Book of World Records for having the fastest cumulative marathon time for all 7 continents Go Nick!

The Marathon. It was a category-closer. What could be better than that?!

The Bad

The Marathon. Suffice it to say that it just wasn't my day. Tired, with heavy legs. But hey, I'd run three marathons in March -- a double just two weeks prior to London. I guess I'm not invincible after all.

The Ugly

The Marathon. Here you go people. The only good thing I can say about the experience is that every step was one step closer to the finish line. Hot, tired, crowded, uninspired. Yuck.

Congratulations, you made it to the end! I'll be back in touch soon with loads of exciting updates. May is going to be a great month for the RunningBrooke Fund and Alexandria.

I saw this quote earlier today on FB: "You have a choice. You can throw in the towel...or you can use it to wipe the sweat off your face!" Cheers, now go out there and do something great!


* Factoid. Wellington Arch was built 1828 to celebrate the defeat -- led by the Duke of Wellington -- of Napoleon at Waterloo.