Thursday, December 22, 2022

#40MeaningfulMiles Recap

This past weekend I ran #40MeaningfulMiles around North County San Diego to raise funds and awareness for The Trevor Project (an amazing non-profit organization that provides lifesaving and life-affirming services to LGBTQ youth).


A month or so ago, I saw a post from The Trevor Project that mentioned their research shows that having one accepting adult in their lives can decrease the risk of an LGBTQ young person attempting suicide by 40%. They were challenging folks to tackle #40MeaningfulMiles in the month of December. I thought that although I might not be 'trained' to run 40 miles, why not give it a go and do all of the mileage at once?! Not only did I plan to cover the distance, I also wanted to use what little platform and influence I have to try and raise money for the amazing work that The Trevor Project does.

Source: The Trevor Project's Facebook Page

I looked at the calendar and decided that this past Saturday was going to be the best day to tackle the challenge. I had Friday and Saturday off from work (I normally work Monday through Friday, but was working Sunday through Thursday for two weeks because of the holidays and having to do physical inventory one weekend), which meant I could rest the legs on Friday and get to bed at a decent hour before hitting the streets before the buttcrack of dawn come Saturday morn ;) 

I'm probably strange, but I love the peacefulness of pre-dawn running!

Before going to bed on Friday night I made sure to lay everything out that I would need. Normally during races you have aid stations that you can rely on for some of your fuel, hydration refills, etc, but since this was going to be self-supported [meaning it was just me and whatever I could carry], I needed to make sure I thought through the 40 miles a little closer.

Although I would've LOVED to run in just my tank, the weather was going to be a little nippy so I threw on a long sleeve over my tank and a light jacket (the long sleeve was black and because I'd be running before the sun came up I wanted some reflective features - which my jacket had). I was all ready to go [bundled up] and out the front door by 4:30am.

Let's get this party started!

My game plan was just to enjoy the morning. I planned to stop for character stops along the way, take in the sights and sounds of North County San Diego and hopefully finish with a smile on my face. As you probably saw in the first picture, I attached a cardboard sign to the back of my hydration pack hoping it would strike up some conversations so I could share what I was doing throughout the morning with others. [I also made some instagram story graphics with information about The Trevor Project, what they do and some of their research to share between my photo/ video updates along my run.]

The first character stop I came across was SANTA! I KNOW HIM! I snapped a quick picture with him around Mile 3.

He knows when you are running, he sees when you lift weights...
And apparently I must have been SO EXCITED I couldn't keep the camera still ;)

Around Mile 6 I had a little uphill so decided it was the perfect time to take my first PROBAR chews (and walk break). 

That flash can be BRIGHT... 

I was really hoping that I could come across some awesomely decorated yards, but it seems like most people turn off their lights and inflatables after about midnight, so I was mostly just chugging along on the dark roads till the sun started to rise.

Sunsets might get most of the love... but I prefer a sunrise!

Surprisingly the body was feeling pretty good. As you may remember, I was really only training for the marathon distance (I ran the TCS NYC Marathon in the beginning of November and CIM at the beginning of December), so I was going to ask my body to go 14ish miles more than I had "trained" it to go. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't breaking any records - I was taking walk breaks when I needed and stopping for photo ops whenever they arose - but the body was still feeling dandy. 

Just a few of the different North County neighborhoods I was lucky enough to run through on my journey

Gotta take the character stops wherever you can find 'em ;)

I was able to chat with a few folks about my sign (a pair of runners who I played leapfrog with [when I passed them, stopped for a photo, they passed me and then when I started again I passed them again], a couple bikers who cheered me on after seeing the "40-miler" and a friendly person watering the plants in the rock garden I stopped to admire).

I always love checking out this ever growing rock garden in Encinitas when I run by.

Around Mile 24 or so I could tell my body was feeling a bit beat. I didn't know if it was my lower back making my quads feel tight or my quads making my lower back feel tight, but whatever the case I knew I probably would need to walk the majority of the rest of my run. Normally I might have gotten bummed about this, but I had to remind myself A) I wasn't actually trained for 40 miles and B) this wasn't about me - like in the slightest! I listened to my body and knew I'd finish. 

My running views don't suck and I hope I never take them for granted!

My phone is an older iPhone 8, so let's just say the battery life isn't what it used to be. I had to turn my brightness down as low as I could and put it on airplane mode to conserve as much life as possible so I would be able to call the hubby when I was done since he was picking me up. With that said, I don't have a ton of pictures for the last portion of the 40 miles. 

Who's BRIGHT idea was it to run 40 miles at once?! Oh yeah, mine...

And, just in case you were wondering, I am still picking up trash on my runs! #3PieceChallenge

I love when folks decorate public areas (as long as it's cared for afterwards and
doesn't end up as litter or in the oceans for our sea friends to eat/ choke on)

Instead of doing a straight out and back (where I would start at one point, run 20 miles out, turn around and run back to the same spot), I switched it up slightly. I decided to start from our house and then finish at the North County LGBTQ Resource Center near our house. They're closed on the weekends (although it would've been awesome if I could've gone in and chatted with them once I finished), so I just had to take photos outside when I wrapped up the 40.40 miles. 

I am hoping after the first of the year I can start volunteering with some of their amazing projects!

We are furtunate enough to have an LGBTQ Resource Center within a few miles of our house, but not everyone is that lucky, which is why national organizations like The Trevor Project are so important. There may not have been an official finish line, a medal or cheering spectators, but this 40-miler wasn’t about any of that, it wasn’t about me at all! My feet may have covered the distance, but the true champions are those fighting for the overlooked, the discarded, the marginalized. 

My hope is that I can be a changemaker, a beacon of light to others in this often dark world. 

As of this post going live I have helped to raise over $1,500 for The Trevor Project. If you would like to donate so this organization can continue to help LGBTQ youth, please check out my fundraiser (I have extended the window through the end of the year to give more folks the opportunity to donate if they feel led). Your donation will literally help to save lives!

Click HERE if you're interested in donating

Do you have any LGBTQ resources near where you live?

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