Tim VanOrden’s Running Raw Times – March 22nd, 2008

Tim VanOrden’s Running Raw Times – March 22nd, 2008

A Huge hello to all my friends and supporters of the Running Raw Project.

In This Issue:
• Marching Into Spring
• The Sunshine State in the Raw
• The Race Report
• Training
• Upcoming Events
• Raw Food In The Media
• Running Raw Website Updates

Marching Into Spring:
A good soldier will march all day long for the right leader or cause. If you were to ask them if they minded the monotony and physical labor of such a task, I’m sure they would almost all respond with “yes, I mind”. But a good soldier does what they are supposed to do, even when it bothers, exhausts or frightens them. I’ve been thinking about the phrase “I mind” of late, and where it might have originated. One theory that I’ve come up with is that when something put’s one into their head (mind) and takes them out of the present moment, they are forced to spend time with their own thoughts (mind). These thoughts are almost certainly focused on the negative aspects of the situation at hand, and that can be quite bothersome. Perhaps causing them to exclaim “I mind!” Well, working out solely at the gym for the past four weeks has elicited a similar response from me: I mind. Instead of being in the midst of glorious nature as I adventure about (training), and experiencing a heightened state of awareness and clarity of thought, I am confronted by little digital numbers that click by FAR too slowly. I mind. The murmur of the omnipresent news channel teases my ears, which strain to catch the latest headlines on the Iraq war, Brad and Angelina, and NY Governor Elliot Spitzer. I mind. The noise is inescapable, and the numbers just don’t move fast enough. Ten minutes on an elliptical machine seem like an eternity in hell and I’m scheduled to do ninety. My mind is trapped, caged, and obsessed with the little numbers. A faint voice on the machine next to me is asking me how many calories I’ve burned, causing me to now focus on an entirely new set of meaningless yellow-green numbers. This is not the journey of discovery that I signed up for. I never intended to discover how one can drive them self insane by working out on a machine that never moves, in an environment that never changes and in air that is seldom fresh. But, I am a man of my word and I made a commitment to continue to grow as an athlete. Do I mind that it’s come to this? Yes, I do, but sometimes we need to act like good soldiers and march onward for the greater good.

The Sunshine State in the Raw:
At first glance, Florida appeared to me as a giant sprawl of high-rise development as far as the eye could see. Big box store shopping “plazas” surrounded by cookie-cutter suburban developments spreading in every direction. It seemed that every road was a three lane highway of endless strip malls and congestion. Then, something magical happened… I got off the beaten path and discovered the still beating heart of the Sunshine State.

The raw communities in Tampa and Sarasota are thriving. There was standing room only at all of the events that I was a part of, and the attendees were alive and eager to transform their greater communities. A sense of community spirit filled the room and had me wanting to pack my bags and be a part of this “celebration” full time.

As I have travelled the country and met numerous raw groups, one thing has always been apparent: It takes just a few dedicated individuals to transform ANY neighborhood into a vibrant and positive living organism. The Tampa raw community owes its thanks in large part to the organizational efforts of Clint Corfman of the Glass Onion, Sweetwater Community Organic Farm and Spencer and Sabrina of Grass Root Organic Restaurant. In Sarasota, that thanks goes to Jenna Norwood (the film maker behind the movie “Supercharge Me”) and her partner Evona Poplawsku of Veggie Magic Cafe.

I would like to add that Jenna Norwood has become a generous sponsor of the Running Raw Project… Many thanks Jenna.

If you are on the central Gulf Coast of Florida please check out these organizations.

The Glass Onion – http://glassoniontampa.com/Home.html
Tampa Bay Raw Food Meetup – http://rawfood.meetup.com/332/
Sweetwater Community Organic Farm – http://www.sweetwater-organic.org/index.html
Grass Root Cafe – http://www.thegrassrootlife.com/
Veggie Magic Cafe – http://veggiemagic.com/

The Race Report:

Not so Social Climbing at the Empire State Building Run Up:
There are many things in this country that you can only find in New York City. One of them would be a mass start stair climb race. Other race directors around the country learned a long time ago that cramming lots of fit people, fueled by adrenaline into a narrow stairwell all at once is a recipe for disaster… and so it was. The race that I had expected to run did not materialize. A troubling start, that left me rattled and panicked until the 20th floor erased any chance of success I might have had. More troubling than my mediocre 14th place finish, was the misfortune of World Mountain Running Champion Marco DiGaspari from Italy. After an unmatched display of legs and lungs at last year’s World Championships, Marco competed in the race up Tapei 101 – the world’s tallest building, and easily defeated the world class field. Second to Marco at Tapei 101 was Germany’s Thomas Dold, the now three time winner of the Empire State Building Run Up. As fate would have it, Marco was tripped and knocked to the ground at the very start of the ESB race (right in front of me, causing me to lose balance as well) and trampled by the crowd. Beaten and bloody, he managed to get to his feet near the middle of the pack and fight his way back to a remarkable 7th place finish. What an honor it is to be able to compete with such incredible athletes.

Even though I did not get the result that I had wanted, the day ended on a very positive note. Several people approached me before and after the race and mentioned that they had seen my videos and been to my website. A few went so far as to inform me that they had made major changes in their diets and lives due to the Running Raw Project. I could not have been happier. There is always a lesson to be learned in every challenge we face. On this day I realized that this journey is not about winning, it’s about winning people over and sometimes we achieve our goals long before we achieve our goals.

Read my Empire State Building Run Up blog here: http://runningraw.com/blog/?p=293

You can see clips of the race and an interview with Marco at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t_nkT-ePKtM

No Crowning at the Corning:
On February 7th, two days after running up the Empire State Building, I competed in a 42 storey stair climb up the Corning Tower in Albany, NY. Although I broke the course record (momentarily) and became one of only 2 people in 20 years to break the 5 minute barrier, I had to settle for a hard earned 2nd place.

At long last, I was not alone in my efforts to spread this message. Three people from around New York State had come to this race to meet me and race with me after having seen my videos online. In addition to my 2nd place finish, Lauren Warren captured an incredible 3rd place finish in the women’s race in her first ever stair climb. It was a shining moment for raw vegans everywhere.

Read the Corning Tower Stair Climb story here: http://runningraw.com/blog/?p=300
To see clips of the race and hear Lauren’s inspiring story follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6bWDM2pjbM

Carving Victory Notches in my Heels at Smuggler’s Notch:
One of the more popular sayings in old Vermont vernacular is; “yuh cahn’t git thayuh frum heeya”. Well, after a long, white-knuckle drive on treacherous, snow covered roads to Smuggler’s Notch Ski Resort, I knew exactly what they meant. I made the drive north in order to compete in the Northern VT Snowshoe Championships, which was a qualifier for the National Championships in Utah.

As it would turn out, the race was far more treacherous than the drive. Although I crossed the finish line in first place, four minutes ahead of second, and qualified for the National Championships, I had done so at great expense. In the words of Forrest Gump – “Stupid is as stupid does”. Moments before the race began, I felt pressure and rubbing on the backs of my heels from the snowshoes I had borrowed. Ignoring the discomfort, I began the race, thinking the worst that could happen would be a small blister. When the race was over, I peeled off my bloody socks to reveal open wounds the size of half dollars on the back of each heel. What had started as blisters had become deep wounds. I had literally worn off the flesh on the backs of my heels. No amount of moleskin was going to fix this.

Later that night as I was checking the results online, I discovered that the man in second place (4 minutes behind me) was 15th at the US Snowshoe Championships last year. He was no slouch. Interestingly, he was about 4 1/2 minutes behind the winner and National Champion. Ce qui sera sera.

You can see a clip of the race here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0NE7fL8kqo

Are Shower Shoes The New Power Shoes?:
My original intent on traveling to Tampa, FL was to compete in the Climb Tampa stair climb up the 42 storey US Bank Plaza. Unfortunately, the heel injuries that I had sustained two weeks earlier prevented me from wearing any type of shoes other than flip flops or shower shoes. This in turn forced me to take two weeks off from training. So as the race drew near, I decided not to participate. That decision was overturned two hours after the race had already begun.

With a pair of shower shoes flopping around on my feet, I won the race by over a minute. Shortly thereafter, I discovered that my choice of footwear was much more interesting to the crowd that gathered than my diet. Well, as the saying goes, “any publicity, is good publicity”.

This race makes me reflect on a statement that many of us uttered as children while playing hide and go seek: “Ready or not, here I come!”. I had always seen that phrase in terms of the hider’s preparation, but now I have a different perspective. There will be no more excuses or reasons for not doing, there will only be doing. Whether I’M ready or not, here I come.

Click this link to read the article in the Tampa Tribune: http://www2.tbo.com/content/2008/feb/24/me-42-flights-for-fun-fitness-charity/
Read the whole story here: http://runningraw.com/blog/?p=307
Click this link to watch the race video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_hNzNxoo3A

No Shoes for Snowshoes:
It seems that my desire to make the US Snowshoe Team was the very reason that I did NOT make the US Snowshoe Team. The injuries that I sustained in the Northern VT Championships have kept me shoeless for over a month now and out of the US Snowshoe Championships. There is always next year.

Training:
Crunch time has arrived. This is absolutely critical training time for the upcoming Olympic Trials and the prior qualifying events. The prognosis for the complete healing of my heel injuries is early April. In the mean time, I’ve been heading to the local gym here in Vermont and using the elliptical machine, stairmaster, and stationary bike in my shower shoes. Running (other than on snowshoes) has been completely absent from my training regimen since February 6th. The focus of my training for the next several weeks will be on the upcoming stair climb events. When April draws to a close, I will once again look towards making my mark as a road warrior.

To see a video celebrating the wonders of Duct Tape, follow this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9DffOwuIQGc

Upcoming Events:
• March 29th – Climb U of Albany – Albany, NY (22 floors)
• April 12th – Merrimack River Trail Race – 10 Miles – Andover, MA
• April 26th – Climb California – Los Angeles, CA (62 floors)

Raw Food In The Media:
http://www.realself.com/blog/celebrity_skin_care_carol_alt.html

Running Raw Website Updates:
• Coming Soon – An entirely New and Improved Running Raw website. Check back April 1st to see how we’ve grown.
• Training Page – http://runningraw.com/training2010.html – Updated each week
• Channels Page – http://runningraw.com/channels.html – Many new pictures and videos
• Blog Page – http://runningraw.com/blog.html – Several new blogs

Paying it Back and Forward:
Please support my sponsors Larabar, Blendtec, Nutiva, Garmin and SuperCharge Me!

In Conclusion:
The Running Raw Project is taking off like never before. The stories you share of how Running Raw has made a difference in your lives inspires me to develop it even further. If you’re excited about what we do and would like to be a part of it, please get in touch with us. We’re always looking for new contributors, sponsorship and enthusiastic athletes to help make this project all it can be. Your donations help us more than you can imagine. Even very small contributions help to pay for event registrations, travel, etc.! Thank you in advance for your support. This is what allows me to do what I do and touch the lives I touch. You can make your donation through http://paypal.com to the address donate@runningraw.com. No amount is too little, and every dollar is appreciated enormously.

Please pass this newsletter along to anyone that you think might be interested in this journey. If you have any suggestions on how to make runningraw.com better, please pass them along. If there is anything you’d like me to try or blog about, send it my way, it may become a part of this journey.

Thank you for your continued support.
With Love and gratitude

Tim VanOrden

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