Tag Archive for 'cambodia'

Donation made to “Friends”

Thank you to everyone who helped me reach my fundrasing goal *and more!* for Mith Samlanh “Friends.” This morning I made my final donation of funds: $1257.20 USD to help the organization purchase their facilities building. This money will go a long way in helping Friends continue providing quality education and vocational opportunities for streetchildren in Cambodia!

I did it!

Michaela and Kathy stand in front of the Minnesota State Capitol after completing the 2008 Twin Cities Marathon!

I successfully ran the 2008 Twin Cities Marathon yesterday, and what a marathon it was. What started out as a cloudy, cool Sunday morning (perfect marathon weather in my opinion), quickly shifted into a crazy, weather-wild intense run from Minneapolis to St. Paul. The rain started within the first 2 miles and continued (very heavy at times) until mile 14. By that point everyone was completely soaked and there was no chance of drying off in the 51 degree temps. Looks like my 18-miler during Hurricane Hannah was excellent practice for race day!

Surprisingly, those first 14 miles flew by quickly. Actually, for the most part the entire race went fast. Kathy and I managed to keep our initial times way under 10 minutes a mile, and for the most part, my injured body was handling it well. Around mile 14, however, the cold weather stiffened up my joints and it became harder and harder to keep up with Kathy and her magic shoes :o). Remembering some advice from a great coach “run your own race,” I gave into my body and focused on maintaining a pace that felt right for me.

I finished at 4 hours and 33 minutes - not bad for a first marathon! When it was over and I ran across the finish line, I actually felt like I had more energy to keep going. My muscles, on the other hand, were completely spent. I held back on my speed for the second half of the race because there was a promised huge incline from mile 21-23. It actually turned out to be a very gradual hill, and I barely noticed. If I had known in advance, I probably would have tried to exert myself more. Maybe another marathon is in my future :o).

The entire city (on both sides) was out to watch the event in what was likely horrific weather to stand in (not just run in). Regardless of the pouring rain and cold temperatures, people flocked along the course in huge packs, playing drums under bridges, blasting the Rocky theme song (that was my favorite), and holding out funny signs. My favorite sign near the end was someone who held the words “Remember your reasons for running.”

I also loved the people watching throughout the race - people who were running their 75th or 300th marathon self-identified with homemade t-shirts. One guy wore no shirt at all, and displayed about 15 smiley face tattoos for the crowd. He tried to get everyone to yell as he ran by. The Minneapolis side was definitely more receptive to this than the St. Paul side :o). Families threw huge marathon-watching parties on their lawns, complete with moon-bounces, barbecues and fire pits, mimosas, and huge crowds of people. Others manned tables that handed out bananas and oranges or Jolly Ranchers. A few tables even offered beer to runners. Needless to say, I avoided anything but water, Gu, and bananas during my run :o).

Here are a few photos I managed to take before and after the race:

Wearing a pink shirt and sweats to stay warm during the early morning, as well as my new Twin Cities Marathon hat. I’m holding hot tea to keep my hands warm, and a baggy of advil (which also held my camera

when I was running!).

Me and Kathy stand a block away from the race start, in front of port-o-potties just ready to be used! Incidentally, despite the promises of disqualification for public urination, I saw hundreds and hundreds of people pee in the bushes (men and women alike!)

Waiting in Corral 2 for the race to begin. It only took us about 5 minutes to cross the start line once the gun went off.

Finishers cover themselves in Mylar blankets to stay warm after the race. These were a welcome treat for all of us - coveted as highly as the marathon t-shirt and the medal!

Unfortunately, although I wore my Friends t-shirt the entire time, the only pictures I have of myself (yes, I carried a camera the whole way) were before the race when I was wearing a long-sleeved shirt on top to keep warm, and at the end, when I put on the marathon long-sleeved t-shirt because my clothes were drenched through and I was having trouble staying warm. Regardless of pictures (and I’m hoping the official photographers will grab some real shots of me running), that shirt was great to have as people cheered on “Friends” and one runner even ran past me to ask about it.

Overall, it was a tremendous experience and one I may definitely have to do again in the future. For now I will focus on getting back to normal. After the race Kathy and I spent some time in the hotel hot tub, played in the pool with her nieces, and even took a spin down the indoor water slide, because we could. Last night’s sleep was pretty painful, but things seem to be loosening up a bit already. Kathy says marathons are like childbirth - soon you forget all the pain and look forward to putting another one under your belt. Chicago 2009? Kathy? :o)

Follow me on the course!

My number is F2458 and my moment by moment (mile by mile) progress should be available here:


If that link doesn’t work, try:

http://www.mtcmarathon.org and click on the tracker in the middle. Then type in my runner number: F2458.

Tomorrow is the big day!

I’ve officially arrived in Minneapolis, having spent the day running last minute errands (cheap layers to throw away as they hit frost here last night) and eating lots and lots of carbs :). The weather was beautiful today, and the area is really a great location for a marathon. Most of the course is downhill as well, which is definitely a bonus. I however, am not excited about miles 21-23 being a steep incline. Hopefully the crowds will camp out there and cheer us through the rough patches.

I thought there was more I wanted to say, but my mind is full of mush and more preoccupied on figuring out my dressing strategy in the morning. I apologize for the lameness, but I’m sure you understand :o).

Looking forward to tomorrow; I can’t believe the day is finally here!

Marathon week is heeeeeere!

Thank you again to everyone for all of your support throughout the training process. I’m happy to announce that I have reached my goal and have exceeded $1000 of donations (in both paypal and personal checks) for Mith Samlanh “Friends”! If you haven’t donated already, it’s not too late! I’ll be making my actual donation to friends early next week after I return from Minnesota.

My t-shirt has already arrived and I can’t wait to wear my Cambodian-designed logo this coming Sunday. I completed my last long training run on Saturday - 7 miles in humid, rainy gross-ness - which is making me ever-more-grateful for the cool air of the northern United States!

Other than that, I’m trying to rest myself for the upcoming race, including ignoring the scratchy throat/impending cold I’ve been feeling since Saturday. EmergenC usually does wonders for me, so I’m hoping it will continue its magic this time around!

My friend (psuedo coach) Peter reminded me to actually get excited about the race, and I’m glad he did. All of this work over the past 6 months is finally coming to a head and I’ll have the chance to really see what 26.2 feels like - for better or for worse. I’m impressed with myself for actually following through and making it this far, despite the shin splints, my crazy summer traveling schedule, AND the most recent IT band woes I’ve encountered. I’m excited to know what it feels like to cross that finish line and hear thousands of strangers screaming my name. And I’m also going to try to remember to smile when I see a photographer along the course so that I don’t have any more embarassing running pictures floating around the internets.

I’ll be posting more race-day information here in the coming days, including ways for you to receive race updates from your cell phone.

Vote for my t-shirt!

I continue to be amazed at all the incredible people in my life who have offered their support, encouragement, and talents to help me accomplish my goal of raising $1000 for Mith Samlanh Friends AND running in my first marathon. I’ve nearly reached $950 with checks and online donations, and despite a little glitch injury that happened over the weekend during my 20-mile run, I’m in great spirits and looking forward to hitting the trail again today.

I also woke up this morning to find some AWESOME shirt designs for race day. John Weeks - a fellow blogger and friend from my time in Cambodia - and his team of graphic artists were kind enough to offer their time to design me a shirt. Not a small offer with their huge workload and the Cambodia BarCamp coming up this weekend. The designs are included below and it’s important that I make a decision TODAY about which one I prefer so I can finalize the design and can get this thing to print tomorrow. I would love to hear your thoughts! I am definitely leaning towards the Khmer writing and the runner in orange.

Please place your vote in the comments, including any additional suggestions you might have. I’ll be wearing a white t-shirt with the image on the front. If you’d like to learn more about the race and why I’m doing (and help me meet my fundraising goal), click here.

I’ll announce the winner here tomorrow. Thank you John and Team!!!
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Getting closer and closer to my goal!

Thank you SO much to all of you who’ve donated so far! I sincerely appreciate your support and I know that the money raised will most definitely help the street children of Cambodia. I am truly touched by your generosity.

I’ve got my last long practice run on Sunday this weekend - a half-marathon race in Rockville, and then I’m planning to run from Bethesda, back to Arlington to get the last of the full 20 miles in! I know I’ll be hurting afterwards, but it will be great preparation for October 5th.

At the end of this weekend I will have run over 50 miles in just the past two weeks! I can’t believe race day is so soon :o).

Celebrate with me at Mith Samlanh’s Friends Restaurant!

I celebrated my 27th birthday at the Mith Samlanh “Friends” restaurant in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. This amazing facility is home to a training center for Cambodian streetchildren, helping kids get off drugs and away from theft, and into classrooms and vocational training. At “Friends” restaurant, former streetchildren are your hosts, servers, chefs, and restaurant managers. The food is amazing and the people you’ll meet there are even more incredible.

Now, nearly 3 years later for my 30th birthday, I’m running in the Twin Cities Marathon to raise money for Mith Samlanh Friends, please help me reach my goal!

Running in the rain: why 18 miles in hurricane Hanna was worth it

Many of you already know that I’ve been training for the Twin Cities Marathon over the past several months, and I’ve about reached the end of my preparatory, longer runs. This past weekend I was scheduled to run my last 18-miler (20 miles is this coming weekend!), but hurricane Hanna had other plans.

I had arranged to meet up with 4 other women from my running group at 6 am saturday morning, to knock those 18 miles out of the way before breakfast. I usually run at 7 am, but my running partner was out of town that weekend, and the only group of folks I knew that were also running 18 were even earlier risers than I usually am. That said, I thought this might be a good thing as the heaviest rains from the storm weren’t scheduled to hit until 10 am.

Though the idea of running 18 miles makes me physically ill, these longer runs are some of the most important training you can do in preparation for a marathon, and because of this amazing Cambodian organization that I’m raising money for (please help!), I am determined to finish Oct 5ths 26.2 strong.

Even so, I woke up at 5 am Saturday and looked outside, praying for a proverbial “rain-out”. Alas, it was just a light drizzle and incredible dense heat that met me. I took my dog for a brief walk, gathered up layers of dry clothes to put on afterwards, loaded up my gu and gatorade, and headed up to Bethesda.

Everyone in our group showed up despite the forboding sky. We headed out onto the dark, Capital Crescent trail around 6:20 am, with just a little drizzle and incredible thick air. As we neared Georgetown, most of us kept yelling aloud, “Where is this rain? It’s SO hot!” Soon enough, the sky opened up and a light rain began to cover the path and our wicking shirts. The dampness felt great on our boiling skin, and as we headed back up the long, 6+ mile incline back to Bethesda, our clothes and shoes soaked up the water and we lost track of what was sweat and what was rain.

Continue reading ‘Running in the rain: why 18 miles in hurricane Hanna was worth it’

Help Me Run the 2008 Twin Cities Marathon for Cambodian “Friends”!

For my upcoming 30th birthday I’ve spent the past 4 months training to run the 2008 Twin Cities Marathon in Minneapolis, Minnesota. That’s 26.2 miles! The marathon is on October 5th (a few weeks after my 30th birthday) and it will be my first marathon ever!

I’m dedicating my race to an amazing organization I had the honor of knowing during my time living in Cambodia, Mith Samlanh Friends - “a program for street children, their families, and their community.” In 2006, Friends was faced with the possibility of losing their amazing facility in the heart of Phnom Penh, and have launched a huge fundraising campaign in order to purchase the building permanently. To help support their effort, I am raising money for my marathon on behalf of Friends.

You can be assured that 100% of your donation to me will go to Friends International.

Friends is well known for their primary and vocational education of poor children living on the streets of Cambodia, as well as their abuse prevention programs, medical care, healthy meals, and family reintegration. Most Cambodian and expatriates will be familiar with the Friends and Romdeng training restaurants - restaurant vocational programs with a fantastic reputation in Phnom Penh.

Please help me raise $1000 for Friends so that thousands more children can be helped through their programs!