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Monday, November 28, 2016

Running from Chicago to Milwaukee for ALS - Never Again Every YEar

2013 - World's Longest Turkey Trot #1

In 2013 my friend Alfredo Pedro Perro wanted to run one last 100 mile race for the year.  I came up with a much worse idea.  "Let's just get a backpack and credit card and run from Chicago to Milwaukee...it's about 100 miles."  In doing so I created a monster.  You can read about the first Turkey Trot here: http://urbanultra.blogspot.com/2013/11/worlds-longest-turkey-trot.html.


The following year Alfredo was diagnosed with ALS.  



I found a few friends dumb enough to join me once again.  http://urbanultra.blogspot.com/2014/12/worlds-longest-turkey-trot-ii-aka.html This time we flipped the course and ran from Milwaukee to Chicago instead.

In 2015 Alfredo lost his battle with ALS.  So we did it again.  From Chicago to Milwaukee.  Each year I swore I would never do it again.  It's so cold and miserable.  It's so much concrete.  There are long stretches of nothing in the middle of the night.  Bad neighborhoods.  A lack of reliable plumbing.  Bonks.  I mean, if I was going to be 100% honest with you I would say the first two hours are awesome.  After that.  Well, you know.

So of course this year I returned.  Again.  For the fourth "last time" and joined an even larger group of people with questionable decision-making skills and we ran from Milwaukee to Chicago.  Although this time, there were a few differences.


First.  We had a much larger group (12 people) of really crazy folks.  

Rocketts at Wisconsin/Illinois Border


Second, we had about 20 angels who spent the day bringing us almost every possible type of food or drink you can imagine.

Example of random aid station someone unaffiliated with the race set up in their office along the route.
Aid station, hot home made soup, and hugs from MILF's available.
But most importantly, we decided that if we were going to continue to do something this stupid, we should do it for a cause, so we re-named the event the Alfredo Pedro Perro World's Longest Turkey Trot for ALS.  We set and achieved our goal of raising $5,000 for the Les Turner ALS Foundation (which treated Alfredo for his disease free of charge).   If you want to add to the donation please do so here:


The great thing about this event isn't that we actually made it almost 100 miles:

 https://www.strava.com/activities/787407688

or that people received a buckle, though both those things are cool.

Commemorative Buckle

The amazing thing is how it brought the community together.  People that loved and cared about Alfredo wanted to run, to cheer, to pace, to support.  They set up aid stations over the 100 mile course randomly.  They showed up on the course and ran.  They hugged us and offered whatever they could give to keep us moving and get us to our destination.  People also sent us inspiring messages on social media.  We ran together.  We waited for each other.  We shivered in cars and slept in gas stations to re-group.  No one wanted to win.  No one worried about losing.  The only time concern was to try to finish before the sun set.  In all, it took us roughly 32 hours.  During that time we ran and sang and goofed around.  We made new friendships. We took over a Starbucks


We ate several sit down meals.  We laughed and cried.  And in the end, we had a journey we will never forget. 


And one that I will never do again.  Until next year.  Again.  




Thursday, November 3, 2016

Hope


If you are a Cubs fan or a baseball fan and you woke up this morning wondering if that really happened you aren't alone.  It's hard to comprehend things like this and it takes some time to sink in. I've felt this way a few other times in my life.  (the day after my wedding and the two Packers championships).  Some moments are so big that we can't get our head around them.  We can't fit them into the context of our life.  In many ways, our world shifts because of these moments.  Our life history.  Our story.  We will always remember where we were when they happened and who we were with.  They become a part of us.

If you have no interest in the Cubs or baseball you aren't alone either.  You might be troubled by the state of your neighborhood or Facebook feed.  You might complain about people jumping on the bandwagon.  Maybe you just don't get it.

Here's why I think it's important.  

Since 2007/2008 it feels like we've been in a negative spiral.  Financially, socially, politically.  We've been polarized and hopeless.  We aren't making enough money and too many among us are struggling.  We've forgotten how to "just agree to disagree" and we've been outraged by everything.  We've been offending and shouting at each other.  Complaining.  We think things are headed in the wrong direction.  We look into our children's eyes and hardly believe the lies of hope we are telling them, because for many years hopeful moments have been few and far between.  Most of us go to bed each night wishing we could just get a break.

Last night proved that miracles are possible.  Last night proved that there are signs all around us of what is possible.  It verified that little part of your broken heart that still believed that something good can and will happen to us and to the world.  We can look each other in the eye and honestly say that there is hope.

This doesn't mean you don't have work to do.  There will be a hangover.  This feeling won't be forever.  There will be struggles and setbacks.  People will die, you will argue with friends, you may gain weight, Donald Trump might win.  Reality can and will set in at some point.

For our part, we should try to use this moment as a catalyst of hope to make our lives and the world around us a better place.  Do something good for the world.  Call and old friend or relative.  Dust off those running shoes.  Tell someone you love them, or you're sorry.

We're all hoping for something.  Let's play it forward.  Don't let the miracle go to waste.  Be the hope others seek :)