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I Want to Give Back. And I Need Your Help.

I had a mild cold and the weather was so hot and humid I put off my long run until something gave in. Fortunately after two days of rest, my sore throat and exhaustion cleared up. The weather, however, remained oppressive but I had no choice. This morning I was determined to do the long run. Only eleven miles, I said to myself. I'd done twelve milers the two weeks in a row before so eleven was practically an off week.

Mike had had a lot of our outdoor gear shipped from Bamako ahead of our main shipment so I sweated in the shed yesterday pouring through boxes for my CamelBak. I hate running with water (I don't like carrying stuff) but I knew it would be a necessity. This morning I geared up, forced a smile for this photo, and took off.

The water sloshed. I'd forgotten to press all the air out of the bladder. I also wondered if it had something to do with the ice cubes, too. I didn't want to stop and undo it all to press out the water on the road. I sucked it up and hoped the sloshing would stop bothering me.

For the most part the sloshing did stop bothering me. I had a lot on my mind. The heat. The traffic. Where it would be best to adjust the route to make it eleven miles instead of twelve. Muffin's upcoming birthday party plans. Our upcoming move. The constant sloshing mostly became background noise and my need for the water far outweighed my annoyance at the sound it made.

As I the miles wore on and I became more tired, the noise bothered me more. Then I passed a building with the flag at half-staff. And another. And I remembered that far more horrible things are happening in the world and my life wasn't so bad if I was on a voluntary run with water sloshing on my back. I sucked it up, ignored the water, and finished that eleven miles.

I'm giving back to those who have endured things more difficult than I have. I want to say "Thank you" for their sacrifices and hard work. I'm using my training for the Army Ten Miler and the Marine Corps Marathon to raise money for Soldier On. Soldier On helps homeless veterans by providing temporary housing and transitional services, eventually leading to permanent homes. I'm asking for your help. I have a fundraising goal of $2,500 by October 30, the date of the marathon. Every little bit helps. With all the headlines in the news lately it's easy to forget that other groups are struggling as well. This is something I can do to help. So can you. Visit my CrowdRise page to donate. I'll be paying the CrowdRise user fee myself so that all of the donated money will go to Soldier On. And please share.

Thank you so much.

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