New Charity; More Long Runs

It’s June now, and the rainy season has officially begun in Haiti.  It sounds like a bad joke: How do you make one of the worst natural disasters in recent history even worse?  Just add water.  Indeed, Oxfam officials express concern about the situation in Haiti, with over a million homeless people living on unstable and uneven ground.  There is little drainage.  This means that terrible landslides, which have killed hundreds of Haitians in the past, could happen again.  And with the rains, there will be a dangerous amount of stagnant water, an open invitation to epidemic.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and I’d like to give whatever funds I collect to an organization that is more specifically trying to address both the immediate needs, as well as the long-term economic recovery of Haiti.  Let’s face it: it will cost a lot to get a lot of Haiti back to “inhabitable.”  But after that, there is a lot of infrastructure that will need fixing, work projects to fund, and ongoing development before Haiti can even think about standing on its own two feet.

Instead of the Clinton Bush Haiti Fund, I’ve decided to work with the World Food Program.  They have a program known as “Food for Work,” in which locals are paid in food and 5USD for a day’s work rebuilding the country.  This article highlights two beneficiaries of the program.  Stay tuned for more stories.

According to Caitlin Masters, $26,000 will fund this program for over 300 Haitians for a week.  This is awesome.  Imagine how much manpower that is, and also how many Haitians will go home with some cash in their pockets to help support their families.  I’m much more motivated about this project.  Nothing against the ex-presidents, but $26,000 feels like a drop in the bucket when it’s going to “where the need is greatest.”  I like the idea of making a big difference in a small area.

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And now for a brief update on the training.

I’ve been really enjoying these long runs.  This is a strange sensation for me, but I have to say, I really dig it.  Two weeks ago I ran from my house in the Haight to Ocean Beach, along the coast on the Land’s End trail, past the start of the Golden Gate bridge, down by Crissy Field, and back through the Marina.  It was a stunningly beautiful 2.5 hours.  From the Land’s End trail, I could see another part of the coast with just enough fog to render the view blurry and faint, but not enough to block it out entirely.  Later on as I was running down toward Crissy Field, the sun was shining and there was still fog streaming through the Golden Gate and covering all but the two tower tops of the bridge itself.

Right now I’m at my grandfather’s apartment in Hong Kong, on the hill overlooking Central district.  Yesterday, I got up and ran for two hours around the Peak.  For those who don’t know, Hong Kong is ridiculously hilly.  There is an escalator that goes all the way up from Central to the hills, and a sinuous, windy network of confused roads tacked together to somehow allow for transportation for hundreds of thousands of people that inhabit large apartment buildings perched precariously on steep hillsides.  Another thing: this place is tropical.  Right next to this concrete jungle is a real jungle.  Yesterday was like a San Francisco fog day, but 85°.  I was drenched with sweat, but I enjoyed the change of conditions.  It’s easy to loosen up in this heat, to say the least.  Because of the hills, I spent the first 50 minutes trudging up Peak Road.  I think I will be prepared for whatever inclines the SF Marathon can muster.  BRING IT ON!!!

In other news, my knee hasn’t given me any trouble as of late (knock on wood), and I’ve been doing quite a bit of running lately.  In fact, the training plan AKA Uncle Andy has me running 2.5 hours on the weekends, and four 45 minute runs during the week.  I’ve been managing the long weekend run and about three runs per week averaging around 50 minutes.  This, I have come to realize, is a lot.  That’s around 5 hours, and my sleep/climbing regimens have been compromised slightly.  Not to worry, however, because watching my legs transform from regular legs to runner legs has been fun, like a really cool flipbook in ultra-mega-slow-motion.

On top of that, it’s nice to see steady improvement in something.  It’s rare to observe in the things we are accustomed to, because changes are usually of smaller increments.  But when someone jumps into something new, the learning curve takes on a shape that is very addictive. The so-called runner’s high is pretty sweet too.

I’ll be in China until next weekend, but he running and fund raising will continue.  Stay tuned for a funding update, and more thoughts from a new running addict.

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One Response to “New Charity; More Long Runs”

  1. Great runs over some beautiful terrain. Glad you liked the run in Hong Kong. Brutally steep and hot, so quite a feat.

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