Friday, January 10, 2014

What Makes a Hero?

Normally, I talk about posting book reviews on my blog, but I never get around to doing it (except for Tackling Life being the exception). I guess there's just too much activity going on with me (when I'm not injured) that I forget. Well, not this time. Mainly because this book applies to my recent turn at organizing my first fundraiser fun run (read more here).

A friend of mine posted on Facebook about this article written in Discover magazine by Elizabeth Svoboda. I was immediately intrigued, because it was about David Hartsock. 

Of course, I went to the store to pick up my copy immediately. I then found out there was a book and this article was just the summarized version of the book. Yes, I bought it and here is my review. 

Overall, I enjoyed the read. I'm not going to lie, it is not my typical book. It's alot of science and reminded me of books I read during college. However, those books were stuffy. What Makes a Hero? had the author's own input and stories in each chapter whether she was talking about what she was seeing or something she did.

At first, I was bogged down with the information and was ready to give up. I couldn't really wrap my head around the concept of altruistic behavior. But then, the author applied her theory to real life events and I started to get it. The book caught me like a fish on a hook. I was in to it and wanted to know more. I liked reading about the different programs going on throughout the country that I never even knew existed. I especially liked the ones that involved training kids to be more compassionate and/or heroes in that sense.

And it wasn't just stories about David, but other people, too. People I never heard of before. Some I actually saw on the news, but most I didn't. I will admit that some of the programs seemed out there, but I guess what works for them. It wouldn't work for me.

I really loved the Real Life Superheroes group in New York and made me think about what I can do on a smaller scale then beating up bad people in the middle of the night. I loved that the author took that experience and delivered care packages to homeless people. You immediately see why it can be a questionable act, because some people truly don't deserve that niceness. However, she preserved when she doubted her idea and was yelled out horribly by a man. And it turned out pretty great and rewarding in the end. I'm a skydiver, but I wouldn't have the balls to go to a very bad area of San Francisco during my pregnancy to deliver care packages to homeless people. So, I commend the author for having that type of strength and it does make a hero.

I also loved the concept that we as humans CAN train ourselves to be heroic; we don't have to wait until someone falls on the train tracks to test whether or not we have it in us to save that person. The author shows activities and programs that can help you change your mind so to speak.

But in all actuality, I won't know how I'm going to react until it happens. I think that is the only thing that I as a reader can't take away from the book. I don't know how scared or hurt or freaked out I'm going to be unless I'm there. So, I leave you with this quote from the book, which was from a popular movie about non-conforming in today's society (Dead Poet's Society), "If you listen real close, you can hear them whisper their legacy to you. Go on, lean in. Listen, you hear it?- Carpe -hear it? - Carpe, carpe diem." So, no matter what I do in any situation, I can listen to the heroic people in this book.

Because this book talks about my friend, we are giving out a signed copy of the book (by Elizabeth herself) to the highest fundraiser and the winner of the Quadraman Fun Run. And if you haven't registered or donated, click on the links below. We do have a virtual run and a Quad Trot for the kiddoes.

Register for this easy and inexpensive run at Everyone is encouraged to raise funds for their run. Donate at If you are donating to help a registered runner raise funds, then place their name in the Ticket Holder Name field.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

My Introduction to English Rain

First off, I want to wish everyone a Happy New Years. May your goals, challenges, resolutions, adventures, what nots be everything you hoped it would be and that you keep up with whatever you decide. Me, I'm not doing my normal goals and one word posts like here and here. I know things I want to try and learn for 2014. But I just don't feel it necessary to write it down here. I will say that I've already started working on learning to like scotch during my holiday vacation in England before the New Year and even had a shot of Glenfiddich at midnight.

This wasn't my first scotch. 

We all had a shot, but I only had a couple of sips. I'm not there yet.

But back to the post at hand.

I want to preface the rest of this content with I have experienced rain in England before many times (and even some snow). I have also experienced running in the rain here in Houston. In recent runs, the rain hit, while I'm running and then it's miserable, hot, humid, and full of bugs. So, I typically avoid it like the plague.

However, England is different. You can't just avoid the rain. And I wanted to exercise since my diet consisted of Quality Streets, Mallows, some caramel thing, minced pies, beer, and whatever else came in to my eyesight that looked delicious (and there wasn't much that didn't).

So, I got out there and ran on New Years day, New Years Eve, and the previous Saturday. All three days were cold, windy, and/or rainy. Saturday was the only day where the rain didn't come down, but it was the coldest and windiest day. I was bundled up like a day for snowmobiling instead of running. I didn't care. I wanted to run.

Jim and I planned the route using googlemaps; Pax Inn was my turnaround point for each run.

For Saturday, I roughly ran two miles. I do not know my time running and it was my shortest route. Although, I did run up both hills instead of walking them and they are big hills.

This doesn't look steep, but it is very steep. I burned a great deal of calories on this hill. See road for rain.

On New Year's Eve, I decided to add more mileage by running a different route. I also used my new Runtastic app on my iphone to track my route. Even though it was drizzling and cold, I said hello to other runners and walkers out there. It made me feel apart of the community. I could also tell that I was getting slightly faster just in a couple of days. I ran 2.78 miles for 41 minutes. Extra steps were added, because I ran passed Jim's house not remembering that his brother's car was in the driveway. So, it wasn't great, but it's something. I burned 376 calories.

New Year's day was a different beast all together. When I woke up, there was no rain. But I was hungry and we made a big breakfast full of black eyed peas for good luck, eggs, and toast. So, I had to wait an hour before I could head out. As soon as I felt ready to go, the rain hit. I said, "Screw it, I'm going." I put on Jim's big windbreaker and headed out. I added a slightly different route for more mileage. The few people walking for a reason looked at me like I was crazy. I think I may have hit the crazy zone. I wore my glasses to give me eye protection, but it didn't at all. I never got warm and I hit so many puddles of water, which drenched my shoes. My total mileage was 3.60 miles (mainly because I got lost on the way back home) at 55:12 minutes. My first mile went from 13:40 minutes on NYE to 13:20 minutes on NY day. I also noticed that I only stopped twice for a quick walk.

When I finally got home, I was soaked to the core and cold. But I felt like a BOSS! There was nothing that could take away from that feeling and quite possibly made it worth it. Although, next time, I will wear anti-fog goggles.

Here is what I looked like when I walked through the door in which both my boyfriend and stepfather laughed at me as soon as they saw me.

I was so happy my phone survived, because my pockets were soaking wet.

At times, I had to take off my glasses, because I couldn't see and everything was too wet to wipe them down. 

I had the top part of the jacket open so I wouldn't get so hot. It's awesome. 
Since it's a new year, why not help someone out, which will make you feel good inside.

Come join us on February 8, 2014, at 8 a.m. at Bear Creek Park for the first annual Quadraman Fun Run. It's a two mile run and the best thing is that it's only $10. If you can't be in the Houston area on that time, don't fret. We set up a Virtual Run for the same price. Just make sure to send us your pictures about your run or organized run. We will also have a Quad Trot for the younger participants ages 2-10, which is a 444 ft run.

Register for this easy and inexpensive run at Everyone is encouraged to raise funds for their run. A special gift will be given to the top fundraiser. Donate at If you are donating to help a registered runner raise funds, then place their name in the Ticket Holder Name field.

So, please come out and show your support to help our friend called David.

Like our Facebook page for updates on the fun run and fun facts or visit Dave's Caring Bridge site for updates on his progress.