Tuesday, January 27, 2009

What in the....

New phrase coined by Elias when Chase woke him up at 5:45 am the morning of the race.

"What in the wide world heck is going on here? What are you doing wakin' me up in the middle of the night!?!" (said with wild hair and puffy, sleepy face)

#2907 has crossed the finish line!

Thanks so much everyone for your encouragement and support of my Race for AHOPE! The race was inspiring, challenging, fun, painful, and an unforgettable experience. Assembling together in the early morning hours with several thousand other runners, all who had been training for this same 13 mile race was an amazing sight!

Two days before the race I started to get a huge pit in my stomach. I was so nervous and just couldn't shake it. I was driving Chase crazy! I kept telling myself that all I had to do was put one foot in front of the other and I'd be fine. Sounds easy, but I guess the anticipation of the race just made all my nerves go to my stomach.

The first few blocks were the hardest for some reason as all that adrenaline went to my legs, turning them into jello. I quickly turned my iPod on and got into the groove and didn't stop running until I crossed the finish line.

My unspoken goal was to run the race in 2 hours, 10 minutes. That's a pretty average run and something I felt I could accomplish. I was actually on par to finish under 2 hours, but some serious pain started in my hips and knees at mile 6, so I was thankful to just keep moving at that point. I finished in 2 hours, 7 minutes.

The highlight of the race was seeing Elias and Chase at mile 10. Elias was on the sidewalk so I jumped up there and ran towards him. He took off running towards me and threw his arms around my sweaty neck, screaming "Go Mommy!" It was such a sweet sight seeing his hop-skip-run and filled my eyes with tears at the thought of his perseverance in life.
And here's my favorite story of the race: For those who don't me in real life, this is a very "Meagan" story. It's common for me to not really think through things before I try them and I'm quite absent minded. I lose my keys several times a day. (Actually I prefer to say that I temporarily misplace them.)

So, I thought that I had read in my packet that there would be gatorade and gel packs for energy being passed out at a couple of the water stations. I had never tried those gel packs but thought I might try one around mile 10 for an extra energy boost. At the water station I slowed down to look for the gel packs. I didn't see the packs, but I did see someone dipping popsicle sticks into a container and then holding the stick out for the runners. I thought that was a pretty ingenious idea to just have to lick the gel off the stick instead of trying to open the gel pack.

So I grabbed my stick and immediately scraped the gel into my mouth as I raced off, anticipating a miraculous surge of energy. However I immediately knew something was wrong as my mouth filled with a tasteless goo.


I ATE the vaseline!

I spit it out of course, but it was all in my teeth and mouth. Not quite the energy boost I was hoping for, but the laughter alone carried me at least another mile! I'm such a smooth athlete. Not! (The vaseline is supposed to be applied to your skin to prevent chafing).

My Race for AHOPE goal was $2000, and as of Sunday, the total amount raised was $1,656.00! I am thrilled, and so is the AHOPE staff!

I've had several people say they wanted to donate a little bit but forgot to do it last week. So if you were planning to donate but didn't get around to it, you can still follow the directions here. AHOPE can continue to receive donations indefinitely. As long as you write "Race for AHOPE/Meagan Brown" in the designation line it will count towards the goal amount for my race.

I am requesting that the Race for AHOPE money to go towards a portion of the sponsorship of a boy I'll call N. He's been at AHOPE for 3.5 years and is 8 years old. He wants to be a pilot when he grows up and likes to study Math. His favorite food is hamburgers. The good news is that he's in excellent health right now and has not had to begin an anti-retroviral therapy. I so wish I could post his cute picture here for you all, but the Ethiopian privacy rules prevent me from doing so.

The rest of the money will go towards AHOPE's Child Development Center/Community Outreach program. This is a phenomenal program that AHOPE has recently implemented that equips and trains extended family to raise HIV+ children. This allows the kids to receive the quality care they need but to stay with their loving families.

And if you're new to AHOPE and inspired by the amazing work that they do, you might be interested in sponsoring one of the children in their care. We have found such joy in having the opportunity to sponsor kids there. We love to get updates on our sponsor children's lives throughout the year and new pictures to put on our fridge. You can learn more on their website http://www.ahopeforchildren.org/.

Monday, January 19, 2009


I've neglected to post at all about what I (and Elias) have been spending a lot of our time doing lately. Running! At least, I run and Elias hangs out in a comfy jogging stroller.

Next Sunday, January 25, I'm running in the Austin 3M half-marathon. Running 13.1 miles isn't something I thought I would ever do. The longest I had ever before last fall run was four miles, and that was over ten years ago!

But last summer I decided that my non-exercising days were over and I had to do something to get into shape. I started out with walking around my neighborhood while pushing Elias in a stroller. At least it was something, but I needed more of a challenge- a goal to work towards that seemed significant.

My idea for "RACE FOR AHOPE" was born.

AHOPE Ethiopia provides two children’s homes exclusively for the care of children infected with HIV. In 2005, the first pediatric program to provide the life saving antiretroviral medications in all Ethiopia was established at AHOPE Ethiopia. The focus of care and outreach changed dramatically with the arrival of the ARVs; what was once considered a hospice program which anticipated death is now a program of education and hope for a real adult future for every child.

Chase and I visited AHOPE while we were in Ethiopia in 2006 and were deeply moved by what we experienced. We spent a whole day with these fabulous children who had such zeal for life. We have sponsored children there ever since our visit, and already three of them have been adopted into loving homes here in America.

As you can imagine, the needs at AHOPE are great. Conditions this past year in Ethiopia have been increasingly difficult and it's becoming more and more expensive to provide loving, quality care to the AHOPE children. RACE FOR AHOPE is my way to raise a small amount of money to help these precious children.

I've trained for seven months, through the heat of the summer, the cold of the winter, and through sheer exhaustion of running. But to be honest, I've loved thinking about the AHOPE kids and praying for their needs as my feet pound the pavement. As much as I'm ready for the race to be over, a small part of me will miss the intentionality and focus on Ethiopia's children that my running time has given me.

My fundraising goal is $2000. And I have just six days to raise it!

Here is an idea of what your money can do at AHOPE Ethiopia:

* $25 provides the fees needed for one child's education for 3 months, including tuition, uniforms, books, supplies, and gym clothes
* $35 provides individual sponsorship of one child for a month
* $50 pays a cook's salary for one month
* $75 pays a certified nurse's salary for one month
* $100 pays for the food of five children for one month, purchases a crib and bedding, or provides one teacher's salary

Here's how you can can support me in my RACE FOR AHOPE:

1. Visit the AHOPE website.
2. Click on the Network for Good button in the top right-hand corner.
3. Click Donate Now on the Network for Good/AHOPE Children page
4. Enter in the amount you want to contribute and follow the rest of the prompts to process your donation. All donations are tax deductible.
5. Please be sure to type "RACE FOR AHOPE, Meagan Brown" in the designation box.

Thanks everyone! Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions. I'll post the race and fundraising results on our blog after the race.

Friday, January 9, 2009

The Color of Poop

Ooo I'm just sure everyone is jumping to read a post with such an inviting title. :-) Thankfully I don't have pictures to post with this one!

I've actually refrained from posting much about poop on this blog, but believe me, we have a LOT of poop stories around here.

One of my favorites so far occured over Christmas time and I thought it was cute and clean enough to actually post on the blog.

Elias was on the potty and I was in the bathroom waiting for him, just as he always wants asks me to. He started to talk about poop (again, very common) and the conversation turned to the color of poop.

"Mom, is your poop white?"

"No Elias, it's not."

"Is all the people's poop white?"

"No, it's not white."

"Well then, what color is it?"

Not wanting to get into too much poop detail I told him poop is usually brown. Elias thought for a minute and then said, "Well, all you people are white, so your poop should be white. And I'm brown, so my poop is brown."

Very thoughtful of this four-year-old boy that figured people poop according to the color of their skin! He starting to talk a lot more about his brown skin color and I just loved this insight into his brain and these new thoughts on race and color.