Covering all my social media bases here. I’ve already been shotgunning my Twitter and Facebook accounts with requests to support The Soaring Schoolyard Eagles. We are a 12 person team of Irving parents who will running the Madison to Chicago Ragnar relay this June.

On June 10, 2011 a team of twelve Irving parents will run 197 miles in 36 hours to raise awareness and funding for the project. Follow our progress here on, via our Twitter feed (@SchoolyardEagle) or join us on Facebook ( Our fundraising goal for this effort is $5,000, which will be used to further the work of transforming the decades old expanse of blacktop at Irving into a green space for learning and recreation.

If you can to donate to the project, please visit and click the donate button.

Currently, there are two possible grant-funded projects on the horizon which the team is working to support. These are:

Wind Turbine
A roof-mounted wind anemometer– a device to measure the amount of wind at the roof level–will be installed to determine whether Irving could be a site for a wind turbine.

Solar Panel
A one-kilowatt solar panel installed at Irving would generate data on solar power and provide exciting learning opportunities for students.

Last year I decided to give my finances a break, by limiting the number of short races I participate in. The 5Ks were a really essential goal when I was first ramping up from pudgy couch potato Mattie, but now it’s really the longer races that get me out of bed at 530a on a Sunday. And, at $50 a pop, 5K is not enough. I’d rather just donate some dough to a good cause.

All that said, I can’t give up the Shamrock Shuffle. It really has become a tradition. It was the first 8K I ran and was really the one race that sparked my serious interest and started me down the path to 15K to 13.1 and 26.2 and this year 2 x 26.2.

The race is a good practice drill for the cattle call aspects of a 35,000 participant race and despite the ridiculous numbers of runners is a lot of fun after a long winter of bleak, gray, frigid and solitary mornings.

This year, for me, the run was also a test of the speed work I’ve been doing over the winter, and a successful one at that. My hard work definitely paid off. Coupled with a return to yoga practice for strength and flexibility over the winter, I’ve shaved a full minute off of my street pace and remained mostly injury free.

A 47:08 PR in the race has left me a lot more confident of my ability to run the Chicagoland spring marathon in four weeks and the Madison to Chicago Ragnar Relay in June.