So as many of you know (At least those who read my ramblings about such things), I'm on a journey - a journey to bring myself to better health, to make my life a better thing to live, and to generally be a happier person. In the last few months I've given up smoking, taken up running, dropped a couple of pounds, and resumed going to the gym to try to build up some upper body strength. I'm trying. I'm not perfect or an adonis, and I never will be - I'm okay with all of that. I'm not trying to become a marathon runner (though the Disney half marathon is certainly a long, reach goal for a couple years from now)...I'm trying to make "me" into a healthier person. I actually trained up and ran my first 5K earlier this summer, a distance I'm not sure I've run in one shot ever in my entire life.

Along the way in my quest for good health, I've found a factoid that I cannot deny for myself: to me, running is boring as hell. Right foot, left foot, repeat until you reach goal. I have a heavily addictive personality which has gotten me moving on it, and after a short hiatus has made me resume, but even the promise of faster times just isn't what's going to pull me through the monotony of running or, even worse, treadmilling. My mind wanders and while my body might be able to keep going past the distances I do now (average between 2 - 3 miles), my brain shuts down. I lose my focus, screw up my pace, and that's all she wrote.

So I started searching the net for things that would make training and running more important to me. I needed something that would break up the running into manageable pieces, and put something fun in between. I never minded playing sports because the focus wasn't on the run itself, but on other things with periods of running to fill the gap between those things. Always with a goal in mind besides "make it around that next block". In my searching I came up with a race called a "Warrior Dash", and it sounded like it was right up my alley.

So what the hell is a Warrior Dash? A Warrior Dash is a 5k trail race, with a series of obstacles along the way. Very similar to Tough Mudder/Spartan Race, but with more of a "fun run" feel. The course and obstacles are designed to be challenging, but also to be something that someone in moderate shape can survive. There's no "climb this 40 foot rope, dive through that ring of fire, bounce on the trampoline, and land on your teammates shoulders" type obstacles here - there's walls and nets and mudpits and all kinds of things...the kind of thing that sounds like a hell of a good time, and a great way to break up the "run" aspect that I find to be so horribly mind numbing.

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So all of that was sounding really fantastic to me, but as I dug a little more I found that I could put even more juice behind my desire to do this. Something that would make THIS race even more important than a simple test of fitness, or a goal to accomplish for myself. You see, the folks who run Warrior Dash (a for profit company) have partnered with St. Jude's Children's Hospital, and that's what has really put this over the top for me as an event that I want to participate in, and complete.

For those not familiar, St. Jude's Children's Hospital is a hospital located in New York that specializes in researching treatment and (hopefully) cures for catastrophic pediatric diseases, with a special focus on pediatric cancer. What makes St. Jude's even MORE remarkable (if more was needed beyond that very lofty goal), is that no patient is ever presented with a bill for anything. Ever. No bills and no families turned away because of their financial situation. How remarkable to know that a family without insurance, or without the means to privately fund treatment, won't have to watch a child wither away without at least having access to available treatments and support. What could be more amazing than that? A hospital that will not allow a child, the most innocent creature among us, to suffer because of their family being unable to pay a bill. I cannot possibly think of a more amazing organization to support.

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So what's my point in all of this? First of all, let me apologize to those who don't like passionate pleas for donations, since that IS in fact what this is leading up to. I've signed on to support St. Jude's and am collecting donations that will go DIRECTLY to the hospital. In exchange I'm pledging to run this Warrior Dash, dragging all 200+ pounds of my tubbiness over, through, and under obstacles that would normally make this particular runner sob. I'm facing a major fear of heights and failure to collect funds for a cause that I simply could not turn away from. If this cause rings true to you, and if you have the means, please click on my personal landing page below and donate anything you can - 5 dollars, 10 dollars...anything. I know that I'm a stranger to y'all, and that this whole article probably amounts to little more than a cold call that many of us would hang up on were it to come via phone...but please, give it some thought and give anything you can. If nothing else, I can promise you that you'll get one heckuva write up about the event (if I survive it). Can't donate? Please feel free to share my link on your personal blogs or wherever else - even if one extra donor is found that way, its well worth it!

I am a St. Jude's Warrior, and I need all the support I can get.

Link to my personal landing page, click on this link: Geeky Mitch's Landing Page

To the folks that moderate this site, I truly hope that this is an acceptable place to publish this. If not, please do let me know via my registered email address and I will find other ways of reaching out to folks for this cause - thank you!