Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Bloggers! Spread the word!

My wife's life was saved by a Bone Marrow Transplant (also called Stem Cell Transplant, but these are NOT the stem cells that are so controversial right now--these cells are taken from the marrow of healthy, living adults). Fortunately for her, one of her sisters was a perfect match and she was able to have a "matched related donor" transplant. Unfortunately, about 70% of patients who need a transplant do not have a matched related donor and they must go to a donor registry to search for a possible match.

If you are in a minority population your chances of finding a match are dramatically reduced. Stem Cell Transplants can save lives, but only if we are willing to register with a bone marrow registry. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, take some time to sign up! It only takes a prick of the finger and a small blood sample to register your marrow type (called HLA type) and possibly save a life. If you are ever a match, the donation process is simple and almost painless.

I've recently become aware of several people of Indian or Asian descent who desperately need transplants but who do not have a match. Read their stories to understand why this is so important, and why a simple act on your part can save a life:

Pia Awal
Gurdeep Bedi
Hai Bin

You can learn more about stem cell donations at the National Marrow Donor Program website. They have information on the procedure for harvesting bone marrow, information on success stories, and information on where you can register. Sagarika's website also has a very good FAQ on stem cell donations and transplants.

Consider this:
The NMDP facilitates an average of 200 marrow or blood cell transplants each month and has helped give more than 18,000 patients a second chance at life. Each year more than 35,000 children and adults in the United States are diagnosed with diseases for which a marrow or blood cell transplant could be a cure.

Please send this information to your friends and family, and go register yourself. You never know who will be the match. Imagine how you'll feel if you save someone's life!

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Go buy this album now

I received the new Elliott Smith album, From a Basement on the Hill, yesterday in the mail. It's really incredible. It continues the direction he went in Figure 8 with some bigger songs and a bigger sound, more electric guitar, some feedback/sound loops, etc. It's also got several of the soft, sweet songs that may remind you of Either/Or or Elliott Smith. Some songs remind me of The Beatles, a couple remind me of Queen, but they are all individualized by Smith's great songwriting and unique voice. I really love this album and have been listening to it non-stop since I got it (right now I'm listening to "Shooting Star"). You can hear some song samples and buy the album here.

One more thing: my favorite song on this album also happens to be the best description of the current U.S. administration: "A distorted reality is now a necessity to be free."

Buy it and enjoy!

Sunday, October 24, 2004

Tough Weekend

It's been a physically tough weekend! It got off to a bad start when I worked the "Goblin Golf" game at my daughter's school carnival. You wouldn't think this would be a demanding assignment, but I had to bend over and get the ball our from under the wooden putting green all night, and it was no easy feat! By the end of the night, and especially the next day, my upper thighs were sore. But I did have a great time at the carnival. There aren't enough parent volunteers (has anyone else had this problem) so a small group of us did a lot--prepared a basket for the silent auction, baked two cakes for the cake walk, donated candy and toys for the prizes, setup and disassembled the three kindergarten games, worked the games all night, etc. My wife and I also make snacks every day for 21 students (popcorn, goldfish crackers, baby carrots, grapes, cheerios, etc.). We love doing it, but when you ask other parents for help (or money) you can hear the wind blowing.

Saturday we spent the day catching up on all the things that had been ignored during carnival week--laundry, house cleaning, working on the carpet stains from last week, etc. Then my daughter and I walked down to a local outdoor art festival in the park near our house. She had cotton candy and two hot dogs! I had some baked peaches with raisins and a cinnamon/sugar sauce. Excellent! We listened to some music, she played on the playground, then we walked home. It was a nice day to be outside and we really enjoyed ourselves.

Today I took the rare occasion to sleep in and do my long walk in the afternoon. My wife and daughter had afternoon plans so I walked at about 1:45 pm. It was a good day to walk--it was sunny when I left the house, but by the time I got to the lake it was overcast and occasionally sprinkling (and in the 80s!). My plan was to do 20 miles and to do some hill work, and to do it at a 12:30 pace. So I used the "Virtual Partner" mode on my Garmin to track my pace. I started at my usual spot and repeated some smaller hills around the 0.5 mile mark. Then I went around the lake to about mile 7 and left the lake to walk in some of the neighborhoods around the lake.

Specifically, I walked "Loving Hill." There is a street near the lake called Loving Avenue, and it is a straight, long and pretty steep hill. We used to train here during my Team in Training days. So I decided to do some hill repeats on Loving Hill. I'm not the only one who had that idea. I saw several bicyclists doing the same thing. The square I use (up Loving, then west, north and east back to Loving Hill) is almost exactly one mile and I did it five times in a row. I was really exhausted but I held my pace most of the time and recovered well on the downhills. I hope to keep increasing my repetitions on that hill to train for future ultras.

I also remembered why Heartland was so painful. After Loving Hill I got pretty tired and my ankles started to hurt. But I still had eight miles to go so I had to suck it up and keep walking.

Throughout the entire walk I had stayed well ahead of my virtual partner. If you don't have a Garmin, the Virtual Partner allows you to set a plan (Pace/Time, Pace/Distance, Time/Distance) and then it shows two little running icons and tells you how far ahead/behind you are. It's a good training tool and a lot of fun because you can actually start to visualize this person following you (or ahead of you, as the case may be). Well, after about 14 miles I ran out of fluids in my CamelBak. I had to stop twice at water fountains to drink, and on my second stop that sneaky little Virtual Partner passed me! I had about five miles left and I was really feeling tired, but I wasn't going to let this guy beat me. I stayed more or less even for several miles (but it was a struggle) and then I finally pulled away at about mile 18 and put some distance between myself and my little digital nemesis! I ended up finishing the day 4 seconds below my intended pace.

Something I learned today: I actually speed up on hills! That may be why the hills took so much out of me at Heartland. I found that I increased the distance between me and Virtual Partner on hills, which I thought was interesting. I kept pushing on hills today because that was part of the intention of today's training, but in races I need to ease off and take the hills at a more moderate pace. That will help me last longer and stay strong to the end.

That's all for now. I'm going to get out in the morning for a recovery walk. I want to get my body used to walking while tired, so I'm going to start walking the day after my long walk. We'll see how that goes!

Distance: 20.02 miles
Time: 4:09:04
Pace: 12:26

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Great profile of Olympic Gold Medal Walker

Here is a great profile of the career of Robert Korzeniowski, winner of four gold medals in racewalking (including gold in the 50km at Atlanta, Sydney and Athens). The has dominated the sport, especially the 50km, for more than a decade. What an incredible athlete!

Monday, October 18, 2004

Leave No Trace

I recently heard about this organization and I really feel strongly about their purpose and "trail ethic." Check out their site and learn more about outdoor ethics. If you can't join, at least consider adopting their Seven Principles when you head outdoors, whether it's on trails or roads.

Sunday, October 17, 2004

Back on the trails

Today was my first walk since Heartland. I got up early and went to the Rowlett Creek Preserve. The Preserve is a mountain biking trail with 11 loops that add up to about eight miles. It's a nice mixture of twisty rooty trail, smooth dirt trail and major ups and downs. The trail can be pretty hard on the legs because the ups are not long uphills but quick, steep inclines. I have to run and jump up them--there's no way to walk them.

I got to the trail when it opened at 6:00 am. Unfortunately, I forgot about the shortening of the days this time of year, so it was completely dark when I started. I tried to walk in the dark but very quickly lost the trail. I decided to head home and get my flashlight. However, I forgot that I had been walking in the moist, dewy dirt. Unbeknownst to me, I tracked mud all through the house. I headed back to the trail, did all of the loops once, then headed back home. I was so dismayed to see the footprints all through the living room. I still haven't cleaned them up.

Distance: 10.02 miles
Time: Don't know--Garmin was all over the map today and kept switching to "Rest mode" even though my pace hadn't slowed

Tonight I took my daughter to the local high school track to work on her Marathon Kids program. Like a classic beginner she went out too fast and had to walk after a while, but she enjoyed it and wanted to keep going. She did some running, some racewalking (it sort of looked like racewalking!) and some regular walking, plus we took a nice break after about a mile and watched some guys playing football. Yesterday I took her to Chuck E. Cheese, hell on earth for a parent but a kid's dream come true. Then we went to Paciugo for some ice cream/gelato. If you have a Paciugo nearby you should definitely check it out. Their gelato is delicious and all of the flavors have less fat than ice cream; the water based flavors are fat free.

Distance: 1.25 miles
Time: A long time!

I'm still trying to decide what my race schedule will be. I think I will not race in December (except maybe a local 5k like the Jingle Bell Run) to give myself a chance to train hard for the longer distances. I may do a 50k in January, then a 50 mile race in February, then the Three Days of Syllamo stage race in March. This is all tentative, of course. I'm not sure what my body can tolerate and will have to build up my endurance slowly. I'm really intrigued by the three day stage race so I really want to do that one. It would be interesting to head out three days in a row for some beautiful mountain racing!

Do your part!

It's almost election day here in the US. Don't forget your role in the democratic process! VOTE! As "outdoor enthusiasts," we have a vested interest in the condition of our natural resources. None of us wants to breathe in polluted air or run through polluted streams. I'm sure we all want to preserve the earth's wonderful natural beauty for ourselves and the rest of the planet. Remember that when you enter the voting booth on November 2nd.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Check this out! Three Day Stage Race

Three Days of Syllamo.

Day One: 20k
Day Two: Montrail 60k
Day Three: Ozark Outdoor 30k


Heartland 50 Official Results

The results aren't on the website yet, but they were posted to the ULTRAlist:

Keith Grimes 7:56:05
Steve Plumb 9:20:09
Nattu Natraj 10:23:58
Ross Brennan 10:51:20
Dan Threlkeld 11:05:14
Wes Monteith 11:13:20
Bill Gomboc 11:29:42
Edward Stillie 11:48:27
Stephen Tucker 11:48:27
John Rainey 12:03:10
Marshall King 12:34:37
Verna Troutman 12:52:49
Sherman Hodges 12:54:08
Sam Ferrel 13:13:23

So officially I was 11th out of 14 racers.

Update: There were 16 starters for the 50, so there were two DNFs. If I had been able to stick with my race plan I would have finished 7th. So that will be a goal for next year--lots of hill training, some speed training, and a faster finish! I can't wait!

Official results are now posted here.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Feeling Good!

Thanks to everyone for all the great comments of support and congratulations! I appreciate the time everyone took to read my post and look at my pictures.

I've been feeling great! Today I feel no different than if I had done a normal long run on Sunday. My muscles are slightly sore, ankles are slightly sore, hips are slightly sore, but all else is great.

On Monday we took our daughter to the State Fair of Texas. That was hard because we did a lot of walking on the hard cement. But I think the cold bath after the race and the walking on Monday may have helped me recover quickly. I'm planning to take the rest of the week off and then probably do an easy walk on Sunday, maybe 10 miles. We'll see how I feel.

I'm still trying to decide what races to do in the near future. I'm signed up for the Rock Ledge Rumble 25k on November 6th. That will be a lot of fun--it's on a pretty rugged trail at Lake Grapevine, near DFW Airport. I've trained there and it's a great trail. Then there is SunMart in December. It is a 50k and a 50 mile race. I'd like to do the 50 mile but need to see how I feel and what other races I want to do. Also, the 50 mile race has a 12 hour time limit, so I would definitely have to do better than I did at Heartland. So I think I'll consider the 50k, but not the 50 miler yet.

I don't think I'll try to do the new Big Bend 50. It is a 9-10 hour drive to Big Bend, so it would either be a very long drive or a two day drive, which would mean more money for travel and more time out of school for Lela. I think it would be better to skip that race.

Bandera, in mid-January, has a 100k and a 50k but it is supposed to be a tough course. Rocky Raccoon is a 100 mile/50 mile race in early February, so that is a possibility, but I also am considering doing the Mardi Gras Marathon in late February. I won the men's racewalk division at the half marathon this year, so it would be fun to go back and try to win the full marathon.

Whatever happens, I'd like to do Ouachita Trail in Arkansas in mid-April. It's supposed to be a great 50 mile race and the scenery is beautiful.

So basically, everything is up in the air. I definitely want to get in some more races, but I also want to train properly: I've decided to do all my weekend long runs on trails (I'll alternate between North Short at Lake Grapevine [toughest] and Rowlett Creek Preserve [easier with some tough sections]). I'm going to try to do at least one weekday training session on hills. The rest will have to be on roads and the track because I don't have any trails nearby. Hopefully this will help with my strength, endurance and speed.

That's all for now. Hope everyone is doing well.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Heartland 50 Race Report Now Available

I've posted my pictures from Heartland. You can find them here.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Hills? Kansas has hills??

I will be talking about hills for a long time. My wife and I always joked about Kansas--flat, pancake flat, nothing for miles. I will never, ever say that again. Never. Ever.

The race was horrible and awesome! It was sublime for 33 miles and excruciating for 17. I made mistakes, but I'm already planning to learn from them.

First, the long and short of it: I finished. My official time was 12:34:37. One hour and ten minutes over my "goal" time. But I don't care! I finished. According to my Garmin, I spent 11:42:12 in motion (I'm not sure it qualified as racewalking, but it was movement of some sort) and almost 52 minutes resting. So I was over on my pace and my rest time. And I know exactly why: hills.

I've got lots of pictures (I took about 25 pictures on the course) and you will see hills. Out of 50 miles, only about 5 were flat. The rest were never flat--up the hill, crest the hill, down the hill, up the next hill, repeat. My biggest mistake is that I didn't slow down in the beginning to compensate for the hills. I really thought this was a flat race. I don't know why I didn't pay more attention to the altitude chart (I'll post a scan later). So when I saw those hills I should have slowed down. Instead I stayed right on pace (even a little under) and stuck with my race plan. I spent less time in the initial aid stations than planned and was just slightly ahead of pace. At the turnaround I felt great and got lots of good compliments from racers and volunteers.

Then at mile 33 I just crashed. I was in pain in my ankles and legs, and my back was KILLING me from stooping over when climbing hills. I just couldn't keep up the pace any longer, so I slowed to what for me is a crawl, mostly 15-16 minute miles. But I kept walking. I had to stop for 10-20 seconds every couple of miles to rest my back which was still in agony. But I kept walking. I came to Kansas to finish the race and that's what I was going to do. I just stuck with my slow pace and my forward motion and headed for the finish. At about mile 7 two kids on a four wheeler asked me if I wanted a lift! I felt like the gods were taunting me!! I declined the offer and kept walking. At the last aid station (unmanned) at mile 45.4 I pigged out--M&Ms, pringles, nuts. It was awesome. I'd had some trouble eating after the turnaround (that may have also contributed to my crash) so I loved shoving M&Ms in my mouth by the fistful.

About three miles from the finish I could see the water tower at the start line and I knew I'd make it. I knew Angela and Lela would be waiting for me. I just kept moving forward at my steady pace. As I turned the last corner the race workers, spectators (about three people) and some other racers, along with Angela and Lela, started ringing cowbells. Lela had some balloons for me. They put a lawn chair right in the middle of the street and I crossed the finish line, gave everyone a hug and collapsed into the chair. 12:34:37. Finished!

Interestingly, if I had slowed my pace early in the race to accommodate the hills I still would have come in after my goal, so no matter what this race was destined to be slower than I planned. But I'm just happy I finished. Several other racers dropped (my wife said every time they brought one in she was sure it was me!) so just to finish is an accomplishment. A runner that I corresponded with before the race who was running his first 50 came in an hour after his goal, which he also attributed to the hills.

After the race I ate some pizza that Angela and Lela brought me, then drank two Big Reds Sodas. When we got back to the hotel I took a cold bath (almost as uncomfortable as the walk) read a magazine in bed and then fell asleep. I woke up around 7:00 this morning and went out to get some coffee and drive around town a little bit, then I came back to the hotel and started getting things ready to load the car and head home.

I could write a super long post about the race but I'll hold off for now. Here are some interesting things about the race:

1. I didn't get one single blister. I never changed shoes or socks. I love my feet! They got me through a lot and didn't complain. I seem to have lost feeling in one of the small toes of my left foot, but other than that everything is A-OK.
2. This race only had about 200 racers, so most of the time I was alone. And I didn't mind it. I enjoyed the solitude and thinking about the race and about anything else that popped into my mind.

3. For the last 12 miles I had decided that ultramarathons are not for me. I planned how I would break the news to the RBF; I planned what I was going to send to the ultrawalking newsgroup; I planned to sell the Camelbak 100 liter pack that I recently purchased (I purchased it on eBay and I was going to sell it on eBay); I started thinking about what non-ultra races I would like to do next. But I can honestly say that after five minutes sitting in that lawn chair in the middle of the road, I threw all those thoughts out the window! I'm ready to do it again (later, not now!). It was an awesome experience, and although I hated a fair amount of it I still had a smile on my face, partly because it was humorous to think of myself trudging down the road all alone in the middle of nowhere. I had to laugh out loud when I passed cows on the side of the road because I must have looked like a fool!

But I have such an incredible sense of accomplishment. My wife compared it to childbirth--she hated it, she was in pain, she didn't understand why she was doing it, she swore she'd never do it again, but once it was over she was ready to do it again. I would never compare the birth of my child to a race, but I think the two experiences share this in common: a willingness to undergo pain in order to feel a sense of accomplishment.

So no, I'm not quitting ultras. I loved everything: the informality of the race, the small number of racers, the awesome volunteers, the beautiful scenery, the incredible challenge. I'm tentatively planning to race in the Big Bend Ultra Run, a brand new 50 mile race in Big Bend National Park, Texas, in mid-January. I'm starting to plan my training strategy, and there's one thing for certain: it will involve lots of hills!

I'll be posting a whole photoessay (assuming my pictures all come out) so be sure to check back for that. At a minimum you must stop by and see the pictures so you can say, "Damn, Marshall was right, Kansas does have hills!"

Thanks to everyone for all the encouragement and support!!

PS There are 89 posts to read from the RBF, so it may take me a while to catch up. I saw already that Dianna had an awesome first marathon! As she always says, "Woo hoo!" Nice work, Dianna.

Wednesday, October 06, 2004

I'm going to Kansas!

I'm already feeling much better than I did this morning. I have no doubt that I will toe the line Saturday morning in Cassoday, Kansas. Thanks to everyone for the encouragement and support. I went out tonight to get my last remaining supplies--duct tape, moleskin, a small flashlight and a disposable camera. I finished packing my drop bags and I printed and laminated my race plan (along with a couple of motivational quotes). Here are the quotes I chose:

"Do, or do not. There is no try."

"Pain is temporary. Quitting is forever."
Lance Armstrong

"People should learn endurance; they should learn to endure the discomforts of heat and cold, hunger and thirst; they should learn to be patient when receiving abuse and scorn; for it is the practice of endurance that quenches the fire of worldly passions which is burning up their bodies."

I'm all ready to go!

Tom's a hit!

Tom Waits' new album, Real Gone, is a big hit. Read a great review here. It's definitely the latest adaptation of the signature Waits style. Lots of different moods and styles, lots of strange aural experiences, lots of obscure lyrics with that awesome Tom Waits voice.

I ordered mine from Amazon and I was able to listen to an audio stream of the entire album. It's incredible! If you'd like to hear the whole thing, you can access an audio stream here (but only through the end of the week). Check it out--you'll love it!

Whole lotta racin' goin' on!

Lots of bloggers will be racing this weekend. Make sure you stop by and give them some words of encouragement:

Dianna (the running chick with the orange hat) will be running her first marathon, the Hartford Marathon

Mike Paus will be running the Chicago Marathon

Hilary will be running the Steamtown Marathon

Annalisa will be running the Tufts 10k for Women

And of course Mark, aka the Blogfather, will be running the Royal Victoria Marathon

Special thanks to Mark for the Complete Running Calendar. If you haven't already done so, go here and post your upcoming races. You'll be surprised at the incredible support you will get from *almost* complete strangers!

I'm sick

OK, no need to panic yet, but I'm sick. Three days before Heartland, and I'm sick. It started a couple of days ago with a sore throat, which I hoped was just allergies. I felt a little worse yesterday morning, then last night I felt kind of light-headed and woozy. I took some antibiotics and some benadryl to help me sleep and then I slept late this morning and took the day off work today. I've got work to do but it can be done from home. My plan is to rest and sleep today and tomorrow, then sometime tomorrow make the decision--Go or No Go (I feel like a NASA flight engineer--how exciting!).

I've been loading up on vitamins, fruits and vegetables trying to boost my immune system. I had an Orange Dream Machine smoothie from Jamba Juice yesterday for lunch, and I'm going to have another one today. I've been drinking Emergen-C vitamin packets and took some extra multivitamins. I've also been sleeping a lot (about 10 hours last night). I'm hoping I can kick this before Heartland--my biggest concern is just feeling weak. It's seems fairly obvious that one should not undertake a 50 mile race if one is feeling weak!

Fortunately, I have a backup plan. If I can't get it together in time for Heartland, I'm going to race in the Palo Duro Trail Run in Palo Duro Canyon, Texas. Palo Duro Canyon is the second largest canyon in the United States and is really beautiful. The race is exactly one week after Heartland so I would have an additional week to rest and recover. I had originally wanted to do this race but decided it would be better to race earlier (at the time I was training for Ultracentric 24 hour race). Now that I'm not worried about Ultracentric, this race would be great. I still hope Heartland works out because I'm excited, I've got a good plan, I'm prepared, I've tapered, etc. But at least I have a backup plan (I need to see how late I can cancel my hotel in Kansas).

So that's the latest from my world. I'm just going to take things as they come and see what happens. If all else fails I will switch back into training mode and continue training (and doing some shorter races). If that happens, I think I will train for two races:

1. SunMart: a 50k and 50 mile race in Huntsville State Park in Huntsville, Texas. I would probably do the 50k.
2. The Big Bend Ultra Run: a brand new 50 mile race in Big Bend National Park, Texas.

One of the cool things I really like about Ultras is all the cool places you get to race! I've been to Palo Duro Canyon several times, but always in the car. We might get out at designated "Scenic Overlooks", then jump right back in the safe car and drive around. It would be awesome to actually be out there "in the mix" and enjoying the canyon in a little bit more primitive manner.

I'll keep you posted on my progress. Hopefully I'll be lined up at 6:00 am in Cassoday, Kansas this Saturday!

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Making preparations

I've started preparing for Heartland in earnest. Over the last few weeks I:

Bought three plastic laundry bags at the Dollar Store to use for Drop Bags
Bought two more packs of double-wide wrist sweat bands
Bought 6 Crunchy Peanut Butter Clif Bars
Ordered a case of Clip2 Energy Drink
Saved plastic grape juice bottles to fill with Clip2 and put in my drop bags
Filled four gel flasks with Hammer Gel (mix of Espresso and Vanilla)
Prepared a race plan and drop bag checklist
Bought a laminating kit so I can print out and laminate my race plan and attach it to my Camelbak
Bought bag tags that can be laminated and attached to my drop bags
Made sure all my race clothes are washed and ready to go

I still need to find some moleskin in case I have blisters. I've never had a problem with blisters in the past, but I want to be prepared.

The race has three manned and three unmanned aid stations. The course is out and back, so I'll get to visit each aid station twice. That's a lot of aid stations for a 50 mile race. My plan is that I will NOT stop in the unmanned aid stations (if water is readily available I will grab it and go). I will stop in two manned aid stations (Battle Creek and Lapland) for no more than five minutes to refill my Camelbak, grab a new wristband or hat if needed, get more Clif Bars or Gel, etc. At the Teterville Road aid station, which is 1/2 mile before and after the turnaround, I will stop once (after the turnaround, so at 25.5 miles). I've scheduled 15 minutes in this aid station in case I need time to change socks and shoes, treat blisters, etc. However, I would love to get in and out quickly. If I stick to my goal race pace (13:00 per mile) and my aid station strategy (total of 35 minutes, which I think is generous) I will finish in 11:25. I'm hoping my pace is a little faster and I spend a little less time in the aid stations, so maybe I will come in faster than that.

Later today I'm actually going to fill my drop bags so I make sure I have everything I need. Then I'll think about what to wear (I want to pick clothes to minimize chafing). Then I'll wait. This tapering is awful. I'm going to walk 5-10 easy miles tomorrow, then walk Tuesday, then no more walking until the race. I'm really, really excited--it's going to be a long week!

Friday, October 01, 2004

My daughter's going to run a marathon!

We've signed her up for Marathon Kids, a program that encourages kids to eat healthy, exercise and run a marathon over a five month period. We will track her distance every time she runs and she'll run her "final mile" at an event next year. We went to the kick-off today where she ran her first loop around the track. It was crowded, but not crowded enough. This was the kickoff for all of the Dallas area, but there were probably only 1,000 kids there. I was disappointed that my daughter's school didn't make more of an effort to recruit kids. I only saw a few of her schoolmates there, but other schools arrived in buses with dozens of students (one had over 140). I think next year I will work with the school to promote this event because I think it is so important. Childhood obesity is growing rapidly (as everyone knows) and PE time is diminishing. Kids need something to compete with the television and the video games.