Thursday, June 13, 2013

On Public Challenges, Sand In My Shoes, And Single Parents…

What do the three things in the title of this blog actually have anything to do with each other? In this case, they have EVERYTHING to do with each other!

Joe Rose called me out on Facebook.
I’m registering for a 10k that runs along PCH.
The registration fee benefits Project Self Sufficiency.

This would be the end of the story if this wasn’t a blog. But as luck would have it, I feel the need to explain how I got myself into accepting a public challenge that ends in me freaking out. And crying. And turning on a holy candle. And taking a shot of Patron. And praying to la Virgencita. And freaking out again. (It’s a vicious cycle to be a Catholic!)

On Tuesday evening I attended my monthly Project Self Sufficiency Foundation meeting. This program was the key to helping me succeed when I found myself at the lowest point in my life. The program helped me get through school and life by providing me tools to be successful and to believe in myself again. When I graduated from CSULB last year, I was invited to join the Foundation as an alumni member. I was honored to join this group of supporters who believed in the success of the program and its clients.

One of the items on the agenda was the biggest fundraiser we have this year, which is the Surf City 10k. We talked about different ways we could get the word out there about the fundraiser, how to recruit runners, and how the Foundation will benefit from setting up a team. Set up a team? Suffice it to say that most of us probably freaked out at the thought of forming a team. Our Foundation isn’t exactly made up of people I would peg as runners—with the exception of one who travels the world looking for opportunities to run. So when Janeen Laudenbeck challenged each of us to start a team with a goal of raising $1000, I immediately thought she lost her mind. She must have seen the look on my face because she quickly threw in the disclaimer that we didn’t have to sign up as a runner to form a team. I had never been challenged to raise $1000 before, but raising $1000 seemed a heck of a lot easier than running a 10k. Challenge accepted.

Facebook; my best friend/my worst enemy.
On Tuesday night after I settled the kids in bed and sat down to the computer, I set up the page for my team. I didn’t really know what to call it because I had no interest in really forming a team. What I really wanted to do was set up a page, ask people to support it, and meet the fundraising goal. That sounds easy enough, right? It was actually very easy. The hardest task was choosing the name of the team. I decided on L@s Muert@s. I had this idea that since it was the weekend before dia de los muertos, I would ask people to join the team and I would support the runners by having a dia de los muertos themed party at my house that evening. How fun does that sound? Me on the sidelines cheering on the runners with my cool t-shirt and my face painted. The use of the @ sign in the name (for those of you not familiar with the gender struggle) is used to represent both male and female runners.

The site was set up. The status update was official. My disclaimer that I would not be able to run it but would support anyone participating was very clear. But no, someone had to come along and ruin my perfect plan. His name is Joe Rose. He is the reason this blog is being updated after a one-month hiatus. He is the reason why I now have a love/hate relationship with Facebook. He is also the reason why today is the day my life will change…for F O R E V E R.

This is how it began:

Joseph Rose I smell a challenge!! You can TOTALLY do a 10K by October!! Come on Lori!! Do it!! I will donate to your fundraiser. $20.00/per Kilometer. Deal?

Lorena Ortega The last time I ran was in high school when I was forced in PE. (Oh, and when I chase after Wolfie)

How would a 1k even be possible, let alone a 10k?

Oh man, now I'm

Joseph Rose CALL TO LORI'S FRIENDS: Who thinks she can do a 10K by October?? Baby steps BABY!!

Lorena Ortega Officially freaking out. I have been challenged, and I realize that in order to ask for support, I should at least attempt to do this...

Joseph Rose It's in writing!! Now...time to train. When do you wanna start?


This challenge is insane. The run is on October 27th and that is only four months away. I figure that by normal standards, this is going to be impossible to achieve. I’m scared. I’m shocked. I thought of the many different excuses to not do this even though I accepted the challenge:

·         I’m too fat

·         I’m out of shape

·         I’m too busy

·         I have no running shoes

·         I have no idea how much it costs to even enter the run (and can I afford it?)

·         I’m too fat

·         I have no extra time

·         I don’t like making a fool of myself

·         I might hurt myself

·         I don’t think I can commit to changing my lifestyle

·         I’m too fat
Then I realized that my list was all about ME. This run should not be about ME, rather, it should be about who it is going to help. I should be thinking about the Project Self Sufficiency clients and their children. I should be thinking about the opportunities that will be provided to these clients as a result of this fundraiser. 

I am smart enough to know that I cannot dream of doing this on my own. This is when I knew it was time to call upon my core! I tagged my bridesmaids and challenged them to join the team. I tagged my close friend who runs marathons, Ray Medina, to ask for support. I tagged my other friend who works at a running shop and runs marathons also, Luigi Guereca, to remind myself that he has always supported me in everything.

And this is how Joe Rose, a friend who I have not seen since 1988, started the “thing” I am calling a Running Revolution. My life will change (I have no doubt of that) drastically. I am committing to not only entering and completing this 10k, but in order to get there, I have to commit to changing my relationship with food and with exercise. And I’m already dying thinking about it.
Tomorrow morning Beast Mode will begin. “Baby steps,” he said. “Just keep on putting…..’One foot in front of the other,” the other one said. And so tomorrow morning at 6:00 a.m. I will not hit the snooze button: I will get up and get ready to walk out the front door. I will take baby steps. I will put one foot in front of the other. Who knows where this will take me, but something tells me by the time I am done with this journey, there will be plenty of sand in my shoes!

Are you willing to take this journey with me? Grab your shoes and put one foot in front of the other. Let’s meet in the middle!
Life IS good!


  1. Lori, I am so excited to read you are taking such a challenge. You can count on me not only to volunteer for the event, but I would love to come out and train with you- support you as you train and take walks with you until you are ready to run. Baby steps!!!

  2. Thank you, Karen, for your support and your faith. I'm going to need a lot of each of those two things, as I'm pretty sure there will be plenty of times I will want to give up.

    I will cry. I will scream. I'm surely going to cuss like a sailor. But more than all that...I will enjoy this new journey!