Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Running for a good cause

On August 18, I'll be running the Pikes Peak Ascent to raise money for the Ponseti International Association for the Advancement of Clubfoot Treatment. You can support this great cause by making a donation to the association in honor of my masochistic endeavor - racing 13.32 miles and 7,815 vertical feet! Information on how to donate is below, but first, here is some info about club foot.

Club foot is one of the most common birth defects, affecting approximately 150,000 children each year. Although the condition is treatable, many children in poor countries don't receive treatment and are disabled for life. Dr. Ignacio Ponseti pioneered a non-surgical method of correcting club foot, and this association is committed to advancing the treatment of children with clubfoot deformity through education, improved care, and research.

My daughter Elizabeth was born with club feet, and thanks to Dr. Ponseti, she is well on the way to a full recovery. Some day, I hope she can hike - or even run - up Pikes Peak with me.

More about the race:
The Pikes Peak Ascent is 13.32 miles long and climbs 7,815 vertical feet (1.5 vertical miles!), ending at the 14,115 foot summit of Pikes Peak. If you're curious to see the race route, here is a link to a very cool Google Earth map showing the trail. Here is how the high-altitude portion of the course is described on the race's web site:

There’s a reason trees don’t bother growing above 12,000' on Pikes Peak. They can’t! Makes one wonder if trees are smarter than runners. Above treeline most runners take 30 minutes or more, some much more, just to cover a mile. What little air remains can’t satisfy the endless stream of zombies hoping only to survive their next step—a death march right out of a scene from Dawn of the Dead. Adding insult to injury, it might start to snow!
My personal goal is to finish in 3 hours, 6 minutes, which would put me in the top 7% of finishers with an average pace of about 14 minutes per mile.

I would appreciate your generous donation! Since I don't have any other way to know how much money my friends will raise, I would appreciate it if you would leave a comment on this blog or send an email telling me how much you donated.

You can make a secure online donation at this link to the Ponseti International Association for the Advancement of Clubfoot Treatment. If you'd rather send a check, please make it payable to: Univ. of Iowa - Ponseti Fund and send it here:

Ponseti Fund for Advancement of Clubfoot Treatment
c/o The University of Iowa Foundation
P.O. Box 4550
Iowa City, IA 52244-4550

I very much appreciate your support in raising money for this great cause!

Sunday, July 15, 2007

No more casts

Elizabeth is out of her casts now! We took the casts off both of her legs on Saturday morning after about 14 weeks of casts. She sat in the bathtub for a while to soften the plaster, and then Amy cut through with an old butter knife, which takes a long time, but it means we don't have to worry too much about cutting her. Her feet look almost normal now! Not only that, but now we can give her proper baths and let her play in the pool.

She still has a long road of treatment ahead of here, though. For the next 3 months, she'll be wearing a specially designed brace and shoes for 18 hours per day, and then she'll wear a similar brace at nighttime until she is about 4 years old. These photos show her feet before the casts, after the casts, and with her new brace contraption.

Above: before the casts

Above: after the Ponseti treatment

Above: the new-fangled brace contraption. Doesn't she look thrilled???

Monday, July 09, 2007

10 years

Amy and I celebrated our 10 year anniversary last Friday. We saved a bottle of wine from our wedding day and opened it over the weekend. It was a little past it's prime, but still drinkable.
Ten years sounds like such a long time, but it doesn't feel like a long time. I love you, Amy!

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Camping - with 2 kids

Amy and I are camping veterans, and Andrew spent his first night in a tent when he was just over 1 year old. This weekend, we eased our way into a new level of outdoor accommodations, with a 4-year-old and a 1-year-old joining us in the tent. This experiment was somewhat complicated by the Elizabeth's two full-leg casts. We decided to spend just a single night in case the experiment went horribly, horribly wrong. Fortunately, it all worked out. We even had fun, I would say. We camped at about 9000 feet elevation near Keystone, and the toughest part was keeping the kids warm overnight. I'd guess the low temperature was around 40. We bundled them up in hats and gloves, and covered them with multiple layers. Now we're ready for a longer stay in the great outdoors.

Based on a tip from my brother, we drove to Lower Cataract Lake after leaving camp this morning. The aptly named lake, on the east flank of the Gore range, has an impressive cataract feeding into it. The waterfall tumbles several hundred feed down a jumble of boulders and into the lake.