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Archive for April, 2011

You can celebrate Earth Day’s 41st  Anniversary by visiting some of your favorite stores. As concern for the environment grows, individuals and organizations pledge to make a difference in healthier living. This year’s ever expanding list of difference makers includes Starbucks and Lowes. But if you take a look around, there’s a store on almost every corner participating in the Earth Day celebration in some form or another. Being green is so in. So spend the day out in this Spring weather and pay attention to those offering green gifts; you may be pleasantly surprised.

Are you doing something special in honor of Earth Day? We’d love to hear about it. And don’t forget to visit earthday.org and submit your Act of Green for the Billion Acts of Green Campaign. From the simplest, smallest gestures to the grandiose, it’s a beautiful thing.

Starbucks. Starbucks offers patrons, what else, free coffee. Step into your preferred Starbucks today with a reusable mug or tumbler in hand and enjoy a free coffee or tea.

According to a recent online post from Starbucks Global Responsibility Manager, Sue L., “In 2010, people brought their own tumblers into our stores more than 32 million times, keeping nearly 1.45 million pounds of paper out of landfills.” Clearly Starbucks and their dedicated customers impact our world every day by performing one small gesture.

Lowes. Visit a local Lowes store on Saturday, April 23rd and receive a tree in honor of Earth Day 2011. This is a great way to get the entire family involved and to help teach children the importance of taking care of the environment for today and tomorrow, ensuring a sustainable world for the next generation. Make a day of it. Bring the entire family outside to plant the tree and talk about its significance, and then enjoy a picnic lunch out on the lawn, admiring your handiwork and Earth Day Birthday gift.

Happy Feet. As you leave your carbon footprint behind today while celebrating this place we call home, remember to wear your Happy Feet® Insoles. In an effort to become an eco-friendly partner in helping take care of the environment, Happy Feet manufacturers use biodegradable, non-toxic glycerin which meets USFDA compliance regulations.

How will you celebrate Earth Day ?

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Guest Blogger of the Month, April 2011: Luis Bueno

Running is difficult. I forget that sometimes. I’m not exactly a gazelle prancing through races and long runs, but I’ve logged my share of miles over the last couple of years.

However, running 4-6 miles on any given day is not difficult. I finish those runs and don’t face too many mental or physical challenges.

Sometimes, though, I need a good reminder that running should be and is indeed difficult. And for that, I’ve got the San Francisco Marathon, slated for July 31. I’ve run three marathons in my life, and while the other two marathons were difficult and had their own sets of challenges, San Francisco was a snarling, hilly beast, prepared to do battle against any and all contenders. It was love at first sight.

Perhaps it’s the difficulties the San Francisco Marathon presents that seize my attention. Marathons are difficult enough. Getting to mile 20 is a challenge but the last 6.2 miles is mentally exhausting. The San Francisco Marathon sees those challenges and raises them quite a bit higher.

San Francisco is, of course, notorious for its hills. The mere mention of the city to runners can cause grimaces and shivers. Imagine, then, having to ponder such monstrous challenges that a marathon presents and having to play them out on a never-ending hill. The course is obviously not all uphill, but a sizeable portion is. It’s a steady wave of hills. However, there are also some amazing and unique sights – starting on The Embarcadero and running past Fisherman’s Wharf; smelling the freshly baked sourdough bread past the Boudin bread factory around Mile 2 instantly made my mouth water; houses overlooking the sea on the Presidio; an oasis of flowers that is the Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park; trudging around AT&T Park at Mile 25 and of course running across the grandiose and historic Golden Gate Bridge.

The hills are the fun part of the race. Hills add spice to any run, and running up and over a hill can cause you to throw your arms up in celebration. Take that challenge and multiply it by 26.2. and you get the San Francisco Marathon.

Now, perhaps I’m a bit different. Perhaps I’m used to challenges and need a good challenge or three in order to feel like I accomplished something. You see, I used to weigh more than 300 pounds. For most of my life I was overweight but in my mid-20s, the weight skyrocketed and just got out of control. When I was 30, I was a father of two young girls (2 and 6 mos.) and feared setting a bad example for them. With the help of my wife I signed up for a trainer at the local gym, put all my trust and faith in him and off we went. By changing up my diet and exercising, I lost 60 pounds in 2006. In 2007, I lost 60 more all by myself. I was used to the monstrous challenges that weight-loss presents and I conquered them.

I slowly got into running and ran a 5K, a 10K and wanted more challenges. A half marathon followed in April 2009 and then I decided to go for the full, which I ran for the first time in February 2010. After running a marathon, what’s next? An ultramarathon? A triathlon? Short of tackling those superhuman challenges, I thought about taking on what I considered the ultimate marathon. On July 25, 2010 I ran the San Francisco Marathon in 4:37:51, beating my previous time by five minutes. I’ve since beat that time and when I go back to San Francisco for this year’s race, I won’t go there with a PR in mind.

The San Francisco Marathon isn’t where you go to get your PR. It’s where you go to get your Marathoner’s Badge of Honor. I got mine last year and I fully intend on getting another one this summer.

You can follow Luis’s adventures in running at his blog: Muddy Runner and on Twitter at Twitter.com/RunnerLuis.

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