You have entered the world of virtual racing … you will be assimilated

OK, it’s not really like the numerous episodes of “Star Trek,” in which The Borg try to take over The U.S.S. Enterprise, nearly succeed but eventually succumb to the individuality and creativity of the plucky crew.

Instead, virtual racing is a viable option for runners who believe in a cause. A case in point is Four Legged Running. Since starting with a single race for a local animal shelter two years ago,  founder Angela Tedemann (shown in the photo) has expanded to eight partner shelters, some as far away as Nashville and New York.

Virtual racing is a cool way to build you stash of race bling, and you stay in control. You put in the miles, you log the miles, you get a medal.  You run when you want, where you want and avoid the crowd, if you want.

Terrain offered me the chance to explore this growing trend. You can read more here.


How can crappy Dr. Scholl’s cost more than My Beloved Birkies?

More than 40 years ago, I had an affair with a guy named Dr. Scholl. He’d come up with this exercise sandal that was a wooden knockoff of the original Birkenstock model, the Madrid, fashioned from cork and leather. A cheap alternative.

We were inseparable through two summers of clomping and flopping up the stairs, one the bike, through the grocery story. Dad hated him — er, them — referred to as “Those Damn Woods.”

He threw them out the car window after a particularly exasperating driving lesson.

I took my sweet time, but I finally got around to buying the real deal. Worth the wait. Love my Birkies.

But can this be? Just looked up Dr. Scholl’s on Amazon. Retail for the wooden version is $88? The version with a “flexible solid unit footbed,” what we used to refer to as “Plastics,” is 40 bucks? How can these pretenders be so pretentious.

I’m lovin’ my $79.95 Madrids even more.

Doctors capture “Hearts and Minds” of African-American boys

Divine Intervention tapped me gently on the should about a year and a half ago, when I applied for a temporary job at Catholic Health World, a publication devoted to sharing news, innovation and inspiration among faith-based health systems. I served as a maternity replacement for four months, writing about the struggles and triumphs of keeping alive the dream of women religious who strove to serve the poor more than a century ago. Despite a harsh economic climate, these hospitals, clinics and health systems foster their spirit in projects across the globe.

The gift keeps on giving, as I continue to write for them. One of my favorite stories was just published: this one is about a partnership between Mercy Health in Ohio and an organization called Hearts and Minds. The program includes African-American doctors who serve as role models for boys with an interest in health- or science-related careers. The doctors spend time showing the boys the ins and outs of their careers and offer a helping hand with studies and science projects.

Would love to see more projects like this in cities across the country.