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Today I had the honor to be part of a group of pork producers that presented 5000 pounds of ground pork to the Second Harvest Heartland organization. Through our Oink Outing tours and events this past summer, MN pork producers interacted with consumers and for every question they asked us about pork production, we donated a pound of pork. As you can see, we had a lot of questions.

If you looked up the word logistics in the dictionary, it would say “See Second Harvest Heartland”. These people know how to get food from companies and producers that have excess to those organizations and people that don’t have enough. They took in 79 million pounds of food last year. Unfortunately the number of people needing supplemental food continues to increase.

The warehouse at Second Harvest Heartland is huge and has pallets of food stacked three high. The walk in refrigerator and cooler is the size of many farm shop buildings. They have 17 trucks that pick up and deliver food around MN. I think you get the picture. Second Harvest Heartland is helping people in a big way.

Our donation of pork was much appreciated since sources of protein aren’t as plentiful for the food shelves as say, bread or cereal.

As my family sat down to a meal of ground pork tonight, (ironic isn’t it) I’m humbled by the fact that we didn’t even give one moment of thought on how much food we had or if there would be enough. Food insecurity is not in our vocabulary. Even my always hungry teenage boys can find something to eat in the cupboard. Unfortunately that’s not true for many families.

Hats off to the Second Harvest Heartland people and the wonderful work they do in relieving hunger.

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Goals help us stay focused and provide motivation. Even a simple goal like cleaning off our desk can keep our mind on the project and create satisfaction when completed.

This summer I’ve been exercising aimlessly. After I ran the 5K in Duluth in June I wanted to do an event towards the end of summer that would give me something to shoot for and stretch my talents. For example, last year I did the Iron Girl Duathlon.

All summer I watched various races come and go but could never get excited about any of them or find one that didn’t conflict with my schedule. In the back of my mind I saw the 10K race in Mankato as a possibility. Sure, it would challenge me since I haven’t run a 10K for almost 30 years, but it was later in the season than I preferred since the race is Oct. 21.

So I would keep finding excuses not to sign up and as summer came to a close I realized I was on the path to letting my exercise routine fade away like the summer daylight hours. I became increasing frustrated with myself knowing that if I let an opportunity like the Mankato 10K pass by I would be mad at myself for not trying. Then again, for whatever reasons the last few times I ran it was hard, and that was only 2 miles. How could I survive 6?

The answer was right next to me…Dale. He said he would run with me and knowing I had him at my side to help me through any rough spots gave me confidence that I could complete a 10K. So I signed us both up for the 10K and went out and ran 2 1/2 miles. It was the best run I had in a long time. Perhaps a sign that my decision was the right one.

Now I have a goal, a purpose for running and exercising even though the daylight hours are getting shorter and the days cooler. It feels good to have something to focus on. Funny thing is that my running is going better too. I suppose those 90° summer days did drag me down, but mentally I have more confidence in myself. I’ve been running 4 miles consistently and am looking to do 5. Once I do that I know I can do 6, especially with Dale running along with me.

What I enjoyed about the Iron Girl Duathlon last year was the challenge of doing something I’d never done before. It meant setting a goal and then working hard to achieve that goal. I’ve decided I can’t let the fear of failure overcome the opportunity to succeed.