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Sunday, May 31, 2009

It's A Trashy Job, But Somebody's Got To Do It

"He who influences the thoughts of his times, influences all the times that follow. He has made his impress on eternity." ~ Unknown

It doesn't take much to create change in the world, you just have to be content with doing it a little bit at a time and know that eventually it will catch on and that 'little bit of change' will become a lot of change down the road. Sometimes, creating change means stepping outside your comfort zone and walking against the grain.

A few weeks ago I started a new running group here in Chicago, the Chicago Trash Runners, at the suggestion of Jeremy. The plan is to kind of 'road test' the idea with me and our little group o' earth lovers and then eventually spread out into various cities all over the country. It's a very simple concept, and something Atayne has been doing at various racing events over the last year or so. You announce a date and time at a specific location, everyone shows up ready for a run and brings a trash bag and some gloves, and then the group heads out, picking up trash along a set running route. When you're done, sort it out between trash and recyclables and dispose of properly. Easy shmeezy!

Yesterday was the first meetup of the Chicago Trash Runners and I was a little bit nervous about how it would go, but since I'd done it a few time before at races, I knew more or less what to expect and what I needed to do. It was nice to start out with a small group. It was four ladies and a dog: Connie (from the Ultralist!), Mary, Jessica, myself and of course Charlie the Trash Runnin' Dog (he begged me to come with and gave me those disgusting puppy eyes). We met up at the lakefront path at Belmont and Lake Shore Drive and from there we headed south 2 miles to just south of Diversey, near the water trough. Now the running path is typically very well maintained and trash-free, but I knew we'd be able to find some trashiness hidden along there somewhere. And trashy it was! How about a little pictorial, you ask? Sure, here ya go...

Since it was the first meetup, I supplied the garbage bags and the latex gloves

"Now Charlie, if you don't poop on the path I'll take you to dog beach when we're done." "Arf!" (his job was going to be trash scouting)

Jessica and I sporting our Atayne tops

Lets get this trashy party started!
I found a cigarette butt! And a soda top! Exciting stuff!

This place was swarmming with cigarette butts, and even one of those 'recreational' type "butts" hehehe, people still do that?! Charlie is observing my form
And here I was trying to think of somewhere to grab some post-run grub! Yes, a box of dead fish hanging out by a tree along Cannon Drive. Ummm, exqueeze me?

Yay, us! First trash run = done and done!!
Four full garbage bags and about 10 lbs total (a guestimate). Lots of random stuff, beer bottles, pop cans, socks, a shampoo bottle, batteries, kleenex, Dum Dum wrappers, a Tupperware lid, Mason jar, vodka bottle, lots and lots of paper towels and the plastic wrappers that plastic utensils come in Charlie was wiped out, tough day of scouting for trash (which we've discovered he's quite good at!) but he's already ready for the next one!
And, since he didn't poop on the path he got to go sniff doggie butts and frolic in the water at dog beach!! Dog heaven!

It was a great first Trash Run! Oh, and I was recognized on the path! I was leaning over picking up something trashy when someone said "excuse me" from behind me. I stood and turned around and a dude in a bright orange shirt said, "sorry, but I knew this was going to happen eventually, are you Paige?" I was a little taken aback (what does he mean "going to happen eventually?!), haha, but as he walked up I recognized him as none other than my blogging buddy, GTI!!! He was one of the first people to start reading my blog when I first started it, and we'd been going back and forth since reading each other's posts and commenting. I'd never met him in f'real life before, so this was exciting! An e-friend suddenly became a real live person! Super nice guy and very fashionable in his orange and blue, and a snazzy ponytail to boot (your hair's going to be as long as mine pretty soon!). We chatted a few minutes then went on our merry ways. How fun :) Gotta love that stuff.

So, back to talkin' trash! It was a success and I feel very good about the group now that we've had our first run. I already scheduled our second meetup for June 20th near the south loop/southside's Washington Park. So if you're in the area on that day, come on out for some trashy fun!! We're also going to incorporate food this time...meet a little earlier, then go out for brunch afterwards. Trash and brunch go together like cake and ice cream :)

In closing, I have to say it was very entertaining seeing the looks on peoples faces as they walked past us picking up garbage along the path. It was generally a bewildered expression, but I also got a few "what a nutjob" looks, a couple smiles, and then Connie and I got a, "You guys rock!!" from some gals walking by in their beach gear. All in all, a trashy success and I can't wait for our next run!

As Jeremy and Mike like to say, "Keep it Clean!"

Crash, out.

"Trash picking is just shopping without exchanging money." ~ Identity withheld on request :)


Danni said...

That's a great idea but I would go nuts trying to do that in Chicago! So much trash. . .

I try to always pick up trash on the trail if I see it. Though when I get fagtigued the synapsis don't fire fast enough to actually stop, bend over and pick it up.

David Ray said...

Yay, Charlie pics! Love that one of you and Charlie. And I'm assuming Charlie took the group shot at the end since he's not in it. Nice work picking up the trash.

Jamie Anderson said...

Great work! Karma points fo' sho'.

Paige said...

You guessed it, D-Ray! Charlie's an excellent photog :)

Thanks guys, and gal!

Jeremy said...

Paige this is great! Thanks to you and all the Chicago Trash Runners for getting this started. I have a feeling Trash Running is going to sweep the country (and world) by storm.

Michael said...

Geez, I need to get my act together here in Vermont! Chicago is Atayneville all of a sudden :) Way to go Paige - love it!

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