Guest Post: Making the Miles Count

Thursday, May 5, 2011
Note from Ada: This week and next I'm asking some of my bloggy friends to help fill the Of Woods and Words soundwaves. I come from a family of runners and I've always wanted to be one myself. However, despite keeping a life goal of someday running a marathon hidden in my darkest corners, I really only run when chased. However, my cousin Megan from Megler is a bonafide runner, with more than personal fitness in mind when she's running.

"Ask yourself: 'Can I give more?'. The answer is usually: 'Yes'." -Paul Tergat, Kenyan professional marathoner

There are a lot of reasons why people are drawn to the sport of running. It is the easiest sport, after all. Almost anyone can do it. All you really need is what you were born with: serviceable eyesight, two functioning legs, and the will to quickly place one of them in front of other over and over again. Shoes are helpful, but as the surge in the popularity of barefoot running is rapidly proving, they are far from necessary. What is vital though is that “will” part; the keen desire and motivation to do something that an alarmingly large number of people see as “crazy.”

Let’s get one thing clear right off the bat - running, even great distances like the half marathon, marathon, or even the super marathon, is not crazy. Historically, it’s the way we humans got around. Humanity was running for centuries before the domestication of horses, the invention of the wheel, the cart, bicycle, car or airplane. Though running, as a mode of transportation, has fallen out of fashion, it’s no less vital to our survival as a species. After all, when the zombies rise, who do you think is going to get eaten first? Yep, that’s right - the folks who are too slow to get away.

Being faster than the undead horde that wants to disembowel and eat you was plenty of reason for me to get up off the couch and start putting miles on my running shoes. Slightly less forward in my mind, however, was the looming goal I set for myself of running the Walt Disney World Marathon in January of 2012. In preparation for that, I decided it would be a good idea to get a few shorter distance races in before the main event, which is how I came to hear about the annual Rock ‘n’ Roll Half-Marathon in Chicago.

As I was planning my training for the marathon, I researched a few half marathons to find one that was close to home and about half-way through the training schedule I’d written for myself. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon sounded like it would be fun. There are live bands scheduled to play at every mile marker, a race expo in the train station I commute in and out of every day, and a friggin’ sweet after party. While all that stuff is cool, my real deciding factor in picking the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon were the charities associated with it.

Most races these days, especially larger ones, partner with charity organizations or non-profits. Many runners, myself included, like to have a secondary motivation for their running, such as committing to raise money for a good cause. As a whole, runners tend to be dedicated people, and they’re always looking for ways to make their running more impactful and beneficial, both for themselves and for others. Races that benefit good causes provide warm fuzzies for the runners and much-needed income for charities, especially in a down economy. Everyone wins. As a person who works for a non-profit organization, I’m well versed on the reasons why financial support is more important these days than ever before. Without our support, many of the great things that have come about as a result of charitable donations simply wouldn’t have happened.

Those of us who are old-timers at the giving-game all have our pet causes. One of mine is cancer research. Among a few other charity/non-profit organizations, the R’N’R Half Marathon directly benefits the American Cancer Society, so it was a very logical, natural choice for me.

I don’t need to explain how important cancer research is. These days, there isn’t a person in America that hasn’t been or won’t be touched by cancer at some point. In my own life, I’m sorry to say that at least one of the exceptional people I’ve known who’ve fought the battle with cancer wasn’t able to win it. In 2009, my father-in-law, Mike, passed away from esophageal cancer about a week after my husband, brothers-in-law, and I last visited him. It’s a loss our whole family feels deeply. We miss Mike every day and I’m sure I’m not alone in thinking that our loss, and every other cancer death, is unfair. It might sound a little childish, but I find it horribly unfair to look at all of the advances in medical science humanity has made and realize that the one we really needed, a cure for cancer, wasn’t there in time.

To save others from having to go through the pain of cancer and losing loved ones to it is why it made sense to me to use my half-marathon to raise money for the American Cancer Society. I’ve committed to raise $975 and though fund raising has been slow going so far, I’m hoping to reach my goal by August 1, 2011. I know that doesn’t seem like a great deal of money in today’s world, but every little bit helps.

If you’d like more information, please visit My Fundraising Page. You can learn about the history of the American Cancer Society, how they use donation dollars, read survivor stories, and, of course, donate to support the organization and help me reach my fundraising goal, if you choose to do so. Your interest and support are greatly appreciated.

One last note - Thanks to my cousin, Ada, for asking me to guest-blog for her. I really appreciate the opportunity to reach a whole new audience. Thanks, cuz!

1 comment:

  1. Rock on for being such a dedicated runner. I have been trying to become one but I'm not convinced it's my thing - not long distances anyway. I'm fudging my way through a 1/2 marathon on Saturday that I'm horribly unprepared for. I've walked a marathon before for the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer. That was an amazing experience! Walking is a little more my speed. Kudos to you for your fundraising efforts. It's nice to have that extra motivation to push you while your training. I'll be sure to check out your fundraising page.

    I've been posting some videos on my running struggle on my blog. This post was perfectly timed.


Related Posts with Thumbnails