Chicago Marathon for the Kids of St Jude

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I’ve always maintained that running is not for the fainthearted. If you’re looking for easy, effortless, comfortable and safe then I posit that running won’t work for you. In the years that I have been on the roads, trails, track and treadmill, I have never not been challenged, called out, exerted, pushed and stretched beyond my limits. Through it all, I’ve experienced excitement, sadness, anger, disappointment, success, and every other emotion except boredom and the desire to quit. What I’ve discovered though is that nothing gives me greater satisfaction than running to make a difference in the lives of others.  While I’m all into PRs, racking up medals and destination marathons, these all fall short of a transcendent purpose (and I really do not mean to sound lofty) which adds meaning and value to life. Running for a worthy cause adds true meaning to my miles, it removes me from the center and places focus on the always worthy cause.

I never take this opportunity and gift lightly; opportunity because here is where I get the chance to use the running platform to highlight something close to my heart and do my bit in transforming our world, as I like to say, one step at a time, gift because as long as I understand that I have been blessed with this ability to in turn be a blessing, I will continue to find meaning and value in running. Additionally, it will continue to fuel my passion to get out there; to defeat the hurdles, overcome the obstacles and cross the finish line time and again. In running, motivation works side by side ability to ensure success. I’m convinced that those runners who are in their eighties and still going strong must have buckets of it.

Choosing a cause or charity to run for is relatively easy though not so much at the same time. You’d think, there are tons of them, what’s the big deal? Well for one thing, too many choices can make for difficult decision-making. I try to keep it simple by sticking to causes for children and then choosing those that I feel some connection to. Truth is, that’s the hardest part because almost everything affects us whether directly or indirectly these days. It’s the price we pay for the global village we live in.

This year, I latched on to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. They are such a prominent force for good in this world with the amazing work they do through providing care and conducting research in childhood cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. Words fail me when I think of the suffering and pain of so much of our children, we cannot continue to live unaffected lives; at some level, at some point, we must get involved and take a stand. However we choose to do so is our decision, it’s only important that we do.

In that spirit, here is the link to my fundraising page on St Jude’s website with a lot more information on what they do and the impact your gift can make.http://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/Heroes/Heroes?px=3992776&pg=personal&fr_id=57054

Please support the cause and share. There are only a few more days left for donations for Chicago Marathon and helping get me to the finish line. I’m thrilled to be a part of Team St Jude Heroes!

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Making My Miles Count

chicago-marathon-logo

Two years ago I made a commitment; a promise to myself to use running for more than personal gain; to – in some way – be a blessing to the wider community. Turns out, once a mind is made up it becomes relatively easy to forge ahead. Enter my miles-4-a-cause project this year: The Chicago Marathon for St Jude Children’s Research Hospital. St. Jude is  a hero of mine, they provide free treatment for children with cancer and research, diagnose and treat other types of childhood diseases. I’ve often wished they had a presence here in New York so I could do some volunteer work with them; as it is, Tennessee is not next door so I’ll just have to settle for what I can do right here.

Running is a great platform to highlight the phenomenal work St. Jude does. These days most races provide the opportunity to run for a good cause and are pretty much open to all runners. It’s as easy as picking the charity of your choice, registering with them and building a fundraising page, which you then share with friends and other interested parties. Better still, social media has made fundraising so much easier as you’re able to reach a wide audience with relatively minor effort. The only challenge is being comfortable with asking others for help. Ideally you begin by encouraging, enlisting and persuading family and friends and then extending your reach to friends of friends and so on. 

Some organizations provide incentives for your efforts but really when I’m running for a cause, there is no way I want to benefit from this except to feel good crossing the finish line knowing that my running has made a bit of difference in someone’s life. The medal, possible PR and celebrations are strictly bonuses then.

The Chicago Marathon is on October, 9; that gives me a few months to work hard at garnering as much support as I can for a pretty amazing cause. Wish me luck! And please click on the link below to give to St. Jude and become a St. Jude Hero by saving a child’s life today.

Support us here: http://fundraising.stjude.org/site/TR/Heroes/Heroes?px=3992776&pg=personal&fr_id=57054

 

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A Check-In with our 2016 Running Goals

2016-predictions-930x527

“The trouble with not having a goal is that you could spend the rest of your life running up and down the field and never score.” – Bill Copeland

We’re back in “running” business! It’s always a struggle to get runners to rest up, mainly because we’re too afraid of losing momentum. We often think that we will have to fight our way back in as the body can become quite use to being on vacation. There may be some merit to that but only to the extent that a break amounts to weeks or months off. Surely it can’t mean one will suffer a setback if he or she takes a well-deserved couple of weeks off? In fact, struggle or not, coming back from my two weeks off feels great and based on my running this week, its all good. You can breathe and rest easy now; two weeks will make you not break you.

Also, we can get ready for better running weather, for it’s May and we’re on the brink of summer – how did that happen? In any event, this is a good time to stop and reassess or check-in regarding our running goals for this year. Yep, the very same ones we were all excited and up in arms about around January 1st of this year. You’re totally entitled to a bit of guilt if you’re nowhere where you want to be, but know that it’s ok. You’re here, healthy (hopefully) and so happily you can give it another shot.

A big goal of mine was running the Boston Marathon so.. check – not the desired result – but it’s done. Even so, there are other races on my agenda, others I still have to do. What is interesting to note is that as I cross one item of my list, it actually has bearing on my other goals in a real way. Take for example Boston, I have now decided to run it again next year, to earn my medal this time, if my registration is accepted. As a result of this decision, I’ll try for a better qualifying time in Chicago this year. It’s a little crazy how it never stops with me; it’s as though there will always be another goal, another race. Maybe there always will be, but goals do many things, chief among them is to inspire us to give of our very best and even if we fail, we get up, stomp the dust off and try again.                                                          

In the upcoming months, (half the year is almost up, unbelievable), I have two, maybe three, big races and a few smaller ones while I have my heart set on a 5k and Half-Marathon PR. Additionally, I have a charity goal to fulfill which I will do at the Chicago Marathon. Because summer is usually an all-round hot time, I will be limiting my runs to fun, short ones with one destination marathon in July.                                             

I jokingly say that my life is a scatter plot, with my running all over the graph. But despite how it seems, it keeps me focused and happy – the world could go to pieces around me, as long as I’m running, it’s fine. LOL! I’m kidding! It’s really not that bad, just a tad bit crazy (my friends would say). Regardless, I’m no fine running example as I have fallen off the goal wagon a time or two. For yet another year, I’ve been terrible with keeping count of my miles while I can’t seem to start the tri program just yet. I try to convince myself that maybe I will in the summer but in the meantime between getting a handle on my health ( making sure I’m fit as a fiddle) and getting coached to improve my time, and working and keeping up with my volunteer activities, I’m a little stretched for time. While I’m not complaining, since that’s the way I like it, I would love time to slow down just a tad and maybe someone up there can add a few more hours to my days? Just saying.

Ready, Set, Chica-Go!

Source: loopchicago.com

                  Source: loopchicago.com

The buzz and excitement are high with a bit of nervous energy tossed in for good measure. And why not, we’ve earned the right to this moment right here. Our sweat, sacrifices and sometimes tears have informed our right to be here so make no mistake or apologies for owning what is rightfully yours: runner status and soon-to-be marathoner ( again) which would make me, us – simply put – bad asses.

Source: chicagotonight.wttw.com

Source: chicagotonight.wttw.com

Chicago, I am told, is a fast and flat course and, God’s willing, we should have great weather. A good opportunity for a lot of good to happen here, which sorta doubles the perks I think, though I’ll try to reign in my enthusiasm given my won’t-dwell-upon ankle issue. Whatever happens, It won’t be a lack of me trying. I’m going out there and give it my best shot. I’ve often touted focusing on the things within one’s control and doing your best with that while leaving the rest, not up to chance, but up to God. That done, there’s nothing left to do but to get this party started. After a final run through of my marathon gear check-list to make sure all the ingredients are in place to make magic happen on Sunday, I’m ready to hit the airport and join the thousands in owing those city streets, even if it’s just for a day. I know the memories will last a lifetime. Yass (new word)! Pardon the expletive, this sh*t is real!

nytimes.com

nytimes.com

Running a Fall Marathon (Part 1)

Bank Of America Chicago Marathon

Bank Of America Chicago Marathon

Sometimes there’s no help for it, you just have to take the proverbial bull by the horns and have faith in your handling. Deciding to run your first marathon or going for a fall goal after some absence away from running or maybe you’re like me, just looking for a good race in cool weather; whatever your reason, let’s pave the way to make it happen with as little pain and pomp as possible. Choosing your run should be among the first set of things you do so here’s a list of some great, local ones. Choose your fancy.

  • The Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon, Minneapolis, St. Paul/Minn.
  • The Bank of America Chicago Marathon
  • Under Armour Baltimore Marathon
  • Detroit Free Press/ Talmer Bank Marathon
  • Nike’s Women Marathon, San Diego, Cal.
  • New York City Marathon
  • Marine Corps Marathon, Washington DC
  • Anthem Richmond Marathon, Virginia
  • Philadelphia Marathon

For some of these races there are pre-conditions to racing or some pre-qualifying standard to be met, so that should be taken into consideration when choosing. For my part, I’ve decided on one not on the list there but part of the Rock n’  Roll series which are always loads of fun,  this one in Denver, Co.

So you’ve signed up..Congratulations! Now what? It’s time to start training. Various training plans exist ranging from 12 to 18 weeks but before taking up one it’s wise to get your body used to running four or five times a week and build some base mileage. This can offset injuries and help you prepare for the longer training runs due in a few months.  There are five parts to a successful marathon training plan says Jason Devaney, writer for Competitor Magazine, 1. Establishing a base. 2.Building core strength 3. Increasing mileage and developing fitness 4. Running a tune-up race and 5. Executing on race day. Next week we’ll cover similar aspects to these according to my experience in tandem with what the experts say. For now, let’s focus on building our base mileage by continuing to put in a few steady runs per week, slowly increasing as we go along.

Happy and focused running!

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