Running Like a Marine at The Marine Corps Marathon’17

It hardly seems right that we’re hell-bent on gobbling up November already. With the New York City Marathon on in a couple of days (Sunday!) and having just come off a tough 26.2 myself, I feel incredibly rushed – as if I’m on a spinning wheel of sorts with the only option to keep moving or jump off and crash. But I digress. Two Sundays ago, I felt incredibly honored to run the prestigious and inspiring Marine Corps Marathon with about 25,000 runners. It was a huge accomplishment for me, not because of the medal, or the challenge – and it was that, not even because it was marathon #12, but because it allowed me the opportunity to add meaning to my miles and truly make my running count for others and not myself – at least not this time around.

It was beautiful out in Virginia and had the temperatures stayed in the low sixties/ high fifties as it started out on marathon morning, it would have been as near perfect as it could get I’m sure, but as fate or luck or whatever would have it, that was not meant to be. Marathon Sunday, we woke up to a sunrise that displayed the most gorgeous hues of color against the backdrop of a spotless sky. As we shuffled by the thousands into the Pentagon area in making our way to the start the promise was of a bright and beautiful day though a bit misty at the start. This proved to be too hot with temperatures reaching in the high seventies under brilliantly blue skies by late morning. I recall a runner I passed by wondering aloud,”where are my clouds,” then I thought sadly, not today my friend. With the earlier part of the race, we had some cover running through Rosslyn and suburban VA.

It was pretty, gorgeous actually, and heartening to run with such a wonderful group of runners from varying teams. While team Semper Fi was out in their numbers and I had great support from team members along the way and from the spectators, who were phenomenal in every sense giving everything from water, to beer, to candy, to Vaseline, to ice and fruit and everything in between, there were many other charity groups running awesome that day; however, none were more touching than the marines and others who chose to run pushing the chairs of disabled children and veterans. Then there were the disabled runners themselves, who made my heart beat faster with their determination and passion. These runners inspired and pushed me to stay focused and in the moment and to remember it wasn’t about me. Many times when I was tempted to go faster or push harder those thoughts encouraged me to keep a sane and steady pace. It would later prove to be my saving grace as it got hotter and tougher around mile 19.

Wear Blue: run to remember

It would be remiss of me if I didn’t mention the “Blue Mile:” dedicated to fallen marines. Pictures of deceased service men and women lined both sides of the course as we ran along the Potomac river with a backdrop of Washington, D.C . It was the most silent, tear-jerking and inspirational mile of my running years and one could almost hear a pin drop. I ran thinking of all those, so many young marines, who laid down their lives for this country, willingly or not, and that they will never get the chance to run as I am fortunate to do.

Other memorable moments included running through DC and past all the iconic monuments in the nation’s capital to the amazing cheers of hundreds of spectators and the thousands of marine volunteers who were out there faithfully giving us water, Gatorade, and energy gels and encouraging us on at specific locations. They provided profound support and inspiration. We loved it, fed off it and used it to get us over the bridge, through Crystal City and the crowds, where a friendly face tried to pump me up, however, by then I was having a really hard time with pains in my right knee and ankle and was really looking forward to the finish line. The last mile through the Pentagon and finishing uphill was screaming tough for me and made me what I like to now refer to as “marine tough.” Too happy for words, I limped across the finish line revelling in the fact that I did it. I ran for the marines..for the veterans of this great country and had a blast for the most part.

Advertisements

Why a Charity Run is Good Running Karma

Source: yeuchaybo.com

Life can be very hectic. Often, we have so much going on making it’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind. We’re busy and have jobs, families, studies, exercise and various other things going on –sometimes simultaneously. Because of this mad rush of a lifestyle, many of us are left with little time for others. The concept of giving back seems more like an ideal and, though worthy enough, is not chief on our list of priorities.

We’ve all heard about “giving back to the community” and the truth is this can and does take many forms chief among them charitable donations, which is more than a feel-good sentiment. Charitable donations have the potential to make a huge difference through effecting change and having a major impact on the targeted community.

The running community has its fair share of causes to run for. For every major race from a 5K to a full marathon among others there are a variety of causes put forward for runners to partner up with. Some of these causes include research and support for many illnesses and diseases such as various forms of cancer, Alzheimer’s, Diabetes, Parkinson’s etc. In addition, there are options for causes that involve support for veterans, children education, individuals recovering from substance abuse, homelessness and many others. Many organizations work alongside race organizers to offer spots for participants who choose to fundraise as an entry means to the particular race. Runners who choose this option stand to benefit personally as well as gain the benefit for recipients of the funds they raise.

5 major benefits to running for a charitable cause include:

(1) the personal satisfaction of adding meaning to your miles and the rewarding knowledge that you are making a difference one step at a time and contributing to a cause that needs your help.

– There’s an opportunity here to choose a cause that’s close to your heart, either because someone close to you have been affected by it or for some other personal reason.

(2) the financial contribution gained for the cause chosen.

(3) raising awareness about and for the particular cause, which potentially means more exposure and thus more donors.

(4) gaining knowledge about the cause selected and an added affinity and sensitivity to issues underscored by the organization.

(5)  becoming part of a larger community and team that provides support such as training plans and fundraising instructions and tips and encouragement, team swag, and pre-race and race-day amenities.

Whether you were on the fence about it or never gave it a thought before now, I hope I’ve made a good case and gone some way in convincing you to run for a good cause this summer or for the upcoming fall season. It would actually be a nice addition to your runs this year and go a long way in completing your goals on high note of accomplishment.

runforcharity.com

Cancer, A Cause to Run for

breastcancermarathon.com

             breastcancermarathon.com

Every month in these United States we advocate, support and highlight a form of cancer and the strides we have made in the fight against it. This dreadful disease can take many forms and insinuates itself into almost every part of the human body; from breast cancer, which we highlight this month, along with liver cancer, to colon cancer and pancreatic cancer among others, we are made aware of the far-reaching effects of cancer as no one remains unaffected by it. For this and other reasons, running is an ideal platform to support the fight against it.

In the month of October most of the western world and organisations like The American Cancer Society, Susan G. Komen Foundation, Avon, Memorial Sloan Kettering  and others sponsor, support and/or organize walks and runs that highlight the great work: research, successes and stories of women around the globe living and battling breast cancer everyday. The goal is to bring awareness, increase knowledge and encourage early testing, diagnosis and treatment.

Running is all about utilizing good health to achieve great results. Since we need to be fully functional to do it, it makes sense to use this platform as a means by which cancer research and education can become part of mainstream discussion; particularly breast cancer for us women who are more susceptible to it.

Last weekend, there were walks, around the country and thousands of women came out in support of this worthy cause, raising the bar on the discussion and actively walking out their struggles with breast cancer in the company of family, friends, advocates and supporters. The good news is that many of us were actively involved and got out there as part of the movement. That’s a great start. The weekend before when I ran the Chicago marathon for St Jude in support of the work they do in the field of childhood cancer, I was gratified with all the support and cheers for St Jude. However, I see it in a wider context now, people are deeply affected by cancer and beginning to realize that unless we all unite in the fight against it, chances are very good that one of us may become its next victim.

In this vein, we should strive to become a part of the solution. As runners, what better way to do this than to get our family, friends and supporters behind us to run for a great cause. Cancer is that cause and there are a lot of running opportunities this month and going forward. Most races provide the option to run for or to donate to a favorite charity to run. Just sign up, fundraise or donate, then run – the easiest part. I promise the rewards last beyond the finish line.

pinkribbon

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

 

screen-shot-2014-04-04-at-6-09-45-pm

 

Running Ahead

running aheadThere’s not a lot of racing going on in winter on my end. I tend to plan my Spring and on runs during this time when my running is limited to the treadmill with very few outside runs and one or two races out-of-town wherever warmer temperatures can be found.  As such, I like to think of this as training season for the months ahead, which will consist of a few marathons, half marathons, and some fun runs with goals of a few PR and raising money for charity.

I have my sights set on at least four marathons this year: New Jersey, Chicago, New York and Savannah SC. There’s also a very good chance of a run upstate, while my shorter runs will be at local competitive level here in the city.  I’m also always open to exploring the area around New York with the fun races hosted in and around town over the summer.  Lastly, but just as important, is my goal of training for and completing a triathlon; I’m searching out a place that does not involve these cold waters but isn’t so far away to maximize cost and potential.

The Marathon is a much more comfortable race for me now that I have four under my belt (shoes), at least in my mind, when I don’t have an injury to contend with. I feel pretty sure I can make one this year my best yet if I could just run issue and injury free – that’s my prayer anyway. Half-marathons are my babies. I feel confident, fit and at my peak during most runs of this ilk and feel I can qualify for the NYC marathon 2016 with a PR this year. On the other hand, Fun Runs are what I call any race less than 10 miles and would include obstacle, mud etc., These are my relax and roll with the tide races that I oftentimes take too seriously, such is my competitive spirit. This year, the triathlon will be my biggest challenge. Though I’m a Caribbean girl and love the open waters, experience has taught me to have a healthy respect for water I cannot stand in. So while I swim, I am timid when it comes to exploring my potential out there; this I feel will be my biggest obstacle in such an event. I am to begin brush up classes in Swimming in February, hopefully it helps to build my confidence. Cycling, I don’t consider too much of a big deal, except that I haven’t ridden a bike for any time for a couple of years now. I’m hoping that “like riding a bike” cliché is true in my case. These minor (thinking positive) obstacles aside, I’m looking ahead with much anticipation, excitement and determination. By God’s grace and with the help of my two feet, I can get this done and have a blast while I’m at it.

All my running this year provides an opportunity to support the causes I care about and in so doing give a little back to the community that has given me so much. Whether it’s through fundraising, donations and/ or volunteering, it is with the deepest pleasure and gratitude that I give. My mind’s running ahead now.. better wait on my feet.

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 443 other followers

%d bloggers like this: