Running For More

I was at a running event recently when an older, seasoned male runner was describing his favorite marathon to me. He said it was a beautiful race with a smallish field because, “They don’t let any of those charity runners in.”

I winced at his comment and thought, “I’m a charity runner.” Boston aside (good luck to everyone registering this week and next!), I don’t know what runners have against charity runners.

They didn’t have to scramble to get in. No, they had to pay the same entrance fee AND raise thousands of dollars for charity.

They make the field more crowded. The slots and number of runners in the field are designated by the race, not by the charities.

They’re not serious runners. Ahem. I beg to differ.

There’s a great quote (the author of said quote is unclear):

“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”

In 2006, my then boyfriend (now husband) re-upped with the United States Marine Corps Reserves in order to take a deployment to Iraq. It would be his second and last deployment to Iraq during is eleven years in the USMC.

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Back home in New York, I worked, went to school, sent care packages and letters, and tried to occupy the time between phone calls from him. But I wanted to do more. I wanted to do something, contribute something to the military community.

Since I had run a few marathons, I decided that the perfect way to honor his service was to run the Marine Corps Marathon. I looked for a charity team whose mission was one that benefitted veterans and their families. It was an easy choice and I joined Team Fisher House and began fundraising for the Fisher House Foundation.

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I chose TFH because of the Fisher House Foundation mission. Fisher Houses are large houses built near military hospitals all over the country where the families of injured veterans stay for free while their soldier recovers from injuries. They also fly the family to be by their soldiers’ side upon their return to the US.

It was a no-brainer for me. If ever I needed their services, God forbid, I wanted to have earned my keep.

MarineMarathon_The Face!I raised a lot of money and was very proud to represent TFH at that and four more Marine Corps Marathons and one New Jersey Marathon. My sister, Red, joined me for one of them and that year, together, we raised over $16,000 for TFH.

But that first year when I was running while JB was deployed, it was more of a cathartic experience for me. I cried as I ran. I smiled at the newly minted lieutenants from the Officer Candidate School handing out water. I accepted the high-fives from my teammates and strangers who cheered as I ran by.

I ran for more than just me.

Since then, I have run a dozen or so races of all distances for various charities, all of which held a special significance to me and my family.

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We are a community, a #RunnerArmy. We are a family. Or, at least, that’s how I see the running community. I’m proud to be a runner who sometimes runs for a cause, sometimes my own. The experience of running in honor of someone else was entirely different than running my first race for myself, for my disease.

I fought like hell to get to that start line.

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Next time you’re at a marathon and find yourself judging the charity runners, remember that they’re there running for more. You don’t know. Not all of them joined the charity as a back door into the race. Some of them are like me, running for their Mom, Dad, sister, husband, or even for themselves.

Maybe give them a high-five.

Now go out and run.

I’m Having A Party

Hi friends. It’s been a while. I can’t even begin to tell you what’s been keeping me from blogging but the simple answer is: LIFE.

Life /līf/, (noun): Physics class, work, UC “stuff”, marriage (it’s lovely, thank you for asking), pending PhD program, health, family, friends.

Oy. Just…oy.

There are days like this:

Ummm...oops.

When I thank God for this:

Bless you, lululemon. We all need this reminder from time to time.

Anyway, there’s so much going on these days I sometimes forget to shower. And when I do, I also forget to take my shower cap off before I answer the front door.

Good thing my Dry Bar shower cap is cute!

I mean, this sign we saw in Jersey pretty much sums up how my life has been in these past two weeks…and how it will be over the next month or so (or 3 years).

I just...I don't know what this sign is trying to tell me. Only in Jersey.

There is so much craziness happening, I almost forgot to tell you all about my charity Flywheel ride this weekend! You all know how obsessed with Flywheel I am, especially when I can’t run. Stupid UC. I mean, just check out My Workouts and add up my Flywheel visits. Bananas. I love it.

Anyway, you also know about my devotion to the Fisher House Foundation. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are a non-profit organization that builds houses near military hospitals for the families of injured veterans to stay FOR FREE while their soldier is hospitalized and recovering. They are rated a 4-star charity (the highest rating) by Charity Navigator because 98% of the money raised goes to program expenses, not advertising or administration costs. Very cool.

My connection to them started when JB was on his second deployment with the Marines, I was here in NYC looking for a way to support him. I decided to run the Marine Corps Marathon and do it for a military charity. I found Fisher House and was a part of their inaugural Team Fisher House marathon team. I figured if I ever needed them, I had earned my keep. Since them, I’ve run 6 marathons for them and raised over $25,000.

Yay, Fisher House!

This fall, JB and I are running the Marine Corps Marathon for the first time together for Team Fisher House. The very fabulous Aleah Stander, my fellow lululemon Ambassador and friend, and former Marine Steven Little, both Master Flywheel Instructors, have donated their time and talents to this Saturday’s Fly for Fisher House ride at the Upper East Side Flywheel Sports at 3pm. There is a seriously amazing raffle taking place, including the following confirmed items:

Oh, and there will be complimentary fro yo from Soft Serve Fruit & Co. following the ride.

What more do you need?

If you want to take part in the ride, please don’t hesitate! We are hoping for a full house and want anyone and everyone to be there. Visit our event on Facebook (if you’re not on Facebook, email me: runstrongereveryday@gmail.com for instructions on how to sign up).

Hope to see you on a bike this weekend. Come on out and support our troops and meet me! Not like that’s much of a draw, but I’d sure like to meet all of you 🙂 That is, if you’re not ashamed to be seen with me at my sweatiest!

Now go out and run.