the running story


i should know better than to promise stories, but days later here it is :). sans capitals as i'm tired of the keyboard ...

i've talked here and there about running on this blog, and keep another blog over here that somewhat chronicles my running history. i've wanted to run the NYC marathon since 2005, when i went and watched it being run just 4 blocks from my house. we live at mile 8.5 or so of the route, and i was feeling queasy that morning from my pregnancy with fynn and so stayed home from church and sat on the curb and watched. for hours. the queasiness was forgotten as i watched thousands upon thousands walk, roll, amble, shuffle, pound, trot, and wheeze by.

the runners came in every shape and size and ability, and the looks on their faces were quite the study. i saw the joy, determination, competition, steadiness, and sometimes frustration and defeat scroll across their faces. i wanted in. i felt a tremendous pull to get out there and join the ranks, pushing myself to complete something that daunting. i'd always loved running, but never had the discipline to do anything with it. (more on that here, i won't repeat myself)

fast forward to last week, after 17 months of running regularly, two marathon lottery denials, and the realization that if i don't run it this year, i probably never will (for lots of reasons that i won't go into, like moving thoughts and possibly more kids and things like that). i'd decided to run it for charity, which would get me guaranteed entry into this year's race, provided i raise (for the 'cheapest' charity) $2500. Daunting at best, rather terrifying actually, but i looked at it as the price for running on 'my schedule'.

i looked at the various charities offering entry, and thought i'd just go with the Team for Kids, which is the biggest, requires 'only' $2500, and has a great support team. They are the charity arm of the NYRR, and serve lots of nyc kids with running programs to help keep them inspired, healthy, and out of trouble. Great cause, but not something that particularly hit home to me. but i wanted in, so was prepared.

then my friend S (a big supporter of my running) started chatting w/me online, and when i mentioned the charity aspect, his response caught me off guard. "Why do you think God thinks you need to do that right now?" i answered that I thought i needed to do it, and yes God had put that hurdle in the way of my plans. and then did some thinking. and a bit more thinking.

running has been MY thing since i started it last january. my time alone, my goal, my enjoyment. i've been blessed with health and the ability to do it, and have acknowledged that to God and asked that he let it stay that way. i love getting lost in my thoughts, in the push and pull of 'how much further', and feeling the ebb of my energy be replaced with the exhilaration of finishing, furthering, and feeling the edges of my abilities. when i've felt beaten down and at the end of my rope in the last year, i've let God know that he could take it away if he wanted, but i really really hoped he wouldn't.

so after that question, i started looking at the charity partners list. i'd discounted the main 3 charities as ones i couldn't really relate to, and saw the 'hole in the wall gang' that i'd noticed before, a foundation offering free camps for sick and disabled kids, founded by paul newman. i liked the idea, and having supported Make a Wish in the past, it felt familiar. They require you to raise $3000, which was a bit more daunting but not so very different from $2500, at least in relative terms! then i looked again, and one of the most 'wimpy' looking logos, visually at least, was the World Vision one, which i missed first time through. i've been on their mailing list in the past, and found their mission to care for the basic humanitarian needs of kids worldwide to be something i connected too. food, water, shelter, the things so many millions don't have. things i take for granted. their requirements? just raise $5000 by november 1st, and pay your own late entry fee of $525.

i felt drawn to them strongly, but the $5k hurdle was just too daunting. so i applied for team 'hole in the wall gang' and was put on their waiting list, and told i'd probably be in by next week. scary, exciting, and intimidating! then i emailed another friend, telling her of the 5k vs 3k dilemma, and told her what i'd done. she replied immediately and positively telling me that despite the 'price' tag, world vision was what she thought fit the best, and that i'd be amazed by what god could do. i sat on pins and needles, and then realized something. what i think is the answer to the question about what God thinks.

the running isn't mine, it's god's. he's blessed it, enabled it, and enjoyed it along with me. but making it all mine? not cool. it's his. and raising 5k to help feed and shelter incredibly needy kids? also his. his kids, his money, his deal. and in my mind, it makes the whole running thing shift over if i do it for worldvision.

so i am. i applied, was accepted, took myself of the team hole in the wall waiting list, and started shaking. it means i'm signed up to run, a shake-worthy event after 2.5 years of hoping and 17 months of running and some inkling of what training i still have to do. it also means i have to raise $5525 dollars, or have it come out of my bank account in November, and that is equally shake-worthy. joy and terror at the same time, a feeling i'm a bit familiar with. it makes my running take on a new meaning, and adds a lot to my enjoyment. i did 12 miles this morning in the heat and sun, running from battery park up to 77th and back, while Opa watched my boys.

it felt great ... i'm on my way :). prayers certainly appreciated, and donation buttons will of course pop up once i get more info. i've got some other ideas on how to raise some of it, but will start with that for now. i'm SO looking forward to it!