Last year was my 10th year of living with HIV and I had decided to do something just to prove how strong I was. I had decided to run a marathon. As I was thinking this I was flip’n through the WP Express and had came across the T2 ad. Talk about divine intervention. I got online and signed up for the Chicago Marathon and there was no turning back. I now had 1000 more reasons on why I needed to finish what I was about to start and didn’t even know it.
It was such a great feeling of knowing that I wasn’t alone. Knowing that I wasn’t the only one dreading getting up at 6:00 AM just to go running and actually looking forward to it. Knowing that I wasn’t the only one who was having aches and pains from the previous weeks run. Knowing not to worry if I had forgotten my GU because your running mates always brought extra. Knowing that we were all doing this for one common goal. Helping those in need and fighting AIDS.
So this year I’m back and have decided to make the goal extra sweet. I’m not only running the Chicago Marathon, but also the Honolulu Marthon and the Luray Triathlon. I know you’re thinking I’m crazy, but after several months of training you start making connections. You start making friends. You have literally joined an extended family and what’s crazy is NOT coming back and being part of something special and fighting the great fight!
So, until there is no longer a need or until there is a cure I’ll be back year after year. Running for myself. Running for those who can’t and running for those we have lost.
Can’t wait to see old faces and meet some new ones. See you out on the course.
I often get asked “why do you run ?”
It’s kind of a silly question when you really think about it. Why not? Why do we do anything that we set out to do?
I first started training for endurance events on a whim. I saw an ad in the metro and thought ‘Hmm. A triathlon? Why not?!?” I signed up, I trained, I fundraised…and I loved it. It sort of became a thing. I signed up for two triathlons that first year, and then 4 the next, even more the next. It sort of became an addiction and ultimately, a lifestyle. It was just something that I did and, eventually, something that most of my good friends were doing too.*
When all of this started I HATED running. It was just something I had to do to finish a triathlon. I don’t know when the tipping point was but eventually I started to like running more and more. I found myself signing up for independent running events….10Ks! 5 milers! 10 milers! Half Marathons! Even though running was becoming more tolerable I never imagined I would sign up for a Marathon. That seemed totally impossible to me.
My first Marathon was a tool for healing. After a close family member passed away from a long illness I wanted to do something to help overcome my grief. I also wanted to find a way to fight back. I figured that raising money for the cause while simultaneously putting myself through some serious training was the way to go. I signed up, I trained (again), I fundraised (again) and I became a marathoner. Crossing the finish line at the Chicago Marathon in 2009 is a moment I will never forget. Not only did I run 26.2 miles, I did it in memory of someone who is always going to have a piece of my heart. I cried like a baby as I crossed that line but I never have felt stronger or more empowered as I did at THAT moment.
So, back to the question at hand? WHY do I run? I run to be healthy, I run to stay in shape, I run because I like it. I run so that I can eat/drink whatever I want. Most importantly, I RUN BECAUSE I CAN.
Running for a charity like TEAM TO END AIDS (T2) makes all the pain and the miles worthwhile. Even if you don’t have a connection to the cause when you begin your journey you will have one by the end. Running with a group lets you meet people with similar interests and goals. Often the people on your team are intimately connected with the cause and that connects you too. Crossing the finish line with the satisfaction that you raised money for a population in need makes the medal that much sweeter. It becomes your moment of empowerment.
Consider taking on an endurance fundraising challenge this year. You won’t ever forget it!
*I’ll admit that I got my friend-friends to become my endurance sports-friends for a purely selfish reason. I was tired of training with people I didn’t like or have anything in common with (aside from swimming, biking and running) and wanted to spend more time with those I already favored. Shockingly, it worked!
-Submitted by CHRISTINA HEROLD