In my brief stint as a (self-proclaimed) runner, I've participated in a few of events that have challenged my endurance and have tested my will. Usually, the reason I've participated in these events has been to push myself to new limits, to prove something to myself. From 8K to 10K to half-marathon to marathon, I've tried to run faster, run longer, run further. Admittedly, the focus has usually been me and my ability to run.
On a few occasions, I've coupled a fun running distance (5K) with raising money for a charitable organization, and these have been fulfilling for a completely different reason. Perhaps it had something to do with a shift in my focus. On those days, my running - the whole event - was to honor, remember or benefit someone else.
I imagine that the disappointment I experienced after last year's marathon would have paled in comparison to the joy I would have felt for the steps I'd taken to strengthen a cause. And as the miles of training wore on me, had I been thinking of someone else's struggle (rather than my own), perhaps I would have been uplifted and inspired to honor them or uphold their memory.
I was reminded of this again after failing to be selected for the Nike Women's Marathon earlier this spring.
This year, through the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team In Training program, I'm hoping to re-define why I run. I'm healthy - one of the greatest blessings God could ever give me. There are many people in this world who aren't as fortunate. Maybe my health, my ability to run, can help make a difference in their lives.
Team in Training is celebrating their 20th Anniversary in 2008. In the past 20 years, they have raised more than $850 million to support patients with blood cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, by working with doctors and scientist to find cures for these diseases.
Did you know that leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children under the age of 20? That every 5 minutes another child or adult is diagnosed with a blood-related cancer? The research is working, though! Twenty-five years ago, only 5% of children diagnosed with leukemia survived. Today that survival rate has increased to 81%!
This training season, I'm hoping to do a small part to keep that survival rate rising. I'm both excited and nervous to be taking on this challenge - a large fundraising effort and the dedication needed to succeed at another marathon.
I hope you join me on this adventure! I'm sure I'll share my training updates here on my blog, and I've also included a link to my Fundraising Page where you can check in on my progress. Whether you're able to support me through donations or through your prayers for a injury-free season and encouragement along the way, I am grateful.
Happy belated Quality Friday.