I promised some big news, here it is: I'm running a marathon, and not just any marathon, the Marine Corps Marathon, for the third time. The first two times, I ran for charity - for the American Cancer Society both years. I've blogged about running occasionally, and here is some nutshelling: I was never a runner, I played baseball, I cheered, running was for conditioning or punishment. Is it odd I've never run a 5K but I have run two marathons now? I guess I would just rather be a marathon man. (rimshot goes here). The main thing you need to run is a good pair of shoes, and you just need to replace them every 300-500 miles. Your mileage may vary, literally, depending on the surface you run on, your biomechanics, and your build.
I took up running after my mom passed due to breast cancer. I wanted to do something to change my life for the better, and I didn't want to succumb to the effects of the typical office drone lifestyle of a ballooning waistline and the associated medical issues that go along with it. So I thought, "Well, I could ride a bike." Bikes are expensive. You need a helmet. More importantly, you need a bike. You may end up wearing spandex. You probably need to switch out the stock saddle that comes on the bike, because they're usually pretty stiff. Some of them are so stiff I think the model name is the "Violator."
Anyway, I decided I would run. I heard about the concept of Charity Running and decided to look into being a charity runner. My mom passed in March 2007, and sometime around early May after my birthday, after some introspection, I decided to run the Marine Corps Marathon, as a charity runner for the American Cancer Society. The MCM had a lot of things going for it: I'm a Northern Virginia native, so it was local, starting in Arlington and taking a scenic route through Washington, D.C., including the Palisades, Hains Point and the National Mall, it is relatively flat, and it is pretty newbie-friendly, having the nickname "the People's Marathon." Plus, it's run and supported by the Marine Corps. You think they're going to drop the ball on running a great race? I don't think so. On top of that, the finish is up a slight hill (okay, it isn't slight, but after running 26 miles and change you aren't going to stop because of it), but the vista is inspiring - the Iwo Jima Memorial is at the finish, formally known as the Marine Corps War Memorial, seen below.
When you finish, a Marine places a finisher's medal around your neck, congratulates you and hands you a space blanket (the silvery mylar blanket to keep warm), and directs you to where the water and massages are going down. You can also get a coin, which is a big military tradition (as seen here: Challenge Coin).
I've enjoyed my experiences as a charity runner. I am looking for donations. The following is a link to donate, and I will update more in the very near future. In the interest of full disclosure, I am obligated to raise $1000 by November 25, which gives me a month after race day, which is October 25, aka 18 days from now, or I am on the hook for the remainder of the amount. It is a worthwhile cause - you can read my participant page, I wrote the top part but once you start seeing bold text, it's straight template from the American Cancer Society. I think it is when you see "can make a difference" like twice - I wrote the first one, then somewhat to my chagrin, noticed they use the same phrase directly after that, in boldface no less. Maybe I subconsciously wrote it, who knows? So please, help me out if you can - every dollar makes a difference.
If you don't, I'm going to pull a Matt Damon. Just kidding. That's probably funny only if you saw the season finale of Entourage. I appreciate your support, as cancer is very personal to me and it is to a lot of people. Thanks!