The Fall 2010 semester has started. I am taking 14 hours and it seems like it will be a great semester, I like all of my professors because they all seem passionate for once about what they teach, unlike a few other classes I've taken when the professors are inaccessible or seem like they couldn't care less about whether students learn in their class or not, just that they can keep their job and keep doing research. I wish the fall season itself would hurry up and get here as well, I can't see it yet but I can feeeeel it. I'm running the Marine Corps Marathon this year for the 4th year in a row, on October 31, and for the first time I am not running it for charity. I had run it the previous three years on behalf of an organization that my mom was involved with for nearly ten years, but I decided not to run on their behalf this year for a variety of reasons, but one of the biggest reasons was money. Look at the bright side, at least I won't be propositioning everyone to make a donation! Yay!
As a student, and a non-working one at the moment, living on my savings account, I do what I can to save money and stretch my dollars. This organization over the past four years has allowed the minimum amount of money that participants must raise to climb precipitously. When I started running for them, I think it was $750, then it was $900, then it was $1000, this year is it over $1200.
I know the money is for a good cause, and in the past they gave the participants up until a month after race day to raise the money. This year participants have up until race day, and the drawback is when you register to run on their behalf, you fork over your credit card number, and if you do not meet the fundraising obligation, you are charged the difference between that and what you actually raised. I think everyone understands this concept, but in case you don't, if you are required to raise say $1500, and you only raise $750, then they will charge your card $750 on November 1, the day after the race, to meet your expected commitment. It kind of saddens me, because it seems like it has become all about the money and less about providing support for people who need it, and to participants who are trying to raise awareness and visibility first and money second on behalf of a great cause, we're sorry, you get the shaft. While this organization is requiring prospective participants to raise over $1200, and to their credit, they are very clear about that up front, some of the other charity partners of the marathon require participants to raise lesser amounts such as $300-600. I haven't done the math but I'd say the average charity requires probably $600-800 out of its participants, I'll do the math later.
Ironically, earlier this year I was a member of the planning/steering committee for this organization, but I had to step away from my involvement as I learned more about the plans and requirement of participants this year. Since I was active with this organization in memory of my mom, I thought maybe in the future I will become involved with an organization in honor of my dad, but I haven't decided anything for sure yet.
As far as running goes, I'm looking and feeling like a new man, and I think I am on track for a PR (personal record) at the Marine Corps Marathon this year. My long run this past weekend was 18 miles, in 2:33. That felt like a good pace, and I think on race day I'll actually run faster, but we'll see how it goes... I am feeling like I should finish somewhere in the neighborhood of 3:45-4:00. Ohh... and since the MCM this year is on Halloween, should I wear a costume? Last year it wasn't on Halloween, but there were a few costumes to see, I distinctly remember running elbow-to-elbow with the Flash. I thought he would have been faster but I passed him. Any ideas? My costume may just be North Face Voracious Short (they're 2-in-1, they have a built in compression liner which is pretty awesome and also makes it so you don't really need to BodyGlide your crotchal region), and a technical shirt TBD. Maybe I'll go sleeveless. It's not like there's a red carpet in the starting corrals and the reporter asks you who you're wearing. If they did..
"So, who are you wearing for this year's marathon?"
"Trash bag by Hefty to keep warm before the race, I'll probably shed it sometime before I cross the starting line once we get moving, shorts by North Face and singlet by Armani Privé, just kidding it's also North Face. Shoes and socks by Asics."