If you were around when I posted my goals for 2012, you know that one of them was to “find my marathon”. It may sound silly, but what I meant by that was I want to find some sort of activity that excited me and energized me just like running a marathon did for my sister. I’ve tried my hand at long-distance running over the past two years, and never really fell in love with it, but I find the energy and pride of long-distance running to be addictive. So my goal for 2012 is to stop trying to fit myself in other people’s fitness boxes and instead figure out what I can do that makes me sweat and that I love to do.
I have a few plans for the year that’ll hopefully take me down the road to finding my marathon, but the first one on the docket is something I’ve wanted to do for years—a multi-day charity walk. I’ve done charity 5Ks (both walking and running) since college and always loved the idea that not only was I changing lives, but I was also combining it with something to better myself—physical activity. I’m not sure exactly why I never signed up for one of these ultra-marathon walk distances before. Maybe I was afraid of the fundraising requirement (in most of these walks, participants are required to raise $1500-$3000 each before they can walk). Maybe I was afraid of my physical limitations. Maybe I was just afraid of the time involved. But this year, when the registration emails started arriving in my inbox, I decided it was time. So this June, in Chicago, I’ll be walking 39.3 miles for the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade.
I’ll be walking on a team with my two older sisters and we are thrilled to be doing this together (under the name, “The Wright Sisters”, for our collective maiden name).
If When we hit our fundraising goals, we will have raised nearly $6000 for cancer research and to provide education and cancer screenings to underprivileged women. Being able to raise that much money thrills to me no end. And I hope we smash that goal out of the water! I’d love for us to hit five digits.
I’m also really excited about the physical challenge. Honestly, when I first signed up, I thought it would be no big deal. Sure, you walk a marathon the first day and a half marathon the second, but I’m a relatively fit and active person, it shouldn’t be a big deal. But then I downloaded the training schedule and realized that for months straight, I’ll be on my feet for hours and hours at a time. My training schedule tops out at 22 miles and that training walk alone will take me seven hours! It’s a whole different kind of training than went into long-distance running.
As far as the part about me finding my marathon? Well I already find myself more dedicated to my training schedule than I’ve ever been to anything else before. Suddenly it’s not just about me being able to compete the 39.3 miles, it’s about crossing that finish line with my sisters and being able to really, truly make a difference.
One thing you may (or may not) know about me is that, like a lot of folks, I’ve been touched very personally by breast cancer. My Mama was diagnosed when I was in elementary school. She made a full recovery and has been cancer free for a while now, but that wasn’t without extreme treatments and lots of hard work and strength on her part and the part of my family. Beyond her, cancer has touched both sides of my family tree. I’ve been told with my extreme family history, it’s important that I start getting yearly mammograms next year. Breast cancer even got to my friends. I had a very good friend that was diagnosed at 23. 23! She also made a full recovery, but only after a complete dual-mastectomy. Can you imagine what it was like to lose your breasts at 23?
Basically, I hate the stupid, jerky disease and I want to do my part to kick its ass. And that’s where you come it.
I’ll be doing the hard stuff (although, honestly, walking 10 hours a day is nothing compared to the strength it takes to fight breast cancer), but I’m gonna tap into you guys to do something simple—open up your wallets and join me in the fight. I know the economy is tough and every family is watching every dollar, so I’m gonna make this good for you. In the coming months, you’ll find a ton of ways to join the fight. Awesome, amazing, expensive-prize-laden raffles! Virtual bake sales with all of your favorite goodies! It’s gonna be fun. But the simplest and most direct way for your cash to make a difference? Simply head over to our team page and make a donation. For every person that donates to that page, I’ll pin a pink ribbon to my walk t-shirt with your name on it so I can carry you with me every step of the way. I hope that my shirt is so covered in ribbons that I look ridiculous! I don’t care how much you donate. Give a dollar or give hundred, either way, you’ll be represented on walk weekend.
I hope you’ll considering donating a few bucks to the cause (and feel free to spread the donations around between me and my two sisters). This walk means a lot to me and my family! If you aren’t comfortable with donating online, we also can accept check and cash donations, just shoot me an email and we’ll get you set up.
P.S. There has been some drama in the news lately about the Susan G. Komen Foundation. Regardless of which side of the debate you fall on, it’s important to note that the proceeds from this walk (and your donations) are NOT going to the Komen Foundation. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade and Avon Foundation for Women have no association with Komen. We’d made the decision to walk for Avon before the news stories about Komen came out. More information about exactly how your donations will be used are on the Avon Walk website.