As I’ve put in my miles over the past week or two, great ones and tough ones, I noticed that training for my second half marathon hasn’t felt as significant as the first time around. Naturally, your first time experiencing anything will be special. And I am excited to travel to San Francisco for my second half marathon. But it took me awhile to figure out that training doesn’t feel the same because I haven’t been running for a cause that’s bigger than this race. When I trained for my DC half, I raised $2,970 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. You all helped me do that! It gave the training process that much more meaning to raise awareness of and to raise money to help cure a disease that has impacted my family. Both my dad and my brother are cancer survivors.
When I found out I had been selected to run the SF half, I considered officially training with a nonprofit again. However, I felt as though I couldn’t ask friends and family to donate on my behalf for the second time in one year. Recently, I realized that this doesn’t hold me back from raising awareness and personally donating money to support a cause. I’ve decided that for every mile I run from August 19-October 19, I’ll be donating $1 to a mental health-focused nonprofit.
We live in a world where words like anxiety and depression are too controversial or embarrassing to discuss. But over 43 million adults in the US are diagnosed with a mental illness. Those who suffer from one (or more) of a variety of these illnesses find it difficult to talk about, let alone seek help, for a disease that isn’t visibly obvious to their peers. The stigma around mental illness is heavy, but the conversation is changing. It changes with every devastating news story that was caused or impacted by mental illness. The conversation isn’t changing fast enough. I have yet to select a specific nonprofit to support. I’m continuing my search to find one that supports research related to diagnosis/treatments and advocacy for mental illness. This is another cause that has affected me personally, as well as others close to me. If you have suggestions for nonprofits, please share them!
Aside from donating $1 for every mile I run, I want to have an impact on a few runners in New York. While these runners may not be affected by mental illness, I think everyone needs more positive words in their life. For as many of my runs as possible, I’ll be writing notes of encouragement, or love letters, to leave anonymously on my route for another runner to find. Being an athlete is a huge physical and mental challenge, especially if you’re training for an endurance event. I’m making Hannah’s idea of More Love Letters my own over the next two months and will be sharing my journey. I hope that both pieces to this mission will positively impact others as much as they’ll give meaning to my miles.
This Week’s Plan of Attack