Monday, April 20, 2009

Hustlin'...with Heart


This physically-induced asthmatic trained for six months in preparation for running 26.2 miles in New Orleans, Louisiana, a feat I did just six months before Hurricane Katrina hit (2005). It's not an easy task, but I ran over 500 miles, including doing a training run one early October morning along the Salzach River in Salzburg, Austria, and running my fastest mile ever completely alone during my celebration run (a practice, but full 26.2) three weeks before running the real marathon.

I did this with the help of the AIDS Marathon Training Program, who pairs you up with people of your running pace (of which I was the second slowest pace), helps you train to to the distance, flies you and puts you up at your marathon destination in exchange for raising money for the program and their cause. I helped raise over $3,000 for AIDS Project Los Angeles, an awesome organization that provides comprehensive assistance for those living with HIV and AIDS.

Running a marathon is an experience I think everyone should do it if one's physically able. I didn't think I could, but I did, and I promised myself before I couldn't, I'd do it again. Once I did, I also promised myself that I'd run through another charity program so that my efforts will help benefit an organization I believe in.

I still haven't run that next marathon, and was almost going to do it this year, but I didn't wind up having the time to train for such a thing right now. Instead, I've signed myself up for a couple of not-as-physically-crazy events coming up.

THIS SATURDAY, I am walking a 5k in Fullterton at Orange County's Donate Life Run/Walk 5k/1k with some good friends as we walk with our good friend, Michael.

Last time I saw Michael was the day before he left for vacation, then a week on-site for work, before at the age of 34, suffered from a massive heart attack. He fought the most excellent fight, and the next time I saw him, he was doing excellent cooking me a pork ragu with a brand new heart. Seven months later, he's ripe and ready to walk this 5k already raising over $1,000 for the California Organ & Tissue Donor Registry. In these seven months, he's already rock climbed and has the OK to go mountain biking once again, and can already do more pull ups than I can do...ever.

To read more about Michael's story, you can visit his blog.
Please donate and support Michael for this event by going to his support page.

When I arrived at the doorstep at the house of the woman who became my boss, the first thing she said to me was, "You ran a marathon. We do it as a fundraiser!" I knew I was getting into something good. My work, Great Leap, is a multicultural performance company that's been around for 31 years, and when I found out what soon became my place of employment, I knew I found my cause for my next marathon.

Only, I didn't make the time for the rigorous training program I'd have to do in order to run 26.2 miles on Memorial Day, Monday, May 26th for this year's L.A. Marathon. Instead, I've put in the elbow grease to fix the 1971 Schwinn Collegiate I got for free so it can take me through the 20-mile course through Los Angeles for the L.A. Bike Tour.

I may not be in the optimal shape, and my 5-gear cruiser may not be the ideal bike for some of those inclines, but I believe in the performance company I work for, and I also believe in helping myself make sure I get another paycheck.

You want to help Los Angeles-based, multicultural programming and help me put food on my table? Donate by going to Great Leap's site by donating! You can either write a check (Comment for instructions), go to our website, or donate on your smart phone (or computer) through GeoGive!


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