When I first wrote this blog, I talked about how I had recently joined the Very Elitist Running Community, otherwise known as the VERC. These are the people you see in running gear at strange hours, who often seem to be seeking you out while you’re not really doing anything unproductive. People who seem like they feel they’re better than you.
Now, as part of my newfound “passion,” I decided to challenge myself and sign up for the New York City Half-Marathon on March 17th. I have never run a half-marathon before; I think the longest I have ever done is 9 or 10 miles, and that was in a time when I was really running very consistently and achieving some fairly competitive times. All this to say, it will truly be a challenge. Especially because it’s starting to get really cold outside and I don’t really see myself doing lots of outdoor training leading up to March 17th. I did, however, buy a pair of running tights, which I broke in on Thanksgiving (EDITOR’S NOTE: this is a humblebrag because there were record-setting cold temperatures in New England this Thanksgiving, and I went for a run that morning, so ha!), and I feel that the running tights purchase is a sign that I can never go back. I am what I hate.
The problem with wanting to sign up for the half-marathon is that they have a lottery. I was not selected in this lottery. They claim it’s random; I think they saw my VERC blog and decided to blackball me. You be the judge. Either way, the only way I could participate in the race was to fundraise for charity. Already feeling quite smug about myself for owning a pair of running tights and deciding to run a half-marathon, I doubled down: I could become even more smug by rubbing it in my friends’ faces that I was raising money for a charity, and guilt them into making a donation.
In all seriousness, I found a cause that I am passionate about. The organization is called JDRF, their mission is to fight Type 1 diabetes, and you can help me achieve my fundraising goal by clicking this link and making a donation. However, if our friendship or your appreciation for my blog is not enough to compel you to do so, let me tell you why this matters to me personally.
I was very fortunate growing up. I mean that not just in the resources and access I had, but also for the family I come from and the sacrifices my parents made at every step to put me in the best possible position to succeed. Despite that, growing up was very stressful for me because my parents had very high expectations for me. What mattered to them was that I was giving 100% in what I was doing. I was never yelled at for not being the best, but I was often scolded if my parents knew I was giving up too easily or being lazy. My parents were strict. There were times when I wished I had a better social life, and then there were times that I was grateful to have been steered in the right direction. But at the end of the day (and I could go into endless detail about this), my parents cared about me more than anything else in the world and would have given their own lives for mine.
The reason I’m giving you this background is so that what happens next makes sense. One day, maybe when I was in middle school, I came home from school and my mom yelled at me for something. I forget exactly what it was — probably something to do with a grade at school — just that her reaction was disproportionately angry compared to whatever crime I had committed this time. It was so bad that I actually think I decided to leave the conversation and go to my room on my own accord just so I could be away from her. I sat up there and cried by myself. A few minutes later, my mom came to get me, escorted me back downstairs, and sat me down. She began crying and apologized profusely. She told me that she had just found out she had Type 1 diabetes and that her life was never going to be the same. I remember being very surprised because generally when I got scolded, I had to suck it up and make things better — not the other way around. And candidly, I was really too young to understand what my mom was telling me when she said all of this. I just remember being relieved I was no longer in trouble. But as the years passed, this memory stuck with me because of how evidently upsetting this was to my mother, how big of her it was to do the right thing, and how vulnerable she made herself in that encounter.
As years have passed, I’ve witnessed how difficult it is for my mother to cope with this terrible disease. She wears a pump, which she constantly monitors, and has to assess every single thing she puts in her body and at what time. The pump is actually a modern relief as compared to the manual skin-pricking she had to do prior in order to run blood tests. I know my mom misses a lot of her favorite snacks (Jolly Ranchers were the candy du jour back in the day) and is even more disturbed by the way the pharmaceutical companies are jacking up prices for new pumps/devices and medications. Long story short: her life has become very stressful and I personally try my best to block it out of my mind what negative effects there would be if she were to slip up for even a moment.
So, I’m very proud to be doing this. I’m scared shitless to run a half-marathon because I am not sure if I can do it, but either way, I’m really proud to be raising money for this cause. My parents mean the world to me, and if you could help me to achieve my goal, I will not forget it! The link is here, and no donation is too small. I will send you a picture of me in my running tights on race day as a personal thank you.