CALL ME CRAZY but I have a proposition for you. I want you to run a half marathon.
NOW HOLD ON! I know what you're thinking, who in their right mind would willingly pay money (to possibly raise money) to run 13.1 miles? I want you to play Switzerland right now until the end of this post. If by the end of this you still think I am a crazy person and think it’s not for you (right now) then we can just pretend this exchange never happened. Capishe? Alright:
I want you to attempt to run an endurance race, specifically a half marathon. Let’s start with your excuses:
1. You don’t have time.
2. You hate running. (Valid)
3. It’s too hot or too cold to run outside.
4. You don’t have the money to run.
5. You don’t think you could do it.
6. You don’t like working out or running with people.
7. You have a bad knee. Or hip. Or ankle. Or back.
8. You like shorter distances better.
9. You don’t want your social life to suffer.
10. Work’s just really hectic right now.
Perfect. I think everyone can circle at least three excuses on that list that pertain to them. So we all agree that we have legitimate excuses not to train for a half marathon. Except here’s the kicker, these legitimate excuses are still just excuses.
Excuse: they are tools of incompetence, used to build monuments of nothingness, and those who specialize in them seldom accomplish anything.
Example: “I can’t train for a half marathon because I have all sorts of responsibilities.”
This past Sunday I was riding the subway with a bunch of runners headed to Central Park for the New York Road Runner’s NYC Marathon 18 mile tune up. A couple women struck up a conversation with me and we started talking about our upcoming marathon. One of the women told me she decided to run the marathon because she broke up with her boyfriend. The other added she got broken up with so she decided to run the marathon. It is both of their first marathons. I was all, “I started running because I got broken up with!” Now you don’t need to end a relationship to become a runner but I keep finding that most new runners start as a result of some kind of life event. A death, a breakup, a change of location, you quit your job or get fired; you don’t feel like yourself, you’re overwhelmed, the list goes on and on. Or maybe you just decided you wanted to try something new. But it makes sense, running scientifically changes your body chemistry. Physical exercise releases endorphins in your brain and endorphins make you happy. Running makes you happy. When everything is falling apart or when your life is in free fall running is something that not only grounds you but actually makes you happier.
In addition to the endorphin high, committing to run a half marathon (or a 5k, 10k, full marathon, triathlon) gives you something to work towards. Did you know that setting and working towards a goal actually makes you happy regardless of whether you achieve the goal or not? I know, GAME CHANGER! Goals improve your self-esteem! And having a higher self-esteem leads to a happier and more confident you! It’s practically impossible to tell someone you are training for a half marathon and feel self-conscious about it. (Nervous or intimidated absolutely, self-conscious not so much.)
The only excuse on that list that really stands in your way is “I can’t do it.” I still wrestle with this one. In fact, I'm wrestling with it right now. I’ve been training for the NYC Marathon for months now, since April, and I am the strongest I’ve ever been. I am truly going to body slam that 26.2 mile journey but I still have that parrot sitting on my shoulder telling me, “You can’t do it.” It’s daunting. Signing up to run anything further than a mile is intimidating which is why I want you to do it. I want you to prove to yourself and everyone around you that “I could never do that” is bullshit.
Not sure how to do it? Sign up to run with a charity! I am running the NYC Marathon with the charity Team for Kids and I never want to run without a charity again. The running community is one of the most welcoming and engaging communities to be a part of but running a race with a charity makes the experience even more personable. You get coaches, mentors, teammates, training plans, support, guidance, and people who want you to succeed. Your half marathon becomes so much more than proving to yourself you can do it. Suddenly you are making a difference in other people’s lives. You are a part of the greater good.
I was really uneasy about raising the money because I’m uncomfortable asking people for money (even asking on behalf of a charity). Here’s the kicker, people actually want to donate to show you they support what you are doing. Collect a bunch of names, addresses and email addresses. Pen a letter and be brutally honest about why you decided to run the race. What are you hoping to obtain? What are you most afraid of? Explain why you chose the charity you are running with. I did not expect the people who donated to my efforts. Then friends of friends wrote to me to tell me I motivated them to sign up for a race themselves. You can motivate others! You can make a difference!
Need more fundraising help? Here are some clever fundraising ideas:
1. Throw a party. Invite friends and colleagues over to have a whiskey tasting, wine tasting, bbq, cupcake, potluck etc. etc. etc. Charge your guests $10-$25 to cover your expenses and then a little extra for your cause. Then party on!
2. Social Media. Every week snap a picture of yourself mid or post workout and update everyone how far you’ve come. Let them know what is going on with your training. What’s been rewarding and challenging and then request donations. (Literally do this once a week.)
3. Get in touch with your local bar and plan a happy hour. Some bars will even let you guest bar tend. Everyone wins! Your friends get to have a fun night out and you get a chunk of the proceeds.
4. Auction off body parts! Let your friends and colleagues know you are auctioning off body parts for the day of the race. For (X) amount of money you will write their name on your arm, hand, race shirt, booty, etc! Every person who helps make your race possible is with you the day of the race.
5. Make a Listicle! Love Buzzfeed and all their lists? Make one! Join Buzzfeed and create a “Why you should donate to my fundraising effort” listicle in their community forum! Or just create an email with “10 reasons you should donate to (Insert Charity Here)" and email it to everyone you know. Include gifs (those awesome moving pictures that make us all laugh)! Include pictures! Make people laugh but most importantly make them want to support you.
Otherwise be vocal. Tell everyone you know. It’s something to be proud of! Let your kids hold a lemonade stand for you. Have a bake sale. Sell Valentine grams or Holiday grams. Make a haunted house! Just be vocal about why you are running the race, what’s at stake, and what it means to you. People care you just have to be vocal.
Need some more convincing? I will come out and run it with you. Now I can't run every half marathon in the country but one thing that I am hellbent to do next year is see the country. What better way to do that than to run? Email me, tell me why you are running, and I will see what I can do. I will try to come out and run with you. RunSelfieRepeat@Gmail.com
So what are you waiting for? It’s fall which, in my opinion, is the best time to run. Take the couch to 5k challenge, sign up to run a 10k, or jump off the cliff and sign up to run a half marathon! RUN A FULL MARATHON! It’s 4-6 months of your life people. You will gain so much more than just accomplishing it. You will gain a whole new set of friends, a whole new outlook on life, and endless amounts of pride. I know you can do it. Take the leap of faith, what are you waiting for? Now that first month is going to be tough. But get past that first month and it's all downhill from there! (Except when you are running uphill, then you are literally going uphill.) Here's what you can expect that first month.
And now for my birthday eve #hottiehunting hat winner!!!!! Today’s winner is doing the couch 2 5k challenge (GET IT GIRL)! Enjoy your hat @Cali_Kathleen!
Until tomorrow you guys, Happy Birthday Eve! #RunSelfieRepeat.