Friday, April 22, 2016

GUEST POST: "Making Muscles One Mile At A Time"

Although I've run on behalf of causes before (remember that whole #Ragnar4Rett adventure at the beginning of the month?!), I have never actually been a charity runner (raising funds in the name of a specific charity as a way to obtain registration to a certain race), so when Christina offered to write a guest post on the topic I thought it was a FANTASTIC idea! You know I'm all about making the world a little better in any way that I can.

I have many friends who have participated as charity runners for races such as the Chicago Marathon, Big Sur, the New York Marathon, and even as recently as the Boston Marathon earlier this week. What can I say?! I know AMAZING people doing WONDERFUL things! This is not only a great way to gain access to SOLD OUT races (as you will see, it's how Christina was introduced to being a charity runner), but it also allows you to do something for others in the process.

So, without further ado, here's Christina's post about her experiences as a charity runner (and why you may want to consider it for an upcoming race):

Have you ever come across an event where you didn't know was happening but you could feel the excitement and the passion of the people who were participating? Five years ago that's how I stumbled (almost literally) into the world of running. I was your average cast member at Disneyland picking up any extra hours that I could. In doing this I ended up working the Inaugural Tinkerbell Half Marathon Weekend. The passion, commitment and sheer joy on the faces of those runners crossing the finish line was amazing. Three years later I finally decided to take the plunge and run a race. Being naive in the ways of runDisney, I was not camped out at my computer on registration day and the race was SOLD OUT. Now what? Lucky for me runDisney works with several amazing charities and that's how I found Team Muscle Makers. 

Team Muscle Makers for Ulrich Congenital Muscular Dystrophy helps fund a muscle disease clinic at Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego. UCMD is a rare form of muscular dystrophy affecting less than 1 out of every 1 million individuals. There's only a few hundred cases worldwide. Many affected individuals require breathing and mobility assistance. There is currently no cure. 

I had decided to run the Disneyland Half Marathon and found a team but I had no clue what would come next. When I arrived to the expo race weekend, I was hooked. That same excitement I had experienced those years before was everywhere. At our team lunch I got to meet my teammates for the first time. They welcomed me like a member of the family. I also met Parker, the inspiration behind our team. He's an amazing little boy full of life and a runner too! He participates in the runDisney 5Ks with the team and I can't wait to run the Neverland 5k with him and the rest of the team in just a couple weeks. 

Christina and Parker

Parker and his mom after crossing the finish line after his Star Wars 5K PR
caught by the runDisney photographer.

I've been through a lot since that first race weekend. I crossed my first finish line at 3:51. I've run a personal best of 3:21 only 6 months after that. Then I was injured during the Disneyland 10k. I got my first DNF because of a severe shin splint. I spent 6 weeks with my leg elevated knowing everyday that I had signed up to run the Inaugural Infinity Gauntlet Challenge that was only a couple weeks away. I finished the challenge but I couldn't have done any of it without my teammates. My team captain and the founder of TMM, Melissa, paced me through that first race post injury and didn't let me give up. I wouldn't have crossed that finish line without her support. The next day I got to pay it forward and help pace other runners during the half. 

I've now participated in 7 runDisney race weekends (including one as a volunteer and spectator) and Tinkerbell will be my 8th. I'm running all three events (5k and Pixie Dust Challenge) for the first time. In addition, Disneyland Half Marathon will be Team Muscle Makers 5th anniversary. We have raised over $500,000 since inception. Tinkerbell weekend will be our 11th team event. Over 90% of our net proceeds go directly to the MDA funded muscle disease clinic at Rady. Funds are still being raised if you would like to help an amazing cause!

#FlatSpectator before the LA Marathon

Running for a charity has allowed me to find a sport I love, the camaraderie and awesomeness of the running community, and the ability to give back all at the same time. My teammates have been there every step of my journey and they are doing so much good for kids with muscle disease. 

BIG PROPS to Christina, not only for helping a sister out and writing a guest post on CarleeMcDot.Com so y'all have something to read while I'm out of town, but more importantly for raising awareness and funds along her running journey! I'll be the first to admit, running can be a selfish sport, so running for something bigger than yourself is an AMAZING way to give back!

Give Christina some love and make sure to follow her on Instagram: @plaidtink. Also, if you feel so inclined, feel free to donate towards Christina's fundraising goal for the Tink Half HERE.
Have you ever been a charity runner before? If so, what was your experience? If not, would you consider it in the future?

No comments: