You know how when you were young people would tell you that there was a silver lining to be found in everything? You’ve heard all of the cliché’s: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade …. Life is a garden, dig it … It’s always darkest before the dawn – actually I disagree with that one as I think it is lighter just before dawn – but you get the idea.
Well there is definitely a place for positive thinking for distance runners and especially those crazy marathoners. When I have discussed marathon training in the past with non-runners usually the questions I get asked revolve around how often I run, how far I run and then ultimately why they could never do it. Some will even go so far to tell me that later in life I will pay the price for all this running by having bad knees, hip issues, and long-term health issues. Why would I put myself through all of that?
When I speak with marathoners or aspiring marathoners the conversations are markedly different. They tend to revolve more around the how and not the why. We all know why – because deep down inside, we love it. It is more than the physical release of endorphins that make us feel great after a tough workout. I believe that it is the mental side of the challenge that really makes the training and the racing such an amazing experience. Let’s face it 26 miles, 385 yards is a challenging distance. Much like life itself I do not believe that the experience builds character I believe it in fact reveals it.
To that point I think that is the reason why so many runners run for a cause. Distance runners are passionate people by nature – it is almost a requirement when decisions come down to a warm bed or a 20 degree run. A comfortable wake-up call to make it to the airport at 8:00 a.m. or waking up at 4:00 a.m. to make sure your morning training run is checked off your to-do list before departing for a cross-country flight. It’s passing on that chocolate cake and instead grabbing that protein bar to fuel your Wednesday morning 10-miler during training – you have to love it – and if you do, it will become a part of you.
Runners run for heart disease, juvenile diabetes, breast cancer, multiple sclerosis, leukemia, arthritis. Some are even lucky enough to be able to run two marathons in 13 days to honor a friend’s battle against cancer. Struggling through a training run or a race is nothing when compared to the challenges faced by those fighting illness, disease, or other hardships. Running for a cause can help put things in perspective.
I continue to meet amazing individuals each passing day as the Run for Dom moves toward Boston. I meet new followers, new donors and most recently an amazing group of women known as the Go Girls.
The idea of The Go Girls was started in 2006 when two sisters, Michelle Manelis and Renee Basile, began running in local races. During these races, they were always struck by the love, support and camaraderie of race participants. They decided it would be fun to form their own group and make up t-shirts for their friends and family to wear during races and events.
What began as a fun idea to unite friends has blossomed into an organization that has united women of all ages, fitness levels and locations to raise money for amazing causes, encourage fitness, and support friendship. The team has inspired women who have never participated in any walks or runs to achieve unbelievable fitness and fundraising goals. To date, there are over 70 Go Girls and 15 little Go Girls. Having a large network of support from such a fun group of women keeps everyone motivated. Nobody ever wants to miss a Go Girl event!
The Go Girls have been represented in The Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, The Arthritis Walk, The Philadelphia Marathon, The More Half-Marathon, The Marine Corp Marathon and numerous local walks and runs throughout the NY Tri-State area. If there is a cause that touches their hearts and/or community, these women are there!
I’m not sure that I meet the entrance requirements – I may just have to settle for being an honorary member, but I am hoping that perhaps a few of the Go-Girls may wind up at the Pittsburgh Marathon on May 2nd this year in the final leg of the Run for Dom. I’m not sure I could pull off the pink like these ladies can – but I know their support will be there pushing me on, motivating me to honor my commitment to Dom, his family and all of our RFD supporters. That is what it is all about – thank you for reminding me ladies – you are the greatest!