Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Mother of All Races

As previously noted, I'm heavily involved in the Cause + Event Portland Race here on November 11.  It's a 5K Walk/5K and 10K run and I couldn't be more proud of the work we've done so far, the money we've raised and hopefully that we've raised awareness of many nonprofits in our community to the greater Portland area.

Way back when, in January, when I said "Hey!  I think I'd like to start a nonprofit and host a race here in Portland to raise money for a bunch of charities, of the runner's choosing" I wish I could have had some kind of flash to what it would be like these past few months. 

I'm not saying that I wouldn't do this, no, I would do it ALL OVER AGAIN, and I WILL do it all, all over again.  And again.  And again.  And again.

Especially since my diagnosis last summer and subsequent treatments I definitely feel an even deeper pull to do something to give back.  I want to do something that teaches my children that there's something else out there, something bigger than what, and who we are.

I want them to know that the greatest gift they can ever give is the gift of giving to others, whether it's financially or volunteering, or helping or supporting.  I also feel an enormous sense of responsibility to make sure that I do everything I can to make this race a success.

And to be honest, I feel a great need to leave a lasting legacy.  Something that my children can be proud of and say "My mom did that!".  I want my legacy to be that of someone who took a dream and made it a reality and that reality did countless good things for countless good people and organizations.

Once, when I was first working in the business world, I filled out this "guess who" form, to see if everyone could guess who answered the questions during the office holiday party.  One of the questions was "if you could do anything you wanted to do, what would you do?" 

I remember clearly, at age 27, the answer to that question was to be a wealthy philanthropist.  Between you, me and the fencepost, I never really thought I would be wealthy, and honestly I figured the only way I could give would be to have limitless income.

But guess what?  I'm not wealthy, and I never will be, and that's perfectly OK.  What I am excited about is being able to do what I wanted to do almost 13 years ago.  Granted, I'm not getting paid for this gig, not in money.  I feel the riches though, that come with knowing that I can help make a difference.

I have a full time job (well two if you count motherhood) and I'm doing my best to juggle my job, the kids, being a wife and not letting my toilets get so dirty they look like they might walk away.  Total chaos.  TOTAL.  COMPLETE.  CHAOS.

Then throw running/training for a half marathon (which came to an abrupt halt as I came down with what I can only describe as the plague) and it's a recipe for disaster.  And yet.....I just keep my eye on the prize: helping.

So while some folks may not understand why or how I do any of this on top of everything else, I'll go back to that whole running thing and again tell you it brings me bliss.  I make mental to-do lists on the road, I have conversations with potential sponsors (and I always convince them to join in!) and I dream about what race day will be like and it makes me smile. 

And sometimes, quite honestly, I think about nothing at all. Those are the best runs, when I just run and all I notice are the leaves crunching, or the crispness in the air, or the house that looks like it was freshly painted as I don't remember it being that color the last time I came by, or the garage sale happening (I see the sign but decide to avoid that road altogether!) or a myriad of other "nothings" that make my run fly by.

But back to the race, the Mother of All Races.  Cause + Event Portland is my mother of all races.  It's not one that I'm running, well I'm RUNNING it, but with a walkie talkie! 

It's a race that has been meticulously planned by me, and a slew of other mother runners, and planning it has been just a like we, as mothers, can be to our children:  hard to figure out, emotional at times, so very giving, and just when you need it the most, making you smile and remembering why you do what you do.

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