Charity: The Final Pre-Antarctica Update
It is with great nervousness and excitement that I begin the last blog post before I run the Antarctica Marathon. My bags are packed, my cat is in his temporary new home, and my friends have given me hugs and wished me well. Although I haven’t left, I feel as though I’ve already been on an adventure.
Training for this marathon has been a trial in and of itself. Pittsburgh winters are nasty and running in cold, snow, ice and wind didn’t kill me so it must have made me stronger. Although I hated almost every long run training for this marathon, I am so thankful I live in Pittsburgh so that I have the peace of mind that I can deal with nasty conditions. Also, this winter I was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma. If I didn’t live in Pittsburgh I may not have had conditions extreme enough to exacerbate my symptoms and I could be on my way to Antarctica with an unmanaged and potentially dangerous condition. Although at times unpleasant, training in Pittsburgh during the winter was something that I expected when I registered for the marathon.
The crazy thing that was completely unexpected was the experiences I’ve shared with people about my adventure. The cool thing about the Antarctica Marathon is that people love to talk about it and ask questions. It is such a great opportunity to share with people and speak with them. I’ve made so many wonderful connections with people that I’m not sure I could have made without a “talking point”.
My favorite thing thus far has been fundraising for the Injured Marine Semper Fi Fund. Yesterday I met my goal of raising $2,500 (another $500 that should come through in March which will put me at $3,000) and I am so thankful for all of the people who have so generously donated to the Fund. Seeing such an outpouring of generosity has truly been humbling and inspiring. My goal was to help others and in that process I have learned so much about the goodness of others while becoming more generous myself. After this experience I strongly believe that everyone should fundraise at some point in their lives.
One woman, Linda Quirk, has taken fundraising to an incredible extreme. Another Antarctica runner, this grandmother of three has a goal of raising $1 million for the Caron Foundation. There are so many wonderful charities and while the Caron Foundation is not a charity, it is an organization that is near to my heart. I have chosen to make adolescent substance use my career because when he was a teen, my brother had difficulties with substance use and went to Caron for treatment. I got in touch with Linda this morning and I am so excited to meet her in Buenos Aires to learn more about her extraordinary adventure and her efforts.
Heading south tomorrow, I am so excited about the people that I am going to meet- Linda included. I’ve met really incredible people through running, including Elora’s dad, Dan. If you read my blog, you may remember a post about Elora Palooza, a 5K celebrating the life of a little girl who made a big impression on the people she met during her short time here. Today Dan joined Jen and I for a run. At the end of the run, Dan asked me for a favor. He reached down and unpinned a picture that was fastened to his Team in Training singlet. It was a picture of his daughter Elora, who lost her battle with cancer, and his sister Sarah, who is still fighting hers. He asked me to take them to Antarctica. I was really moved, and, like the big sap I am, started to cry. I am so incredibly honored that Dan would ask me to run with them. Between my Semper Fi singlet, Elora and Sarah, I’m going to have a lot of sources to channel strength during what will be a very tough marathon.
So, as I get ready to leave, I’m already floored by the experiences that I have had. I can’t wait for this trip which will surely be an adventure. I hope that when I come back, I can change the name of this blog: Kat Ran Antarctica. Wish me luck.