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Marathon!June 6, 2004


Okay, this is difficult to write. And harder to post. But I’m going to do it anyway.

I’m running the AIDS Marathon. And I need your support. That’s the simple, bottom line. If you’d like to click away now, please go on. I won’t mind. I won’t even know.

You know that I’ve never been a runner. And I mean never. Several times recently I’ve told friends about the marathon, and the response has been an uncontrolled bout of hysteria. I hate having to hold my friends up while they laugh.

But last month, my body told me it wanted to run. And I don’t do anything without a reason. That can be a fault, but not in this case. While I’m learning how to run, I’m doing something important. I’m raising money that will go to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation and other national HIV/AIDs clinics to assist in furthering HIV prevention programs and assisting in food, housing, and health care for those living with the virus. A portion of the funds raised will go to global care, for treatment and an eventual vaccine.

I think I feel so strongly about this because it’s my community. In the United States, without a doubt the gay population has been the hardest hit. One million Americans are living with this disease. Half that many have died, and thousands more are infected every year. In the world, twenty-five million have died, and forty-two million are infected, most of whom have no treatment options. Read those last few sentences again, if you don’t mind. It’s a war, and it’s still being waged, and what’s hard is feeling sometimes like people aren’t paying attention anymore. I want people to know that we still care! That a difference can still be made.

I figure this training is going to be one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. I can’t make it all the way around Lake Merritt yet, only a three mile run. And I’m thinking about waking up early three times a week to go run long distances? About putting my body to a challenge that seems almost ludicrous in its intensity? About running 26.2 miles? Me? Couch-potato knitter extraordinaire? I only knit because it’s an excuse to sit in one spot. Are you crazy?

But when I think about the men and women in this world who wake up every morning, knowing they’re infected, or knowing they’re sick, then I figure that running a marathon is a freaking piece of cake, and the very least I can do.

Raising the money, though, is the hard part. I need to raise $3000. I can’t even imagine raising that kind of money. Will you help? I’m going to put up the link to my running webpage, where you can donate online. It’s tax-deductible, and it’ll make you feel good, knowing you’re making a difference, no matter how large or small the amount.

And hey, if you donate $50 or more, I’ll send you two rainbow stitch markers. I’m not sure how stitch markers are made, but I’ll figure it out. Heck, if anyone donates $500 or more, I’ll make you a sweater of your color/design choice. That’s a promise. (Can you imagine?)

Regularly scheduled blogging will resume on in four days, when I get back from my trip-south-to-mom’s slash blog-break. I’m not even going to look at how much is raised until Friday. I know it’ll be somewhere between $30 and $3000, and any amount in between will be PHENOMENAL.

In advance, I thank you. Peace.




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You. Can. Do. It. I know you can. No doubt in my mind. I'm all full-up of admiration for you right now, my girl.

Go, Rachie, go!

I only wish I could pledge $100 or more for each K.

I couldn't afford to pledge much, but I'm going to try to sweet-talk my friends into donating too. Good luck!

You get a taker for the sweater at the $500 level and I'll give ya a "bump" with the fibers.

I most certainly will donate - but I will probably have to do it next month.

Please kick my ass if you don't see some canuck-bucks there in July.

You go, girl!

You bet I'll be donating! More training advice. Running three times a week is great but you only need to go long distance once a week. So the other two to three times can be 30-45 minute sessions with one track workout. Heck, just email me or Mariko for advice. Also remember not to add more thank 10% to your long distance a week, otherwise you are screaming out for an injury!

I can donate some stitch markers-I have tons of beads in my garage and even have some left over from when I made glass beads. Give me a general idea of how you'd like them to look and I'll see what I can do!

Rachael, you rock. Your motivation to challenge yourself is so admirable, and your reasons are important, and so very well stated. About 12 years ago my cousin succumbed to a long battle with AIDS, and I thank you for going so far above and beyond anything I've ever taken on to help. I've given my small amount, and I wish you strength, stamina, and above all success in contributing to an effort that is very much in danger of falling below the collective "cause" radar. Let me know if a stranger in Canada can ever be of assistance.

Doll, I can't do it this instant, but will, soon. It may be in installments.

Gives new meaning to Yarn-A-Go-Go, eh? ;)

I know you can do it, Rachel, and I'm putting my money (unfortunately a small amount) where my mouth is. We're all behind you and very proud of you.

I just wanted to tell you that my bf ran his very first marathon (or running race of any kind) last weekend. He did a training regimine from a website by Hal Higdon.
Admittedly, he has always jogged and done other endurance sports, so he started at a different place than you. But after watching the race, I know its not about your past experience at all.
My biggest recommendation to you, if at all possible, is to go to the finish line of a marathon before yours. You will be amazed at the total cross section of people who dio it. I expected all tiny, fat-less athlete types. What I saw was seinors, people with heavier body types, people in wheelchairs, teens...anybody who had the will. It was so affirming. Everyone was so supportive of one another. You'll do great.

Rachel: What a great commitment! I admire anyone who will run 26 miles for whatever cause they believe in. Best of luck. Please keep up us all posted on your progress - both with the training and with the fundraising. Who knows, maybe you'll design an entire new sweater in your head while your doing all this running! Jennifer

Echoing the comment about stitch markers. I make them all the time and I have tons of supplies! Let me know how many you need and they'll be on their way. I'll be sending a $ donation as well

I have this idea...a bi-coastal training idea. A two lesbians who never ran before start a blog where they encourage each other and talk about training for a marathon idea. A Rachael and Christy take over the world idea.

I'm a little scared though. I've felt butterflies in my tummy all day. I'm gonna think about it for a few days. Just writing this has me feeling a bit light headed.

For now, know that my pledges will be coming in small, weekly or every other weekly installments. Slow and steady wins the race.

Oh, I am so proud of you, and I know you'll be able to do the race and the fundraising. I know it's hard to ask for the money; when I did the breast cancer walk the training was easy compared to asking for money. But your commitment to the cause is evident in your voice, and that will make people fork it over, and keep you running.

I am going to send money on Friday. I put a link up on my blog as well. I know I don't get a lot of traffic but even if it is just one person that would be great.

You are AMAZING. Going to go donate, NOW.

Good for you!
Have you seen the book "Marathoning for Mortals?" It's supposed to be really good and stresses that you don't have to run the whole thing to finish.

I just started running recently, too -- this January I started with alternately running and walking. My goal is to eventually run a marathon; since I'm starting from scratch, and since I also have rheumatoid arthritis, I'm thinking that'll probably be the *2005* NYC marathon. I found a great book that's been very inspirational *and* very pragmatic: The Non-Runner's Marathon Trainer, by David Whitsett and a couple of other people. They break the whole process down and make it sound manageable, and the authors report excellent results with the hundreds of people they've trained.

Just wanted to echo what Rebecca said. The bf training regine included varying moderated distances during the week, then on Saturday would be the big long one. And every saturday it got longer, buit never a full marathon until the race. 2 weeks before he did 20 miles.
Anyhow, please don't do too much too fast- he got a pretty good injury from doing that. Should have prevented him from the race (but didn't)

I did the same thing, went from zero running to a marathon. I'll be so happy to watch your progress and make comments. I agree with going a long distance only once a week, and varying it (not always making it longer every week). I did a run walk of 4 minutes running/1 minute walking all through the 26.2 miles and it gave my knees a huge break. The only other thing I can say is WATER! I drank 100 ounces over the course of the marathon and never peed, that's how much I needed it. Best wishes, how fun!

Baa daa BAAAAAAA...baa daa BAAAAAAA...

(It's supposed to be the 'Rocky' theme - I know, it loses something in the translation.)

My admiration for you knows no bounds - take my money and run!

"...I’m running the AIDS Marathon"

heck Rach, I'd give you money just for having the cajones to say that sentence!!!!!
besides...I needed rainbow stitch markers!

First, I love the "Take my money and run" comment from Mindy. Funny!

And I *need* some rainbow stitch markers, too.

Please don't hesitate to ask for money. We will join you in being thankful that your interest isn't personal -- I just mailed $25 to my good buddy in Montana who's doing the Breast Cancer Walk, and her interest *is* personal.

Oh! I just thought of something I read somewhere about taking on a task like you are taking on:

Q: What do you call the person who finishes last in a Marathon?

A: A Marathoner.

It doesn't matter where you finish...just that you do!

Good luck to you, my dear!

I know what you mean about it being hard to ask for money, but I think the difference is that your devotion to this thing is far beyond our devotion by giving a little cash. If you were asking me to give to a cause you weren't devoted to, forget it. But, since you are, I think we're all glad to help!

girl, you absolutely rock.
i'm not able to donate any money right now (rent, car payments, doctor bills blah blah) but i hope you don't mind that i put a link on my web page to your blog and your donate page.
go, girl!!

People have been warned about HIV and AIDS for over twenty years now. AIDS has already killed millions of people, millions more continue to become infected with HIV, and there's no care specially for the poor one - so AIDS will be around for a while yet. However, some of us still don't know exactly what HIV and AIDS actually are.

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Rachael loves it when book clubs read her work! She's happy to attend book clubs that read her books either in person or via Skype. Contact her at rachael@rachaelherron.com to make arrangements.


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