5 Things I Loved About Running For Charity

To wrap up my Chicago Marathon recap, I have to devote a post to the awesomeness that was running for Team Ronald McDonald House Charities.

1. Training Support Group

One of the reasons I started blogging was because I saw the opportunity to connect with like-minded people, learn from them, get and give encouragement, and share experiences. With Team RMHC we had that on a smaller scale with people who were also raising money to run Chicago. On our Facebook group, we’d post pics of our runs, lament over bad ones, celebrate good ones, seek/offer advice, and most of all, remind each other what our purpose was–raising money while doing what we love.

The charity organizers also included fun contests to keep us motivated–like the Ronald McDonald Boot Run contest I participated (and shoulda won, dammit! LOL!)

A #TeamRMHC pic on McDonald Drive in front of a McDonald's :D

A #TeamRMHC pic on McDonald Drive in front of a McDonald’s during my Ronald McDonald boot run 😀

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The big red boot.

In addition to the online forum, we received weekly e-mails from a certified coach (who provided us with a free training plan) with tips for our training–loved him! In addition, Team RMHC provided a motivational coach who would also send us weekly e-mails encouraging us to give our best, smartly. I always looked forward to these e-mails.

2. The Challenge and Appreciation for Fundraising

I was worried I wouldn’t be able to meet the fundraising amount but boy, I was completely overwhelmed by the graciousness of my friends, family, and YOU. Blown. Away.

There are so many people that have a connection to the RMH and when they would tell me their stories, it would just add to the meaning and importance of this race. I’m in a local running group and when I posted a link to my charity site in our group’s Facebook page, a woman who wasn’t active but mostly just lurked commented to say thank you to me and donated. She and her family had stayed in an Ronald McDonald House when her child had an extended hospital stay.

My mom, who is fantastic cook, and my husband helped me with a burrito sale I put on one weekend. It meant waking up at 4 in the morning to make chorizo and roll into tortillas, wrap, load, and deliver. We made over 75 burritos and made over $400 that day!

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Fundraising was hard, but it definitely allowed me to get out of my comfort zone–I’m still not all that comfortable asking people for money, lol, but I knew I was asking for a good cause and that everyone’s donation was going to positive place. I wish I cold donate to everyone who asks me, because I know the hard work it takes to raise money and know the passion people have when they’re raising money for a cause they care deeply about.

3. Crowd Support

Wow. So Chicago Marathon is already known for amazing crowd support but it seemed that there were people affiliated with or supporters of RMHC the. entire. way. People would see my shirt and point, “Yeahhhh!!! Go Team RMHC!!” No need for me to write my name on my bib–I had cheerleaders throughout the whole race.

4. Race Day Amenities

I had no idea all the benefits I’d get from running with Team RMHC. I found out that it’s one of the biggest charities involved with the Chicago Marathon and being a part of the team meant I’d get some extra perks.

Before the race, we were provided with a HUGE tent to hang out and keep warm in. There was a DJ; private gear check; a breakfast buffet with coffee, orange juice, gatorade, water; race day miscellaneous like vaseline, tampons, hair ties and bobby pins; and perhaps best of all, private port-a-potties–they seriously thought of everything.

Pre-race

Pre-race

After the race, when you arrived back to the tent, you had to enter walking the red carpet with Ronald McDonald himself congratulating you. Along the velvet ropes were volunteers cheering you as you walked inside

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and once you were in, you were immediately given some bubbly.

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And then you saw food. Lots and lots of food.

I thought I was too tired (and in pain) to eat, but I ended up scarfing down a bit of everything. A DJ played music and everyone just hung out and celebrated. It was one big post race party.

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5. More Than a Medal

Team RMHC Chicago Marathon raised over ONE MILLION DOLLARS. And somehow, knowing the amount of people who will benefit from me deciding to run for this charity means more than the medal I wore for only a few hours.

I Run 4 Graisyn

I Run 4 Graisyn

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Thank you guys again for all of your support as I trained for Chicago and thank you to those who donated to The Ronald McDonald House. If you’re even considering running for charity, just do it!!! ❤ , helly

Shout out to the DC Trifecta–Cynthia, Mar, and Courtney for hosting The Friday Five!!!

 

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Chicago Marathon Training: Week 8 Recap (with special guest: Ronald McDonald’s Boot!)

Happy August!!! Isn’t crazy how the 8th month of the year is here??

It was a busy week last week and not a standard training week as far as my runs are concerned. I had to do some changes to my schedule because of some family events and other surprises 🙂 .

Monday I was just lazy. I usually bike for 45 minutes but I just wasn’t feeling it for some reason so I gave myself a break. I intended to “make it up” later in the week and never did. Oops!

I kinda did on Tuesday though when I was able to get a double run in. First, I made it to the 5 at 5 group and ran a pretty good 5 miler, almost negative splitting except for one mile.

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Then in the evening, I met up at the local running store’s run for a 3 miler. I was able to negative split this one despite the heat.

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Wednesdays are usually track days but my kids had a school function later in the evening so I forced myself out late in the morning. It felt even hotter than what it was because of the humidity (54%) but I managed four negative split miles– 9:33, 9:18, 8:59, 8:35.

Thursday is when things got really interesting. My charity, Ronald McDonald House, posted a challenge on the Facebook page for runners to run a route shaped like a Ronald McDonald Boot.

For reference:

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I relayed the info to my husband who designed the best. route. ever. Like, for real.

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The only slight area of concern was that the back of the boot had me running through the Indian Reservation–which is quite a different area than where the rest of the route is. I wasn’t comfortable running that part alone. So my husband ran the route with me! 🙂

It was a route that was a little over 6.5 miles and we had to start late morning so it was warm. We had to run part of the route twice (the top half of the vertical back end). And at about half way through the boot near near where it curves, we took a wrong turn. Wah, wah!! We didn’t realize it til about over a half mile later and we knew going back would leave a huge line across the middle. We kept going even though we knew our boot run failed. When we got to the reservation part of the boot, sure enough, our concerns were validated as I turned to my husband and said, “Be careful with that dog over there” to hear him reply, “Um, that’s not a dog!” It was a freaking coyote!!! We did our best to run as quietly as we could past it and then skidaddled the heck out of there. A raccoon greeted us as well as we made our way out of the Res. It was definitely and interesting run.

We checked out the boot run on Garmin Connect and sure enough, our mistake messed up the boot and the front end.

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We were so bummed!!! I told my husband there was no way we were running through the reservation again and he agreed. We stared at the map trying to figure out how we could re-route it leaving out the res but still maintain the boot shape. Then, we had it!!!

We couldn’t run it again til the afternoon of the next day, Friday, and we knew that it was going to be scorching hot, but we were intent on getting it done.

At one o’clock in the afternoon and in 102 degree weather, we were ready. And this time, zero mistakes!

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You can see where we modified the route on the back of the boot where now it’s angled instead of straight and squarish. I ended up liking this design way better anyway 🙂

My family said we were crazy (it was 106 degrees when we finished) but I was so wanting to do this run because it was absolutely perfect. I mean, it’s a total boot!! And even cooler is that the bottom of it runs along McDonald Drive!! I mean, c’mon!! To top it off, there’s a McDonald’s on McDonald Drive. Yes, I took a picture 😀

A #TeamRMHC pic on McDonald Drive in front of a McDonald's :D

A #TeamRMHC pic on McDonald Drive in front of a McDonald’s 😀

I don’t know if I’ll win, but I’ll keep you posted. They should be announcing Wednesday.

Since Fridays are my typical rest days and I clearly didn’t rest, Saturday I decided to give it a rest. I needed it.

But I was back at it Sunday on the trails with friends and one of them snapped this awesome pic of me looking like I was trying really hard not to die ❤

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Which ended me with 33.58 miles for the week! I ended July with 124 miles–a tie for my highest ever. Luckily, I’m still feeling pretty good. Still truckin’!

Have a great week, amigos!! ❤ , helly

–How was your running week (and July!)? 

–Have you run a route shaped like something cool?

Chicago Marathon Fundraising Update: Team RMHC

Happy Hump Day!!

What day is it???

What day is it???

We are THREE months away from 26.2 in Chicago!!! This training cycle has gone by so fast, faster than the previous three I’ve done. I’m already in week 5!

If you remember a couple of months back when I made the decision to run Chicago for charity, there were a few things that worried me.

Well, one thing.

Would I be able to raise enough money?

I seriously underestimated my running family’s ability to come through when I need them. I’M OVER HALFWAY!!!!

It was over a year ago when I started this blog, not sure of what my purpose was or if anyone would even read it. But people do read it (thank you!) and I’ve become pretty good friends with some (you know who you are!).

Thank you so much ❤ :

Kimberly @BlackDogRunsDisney
Colby @It’sAMarathonANDASprint
Charissa@CharissaRunning
Sara @LifeBetweenTheMiles
Hailey @StridingStrong
Mar @MarOnTheRun
Amber @PBandPRs

With the exception of Hailey (she lives in Arizona), I haven’t met any of these wonderful people! But even though we’ve never spoke face to face, the internet bond is strong let me tell you. (Check out their pages when you get a chance!)

My online running family and my “real life” running family have combined to make up the majority of what I’ve raised so far! I’m seriously overwhelmed with the love and support of the running community. Completely overwhelmed. You guys are awesome.

Between your donations, your support on this blog, your encouragement on social media, this has been the most fun I’ve had preparing for a marathon–and I’m barely in week 5!! 😀

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! ❤ , helly

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If you’d like to contribute to Team RMHC, click here –> #helphelly 

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