As a grown-ass woman, I felt there was no need to run and bounce along the streets of New York in running shorts that flap in the wind and have built in underwear. My fitness love affair was exclusive to yoga, colorful leggings and sexy Lululemon tops. Running was not my “thing”.
Then, I met the man who would change the way I viewed running.
Last November, as I walked past the crowds of people lined up on the streets of New York, I decided to join in and watch the marathon runners. I expected to see hordes of lithe runners with superhuman athletic prowess speed past me. Instead, I saw someone who inspired me to shake the dust off my Nikes and lace up for my first run.
It was a man who was visibly overweight (borderline obese) and he was walking/running at mile 20. His struggle was intensely palpable, but his determination stronger. I was impressed. Then, it occurred to me — if this man can do it….what’s holding me back? I can do it, too. This moment gave birth to my running journey. I signed up to run the 2015 NYC Marathon with Team Robin Hood, New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization.
My first run in Central Park was a hot mess. I could barely finish two miles and I was miserable. In that run, I learned what new runners discover at the most inconvenient moment — running gives a kick start to the bowels. I was profusely sweating and had a cramp in my stomach that told me I had less than 10 minutes to find the nearest bathroom.
I felt defeated. I wanted to go back in time to tell the inspired Mimi from the past that this plan was ridiculous.
But, I remembered that man from the marathon — he had so many more obstacles than me, yet he did it. I made a plan and committed to my training. Running this past year has been incredible — it feels good to have the stamina to do weekly longruns that are 13+ miles. What has been heart warming this past year is the overwhelming response I have received from sharing on social media my running and training experiences — I am always surprised when people share with me that they were inspired to run after reading about my mediocre race times.
I would love your support. On November 1st, I will be running the NYC Marathon with Team Robin Hood — a group of 100 runners committed to training and raising money for New York’s largest poverty-fighting organization. 100% of your donation goes to support Robin Hood’s mission: https://www.crowdrise.com/robinhoodnyc2015/fundraiser/mimichen1
Why I chose Robin Hood as my designated charity for the NYC Marathon:
This past year, as I trained and ran all over the city, I witnessed a strong increased presence of homelessness in the streets. It is heartbreaking and sometimes it feels overwhelmingly sad…it can feel like there is nothing we can do as individuals to affect change. That’s why I decided to run the NYC marathon with Robin Hood. I am hoping, in my small way through this effort, to create awareness for a mission I strongly believe in.
100% of every dollar will be used for Robin Hood’s relentless fight against poverty. Since 1988, Robin Hood has funded poverty fighting programs by applying sound investment principles to philanthropy. It helps the best charitable programs save lives and change fates by focussing on poverty prevention through education assistance and skill training.
Robin Hood’s statistics are inspiring:
92% — of people who enter a Robin Hood-funded housing program don’t return to shelters
2x — Robin Hood’s job training programs are twice as effective as other city-funded programs; yielding higher salaries and job retention rates