Thursday, August 2, 2012

Love me, love my scars.

When I ran my first half marathon in 2006, I ran with Team in Training to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. To run the Nike Women's Half in San Francisco the fundraising minimum was sizable - around $3600. It was a lot of work to train for my first race as a novice runner while fundraising. I was overwhelmed, had an IT band injury, and I was just generally overwhelmed with fundraising even though it is an amazing cause.

Running for Team in Training. Such great support.
As someone with Crohn's, I think a lot about running for a cause again. I considered doing Team Challenge this year for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation, but none of the event dates work in our schedule. Believe me when I say my life is tightly scheduled months in advance. It's a little ridiculous.

I have a lot of friends who do Team in Training or run for other worthy causes, and I donate 100 percent of the time because I know how difficult fundraising can be. I haven't turned down a single ask for money for runners in the last six years. I'm a sure thing.

I've been thinking a lot lately of how to link my running to a good cause. Maybe it's for Crohn's. Maybe it should be for an organization that supports communities like the Michigan Municipal League Foundation (who I already donate to anyway). I run a lot of races, and it seems that I should be putting all of this energy to good use.

Yesterday I came across a campaign (thanks to the networking wonder of Twitter) called Scars R Sexy which helps people embrace scars as part of their story. I was watching the videos and reading the stories, and it was inspiring. I had me thinking of the many, many scars I have and how they affect me as a person. As an accident prone child I had stitches in my face three times before I was 7 - in my chin from it's contact with a dresser, in my forehead from contact with a coffee table and in my lip from a dog bite. I've had four abdominal surgeries, and my once flat, beautiful stomach now looks like a road map. I had melanoma removed from my shin and numerous other moles elsewhere on my body. Those scars tell the story of who I am.

This campaign made me think again about how to use my running for the greater good - how to inspire people and make the most of something I love. When I did Team in Training I couldn't help but be inspired by the amazing people involved in that campaign.  There are so many people and organizations that inspire me - whether they are overcoming adversity or working to make their communities better. Now I need to dig in and figure out how to make the most of running these towns.   

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