When I was 10 years old, my world changed for the worse. The movie Forrest Gump was released, and my life instantly plummeted from a care-free childhood heaven into a hell where, akin to Sisyphus, I was doomed to endlessly repeat one task: denying that I would turn out like the Jenny in the movie, drug-addicted and singing naked behind a guitar.
The other thing about that movie which plagued my life was the quote, “Run, Forrest, run!” It was shouted after me in the halls of my middle school until I felt like transforming into the Hulk, spinning around, and roaring, “No, YOU run, fart-huffer!”
The quote comes from what really is a touching scene, though. Jenny yells this after a young Forrest as he escapes three bullies and sheds his cumbersome leg braces in the beautiful moment when his body and spirit are finally motivated enough to just run.
…and that’s about where I am now in my marathon training. Last Saturday, J and I completed the first 10-mile run in our training program, which means we slogged through a little over a third of the full race distance. In our post oh-shit-we’ve-been-running-for-100-solid-minutes stupor, it felt like a celebration was in order. And how better to celebrate an accomplishment than asking a bunch of writers you’ve never met for monetary donations?! (Feel utterly free to stop reading here. Come back in a few days when I’ll post about misadventures at a drive-in movie theater. I promise I won’t beg for one cent.)
If you’re still reading, here’s where you can go to donate. And here’s my original blog post about why I signed up to run the Chicago Marathon about 24 hours after I heard about the bombings in Boston. And here’s the heart of the matter:
Those 24 hours were how long it took me to process the news and realize this was, for me, a moment in history that merited a serious response. In the midst of the tragedy, one thing that lifted me up was the amazing response of the volunteer medics who transitioned instantly from providing basic first aid to conducting triage on a battlefield. And so, I pledged to run my first 26.2-miler under the Team Red Cross banner, and to collect a minimum of $1,200 for their organization. If you’re moved to donate, please do so in absolutely any amount. And – as always – positive vibes are also highly valued. Thank you!