The Chicago Marathon has been on my “to run” list for a few years now. Chicago is my hometown so I knew if I ever did another full marathon, Chicago would be it. So when they announced the race would be a lottery this year, I was a little bummed, but I thought running for charity would be a good way to bypass the lottery while in turn giving me Heaven points.
I researched charities and nothing really clicked. I was really discouraged because during my research, I realized I’d rather not run Chicago at all if it meant raising money for a charity I didn’t care about. (I know. I’m just as surprised as you are that my heart is not cold and black.) Just when I was ready to forget the whole charity thing and take my chances with the lottery, I found the American Heart Association (AHA).
I just knew AHA was it. I have to raise more money as a part of AHA than other official Chicago Marathon charities, which is a little scary for me since I’ve never done this before, but AHA is the only one that felt right for a few reasons. Not only do I try to make physical activity a part of my everyday life, but I lost my dad to a heart attack five years ago.
His senior year and the hunky days, apparently.
I lost him two weeks after his birthday.
One month before we were going to spend our first Thanksgiving together.
And four months before he was going to walk me down the aisle.
So that sealed it. I’m running with the American Heart Association in memory of my dad.
As long as I knew him, he always had a weight problem, which probably has something to do with my workout and food obsession. My dad loved food too. I think butter was his favorite food group. Whenever we talked on the phone, I’d ask him if he was getting on his stationary bike and eating well (and he’d ask me when I was going to finish college, heh). If he told me he wasn’t being good about it, I’d always tell him to get on the bike for me so he could stay around a few more years.
He was one of the most positive, good-spirited people I’ve ever known. My ridiculous sense of humor came from him. He made friends easier than I’ve ever seen. When we went out to a restaurant, I’d have to wait 10 minutes to order food while he asked the waitress 20 questions about her life because he was genuinely interested in other people. He retired to Florida from Illinois three years before he died and made enough friends in that time to pack an entire church full of people at his funeral. It was ridiculous. My brother and I even said that we’d be happy to have a fourth of that amount of people at our funerals.
Everyone loved him. Especially me.
Anyway, that’s just a little about my dad. I’m going “home” and running this race for him. Or someone like him. If the money I raise can help just one other person’s dad stick around a little longer than mine did, then it’s all worth it.
So, if you have the means and are interested in donating a few dollars, you can donate on my personal page. I will be so grateful.