Unicorns-1.2

Introductory Comments:

http://go.liverfoundation.org/goto/cyktrussell

[audio:http://www.RunRunLive.com/PodcastEpisodes/Unicorns12.mp3]

Unicorns12.mp3

Hello and welcome my friends.  This is Chris and this is the second in my series of personal podcasts that I am doing, essentially to air out my brain as I deal with my father’s cancer and gear up to run for the Liver Foundation at Boston. 

Note:  Even though this is on the RunRunLive Podcast feed, this is NOT the RunRunLive podcast.  You have fair warning to skip now because I’m not talking about running.  Standard RunRunLive episodes will be labeled as such. 

As part of this project, whatever this project is, I’m collecting donations for the American Liver Foundation for my running of the Boston Marathon this year.  I wanted to layer on some purpose for the event and make it more personal.  

The donation links are in the show notes and at http://go.liverfoundation.org/goto/cyktrussell

My story is that I already had a number for this year’s race.  I Didn’t need to fundraise, but with my Dad’s health declining I thought it would be a decent thing to do to dedicate this to him and my family. 

I’ll tell you my fundraising experience so far – it’s a funny story. 

As I came out of back to back marathons in January and February it became obvious to me that I wouldn’t be racing Boston this year. My body was too beat up to put the necessary quality training in to run competitively. (I’m sure it was obvious to everyone else but I have a knack for obstinacy and denial when it comes to my running).

I looked around for a Boston sanctioned charity to lend my energy to.  The Liver foundation was the closest thing to my Dad’s cancer that I found.  

I sent them a nice letter (actually a form letter through the ‘contact us’ form on their website) that basically said; “Is it ok if I give you money?  I don’t need anything from you. I’ve run Boston 15 times and I have an existing network that makes reasonable fundraising relatively painless.”

To which they replied with a hearty and cheery form letter asking me to sign a contract, pay a $75 admin fee, commit to at least $1,000 and give them a signed credit card slip. 

I let out a small mental sigh and embarked on the paperwork.  I signed all the forms, sent them $75 and planned my campaign launch.  I know these poor folks have to deal with a lot of crazies so I’m not surprised by the barriers they put up.  I think actual members of their charity team have to raise over $7,000 to get a bib number for Boston. 

Then, after I registered they sent me 37 emails. These were all the new member information things and week’s worth of newsletters that I had missed.  The other fundraisers had been going at it hard for months. 

Here’s my punch line.  I covered their $1,000 minimum in less than 24 hours after my launch.  I know some excellent, high-quality, decent people in our running community. 

And I did allow myself one, small, passive aggressive ‘I told you so’ email to the director of the charity team. 

Why am I running for charity?  Why does anyone? You’d be tempted to say we do it for, or in memery of a loved one.  I don’t think that’s really why. I think we do it for ourselves.  It’s a selfish act with positive social overtones and consequences. 

We do it because our brains are screaming and we need a physical and emotional release.  We need a physical channel for the demonstration of the chaos, grief, sadness and fear in our lives as things happen that we cannot control, cannot understand and are not understandable. 

That’s what the whole charity thing is.  It’s not to help a cause, that’s a symptom.  It’s to keep us from running screaming into the wilderness to hide. It’s to keep us from punching our co-workers and clients. It’s a valve, a salve and a release.

But, perhaps it’s more.  Perhaps it matures into an altruism to our fellow humans.  Perhaps it is a selfish act that chrysalises into an act that enriches our souls. 

Look at the person next to you.  What do you see?  Is it a calm or placid countenance?  You have no idea what spinning chaos is in their minds behind that façade. 

It is through charity, this physical manifestation, that turns thought into action.  This is how we get a glimpse into the inner workings of the human’s mind.  It is through charity that we look into the black box of their soul.  

And we shall know them through their acts. 

I don’t have an interview for you this time around show I’ll just share a piece I did on fundraising tips.  I’m a rookie fundraiser compared to the other ‘official’ Liver people.  They are throwing parties and holding auctions and robbing bank and raising thousands of dollars.   

I do know some things about building a social network though so maybe there is some value in my words. 

Featured Interview:

Raising funds for Charity - http://www.runrunlive.com/thoughts-on-collecting-for-charity

Summary Article: 

I think this will be my last Boston Marathon.  I will make up excuses to justify my decision and many of them will be valid, but I think it just a question of moving on.  I’ve gotten whatever grace that it can give me and it’s time for other adventures.  

All things have a beginning and an end.  We cannot deny that.  We cannot slavishly cling to things from the past.  In fact we need to clean things out of our closets to make room for other things.  It is neither good, nor bad.  It just is.  

The risk of hanging on is the sin of desire.  We want stability in our lives.  We get to a good spot and we want things to stay the same.  The longer we have these things the more we own them and the more they own us.  

At some point this becomes desire and, as the Buddha tells us, desire corrodes our freedom.  Make a habit of letting things go, of cleaning your closets.  This prepares fertile ground for the adventures to come.  Next year I will not run the Boston Marathon.  Not because I can’t.  Not because I don’t want to. Simply because it is time. 

When we deal with loss, the loss of a parent for example we can’t understand the impact it will have on us.  That’s what I have realized.  I don’t know what I’m doing.  I have no experience in these things.  In response I’m letting go.  I don’t own the process.  I’m just a rider, caught in the flow.  

Instead of trying to control, which is my intellectual default, I’m going to try to just be present and aware.  

One of the best ways to give up control is to share.  And that my friends is why we are having this conversation.  

Thank you for your prayers and support. 

Speak to you again in a fortnight or so. 

Chris,

Go to: 

http://go.liverfoundation.org/goto/cyktrussell

Thank you for joining me on my journey with purpose. 

Chris,

Music by Bridge Underwater - “sad song”

Direct download: unicorns12.mp3
Category:Running -- posted at: 11:14pm EDT



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