Below is a blog about the upcoming NYC Half Marathon. I’m running to raise money for Covenant House. Please donate by clicking here: Mike Lee Giving Page for Covenant House
I think I lost my mind. About two months ago I once again fell under the completely exquisite spell of the world’s most alluring woman. My wife Rebecca has somehow convinced me, against my small-minded objections, to embark on every important event in my life. Getting married, having a child (or three), buying a house in Montclair, working for a nonprofit, pursuing employment at a university, were not my ideas, and yet they have produced the most joy and success in my life.
So, once again, I find myself taking on a challenge which by every logical impulse seems absurd. Running 13.1 miles? Why would I do it? I’ll raise a lot of money? Great! But, wait, I don’t get any of it, in fact it will cost me at least a couple hundred?
So despite my “better” judgement, I have been torturing myself by training several times a week. Changing my running stride two months ago caused my legs to be painfully sore for the better part of a month. The weather for the past month caused me to join a gym and run on a treadmill, bringing new meaning to the concept of “runner’s boredom”.
I’ve gone from someone who never ran more than 4 miles a couple a months ago to one of these lunatics who goes on a 10 mile training run. My last vestiges of pride about my masculine strength have been eviscerated, as months of intense training only show me how much stronger, tougher, and faster, my wife is. The other day while I was running 10 miles, Rebecca was running a half marathon – as part of her training – for a half marathon (I’m still working on understanding this). It was tough enough to realize that I was setting a personal distance record while she casually ran three miles further, but coupled with the knowledge that it took her less time – a lot less time – to run the extra distance, the demise of my runner’s ego is complete.
So why, indeed, am I running? Hmm… Well, several reasons:
1) Giving is good. Life has been especially good to me over the past few years, each year becoming more and more rewarding. So I want, rather, I need to give back. My belief in karma isn’t formal, but living such a dream filled life without actively giving to those who are needier feels like tempting fate. Covenant House is an ideal recipient of a charitable endeavor. It helps young men and woman from 18 years old to 21 find homes, jobs, and education. These vulnerable youths still have the opportunity to determine their fate and live their dreams, but fall outside of traditional safety-net services. Covenant House saves lives and creates the opportunity for these young people to become productive citizens.
2) My health/my family. I’d like to keep it going! I turned fifty last spring, and it’s more important than ever to stay healthy. Despite any comparisons to my athlete-wife, which are decidedly unflattering, I am in much better shape than I was a couple of months ago. I’d like to stay strong and healthy for a long time to enjoy my immediate family and my extend student family. I’m fortunate to have about 22 private students right now, and I’m invested in all of them.
3) Rebecca, of course. So if I haven’t gushed enough about this incredible woman, she is a joy to be around day in and day out. A little over two years ago, we nearly lost her when she was hit by a car. Her strength and determination carried her through to a miraculous recovery. Running was her therapy, her reason to get out of the wheel chair which confined her for several months after the accident, and the focus of her rehabilitation. So I run this race as a celebration of her recovery, determination and indomitable spirit. She puts everyone else first almost all the time. This is my chance to give back to her.