nyc half: running to end AIDS

Hey folks! I ran my second NYC Half Marathon on Sunday!! My first one was in 2012, and I was so moved by the experience that, before I even finished mile-7, I promised myself that I would do it again.

early morning wake up call

early morning wake up call

Anyway, both years I’ve run for Housing Works. Running for a charity guarantees me a spot in the Half without having to worry about the lottery, and also gives me the chance to raise money for one of my favorite organizations.

If you don’t know about it, Housing Works is an incredible organization that helps to provide housing and health services to homeless people living with HIV and AIDS:

Housing Works is a healing community of people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Our mission is to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS through relentless advocacy, the provision of lifesaving services, and entrepreneurial businesses that sustain our efforts.

I’ve known about Housing Works since I was a kid because my mom and I often bring clothing and book donations to their thrift shops.

I’ve mentioned in an earlier (epic) post that for three years I participated in AIDS/Lifecycle–a 7-day bike event from San Francisco to Los Angeles. I love a physical challenge and see it as my responsibility as an able-bodied person to challenge myself physically for a cause; to do what I can to raise money to fight the AIDS epidemic, raise awareness about the AIDS crisis, and help those living with AIDS and HIV receive the services they need to live healthy lives. So when I found out that I could do another physical challenge to raise money to fight AIDS, I was in.

My first half was definitely a lot more stressful than this one—I just didn’t know what to expect! But I felt great throughout the event on Sunday, from waiting in the corral to crossing the finish line.

selfie in the corral

selfie in the corral before race

There is something magical about huge sporting events. I guess it would be impossible not to feed off the energy of 20,000 runners… But the most special moments are the times when you get to bear witness to a runner spotting a loved one on the sidelines who came to cheer them on. These are the moments that feed me the energy I need to keep going. My parents were cheering for me near Christopher Street (approximately the mile-10 mark) and my boyfriend, Jason, met me at the finish.

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I ran for my god-father and dear family friends who died of AIDS when I was a child. I kept them in mind throughout, along with all others who have been affected by the virus. Yet wasn’t until mile-11 that I got hit by a wave of emotion, and felt the urge to weep–weep as much for loved-ones lost as for the personal recognition that I was almost finished with a race that I was running to help change a few lives for the better. But weeping-while-running is not conducive to breathing-while-running, so I fought the tears, caught my breath, and kept on truckin’.

I crossed the finish line with a time of 1:53:33, feeling exhausted, loopy, thirsty and proud.

finisher

finisher

To all of my donors, THANK YOU so much for your support. If you’re reading this before March 31, 2014, you can still support me with a donation to Housing Works. Click here to get to my fundraising page, and remember: no amount is too small!

Thank you, thank you.

This is one of my favorite songs to run to, and cycles into my “1/2 marathon” playlist around mile-8.

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