UPDATE: Miigwech and wow.
Exercise is medicine.
These words are on the wall of the gym at Pine Point School on the White Earth Reservation in Minnesota, where I’ve volunteered with Hope for the First Nations for the past 20 years.
I don’t like medicine. I really don’t like to run.
But my sister has convinced me to join her for several 5K runs this year.
You can help sweeten the experience for me and make the medicine go down by pledging money to HFtFN for each kilometer I run.
I’ve registered for four 5K runs this year for a total of 20 kilometers. And I’m asking big and hoping to raise $1,000 for HFtFN by completing them.
Here is a list of 5Ks I plan to run this year:
- June 22: Bigfoot 5K Trail Run
- Sept. 7: Run Mag Mile 5K
- Nov. 3: Hot Chocolate 5K
- Nov. 28: North Shore Turkey Trot
I’m hoping to run a few bonus 5Ks, too, to inspire some one-time gifts. I’m not looking forward to any of them.
But the money you pledge will go to support the work of HFtFN, which partners with communities on the reservation to help out at powwows and Christmas parties, volunteer at Pine Point School, host a summer Hope Camp for kids and educate Christians about how much we have to learn from our Anishinaabe brothers and sisters. HFtFN is hoping to raise not just enough funds to balance our budget this year, but also to start creating resources and newsletters to share what we’ve learned and experienced over the past 20-plus years.
And that’s something I can get excited about.
Click here to make a one-time gift or to donate for each kilometer I run.
I also recognize you may not be able to donate money to a fundraiser. HFtFN still needs you! Perhaps you can create a fundraiser of your own. Check out this list of more ways you can help HFtFN — many of which won’t cost you a thing.
Miigwech (thank you) for considering a pledge, and I’ll keep you updated here throughout the running season!
Bigfoot 5K Trail Run
10/10 I do not recommend a muddy, hilly, hot trail run for your first 5K. But that’s what fit into my sister Annie’s and my travel schedule. And I survived RAM Racing’s 2019 Bigfoot Tri + 5k/10k Trail Run. With Annie run-walking with me for encouragement, we officially finished the 5K in 46:48. I’d guessed I’d be at about 45 minutes on pavement by race day and worried that would translate to about an hour on the trail.
So I’m happy.
And Annie and I look delirious in every race photo because she kept punching me every time she spotted a photographer and telling me to make sure I was both running and smiling.
We did not see Bigfoot, though. But then, I learned Bigfoot Beach State Park and the run are named after the Potawatomi leader who was forcibly removed from the land in 1836, not the cryptozoological forest-dweller. I’m grateful to have learned more about the first people to live in relationship with and care for the land where I now live, too.
That’s one down, three to go. Everything after this should be easy, right?
You didn’t forget about my Run For Hope, did you?
Just to make sure, I ran a little virtual 5K on the treadmill to remind you that you still can make a one-time donation or pledge-per-kilometer I run to benefit Hope for the First Nations.
Bonus: It was the ASPCA Virtual 5K, so we’re also saving tiny lives! And this resulted in quite possibly the funniest picture ever taken of my cat, Poe. I don’t even care how unflattering it is.
I finished in 47:47, which is a minute slower than my first race. But then, my sister wasn’t there to support me. Imagine that: We do better when we work together.
My next live race is RAM Racing’s Run Mag Mile on Sept. 7 (which also happens to be my birthday weekend!). You can cheer me on anytime with a pledge or donation, but it makes a particularly good birthday present — just sayin.’
Run Mag Mile 5K
I had a few goals for my first running season. I wanted to run an entire 5K with no walking breaks. And I wanted to run a 5K in 45 minutes.
I crushed both goals this weekend at my second live race, RAM Racing’s Run Mag Mile.
Maybe it’s because I was happy to be there with my sister and her fiancé. Maybe it’s because I was running down Michigan Avenue in Chicago, closed just for the occasion. Maybe it’s because it was the perfect weather for a run — cool and crisp and sunny. Maybe it’s because it was my birthday weekend or because I had a good pace playlist pumping through the awesome new wireless headphones my sister got me.
But everything clicked.
After realizing my pace was quite a bit faster than usual, I thought, I think I can keep this up. After the first mile, I thought, I think I can keep running. After the second, I thought, I’m doing it. And I did.
In the end, I knocked more than 3 1/2 minutes off my time from my previous live race. That’s still finishing in 44:08, which isn’t anywhere near what is generally considered a “good” time. But I crossed the finish line absolutely elated, thinking, I ran so fast.
So here’s a gentle reminder to run your own race, both in running and in life. Your joys, your successes, your struggles, your trajectory, the things you care about won’t look exactly the same as anybody else’s.
And now I just have one more goal left for the running season: to raise $1,000 in one-time gifts or pledges-per-kilometer to my Run for Hope. We’re halfway through the races I registered to run at this point and just about halfway to my fundraising goal. To help me get there, click here.
Hot Chocolate 5K
By now, our race ritual is set: We wake up early, we make a Dunkin run (because blueberry is a superfood, according to Annie, even though there’s not really anything resembling an actual blueberry in the blueberry coffee or muffin at Dunkin), we run our races and then my husband Joel meets us for brunch afterward.
RAM Racing’s Hot Chocolate 15k & 5k wasn’t a run for setting PRs. There were just too dang many people — more than 22,000 in the 5K alone — and even though I ran my race well, it felt like I was stopping or trying to run around walkers and selfie takers every few feet.
But it was a good run for spending time with The Fam and drinking hot chocolate and shaking out the cobwebs before my last 5K in my Run for Hope.
And hopefully, it will bring me closer to my $1,000 fundraising goal for Hope for the First Nations. I’m about halfway to my goal, and I have one 5K left — on Thanksgiving Day. To help me get there with a one-time donation or pledge-per-kilometer, click here or share that link with your friends. It’s one small thing we can this Native American Heritage Month.
North Shore Turkey Trot 5K
I ran my first turkey trot and the last race in my Run for Hope on Thanksgiving morning — and didn’t do too bad despite the slowdown after mile one to blow my nose a couple times and unwrap some cough drops. I ran the first mile, walked the second, ran the third and finished in less than 45 minutes.
I also wore my “You are on Native land” pin to keep everybody honest. I’m not here for mythologizing or erasing Native peoples on Thanksgiving or any other day.
With this 5K, I finished RAM Racing’s Run This Town challenge — but I didn’t do it just for the awesome Chicago flag medal. Along the way, I’ve been collecting one-time donations and pledges-per-kilometer to benefit Hope for the First Nations, a nonprofit I’ve volunteered with for 20 years that partners with the Anishinaabe of the White Earth Nation in Minnesota. To help me finish strong, click here. Thank you!